Thursday, June 01, 2006

Harper's Dilemma

Ten years ago last week, Stephen Harper attended the "Winds of Change" conference in Calgary to discuss the possible merger of the Reform and Progressive Conservative parties. In a keynote speech, Harper outlined what he saw as a recipe for winning a national government.

According to Harper, the key was to build a coalition focusing on three core constituencies - the "three sisters" as political architect, Tom Flanagan, put it. The first - populist reformers in the West; the second - traditional "blue" Tories in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces; the third - Quebec nationalists.

Harper began to foster relationships with each of the three sisters and it was their support that insiders credit for his minority election win in January. But while last week may mark a special anniversary in Harper's rise to power, there are also signs that tensions between those three sisters may be on the rise.

It started with Quebec Premier, Jean Charest's announcement that Quebec was willing to go it alone with it came to the Kyoto accord. Then another sister chimed in last week - Ralph Klein, the voice of populist Alberta itself, over ideas about reforming the Federal government's equalization payments to the provinces by adding resource revenues to the equation. I guess "blue" Tories in Ontario could also be added to the list depending on how upset they are over Harper's treatment of McGuinty.

I'm not the only one noticing tensions.

This is why I can't see the Tories staying in power too long.


At 2:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

50-some years ago Trudeau idolized Hitler. What difference does it make what someone said years ago. If that's such a big concern, lets drag Ignatieff through the coals. Matter of fact, if anybody has never said things when they were 10 years younger that they regret now, lets hear from them.

At 2:24 PM, Blogger Pedro said...

What are you talking about? I'm not bringing up past baggage - it's obvious to the rest of the world that this was the Tory strategy. Now it's failing. Case in point.

At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pedro is right – this is NOT past baggage. Harper is very consistent, and we should pay him the courtesy of reading what he wrote or said. He has made it very clear in that 1997 speech and elsewhere, what he intends doing, and he has shown by actions that he is implementing his gameplan.

During the 2006 election Harper said he had not changed his core convictions.

Let's take him at his word.

So, let's all keep a copy of his speeches handy and read them whenever he announces a policy or calls a vote.

Nobody can claim some time in the future that they did not know what Harper intended to do. He has spoken and written very clearly about his aim to change this country into a neocon one.

At 3:45 PM, Blogger Zac said...

anon, this isn't baggage, this was an election strategy 10 (yes 10) years in the making. And he's still sticking to it in the hopes of a majority government.


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