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Wednesday, June 19 2024 @ 09:45 MDT

Tories have figured something out.

Canadian PoliticsIt would appear the Tories are starting to backpedal on their environmental policy, or at the very least pay lip service to backpedaling. There are also rumors that the new Tory "Green Plan" will look an awful lot like the Liberal one they canceled. So what does this mean? Did the Tories have a road to Damascus conversion on the environment? I suspect not. I think it means that somehow someone has managed to crowbar into Stephen Harper's brain that voters in Central and Eastern Canada like the environment, and unlike voters in Alberta, are likely to vote for someone else.

So this leaves the Harper Tories with a nasty dilemma. On the one hand are their backers, which include the big oil companies. This group doesn't want any environmental regulation as that limits profits. On the other hand are the voters of seat rich Central and Eastern Canada. Harper can't stay in power without these people, and these people want environmental protection. So what's a leader with a "principled stand" to do? The "principled stand" will keep Harper's backers happy, but anger the electorate. To bow to the electorate makes Harper look weak and "unprincipled".

This must be why Stephen's been hiding in the woodwork for the past week or so. Uncharacteristically federal minsters have been speaking on behalf of the government and not the PMO. Perhaps good 'ol Stephen wants some deny-ability for him vis-a-vis his supporters along the lines of "I didn't say that" when it comes to things that have to be said, but don't fit into his rigid, dogmatic ideology. Down shift the blame onto his ministers and keep his supporters happy. Or perhaps Stephen's micromanaging has caught up with him and he's having a breakdown and hence is in hiding. Either way it's interesting to see his government try to look the moderate by appearing to backpedal on some hot button issues.

The Tories need to backpedal. The polls outside of Alberta aren't good for them and the issues that are killing them are things like the environment. Unfortunately this wasn't one of the five talking points that they campaigned on so they do flounder a bit on that. Harper and his advisors are slowly learning that only Albertans will vote for them blindly, regardless of what they do, so dropping in the polls is probably scary for them. Scary in that what worked in Alberta isn't working elsewhere. Scary in that the could be wrong. All things that a True Blue Tory (TM Pat. Pend) can't admit to.

So it's shuffle the bad stuff onto expendable ministers. Have the Minister of National Defense tell people we can't win in Afghanistan. Have the Environment Minister rebrand the old Liberal package. Have the Foreign Minister have photo-ops with the US Secretary of State. That way if the all important neo and theo-con backers object, Stephen can just say it was a rouge minister and that's not what the party really thinks. The hope being that you can fool enough of the people on both sides to get back into power next election. I don't think it will work for long since eventually someone's going to hear what Harper and Co. are telling the other side and whoosh, there goes the support. It would appear that Harper has to quickly learn that federal politics is an acrobatic act without a net and he has to become one before he falls.

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