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Tuesday, September 22 2020 @ 07:12 MDT

Tories scrambling

Jason ramblingWith the recent cabinet shuffle, it now seems the Tories are scrambling to regain lost support. In several road to Damascus conversions, the Harper Conservatives are desperately trying to look like born again environmentalists, multiculturalists and not war hawks. New minister of the environment John Baird in fact was heard stating the priorities of Canadians have changed in the past year in that they want action on the environment.

What's actually changed is the fact that the Conservatives are slowly beginning to realize that they weren't elected because their platform reflected the views of Canadians, but because they weren't the Liberals. The problem for the Tories is that this won't carry them through another election so they have to move to the centre and fast if they want to have any hope of remaining the government. The thin veneer of moderation fell off shortly after the election and now Harper is desperately trying to re-glue it onto his party. The question is will the voter see the veneer for what it is now that it's fallen off once?

Harper's problem is that it's hard for him and the rest of the ideologues that run his party and government to have to bend to the will of the people, more specifically the 65% of the people who didn't vote for him in the last election. This means that the new, post December 2006 version of his party has to be an action of convenience for the crowd and not action from conviction. So much for the PM of principled action. The hope for Harper is that enough of the crowd will buy the new image long enough to get re-elected, hopefully with a majority government, so that the uncomfortable veneer can be stripped off and the Tories can get back to the comfort of policies that don't really fly with the majority of Canadians.

Of course, time is the enemy of this plan in two ways. If the election comes sooner than later, the uncomfortable questions about why the sudden shift in priorities for the Tories. If these things were so important, why did the Conservatives at best ignore the issues and at worse implement policies that have indicated that they are openly hostile to any resolution to the issue. These are questions that will be hard to answer, especially during an election campaign, so the Tories have to hope for an election later rather than sooner so that the first year of their mandate is hopefully forgotten by the electorate. There is a problem with this as well though. The longer the Tories have to act moderate, the greater the pressure from their core supporters to throw off the mantle of moderate and get back to being neo-cons. There may also be a feeling among the electorate that sudden changes in policy are the norm for the Tories and that that kind of unpredictability isn't something they want. This isn't even mentioning what it might do to the Tories core supporters if they start thinking they're getting ignored. I'm not talking about the core supporters in Alberta, where Tory supporters will keep supporting the party despite what abuse the party heaps on them, but in the rest of the country, especially Ontario where the voter is fickle and likely to go elsewhere. The Tories assumed power with huge trust issues with the voter, and this latest series of moves isn't going to help with the voter at large or even their own supporters.

This leaves the Tories adrift. Harper is faced with a resurgent and revitalized Liberal Party on the one side, forcing him to have to move towards the centre and also having to deal with his own convictions and the theo and neo-con factions in his own party. Given his micro-managerial style, it should be interesting to see how long he can keep up having a split personality on top of trying to run everyone's life.

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Tories scrambling
Authored by: Anonymous onTuesday, January 09 2007 @ 02:44 MST
Intriguingly, the Liberals appear to be making gains in the polls on 3 fronts:

1) Whittling away at CPC support in key areas (like Ontario)

2) Eating at NDP support (likely a "not Liberal" vote that zigged left instead of right)

3) Some of the undecided vote. (The latest Environics poll shows a remarkably small undecided fraction ( < 10% in most regions)

I'm still trying to figure out just what Layton thinks he's going to gain by "working with" the CPC. (Other than pissing off a lot of core NDP supporters) But then again, he's been focused on sniping at the Liberals lately - which really isn't doing him much good if the Environics poll is anything to go by.

- Grog