Canada finds itself teetering on the edge of a Christmas Election campaign. Ugh - just what I need to round out the season of cheer - a bunch of politicians running around hurling insults at one another.
Stephen Harper set the tone for the pending election in the House of Commons when he introduced a non-confidence motion. In suggesting that the Liberal party is somehow linked to organized crime, Harper just set the tone for a campaign that looks to be filled with accusations and acrimony.
Cynically, I might well agree that much of what was done in the Sponsorship Program bears some resemblance to the money laundering activities that organized crime like the mafia are (in)famous for. However, if Mr. Harper thinks that continuing to tell the voters "how corrupt the evil Liberals are" is going to win him this election, he is likely to be sorely mistaken. Didn't Harper learn anything from his "BBQ Tour" this past summer? (and last sitting's backlash to his "Angry White Guy" routine.
Harper could have spent the next couple of months showing Canadians alternatives to the Liberals from the opposition benches. Whether that is comes in the form of dramatically amending bills - either in comittee, or through private members' bills. In an minority parliament, there is far more opportunity to do such things - and make them stick - than there is when sitting as opposition in a majority parliament.
Instead, in his rush to achieve power, Harper has once again missed the concept entirely.
First he's forcing an election at the worst possible time. While it's possible that he is doing this with the hope that only the "politicized" members of his party will get out to vote, he is overestimating the size of that part of the electorate, as well as underestimating the consequences of dragging people out to the polls around a major holiday season.
Second, I think most people had bought into Martin's promise to call an election thirty days after the second part of the Gomery Report was delivered. Instead, Harper wants an election now, even though the first part of the Gomery Report's effects on voters has long since lapsed into distant memory.
Third, the first major statement Harper makes in his opening volley tries to link the Liberals to organized crime. For crying out loud, didn't the drubbing your party took this spring make it painfully obvious to you that Canadians are not interested in hyperbole?
Apparently the Conservative Party still thinks that all of the outrage at the Liberals will magically translate into votes for the CPC. What a mistake.
[Update:] I just heard Jay Hill on the CBC news talking about the government having lost the "moral authority" to govern. Last I checked, a government's authority to govern comes from the throne in this country, not the pin-headed brains of the conservative party's moral penguins.