Saturday, August 16, 2014

Harper's Gambit

With his numbers sinking in the most recent polls, Harper appears to be moving to bring out his rear guard actions to sustain his grip on power.

There are several pieces to this discussion:

(1)  Foreign Affairs

Between fomenting a shooting war with Russia in the Ukraine,  a stance on Israel that's about as nuanced as an angry rhinoceros, and taking explicit sides in the ongoing collapse of Iraq and Syria, anyone would think that Harper was trying to drag Canada into a war.

Make no mistake about it, that is one of the cards that Harper wants in his hands.  There are two primary reasons for this:

a.  He thinks he can use it as a weapon against Justin Trudeau.  Play the "tough war president" routine, and try to portray his opponents as "weak" and "ineffectual" on such matters.

b.  If Canada is engaged in a shooting war, he can try to invoke the little clause in the constitution that allows for the extension of Parliament beyond 5 years.  (This would be unprecedented, but I don't put it past PMSH to try if he thinks his grip on power is in danger)

(2)  Escalating Attacks On Trudeau

Harper's war on Trudeau is once again escalating, with Harper attempting to use the government's health agency as part of his propaganda campaign, and of course ratcheting up the rhetoric against Trudeau in their flyers (which taxpayers pay for).

This is hardly surprising, given that October 2015 is when Harper's "Fixed Election Dates" law says there should be an election held, and nothing that the PMO has thrown at Trudeau has stuck.  The boys in the short pants are no doubt starting to panic about the ongoing slump of CPC support in the polls.

Frankly, this one is almost secondary.  For all intents and purposes, Harper can keep going until sometime in 2016 under Canada's existing constitution.  Expect to see Elections Canada spend millions of dollars setting up polling stations for an election that hasn't been called in fall 2015.

(3)  Expanding Propaganda Campaign

The Harper Government has been nothing if not relentless in its use of government resources to spew propaganda.  From the billions spent on "Economic Action Plan" ads, to the more recent (and blatant) attempt to try and turn Health Canada communications into anti-pot propaganda,  and the hyping of military nationalism in the promotion of "celebrations" for 1812, Harper has used just about every trick in the book to try and twist and buffalo Canadians into looking at the world through the narrow little lens that he wants us to.

(4)  The "Fair Elections Act"

We still don't know just how far this one is going to go in changing the balance in the electoral system.  There are enormous parts of that bill which got railroaded through which seriously compromise the ability of Canadians to exercise their right to vote, and to enable further shenanigans next election that will make the Robocalls conviction of Michael Sona look like small potatoes.

I have no doubt that Harper will do everything he can to hang on to power.  If he thinks he can steal the next election, he will do that in preference to the other alternatives, but there is nothing stopping him from delaying the next election well into 2016, if not beyond that.  

1 comment:

greg said...

makes perfect sense. I was thinking it made no sense for harper to go further right, but this explains things a lot.