Thursday, October 01, 2009

Why do the media try to be political strategists...

because they are not very good at it.

As I have stated in this space before Stephen Harper does not want an election this Fall. His reasons are many and Mr. Ignatieff just gave him another reason today. (See my previous post).

That does not stop the media and others from speculating that Mr. Harper will engineer his own defeat by using some sort of poison pill.

I saw the latest speculation on this yesterday in the Globe where they stated that the Conservatives may use the HST enabling legislation as a poison pill.

What stupidity!!

The HST is deeply unpopular in BC and it is becoming increasingly unpopular in Ontario. It is widely seen in both provinces as a tax grab during hard economic times.

In that kind of atmosphere why would the Conservatives even think of introducing legislation that will enable this tax as a stand alone Bill, let alone use it as the hill in which to sacrifice their government? Up to this point the Conservatives have been distancing themselves from the two provincial government decisions on the HST. They made the necessary agreements with the two provincial governments but they are hoping no one will notice that it takes two to make such agreements.

Now people are suggesting that they will abandon this strategy and highlight their role in the imposition of the HST by using it as a Bill to trigger an election?! These people must be on crack. I cannot think of a strategy more likely to cost votes in the two most populous provinces in the country.

It is true that such a bill would make things ackward for the Liberals. They would either have to make things difficult for the Ontario Liberals and break a commitment by voting down the Bill or they would have to give Jack Layton ammunition to use against them by supporting it.

However, neither option would hurt the Liberals that much in the long run. Mr. McGuinty would be inconvenienced by having the bill defeated but I am certain he also remembers the fact that former Harris reformatories now in the Harper cabinet have overtly tried to undermine his political position, leading up to the last provincial election, on several occasions. Now that another Harris acolyte and former colleague of these same ministers is the leader of the Provincial PC Party he can probably expect more of the same if they are still occupying those posts. As well, considering how unpopular the HST is in both provinces the two premiers may welcome an out from having to implement it without being seen as giving into the opposition in their respective provinces. In other words, neither provincial government is likely to make too much noise if enabling legislation is defeated.

As for Jack Layton, voting for the Bill will allow him to again say there is no difference between the Liberals and the Conservatives. But they have been saying that for decades and the results speak for themselves. Canadians believe that there are only two parties capable of governing this country and if both are implicated in the implementation of the HST it will be cancelled out as an election issue.

The HST enabling legislation will not be introduced as a stand alone bill. It is too toxic. Instead it will be buried in a good news budget in the Spring or it will be buried in a big, good news omnibus bill just before or after the Christmas break.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the same thing when I read that. There may well be a poison pill in the near future, but it sure as hell won't be on the HST.

October 01, 2009 7:14 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...

No poison pill this Fall, I am certain of it.

October 01, 2009 7:25 PM  

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