Friday, October 19, 2007

Tough talk

Jason Cherniak is right -- the Tories didn't actually want an election at all.
We could not go into an election over that Throne Speech. Never mind the organizational issues in Quebec - there was no issue over which to bring down the government. I have sympathy with Liberals who want to get rid of Harper. I feel exactly the same way. However, politics is not about going into an election every chance you get. Politics is about proposing good policies and opposing bad policies. The Throne speech, quite simply, did not give us that opportunity.
In spite of all the tough talk before the throne speech, the Conservatives fuzzied and fudged the Speech language so that the Liberals would not have to vote against it.
Kyoto is now shown to be a case in point -- in spite of all the rhetoric, the Cons are NOT withdrawing from Kyoto -- a position on which Dion and the Liberals could not have abstained. In fact, whenever the election does finally come, the Liberals will be able to argue that it is the Conservatives own fault that they cannot meet the Kyoto targets.
And likewise, the crime bill -- the Cons are blustering and posturing, apparently hoping that if they talk loudly enough nobody will remember it was also the Conservatives' own fault these laws weren't passed last spring.
As for Dion's future, Harper has pushed him to the wall -- the question is, can he push back?
In an editorial titled "Tough Dion refuses Harper's double-dare", the Edmonton Journal says don't sell Dion short:
...perhaps they should be more wary about attempts to humiliate or rout Stephen Dion.
Say what you like about the man -- and we'll say Dion has shown a lot more interest in Edmonton than the southern Alberta prime minister in the last year and a half -- the former cabinet minister under both Martin and Chretien is no pushover.
When it comes to vitriolic firepower, even the likes of Environment Minister John Baird is no match for the hardcore separatists of Quebec. For years, they've tried to bring the architect and champion of the Clarity Act to his knees and failed . . . underestimated for decades, Stephane Dion could yet have the last laugh.
One thing is for certain. He's a tough nut to crack.

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