Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Stephen Harper is an evil genius

Or at least Globe columnist John Ibbitson thinks so. Actually, I added the evil part. I buy that more than I do the genius part.

John, though, thinks Harper's calling two by-elections recently, one in Montreal and another in London, is so "so fiendish it just might work." Umm, yeah. How does he back up his thesis?

Well, first off, he says it will sow discord within Liberal ranks by pushing the seatless Bob Rae and Gerard Kennedy to run in the midst of a Liberal leadership race. I'd like to see a Conservative make that argument seriously when they've had a guy in their cabinet since February that has never contested an election in his life. You know, Michael Fortier.

Also, Bob and Gerard live in Toronto, neither have any ties to London. Remember that open seat in Quebec? It's in Fortier's home town, Montreal. I'll tell you what guys; if Fortier runs in Repentigny then I'll talk one of our leadership candidates into running in London. It would be the least I could do. Otherwise, give me a break.

The second plank in his Harper is a genius argument? The discord sown could give a chance to elect the person Ibbitson contends is Harper's favoured candidate, former London Mayor Dianne Haskett.

A win, opines John, would show the Conservatives can win the seats in vote-rich, middle class surburban Ontario needed to win a majority government. Maybe. But, despite devoting the following paragraph to the matter, he seems to miss a more important point:

Dianne Haskett was a very popular mayor of London from 1994 to 2000. A devout Christian and social conservative, Ms. Haskett earned national attention when she refused to proclaim Gay and Lesbian Pride Day in her city. For this, she and the city were fined by the Ontario Human Rights Commission during the 1997 municipal election campaign. Ms. Haskett responded by sitting out the rest of the campaign, for which voters rewarded her with a landslide.

So, she seems to be very popular in London. Maybe she'll even take the seat. But will a Haskett win "show that the Tories are capable of making inroads into middle-class suburban Ontario seats"? I doubt it. Her local popularity would negate any ability to read wider trends into a win.

Moreover, here's what the rest of the country would see: not long after moderate maverick Garth Turner is punted from the Conservative caucus (and joins the Greens maybe?) the Cons elect a rabid anti-Gay, social conservative nut bar with strong ties to the Bush Republican party. I'd like to ask John, where's the genius in that? Moderates out, so-cons in. How will that play in the burbs?

Let's have that campaign. I'd love to see the national media focused for five weeks on a London by-election, with Haskett making controversial statements, her past record being splashed on the front page. The Conservative star candidate, handpicked by Harper, that refused to proclaim Gay Pride Day. Canadians will get to see first hand Harper's kindler, gentler Conservative Party.

And, frankly, I hope to heck she wins too. Let's get her in the House of Commons. If I can speak on behalf of the opposition parties for a second, we need all the Diane Hasketts sitting in the Conservative caucus that we can get.

I take it back. Stephen Harper is a genius.

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8 comments:

petroom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
petroom said...

I know you won't write about it but you must still be allowed to have a little click here:

Anyone-But-Iggy Web Poll

Walks With Coffee said...

I believe oppostion parties and the press need to change the focus of this issue. See:

http://www.progressivebloggers.ca/blog/diary.php?cmd=view&id=1433

Mike said...

Yes, Diane, what a treat. She is not as popular in London as one would think.

And incidently, when the Gay Pride parade did take place it was protested by members of local white supremisist groups, including members of the Banditos who were latter charged with mass murder in the Aylmer.

Great company these nuts are keeping.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Walks, I agree, and my post yesterday (Fortier est un poulet) took that angle. Today, though, the Ibbitson column drove me to tackle the London one.

Petroom, the fast continues and trust me, it's good for the soul. A Liberal lent, if you will. :)

wilson61 said...

as Don Martin said:
''They (Liberals) are the party that called an Ontario byelection in the middle of the Progressive Conservative leadership convention in 2003. So, sorry, they can't retreat to a holier-than-thou retort.''

With Lizzy running in London, the focus will be on the environment.
The evil genius maybe that the Conservatives will now be able to debate the Clean Air Act, something MSM so far has not allowed (Belinda was more importatnt). IMO

Olaf said...

When I first heard the name, and immediately identified it as a woman's name (I'm quick like that), I was quite heartened, but the more I read of her record, the more scared I become.

This, again, doesn't look good... I really wish that the Conservatives would try to ween themselves off social conservatism - it's gonna kill'em in the long run. I mean, gay marriage is already gonna kill'em.

I can see a Liberal PM deflecting any question on an issue of social justice with: "This, from the party who opposed the rights of same-sex marriage, is a little rich, Mr. Speaker".

This talking point could be used for as long as Stephen Harper or any of the current MPs who opposed it are leading the party, which will be long after the ssm debate is forgotten and settled for the vast majority of Canadians (even more than it is now).

GritPatriot said...

Ibbitson didn't mention that HArper makes Fortier look cowardly for not seeking a seat. The Senate appointee has said he would ru. Well, now's his chance.