The following story by the Edmonton Sun is a good account of how the Harper conservatives failed to dine from the silver platter handed to them by the liberals. As the old saying goes, "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." The conservatives have been wandering in the wilderness for years, came across an oasis, then wandered back into wilderness as if it were a mirage. They should get a leader who can tell the difference!
Sunday, June 12, 2005
EDITORIAL: The Conservatives blew it
The Conservative Party of Canada should contact Lorne Michaels and ask if its MPs can start getting gigs on Saturday Night Live.
Truly, the Tories are the new "The Not Ready For Prime Time Players."
It saddens us to say it, given the damage being done to our country by the Liberals. But the Tories simply haven't demonstrated that they have what it takes to run a credible opposition party, never mind the government.
Indeed, we never thought we'd see ourselves saying this, but boy, are we ever glad there's not a federal election going on right now.
Because if the Conservatives had managed to defeat the Liberals on a non-confidence motion last month, the Grits would probably now be comfortably on their way to a big majority government.
It's mindboggling that Stephen Harper & Co. were handed the gift of the weakest Liberal government in a generation - one that had a razor-thin advantage in the House of Commons - and blew the opportunity so spectacularly.
The Conservatives were repeatedly unable to capitalize on the numbers game in the House of Commons. The Tories couldn't convince Independent (and former caucus member) Chuck Cadman to vote with them on the May 19 budget vote or get any Liberal backbencher to break ranks. Instead, they watched in horror as Belinda Stronach left the party and was parachuted into cabinet only two days before the crucial vote.
The Tories then completely botched the handling of the Gurmant Grewal tapes by initially making public only a snippet of the incriminating recordings. The party then held back on releasing more of the material for nearly two weeks.
Since then, the credibility of the tapes has died the proverbial death of a thousand cuts, as media organizations have gotten forensic audio experts to weigh in on whether the tapes were sliced and diced to make Grewal look better and the Liberals look worse.
Any professional political outfit would have had Harper hold the press conference with Grewal, release the entirety of the tapes, unaltered, untranslated and unedited, and then announce that the master copies were going into the hands of a respected, independent third party who would be responsible for turning them over to law enforcement officials.
But obviously we're not dealing with a professional political outfit here.
Now let's imagine for a moment that the stars had aligned and Harper had successfully engineered the defeat of the Liberals and triggered an election. What, exactly, does this party stand for?
Prior to last month's budget vote, the Tories were falling all over themselves to promise Canadians that if the government fell, they'd pretty much implement everything that the Liberals had promised anyway. It was a rather confusing promise to Canadians - we're just like the Liberals, only without the corruption!
Given that the polls showed that the Tories weren't making huge headway on the Liberals despite the corruption, it was a distinction lost on Canadians.
So what else do the Tories bring to the table? Well, there's their opposition to same-sex marriage, which the Sun shares. But then what? Will the Tories cut taxes and if so, by how much? What's the plan for reforming health care or will they just throw good money after bad at it? What about crime and justice issues? Military funding?
In short, where is the election platform? Sure, there is no election at the moment, but we still have a minority government in Ottawa, so why isn't the document being put in the hands of Canadians now, telling Canadians how a Conservative government would be different from the Liberals.
We certainly don't buy any of the liberal media spin over a "secret" agenda ... mainly because we don't think the party has any agenda!
The end result of all of this is that the Conservatives now find themselves in a distant race for second in the polls, 14 points behind the Liberals nationally and in third place in Ontario.
The Tories can't just blame media bias or Liberal dirty tricks for their predicament. Simply put, the Conservatives couldn't capitalize on an inept and corrupt government. The Tories haven't shown they deserve to govern Canada.