Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Spring Federal Election?

As we near the end of a cold January we may also be near the end of Stephen Harper’s conservative minority government. It may come in the spring as fair weather and green pastures begin to return after a long winter, but politically speaking I am not so sure the Harper conservatives will be enjoying the fair weather and green pastures.

Recent polling has the Harper conservatives and their moving forward new government moving backwards according to the Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey. The Harper conservatives are trailing the liberals in this poll by 3 points. That is a slim margin, but they are trailing and have never been able to move into the fair weather of a majority government. The interesting point is that Harper has no one to blame but himself as he has been calling all the shots, but has yet to find the glory of green pastures.

The Harper conservatives are facing a weakening Canadian economy due in some part to the government’s continuing focus on the war in Afghanistan. It is an issue with a lot of controversy that Canadians increasingly do not want to hear. It is especially discerning when it is about the death of yet another Canadian courageously dying in the line of duty in a war the conservative government, and Harper in particularly, has been strongly supporting over the last two years.

No one will argue the question of Harper’s strong leadership capabilities, but has it been too strong on issues where Canadians have been too often left in the dark. That would include the war in Afghanistan, the Mulroney – Schrieber affair, the firing of Linda Keen, former head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the environment, Stephen Harper’s shifting positions on many issues and his loss of grip on his own agenda. Harpers near libelous attacks on Stéphane Dion’s character and Harper’s too often mean-spirited demeanor may be wearing on Canadians.

Harper would do well to listen to the pulse of Canadian voters on the issues and act accordingly. If not, then the soft warm weather winds of spring may turn cold for the Harper conservatives. Canadian voters don’t want an election and if one is forced on them then they may not want Harper either. If Canadian voters turn it will not be in support of the liberals so much as it will be against Stephen Harper. The fair weather of the nearing spring we all eagerly await may blow cold on Stephen Harper and his conservative government.