Monday, January 04, 2010

Prorogue backfire in the offing?

Lawrence Martin offers perspective, thinks a backfire might take and thinks that a spring election is less likely because of it:
We won’t know for sure until some polls come in, but there are indications the prorogue gambit is backfiring on him. The reaction has been demonstrably negative. Media comment boards have lit up in protest. The Globe and Mail went to the unusual extent of running a front page editorial. Conservative newspapers, normally in the prime minister’s stable, have condemned the move. The Facebook group, Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament, already has 15,000 signed up.
This prorogation story, which comes on top of his defying the will of Parliament by refusing to turn over documents on the Afghan detainees affair, is different from some of the other abuse-of-power stories. This one has legs. Every day the Parliament’s doors remain closed will serve as a reminder of what the supreme ruler did.
In such circumstances it’s hard to see his support numbers going up enough in the next couple months for him to risk an election. Despite facing weak opposition leaders, Harper has been unable to move his support level above the 40 per cent mark. Pollsters will tell you one of the reasons for the failure is his manipulative ruling style — the cold dictatorial edge. Progrogation has only served to reinforce that negative.
The arrogance, the chutzpah is remarkable. Having dismissed Parliament in a hugely controversial move last year and having gotten away with it, Harper clearly feels he will get away with it again this time. Arrogant, autocratic leaders tend to be like that. They think they can get away with anything.
Eventually they get caught.
Maybe this will be a turning point, driven by the people, it's an unknown as of yet but the early indications for the PM are not good. We are always up for a shark jumping moment from the PM around here.

Another unknown looming in the background, which I have yet to fully comprehend and which Martin does not address...the conventional wisdom floating through our discourse that the Olympics will accrue to the benefit of the Harper government. How that will work exactly, I have yet to buy. Athletes win medals, Canadians feel energized patriotically, there's a national fixation on a major Canadian event, yes, get all that. I just don't buy the political translation to Harper and will remain in skeptical mode on that one. It will be interesting to see how the dynamics play out on these two major forces in the next few months.