Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Smoking out the PMO on elections, party financing

Some spin and answers from the PMO tonight, as they react to the growing hostility toward prorogation and the growing conventional wisdom that it was invoked to stoke a post-Olympics election gambit by the PM: "Harper focused on economy, doesn't want spring election." Given that the PMO previously assured us prorogation would not occur and that Parliament would return January 25th, it's difficult to take anything from the PMO as reliable.

This rhetoric is quite strong, however, and it would no doubt be thrust right back at them if a certain someone got a little too cute and decided that the Olympic aftermath actually did provide an opportune moment to grasp at a majority:
Stephen Harper has no intention of calling an election or engineering the defeat of his minority government any time soon, say insiders close to the prime minister. "The chances of hell freezing over in March are better than us doing something to trigger an election," one source said flatly.

"There's no appetite (for an election) in the government, there's no appetite in the PM and there's no appetite in the Canadian public."

Rather, Harper intends to keep his focus resolutely fixed on the "issues that matter to Canadians," first among which is steering the country through the fragile economic recovery, said the insider on condition of anonymity.
That latter part is just nonsensical. If all is steady-as-she-goes, focussing on issues that matter to Canadians, then what rationale is there for dismissing Parliament? That's where Canada's government sits and focuses on those issues.

Look at this scanner issue, popping up today that raises many issues. Are they really the right security steps to be taking? Is there better and smarter methodology to be put in place at airports that will be more effective? What about the privacy issues here in relation to their effectiveness? Oversight of decision making is lacking here, it makes for poorer decisions.

And note this interesting part of the CP report tonight:
There has been some opposition speculation that Harper might use the budget to reintroduce the idea of scrapping public subsidies for political parties - a move that would financially cripple the Tories' rivals and almost certainly compel them to defeat the government.

Harper first floated the idea in the 2008 fall economic update, triggering a parliamentary crisis that nearly saw his government toppled by an enraged opposition coalition.

Tory insiders say Harper remains committed to the idea but won't revisit it in the budget.

"This is something we're going to put to the people of Canada in the next election but not before," said the source.
It's coming, and all political parties should be getting in front of the issue, be warned. But at least they're not intending to do it in this budget, a needed clarification.