That Finance Minister fantasy camp lunch up in Ottawa saw Deficit Jim deliver an over the top speech to a business crowd. Yes, to a business crowd who plan their daily and future operations based on facts, who must have been sitting and listening to the heaps of partisan schlock in glazed over irritation and varying shades of disbelief. This was the Minister of Finance of Canada's reception:
Canadian Club veterans muttered about the bad manners shown in using their meeting as a venue for an assault on the opposition parties, noting with disapproval that Mr. Flaherty had urged his opponents to “rise above petty politics” before putting the boots to them.Well kudos to them for at least expressing some public disavowal. I also hear talk of snickering and laughing with lukewarm applause. Well done, Mr. Finance Minister!
That excerpt above is from John Ivison's strained praise of the "tightly scripted narrative" Flaherty delivered. Ivison is somewhat critical of the Flaherty rant but nevertheless manages to predictably tout the Conservatives as the better managers of the economy. "Mr. Harper has retained the aura of someone who can master events, even in the teeth of an economic tsunami," writes the Highlander. Did he miss this summer that the rest of us watched?
Reading through that speech (it's provided in full at the Globe link above), you can't help but notice the subtle change in the Conservative talking points. The Prime Minister's been railing on about a coalition among parties in his partisan barn burners of late but we've not heard mention of Michael Ignatieff so much. The lines from Flaherty's speech target Ignatieff directly (and in an epically ridiculous way):
"The coalition led by Mr. Ignatieff has its own agenda - power, power, power."
"...the reckless coalition of Michael Ignatieff, the NDP, and the Bloc Quebecois."Yep, things changed this summer and the Conservatives sense that Canadians are starting to look elsewhere. The tightening polls, some tied, some with a few points difference, they know that they won in such a polling scenario back in 2006. Heck, it might happen again. This is why they doth protest way, way too much, as Mr. Flaherty did today.
The stories the parties are telling thus far this fall are shaping up quite nicely for whenever that eventual choice comes.
Update (10:00 p.m.): To be clear on that last point, the Conservative story after two days back, thus far: guns and coalitions. Totally in tune with the needs of Canadians at the moment.
Another take with the hint that we're in fall October 2008 territory, with Flaherty doing the uber-partisan business of the PMO.