In the opening news conference of the 2008 campaign Sunday, the Conservative prime minister repeatedly declined to discuss the possibility that he might win a five-year majority mandate.Stephen. Harper. Majority. The three words that can have so much impact on this election. The three words Conservatives are not permitted to speak. There's a glaring contradiction here. How can their leader be such a strength yet they must downplay their chances of winning so mightily?
When asked later whether he even wanted a majority, Harper refused to bite: ``Voters can't vote for a minority or a majority. They can't vote 60 per cent for one party and 14 per cent for another,'' he said.So Harpie's got some new friends...the New Democrats! A predictable opening gambit, dividing the opposition vote. We can expect to hear a lot of support for the New Democrats from the Harper gang, it's their path to victory, successfully divide the parties on the left and in the center. Perhaps we'll see some splintering in the vote as things kick off. Whether those votes remain splintered at the end of the day, that'll be the test.
``They have one vote. They should vote for the party that they want to lead the government.''
The intended target of that message was NDP supporters. Among Harper's principle [sic] fears in this campaign is NDP voters abandoning their first choice and coalescing behind the Liberals in the days before the vote.
So he began by tossing Jack Layton a bouquet. Harper suggested the New Democrats _ a party that has never come better than third _ could wind up forming a government.
``(People) should vote for the party that they want to lead the government,'' the prime minister said.
``If it's a Conservative government, a Liberal government, even a New Democrat government, at the end of the day that party will have a platform, a mandate, and that party will govern.''
And of note today...despite all the money, the preparation, the professional appearance of the Conservative campaign...they still can't keep a lid on the real, inner Harper:
Asked whether he saw his chief rival as a family man, he said: ``I don't know Stephane Dion all that well. I presume that he's been married a long time, has children. I presume he's a family man also.''There you go, Steve. Way to bring out the cold, poor sportsmanship. Can't even bring himself to say the decent thing. Of course Dion is a "family man," if that's at all relevant. Of course Harper knows this. Doesn't know him "all that well?" Wish him well, take the high road man! Is that too much to ask! Is that the fundamental decency of Canadians that he claims to be so tapped into? Come on!
Dion has a wife and daughter.
Let the games begin...:)