Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bitter Winds Blowing for Harper Tories

mo·men·tum (mō-mĕn'təm)
n., pl. -ta (-tə) or -tums.

1. (Symbol p) Physics. A measure of the motion of a body equal to the product of its mass and velocity. Also called linear momentum.
a. Impetus of a physical object in motion.
b. Impetus of a nonphysical process, such as an idea or a course of events: The soaring rise in interest rates finally appeared to be losing momentum.
3. Philosophy. An essential or constituent element; a moment.

... 4. Something the Harper Tories are desperately lacking at the moment. Nation, we could be in for a very, VERY busy spring.

Already on our agenda is a provincial election, and the ticker-tape parade down 17th Avenue celebrating my dominant upcoming victory in the Canadian Blog Awards (remember to vote!). Looks like we're going to have to add a Federal election to that calendar as well.

Momentum, or "Big Mo", has often been on the side of Stephen Harper since he took office. His government has been seen to be moving forward; cleaning up various issues; getting things done. To watch them, they have seemed to constantly be in a state of forward motion - momentum not just of a political nature, but in its most literal definition. They have hit bumps, they have run into onstacles, but they have maintained their forward momentum.

Now, though, they're slowing down. And, should ANY of the 3 opposition parties in the House pick up on it and pull the trigger, we're heading to the polls.

The Mulroney/Schreiber affiar, by itself, didn't warrant an election. It was being dealt with, it was ancient history, and there was no tie to the current government.

Afghanistan, by itself, didn't warrant an election. We were there, we were getting the job done, the Liberals had committed us to be there in the first place, and we weren't committing to a combat role past the life expectancy of this parliament.

Chalk River, by itself, didn't warrant an election. There were problems, the government and opposition got together and forced a solution through, and the problem was fixed.

Speedbumps, all of them. Dealt with, and forgotten.

Or were they?

Nation, the problem with plaque isn't the daily stuff. You brush it off, and it's gone. If you miss a spot, though, then tomorrow it's got 2 days worth of plaque. Most of your teeth and sparkling clean, but it's the plaque that's not a concern. After 3 or 4 days of this, you've got a pretty serious problem, especially if it goes undetected.

The plaque has started to build up on the Harper Tories, and those speedbumps are starting to become harder and harder to write off.

The recent firing of Linda Keen, head of the Nuclear Safety Commission, for daring to question the Tories, is not by itself a reason to topple the government. But, as a continuation of a long line of examples of the Tories' inability to deal with criticism, it speaks to the character of the people to whom we have given our consent to be governed (a phrase I'm shamelessly co-opting from Ken Chapman).

The American Secretary of Defence, Robert M. Gates, has questioned the training and ability of Canadian and other NATO troops in Sotuhern Afghanistan. Turns out the government can and should be doing more to facilitate the missions's success than allowing a Tim Horton's to open up at Kandahar airfield. By itself? Not enough to triiger an election.

The public no longer sees this government as moving forever forward, but instead sees it spinning its wheels... it is a perfect political opportunity for the opposition to paint them as such. Poll numbers have already shown the Liberals gaining ground and, in some regions, passing the Tories comfortably. If the opposition has the stomach to spend real money on a real election, instead of constantly musing about one to see what happens to their polling numbers, then we may be in for a busy political spring.

Stephen, if you've got one of your famous contingency plans stowed away for your next dip in the polls... now is the time to pull the trigger. Because we got a GST cut 17 days ago, and nobody remembers. And if you don't get momentum back on your side, then a year from now, we might have trouble remembering that we had a Conservative government to start 2008.


Anonymous said...

In case you didn't know, Radio-Canada's "Les Coulisses du pouvoir" quoted the part of this post that deals with the Keen Affair as part of "in the blogs' segment of its programming this morning.


Enlightened Savage said...

J M: Thanks for the heads-up. I'll check it out! :)

Enlightened Savage said...

Found it...

It's at

under the heading:

Sécurité nucléaire: a-t-on raison de s'inquiéter?
(20 janvier 2008) - Dans un geste sans précédent, le gouvernement conservateur a congédié la présidente de la Commission canadienne de sûreté nucléaire. Il a ainsi désavoué sa décision de maintenir fermée la centrale de Chalk River, sous prétexte que la santé de milliers de personnes en dépendait. Linda Keen est-elle compétente? D’autres raisons ont-elles pu motiver son congédiement?

The video is linked to:
La chronique de Sophie-Hélène Lebeuf

This is the second time I've been quoted by Radio-Canada. I guess it might be time to finally learn French - a beautiful language whose tones have revolted against my awkward, germanic tongue almost as fiercely as they have against my simple, germanic brain. :)