I biked out to the woods this evening to try to get away from all the bad news. For a while it worked. The place was alive with the sights and sounds of Spring. Some of the trees were in full bloom. What with all the different kinds of birds singing wildly away. And the little bunnies hopping around at my feet, I felt like fucking Snow White in the Disney cartoon. Then the overwhelming smell of skunk came drifting along on the breeze. I remembered where I was and that the only story that counts is this one.
So the die is cast. All that remains to be determined now is when will Harper call an election. And the size of his majority.
Rick Anderson, the former Manning strategist, says he believes that Canadians came very close to an election call the other night. And so do I. If the Afghanistan vote had gone against him Harper would have used that and the Gwyn Morgan debacle to claim that he couldn't govern, And pull the plug.
Now he will just have to wait until fall. But you can be sure he won't wait any longer than that. He could probably afford to hold off until the Spring of 2007. The Liberals are now dead in Quebec. The situation there is not likely to change. But if he strikes while the iron is hot he could get fickle Ontario too.
There would also be less chance that public support for the war in Afghanistan could go seriously south and hurt him. And best of all he could catch the Liberals without a leader. If you don't think Harper is capable of that, then you don't know the man. You're thinking like a Canadian boy scout. And forgetting that he thinks like an American.
The Conservatives are using their huge war chest to produce the kind of polling Karl Rove uses in Washington to fine tune the delivery of specific messages to targeted voters. In Ontario it's younger lower middle class familes, and immigrants. They have been campaigning rather than governing ever since they took power. Everything like this ridiculous announcement today is designed to be part of an ad campaign. Promises made, promises kept.
But you can only do that for so long. He'll have to find a good reason to pull the plug. But that won't be hard. Count on a fall election.
So I guess the only thing that really remains to be determined is whether we'll recognize Canada when Harper is finished with it.
Talk about the skunk in the woods.
Prepare yourselves for five stinky years...