Must read columns from both Wells and Hébert this week. I lean towards Hébert's take on the summer's events, but maybe that's just wishful thinking.
I think the key thing to take away from all this is that discontent within the CPC is Harper's biggest threat. Yes, he has a firm base of true believers that the Liberals don't. Yes, the CPC goes into an election in an incredibly strong position, from an organizational and financial perspective. No, the Liberals have not done themselves many favours lately. Yes, Harper could probably govern forever from a minority position with no opposition. Yet it's not really all up to Harper. The Conservative Party wants a majority government. While the PM seems like he would be perfectly happy to nibble away at the edges of Canada's institutions forever, the rank-and-file are looking for a wrecking ball.
I think when Harper went for the census, it marked a point where he said "screw it" to a majority. I can't really blame him. Despite the accepted narrative that the LPC is dead in the water, and Harper is always just one election away from destroying them, the CPC still can't get above that 40% mark for long. His complete refusal to wade into a debate over the issue, despite the cries from both sides of the political spectrum, just reinforced that view for me. Hébert is absolutely right on when she says the census was essentially this year's equivalent if the culture cuts, but in Ontario instead of Quebec. I can't believe that Harper expected to fly the census change in under the radar. He had to know that there would be more than a few people on Bay Street, Elgin Street, and quadrangles around the country that would speak up.
Add to this the sudden reappearance of Maxime Bernier on the scene, shooting for the hearts of the grassroots crazies of the CPC, and I just can't buy the master plan angle of Wells. To me, it adds up to trouble ahead within the ranks, or a Harper that's sick of the job.
3 weeks ago