Tuesday, October 16, 2007

One Step Forward, One Step Back

Harper was all smiles last week, announcing his new fiscal arrangement with Nova Scotia. Pundits lauded Harper for shoring up a weak spot, another coup to mitigate the damage heading into a possible election. However, it would appear that Harper has accomplished nothing, when you factor in the "blowback" over the hardline stance with Bill Casey. Harper may have done harm, beyond just Casey's seat:
Stephen Harper's steadfast refusal to allow maverick Nova Scotia MP Bill Casey to return to the Conservative party has ignited an internal backlash at a time when each seat is critical to building a majority government, say party stalwarts.

In Amherst, N.S., Ron Elliott, 79, has prided himself on being the first to plant a Tory lawn sign during the past 20 provincial and federal elections. But in an interview Monday, he said Harper's decision will prompt him to end his long history of supporting the federal party in the next election.

"He (the prime minister) doesn't take anybody else into consideration," Elliott said of Harper. "It's his way or the highway."

Jeffrey MacLeod, a professor of political science at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, said Harper has ignored a regional Tory culture based on accommodation and "forgive and forget."

"The fact that Casey wasn't invited back just doesn't play well in Atlantic Canada," he said.

Harper, he argues, was "more concerned with the abstract concept of party discipline over resolving this political impasse in Nova Scotia."

Brooke Taylor, Nova Scotia's agriculture minister, said the prime minister's approach simply isn't good for the party in the province.

"My first choice is to bring Bill Casey back into the tent, (but) that's not doable," said Taylor, a staunch Harper supporter. "So, there will be some lingering effects."

With one vindicative stroke, Harper has undone any goodwill that was intended with the new arrangement. The fact that Harper found it necessary to "tweak" the fiscal agreement says quite clearly that the arrangement was flawed, which makes his stance against Casey all the more confounding, the consequences all the more deserved.


burlivespipe said...

I haven't heard any more news on this, but last night somewhere I saw that Harper was making moves to put in his own riding executive people, thus ousting the whole board.
That kind of heavy-handedness is just another chisel to the foundation in which the McKays built that mini-dynasty near the Bay of Fundy.
Keep at it, King Harper!

I believe its imperative for the Liberal party and us supporters to keep up the message that this government is not about governing; it has spent more energy attacking its opponents than getting things done, and even to the detriment of its own policies and beliefs, has treated parliament as a cockfighting pit with no care for what matters to the majority of Canadians.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! Maybe ol' Casey can go to bat fer the Greens. I reckon all this talk about how the NS folks is down on the Cons is good news fer Earth Mother Lizzie May when it comes to her knockin' out Petey MacKay.

Steve V said...

"Harper was making moves to put in his own riding executive people, thus ousting the whole board."

Harper seems to want to ensure the riding doesn't vote Tory for a generation.


Casey as a Green, now that would be interesting.

ottlib said...


I hope that you are correct. Such an action would deny the Conservatives seats in all of the Maritimes.

Right now, they are only in danger of losing seats in NF and NS but their NB seats are relatively safe.

Such heavy handed tactics by Mr. Harper would put those NB seats in play.

Steve V said...


Interesting that the supposed tactical master doesn't see the potential damage here. Or is it that Harper's tendency for heavy handedness gets the better of him from time to time?