Conservative government, which won re-election last month, plans to focus on the economy and avoid battles with opposition parties over its justice policies, a senior aide to Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday.
The official suggests Mr. Harper isn't eager to immediately push ahead with a series of tough-on-crime proposals, including stiffer sentences for young offenders and reduced use of conditional sentences.
“We are focused on the economy,” the official told reporters at a background briefing. “We are not seeking confrontation in areas that are secondary to the economic focus of this government.”
Prior to the Liberal stance, the government was publicly threatening to make crime legislation an early confidence matter, that opinion from Harper's chief spokesman. Now, the crime legislation is on the back burner, the threats receding, which demonstrates clearly how you need to react to a bully, that the Liberals firm retort forced a reconsideration.
Setting the tone, letting the government know that the Liberals will not roll over, they are prepared to vote against legislation which comes without compromise or consultation, nothing will be jammed down our throats, is really what caused the Conservatives to sing a different tune. How else to reconcile Harper's mouthpiece threatening a mere three days ago, only to now hear Harper "isn't eager" for confrontation? The only thing that's happened in the intermediary, a largely defiant and united Liberal caucus sending a clear signal that this parliament it's a different animal.
The rhetorical revisions also confirm my belief that, despite the Liberals obvious challenges, the public is in no mood for any talk of another election, which means Harper will be on the hook, should he start the "matter of confidence" routine as a tactic. It was always bluster, but it was critical for the Liberals to appear firm from the onset. Force an election, you are essentially forcing yourself out of office, the Liberals can proceed with that knowledge, and today's development is proof that rhetoric aside, the Conservatives understand that too.