CANADA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made a rookie mistake and its just cost him his government and thrust him back into the official opposition.
In Thursday's economic update Harper rolled out a plan to do nothing about Canada's recession and instead wanted to cut $30 million in taxpayer subsidies for political parties.
Those subsidies are the bread and butter of Liberal, NDP and Bloc fund raising. There was no way they were going to sit back and let it happen. PLUS the other parties are upset the Conservatives aren't doing anything about the lagging economy. We're in a recession for Christ's sake and Harper just wants to sit on his hands and pray the recession will magically go away.
So on Friday (yesterday) the Liberals made a motion of non-confidence in order to make a Coalition Accord government composed of the Liberals, NDP and the Bloc. Such a thing hasn't been done since 1985.
While some Conservatives had been gleeful about the "poison pill" plan to slash $30 million in taxpayer subsidies for political parties, the political fallout shows Harper's move is widely seen as a terrible political miscalculation. Harper has managed to delay the non-confidence vote until December 8th, but after that he will be Prime Minister no more.
A Conservative government source said Friday the idea was Harper's own.
Sources said "most" of the Conservative caucus is perplexed why the government moved to put such controversial measures in now. "It makes no sense," said one Conservative MP.
"To date, Harper has been a master at dividing and conquering his opponents," said Conservative author Bob Plamondon. "But by moving to end the subsidy to all political parties, he has given the three opposition parties unity and purpose. It is a rare strategic blunder for Harper and a miscalculation not seen since (former PC prime minister Joe) Clark toppled himself in 1979."
Conservative insiders across the country, including myself, are flabbergasted that Harper has made such a rookie mistake.
"It is 1979 bravado with 1985 facts," said another Conservative blogger, referring to Clark's bungled confidence vote in 1979 and the 1985 Liberal-NDP accord that ended 42 years of Tory rule at Queen's Park. "The government will fall," he lamented.
And frankly its about time. Harper is corrupt, incompetent and its time the rest of the Conservative party sees it.
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