24 October 2007

New Tory Strategy: Every Bill is the Speech From the Throne

Given that the Official Opposition has abdicated its responsibility to Parliament, Harper may as well really ramp it up and make every government bill a matter of confidence. Dion will have everybody show up but stay seating and thereby give him a free pass. He'll get the omnibus (and horribly named) crime bill passed easily, the vote on the fall mini-budget/economic update will go by without any fanfare, and if Harper wants to pass a resolution that refers to the Liberal Party as "weenies," well, that'll probably end up passing with unanimous consent and 95 abstentions.

Harper has maneuvered the Liberals to the brink of irrelevancy with his strategy to this point. He'll be able to mock them for probably the rest of this session of Parliament, saying that the Opposition has no stance on any of the government's five policy points and passing pretty much all of it with ease. After all, if one of those points is so odious to the Liberals when it comes to a vote, how can they justify voting against it in December or January or February when they sat on their butts when the government declared its intentions in October? Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe now command more presence in the House of Commons because they've made their respective party's position known, loud and clear. They all stood up to be counted while the men and women in red collectively behaved like Prime Minister Paul Martin: so consumed with how to appear that they're impotent to act.

From this point until the middle of 2008, every bill introduced by the Government is going to be connected to the Speech From the Throne in some way. Since the Tories got parliamentary approval for their blueprint, I can imagine that, in the name of consistency, the implementation of that blueprint shall receive similar approval. Since the main opposition party has taken itself out of the equation, Harper now has a de facto majority, which will make the coming months all the more interesting. Or, if you're a Liberal supporter, infuriating and contemplating why you voted for that green scarf-wearing weenie in the first place.

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