From today’s Order and Notice Paper:
No. 1 — November 26, 2008 — The Leader of the Government in the House of Commons — That this House take note of the Economic and Fiscal Statement tabled in the House on November 27, 2008.
At the moment, ITQ is in tentative agreement with Colleague Wells on the most likely outcome: the government will back down on the most contentious elements of the still-to-be-unveiled package — not just the subsidies, but suspending the right to strike over wages as well — and maybe even sweeten the deal by promising to show a little stimulating love for the manufacturing sector. If that happens, we’ll be curious to see whether someone ends up walking the plank at Langevin for coming up with what would go down as the most spectacularly unwise political gambit by a minority government since the Great Miscounting of 1979.
I mean, someone over there had to come up with this idea in the first place — Patrick Muttart? Darrel Reid? Jason Kenney? Tom Flanagan? The Giornoracle himself? — and if the end result involves the PM doing the walk of shame across the aisle, you’d think that said someone would eventually face the full force of Harperian wrath.
The thing that really strikes ITQ as remarkable, though, is that this seems to be exactly the same sort of metamiscalculation that led the Tories to believe that slashing $40 million in funding for the arts would set off a culture war — which, to be fair, it did — without first making sure that they were on the winning side. You would think that the Most Chessmasterful Prime Minister Ever would have learned a valuable, if sobering lesson from the ensuing Quebectoral heartbreak that ensued: Pointless pettiness rarely pays off. But no, apparently not. Here he is, apparently poised to make exactly the same mistake – and one that would likely further damage his party’s fortunes in the very same province, since Quebeckers are among the most passionate supporters of public financing for political parties: after all, they’ve had a similar system in place for years.
Then again, maybe this really is unfolding according to some as-yet-unseen master plan, as some true believers were suggesting last night (albeit in quietly hysterical tones) — a master plan so vast and of such diabolical shrewdness that, once revealed, will once again render us dazzled by the PM’s political prescience. Then again, maybe we end up with the first ever menage a trois government facing off against the angriest leader of the official opposition in Canadian political history. Either way, I have a feeling that we’re going to be living in interesting – and eminently livebloggable – times.