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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:42 am
 


$1:
National Post
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Who's afraid of the big bad Conservative wolf? Apparently, most of Canada's liberal-left establishment is, judging by its collective anxiety level now that Stephen Harper's party appears to be within striking distance of a majority.

To which we say: Relax. The folks at the Toronto Star and CBC may be nervous. But regular voters have no reason to worry.

You know just how desperate the PM's enemies have become when they fall back on the threadbare charge that Mr. Harper is harbouring a "hidden agenda" to be unleashed when he gets his majority. Please:Get a new threat. This one worked well in the Chretien/ Day era. But nearly two years into the Conservatives' mandate, it is unlikely many voters outside downtown Toronto still view Mr. Harper and his caucus as "scary." In fact, most ordinary folk welcomed the commitments to tax cuts, made-in-Canada environmental solutions, criminal justice reform and improved national security contained in last week's Throne Speech. This explains why the Liberals have continued to slide in popularity since the speech.

Some parts of the media establishment have gone into panic mode as a result. Most auspicious in this respect is the Toronto Star -- which has transformed itself into a sort of Grit newsletter in recent days. It ran the entire text of Mr. Dion's bromide-riddled response to the Speech from the Throne (along with dubious photos of Mr. Dion slaving away at a computer, allegedly writing the thing by himself ).

Meanwhile, its columnists parroted Mr. Dion's "hidden agenda" admonition, and the editors ran a "news" article about how Mr. Harper was delivering Canadian women a "slap in the face" by ignoring female issues. (Actually, program spending for women has gone up 42% under the Tories. This fact was reported ? in the story's 13th paragraph.)

Others go even further: Parliament has become out-and-out irrelevant under the autocratic Harper, Star columnist Jim Travers warns us. He is "imposing the will of the minority on the majority" by "bullying" other parties into adopting his agenda.

The truth is that Mr. Harper has a minority government. If he has unlimited power, it is because opposition MPs are scared of an election. The opposition could vote this government out of office at any time. If, instead, they are choosing to save their own seats, don't blame the Prime Minister for their lack of principle.

So far, Mr. Harper has shown himself to be a pragmatic, centrist leader, so much so that many red-meat conservatives have been disappointed with what they see as his half-measures. But we believe he has done remarkably well given his party's minority status, and are confident that were the Conservatives to win a majority, fears of a radical remake of Canadian politics and society would prove as foolish as they sound.


http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news ... 441ee41297


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