Thursday, December 18, 2008


Signs that all is not right on the bridge of the SS Minnow...


Quotes from the Hill Times:
"He's bruised a little bit," said one top Conservative insider who spoke to
The Hill Times on condition of anonymity. "He has hurt himself in the sense
that the story of his mastery of Parliament and opposition parties -which was
assumed to be well-believed by caucus and by many in the party - has been
questioned now but he's certainly not crippled and he's certainly proven in
past circumstances that he knows how to adapt and come back and he's still
the Prime Minister and the power of power has an amazing ability to keeping
people in line."

"People are frustrated but Stephen Harper still commands the support of the
party because were it not for him, many people wouldn't be where they are
and I think people have good memories of infighting and are not
inclined to go into that because today he's still the Prime Minster and
there's a greater fight ahead against the Liberals and no aspiring future
leadership candidate
would want to be the first one out of the gate to go
against Harper."

...And although the political crisis in Ottawa is not over yet, the Prime
Minister's hold over his party is firm at least for now, says another

"I think he has a high degree of control over the party. There's no heir
apparent at all, there's no one working behind the scenes to challenge
him...There's no Paul Martin ...," said Tom Flanagan, a former top adviser to Mr. Harper who is now a
political science professor at the University of Calgary.

Mr. Flanagan noted, however, that while the possibility of a Liberal-NDP
coalition supported by the Bloc Québécois is looking less likely, it still
remains a possibility and therefore the potential for damage to Mr. Harper's
is still there.

Meanwhile, another source said that Conservative ministerial staffers were
having second thoughts about the Prime Minister's judgment because they
would have all lost their jobs within a few days if the Tory government had
been defeated on Dec. 8 by the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois.

"This is the first time they're questioning his decisions on a particular
issue. What the issue did was it served as a lightning rod for a lot of
issues that people have. It crystallized a lot of thought. It provided a
forum for a lot of people to voice their opinions and because he [Mr.
Harper] put their livelihoods in jeopardy, they were quick to come forward
with those opinions. Before, when you make bad policy decisions, you're
getting lambasted, that's one thing, but when suddenly you could be
unemployed in the next 48 hours, that tends to focus people's attention,"
said one top government official who also requested anonymity.

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