He can run, but he can't hide.
This was the scene on Parliament Hill today: thousands of people, with many different political views, but united to support a coalition government. Thousands of people, furious that the will of the majority has been thwarted by the cheap political trick of suspending Parliament.
Stéphane Dion has fire in his belly these days, and spoke from the heart in both official languages, as did Gilles Duceppe and Jack Layton. All were upbeat, despite the rapidly-circulating news that the Governor-General had caved. The crowd was joyful and energized and ready for the fight to come.
The cowardly Harper, cut down to size, flailing blindly in all directions, has bought himself a little time. He has lashed out against unions, against the opposition parties, and most recently--and fatally, in my view--against Quebec. (Good luck with any attempt to form a majority after that foul little effort.) He's made ten enemies for every friend over the past few days. Even if his party survives, he will not.
Thanks to Harper's fear of facing Parliament, the struggle for the hearts and minds of the people has been well and truly launched. Wavering Liberals need to be brought firmly into line. We'll see just how effectivc Liberal party discipline can be in the crunch, one way or the other. The choice should be clear--let nervous nellies like Frank Valeriote try their luck running as independents in the next election if they don't want to show caucus solidarity.
If the Liberals fall into disarray, or turn tail--and there is some talk of that at the moment--it will be toxic for them, no matter how much positive spin they try to put on their support for the crumbs Harper is certain to toss them to get the budget passed on January 27. Canadian voters are sick to death of dithering and spin. Things have progressed much too far for their expectations to be dimmed or dashed at this point.
In any case, now we have the full measure of Stephen Harper, the nervous little man behind the curtain revealed for all to see, unable to connect with Canadians, blindly reciting his own talking-points during his mercifully short address last night. Perhaps he's simply incapable of making an empathetic link with ordinary people. Perhaps he's simply showing the strain. He is a man in full flight, who is prepared to cower at 24 Sussex for a month and a half while the economy tanks. He is a bully faced down and humiliated, running out of the schoolyard with a red face. An incompetent hack, who has brought his party and his personal fortunes to the brink of disaster.
Today is Day Six of the Maple Syrup Revolution. Interesting times, indeed.