Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Prajer Political Punditry

Despite the reverberating silence in my "comments" bin, I know full well why readers return to this page again and again -- for my incisive commentary on Canadian politics! (Pause for laughter.)

I'll keep this brief: my hunch is we could see a Tory minority government. To anyone attuned to the chattering classes, this scenario will seem far-fetched, but I don't think it is. The public perception of Prime Minister Paul Martin is of a shifty weasel who takes hold of the limelight and glad-hands one minute, then privately heads back to the public purse and ties the strings a little tighter. In the meantime, Tory Stephen Harper's media coaching is paying off dividends. He's transformed himself (somewhat) from a shifty-eyed, hunched-over number cruncher to a relaxed and confident figure with a plan that seems tangible to the public (how's reducing the GST sound, folks?).

NDP leader Jack Layton, on the other hand, has made no changes to his person or strategy whatsoever. He still projects a supercilious air of unshakeable rectitude: "I know what you think, but you're wrong, and I'm not listening. You need to listen to me." Used to be the Liberals could depend on Harper mirroring the same attitude from the far right, to scare the voters into the Liberal fold. That has changed, and we are likely to see Tory in-roads in Ontario and British Columbia. Quebec, of course, not so much. Moderate Quebecois voters will get behind the Bloc Quebecois, thinking the BQ will keep the province's generous social programs intact and not make too many frightening separatist waves.

Much of this depends on the different candidates' abilities to avoid foot-in-mouth disease. So long as the BQ doesn't say anything too baldly racist, and the Conservatives don't say anything too baldly homophobic, the Liberals are almost certain to lose seats. The Conservatives only need 17 more to get a minority -- a goal entirely within reach.

Feel free to enter the fray anytime. A friend who engages with me in this sort of speculation suggests a worthy caveat: our projections are completely open to change the morning after the debates.


DarkoV said...

I'll enter said fray only on the condition that I can come in here, tromp around a while, and then leave without cleaning up my mess.
The BQ? Is that now Quebec's watered down version of the PQ? And, if so, does that mean that my favorite PQers, those fine chain-puffing fellows blessed with oodles of personality and no awareness of fiscal responsibility, have now been replaced by French-speaking Chartered Accountants?

And while we're on an Inquisitivition, wasn't there a party out there in BC called the Rhinocerous party? (or some other pachyderm of poor eyesight but of frightening appearance). The reason for the question is, if they're still up, are they then up to something out there? From my ever-disintegrating memory, I recall their positions, while demonstrating a firm grasp on the ribald and the ridiculous, always lent an air of the unregistered insane to the general politic. Or have they too gone the grey suit way and been absorbed into the minor key masses?

Just adding something to this political pot, as your invite was so graciously open.

Whisky Prajer said...

Ah, my beloved Rhinocerous Party! (Named in honour of Ionesco's delightful play, if I'm not mistaken.) They are no more. Brian Mulroney's Conservatives were earnest about their political energies - much too earnest to indulge the informed antics of the Rhinos - and changed the Official Parties Act to insist that a political party could only be official if it had a member running in at least 50 of the country's ridings (a privilege that has to be paid for with $1000 cold, hard cash - per riding). Now, it might be somewhat unfair of me to impugn Mulroney and company with the extinction of the Rhinos; more likely they were hoping this would nip the budding threat of Reform, spreading so virulently in the West. The strategy backfired, with the unfortunate effect of extinguishing all traces of humour from the political scene.

Unless, of course, you have it in you to snicker at the absurdities of the BQ. Built on a fantasy that would put the Magic Kingdom to shame, it seems they still haven't managed to lure someone with any facility for simple math to figure out just how fiscally feasible their proposed castle in the sky might be. Thankfully, not one of their voters or pundits has taken them to task on this, so their circus continues to entertain an ever-growing crowd of slack-jawed citizens who been done wrong. The show must go on.

DarkoV said...

Consider yourself quite the lucky guy, WP, as there is at least some remnant of humour (and therefore intelligence?) up North in the political wars. Down here, no joking, just serious takedowns of political freedoms, pushed along by the three-headed Cheney-Rove-Bush munster. Plus, you have Newfoundland!

F.C. Bearded said...

You could say whatever you want, label it "Canadian Political Punditry", and we'd lap it up and believe every word.

I do work with a couple of Canadian ex-pats: I read your posts, I can go blather politics at them and confound them with my superior knowledge. Makes a change from BushBashing and Immigration Woeing.

Whisky Prajer said...

"Superior knowledge" - ha! Doesn't take much, does it? Actually, I see you link to Colby Cosh, who devotes considerably more thought and passion to these matters than I do. My knee jerks in a different direction than his does, but of all the pundits, he speaks the most persuasively. Fess up, Bearded - methinks it more likely you impress my Canuckle-head brethren with Cosh-speak.

Scott said...

Hey WP,

I'd love to banter Canadian politics with you but you keep expressing my own thoughts so smoothly, there's not much rock to get a toe-hold. :)

I'm glumly resigning myself to a Conservative minority (or a Liberal one, for that matter). The pattern of federal moneyhoarding and perks-for-patrons will continue, of course, but the Conservatives will also claim a moral victory that will give me the creeps.

I'm surprised the Liberals aren't playing up the fact that Canada's economy is so robust under their rule of late but I assume they're just protecting themselves from a later fall as the stretched-thin American economy looks set to drag us down with it.

Oh, and that other party? Once again, you're also bang-on about Jack Layton's deficiencies as a counterbalance. I'll probably vote for him but, again, glumly. I think this is why most people don't like talking politics -- lots of heat but little light.

Whisky Prajer said...

"Lots of heat, little light" - nice job of summing things up, Scott!