Even Paul Wells, no friend of the Tories, thinks are going well for HM Government. It real;ly is going pretty well. Unemployment numbers are pretty good. Even the globe is doing big articles on Tory candidate Larry Smith.
Harper heads into the third full calendar year of his second term in a position, not of utter dominance, but of relative strength. He has a good shot at avoiding an election and, if he cannot avoid it, a good shot at winning it. That’s why his little New Year’s cabinet shuffle was not the overhaul bored Ottawa scribes wanted: because he does not need an overhaul.
Now is the time for “continuing proven approaches that work and have brought us safely thus far,” Harper said at Rideau Hall after the shuffle, “and not for economic adventurism.” It was, almost word for word, the message he used to launch the election of 2008. A steady hand on one side, the crazies on the other.
Is this his pre-electoral pitch then? Only if it must be. He would rather it be his avoid-elections pitch. If the opposition wants to force an election, “it’s their decision,” he said. “But this government will be focused on the economy.”
His argument makes enough sense to enough voters to make him a risky target for his opponents. A new poll from an upstart Ottawa polling house, Abacus Data, asked respondents how they felt about the three big national political parties. Abacus found respondents were likelier to agree the Conservative party “keeps its promises” than the Liberals or New Democrats do. They were also likeliest to agree the Conservative party “has a good team of leaders,” “has sensible policies,” and is “professional in its approach.”
grits aren't going anywhere fast.