Sunday, September 09, 2007

Harper Setting Up Next Election

This is what I'm thinking when I read this story on the Toronto Star website:
"The Conservative government will not ask Parliament to vote on the future of Canada’s military in Afghanistan unless it is assured it will win the vote, says Prime Minister Stephen Harper."
This case after Harper made non-denial denials about the mission continuing beyond February 2009. In the article Harper attempts to put the ball firmly in the opposition's court:
"Harper challenged the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois to put forward a clear view of the role they want for Canadian forces that would allow Canada to fulfil the objective it had when it accepted a combat mission in the southern province of Kandahar."
I thought Harper had been branding himself as the strong leadership guy. Now he wants the opposition to propose Afghan policies. I suspect what he really wants is to expose some sort of division in the Liberal party between the more hawkish elements (Ignatieff) and the rest. Either that or he wants the opposition to propose something that he can attack as "not supporting the troops" or "surrendering to the Taliban." He will then let the government fall and go into an election on that basis (if the polls are right).

In either scenario Harper is engineering the Afghanistan question in a way to hand himself a political victory.

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