Friday, December 08, 2006

Losing support

Politics Watch reports that it isn't just the public at large that's had it with PMS, as the Con caucus is more fractured than was publicly known to date:
(A)lready private grumbling about Harper's style has become more and more public in recent weeks. The fortress around what goes on behind the scenes is slowly being penetrated with non-flattering leaks from inside.

PoliticsWatch has learned that regional caucus meetings have become weekly venting sessions for MPs and even cabinet ministers frustrated at the centralized control of Harper's PMO.

One cabinet minister has complained to his colleagues about a two-week delay he faced in delivering a straightforward, positive speech because he had to wait for PMO approval.

Discussion at Alberta caucus is said to be dominated in recent weeks with complaints about the government's income-trust flip-flop.

MPs are more reluctant to voice complaints at national caucus in front of the prime minister. That could be due to past heavy-handed tactics from Harper.

According to sources, when the government announced $1 billion in spending cuts in September, caucus learned about it after the cuts had been made. Harper then told MPs that specific MPs would be designated to speak about the cuts and any MP that publicly voiced criticism about cuts affecting their riding would do so at their own peril.
It won't be the least bit surprising if PMS manages to crack down even more on his caucus in the near future to stem the current public airing of discontent (while trying to spread the Cons' own spin about how the caucus is entirely united on absolutely everything that hasn't gone public). Indeed, if he didn't already have moles in his party's regional caucus meetings and any other current hot spots for venting, I presume he'll make sure to do so from here on in.

But whether or not the details of the current dissent become public before the next election, it's clear that Harper isn't doing much better at keeping together his current base of support than he is at winning the approval of Canadian voters who are turning against him. And one has to figure that the moment his grip loosens (whether or not voluntarily), the result will be for the MPs and other party members who already have complaints about his leadership to go public and end PMS' hold on his party for good.

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