Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Solving nothing

A quick response to the suggestion that the Cons should be able to stay in power if Harper jumps (or is pushed) from the helm: what problem could such a move possibly solve?

After all, the Cons' few remaining arguments for clinging to power are based on the shaky premises that they can offer more stable government than the opposition parties, and that Stephane Dion's election results don't justify an opportunity to form government even if a majority of the House of Commons will support the coalition.

But it would seem to me that a different Con leader would make matters worse on both counts. Nobody has the slightest idea whether the Cons can even keep their caucus together for a day under a leader less domineering than Harper, let alone win enough opposition support or forbearance to maintain a stable government. And it's impossible to rely on an election where the Cons tried to present Harper alone as the face of their party as justification for giving a new, unelected Con leader a shot at government ahead of a coalition where each leader has at least managed to win the support of his party's members.

Moreover, there's always the possibility that Harper would merely "step down" in the sense that Ryan Sparrow was "fired" during the campaign, only to be brought forward again as soon as the opportunity arose. (And particularly in the wake of the fiscal update debacle, there's no reason at all to trust the Cons' judgment as to the lines they can get away with crossing.)

So while the suggestion might reflect the desperation of some of the Cons' crew to hang onto their perks by throwing the captain overboard, there's no reason to think that Harper's departure alone would improve matters at all under continued Con government. Which means that the effort to trade Harper's head for more time in power shouldn't be any more persuasive than the rest of the Cons' attempts to cling to their government seats.

Update: Pogge says it better.

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