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Harper Provides Hints For Future At Charlottetown

August 3, 2007

Despite most of the Conservative caucus meeting at Charlottetown being kept behind closed doors, Harper has dropped a few interesting hints in regards to what the future has in store.

First of all, there are rumours of a cabinet shuffle. It probably goes without saying that Defense Minister Gordon O’Connor is probably one of the main targets in such a shuffle; I’d say that he is reminding me of Rona Ambrose just before she was removed from Environment.

But I wonder if any possible removal of O’Connor from Defense would mark a change of the Conservatives tactics towards the Afghanistan debate, as the removal of Ambrose marked a change in the Conservatives tactics towards the Environment. Remember, when Rona was shuffled, the Conservatives changed tactics by abandoning the Clear Air Act, instead changing regulations using methods that did not involve the involvement of Parliament, thereby “neutralizing”, to a degree, the environmental issue as an electoral weakness of the Conservatives. Will the Conservatives try to neutralize Afghanistan as as electoral weakness in a similar manner? I’d say it has already started.

Secondly, Harper’s interesting statement on tax reduction:

“Everybody likes big tax cuts. I would love a big tax cut. [But] obviously what we do ultimately depends on the fiscal room the government has.”

“First and foremost, this government is committed to running responsible fiscal policy where we not only balance our budgets, but we continue to run modest surpluses so we can pay down debt. That’s important. And after that we will, obviously, look at a range of tax-reduction measures as well as investments in spending priorities where we think those are relevant to voters.”

I think that the purpose of this statement is to: a) attract undecided voters; and b) further counteract the Liberals tactic of trying to paint the Harper government as a set of extremists (a.k.a “the hidden agenda”).

Beyond this two glimmers into the future, nobody outside a position of power in the Conservative Party really knows if the Conservatives are going to have a renewed agenda for the fall session, or simply deliver more of the same.

Categories: Conservatives, Federal
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