March 27, 2010

STILL HERE, STILL SCARY People's Voice Editorial, April 1-15, 2010

Here's the good news. After four years in office, Stephen Harper's Tories are still a minority in Parliament. Despite all the advantages of power, and the open support of the ruling class and the corporate media, Harper's polling numbers are lower today than during the past two elections. In part, this reflects the Tory capacity to remind working people of their vicious, reactionary politics. Whether it's their brutal imperialist war in Afghanistan, their utter indifference to mass layoffs, or their hatred for women's reproductive rights, the Tories regularly shoot themselves in both feet.

Even the sleazy attempt to paint themselves as "populists" has backfired, thanks to all those temper tantrums. It's hard to hold a pose with your Timmy's double-double when the Veteran's Affairs Minister is screaming at security guards for refusing to let him take his expensive bottle of tequila onto the plane.

Now the bad news. Stephen Harper is still in office, and still within spitting distance of a majority. Some argue that this hardly matters. Our response? Harper already runs the country like his personal banana republic. Wait until he has even less obstacles to slow the corporate attack and the fundamentalist agenda of his MPs.

Consider the tussle over documents on the Afghan detainee torture issue. Even now, the Conservatives are playing the "national security" card to deny any access to these materials. Imagine the degree of control a Harper majority regime would exercise over any embarrassing revelations or criticism.

Time is running out - an election is more likely by the month. It would be a terrible mistake to assume that the Tories will make enough blunders to lose. The outcome of the next election may shift the political terrain for years - defeating Harper remains urgent.

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