Monday, May 30, 2005

Time to regroup, before you lose the bout

This is welcome news: OTTAWA (CP) - The House of Commons is heading back to work after a week off, with the Conservatives holding what they say is a "loaded gun" to the head of the governing Liberals and threatening another non-confidence vote as soon as Tuesday. Jay Hill, the Tory House leader, said Sunday his party hasn't settled yet on its final strategy. But he pointedly refused to rule out a new confidence test, despite the fact that Prime Minister Paul Martin survived one just 10 days ago. "As long as we have this loaded gun sitting there, they're going to have to take it seriously," Hill said in an interview. "The minute I say to you, or to anybody, 'We're definitely not going to even try a non-confidence motion,' then they're not going to take Parliament seriously at all." The problem with that statement is that Harper more or less did just that, after the budget vote debacle. I have no problem with reversing course, when the correction made will lead to pointing in the right direction; these are the talking points that should have been issued on the morning of May 20th, not this past weekend. But haven't we learned that flip-flopping kills? Opposing the budget, supporting the budget; opposing reckless Liberal spending promises, promising to fulfill them; and now this. If I was granted one wish to improve the Conservative Party, I think it'd be improving the ability to stay on message. Changing direction every few days is just handing ammunition to the Liberals. They, after all, can claim more or less complete consistency: they'll do anything to remain in power. That kind of stability of message - even if it is the stability of stagnancy - seems to be valued by Canadians; why disappoint, if at all possible?

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