This week's theme: Election?
Few Canadians probably realize that the Conservatives run Parliament on a "theme of the week" basis. This government loves stuff like this — props, themes, catch phrases — all the standard tools of marketing. One sometimes wonders if Larry Tate and Darren Stevens from Bewitched are the real brains behind the communications operation in Ottawa. Since last fall, for instance, we’ve had "getting the job done on justice and tax cuts" week and "effective economic leadership" week — all duly announced in advance each Thursday in the House at 3 p.m. by Government House Leader Peter Van Loan.
Next week’s theme, announced by Van Loan yesterday, is "confidence in the Conservative government week."
It’s just idle musing right now, but there are some signs that Liberals — emboldened by the developing scandal over the Chuck Cadman controversy — might just be thinking that maybe it is time to say they have no confidence in the Harper government.
Halton MP Garth Turner is more than hinting at it. "I think we ought to be thinking about bringing these guys down," Turner told reporters. (Turner, incidentally, had a not-bad rebuttal in the Commons today, in reply to a rather sanctimonious rant from Conservative MP James Moore. Moore was taking a tack along the lines of "I knew Chuck Cadman and you’re no Conservative" when Turner shot back: "Mr. Speaker, if that is how they treat their dear friends I am glad I am not on that side of the aisle any more.")
At any rate, have a look at the transcript of Liberal MP Mark Holland, talking to reporters after Question Period today:
Mark Holland: We are deeply concerned by what we have seen over the last number of days. This is a huge story. I think we’re all taken by the explosive allegations. Listening to the Prime Minister’s words on tape where he said that there was a financial consideration that was offered to Chuck Cadman is, is unbelievable, it’s devastating, it goes right into the office of the Prime Minister and it may very well be something that we have to, to consider the future of this Parliament about. But that’s not a decision that’s been made yet.
Question: Is it enough in your mind though to pull the plug?
Mark Holland: Well I think we have to talk about it as a caucus. I think that we’re reeling from the shock of this. I think all Canadians are completely taken by, by the size of this. I mean, this is incredible. This is monumental news and I think we need to digest that and to talk about it with our constituents before making a decision of that gravity.
Some reporters, like me, might be using this weekend to get our heads around the idea of a possible election kickoff next week.