Worried is as worried does
The smartest politicians, usually, are the ones who know how to read the fear in their rivals' strategies -- and then know what to do with that fear.
Stephen Harper is one of those politicians. It's said that back in the spring of 2006 he watched Paul Martin making a budget deal with Jack Layton and realized then that Liberals were desperate to hold on to power. Less than a year later, Harper was Prime Minister.
So where would Harper's rivals look for fear in his actions today?
One tiny hint is contained in the aforementioned post by Stephen Taylor, where the Conservative blogger acknowledges that the governing party feels vulnerable on the environment. He describes this as one of the "rare, if wrongly perceived strengths" of Liberal leader Stéphane Dion.
That same message turns up at the end of a good column in the Sun yesterday by Greg Weston, in which we learn that the Conservative government -- not party, government -- was looking to pay people to "evaluate" the long-dead Liberal government program on climate change. (Guess what kind of evaluation it was seeking?)
Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn has nixed the contracts, probably because the whole thing looked a little transparently political.
It's also possible that Lunn realized that this was just more evidence of Conservative nervousness about the environment. Why give the enemy any proof that you're worried about the issue?