Yep, he showed them
Prime Minister Stephen Harper boasted yesterday that he'd defied the odds and expectations by staying in power for four years. This morning, on the fourth anniversary of his 2006 election win, I went looking for all these naysayers, who apparently only gave him 18 months at best.
Here's what The Globe and Mail editorial said:
With such restrained opposition, ushering legislation through Parliament is do-able — but it will require finesse. Mr. Harper has a model that will likely guide him: the intricate web of bureaucratic and political consultations that kept Ontario premier William Davis in minority power from 1977 to 1981.
Calgary Herald columnist Don Martin offered this prediction:
But Harper should be dealing from a position of strength for a couple years, armed with policies no rival would dare force an election on in the short term. They include bills to clean up government and make it more accountable, lowering the GST to six and then to five per cent, kick-starting a child-care subsidy, finding a way to resolve the patient waiting lists, and bringing on tough justice.
OTTAWA - Prime minister-designate Stephen Harper began preparing yesterday for a minority Conservative Parliament that will have little wiggle room for major policy initiatives but that observers expect to survive for at least the next couple of years.
CTV's Tom Clark:
Well, you know, it occurs to me, though, that we have at least a year and a half before anything happens because the Liberals will have to go through a leadership campaign to replace Paul Martin. And that takes time and it takes a lot of money. So, the natural ally for the Conservatives, believe it or not, for the next year and a half is going to be the Liberal Party. Nobody else. Because the Liberals won't want to see this Parliament brought down before they have a new leader. So, I think we've probably got a little bit of time here.
Kitchener-Waterloo Record columnist Geoffrey Stevens:
But if he runs his government with the same control and discipline that he ran his election campaign, he could "pull a Dief." John Diefenbaker, like Harper an Ontario-born westerner, came to office in 1957 with an even weaker minority -- 113 of 265 seats. Like Harper, Diefenbaker managed to establish a base in Quebec -- with eight seats, compared to Harper's 10. While the opposition Liberals went about changing leaders, Diefenbaker positioned his government perfectly for the next election. In 1958, the Conservatives grabbed 209 seats (including an astonishing 50 in Quebec) and reduced the Grits to a rump of 48.
And here's a Liberal prediction:
John Manley, the former deputy prime minister to Jean Chretien, and one of the likely challengers for Martin's job, alluded to that point Monday night.
``If we lived in a perfect world,'' Manley mused in a CBC interview, ``maybe what would happen here is that some of the parties would agree to say: `Look, Canada really does not deserve to have another election for two years.