If Chantal Hebert is right — and she usually is — the
Giornorchestrator’s the government’s cunning plan to make those deck-loathing Liberal grinches kill off the beloved tax credit in order to force Canadians to the polls for An Election No One Wants while simultaneously scheming to install a sinister Separatist-Socialist coalition if the results don’t turn out to their liking may have hit a bit of a snag:
Yesterday, the Bloc Québécois leader told Radio-Canada that if the government brings forward a supply motion to finance the home renovation program later this month, his party will support it. Unless Harper loads a budget-related motion with other items that are unpalatable to the Bloc, the tax credit will sail through the Commons.
Now, ITQ did a quick Google News search for any other reference to such a statement from the Bloc leader, and came up empty, but that could be due to the language barrier.
UPDATE: Commenter Alan points to a second story in today’s Star that mentions Duceppe’s willingness to pass the supply bill as long as there’s no funny business in the fine print, but doesn’t include a direct quote.
If it’s true, though, it would leave the prime minister in a distinctly awkward position: He’d still be governing on borrowed time, since there’s no reason to think the Liberals wouldn’t simply go ahead with their original plan, which was to defeat the government on their own non-confidence motion a week or two later — and he’d be doing so only by virtue of 49 votes from that very same separatist party that his party has repeatedly decried as antithetical to the spirit of Canadian parliamentary democracy.
That would be embarrassing enough, considering that the Conservatives fully intend to campaign against just such borderline seditious political fraternization when the writ does finally drop. But a show of support from the Bloc could also deprive the prime minister of being the architect of his own destiny, as far as his government’s eventual — and seemingly inevitable — defeat in the House of Commons, which — for some reason — seems to be of crucial importance to him. After all, it was right around this time last year that he did an end run around Stephane Dion when it looked like his government might go down later in the fall session, and he prorogued the House rather than face a non-confidence vote over the EFU.
It’s understandable, really — Stephen Harper is, by all accounts, a wee bit of a control freak by nature, it’s no surprise that he wants to be master of his own destiny, although you’d think that after nearly three years of leading a minority government, he would have come to terms with the possibility that the day might come when the immediate fate lies in the hands of the opposition parties.
I mean, yes, it’s probably not all that pleasant to be the object of a non-confidence motion, but it happens — and just think how nicely the footage of the vote will fit into the looming anti-coalition election ad campaign. But if it turns out that he is unable to let go of his control of the agenda, and he dumps a poison pill into an otherwise palatable supply bill, it will be hard not to conclude that neither he nor anyone else in Langevin has actually learned a single thing from their collective near-death experience last year.