You have no idea how much it killed me to leave that preposition dangling like a kitten by the nape of its neck, but what can I do? It’s a direct quote from this Globe and Mail story, which reveals that those media outlets forking out $10,000 a week for a seat on the Conservative tour may spend the next two days serving as an in-house camera crew for the campaign:
Stephen Harper appears to be bunkering down to avoid last-minute mishaps in the final days of the campaign: His staff are warning it’s likely that the Conservative Leader won’t take any more questions from journalists accompanying his tour until election day.
They handed out a schedule for Sunday that has no time set aside for talking to the approximately 20 reporters who are accompanying Mr. Harper on his campaign.
He still has two days of campaigning left – Sunday and Monday – that are expected to take him across Quebec and to Prince Edward Island before possibly wrapping up in Windsor, Ont. and Regina.
Mr. Harper generally only answers questions from the press on his campaign plane once a day – in the morning – and he conducted his last news conference this morning after a whistle-stop in London, Ont.
The Conservative Leader’s staff offer several explanations. One official said it’s simply a question of schedules and that they don’t have enough time to scrum due to the hectic pace of the final two days. Another said that there will be “nothing to react to” over Sunday and Monday.
The same day, he told the Toronto Star editorial board that if his party loses the election – unlikely, but hardly impossible – he isn’t planning on sticking around to lead the Conservative charge against the dreaded Permanent Tax on Everything:
“I’m running to win this election. If I don’t win this election, I’m sure my party will look for another leader,” Harper said.
“That’s a hypothetical that I’m not prepared to entertain. I’m here to obviously elect an agenda that will stop a carbon tax, and the way to do that is to elect a Conservative government. Don’t defeat us then ask us to stop a carbon tax.”
Asked directly whether he would step down as leader if he lost this election, he replied: ” I think it is inevitable that the party that loses this election will be looking for a new leader.”
The Star piece goes on to suggest that really, this is a message to Stephane Dion and the Liberals, but even if that’s the case, I suspect that the tour reporters might want to ask him a few questions about this new threat to take his hockey book and go home rather than face Prime Minister Stephane Dion as Leader of the Official Opposition.