Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - Democracy just doesn't work.

Confirming this Kent Brockman truism, Stephen Harper in the Globe and Mail:
"The reality is that we will have, for some time to come, a Liberal Senate, a Liberal civil service -- at least senior levels have been appointed by the Liberals -- and courts that have been appointed by the Liberals," Mr. Harper said.

"So these are obviously checks on the power of a Conservative government."
Am I the only one who finds this declaration a little disconcerting?

This is an argument designed to counteract what I suspect a lot of people are thinking: that a Tory minority will not be able to radically change the country, but a Tory majority may pursue radical changes that go well beyond the moderate and reasoned platform we've heard from Mr. Harper over this campaign.

What's missing from Harper's reassurance here? Well, for one thing, an actual reassurance. He doesn't say "We won't pursue a radical agenda going well beyond our platform." He doesn't say "We're not the old Reform / Canadian Alliance Party, that Canadians rejected election after election." He expects us to instead rely on institutional inertia to prevent Conservatives from ________. And he doesn't spell out what belongs in that blank.

There are two possible (and mutually exclusive) reasons why he doesn't promise moderate, careful government, even if granted a majority. It's possible that he doesn't want to be handcuffed by such a promise if he has the opportunity to make radical changes to the country. Alternatively, he may have no intention of making radical changes, but large swaths of the Conservative core support are expecting those changes. Could Harper say he has no plans to curb the right of gay couples to marry, and still get the whole bunch of old-timey Reformers out on election day?

I don't follow the polls in detail - why ruin the surprise? But it's become apparent to me that Canadians want a Harper government, restrained by a minority. "Minority" isn't on the ballot. Even Harper is being clear here that Canadians aren't comfortable with an unrestrained Tory agenda.

Despite this spin effort, one of the more clever I've seen coming from a surprisingly clever and self-aware spin room, Canadians may very well back away from a Tory majority once again, and like 2004, accidentally end up with another Liberal government as a result.

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