I have said for quite a while now that, unless something drastic happens between now and next October, I believe that the Liberal Party will form the next government. Events in recent by-elections further convinced me, and many others, that the political winds have changed in this country and that Brian Mulroney is probably correct in his assessment of Justin Trudeau as the so-called 'real-deal.' Olivia Chow had won her seat with an astounding twenty thousand votes, and under Trudeau the Liberal Party took it back with a comfortable 6500 hundred plus. This is a sure sign that Trudeau is appealing to NDP swing voters as well as disaffected Conservatives.
Harpers blistering, if tired and ineffective, attack on Trudeau this weekend at the Calgary Stampede, illustrates not only the desperation of the Conservatives regarding the clear change of wind, but also their startling inability to change their political strategy of smearing anyone who opposes their agenda. Harper's rather cringe-worthy attacks which included the old standby of "the Liberals will coddle the criminals," seems to generate an endless supply of sympathy for Trudeau and his followers. After nearly ten years of totally ineffective government under Harper and his Con-men, more and more Canadians seem to be increasingly alienated by the politics of anger and hate.
One of the strangest developments in recent months has been the apparent legal ineptitude of the HarperCons as they enact law after law that they seem to know violate the Constitution. Their 'damn the torpedoes' attitude regarding laws that they seem to know will be overturned is a grand illustration of their basic inability to responsibly govern Canada. More and more Canadians are seeing them for what they are - ideologues who are unconcerned with actual meaningful governance and are hell-bent on ramming through any ideologically motivated legislation even when it violates and the laws and the general values of the country as a whole.
The joke, of course, is that (as so often happens with radicals of any political stripes) the strategy could have worked if the Conservatives had taken a more inclusive, less combative approach to governing, one that respected the political system and traditions of the Westminster system of government. From what I am seeing, even more and more conservatives are seeing the Harper regime as not representing the values of Canada or conservativism. To say nothing of how the rest of the population feels.
I still contend that the moment the Conservative Party sealed its future failure was when Harper suddenly announced while on a trip overseas that he was upping the retirement age and beginning to de facto dismantle the federal pension system. But regardless of which hateful or incompetent debacle one points to as the moment of Conservative downturn, the winds have decidedly changed. In Ontario, the provincial Conservative Party was soundly defeated by appealing not only to negativity but to what is looking like an increasingly tired ideology of favouring corporations and the rich while real wages stagnate and average people are increasingly struggling.
Whether the Liberal Party would actually be any better for average people is a fairly open question. Either way, the winds really seem to have changed and the Conservative have demonstrated again and again that they have no intention (or ability) to change tack. The road to political failure is paved largely by those who were once successful but were unable to see the real sources of their success, and the real nature of their limitations.