A Fortnight to Forget
The rough patch all started last week with the taxpayer funded stylist turned psychic fiasco (she really should have seen it coming). Sure, it’s not a big deal, but it’s one of those quirky little mini-scandals like Romanian Strippers which gives the opposition parties a guaranteed joke in every stump speech from now until the end of the next campaign.
Then there’s been the environmental file which was going to be a headache no matter when it came to a head. John Baird’s Martin-esque hyperbole probably discredited some very legitimate economic concerns surrounding the Liberal Kyoto plan. Having the Tory plan leak out in advance (possibly breaking Canada's securities laws) didn’t help matters at all, especially since it led to a rushed release. As for the plan itself? Well, take a look at the less than enthusiastic response it has generated.
Worst of all, the Tories took a big hit on Afghanistan, which is guaranteed to be an issue during the next campaign. The Globe's front page story on blacked out torture documents was bad for optics, regardless of who edited the documents. The week-long game of "deal or no deal" left opposition leaders, pundits, and probably quite a few Tory Cabinet Ministers confused. It's unclear when this "deal" was signed, if it was signed, who negotiated it, what it entails, if it changes the status quo, or who knew about it when.
O'Connor himself has been crippled beyond repair and paying homage to Paul Martin's famous escalator scrum, by doing an elevator scrum, likely wasn't the best way for him to announce this deal. At the very least he could have let Peter McKay know beforehand...
As for the fall-out, well, just take a look at the CTV wire story and count the number of times "contradiction" and "incompetence" appear. For a government that prides itself on decisiveness and messaging, this has certainly been a week Harper would love to put behind him.