So, the real question is - how did this happen? Why are Canadians actually giving a damn? It's not like voters were really up in arms over the Afghan detainee issue, and no one has talked about prorogation in that context. Have voters suddenly taken an interest in procedural politics? Doubtful, given all they do is bitch and moan about how juvenile the House of Commons is - surely they aren't missing that.
Is it an arrogance or abuse of power issue? I doubt it - this isn't worse than any of the dozen or so other dictactorial moves Harper has made during his 4 years as Prime Minister. And anyone who subscribes to Will Ferguson's "Bastards and Boneheads" theory will know that arrogance is more often a voter "turn on" than a voter "turn off".
No, if you scan the Facebook posts and listen to people outside of the political bubble, what they seem to be latching onto is the "vacation" element. This is being interpreted as Harper taking an extended vacation from work to watch the Olympics. And that's something voters can understand.
It's like when MPs vote themselves pay raises or expense thousand dollar meals. People will accept it when their elected MPs are juvenile, when they're petty, when they're assholes. But they hate it when their elected representatives come across as lazy or selfish. Maybe it's because, deep down, voters know that underneath all the bickering, these guys and girls are actually working hard. So when they stop working, that's when you get problems.
And there lies Harper's mistake. He assumed voters couldn't get upset about something they didn't understand. After all, to him this was just another procedural manoeuvre - it probably never crossed his mind that Canadians would see this as an extended vacation. Taken in that context, the Liberals hokey "show up to work" stunt will probably go over well, if executed properly.
At this point, the only question is whether or not this will stick to Harper, or if all will be forgoten come March.
Labels: prorogation vacation