Great Moments in Spin
PARLIAMENT HILL—Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s inflammatory decision to stuff two failed Conservative election candidates back into the Senate on Wednesday does “boggle the mind,” Conservative Tim Powers admits, but argues the storm of controversy will focus public attention on the unelected Upper Chamber, stir up a “hornet’s nest,” and spur support for Mr. Harper’s plan to reform the Senate.
Mr. Powers admitted to The Hill Times the impending appointments are an absurdity—which continued to draw rising criticism on Thursday with two provincial premiers attacking them and backroom Tories in the Senate even raising eyebrows.
But Mr. Powers blamed the minority Liberals in past Parliaments for the spectacle, saying they delayed Senate reform measures that Mr. Harper has been proposing since 2006. Mr. Harper also announced his intention to send another defeated Conservative election candidate, former intergovernmental affairs minister Josée Verner, to the Senate, but the ire of critics was focused on the two former Senators.
It's no surprise the Liberals are to blame, but that kind of obvious spin won't win you awards. Where Powers really brings it home is when he postures about Harper's strategy to do "mind bogglingly" awful things as part of a master plan to stir up the hornet's nest and spur on support for senate reform.
Maybe this has been Harper's strategy all along. He shuts down Parliament so that Canadians learn a valuable lesson about democracy. He destroys the Census so that Canadians learn to appreciate it. He takes the country from surplus to deficit, to spur on public support for fiscal responsibility.