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Monday, January 07, 2008

It's Your Move Mr. Prime Minister

For those who have been following the ABC (Anyone But Conservative) campaign that Newfoundland and Labrador premier, Danny Williams, has been threatening to wage against Stephen Harper, the intrigue just got much more interesting.

Enter Sinclair Stevens, a name and face from the past who is still very much consumed with Canadian politics.

Some of our older readers may remember Mr. Stevens as a political dynamo in the original federal Progressive Conservative party back in the good old days, once even taking a run at the party leadership himself.

Ever since the merger between the old Alliance and PC parties however Stevens has had a major dislike for the entire organization and more specifically for its leader, Stephen Harper.

Today Mr. Stevens publicly stated that he has been planning the formation of a new "Progessive Canadian" party for some time and, get this, has been in discussions with premier Danny Williams on the subject since last May in an effort to shore up his support.

Williams, for his part, has denied making any promises of assistance to Stevens but has admitted to talking with him recently, an admission that must be flying like a lead balloon at 24 Sussex Drive tonight.

At the very least this potential "New" party and, factual or not, William's part in its development, should send a clear message to Stephen Harper that the ABC campaign is not simply a fantasy and that there are indeed ways the PM's political future can be put in jeopardy.

It's certainly something Harper and his advisors need to consider in light of Williams' pre-Christmas request that the PM find a way to "make up" for the failure to follow through on his equalization promises and not honoring the Atlantic Accord.

As far as Newfoundland and Labrador itself is concerned, should this new party actually field candidates in the province (Stevens claims to already have candidates lined up) it would almost guarantee Harper's Conservatives would be shut out. The domino effect of the ABC campain, the Bill Casey factor and this new party might also be felt in places across Atlantic Canada and among sympathetic voters in Saskatchewan.

In Newfoundland and Labrador there are only 3 Conservative ridings and those are on the Avalon Peninsula, coincidentally in the area where the highest level of Nationalist sentiment exists.

Consider that a new Progressive Canadian party would likely run on a core of PC-like policies, make use of provincial PC workers appeal to conservative voters.

In addition, the newly formed NL-First party in the province would attract nationalist voters and with a former provincial Tory at its helm is sure to attract at least some old school conservatives as well.

Adding to all of this is the potential that Williams' might indeed use his unprecedented popularity with voters to truly make an attempt at defeating Harper and you've got a scenario that would see the conservative vote split among enough parties that it would almost assure a Liberal victory across the board.

In the past few weeks Premier Williams has lowered the volume on the ABC rhetoric, just a little, but neither he nor Sinclair Stevens are dumb when it comes to political brinksmanship. Make no mistake, the breaking of this story today was no accident. It was done with a clear purpose in mind and Stephen Harper might be well advised to put his pride in his back pocket, use the narrow window of opportunity given to him and find a way to once again make ABC something best left in the school yard.


Anonymous said...

Patriot I think you've nailed it. this is clearly a message with strong intent and not released by accident.

If I read your past articles correctly you are not really a supporter of any Canada wide party but again I think you're right on this. Like it or not this will split the Con vote so badly the Liberals will sail up the middle here and it might trickle into other provinces.

I hate the thought of the Liberals getting back in office but this might be the nudge Steve needs to finally make a move and fix what he broke.

Anonymous said...

From CBC:

Newfoundland and Labrador's federal cabinet representative says he would like to see an end to a bitter feud that has divided the federal and provincial governments.

Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn, who has locked horns with Premier Danny Williams during the last week over Hearn's suggestions that he has inside knowledge of Williams's government, insisted he does not have spies within the provincial caucus and cabinet.

I guess Hearn has been told to keep his yap shut and maybe this Stevens thing (and the fighting inside the party) is one of the reasons.

I can't wait to see that A-hole lose his seat in the next election

Calvin said...

I'm as gittiy as a school girl in september.

Is he it.Is there no stopping this capped messiah that comes from the heavens to save Newfoundland and Labrador.Or,have we as a nation finally relised nothing can stop us when we are fighting for our very live's.

This man is absolutely incredible Myles .I simply cannot get enough of Danny Williams.To a Newfoundlander that is looking at moving home ,I finally thank god that,Newfoundland and Labrador has someone at her helm ,that i feel ,love's her as much as i do.

Someone awhile back said that this man has no future in federal politic's.Someone said that he doesn't have a party to go to.

Well if you dont have a ship to sail Myles,why not just start from scratch and build your own.I think they are calling it the Danny Williams effect.

rabbit said...

Two dumb questions:

1. Wouldn't this mean that up to 4 "progressive" parties would be running in NFLD?

2. And given #1, wouldn't this split the progressive vote so badly that conservative candidates would win?

The Democrats in the U.S. still haven't forgiven Nader for splitting the vote in 2000, thus allowing The Prince of Darkness to assume power.

j said...

i'd love to see the right split again. there was a progressive canadian candidate who ran in my constituency in the last federal election.

Anonymous said...

To Rabbit: No

Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff. I seriously doubt Williams is in cahoots with Stevens, it's more likely Stevens is just trying to make some progress by riding the Williams wave. Regardless, it is interesting because as you said Myles, the story was probably released with a purpose in mind just before the First Ministers meeting and it looks like the conservative vote could be split enough to let the Liberals slip up the middle. Does anyone remember how Andy Wells won the Mayor's job when a crap load of people ran against him? Up the middle.

Anonymous said...

Loyola Hearn is a sell out to his own people and a traitor to the province.

Think about it. A lot of people are pissed at him because he voted with his party and not his province on equalization. They say he only wanted to save his job and protected his butt. Not so.

If that was the case his vote would have been the end of it but when he makes statements like "I have eyes and ears in William's cabinet" and "I'm staying one step ahead of Williams on equalization" that tells us he didn't just vote with the party to save his job, he's actively taking an opposing stand to that of the province.

He's actively and aggressively trying to "Stay ahead" meaning only one thing. He is trying to block any moves made by the provincial government to find a solution to the equalization issue.

That's more than just voting with the party. That's intentionally working against the people of your province

NL-ExPatriate said...

It's the system Stupid!

You elected him to a national party that by the very nature of our Democratic Discrimatory system must tailor their policies to appease the majority of canadians if they want to get elected. That means that since 66% of the canadian population lives in ON/QU 181/308 any national party and any national party representative that you vote for and gets elected must toe the national party line of doing what's in the best interest of the majority of canadians to get elected even if it means your own people and province must suffer.

And now due to the CON conservatives power base being centred in the west according to manning 73% of the canadian population now lives in ON/QU/AL.