So who is our new PM? Stephen Mulroney it appears, or is it Brian Harper? Mulroneyites are calling the shots in the backrooms of the new government as I have pointed out here much to the chagrin of all the young neo-cons who are Blogging Tories.
Insiders say the two men appreciate that each offers a quality lacking in the other. Harper is the studious policy wonk, Mulroney the crafty old-school politician.
And it makes perfect sense, despite the Reform/Alliance origins of the Conservatives, the old boys that sought to regain power, those not Progressives/Red Tories of the Clark variety, rallied around the McKay merger.
The could smell the blood in the water after Adscam. It was they who ran both McKay and Stronach against Harper, sending him a message that this was no longer Presto's party.
The message was hammered home after the Harperites failed to get elected in 2004, their new Conservative alliance held their first Consvention in 2005 and the writing was on the wall. The social conservatives were not as powerful as they thought. Abortion was off the table. The only sop they got was over Same Sex Marriage. Most other Convention issues, including bi-lingualism, long time bugaboo of the Reform/Alliance unilingual English first types, were also accepted despite the right wing Reformers. The party moved to the centre, thanks to the pull of the backroom boys. The Mulronites.
Then their crowning moment came last summer when Harper failed to bring down the government. His authoritarian leadership challenged by Stronach crossing the floor, left the Harperites with egg on their face and with no plan to appeal to the centre, which spelled sure defeat in any upcoming election.
The night of the long knives happened and over the summer Harper purged his inner circle and embraced Mulroney and his back room boys for advice.
Having been out of power so long and knowning full well that the Manning style of Reform/Alliance politics may sell in the West they didn't in the rest of Canada, especially Quebec, Harper needed the Mulronite machine to win. As a result he made a deal with devil. And the rest is history. We have gone back to the future, forward to the past.
Until there is another election expect that Mulroney will be the eminence de gris in the Harper Government. His Cardinal Richelau. For without him Harper cannot govern. For the Reformers/Alliance have always been a populist opposition party not fit to govern, nor prepared to.
Nor should we expect the Mulroneyites to give up power, now that they have achieved it again. Harper may be his own man for now, but Mulroney is the ultimate political animal, and he will make sure that his puppet government dances as he wants it too. He will do it with a smile and a kinfe behind his back, as Joe Clark can testify to. Harper will be given leeway to think he is doing things his way, but in the backrooms where the real power lies, it is now in the hands of BM.
Harper has made a deal with the devil and sold his soul for power. Principles, well those went out the door January 24.
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