Now that Dion has done the sensible thing, lets look at how should the Liberal Party should respond to each of Harper's Five Themes (plus one or two) in the upcoming session of Parliament:
As it happens, there is a convergence of compelling issues around Arctic sovereignty, largely due to climate change. The melting of the polar ice cap raises such issues as the navigation of Arctic waters, notably the fabled Northwest Passage, and the sustainable development of the treasure trove of oil and gas beneath it, to say nothing of sustaining a way of life for the First Nations.
If the Americans claim the Northwest Passage as open sea, and the Russians are dropping flags onto the floor of the Arctic Ocean, Canada needs to protect its territorial, environmental and commercial interests aggressively.
My opinion: let Stephen Harper go for it, and support him. Call it the "militarization of the North", if you like. I am for building as many ice-breakers, posting as many soldiers, and building as many shiny research facilities up there as the nation possibily can. The fact is, Afghanistan is a pathetic side-show detracting Canada from our #1 security interest, which is keeping foreigners off Canadian lands and resources in the Far North. We own about four thousand miles of coastline that just became valuable. We might end up fighting the Russkies, we might end up fighting the Yankees, over it.
This is our great existential threat over the next 30 years or so. The nation needs to be prepared for it (more in an upcoming post).
Let the GST cut go through, stupid policy though it is. You never fight an election over a tax cut.
Law & Order Platform
Mostly, it passes and the nutty stuff dies in the Senate.
But won't such obstructionism inflame the electorate? No, because while you may wonder about the sound of a tree falling in a forest when nobody is around, I bet that you've never wondered about the sound of a tree NOT falling in the forest! What kind of sound does THAT make? None! Exactly! NOBODY NOTICES WHEN NOTHING HAPPENS!!!!!!
So the Senate convenes a sub-committee to appoint a sub-comittie to choose a committee to study the legislation. And if Harper rattles his saber? Appoint a committee to draft a response!
It all dies silently down the road when Joe Canada is cooking steaks on the BBQ and doesn't give a shit.
(And, remember, Harper is secretly ready to let this stuff go. It's not like he really believes any of these "get tough" measures are going to work. He EXPECTS them to die in the Senate. That's the point. Then next year he can use the same issue again to inflame the base, as Boob Bait For Bubba, and we go through the same routine again. The SoCons get screwed repeatedly but are too dumb to know it)
...dies in the Senate.
If it includes a blanket demand that ALL voters show their faces/ID at the voting station, and solves the problem of mail-in voting, it passes. If its just an effort to hassle traditional Muslim women, fight it. Canada is not Quebec, and blatent racism will not play.
Repeat last year's performance. Take any Conservative initiatives, partner with the other Oppo parties to give them some real teeth, and then send it back to the Harperites with the message to stuff it up their ass or call an election. Harper STILL doesn't want to fall over this.
Harper's strategy at the moment is delay, which signifies weakness. If he does bring it back to the House, kill the current mission and fight an election over it.