Gen X at 40

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Ben (The Tiger) -

About Harper and abortion -- I remember speaking about it with a family friend who was a senior Chretien Liberal staffer (and had been pushed out by the Martinites) just after the 2004 campaign. (In which abortion came up, as the main weapon against the Tories.) It was a crazy campaign, the Liberal said, because it was an open secret, among those who knew these things, that Paul Martin was pro-life and Stephen Harper was moderately pro-choice.

As for stimulus spending -- well, Harper (rightly) didn't want to do it in late 2008, but he saw that the public demanded it. So he gave it to them, and is now defending it/them. If you're in public life, you have to listen to the public -- even if it sometimes goes against the most efficient public policy.

All of this makes sense if you see the PM as being a fairly consistent libertarian policy-wise but realizing that (a) members of his political coalition and (b) the majority of the general public are not. He had a choice -- he could be pure and run the NCC, or he could go and try to run the country.

Alan -

He's our own Dede Scozzafava! The conservative who is so libertarian they verge on socialist.

Ben (The Tiger) -

Well, as long as he has a minority government.

If he had four years to play with, he could do a few more conservative/libertarian things, because he'd have time to work with public opinion. (i.e., he'd push where he found there was at least 45% support for that approach. Like that funding cut to political parties, which actually had 61% public support -- but the undying hatred of all other parties. Tory majority = bankrupt Bloc.)

But then, that's why you saw wacky things in 2008 like most of the anglophone press of Canada endorsing Harper, but making it explicit whether they were endorsing "minority Harper for two more years" (the Globe) or "majority Harper for four more years" (the Post).

If you want left-wing Stephen, strategically vote for him to get another minority. (But he'll need to pick up a couple seats, or the Coalition could take over. Still, the Coalition would be so much fun to watch, I'm tempted to root for it...)