Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s press secretary Dimitri Soudas briefed national bureau chiefs this morning ahead of the start of the new session of Parliament. The economy and job creation, new trade agreements and making the streets safer are the government’s priorities.
Oh and by the way, the government doesn’t want an unnecessary politically motivated election. (That was what they wanted and got in 2008 so the Conservatives have been there, done that already, cough, cough.)
The prime minister will not call nor will he provoke an election, said Soudas. That means none of that hanky panky business of turning crime bills into confidence votes as the government has done and/or threatened in the past.
Well that’s a relief.
Here’s another novel idea. How about instead of pretending the only way to avoid an election is for the opposition to pass all your bills as you want them without debate?
And to the opposition, lest you think you can waltz in and demand everything and the kitchen sink, how about actually putting Canadians interest ahead of partisan interests and not deciding whether the budget is acceptable or not months before it has even been finalized?
Soudas said the prime minister is open to speaking with opposition leaders. Which is a switch from earlier this month when it was suggested Harper didn’t feel the need to meet with Jack Layton ahead of the budget because he’d heard the NDP’s ideas already.
For some reason politicians seem to fear compromise. It is not a four letter word and working with opposition leaders to incorporate some of their ideas into the budget actually would suggest to Canadians you really do want to keep governing and for all the people, not just the ones that elected you. Conversely it doesn’t mean you have to give away the farm to the opposition. Just as the government’s ideas won’t always win the day, neither should the opposition get everything it wants lest they have a temper tantrum and run away from the sandbox threatening to vote the government down.
All that said, when we do have an election, the Conservatives are ready to rumble. Soudas also announced this morning former Harper chief of staff Guy Giorno is the party’s election coordinator. Giorno left the PMO in December after spending two years as the PM’s chief advisor. It was said he was leaving to spend more time with his young family.
He replaces Senator Doug Finley who was the architect of the last two Conservative campaigns. Finley has been battling cancer and while he is undergoing chemotherapy, he will take on an honorary role as campaign director.
Giorno has just messaged me to say he was not among those who said he was leaving the PMO to spend more time with his young family.