Mr. Harper's first priority should be to reconnect with the Conservative base - the donors and volunteers who keep the party alive. These people may understand the political necessity of his budget, but it won't make them like deficit-spending. Volunteers and donors have to be motivated by more than realpolitik.
Mr. Harper needs to show them that he's still a conservative by pushing some non-budgetary initiatives in the House of Commons. He could start, for example, with the criminal-justice measures from the party's platform in the 2008 election. Why not make these a matter of confidence and run them straight at the Liberals? Will Mr. Ignatieff force an election on behalf of criminals? I don't think so.
Reconnecting with the base is particularly important for the Conservatives. The Liberals live off state subsidies, but the Conservatives depend on donors. Conservative campaign doctrine, emphasizing heavy use of prewrit advertising and systematic voter identification, is effective - but expensive. It was the grassroots who put up the money for the ads that took down Mr. Dion, and Mr. Harper has to ensure the money keeps coming in.
As I said before, effective - but expensive. The burn rate is an issue and they are on a treadmill. So, how to keep the ConZombies sending in the cheques?
February 12, 2009: New law to give police access to online exchanges
The Conservative government is preparing sweeping new eavesdropping legislation that will force Internet service providers to let police tap exchanges on their systems - but will likely reignite fear that Big Brother will be monitoring the private conversations of Canadians.
The change is certain to please the RCMP and other police forces, who have sought it for some time. But it is expected to face resistance from industry players concerned about the cost and civil libertarians who warn the powers will effectively place Canadians under constant surveillance.Ten days (2 weeks of working days) after the Eminence Grease lays out the strategy, we see the clones follow through. It is so predictable that I expect you could work out a mathematical relationship for this. This is driven right at Ignatieff, given the concerns raised on the "Left" side of the aisle concerning his past discussions on and reputation as a human rights expert.
It will also give them a play to their supporters; who can toss another $25 each into the Conservative money pit. I can hear it now: "The Liberals are in favour of child porn, terrorists and downloading Eleanor Rigby. We need more money to stop them." As Andrew Coyne has lamented, the Conservatives have lost all their principles. That is evident. I do wonder at what point their supporters realize they are enabling wingnut welfare?
I am not surprised that they would take liberties with our liberties in order to pad the Conservative war chest. It is just another travesty to undo once they are gone.