Considering a Harper Coronation 
Well, it happened with the Liberal leadership walk, so why not in the Conservative race?

It doesn't seem like there will be competitive race. Chuck "Don't call me Sheila" Strahl will still run (to position himself for next time?) but won't be a factor. Unless Stronach runs and turns out to be something out of this world, it will be a first ballot win for Harper.

A couple of well known pundits thoughts:

Diane Francis said:
"I believe Stephen Harper is the only viable leader for the new, merged party. He has experience, he has made no mistakes and he will fare better than anyone can imagine against the Liberals' current prime ministerial replacement. For starters, the combined entity should ensure success in the 30 ridings where vote-splitting cost Conservatives seats in the last election.

Stephen has done a soldierly job of shepherding his sometimes rancorous caucus; dealing with a mean-spirited press and putting aside himself and party for the greater good by agreeing to unite the two parties on the right. He's also a man of principle. Stephen's caucus had 63 seats, but made a deal with the withering PCs, with only 15 seats, that equally weights all ridings across the country for leadership voting purposes. This is principled and inclusive, but it means ridings with only dozens of members and no track record of electoral success would be as important in determining the outcome as would be Alberta or B.C. ridings with huge, and bedrock, support.

That's the type of integrity the Liberals, who stuff ballot boxes and ridings, have never tolerated.

Charles Alder:

"Here is what the national media wants you to believe about Stephen Harper. He is a social conservative ideologue, willing to pander to the most vile instincts of the old Reform Party base.

He is a headwaiter to a bunch of western separatist, anti-immigrant, sexist, homophobic, anti- French rednecks. OK Globe and Mail. OK Toronto Star. OK CBC. We know that you don't care a damn about Harper and will tell him behind closed doors not to take your propaganda personally. It would be aimed at any leader of the party of "the right" that dares challenge the natural national governing party, the Liberals.

How close is the caricature of Stephen Harper to the real man? About as close horse sense is to horse manure. What the eastern media is spreading is the ugly face of Canadian intolerance.


"When I think of Stephen Harper, I think of intelligence. It is a commodity that is not in great surplus in Canadian politics, a field where mediocrity is perfectly acceptable and, in many ways, even desirable. Would Jean Chretien have emerged the top dog in corporate or labour circles had he not been prime minister? Would he have been the king of radio or TV or newsprint? In national politics, dull has been followed by duller.

Harper has candle power and for those of us who expect leaders to do more than just mouth the platitudes given to them by their spinners, this is a good thing.

There is not a lot of time for a new face to get the electorate's consideration - Bernard Lord had that going for him as did Harris. But, the concern is that just that... Harper doesn't have a lot of time to change anyone's perception of what he stands for and who he represents.

In his speech that lauched his leadership bid, Harper laid out some of the platform for the Conservative party for the next election - and even if he doesn't win the leadership expect most of these points to be there in the spring platform:

"If I were prime minister, my priority would be clear: to secure a future for our children.
To secure our economic future, our federal government must, first and foremost, aim to make this the lowest taxing country, not the highest spending one.
To secure our future, our national government must take on its own responsibilities and perform them well, not fight with other levels of government for more money and power.
We should as a country take more responsibility for our national security and our defence.
We should work with the provinces on our health care and education and deal with the very real challenges they face.
We must respect provincial jurisdiction and limit the federal spending power, not expand the PMO.
We must address the fiscal imbalance and ensure the provinces have the capacity for our most important social needs.
For have-not regions, we must ensure that equalization doesn’t penalize economic growth and that there should have lower taxes for the many, not special subsidies for the few.
We should take the infrastructure responsibilities of municipalities seriously.
But our focus must go beyond the big cities. In a country that increasingly enjoys the benefits of free trade, it is unacceptable that our farmers, our fishermen and our forestry workers take one hit after another and are left to fend for themselves.
Securing the future for our families means banning child pornography, not banning health supplements. It means registering sexual predators, not registering duck hunters.
Securing the future for ordinary Canadian citizens means restoring ethics and accountability to government, and ending the Liberals’ democratic deficit.
The way to do that is not, as Paul Martin has just done, to make appointed political advisors better paid than elected Members of Parliament.
The prime minister must cease to appoint the members of the Senate. He must ensure they are elected by the people.
The prime minister must ensure issues are voted on by the legislators you elect, not by the judges the government appoints.
There should be a system of direct democracy, so that you can have a say on issues between fixed election dates, not dates chosen just for the personal benefit of the prime minister.

Will those Conservatives in the East give him a chance, in a matter of months, to be their voice? Will Ontario give him their ears?

The pessimist would say that the public won't buy this party with Harper - it's a proven Alliance takeover - and I will agree that Harper would face these questions. Harper has 2 months to show himself to be the leader that has lived and understands the various regions of Canada that he says he is before the election - if he can do it then those Alliance takeover questions will have no bite. If, in the course of the leadership campaign, the Atlantic ridings strongly support another candidate then those questions will take a toll at the ballot box.

Maybe the optimist in the Conservative Party would say that they don't need a race that pits leaders against each other - that the party needs to heal after such a tough year with the PC race and the merger - I would agree with that type of thinking.

Lets hope that at least two others make a bid - if only for the Canadian political pundits and bloggers to have something to talk about before the election other than stories of pot, pot, and more pot?

Hey, maybe we'll find out that the massive Barrie operation was a Stronach fund raising machine - it's only an hour or so from Magna.

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