There seems to be near universal acceptance by media pundits that the Harper/Flaherty economic update was pure blundering folly. The inclusion of cuts to party financing was, supposedly, a stupid error, a "toxic gambit" that precipitated the present crisis. This view has been repeated endlessly in MSM commentary and news and is taken pretty much as incontrovertible truth by nearly everyone including many loyal Tories who are supposedly angry with Harper. But is it true?
Stephen Harper has been called a master political strategist and tactician. He doesn’t do anything without thinking it through. Would he make such an apparently careless blunder? I don’t think so.
Consider the possibility, if not strong likelihood, that the opposition had planned to make their takeover bid no matter what was in the economic update. Based on what we heard in Layton’s conference call this hardly seems unlikely. Consider further that the Conservatives, professionals that they are, had their ears to the ground and knew or strongly suspected what was coming. This is not unlikely either.
So, assuming this scenario, what could the Conservatives have done to protect themselves? They could have sought consensus with the opposition before tabling their update. The Tories claim to have done so. But with a takeover plot in the works, the opposition would certainly not co-operate in helping the Tories create their economic plan. They’d do the opposite, if anything. So, given the Tory expectation of an opposition bid to defeat them following their economic update, no matter what, would it not make sense for them to try to poison the opposition’s apparent motives? One way to do that would be to make them appear to be the lazy, grasping incompetents that they are - that they are motivated by their addiction to the public trough for party financing.
I don’t find this scenario at all far fetched. Is it provable? Not directly. Would the Tories admit to it sans proof. Not likely.
I rest my case, your honour.