PM Stephen Harper's lucky week, explained
Published Thursday, November 13, 2014 5:50PM EST
Fighting off jetlag in Auckland, where it’s already mid-day tomorrow, Stephen Harper must be pinching himself to make sure this week wasn’t a sleep-deprived dream.
Rarely, if ever, has the prime minister had more disparate elements collide in his favor. Let me count the ways.
He blew tens of thousands of dollars to fly a 24,663 km detour – more than half the circumference of the planet – for a one-hour ceremony at the National War Memorial on Remembrance Day.
All he got was two thumbs up from his rivals.
He bailed from a Beijing summit on cordial terms with his hosts just before the United States and Chinese presidents vowed more aggressive action against climate change.
He thus avoided awkward questions about Canada’s relatively passive action against carbon emissions.
The aerial combat mission in Iraq is doing just enough damage to make Canada feel useful, even if it’s mostly flying around looking for something to bomb. The polls say Canadians approve of Harper’s position.
Back home, Harper’s finance minister declared the fiscal cupboard empty of surplus cash, leaving opposition forces tongue-tied on their spending plans.
Even so, Joe Oliver’s lowballed surplus will undoubtedly swell just in time to announce a spring budget bump for the popular Tax Free Savings Account limits. And that will drain the surplus again.
Meanwhile, his income-splitting and child care credit proposals, which haven’t yet been approved by Parliament, are already featured in radio ads. TV commercials can’t be far behind.
Even that sexual harassment mess has worked to his advantage, angrily splitting the opposition between allegedly harassed NDP MPs and two innocence-protesting suspended Liberals.
The final Harper bonus saw former parliamentary secretary Dean Del Mastro going tearfully into the night, resigning without a fight once it became clear he was about to be punted as an MP for his conviction on Election Act charges.
Sometimes in politics you make your own luck. Sometimes you’re just plain lucky.
For Stephen Harper, this week had both elements covered. The trick, of course, is not waking up to confront a harsh political reality for the next 11 months.