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(Prime Time Crime exclusive Oct. 31, 2005)

Practical political impact of the Gomery report? Zero

By David Marley

So, Mr. Justice Gomery's long-anticipated (by who exactly?) report has been released. It's got Peter Mansbridge and Count Lloyd all a twitter.  The parliamentary press gallery are drooling like Halloween goblins.  Jean Chretien shows up on television screens to once again remind Canadians of what "small town cheap" really looks like. To think that this guy represented our country on the international stage for ten years. Yuuch!

But what will be the likely practical political impact of the Gomery Report? My guess is it will be absolutely zero outside of Quebec, where the word "Liberal" is an expletive these days. So, Gilles Duceppe and his not so merry band of separatists get a big up-tick in the opinion polls and, come March or April next, will probably walk away with at least half the 21 seats currently held by Liberals in La Belle Provence.  Then why, oh why, won't Canadians outside of Quebec vote to throw these obviously arrogant, corrupt and sleazy Liberals from office? Two word answer: Stephen Harper. People simply don't have the stomach to give the guy a vote. As John Ivison astutely comments in today's National Post, "He [Harper] still looks like he was weaned on a pickle - too black and bitter and angry to offer hope to Canadians who are desperate to feel good about their government again." As Mr. Ivison states, the grim determination of Canadians living outside Quebec to once again return the Liberals to power in Ottawa, as reflected for months in all credible opinion polls, is "an indictment of an Official Opposition [read "Stephen Harper"] that has failed to tap into the aspirations of Canadian voters." Yes, indeedie.

What can Conservative Party supporters do about this dispiriting and deeply frustrating situation? Prior to the upcoming federal general election, probably bugger all. The good news is that Paul Martin and company, thanks to Quebec voters, will most likely be returned to office with an even weaker minority.  Old bobble-head Layton will be ecstatic.  The rest of us had best hold on tight to our wallets. Liberals being Liberals, the knives will be out for Martin before the ink is dry on the returned writs of election. This likely turn-of-events speaks capital "O" opportunity for the Conservative Party of Canada.  

What then are Conservatives going to do once Mr. Harper takes the party yet again over the proverbial electoral cliff? I, for one, intend to have a stiff scotch and contemplate the myriad joys of retiring to a remote hill-top village in the south of France. After the fantasy fades, I'm going to work as hard as possible to elect to the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada someone who deserves the job, someone who genuinely likes people and can communicate in a manner that resonates with the electorate, someone who has a common sense, conservative philosophy and believes in public policy prescriptions that will set Canada on the path to unequalled prosperity and socio-political coherence, all butressed by "root & branch" reforms to our diseased democracy that are past urgently needed. 

I hope you'll be there to pitch in.

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