Don Martin on the
It has infuriated the Conservative base and captivated all political water cooler conversation, dwarfing debate about the Throne Speech and federal budget. If this was intended as a bad-news diversion, it worked so well the government may well need to unleash a diversion to this diversion.
Sensing it had a major oopsie on its hands, the government had reacted almost immediately.
Barely an hour after the Throne Speech was delivered, an MP ‘talking point' was rushed out from the PMO insisting the government was "not taking a position. We are simply suggesting that a parliamentary committee examine the subject and report back to Parliament."
That's politic-speak for backpedalling, if not running, away from an ugly mess.
Some rank this as one of Harper's top four biggest mistakes, right up there with gratuitous arts funding cuts which infuriated the key battleground of Quebec on the eve of the 2008 election, the political financing elimination which created the opposition coalition and the February prorogation move which whacked the Conservatives down in the polls.
That seems a bit too much significance for a word change, but keep in mind Quebec pundits say the $15-million arts funding reduction cost Harper his shot at a majority in 2008.
But for a government to propose an anthem alteration just (ital) three days (end) after Canada's patriotic tidal wave crested at the Vancouver Winter Olympics suggests Harper's tone-deafness to the average voter has become a pattern.
True, the scope of the reaction caught many by surprise -- and you can count me among them. But the timing could not have been worse and the Prime Minister clearly needs someone in an office filled with sycophants to grab his collar and shake these sorts of bad ideas out of his head.
Or as a commenter at Facebook said: 'Shiny bright thing blow up.'