It's interesting how well what this article by Paul Wells says is PM Harper's strategy and this article match up.
Here's some of the main points:
For our purposes today it is better to understand the Harper coalition, not as a matter of geography (Quebec nationalists, Western reformers) but of demographics. Harper appeals, and plans to keep appealing, to middle-class and working-class employees, tradesmen, parents of small children, entrepreneurs, and military families and their supporters. People who believe they pay more to Ottawa than they are used to getting from it, whether in money, programs or respect. Harper and a few lieutenants — his strategic chief Patrick Muttart, his underappreciated junior minister Jason Kenney — have been thinking about and planning how to cement that coalition still further, and encourage its judicious growth at the margin.
Harper reiterated Conservative criticisms that the Liberal plan would simply shift tax dollars out of Canadians' pockets back into federal government coffers, boosting the cost of just about everything.
"It will stop the economic progress of the Canadian middle class dead in its tracks and it will make the cost of living unbearable for fixed income seniors and low-income seniors."
So PM Harper is solidifying his base support, the middle-class. He's a Tim Horton's kind of guy, one the average person can relate to. Having pictures of him with his young family doesn't hurt his image either.
But could Harper survive another failure to win a majority? Oh, probably. It's now 20 years since a Conservative leader won a majority. The interim has been humiliating for all concerned. There isn't a Conservative MP elected before 2004 who doesn't remember internal feuds, funereal caucus meetings, days when poll scores in the mid-teens felt like a breakthrough. Pundits are glib about those days, but Conservatives feel them in their bones. If Harper keeps his party in power by the slimmest of margins, they will not be inclined to punish him.
I have to agree that PM Harper will not be punished if the Conservatives win another minority, they will still be the government, and he will still be the Prime Minister, why would we change a good thing?
But in America in the 1960s as in Canada today, for a significant chunk of the electorate "the new hated elite . . . was cultural — the 'toryhood of change,' condescending and self-serving liberals 'who make their money out of plans, ideas, communications, social upheaval, happenings, excitement,' at the psychic expense of 'the great, ordinary, Lawrence Welkish mass of Americans from Maine to Hawaii.' "
The Liberal elites, all those special interest groups run by lefties, are suffering. Their bridge to power has been broken, and they cry through the MSM about their pet projects that the government won't fund any more, never understanding that the Conservative government is about getting REAL results, not just some paper written about woman's issues.
The prime minister told the crowd that his minority government intends to deal with the "escalating problem of violent youth crime" when Parliament resumes in the fall.
"We must send a message - and we will - that we hold young lawbreakers responsible for their behaviour. That is what we intend to do this coming session."
Law and order is a middle class issue. Parents with young children care about this issue. It is also an issue the appeals to his base. The nice thing is that it appeals to people of all political stripes, not like Dion's green shaft which appeals mainly to Toronto elites.
Harper finished his speech by saying he has never felt more hopeful about his party, having broken the Liberal lock on power and demonstrated that there's a better way to govern Canada.
But he warned supporters that his Conservative minority government could face another election "at any time."
Having broken the Liberal lock on power was a major breakthrough, people now have seen what the Conservative party can do in government, and they are liking what they see. Internationally PM Harper is listened to and respected. He has repaired US/Canada relations, and he has stood up strongly as a friend of Israel. He has supported our troops with more than talk, he has acted. The country is more united now than I can ever remember it being. The Liberal elites don't like it, but the average middle class voter sure does.