This thought crossed my mind a few days back when Harper sought to muzzle the old social conservative Reform/Alliance core of the party but today's Throne Speech sounds like it could have been written by a Liberal leader.
The committments are admittedly vague but they seem to touch on most of the key notes:
- aid to Ontario's auto industry. That will probably await Obama's decision on what to do for Detroit.
- ensuring the "social safety net" is as effective as possible (lots of wiggle room) there to meet the needs of those who lose their jobs.
- a promise to see 90% of Canada's electricity generated from "non-emitting" power sources by 2020.
There was, however, a little Republican gimmick slipped in as well, a brief mention of giving the private sector a greater role in administration to "deliver better services at a lower overall cost." That one, I'm sure, is going to be contentious particularly if it leads to attempts to dismantle our public healthcare system. At the moment, however, I doubt Harper would be that bold. His approach is always incremental, finding a way to back into his objectives.
All in all, there wasn't much Sturm und Drang in the Throne Speech but, as Harper told the party faithful recently, this is no time to act like a Conservative.