The REAL Reason For Harper's Saskatchewan Visit
He didn't meet with any provincial politicians. He did not appear on any radio or TV shows. He did one tense scrum with reporters where the only topic they wanted information on was the outstanding Tory promise to follow through on the Equalization promise.
So with nothing actually achieved .... what was the point of the trip? Allow me to speculate.
Mr. Harper’s goal was simply to 'hold hands' with his very nervous 12 Conservative MP’s. Why are they nervous? There is a twofold reason:
The equalization promise IS a big deal for Saskatchewan. It could amount to upwards of $800 Million per year of non renewable resource money staying in this province. For a province of one million souls, that is not chump change. Since the election, people here have sensed a hesitation to deliver on the promise and the 12 Tory MP’s are under pressure to ensure things flow as hyped by their own campaign.
The decline of the Liberal vote in Saskatchewan during the election, allowed 12 of 14 seats to go to the Conservatives and any resurgence of Liberal support would knock some of them out, both directly and by allowing the NDP to go up the middle and claim some seats.
You have to understand Saskatchewan’s tenuous relationship with ‘conservatives’.
The last time this province had a ‘conservative’ government was under the Grant Devine administration during the 1980's and early ‘90's . During their nine years, they did not balance even one budget and grew the provincial debt by billions, nearly forcing the Province into receivership. The final cherry on the old conservative cake was the trials and convictions of 16 Conservative Cabinet Ministers and Members of the Legislature for fraud and breach of trust! There is NO functioning provincial wing of the Conservative Party. The official opposition, Saskatchewan Party is their heir. A few token fallen Liberals in their ranks allow them to deny any connection with the Conservative Party.
So back to the reason Mr. Harper was in Saskatchewan for a couple of days: To soothe and calm the nerves of his 12 apostles who are nervous about things that have been promised.
For a Prime Minster who may be trying to hold on to minority government status after the next election, every seat is going to count. A number of his Saskatchewan 12 may not be a sure bet.