Friday, June 04, 2004

Harper: the Wind is out of your sails

how did he get into a discussion of abortion, gay rights and capital punishment? toronto liberal reporters...but harper has just painted himself as a duller stockwell day.

Dark clouds on Harper's horizon

By GREG WESTON, Hill Bureau

Ka-boom! A mushroom cloud is suddenly gathering over the Conservative Party's otherwise shining election campaign after Stephen Harper detonated what political strategists appropriately call Canada's "A-bomb" issue -- abortion.

Too bad for him that Ground Zero was under his feet.

Harper made it clear yesterday a Tory government would allow free votes on any abortion bills put before Parliament by individual MPs, and would do nothing to stop that kind of legislation from reaching the Commons.

The same hands-off approach to so-called private member's bills would also apply to capital punishment, he said.

Add this to Harper's pledge to hold a free vote on same-sex marriage, and the election suddenly includes all three of the country's hottest hot-button social issues.

Oh swell.

Whether the new Conservative Party has been outed as the Canadian Alliance reincarnate, or Harper was unfairly sandbagged, remains to be seen. Either way, the fallout has the potential to inflict all manner of damage on the Tory campaign.

As reporters waited for Harper to land at Hamilton airport in the Global TV helicopter (no, you read that correctly), a gay rights protester was handing out playful cards that read: "No Homos."

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