The Toronto Star’s ever-so-liberal columnist does all he can to set the Conservative government and federal bureaucrats at each other:
Stephen Harper is brave, desperate or both. By saving this government with a deficit budget, the Prime Minister hands his ultimate fate to bureaucrats he doesn’t trust and often belittles.
Forget the posturing about Liberals putting Conservatives on probation; civil servants hold the sword hanging over Harper’s head. If faceless, nameless cubicle dwellers fail to deliver the stimulus the budget promises, this government will be crushed under the combined weight of hard times and huge debts.
Precarious doesn’t fully capture the Prime Minister’s position. He must now count on mandarins to convince Canadians that Conservatives are doing everything possible to ease a made-in-America recession that government policies here can only marginally sway.
Those are the same mandarins Harper dissed as closet Liberals before taking office, then essentially made accountable for the ethical failures of their political masters, and now, with some exceptions, doesn’t respect and rarely consults.
If the economic predicament wasn’t so serious, the political paradox would be that much more delicious. A prime minister who came to power convinced the bureaucracy was partisan must now rely on its professionalism for his rescue.
…What wasn’t anticipated in the last election is that the future of a Conservative Prime Minister would turn on a budget Liberals could have written and bureaucrats, nursing a grudge, must now deliver.
Trying to encourage those bureaucrats to help do Mr Harper in, James? Now that’s what I call responsible journalism.