- In early summer, host two huge prestigious international meetings (the G20 and G8 summits). Be seen on home soil as top dog among Obama, Cameron, Herkel, et al.
- A few days later, host the queen. Be seen on home soil as top dog with the lady on the money.
- While the queen is here, announce the new G-G. Be seen as the guy who appoints the other top dogs.
- Ride the wave of national pride and personal adulation through the summer (without pesky parliament interfering).
Then, in late August or early September, dissolve parliament and call an election.
This scenario explains a lot.
It explains why Harper was so interested in the G8/20 all of a sudden. This is the guy who was publicly disdainful of these leader get-togethers. This is the guy who showed up late for photo ops and blew off an Obama speech to do a press event at a donut shop. This isn't even a regular meeting - the G20 summit is in November, and this is just an add-on.
It explains the odd wording of the Afghan detainee document deal that would allow Harper to cancel the opposition party's access to the documents if he wins a majority.
It even goes a little towards explaining why he prorogued parliament and then delayed so long on signing the agreement on release of the Afghan documents... his plan was that parliament would have very little time to see those documents before he used his majority to yank them back.
And he almost pulled it off. By now, the Canadian public was supposed to be dazzled by a sense of our growing international importance. By next month, we were supposed to adore the man who made it all happen. Last week Harper's PR team released a photo of him standing alone in the House of Commons, looking pensive. This was just the beginning of a repositioning. I have no doubt that a whole series of photos, events and ads were planned to remake Harper in the eyes of the country. It didn't have to fool everyone, and it didn't have to fool anyone for long - just long enough to win a majority.
It's lovely irony that Harper is hoist by his own petard. To get maximum political benefit from the summits, he let the organizers go hog wild on costs. If the government had managed to hide the costs of the G8/20 summits, we might have had a Conservative majority by Thanksgiving. (Gack - we still might.)