Coinciding with the installation of a brainy official opposition leader, the strategy behind the efforts to showcase Harper as a people's kind of politician versus the presumably elitist Michael Ignatieff has the merit of being transparent.
Who would have thought that so much disunity could be sowed in so little time?
Federal Liberals are the net winners of an extraordinary showdown that almost cost the Conservatives their minority government.
The test of the budget can only rest with the demonstration that Canada will have something constructive to show for its spending once the current downturn comes to an end.
The feeling that the 40th Parliament could be history before it has had a real chance to make history runs just as rampant within the government as it does within the ranks of the opposition parties.
But is Stephen Harper really willing to gamble he'll do better across the rest of the board against Michael Ignatieff than he just did against StÃ©phane Dion?
Presented with a plan backed by a provincial consensus and judged economically credible, it is hard to see how the opposition parties, and, in particular, the Liberals, could use it as a pretext to plunge Canada into a winter election.
By allowing a Prime Minister to shut down the House to duck a confidence vote, Jean has set a precedent that will trouble all those who care about the vigour of Canada's democratic life.
If Jean Charest secures a third mandate and a majority, he will be free to ponder a future beyond Quebec politics for the first time since he left the federal arena a decade ago.
Quebec Premier Jean Charest can expect no special help from Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
There are still more reasons for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to celebrate the changing of the guard at the White House than to mourn it. He can shake the 'Bush' image for one.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May's skills would be put to better use on the front rows of the House of Commons than standing on the sidelines inside or outside Parliament.
It will be his dubious honour to steer the country through the first period of deep economic turmoil of the new century.
Over the critical period of the campaign when Harper was cranking up his rhetoric on youth crime and on his defence of his culture cuts almost two weeks ago, the Bloc QuÃ©bÃ©cois was basically given a free ride to tear fresh strips off the Conservatives on
Leaders could not come up with a solid diagnosis of the state of the Canadian economy, let alone provide voters with at least the outline of a road map for the troubled months ahead.
The mathematical fragility of Harper's first government did not prevent him from walking away from the Kyoto Protocol, disposing of the federal surplus or twice extending the Afghan mission.
The good news for the Liberals is that an election run on the economy is the only kind of campaign that stands to give them an edge over others.
Intellectual energy of the next Cabinet will likely come from Ontario if Grits win and from Western Canada if the Tories do.
But those risks, at least in the minds of party strategists, are offset by StÃ©phane Dion's uneven effectiveness at delivering his message.
Laureen brings the movie treats: President of Les Films Séville Patrick Roy, Heritage Minister Shelly Glover, Public Safety Minister Steven Balney, Laureen Harper, Telefilm Canada chair Michel Roy, director Louise Archambault, producer Luc Déry and Christal Film president Christian Larouche.
Actor Alexandre Landry, director Louise Archambault, Telefilm chair Michel Roy, actress Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, Christal Film president Christian Larouche, and President of Les Films Séville Patrick Roy.
Telefilm Canada chair Michel Roy and Laureen Harper and her bag of treats for the movie.
President of Les Films Séville Patrick Roy, actor Alexandre Landry, Heritage Minister Shelly Glover, actress Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, Telefilm Canada's Michel Roy, Laureen Harper, director Louise Archambault, producer Luc Déry, and Christal Film president Christian Larouche.
Christal Film's Christian Larouche, NAC's Rosemary Thompson, Telefilm's Jean-Claude Mahe, and Les Films Seville's Patrick Roy.
Laureen Harper, director Louise Archambault, producer Luc Déry, and Christal Film president Christian Larouche.
Rogers Communications' Colette Watson and Heritage Minister Shelly Glover.
The two stars of the film Gabrielle, Alexandre Landry and Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, pose for a pic with Heritage Minister Shelly Glover.
Heritage Minister Shelly Glover and Gabrielle's director Louise Archambault pose for another.
Telefilm Canada's mini-designer cupcakes topped with the letter 'T' were a hit at the after party.
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and Telefilm Canada's Michel Roy.
David McArthur, chief of staff to Heritage Minister Shelly Glover, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, and Bluesky Strategy Group's Sandra Buckler.