Step 1

The National Post reports today that Stephen Harper has privately told his 99 member caucus that he will be integrating more former PC members into his ‘inner circle’ and the move will start moving the party towards the centre.

Good first step.

“Mr. Harper made private assurances to his caucus he wants to steer the party closer to the political centre, and will start by making changes to his office, bringing in people that will help make the party more palatable to Quebec and urban Ontario voters, sources said.” — National Post

As the Post remarks, Harper is being watched as to how he will discipline the MPs and candidates that misspoke party intentions on controversial issues such as abortion, same sex marriage, bilingualism and the charter of rights. I believe that he should usher these people to the fringes. The campaign kept losing cabin pressure as some candidates espoused their views as if they were party policy. However, it will be difficult for Harper to find grounds for punishing these individuals as the campaign, and yes, the party came together in break-neck speed. Indeed, the party didn’t have its choice of election dates and when the writ was dropped, there was a gameplan but no playbook. The Conservative Party of Canada is to hold its formative policy convention at Thanksgiving this year. This will provide the bounds of policy as to where the party stands. The party will need to stake its territory in the middle while battling those who may resist the party’s direction.

Stephen Harper has provided a good first step moving the party towards the centre to appear as a government in waiting. The next few steps may prove to be a little more challenging.