TORONTO, OTTAWA — The game plan was good: Force an early election on the economy that the Conservatives would easily win, or take public subsidy money away from the opposition parties, especially the bankrupt Liberals, who are $3-million in debt.
It was a perfect fit with Stephen Harper's war of attrition. The Prime Minister is known as a man who gets up in the morning with a determination to destroy his political opponents.
The inclusion in the government's economic statement Thursday of a measure to end subsidies to political parties for every vote they earn was as popular inside the Conservatives' parliamentary caucus as it was a red flag to an infuriated opposition.
The miscalculation was that Mr. Harper and his inner circle did not believe that all three opposition parties – the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois – would agree to defeat the Conservative minority government in the House of Commons and offer a coalition as an alternative.