And most governments usually find themselves trailing in the polls after one year, once the honeymoon with the electorate has ended, the first promises have been broken or delayed, and the first scandals erupted.
So it should come as little surprise, with a possible spring election in the offing, that the Tories will be combining the first-year shuffle with the pre-election shuffle:
Cabinet shuffle speculation has risen in the past few days in Ottawa, with Environment Minister Rona Ambrose at the top of the list of who's supposed to be moved or jettisoned.
The arrival of a new minister, according to Conservative sources, would coincide with what's being called a "relaunch" of the Tories' environmental plan, which was widely panned when it was unrolled this fall.
Now that the Commons is on its holiday break until the end of January — it adjourned last night — all political attention in Ottawa is shifting to how Harper wants to make his government election-ready for 2007.
With the Green party surging in the polls and a new Liberal leader, Stéphane Dion, elected on the strength of a concerted, environmental push within his party, pressure is building on the Harper Conservatives to grapple with a perceived vulnerability on all things green.
Even former prime minister Brian Mulroney, an ally and infrequent adviser to Harper, gave an interview to CBC Radio this week and said the Tories were at risk of letting Liberals run away with the environment issue. Mulroney — named the "greenest prime minister" in a ceremony this year, with the current prime minister at his side — not so subtly said that Harper had to show some improvement on his environmental agenda, because it's important to the middle-class voters the Tories need.
Anyone who questions the orthodoxy of the Kyoto accord, however tentatively, will be damned in the press for heresy. Ambrose could have been the most articulate saleswoman of the Clean Air Act, backed by all the facts and figures, and it wouldn't have made a difference.
Her successor as Environment Minister will face the same pressure: accept Kyoto in its entirety, or else.
Source: Toronto Star