The gay-marriage debate landed back in Parliament on Wednesday with a thud that could shake Tory support on the religious right.
''I think there's going to be a lot of confusion and, when the smoke clears, a resentful attitude as well,'' said Mary Ellen Douglas of the Campaign Life Coalition, a socially conservative anti-abortion group.
Douglas said Prime Minister Stephen Harper has robbed voters of a fair chance to revisit same-sex marriage, which was legalized last year.
''It doesn't help anything,'' she said of a Conservative motion debated Wednesday that has little chance of passing when it goes to a vote Thursday The motion calls on the government ''to introduce legislation to restore the traditional definition of marriage without affecting civil unions and while respecting existing same-sex marriages.''
Civil unions? Douglas doesn't remember the Conservative election platform - which promised ''a truly free vote on the definition of marriage'' - saying anything about civil unions.
She and many others had hoped for a straightforward free vote on whether MPs wanted to reopen the gay marriage debate.
Instead, they got a crafty motion that has been lambasted by critics as a hollow bit of political mischief that was engineered to fail.
Harper has managed the impossible, uniting the political spectrum in universal condemnation of his transparent hyper-politicism. Harper is so obsessed with checking another item off his to-do list, he seriously miscalculated the obvious fallout. No bill, just a motion, that you know is destined to fail.
The good news for Canadians, another concrete example of a government that conducts itself like a marketing group. "Promises made, promises kept". This cynical attempt begs the question- if you are genuinely a government that deserves re-election, why do you need to snow the public with duplicity? The answer is increasingly obvious, things are not as they appear. The next election will be an exercise in the Canadian public's ability to distinguish authenticity from mirage. The Conservatives are clearly banking on disinterest, within the blanket of targeted propaganda, to bring them the ultimate prize.