Last week, at a quasi-emergency meeting of the Liberal shadow Cabinet, the need to go to the polls as soon as possible was debated, recognized, and there was a general consensus that the Conservative immigration reform plan would be the trigger. According to Liberal sources, Canadians should go to the polls in June. This seems to be the plan.
If the Liberal plan holds—and the "if" is necessary considering the twists of the last few months—the final vote against the budget will take place during the first half of May and Canadians would go to the polls in June.
Pretty much sourced from the same meeting of the Liberal shadow cabinet, as earlier reported, but the secondary confirmation adds weight.
One of the angles for an election, that I haven't really discussed, revolves around Dion's hold on the leadership. If, the Liberals continue to abstain, and we go into the summer break without an election, one has to wonder if Dion will face fresh attacks. There is already talk of the Conservatives pulling the same strategy as last summer, proroguing Parliament, MP's coming back mid-fall. With a potential long gap, that could mean Parliament reconvenes, with the Liberal convention in December looming. While there is no leadership vote planned, the event could still be risky for Dion politically. Fast forward to the late fall, and the prospects of the October 2009 mandated election seem plausible. Would that reality, a perceived pause, give the anti-Dion crowd some wind to argue for replacement?
The article I linked, includes some outlandish quotes from the usual anonymous Liberal:
"Of course the best for the Liberals," a party strategist told The Hill Times last week, "would be the removal of Dion before the vote and, even if this development is highly unlikely, it doesn't mean that some Liberals have completely given up their hopes."
I'm not putting any stock into these quotes, the thoughts of moving against Dion before a potential June election are so ridiculous that you have to wonder about the source. That said, a long summer break, with the convention starting to surface on the horizon, provides idle minds with a potential game plan.
I guess the question, can Dion afford to wait for an election? Does a delay bring risk, when you are dealing with an objectively demoralized base, scant fundraising, a general malaise?