Will they or won't they? Another column today in The Hill Times, which argues Dion has been to told to "cool it" when it comes to fall election talk. The article then asserts what I think is a ridiculous theory, that the Liberals were spooked by last week's Conservative lovefest in Quebec. Yes, a co-ordinated partisan retreat has led some to get cold feet, as though Liberals will run because Harper dared them, in front of an orchestrated champaign style rally. Please.
IMHO, I take a fall election as a given now. I don't really care what Dion says the rest of the summer, because ultimately I don't see the benefit in telegraphing intentions. What some define as "hedging", I see as shrewd, pulling back creates an air of uncertainty, even if the intent remains the same. Politically, I don't see any reason to continual beat the election drum, some comments were made, now its best just to "sell" and wait until Parliament returns.
If you read between the lines here, it's hard to see how the Liberals avoid a fall election. Any fair observer would have to agree, that whatever their opinion of The Green Shift, Dion has succeeded in reshaping his image somewhat. The spectre of Liberals sitting on their hands throughout the last session of Parliament has faded, the image of Dion as "weak" obviously tempered, replaced by a bold policy that has finally given Dion his voice. Again, you can argue the wisdom in the policy, but you have to acknowledge some positive developments for Dion, in terms of perceptions.
Fast forward to the fall, and Harper introduces confidence motions, daring the Liberals to fight an election. How any strategist could conclude the Liberals can take a pass, again cowering in the face of a challenge, is beyond me. That is a strategy to undo any of the rehabiliation of Dion, in fact this summer would translate into a complete waste of time. I'm of the mind that the Liberals have now passed the point of no return, this is the policy, these are the frames, for better or worse, it's now or never. Backing away now amounts to electoral suicide, Dion will be hammered, more rounds of "discontent" as an idle media reasserts an old theme, hard to find any positives for the Liberals, apart from some faint hope that the Conservatives shoot themselves in the foot.
So, as the media debates whether Dion is backing down, will he or won't he, I'm just operating on the assumption that the election is coming this fall. I don't see any other option at this point, the time has come, those arguing further delay seem detached from reality. Dion should "cool it", but in the end, don't read anything in to what amounts to political necessity.