The likeliest timing for that would be June.The two views denote the tension between election readiness and opportune timing. I'm of the view that the Liberals are wrong to fixate on optimal readiness, at the expense of other factors. The question really becomes- can the Liberals fight an election in three months? The answer is yes, there are tools available that will allow the party to spend the maximum, and logistically it is possible. Obviously, the more time, the better, on several scores, but it's entirely possible, and it becomes even more attractive when you plug in the possibility of diminishing returns in other areas.
But Queen's University political scientist Kathy Brock said the official Opposition won't be in financial shape for an election before fall.
Fundraising, which staggered under Stephane Dion, is recovering under leader Michael Ignatieff, but not fast enough for a quick election, she said.
However, Jean-Marc Leger, president of Leger Marketing, said forcing an election after June "will be too late" from the Liberals' point of view.
"All the winning conditions are there" for Ignatieff, said Leger, particularly in Quebec.
The government is largely in reactionary mode at the moment, and that dynamic won't change in the near future. There is a danger in giving the Conservatives a few months to retool over the summer, particularly when you consider that Liberal prepardness doesn't occur in isolation. We are being bombarded with staggeringly bad news on the economy, to the point of saturation. One has to wonder if future bad news, that has any hint of relatively mild, will be greeted with some optimism. Numbers and statistics are funny things, because they are constantly measured against other moments in time. If we begin to see indications that the downturn has slowed, a sense that we've reached bottom, certain indicators show lessening carnage, then the Conservative mood will change from defensive, to arguing light at the end of the tunnel. Assuming the economy will be a gift for the Liberals until late fall or early next year is largely a crap shoot, nobody really knows and the prognostications are varied. What we do know with certainty, there will be no silver linings for the next few months, the first and second quarter is largely a known quantity. This reality makes June attractive, in terms of opportunism.
You also can't assume that Ignatieff will enjoy this blitz of media, and largely favorable reviews for an extended period of time. On top of that, we already see signs of the Conservative smear machine, just waiting to pounce, if conditions change somewhat, expect a rash of negativity. Isn't it astute to recognize that timing is the only hesitation, and react prior?
I see a bounce for the Liberals in the lower mainland after the convention, if history is any guide. I see a Liberal leader who enjoys rare air at the moment, largely left to himself to define, clearly positioned to compete with Harper. I see a Conservative inner circle that's unsteady and recalibrating, a government simply trying to ride out the bad news. I see opportunity, and while it's true that time is our friend on one level, that may well be offset by other factors. June deserves serious consideration.