Travers makes the case for a fall election in his latest column. Yesterday, we discussed just that possibility here, and I see a powerful argument from the government side.
I see plenty of pitfalls for the Conservatives if they do a 2008 redux, basically creating a crisis where none existed, forcing an election. To assume the government can pull that off again, without any blow back, fails to consider recent events. I would argue that the Conservatives would suffer the same polling fate as the Liberals did last fall, should they arbitrarily push for an election. The appetite for an election hasn't grown in the slightest, and I see little reason to believe that changes in the near future.
In addition, Harper has expended all available political capital with his prorogation move. Should Harper emerge from the summer break and dissolve Parliament, any campaign will start with his government on the defensive, the same issues that have plagued him recently will be revisited. The slightest perception that Harper is trying to avoid accountability, the Conservatives will pay dearly.
I believe the Conservatives would much prefer to go in the fall, as opposed to next spring or later. Unpopular choices are on the horizon, deferred until the next budget, to avoid that presentation, best to secure another mandate first. When you consider the various timings, the Conservatives logically conclude sooner is better than later.
The only way the Conservatives could pull off a fall election, if they can avoid overtly chiming. In other words, the government needs to bait the opposition, but no so blatantly that their motivations are beyond obvious. I would look for certain new initiatives that push the opposition, without the appearance of poison pill. A very subtle dance, that provides mutual culpability, allowing for a dysfunctional Parliament that requires another mandate. This calculation means that the fall session must begin, you can't dissolve prior, it has to be a reactive development.
I'm with Travers, and I believe the PMO is already playing out different scenarios to bring about an election, without appearing terribly eager. Within this want, maybe an eventual climbdown on the detainee issue, give enough that the "wheels are in motion", but not far enough process wise, that it interferes with a fall election. I could actually see a surprise proposal in the offing, towards the end of this spring session, if the Conservatives conclude fall is their best moment.