Sunday, February 25, 2007

No Election?

It might be the first time all the parties agree on something- who really wants a spring election? The only realistic scenario at present, Harper delivers a feel good budget, receives a marked bump in the polls, Charest is re-elected and he decides to roll the dice. Otherwise, it looks more and more that no party can look at the current landscape and desire a vote.

People discount polls, and I appreciate the reasoning, however I have no doubt that party strategists pour over the results on a daily basis. Usually polls will cause optimism in one camp, and disappointment in another. However, if you look at the present numbers on balance, it is hard to find any party that can crow. Dion's leadership numbers are dreadful, there has been some erosion in support, but Liberals are basically in a deadheat with the government. The Conservatives enjoy some favorable internals, but that hasn't manifested itself at all, they are largely stuck. The NDP has no traction, and has consistently lagged behind their election percentage. The Bloc's numbers in Quebec have fallen, the circumstance of a Quebec election works against them, and it is reasonable to think they would lose seats if an election were imminent. The only party that has any momentum is the Green Party, and that is largely irrelevant, since they have no voice in an election call.

I was firmly in the spring election camp, but I'm starting to believe that all the hype will turn out to be just that. Unless a party thinks it can advance its fortunes, then why bother? Harper has some opportunities in the near future, but there are many ifs attached. The Liberals clearly need some time to let Dion get his bearings, you don't hear any election talk from Liberal quarters anymore do you? Everything could change in a week, and probably will, but right now, an early election call looks unlikely.


Monkey Loves to Fight said...

It is true that no party is guaranteed to gain from an election. The NDP and Bloc Quebecois would likely lose seats. While the Liberals could win the next election, it is still not a guarantee and although losing seats seems unlikely on the whole, the Ontario numbers do suggest it could happen, although not necessarily will happen. For the Conservatives a majority is definitely out of the picture, while losing the next election is a very real possibility since because they pile up huge majorities in Alberta, being a few points ahead could still result in winning fewer seats than the Liberals.

More importantly, the number of ridings that are vulnerable now means the Liberals could win anywhere between 80-140 seats, while the Tories anywhere between 90-140 seats.

Anonymous said...

Cutting the GST another point. Billions of dollars worth of other tax cuts. These are highlights that are doable today but may not be doable any time in the future. These are Conservative issues. They will be able to control the focus of the election with these issues.

In a minority, an election could be forced almost anytime the House of Commons is sitting. In that case, the Conservatives realize they may not have control over the focus of the election.

Expect the Conservatives to force an election when they can control the focus of the election.

All eyes on the Quebec election.

Quebec Liberal majority, Harper is in the driver's seat and an election will happen before June. Federal Conservative majority.

Quebec PQ majority, Harper is NO LONGER in the driver's seat. In fact, the great swing province, Ontario, will turn Liberal over night because Dion will be considered more capable to deal with separtists than Harper. Federal Liberal majority.

No Quebec Liberal or Quebec PQ majority. It's anyone's guess.

Steve V said...


All your points support no election?

"Expect the Conservatives to force an election when they can control the focus of the election."

That's the wildcard, the Conservatives may see the budget as their best chance to "control the focus". There is no question the Conservatives are losing control in Parliament, if the budget comes with an uptick in the polls, there will be some temptation. However, you could have a situation where the opposition props up the government until a time of its choosing.

ottlib said...

The Quebec election is the key.

If Mr. Charest wins, Stephen Harper will engineer his own defeat.

If the PQ wins then the BQ will want to use that momentum to gain more seats for itself and they will not support the government.

The Liberals will join them because they would be able to use Mr. Harper's and Mr. Charest's machinations together against him.

Either way I still see an election in May.

BTW, Mr. Charest is in the same position Mr. Martin was in last year. Hanging on to a slim lead in the polls but facing an electorate where over 60% say they want change. As well, Mr. Charest is very unpopular with fracophones. It is going to be a long month for him.

Anonymous said...


You and everybody else keeps crowing about "engineering their own defeat" and some kind of smoke and mirrors scenario.

Either come up with something that makes sense or drop it. The government can NOT defeat itself.

A minorty party has no control over how the house votes, period.

The other parties have propped the CPC up since the last election and will continue as long as one or more of them sees an advantage in either the legislation or (more cynically), delays.

Either way, Harper can only engineer his own defeat by bringing outrageous legislation to the table.

Not bloody likely.

That being said, as an independent tory supporter, there SHOULD be an election. If there isn't, this house will continue to drag out law and order legislation, and senate reform. It will refuse to renew the ATA clauses, and ultimately force a vote taking Canada out of Afghanistan, regardless of NATO's (or Afghanistan's) needs. Dion is now firmly fishing off the left bank with the BQ and the NDP. There is no way CPC can pass chunks of its programming as long as Dion whips his caucus.

I expect some bizarre and costly day care bill to come oozing up from the left bank of the lake.


Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I suspect in Quebec we will see a minority government. I guess the question is what type of minority will it be and if the PQ wins a minority, but the Liberals and ADQ decide to form a coalition, how will the public respond.

Mississaugapeter - I think a majority for either party is out of the picture, although I agree if the PQ wins, it will be a huge boost for Dion as I think he is even stronger on National Unity than the environment. If Charest wins, it will help Harper a lot and make defeating him harder, but he still could be defeated if enough time between the Quebec election and the federal election elapses.

Steve V said...


Don't you outline a scenario where the Tories can engineer their own defeat? Parliament doesn't work anymore, we need to go to the people and force the matter from this standpoint. If Harper truly desires his own defeat, he can make it happen.

Scotian said...

"There is no way CPC can pass chunks of its programming as long as Dion whips his caucus." Tomm 12:32 PM, February 25, 2007

Wow, who knew that the government's agenda relied on the Official Opposition not opposing via the use of whipped votes! No wonder it's not Harper's fault but the Liberals, they are daring to whip their caucus unlike all the other parties including the government...oh wait a minute all the parties whip their caucuses quite frequently and therefore this is considered normal. So in other words Tomm is lambasting the Liberals for doing exactly as they are supposed to because they don't support Harper's agenda yet it is their fault because Harper is unable to overcome the whipped votes of a 102 MPs in a House of 308. Yes, that makes a lot of sense...not.

Sorry Tomm, comments like this undercut your claims of being an independent Conservative voter to me, and I suspect others as well. You made a nonsensical argument here equating Liberal/Dion whipping as some sort of bad thing yet you completely ignored the history of whipping in the other parties, especially the one led by the man you support, Harper. That is dishonest reasoning and inherently deceptive and is patently partisan in nature and not rooted in anything resembling reality.

rockfish said...

Harpor's focus seems to be mainly on attacking Dion's character and manipulating the public opinion on specific issues -- Boo! I see a terrorist! Aha! I'm a better leader -- booya! He then plays the ol' carnival game of pulling out some Reform/aliance idea (judges, cuts to social services) and as a diversion, throws some outlandish accusation that the media chases like a ball.
He's a tricky one. Can't be trusted to play politics in the old straight-up manner. Instead, cutting page after page from the republican scare-and-dodge tactic. Framing your opponent, a war hero, as not a war hero. Framing your critic as a whiner, and then outing his wife the CIA agent. Fabricating and exaggerating stories to create fear and loathing. All these have worked for BuSh, yet each should have been able to end his reign. One's a treasonable offence, the other seems obviously impeachable (and hanging in other cultures)... The other is just morally ugly.
How do we prepare for more such tactics? I doubt it will be enough just to point at the bully and say 'He isn't a leader.' He's already lowered everyone's expectations by showing his promises are actually 'same-old, same-old.'
Must find a way through the lies and deceipt and fast.
I'm thinking his window is either after a Charest win, or in the lead-in to McGuinty's vote, since the Ont Libs will be under immense heat and people will be confusing the two.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I think if anything the Ontario vote isn't likely to influence the federal vote, rather than who is in power federally when the Ontario election is called will influence its outcome. As long as Harper is PM, the Ontario Liberals can paint John Tory as being as right wing as Harper (even though he isn't), while if the Liberals are in power federally, people might feel more comfortable going PC since Ontario doesn't seem to like having the parties of the same ideology in power at the same time. In addition the election will be seen as repudiation of neo-conservatism not of progressive conservatism and John Tory can argue he represents the progressive conservative tradition not neo-conservative one.