Despite unsubstantiated assumptions, if Duceppe is offering more than just bluster, then the Liberals really have no choice but to vote against the government. In a scenario where the NDP and Bloc reject the throne speech, it is tactically improbable that the Liberals could prop up Harper, without negative consequence.
Prior to the by-elections, Dion had ramped up the rhetoric and was positioning the Liberals as anything but conciliatory when it came to the core issues, that could trigger an election. It seems logical, that the Conservatives strong showing in the by-elections, will translate into more rigid vocabulary in the throne speech, which leaves even less room for compromise. Within that environment, election readiness and organizational problems take a back seat to political necessity. Just imagine the howls from Layton, the new-found credibility of Duceppe, if the Liberals are left in supporting the government. The appearance of a toothless tiger, scared to face the people, more consumed with survival than defence of policy is real.
The Liberals will vote with the other parties, if that actually happens (Duceppe has been known to change his mind quickly), because they can't afford to look irrelevant, emboldening the other opposition parties. Abstaining from the vote is a strategic non-starter, because the optics are still the same, as a matter of fact the term "gutless" receives context. I don't really see a choice.
Despite problems, it is hard to imagine things drastically improving for the Liberals in the next few months, the relative landscape not as bad as the last week assumes. Heading into an election, tied in the polls, isn't exactly disaster. Whether illusion or not, the prospect of success is at least plausible, particularly when you consider people's hesitation with Harper. You could go so far as too argue that an election provides Dion the opportunity to "connect" with Canadians, which he desperately needs to do. An election also deals with the "what do the Liberals stand for?" criticism, because we would finally see some fleshy policy. Ideal conditions, no, but there is enough there to justify bringing the government down, especially when the alternative is isolation and the visual of collusion with the government.
My dad made a interesting comment when I was talking to him last night about how a lot of things this fall wont work in the Conservatives favor, like Harper's UN speech, the ConAd scandal, and the rising loonie to name a few things. His theory was that as a result a fall election might benefit the Liberals, if they all pull in the same direction.
I haven't decided if I agree with him yet, but I thought it was an interesting theory in any case.
I hope you're right, Steve. It would be nice to see the Libs stronger before an election, but as you mentioned previously, they really need to show where they stand on issues. Harper has managed to put them in a corner far too often where they feel they have to choose the lesser of two evils. He has been, in a manner, directing their actions. The Libs can't keep following that path and need to take a strong stance, even if it means going into another election.
They need to show they can lead, take chances despite polls. Dancing around Stevie's trickery is just another form of following his lead.
If you take Dion at his word, the policy is there, just a question of timing, so on that front the Liberals look prepared.
Another point, in reference to Miranda, if not now, then when? With a surplus that looks to be ridiculous, Harper can shower voters with goodies and the Cons would see that as their best opportunity to force an election.
Better this fall than last Spring, that's for sure.
Word is the Libs are once again searching for a campaign plane. Remember Jason's #7 though. I doubt he's the only one thinking that way.
I guess we'll see who blinks first.
What choice do the Liberals have - they are being backed into a corner.
Did anyone watch CTV's Question Period and Jean Lapierre? I don't know if I heard him right, my phone rang, but did he say that Charest would love to talk to Layton about Mulcair and that Mulcair was a loose cannon? I don't know if I heard it right.
Another thing that might help the Liberals - Michael Byers new book. This guy (very very credible and respected) will be interviewed on CPAC tonight (Sun Sept 23) by Ken Rockburn and his views on Harper are very interesting to say the least. It will be on at 7 ET / 5 PT.
Harper can wait until the budget in the spring. Of course, Bob and Martha will be in the House of Commons by then and the Grits will probably be stronger.
Dion will definitely get stronger during a campaign. His political life is dependent on it. He also knows that there is a leadership review soon afterward.
Note also that Harper knows that Duceppe can become more of a millstone as time pasts. The Cons collaborating with the separatists give Dion his biggest ammo.
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