Surprises aside, all indications point to the Liberals cowering to avoid an election. The reasoning is obvious, hardly optimal conditions for an election fight, the notion of "suicide" a common reference. However, if the Liberals pass now, then when and why?
The assumption, things can and will improve, a leap of faith, that is purely theoretical. Things may well improve, but even if you buy into this proposition, you must acknowledge that inaction now also brings negative consequence. No sane person could argue that Dion and the Liberal brand doesn't take a hit by allowing the government to stand, that is just a self-evident truth. Therefore, those that argue we wait must accept the short term damage to a party already reeling. The now is sacrificed for the potential tomorrow.
I posted the above picture because it speaks to the essence of Dion and his mandate, following the leadership convention. The color is key, and the issues at hand challenge Dion at the core. All the talk of "poison pills", or lack thereof, are fine and dandy, but there is no question that the Conservatives have completely rejected the Liberal vision on the environment. Last time I checked, the environment was the number one issue with Canadians. Last time I checked, the environment was the centerpiece for all things Dion. Last time I checked, everyone agreed that the environment was a Conservative weakspot, that would be a key issue in any campaign. With all these realities well established, it is hard to see another opportunity on the horizon, wherein Dion can exploit the issue, should he decide to sit on his hands in the present. By all accounts, Dion seems to agree, which is why he remains one of the few election "hawks" within the caucus.
Moving forward, the questions are as follows. Will Liberal prospects improve in Quebec? Answer, a resounding NO, not anytime soon, to think so fails to acknowledge the circumstance. Will Liberal fundraising improve? I just read a piece today which says the latest fundraising will show a growing gap with the Conservatives and I seriously doubt avoiding confidence motions will be a big draw with the faithful in the future. Will Harper flounder? With a gigantic surplus, the promise of the "largest tax decrease in Canadian history" looming, don't expect the government to do the Liberals any favors. If the Conservatives are able to put serious coin into the pockets of Canadians, as opposed to the spending spree of the previous budget, common sense tells us it is a plus for their fortunes. If "suicide" is your word, trying fighting an election campaign against a cutting taxes theme. Will Dion improve? I suspect Dion might, and grow into the job, much like his predecessors. The only problem, this will occur as Dion is simulateneously bombarded with cries of weak leadership and irrelevance, as he constantly navigates and compromises, desperately trying to avoid an election.
I understand the situation is dire, but I'm of the mindset that this is reality for the time being. When you factor in the further damage done in compromising, it is hard to see any net benefits, on balance. Do we wait until 2009, two years of ineffective opposition, two years of quasi majority rule? When will the "winning conditions" materalize? I don't see it, and all the while principles and credibility are tarnished.