Spring Election (or not) Speculation

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KenS
Spring Election (or not) Speculation

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KenS

A thread that included the topic just closed.

Topic also gets included in the currently running polling thread. But I dont think we have one of those either.

The tidbit that I wanted to toss out: L. Ian MacDonald mentions not even as the main topic of the story, that the Quebec government wants HST harmonization in the Spring budget, and the same $2.2billion plum that goes with it. Looks like they will get it. And if they do, the BQ will vote for the Budget.

Bingo.

I knew that harmonization was out there, but the implications for federal politics I had missed.

My expectation has long been that Harper will want out of a Spring election. And until recently I thought that meant one was unlikely. But I ad begun to wonder if there was an escape hatch they would be willing to use. But this one would be no sweat to use.

 

Pogo Pogo's picture

It will also play into the provincial politics.  If HST is so bad why is everyone jumping at the chance to get on board?  I wouldn't be surprised if the HST passes the referendum (if we make it that far) with the anger being saved for the Liberals in the following election.

KenS

I think people are particulary capable of massively contradictory and inconsistent responses around HST harmonization.

So if it is pretty easily accepted in Quebec [largely because its a different situation than BC and Ontario], I dont see that having any effect in BC.

Life, the unive...

They key to why governments are jumping at the HST can be found in the opening post.  2.2 billion dollars.  For cash-strapped governments, that want goodies to spread around, it is a no-brainer.  Whether or not it is good socio-economic policy is a far different question.

KenS

Further to my thoughts on when for an election:

Spring Budget: maybe pretty easy for the Conservatives to put that until later.

Fall 2011: no need for confidence votes. Only there if the opposition parties bring them. [Barring an unlikely turnaround of the lay of the land, such that Harper sees a majority close enough a possibility to give it a shot.]

From there, we arent far off from  the mandated October 2012 election date. So we start getting back into the realm where those wanting to trigger an election are likely going to have to provide a compelling reason for it.

Conclusion: maybe we will only be having an election before October 2012 if the opposition parties decide they will all support a non-confidence vote. Or the initiator thinks they can finesse the balker(s) into voting Harper out. But I'm beginning to think that gambit can never work, least of all when if the Bloc has no need for seeing the plug pulled, Harper just has to give Quebec a few more benies.

ottawaobserver

Because of the many provincial elections in the hopper for the Fall of 2011, I believe if there is no spring election this year, there won't be one until the Fall of 2012. Rationale: no point having one in the spring of 2012 if the fixed election date is for the fall of that same year.

The Bloc might support the budget, but they might not. If Duceppe is really interested in the Quebec job, then he has to get the federal election out of the way before his federal successor can be chosen.

Ignatieff really has no choice about going for a spring election. His party is getting pretty fed up with him, and I think he's getting fed up with the job. I think he just wants the bloody thing over with so he can move on. By all but confirming he'll reject the budget, he's just given Layton all the airtime between now and the end of February ... and unlike Iggy, Jack knows what to do with that to work to the NDP's advantage. I do believe the Conservatives want to go as well, if they can, and certainly they're giving every evidence of getting ready to do so, even as the PM is preparing the deniability for saying they don't want an election.

No-one is expecting much of Iggy, but now no-one is expecting as much of the NDP because of the bad news cycle before Xmas. I think Jack is a shrewder tactician and better performer, so he can make better use of the low expectations to reverse momentum. Surprisingly we even got some hints from the mainstream media at the end of the year that, for example, they are prepared to say Jack was right all along on Afghanistan, that the way he handled the long-gun registry issue will have some long-term benefits for people's views of his leadership style, and that he has a much stronger caucus who all punch above their weight (see last weekend's CTV Question Period; only Jane Taber who hates the NDP was not really on board with that analysis).

So, while there may still be something that yet gets in the way of it, I still think the train has left the station, and people are inexorably moving towards an election launch, regardless of how it comes about.

Centrist

Pogo wrote:

It will also play into the provincial politics.  If HST is so bad why is everyone jumping at the chance to get on board?  I wouldn't be surprised if the HST passes the referendum (if we make it that far) with the anger being saved for the Liberals in the following election.

For a prolonged period of time opinion polls showed that roughly 85% were opposed to the HST in BC. The ARS poll from last week shows that HST opposition has dropped to 54%. Go figure. And, strangely enough, you may actually be right if that trend continues over the next 6 months.

NorthReport

Harper is seeking that elusive brass ring of a majority government, and as long as we are facing yet another Cons minority, Harper will not pull the plug.

Jack has always said he wants to make Parliament work. If Harper offers enough to the NDP, or any of the opposition parties, the Cons will be in power for a while longer.

 

What the Liberals say they will do is irrelevant. 

JKR

A reason Harper should fear an election:

Nothing wrong with coalition governments: GG

Quote:

OTTAWA -- The new Governor General says he sees nothing wrong or illegitimate with coalition governments -- something Prime Minister Stephen Harper has attacked for being "undemocratic."

Gov. Gen. David Johnston told QMI Agency he's been busy brushing up on constitutional governments in case he is called upon to navigate a choppy political crisis.

"Any governor general who has that role in a constitutional system like ours, from time to time will be confronted with questions where there is an element of discretion," he said.

Johnston won't say whether he would have saved Harper's government in December 2008, as former governor general Michaelle Jean did by granting the prorogation of Parliament so Harper could avoid a confidence vote.

But, he said, he is learning from the past and will seek advice, preferably in advance of being called to make any decision.

...

Johnston said Canada -- like many democratic regimes -- has had experiences with coalition-type governments in the past.

"I think that most jurisdictions that have a system of first-past the-post or proportional representation will from time to have time have coalitions or amalgamation of different parties and that's the way democracy sorts itself out," he said.

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

The logic  of the situation calls for a spring 2011 election.  PM Harper has been a master of parliamentary politics for years.getting through budget after budget and winning confidence vote after confidence vote, usually with the backing of the Liberals, rarely, but on occasion with the backing of the Bloc or NDP.   At some point his luck or his smarts has to run out and that will probably  happen is the 2011 budget.  The Official Opposition Liberals have to vote against whatever Flaherty brings down. Harper will offer little to persuade the Bloc or the NDP to let it pass and no one will wnat to be responsible for propping up the government. . Its not that anyone will want an election then, its just that the time has come for one.

Policywonk

As always, there may be wild cards that will change the political landscape to make an election more or less likely. The price of crude oil passed $90 recently and there are rumblings that it may break $100 soon. Whatever the cause, higher energy prices will have a socio-economic impact. I agree that a spring election is not a given, and if it doesn't happen then, if may not happen until 2012. However the argument that if an election is required by fall of 2012 so an election in spring of 2012 is unlikely doesn't hold, as either the Conservatives or the opposition parties may feel they have an advantage at the time that may not last.

KenS

By the same token, the flip side of this also works:

peterjcassidy wrote:

Its not that anyone will want an election then, its just that the time has come for one.

If there is no election early in 2011, as we reach each succesive election window, even if no party except the Conservatives does NOT want an election... it can easily happen that no one sees a clear advantage in going now. So that if even if there is no sentiment against an election, we end up muddling along to the one everyone knows will happen- October 2012.

And as to it happening soon, that is where I dont think Peter's otherwisee correct observation holds. If the Conservatives do not see a majority within likely grasp.... which we know is not likely to shift in such an eye blink...  then the Conservatives are not going to say "might as well, doesnt get better." A deal with the Bloc is not that hard, and they can swallow the politics of it. 

Life, the unive...

I think a spring election is more likely than not.  For me the wild card is the Bloc.  I don't see the Liberals being able to yet again get sudden onset House vote fever.  At the same time I don't see the Cons being willing to offer enough to the NDP to get them to vote along side them, to sit out or what have you.   The price just seems too steep, because the timing is much different than with the EI top up issue and I can't see the NDP settling for baubles given the relative party standings and potential election momenteum and the amount of cash in the bank and loans secured.  I also think Layton, according to the polls, has enough credibility to say - "that's just not enough for Canadians Mr. Harper, your agenda is kaput" and not be punished for not voting for the budget even if it means an election.  Layton has made his case against the Conservatives, Ignatieff far less so.  (Ignateiff's case seems to only be the old 'we're not them' routine that grew stale about 2 election cycles ago and not where the great centre of independent voters is right now.  I just don't see a throw the bums out momentuem building up as I do in say Ontario provincial politics.)

The Bloc though- hard to really say.  I can see them being a fairly cheap dance partner.  But I think their short term interest is bettered through an earlier election given Conservative Quebec level polling.

So if I had to guess I would say about a 75% per cent chance of election sign showers.

NorthReport

No plan to topple Tories over budget: Liberal MP Laughing

 

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/politics/plan+topple+Tories+over...

KenS

Nothing to do with when the election even might me- just laughing at Liberal spinning. Getting feverish, with nothing at all going on. [But I guess you can convince yourself that is when people will pay attention.]

There is the story just above- where the Liberals are saying they wont necessarily vote the Budget down. Read it all, and NOTHING has changed. They just belatedly rwalized that it isnt very plausible Iggy going around saying 'we're not like Jack Layton saying we will vote a Budget down we have not seen yet." While he is saying just that. Duh.

Thats not such a simple piece of spin in itself to be excecuting. And, at the same time, we have this. Where the Liberals supposedly want to fight the corporate tax cuts [which they scheduled while in government], but are "worried" about the NDP.

story wrote:

The left-leaning New Democratic Party has already said it wants the tax cuts canceled. But the NDP and the government do have some "common ground" on other budget-related items, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told Reuters earlier this month.

Flaherty's "pre-budget overtures" to the NDP worry the Liberals

The basis of this supposed concern for fighting corporate tax cuts being the spin they set in motion.

Too cute.

 

Life, the unive...

If this is Liberal spin all it makes them look is desperate and pathetic.  Bring on an election I say if that is their height of ability.

ottawaobserver

I tend to agree with Allen Gregg's conclusion on tonight's At Issue panel that the train has left the station on the budget for the Liberals, and they feel the have to vote it down or look weak ... but that this is will prove to be a very mistaken apprehension of the situation they're in. I also think Ignatieff has just about had enough, as I've said before, and wants it all over with sooner rather than later.

The only way the government is going to be defeated is if the three opposition parties combine to do so, and one of them misreads the situation in terms of what is in their true interest.

As to LTUAE's question about the Bloc, apparently the PQ has a leadership review scheduled for April after which, if Pauline Marois does not pass muster, Gilles Duceppe may want to be able to move quickly to seize the day. It would be hard for him to do that with a federal election hanging over the Bloc's shoulder. Thus, I'm inclined to believe that the Bloc might find it in their interest to vote down a budget presented at the end of February, in an early to mid-March confidence vote, that would result in an early April federal election.

Their release today attacking the NDP, which resulted in that Laura Stone story for the Post, was so sloppily executed in terms of the interview Regan gave in support of it. The media has already decided that Ignatieff said in his year-end interviews that he'll vote down the budget, and the release strongly hinted at that as well, trying to squeeze the NDP, but Regan back-pedalled so hard in the interview that Mulcair was easily able to move in for the kill.

Hurtin Albertan

On the radio driving home today, there was a year end blurb from my Conservative MP, saying they don't want a spring election.

I will go on the record saying no spring election.

Harper will play off one opposition party against the other 2 or vice versa or what the hey ever and stay in power for awhile longer.  Lowball the budget numbers in the spring and then try to hang on long enough to claim a huge success in defecit reduction in another year.

Life, the unive...

The only way the government is going to be defeated is if the three opposition parties combine to do so, and one of them misreads the situation in terms of what is in their true interest.

 

So OO do you have any read on who's "noninterest" a non-confidence vote and subsequent elecion would be? I tend to think the Liberals because I am of the firm belief that most Canadians still aren't all that familar with Ignatieff and when they actually focus on him numbers will fall for them, potentially sharply and fast. But I would be interested in your take.

ottawaobserver

I'd have to agree with you LTU. But it's tricky for them because later may be no better. Ignatieff is not getting any better at politics, and has not really improved his standing at all with the public, and I further agree with you that increased exposure is only going to make things worse.

Couple that with the fact half the caucus no longer really has their heart in it, realize they're not returning to government any time soon, and just want the next election out of the way so they can retire (too many stepping down now would create too many more potential Vaughans ... something I believe we're about to see repeated in Mississauga East-Cooksville and Lac-Saint-Louis).

Then there's the fact that the Liberal slate of new candidates is very weak, or has not been tested by local nomination meetings in many priority seats. And that by the party's own admission, they don't really know who their target supporters are, or where to find them. Which means that the next election is going to reveal a very rusty red machine under the flagging red tent. That will lead to some candidates deciding to freelance to save their own seat, which creates a spiral that pulls the central campaign off message, which creates even more doubt amongst the candidates ... and if there is one story our national political media knows how to cover, it's internal Liberal squabbles, and it's not like there won't be a million leaks from "anonymous Liberal strategists" to help that along.

Also, the Green Party story is so over with the national media. May is not going to be invited to the Leaders' Debate, and they are simply not going to provide extensive coverage of demonstrations insisting that she be included, this time, either. Demoralized Liberals who abandoned their party for the Greens last time won't view it as quite so righteous a decision this time, I don't believe. The evidence last time suggested that about half the stated Green Party support would switch NDP if they didn't vote Green, and in more and more ridings in southwestern Ontario (Essex, Brant, Huron-Bruce, Sarnia) for example that's going to look like a viable option. Plus, I think even the few Green Party activists remaining strongly dislike Ignatieff.

The NDP may have a fight on their hands to retain Sudbury, but Welland I think is fine, as are the other northern and northwestern Ontario ridings. Manitoba could be tricky with the provincial government getting on in its mandate, but Saskatchewan might compensate with 3 seats or so, particularly now that Layton's secured the cooperation and commitment of the provincial section there (something that was often lacking before when they were distracted by provincial affairs, as in 2000).

Hard to say about BC now. I don't have much feel for how the provincial developments could affect the federal scene. Dexter's rebounding in Nova Scotia, and I also sense that the Liberals' decision to put up Geoff Regan attacking the NDP means they're feeling a tad uncomfortable in Halifax West and Dartmouth as well.

I think Toronto will remain the last bastion of Liberal support, but ripe for the picking one election hence.

I'm wondering if the Liberals' strategy to try and rebuild their big red tent by rolling over the NDP on the way to victory (which mathematically won't bring them too much closer to a majority government), isn't really more about protecting many of their incumbents, and taking back Outremont (one of the very few seats they really care about winning back more than any others). It's pretty much guaranteed to leave the three parties short of seats needed to defeat a Throne Speech next time, but either they're really just trying to save the furniture, or else they actually believe this is what will work. No idea.

OK, I've prattled on long enough. What do you think?

Life, the unive...

I think it makes a lot of sense and I feel unworthy of even commenting on it!

ottawaobserver

Why would you feel that way, LTU? Just because I go on too long? I'll try to curtail the verbal diarrhea next time ;-)

Oh, I have a question for you about your neck of the woods. Any idea why the Liberal candidate in Simcoe-Grey stepped down (Andrea Matrosovs)? With Helena Guergis' situation in that riding, and Matrosovs being an Ignatieff favourite during the last campaign (he travelled their to campaign for her over and over), I would have thought they would make that a priority.

Also, what's the latest with the Liberal in Huron-Bruce, Charlie Bagnatto?

Life, the unive...

Because your knowledge and analysis far outstrips my own.  I'm too old to not see things for what they are.

Not sure about Simcoe-Grey.  It may just be that Helena has worked up so much local sympathy that someone like that figures they have better things they could acomplish elsewhere.  Helena seems to have been given a lot of sympathy, especially with women, with how she was being dealt with by her own party and media given the situation she was dealing with healthwise at the time of her meltdown at the airport and stuff.  My prediction is that she could probably win an independent run, even as problematic as her record is.

As for Bagnato- he has been invisible since his trouncing in the municipal election.  (Well really before that too)  I know that there are some Liberals trying to push him out, but so far no word.  I think he should stay in, but I might be biased.   In some ways the Liberals are in a very bad spot.  Unless they have a very high profile candidate to suddenly bring forward, they are screwed no matter what they do.  Push Bagnato and they admit weakness and I am sure both the NDP and Conservatives would jump hard on it.  Keep him in and they have weakness to deal with.   It is probably unlikely that they could find someone willing to run agianst an NDP campaign with Robertson as candidate.  Anyone they could find would probably be eaten alive in the crush between Robertson and Lobb unless they already have a strong personal network of support.  No one to fit that bill really comes to mind unless Greg McClinchy returned, but I doubt he would want to chance a race right now. 

So it looks like they are stuck with Bagnato and that likely means a fair bit of room for an up the middle run for Grant Robertson.  On that note I've had business reasons to do some traveling around the riding delivering farm stuff these past few weeks.  Someone has been working hard because in a lot of local coffee shops and hang outs I see these NDP flyer/card thingies hanging on the bulliten boards and so on talking about the NDP plan around home heating taxes.  They don't seem to be getting taken down either.  That tells me something, not sure what, but I think it is good.  Yet at the same time people don't even know who the Liberal candidate is a lot of the time.

The Greens have no candidate yet, and from my contacts who are Greens no one wants to run against Grant because of his record.  Probably be a warm body, but no real campaign to speak of so that jives with what you were saying above.

ottawaobserver

On the Liberals' botched media offensive against the NDP, the Sun Media story is actually even funnier than the Postmedia one:

Quote:

OTTAWA — It was Bizarro World on Parliament Hill Thursday, as the Liberals called on the NDP to cancel a Conservative corporate tax cut that comes into effect Saturday.

Liberal MP Geoff Regan railed against the government for failing on every front during the past year since Prime Minister Stephen Harper prorogued Parliament and accused them of starting 2011 with an unaffordable tax cut for wealthy corporations.

Regan also attacked the NDP for being in bed with the Conservatives for the upcoming budget and called on the New Democrats to cancel the tax cuts, which they have always vehemently opposed.

"The NDP must take a principled stand in favour of middle-class families by refusing to support the Conservatives' unaffordable corporate tax cut plan," Regan said, adding the Liberals will wait and see the budget first before deciding whether to vote against it.

"Choosing families over large corporations is a matter of principle that the NDP can't barter away."

But it's the Liberals under former prime minister Paul Martin who first ushered in the era of corporate tax cuts and the Grits have also been responsible for ensuring each of the past three Conservative budgets passed.

New Democrat Finance Critic Thomas Mulcair called Regan's attack, "absolutely mind-boggling.

"He wants the NDP, in the next 48 hours, to cancel a corporate tax reduction that they voted for and we voted against," Mulcair said. "Even in the world of Liberal hypocrisy, this one takes the cake.

"I think Mr. Regan's been into the egg nog."

Regan said the Liberal Party does support competitive corporate tax rates and acknowledged it was Martin who lowered the rate to where it is today, "but we did so only during a time of surplus.

"When our corporate tax rates are already competitive and we have the largest deficit in our history, now is not the time to borrow more to give to profitable corporations, especially not when there are more pressing priorities," he said.

"We can only hope that the NDP won't cave to thinly veiled Conservative budget bribery and will instead stand up for average Canadian families."

The current tax cut was announced in the budget this past March, which 30 Liberals abstained from voting against to ensure its passage.

In March 2008, only 11 Liberals showed up for the vote and in March 2009 only six Liberals — all from Newfoundland and Labrador — voted against the stimulus budget.

KenS

ottawaobserver wrote:

As to LTUAE's question about the Bloc, apparently the PQ has a leadership review scheduled for April after which, if Pauline Marois does not pass muster, Gilles Duceppe may want to be able to move quickly to seize the day. It would be hard for him to do that with a federal election hanging over the Bloc's shoulder. Thus, I'm inclined to believe that the Bloc might find it in their interest to vote down a budget presented at the end of February, in an early to mid-March confidence vote, that would result in an early April federal election.

Dont know about that. That scenario has a lot of weaknesses for Duceppe if he does want to do the switch. There is no perfect solution for spinning all those plates. But if not having a Spring election makes the most sense to the Bloc in its own right, they can take all the credit for what the Quebec government gets.

Not to mention that Duceppe personally gets the credit and cachet- simultaneously in practice running against both the Liberal government, and [not so subtely] being the very much ready to go alternative that makes it ever so easy for Pequistes to vote against Marois in the leadership review. I doubt she has under such conditions a chance of getting the de facto MINIMUM of at least 2/3 support. With Duceppe as the stalking horse de facto opponent, she could conceivably simply resign.

Once putting the Spring election out of the way, the chances for an election are tenuous anyway. And if the Bloc and the PQ are occupied, the BQ just doesnt go along with any opposition moves to unseat the government. Pretty simple. And they can extract a few more benies from the government in the process. 

The Bloc would have as much time as it needs, while in a solid position, for choosing a new Leader. They can expect the PQ to be marching towards a victory. And wheter or not they ultimately win, the Bloc has the optics of winners. Not the optics of floundering while seating and establishing a new Leader. Duceppes glow would be as intact for the Bloc during that period as if he was still the leader, if not more so.

What's not to like for them?

NorthReport

Federal spring election unlikely with Liberals floundering in polls

 

The reality is, an election in the spring would probably be the end of Ignatieff's career in Ottawa. The numbers all say he cannot defeat the Conservatives yet, if ever.

And if he loses the first try he's probably toast in the fractious, ruthless, knives-out world of Liberal succession politics.

The Liberals may certainly be able to force an election. They can drag the Tories and the electorate through a campaign costing us all $300 million or more.

But in the near future, they are not likely to dislodge the Tories from their minority rule, which at five years is now the longest in Canadian history and still counting.

How do we know that? A recent Decima poll trotted out to cheer up the party faithful showed the Liberals with 29 per cent of voter support, "only" two percentage points behind the Tories' 31 per cent.

These results were presented as showing the Liberals "closing the gap" with the Conservatives.

Previous polls, such as one performed by Nanos Research on Dec. 2, showed the Conservatives with a more believable 38-per-cent support to the Liberals' 31 per cent.

But the hidden reality behind those numbers is much worse for the Liberals than the seven-per-cent gap indicates. A much worse outcome is likely for the Liberals if an election were held soon, says pollster Nick Nanos, because of the way Tory and Liberal support is distributed nationally.

The distribution favours the Conservatives, Nanos says. Strip out Quebec, where the Bloc Quebecois have a wildly disproportionate share of the vote in rural ridings, and Tory support in the rest of Canada leaps up into the 40s.

Conservative support may have dropped in Quebec, and in the Prairies.

But it's up in Ontario and B.C., where the number of winnable seats is plentiful for the Tories. That makes 38-per-cent support for the Conservatives much more "efficient" for the party than the raw numbers suggest, Nanos says.

So is Ignatieff really likely to pull the trigger on a spring election, facing such numbers? Maybe if he's as sick and tired of federal politics as the average voter is, and wants out.

But it could well be that we're having the same election debate a year from now as we are today. If there's no spring election, there may not be a summer one -- we haven't been dragged to the polls in the middle of the summer for decades, and probably won't be again soon.

A fall election is also unlikely, since Ontario is facing a provincial election on Oct. 6.

As far as I know, there has not been a recent overlapping election in Ottawa and Ontario, home to a third of the seats in the House of Commons.

Overlapping federal and provincial elections could be held. But there would be a lot of confused voters -- and that wouldn't favour the Liberals, either.

 

 

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Federal+spring+election+unlikely+with+L...

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Tories soften tone with NDP ahead of 2011 budget

excerpt:

Mr. Mulcair said polling shows no party stands to gain now from an election.

JKR

Because of the Ontario election in Oct 2011, and the strong possibility of an election in Quebec in the fall of '11 or Spring of '12, there is only two possible election dates that make sense, Spring 2011 or the "fixed" election date set for Fall 2012.

One thing to consider is that by the fall of '12, unpopular Liberal governments in Canada's 3 largest provinces, Ontario, Quebec, and BC, will likely all be replaced. Having an election while these unpopular governments are still sitting would likely benefit the Cons, BQ, and NDP. No doubt Harper wants to have McGuinty in office during the next election and the BQ doesn't mind running against the Charest government.

Harper probably must not relish the idea of having the next election take place with a Hudak government in Ontario that has implemented  slash and burn policies during its first year in office, the traditional time new right-wing governments implement their harshest policies.

Also, an NDP government in BC would not likely help the federal NDP as the powerful corporate media here in BC will likely go after a new "socialist" government from the get go.  (Will the corporate media here in BC accuse the new NDP Premier of not being a Canadian and demand to see his long-term birth cirtificate?)

The best time for an election for the Cons, BQ, and NDP, seems to be ASAP. The Liberals seem best off if an election is held as late as possible. If an election isn't held this spring Ignatieff could read the writing on the wall and resign, knowing that the Cons are not going to call an election in the fall of '11 that would coincide with the Ontario provincial election.

Only time will tell....

ottawaobserver

I don't think it will ultimately be polls as much as other positioning elements that will drive the ultimate decision (and I'm now thoroughly bored with media commentary that seems increasingly unable to write about ANYTHING else).

As for what politicians say to the media about whether there should be an election, I discount all that along the lines of the bullet points I assembled before about the ironies of the pre-election dance. Basically: they've got to deny they want one, and the harder they deny it the more inclined I am to start to think otherwise.

Now, Ken raises some interesting points about the advantages and disadvantages for the Bloc in timing a spring election relative to the PQ leadership race, which I'll have to think about some more.

Also, I'm with JKR right up until the final paragraph ... I think Ignatieff would like it to be over and done with and just go, but what process would be used to replace him before next fall, that wouldn't eat up any remaining fundraising room the party has. They have candidates with massive debts left over from *two* leadership campaigns ago, and I don't think they know how to organize a frugal leadership campaign.

There's also the factor that the Conservatives have pretty much run out of agenda for now. I realize the point that Paul Wells makes - for every day Stephen Harper is Prime Minister is another day that he's Prime Minister and the others aren't - but they're running out of steam on the current mandate, and could perhaps get more done with another election out of the way, and a clearer picture of the relative strength of both sides of the House.

scott scott's picture

ottawaobserver wrote:
Also, the Green Party story is so over with the national media. May is not going to be invited to the Leaders' Debate...

Since we have the precedent of the Greens being included in the debates last time, and their polling being roughly where they were last time, I think that their exclusion next time would require a fairly compelling narrative. Do you have one? I don't think that "the Green Party story is so over" is going to cut it.Smile
__________________________________
One struggle, many fronts.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

The narrative is breath-takingly simple.

The traditional threshold to be in the federal leaders debate has been at least one seat in the House.  That is how Bouchard and Manning got into the act in 1993, and that is how Liberal Lizzie got into the debate last time.

Barring some unanticipated floor surfing, there is no Green MP.  Therefore, Liberal Lizzie is not entitled to a place in the debates.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

May will be included in the next leader debates - I have no doubt.

ottawaobserver

I don't know what the "narrative" is.

The "fact" is that since the last election where they earned 6.8% of the vote, they have earned 3.1% and then 2.0% of the vote in each subsequent round of by-elections - no matter what "the polls" say.

They haven't been included in a national story in well over a year, mainly because the national media has concluded that they don't have anything relevant or professional to say (let alone on deadline), and because their convention this past summer demonstrated that they can barely govern themselves as a party. Nearly every staff member they've had has been laid off, or quit to go elsewhere, or has been transferred to Vancouver Island.

I used to follow Green blogs assiduously in Google Reader. Only one of those bloggers is still writing more regularly than once every six months. I don't see Green Party events anywhere. All their money is being shipped out west in another Elizabeth May fool's errand to win a seat, at the expense of the party's infrastructure nearly everywhere else in the country.

The Green Party "vote" in the last election mostly consisted of demoralized Liberal protest voters, idealistic young people, and people who had drunk the Elizabeth May koolaid. Since then, their major issue has been a campaign to support Jack Layton's Bill C-311 without ever managing to give him credit for it by name.

The media will resume their previous criterion of needing a seat in the Commons to join the Leaders Debate, May will complain and get a 10-second script story at the end of the election news segment on one night, and that will be that. From the state of their organization, I don't think they could even round up 20 people for a demonstration anymore, except on Saltspring Island, and I have news for you - no-one is sending cameras out there to cover it.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I doubt anyone responsible for putting the debates together will willfully exclude May from the next debates, based on her appearance in a previous debate, and the fact the Greens haven't been able to get get a seat purely because of FPTP. That's my opinion, and I'm sticking with it.Tongue out

ottawaobserver

Okay, I'll give you that one ;-)  Happy New Year, Boom Boom.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle - that's the thing.

 

And...always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life...

Happy New Year to all!

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Just in case there is anyone who hasn't seen Life of Brian.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1loyjm4SOa0

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Sorry for thhe drift, and this'll be my last offense here - last night I watched Not The Messiah (2010): A comic oratorio inspired by Monty Python's Life of Brian filmed at its only European performance at the Royal Albert Hall in October 2009 to celebrate 40 years of Monty Python. It was incredible!

 

I've followed the Pythons as much as I could since their beginnings - I guess my favourite bits are: Life Of Brian; The Lumberjack Song; The Dead Parrot sketch; and the Ministry of Silly Walks. Laughing

ottawaobserver

I love them, too, Boom Boom. Thanks for the link.

David Young

I believe a good indicator of when the next election will come will be the up-coming cabinet shuffle.

If Harper replaces a large number of older ministers (Toews, Ritz, Strahl) with younger ministers, to me that would indicate he's anticipating a spring 2011 vote.

If only a few bodies are moved, that would indicate Harper doesn't anticipate a spring vote.

 

ottawaobserver

David, I think you're right that a major cabinet shuffle would raise more eyebrows about a quick election. I'm just not sure the converse necessarily follows from that. Maybe those folks have decided to run again, and/or he wants experienced hands on deck. Still it's definitely one variable to watch, I agree.

KenS

Geez David- even a doomed PM/Premeir, which Harper is not, would never so transparently indicate anything but expecting to win.

ottawaobserver

Where did David say anything like that, Ken?

KenS

He didnt. Your point put what I was thinking [the converse doesnt necesarrily follow], and we cross-posted.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I think Harper is balancing his love at being PM with the desire to get that elusive majority. I suspect he'll remain in office as long as he can in the current minority situation. Despite Iggy's bravado, I doubt the Libs will take Harper down any time soon. Why should Harper call an election before his term comes to an end if he knows it won't result in a majority for him? In the meantime, he can look for more openings to further stack the Senate in his favour.

Rob8305

The impression I am getting from this thread from Babblers who are very attuned to the political situation, as well as from the Canadian media, is that the next election will be a cakewalk for Harper ala Chretien 2000 style and that the NDP/Liberals might as well not even bother showing up for the campaign as they're going to get crushed with the only possible outcomes being another strong Harper minority or god forbid a majority?? Is this just me being pessimstic or do I have it right? Ever since CTV's Question Period year-ender last weekend saying Harper pretty much has the next election locked up, I've been very depressed.

Rob8305

The Panel on CTV was Fife, Craig, Taber and Travers. I am not sure just how right-wing those guys are, except for Fife, who is a radical rightist.

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

I see Fantino replacing Toews in Homeland security, racheting up the law and order agenda and integral to a full bore assault on the Liberals, particularly in Toronto. With Jack.Olivia and the team eating into the Liberal vote, again particularly in Toronto, Ignatieff, Rae, Kennedy et al will have to worry about holding on to their own seats as we face the strange death of the Liberal party That's the plan and I am sticking to it. Wink Go Jack Go!!!

ottawaobserver

The national media are incapable of very much independent thought, and move in packs. Right now the pack is immersing itself in the "Conservatives will get a majority through their ethnic strategy" story (which is being driven by a lot of conservative spin, too) -- failing to remember that the Conservatives' move to run a Filipina woman in Winnipeg North was, by their own standards, a great big failure, as their vote tumbled there.

Meanwhile, they have seats at risk to the NDP out west, in southwestern Ontario, and Nova Scotia, and some of their Quebec seats are also at risk to the Bloc.

They *want* you to get depressed, so don't -- just to spite them. Instead, go and find the closest active enthusiastic campaign to your house, and build some excitement. I've had the chance to speak with some of the young volunteers in Brant riding within the last month, and they are positively pumped. That alone should cheer you up.

 

KenS

Rob8305 wrote:

The impression I am getting from this thread from Babblers who are very attuned to the political situation, as well as from the Canadian media, is that the next election will be a cakewalk for Harper

Echoing what OO said: not just dont get depressed, but you have been reading babblers selectively. Because almost no one anywhere thinks Harper is likely to get a majority, and a goodly chunk of us think the odds are fairly strongly against Harper staying in government period- even if they get a LOT more seats than the Liberals.

I've said so, and explained why, in another thread you started where this either was the topic or part of it. Of course there is disgreement on whether or how likely that take is to be true. But I think its safe to say that there is a consensus of some kind of cakewalk for Harper around here. That is what some people think, not some kind of consensus.

I dont even think that is a media consensus. Like OO said, some of them talk as if the Cons are definitely going to "win". Even I  agree that at the moment it would be a pretty big surprise if they get anything but a clear plurality [most seats], but that does not in itself keep them in government. A plurality no longer translates into a semi-automatic minority government.

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