Game on for a fall election

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Here are ten reasons to expect a fall election call:

  • 1. The Conservatives do not want an election. This should tell the Liberals to push the other way.
  • 2. Thanks to the new Governor-General, the Liberals are riding as high as they have been since Jean Chrétien handed over, reluctantly, to Paul Martin. When you can see a majority within reach you go for it, before it slides away from view, again.
  • 3. A minority government restricts the freedom of movement of the government. It cannot appoint its friends as freely, introduce business- friendly measures as frequently, or even allow Members of Parliament to travel as often. Replacing instability of tenure with stability, as soon as feasible, appeals to Liberals.
  • 4. The Gomery report is going to hurt Liberal prospects; why wait for it to appear? Because Paul Martin said there would be an election one month after the final report you say. If an opposition vote triggers an election, Martin is off the hook for that bonehead promise.
  • 5. The Bloc are in an uncomfortable position. They would prefer to wait until things get worse for the Liberals after the Gomery report, but if they vote to prop up the government that weakens their position as the voice of Quebec. Why elect the Bloc if they vote like the Liberals?
  • 6. Stephen Harper has the leadership blues; an election would allow him to take charge of the Conservative party, or at least shut up the critics inside the party who would have to rally around the chief for the duration of the campaign. The trick is to find an issue that tempts him to vote out the government, even if his party fears the outcome of the ensuing election.
  • 7. Martin can get the Bloc to vote against the government, or the Conservatives. But he needs the two voting together to defeat him in the house on an issue of confidence to justify going to the polls.
  • 8. Finance Minister Ralph Goodale will be bringing in an economic statement or mini-budget. Watch for the carrot and the stick. If the Liberals were smart the carrot would be changes to the Employment Insurance rules which would be popular in the Atlantic Provinces, Quebec, and the cities, and be opposed by the Conservatives, and then add a stick beating the provinces which the Bloc would have to oppose (and could be withdrawn after the election is called).
  • 9. Liberals have been downplaying their position on the Conservative side of tax “relief” because they are intent on polarizing the electorate against the Conservatives. To win a majority the Liberals need to polarize the electorate against the Conservatives, and squeeze the NDP. So far the NDP have skillfully avoided being marginalized by putting themselves at the centre of the budgetary process, through an astute parliamentary maneuver.
  • 10. Look for the Liberals to set a trap the Conservatives and Bloc cannot avoid, even if they see it coming. Be wary of a gambit to sucker the NDP into voting the government out. With the new Governor-General in place, it is game on for a Fall election in the House of Commons.

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