How the Conservatives will win their majority
The Ignatieff Liberals have given Stephen Harper and the Conservatives a clear route to a majority government. Here’s how it will happen, unless Harper does something stupid again.
To achieve a majority, Harper needs to win seats in Quebec. He failed to get his majority in the last election, in part, because he alienated Quebec voters who then supported the Bloc.
Only one opposition party's support is needed for Harper to remain in power. Harper can survive as long as he judges necessary with Bloc support in Parliament. Duceppe is a pragmatic leader whose interest is only Quebec. He’ll support whichever party gives Quebec the best deal, as he's always done, and as he's reiterated today (28 January). Conveniently, Harper can improve his electoral fortunes in Quebec and remain in power as long as chooses by appeasing the Bloc with Quebec goodies. Duceppe is very shrewd; he will exploit Harper to Quebec’s advantage in any way he can. Harper who will do anything to remain in power will comply with Duceppe’s Quebec demands.
Harper will not lose his base in the west nor his support in rural Ontario because those right wing voters have nowhere to go. Also, with the deficit genie out of the bottle, and dire economic situation as an excuse, Harper can borrow and spend in whatever ways serve his political ends. That means he can win support in eastern Canada, too.
Unless Harper succumbs to his own worst inclinations, he can win support right across Canada so that in 4 years he can go to people and get his majority mandate. And, there is nothing that the Liberals or the NDP can do to stop him, thanks to Ignatieff.
Unless they do something truly stupid, we can expect that the Conservatives will remain in power for at least the next 8-10 years. If they’re smart, Harper can remain in power for even longer than that.
Progressives will need to rethink how they engage the new order.