2006/10/06

The next election will give us another minority government

You heard it here first. The next federal election will produce another minority government.

Chantal Hebert has an excellent article in today's Star, arguing that the Bloc is likely etching for a spring election. She sets out the following reasons:

In a reversal of his earlier concern that another election would see the Conservatives soar in Quebec, Gilles Duceppe is now

"more concerned that a backlash against Conservative policies will send his supporters straight into the embrace of the next Liberal leader.

"This fall, Michael Ignatieff, St├ęphane Dion and Bob Rae all have more presence in Quebec than Harper's ministers. None of the Quebec members of the Conservative cabinet has emerged as a strong voice. On the contrary, there are reasons to question their influence."

"If they had any of the latter, they would have stopped the minority government from proceeding with some of the cuts announced last week. If the Conservatives wanted a lot of bang for the relatively few bucks saved in the process, they certainly achieved their purpose. In Quebec, that bang was overwhelmingly negative."

"A government that had solid intelligence on Quebec would have known that literacy has been a big deal in the province since Jacques Demers, the last coach that brought the Stanley Cup to the Montreal Canadiens, wrote a book about life without basic reading and writing skills."

"It would have thought long and hard before eliminating the federal Courts Challenge Program that has allowed francophone minorities across Canada to assert their constitutional rights."

"Not so long ago, the program financed an Ontario legal battle to keep Montfort, the only French-language university hospital west of Quebec, open. It has not escaped attention in Quebec that the federal ministers who killed the program last week used to be part of the Ontario government that tried and failed to close down Montfort."
In other words Stephen Harper has screwed up his plans to build a majority in Quebec. According to Hebert's analysis, he will be extremely fortunate to hold the Quebec seats he currently has.

Meanwhile the Liberals continue their dance in search of a new leader. Will the leading candidate Michael Ignatieff (30% of elected delegates) make it to leader on the final ballot? Or will Rae or one of Dion or Kennedy break through to take the prize? Who knows?

Whichever of these gentlemen secures the Liberal crown, will he be able to beat back the Conservative hordes and snatch victory from the man who looks every inch a Prime minister and already acts as though he has a majority. Possible, but the Liberals are extremely unlikely to secure a majority.

So, Stephen Harper, by acting decisively and in accordance with his convictions, is eroding his chances of a majority. The Liberals, likely to choose either an untested academic who has spent most of his life outside Canada or the jaded former NDP Premier of Ontario, are unlikely to bounce back from Opposition status to a majority. Hence, my conclusion that another minority is amost inevitable. The colour of that minority government is another question. That will depend on what issues arise to trip up Harper between now the election.

3 comments:

Stephen Green said...

Well, Cardinal, your crystal ball is looking good. There's no doubt that Stevie is blowing his chances of building a majority by adding seats in Quebec. And the Liberals will be lucky to snatch a minority from the Conservatives. So it'll be a minority of one colour or the other.

Neo Conservative said...

Won't be a minority by the time the infighting is over.

Libs roll out "Anybody but Iggy, the sequel".

Another former Liberal cabinet minister, Lloyd Axworthy, has crawled out from the dark, damp basement of obscurity to gorge on the flesh of a Liberal leadership candidate.

Anonymous said...

At least it will be a Liberal minority and Canada can get back on track.
Election now!
Call a non-confidence vote TODAY on softwood, afghanistan, war machine contracts, abdication of women's rights, abdication of aboriginal rights, failure to protect Canada's soveriegnty; pick one.