Harper facing non-confidence over Afghanistan

The opposition parties are threatening to pull the plug on the Tory minority government over its handling of the mission in Afghanistan.This could put Dion between "a rock and a hard place" or in the sweet spot, depending on how he plays it. If the Liberals united behind him to vote with the NDP to back the BQ motion, then Harper would be in a hell of a fight on the last issue he would want to fight an election on, foreign policy.Bring on the election!


Liberals make gains under Dion

Stephen Harper and his aides are no doubt now second-guessing their initial reaction to the selection of Stephane Dion as Liberal leader. Like the pundits they underestimated Dion's geeky manner. The author of the Clarity Act is now enjoying the first laugh as several polls put the Liberals well into the lead for the first time in many moons.

An EKOS Research Associates poll indicated the Liberals would be in striking distance of a majority government if an election were held now.

Here's how support broke down:

Liberals: 40.1 per cent
Conservatives: 33.5 per cent
NDP: 10.2 per cent
Bloc Quebecois: 8.2 per cent
Green Party: 7.6 per cent
EKOS conducted the polling on Dec. 5 and 6. Liberal leadership convention delegates selected Stephane Dion to be their party's leader on Dec. 2. This result showed the highest Liberal support in an EKOS poll since Jean Chretien stepped down as prime minister and party leader three years ago.

On Dec. 3, a Strategic Counsel poll conducted for CTV and The Globe and Mail showed the Liberals also well in the lead:

Liberals: 37 per cent
Conservatives: 31 per cent
NDP: 14 per cent
Bloc Quebecois: 11 per cent
Green Party: 7 per cent

Sure there is a honeymoon effect at work here. But the pundits miscalculated the reaction to Dion in Quebec and Ontario. Stephen Harper may not be so quick to rush into a spring election as originally anticipated by the media gurus.