Harper to pull plug:why?

Stephen Harper is getting ready to dissolve Parliament and precipitate an early fall election. Speculation is rampant on why he is choosing a visit to the polls at this time. Harper himself offers the spurious argument that Parliament has become dysfunctional and he has no alternative. He has scheduled meetings with the leaders of the Opposition parties to see whether they will commit not to oppose the Conservative fall agenda, whatever that might be. Does anyone have a clue what that is? If you accept this specious reasoning I suggest a quick visit to the doctor to get your head examined.

The most plausible argument advanced so far is that Harper expects his government to fall this fall, having long passed its Best Before date. That being said, Stephen, who is a well-known control fanatic, has decided that he must be seen to be in control of events and hence trigger the inevitable election himself.

I have another theory. Recent polls show different stories but those I trust the most, e.g. Nanos, suggest that Harper could be in a fight to maintain his minority:

Ipsos: Con 33% Lib 31% Ndp 16% Grn 10%
Nanos: Lib 35% Con 33% Ndp 17% Grn 7% ...

Against this we have an Angus-Reid poll showing the Conservatives widening their lead on the Liberals and in reach of a majority. Frankly I don't believe the latter scenario.

The dead heat/tie scenario is much more likely, notwithstanding Dion's evident shortcomings as Liberal leader and rural voters' failure to embrace the Green Shift's tax implications. Harper's sheen has been tarnished.

Reading these entrails, Harper has decided to go to the polls now rather than later because the Conservative stock is falling and a Liberal minority becomes more possible the longer he waits.

Am I daydreaming or indulging in wishful thinking? We shall see, probably in October.

Update: Monday will be Liberal Leader Stephane Dion's turn to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper ahead of what is widely expected to be a looming election call. Dion had indicated he was too busy to meet with Harper before Sept. 9. After several attempts to set up a meeting, the prime minister suggested an election call could come with or without a Dion meeting. The two are now slated to meet Monday at 4 p.m. at the prime minister's residence.

A centrepiece of Tory democratic reform initiatives in the last election was a law fixing election dates to be held every four years, with the first scheduled for October 2009. Harper has argued that the law only really applies in a majority-government situation. "The election campaign, in some sense, has already started," Rae said, adding Dion will ask how Harper can go against his own law.


Putin-the new Hitler??

The recent Russian incursion into Georgia on the pretext of coming to aid of Russian citizens in South Ossetia has produced windy rhetoric from the West but no meaningful action. Is Putin exploiting the fact that George Bush is now a lame duck President as we await the November election of his successor?

Russia's actions have precipitated a cacophony of debate around the world. Andrew Coyne and Paul Wells have been duelling in Macleans on the implications of this incident and what the approriate response from Western countries should be. Wells in effect has been arguing that the West should roll over and play possum a la Neville Chamberlain and Hitler, shredding the few grains of credibility he still had. Coyne has dissected the various arguments and boiled the issue down to a simple one. Georgia is a sovereign state being invaded by its more powerful neighbour. If the West condones Russia's actions in this instance then it is inviting further aggressive moves of this nature.

Neville Chamberlain would have found much to agree with in Paul Wells’ article! Shame on you, Paul, for suggesting, in effect, that we should wait for the Ukraine to fall to Russia too before taking any action. Bullies will always run rampant unless someone stands up to them.
Andrew Coyne is bang on in his analysis of this situation.