Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Election on Ice

Liberals backbenchers are probably right to be concerned about the prospect of a Winter election following the Gomery report, but they have no legitimate grievance here. The Prime Minister knew exactly what the 30-day promise entailed when he went on the air under the guise of "emergency" to plead for an additional Gomery grace period.

This should be an absolute no-brainer for the opposition parties. One of the most annoying non-arguments in politics is the various posturing about who is "responsible" for the fall of a minority government and the resulting election. The supposed "fault" for the 2006 "Election on Ice" would lie squarely on the shoulders of that pledge in the wake of Gomery. It guarantees that a central tenant of the campaign will involve the findings in the report, without the opposition having to constantly mention it explicitly.

Live by the sword, die by the sword. Martin's pledge delivered exactly what the Liberals wanted (time), but it came at a cost. Harper, Layton, and Duceppe would be foolish in the extreme if they threw away the advantages of a set election date that they (and political punditry in general) should be gearing up for yesterday.


Blogger Jason Cherniak said...

In a purely political sense, you are right. However, the opposition in a minority Parliament cannot let the government get away with thinking that it is free and clear. Although they should not go through antics that catch media attention again, the Conservatives really do need to pretend that they are ready and willing to go to an election at any time.

11:05 AM  
Blogger James MacDuff said...

"the opposition in a minority Parliament cannot let the government get away with thinking that it is free and clear."

Why not, for just this session? Criticize the government sure, but instead of simple opposition, act as a government in waiting instead. The Liberals asked for a specific election date that no one really wants in order to buy time, and then kept pointing to polls showing that was what Canadians wanted. So force him to live up to his word. Harper, at the very least, should treat the 30th day after Gomery's report as the day the writ will be dropped.

It'll avoid the accusations that he's "in bed with the separatists", or that he "doesn't want Parliament to work", or that he is overly "angry". I can't see Martin ramming through any policy in one session that would be so antithetical to the CPC that would be worth sacrificing this political highground.

11:37 AM  
Blogger James MacDuff said...

Case in point, see the Prime Minister's comments today: "If the opposition hasn't forced an election prematurely, there will be an election call."

Martin would like nothing more than just such a "premature" election. Hold him to his commitment.

1:02 PM  
Blogger The Tiger said...

Simple electoral math: if Harper can hold his ground, watch the BQ trounce the Liberals in Quebec, and not be averse to working with a bunch of traitors, the man's Canada's next PM.

Can he do it? Unknown. Ontario is looking redder by the day, and there are a bunch of BC seats that might tip orange from their present blue state.

1:30 PM  
Blogger Jason Cherniak said...

Presumably Harper et al have real policy concerns about the present government. For example, to stay true to their principles, they should be willing to force an election on matters such as decriminalization of pot and childcare. The problem last time was that Harper talked about taking down the government and not about opposing policies on the basis of principle.

12:54 PM  

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