Einstein's definition of insanity is the best way to describe what's happened in recent years of minority governments & frequent elections. Canadians vote in minority governments where the parties so obviously can't play nicely with one another & another election is called shortly afterwards; it's no wonder no one can govern under these circumstances; they're too busy either campaigning or plotting the next election call. Canadians bitch & whine about not wanting to go back to the polls yet again & either they don't go and excercise their right to vote which is usually favourable to the incumbant, or they continue voting in minority governments. Canadians moan & whine each time they hear the hint of an upcoming election & wonder why the minority government just doesn't make the effort ot govern the country. Well, I think it's plainly obvious that this is no longer an option.
Canadians ask when will we stop going to the polls every year or two. The answer to that question is until the Federal Parties AND the Canadian voters get it right. What would be right is a majority government whether it be Liberal or Conservative. Quebec got it right last year after approximately a year of Charest's minority government not really functioning with the recession looming, his campaign was that 'three hands cannot stear the rudder' & it worked! Quebec voters bought it & voted in a Charest majority. No need to worry about another costly political election for the next few years here.
Will the parties & the voters get it right? Well, that all depends which polls we would rely on. An Ekos poll on August 27, suggested the Conservatives having a slight lead before Iggy announced his showdown to the media. Now, as of September 3, the Ekos poll suggests a dead heat between the Tories & the Liberals. Many of the news outlets suggest a dead heat as well. Going by these polls, insanity will hit Canada yet again: the end result will pretty much remain the same as last year; another minority government most likely led by Harper yet again. Some news papers suggest a Liberal led minority but I find the former more likely to happen than the latter.
If either Iggy or Harper win the next minority government, it is clear to be a prelude to yet another election, only the next time, with different leaders at the helm of either or both of these parties.
However, this time, I venture to guess that with the exception of Gilles Duceppe (unless he retires) who has nothing to lose or gain; the parties will have a changing of the guard. Harper will have shown that he can't get a majority government & thus his party will be lobbying to put someone else in place, preferably someone who can smooth over some of the damage they did in Quebec (cuts to arts & culture for one). The Liberals will push for Iggy to resign & once again select a leader who can win & take away at least some of the raison d'etre of the Bloc Quebecois.
But what if the voters do get it right & vote in a majority? There is the possibility of a Harper majority either this fall if the Ipsos poll & accompanying explanation released August 24 showing the Conservatives with an 11 point lead over the Liberals. Numbers like that would have the Tories poised for a majority government this Fall or within the year when a Liberal led minority loses a confidance vote as the Conservatives will be far less likely to compromise on anything. One thing more dangerous than a Harper minority is a Harper majority because if this happens, prepare for American Republican style policies being put into place. Ultra right winged policies he could never dream of implementing while in a minority government. Make no mistake he hasn't lost any of those values held while the president of the National Citizens' Coaltion . Here are some other quotes by Harper & others who worked with him. For those who think I'm crazy to even be worried about this scenario, let's remember that Harper did gain seats thus strengthening his minority & low voter turn-out would be more than likely which generally favours the incumbant.
Also, inspite of the popularity of the Bloc in Quebec these days, we can't forget that when the Bloc first came on the scene led by Lucien Bouchard in the early '90s & they were sweeping Quebec, Chretien still managed to win a majority Gov't & the Bloc were the official opposition
Of course my predicting the possibility of a Harper led majority is pre-mature as I have not been able to find a more recent Ipsos poll or any other recent poll suggesting this & Iggy might have a few rabbits in his hat. But it is & should be a concern.
So, if the best Iggy could hope for this Fall is a minority & probably a short lived one at that & the risk that Harper can get a majority, why is he planning to trigger an election now? Well this editorial originally printed in the Vancouver Sun hazzards a guess. No doubt the returns would be big but unfortunately not likely to happen. An English language ad seen here, while uplifting and avoids slamming the opposition, does not appeal to the working class majority. Perhaps he should steal some ideas from last year's Jack Layton ads about the kitchen table.
However, Bob Rae would do well to stop & think before making statements like he did on Canada Am about it being the Liberals' job to oppose the government; using that kind of rhetoric was the beginning of the end for Mario Dumont & the ADQ in Quebec. This is indeed a very weak beginning, especially since no one has really seen a Liberal platform as of yet.
Another good idea, although not likely to happen would be if the divided left took a cue from the former PCs & Canadian Alliance & found common ground & merge. As much as many to the Left prefer them, let's be realistic, the New Democrats will never be the leading party & the Liberals need to appeal to the working class. Fewer parties mean less chances for minority governments.
So, best case scenario for right now? Hopefully, the inevitable federal election can be stalled until the Liberals can get their act together & prove to Canadians they are fit to lead thus better chances of winning a majority. We'll see if Harper really doesn't want an election right now or is he just playing for the Canadian voters. I say let the insanity drag on for awhile longer as I, as well as the left & those more toward the center would want the Liberals to end the insanity; not the Conservatives. Those who wish an election sooner in order to get rid of Harper & the Conservatives now; be careful what you wish for; I will say it again; one thing more dangerous than a Harper minority is a Harper majority.
As for the Canadian voters whining about going to polls; grow up; our forefathers fought for us to have this right, the least we can do is excercise it.