Thursday, 24 March 2011

When and how the government falls

In all likelihood the government will fall within the next 24 hours and within the next 48 hours, Stephen Harper will visit Rideau Hall and ask for parliament to be dissolved setting the path for an election on either May 2nd or May 9th.  The opposition would like the government to fall on the issue of ethics.  After all this would be the first time any government in any commonwealth country has been found in contempt of parliament whereas the Conservatives would probably like the government to fall on the budget which they believe most Canadians either support or at least don't dislike enough to feel it warrants an election.  Considering how disengaged Canadians are, I doubt what issue they fall on will make too big a difference in the results, however I suspect both issues amongst others will come up during the campaign.  The opposition would like to portray this government as autocratic, disrespectful of democracy, and corrupt.  By contrast the Conservatives want to portray themselves as good economic managers who managed to take Canada through the recession relatively unscathed unlike many other developed countries such as the US and much of Europe who are in major trouble.  True one could argue the contempt of parliament was a charade as the opposition was going to find the government in contempt no matter what they did and it was driven by political opportunism not genuine principle.  By the same time one could argue Canada's strength is due to the economic policies of the Chretien/Martin government and their strong fiscal policies as well as refusal to deregulate the banking industry.  However, politics is determined more by perception than reality thus I suspect the ethics issue won't help the Tories and the economy is probably their strongest suit, but how it will play out still remains to seen.  For one thing, this is Ignatieff's first campaign so how well he does and the other parties depends heavily on what type of campaign he runs.  If he does better than expectations, he may just end of winning a minority government as many Liberal strategist believe, but if he makes a number of major gaffes which is not uncommon for leaders in their first campaign, he must just hand Harper a majority on a silver platter.  I think anything from a Liberal minority to Conservative majority is possible, but I will avoid making any predictions until we get closer to election day as a lot can happen during the course of a campaign.  I do promise that I will give my seat projections one day before the election.  As the campaign progresses I will discuss the major issues and even give my opinion on the issues without endorsing any party or candidate.  On the issue of a coalition, I will discuss that at a later time although I do think regardless of how prominitely it plays in the campaign it should be mentioned.  In terms of polls, I will focus more on trends rather than each poll as we will be getting so many that analyzing each one seems counterproductive.

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