(originally posted at www.greenparty.ca)
I’ve written extensively these past few weeks about why there is going to be a fall election this year. Because I like hedging my, here is a scenario for consideration, as to why there will NOT be an election this coming fall:
Polls show the Liberals are moving in the wrong direction; support appears to be starting to slip away as a result of all of the premature election talk we’ve been hearing. All of that support is migrating to the Conservatives. If next week’s polls show the Cons at 37-38%, and the Liberals down to 27-28%, will Ignatieff start to back-track? If so, just how will he do this?
Well...look at Iggy’s rhetoric. He largely has indicated that the Liberals will not support the Harper government. Sure, he says that it’s time for Harper to go. We’ve all sort of been looking at this as Iggy’s desire to defeat the government in a confidence vote and contest the prime ministership in a general election.
But what if the Liberals simply displayed a lack of support for the Harper government by sitting on their hands during confidence matters, such as the home repair tax credit vote coming up next week? What if the Liberals somehow figure out a way not to bring their own confidence motion in front of the house during the week of September 28th? All they might have to do is sit on their hands for the fall session of parliament, not supporting the Conservatives, but not bringing them down either. Might this mean that they’ll start seeing their polling number rise again, as it becomes evident that they’ve backed off with their calls for an election?
Iggy could politely suggest to the media that they've made too much of what he's had to say regarding his desire to see Harper defeated, and blame the media for the election hype. "Yes", he may say, "the Liberals are ready to fight an election, we don't want Harper in power, and we're not going to suppor thim. But that doesn't mean that we're going to actively work to defeat him."
I’m not sure that Ignatieff’s credibility could take that kind of hit. But, with his Party’s numbers sagging in the polls as a result of what the public is perceiving to be a meaningless call for an election, can his Party afford to take another hit a la Stephane Dion? Iggy will have to find some way to spin recent events. But better to spin the recent events than to suffer the wrath of an electorate that hands Harper a majority. That's the only losing circumstance for Iggy; in just about all other scenarios, including emerging from the election with the status quo anti bellum, Iggy emerges sitting pretty.
I believe that Ignatieff will still pull the trigger in late September, although he’s going to give us a scare next week when the home repair tax credit in the ways and means bill comes up for a vote and the whole Liberal caucus is caught sitting on their hands (and maybe the Bloc will support the Conservatives too, just to irk the Cons by having the separatists keep the government alive! All in favour get to vote first, so the Liberals could still vote against the ways and means bill if the Bloc decides to support it...if not, I bet that the Liberals will stay seated). Then, a motion of confidence will be tabled during the last week of September, the government defeated, and the Writ will drop on Sunday, October 4th, with November 9th being the election date. I’m sticking with this prediction for now.
But if the polls continue to show the Liberals merrily falling down, all bets are off, even my hedged ones.
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