Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Forget the Election Talk

More and more political pundits are coming to the conclusion that we will have a federal election either in late spring or early summer.

And certainly the signs are out there: the anti-Liberal attack ads, the "pre-election" spending spree, the Tory candidate "boot camp".

So I am going out on a limb, swimming against the tide, defying convetional wisdom, when I say confidently that there will not be a federal election in 2007 -- unless one is forced by the Opposition.

Why do I say that?

Because while Stephen Harper will take a calculated risk from time to time, he is most definitely not a gambler.

And holding an election this spring/summer would be a gamble.

Yes, Liberal leader Stephane Dion has been a bit of a bust, but the polling numbers do not yet indicate the Tories would win a majority.

So why risk a vote?

If Harper can only win another minority, his position will be weakened both inside and outside the party.

That's why he will hold off forcing an election until the cards are more in his favour.

So relax, it's going to be a calm summer.


Ace said...

Yeah I think he should put off an election for as long as possible(2009). All his budget surpluses and tax cutting will add up to quite a bit of money.

There's just one problem with that scenario. The US economy may be going into a period of recession or slower growth which will probably hit Canada even harder. Here are a few leading indicators:

1. an inverted bond yield curve
2. volatile stock market
3. falling commodity prices
4. fewer housing starts and
5. Bernanke's relatively tight monetary policy
6. the historical average of boom periods is roughly 6-7 years, not 10 like the previous boom and the current boom is not technology driven but commodity/housing driven
7. uncertainty in China
8. Massive structural changes are taking place in the ON and QC economies due to declining manufacturing(like the US Midwest in the 80s) and strengthening service industries
9. Democrats in the White House, attacking Alberta's oil sands

Although Harper can tinker with fiscal policy, he can't do anything about a global slowdown.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Gerry. I also believe the more time Harper has making the minority gov't work the better his record of doing what he said he'd do. Banking a successful record is a huge bonus for him because the Liberals have nothing, the NDP, will continue to be the NDP and pose no threat, while the Greens gain on the NDP and they jockey for the "left" position. I see no rush for an election.

I also believe that the voting public would punish Harper for having putting them into another election but voting against him simply because he calls(or forces and election). He's in control now, and doing very well.

Miles Lunn said...

It is tough to say whether waiting would help Harper. It might, but it might not as Dion would become more of a known force and so attacks against him would be less effective. In addition, being an effective leader doesn't come right away so waiting longer would allow Dion to develop just as Harper did. In fact if he called one right away and Dion loses, then the Liberals might have a new leader who they can also play as being unknown.

The reality is though a majority government won't come for either party until the Bloc Quebecois is annihiliated. The Liberals have too strong a grip on the largest cities for a conservative breakthrough there and the Conservatives likewise have too strong a grip on Rural Canada (excluding Atlantic Canada and Northern ridings) for a Liberal breakthrough.

Ace said...

Besides, Dion is a walking, talking disaster anyways. A few years more of him and the Liberals will somewhere south of the Opposition Green Party.