The big question of the day has to be: Is the Opposition crazy?
I mean, it makes total sense for the Conservatives to want an election this spring. The polls look good, the country is in no mood to change governments, the Liberals are weak. It all adds up to a Tory majority.
But why are the NDP and Liberals so eager to pull the plug? Yes, they look and sound confident, but General Custer probably looked and sounded confident before he took on Sitting Bull.
The answer, I think is the Opposition parties are victims of their own over-heated partisan rhetoric. For two years, they have been telling Canadians the Harper government was pushing a reckless "right wing agenda", that it was trampling our democratic institutions, that it was ethically challenged, etc.
In the process, they revved up their base, made them eager to take down the big bad Tories.
In other words, they painted themselves into a corner with their own words. Had NDP leader Jack Layton or Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff failed to oppose the budget after all their tough talk, they would have come across as wimps, undermined their credibility and angered their own supporters.
The Harper Tories understood this and manipulated the situation to their advantage. (Make no mistake, the Conservatives wanted the Opposition to oppose their budget.)
One other mystery is why did Layton show his cards on budget day? Why didn't he drag out the drama for a day or two just to ensure himself more publicity?
After all, once he declared he would oppose the budget, he went, in just a few minutes, from being the "most important man in Canada" to just the leader of a fourth place party.
The answer is probably internal politics. I suspect Layton's MPs were split between election doves and hawks. Perhaps Layton worried his party's unity might crack under the intense media scrutiny that would result with his playing coy.
By declaring he would oppose the budget, Layton, in effect, burned his bridges. His MPs would show unity whether they liked it or not.
Not that it matters now.
All that matters now is we are very likely heading into a federal election.
Should be fun.