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Wednesday, July 17 2024 @ 08:26 MDT

Gomery and the next federal election.

Canadian PoliticsThere\'s much talk in the press about the latest revelations from the Gomery commission\'s look into the sponsorship scandal. Much of this talk, especially in the Alberta press, is speculation when the Conservatives will pull the plug on the government. In Alberta, much of the press is wondering why the Tories haven\'t done so already. Of the three opposition parties, the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois are itching to go to the polls. Both these parties are the ones that will gain from the Liberal scandal. In Quebec, any anger towards the Liberals translates into votes for the Bloc. With the exception of Alberta and some interior BC ridings, angst against the Liberals will translate into NDP votes. If an election were held tomorrow, these two parties would be the big winners as they would enjoy an increase in seats at the expense of the Liberals.

The Conservatives, on the other hand, aren\'t gaining much from the scandal. Most of their gains due to the scandal were realized in the last federal election. The problem the Tories have in pulling the pin on the government is multifaceted. First, with respect to the Gomery commission, the scandal doesn\'t really have legs outside of Quebec and Alberta. Since the Conservatives can\'t make gains in Alberta and will be unable to make gains in Quebec (those gains going to the Bloc) it puts the Tories in a bit of a bind. Voters in seat rich Ontario are either not mad enough at the Liberals to switch to the Conservative party or if they are mad enough at the Liberals, they are still leery of the Conservatives\' Reform/Alliance past and are switching to the NDP or other parties.

This speaks to another reason the Tories are reluctant to force an election. They are freshly out of their policy convention which has given them a platform. This normally is a good thing, giving people a chance to know what the party is about. The problem the Conservatives have is that their Reform/Alliance past is strong. So strong that people east of Manitoba are still suspicious about what the party really stands for. All it will take during an election campaign is for one of the Conservative Party\'s far right wing nut MP\'s to open their mouths in front of a microphone or camera and their fortunes will be sunk.

What it all works out to is the best the Conservatives can hope for in a snap election is for them to form a minority government. A minority Conservative government would last even less than a Liberal one, since the Conservatives don\'t really have similar minded parties in the house. Their policy would have to take a sharp turn to the centre (causing problems for them with their more dogmatic members) or find themselves facing yet another election. What would be worse is that either nothing changes (another Liberal minority) or a Liberal Majority. With another Liberal minority, the voters won\'t be too happy with the party that caused an election that accomplished little so close to the last election, not a good thing for the Tories as things will remain tenuous in the house.

A majority would bring stability and allow the Conservatives to actually vote against the government in numbers, but has two problems for them. One is that the Liberals would have four years to do what they wanted, more or less unchecked. Second, people would actually see what the Conservatives stand for. Fiscally, much of this will fly, but socially, not a lot of people outside of the west will buy into a Conservative social agenda.

So there\'s the Conservative quandary, force an election now and quite probably get nothing for it, but sate the die hards in the party. I suspect that Harper will hold off on forcing an election as long as the internal politics of his party will allow him. Only by holding off, with the Tories stand a chance of winning.
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Gomery and the next federal election.
Authored by: evilscientist onSaturday, April 09 2005 @ 10:18 MDT
Just finished looking at an Environics poll published on Monday which has the main politcal parties pretty much staying where they are overall in their popularity with Canadians. The same poll aslo has half of Canadians saying there's no pressing issue to force an election. Words the Tories need to heed. The poll is here.
Gomery and the next federal election.
Authored by: Anonymous onSunday, April 10 2005 @ 02:46 MDT
My guess is that the next government will be a Liberal minority, with the NDP acting as the "king maker" in the parliament.

I don't expect the Conservatives to be able to keep their collective traps shut in front of cameras - especially not with clowns like the Byfields and Mr. Chandler demanding some kind of "debt repayment" from Harper.

(Chandler by himself could sink that party's standing in Ontario - mostly by opening his flap)

- Grog