Friday, January 05, 2007

Random meanderings

Just some thoughts on some of the things that have been happening in the last few days.

Cabinet Shuffle: The primary purpose of Mr. Harper's first cabinet was to consolidate the Conservative victory and to create the conditions for a majority government.

It failed.

The evidence of that can be seen in the polls (more on them in a minute) and in the fact that Stephen Harper had to substantially shuffle his first cabinet just 10 months after naming it.

Will this cabinet succeed where the first one failed? That remains to be seen. However, if the primary purpose of this cabinet is still the creation of the conditions for a majority government, instead of governing, then I do not see it having much more success.

Canadians demand good governance along with good government and if a government fails to provide either one it tends to be unsuccessful at the ballot box. Or in other words, if we see more of the same from this government but with different faces in different places Canadians will not be impressed.

Mr. Khan's defection: This event was totally predictable and so is the reaction to it so I will leave others to it.

However, I find the timing of it to be intriguing. All of the key players in this little play agree that it was Mr. Dion's ultimatum that finally convinced Mr. Khan to make his move. It would be interesting to know Mr. Dion's logic behind it.

Was he trying to interfere with the coverage of the cabinet shuffle? Was he just trying to limit the negative fallout of Mr. Khan's defection by controlling the timing of it instead of letting Mr. Harper pick the moment? Is there some other explanation?

Saddam's execution: I cannot say I am sorry he is dead but at the same time the way he was executed has left a rather sour taste in my mouth. In addition, the fact that all of the other trials have now been cancelled leaves me wondering if we will ever know the full extent of his crimes and those of his accomplises both in Iraq and in the West.

Timing of the next federal election: Alot of speculation on this and the only person who really knows is Stephen Harper as he is in control of when, at least for now. My guess is he will want to have an election as soon as possible after the budget and well before the campaign season begins in Afghanistan. News reports of slain Canadian soldiers during an election will certainly not help him achieve his objective. So I suspect E-day will be sometime in early to mid April.

Who will win the next election: I have heard many predictions on this where people have boldly stated that one particular outcome is more likely than the other. Well folks, I say if you have those powers you can tell me what the next winning numbers will be in the lottery and which stocks to invest my winnings in.

Here is my bold prediction. The Bloc Quebecois will fail to form a majority government.

Currently the Liberals have a slim advantage over their opponents. Since last January their support has held steady between 30-33%, with the predictable exception of the post convention bounce. That would seem to indicate that their support is solid and it provides a stable foundation to build upon. In addition, their brief flirtation with 40+% mark after the convention and the general goodwill Canadians seemed to have towards Mr. Dion demonstrates that a significant number of Canadians find supporting the Liberals to be acceptable again. That has not been the case for over a year. It was only fleeting but it is an indication that Canadians are probably willing to listen to Liberals again.

The Conservatives enjoyed a nice honeymoon but their support has been falling steadily since the summer. They have gone from support in the low 40s to become tied with the Liberals and at one point they were even below them. They have since rebounded somewhat but certainly not enough to make any Conservative with half a brain feel comfortable. The Conservatives are showing the same volatility in support the Liberals endured leading up to the last election and we all know how that one turned out. Conservative support is soft and unstable and they have to be as concerned about losing support as they are about gaining it. Of course, the fact that they were in the 40s at one point demonstrates that a significant number of Canadians find supporting them acceptable as well, although it has been awhile since that was true and it is still an open question as to whether it will be true again.

So, with that in mind I can only say that it is anybody's game right now. How this will all play out is anybody's guess but it should be interesting to watch.

3 Comments:

Blogger Miles Lunn said...

Well thought out and cannot say I disagree with much.

I think the Tories getting above 40% will be a lot tougher now that Harper has an actual record to run on. That being said a lot will depend on how many undecideds are out there (polls remove them from the equation), how closely people are paying attention to politics, and how short are people's memories. If Harper wants to even win a stronger minority, he needs to hope people have short-term memories and aren't following the political scene. I would say though I am in the minority as someone who is more up on the political scene, than say the hockey scene which I suspect far more Canadians follow. Heck I suspect politics is probably not in the top 10 things Canadians follow.

January 06, 2007 12:40 AM  
Blogger ottlib said...

Miles:

I agree that most Canadians do not pay close attention to politics but they pay enough attention to form impressions.

The Conservatives had a golden opportunity to make a great first impression as a government and they blew it.

That will make their job much more difficult, especially since Mr. Dion seems to have made a first good impression as leader of the opposition.

I learned long ago not to make predictions but I still get the feeling that the Liberals do have an opportunity and they just have to smart enough to exploit it.

January 06, 2007 3:43 PM  
Blogger Joanne (True Blue) said...

O/T, but thanks for the civil response to my question on Red's blog. I'm not going there anymore. But I do thank you for that information, and I appreciate the tone in which it was delivered.

January 10, 2007 9:40 AM  

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