Saturday, March 08, 2008

By Golly, It Happened Again

Four years ago my wife and I went down South to escape the Ottawa winter and just days before we left Sheila Fraser released the report that began Adscam. It had barely begun when we left but it was going strong when we returned a week later.

Fast-forward to this year and the Cadman Scandal (Cadscam?) broke just days before we headed South again (first time since 2004) and when I returned early this morning (To a freaking snow storm!!!) I notice it was still going.

Maybe I should let sitting governments know about this apparent effect. Perhaps my not leaving the country to head south in the winter is worth some money to them.

With regard to the scandal itself I cannot add much more than what I have already mentioned before I left and what has been written by others in the last week. However, I will say that this scandal does appear to have some legs and the fact Stephen Harper is directly implicated does not bode well for the Conservatives.

I noticed that several Liberal bloggers have talked about some recent polls and how the scandal has hit the Conservatives but the Liberals have not really benefitted. I would remind them that when Sheila Fraser broke Adscam the Liberals dropped about 8 points but the Conservatives barely budged. Most of those 8 points wound up in the undecided column. So the fact we are seeing a similar pattern with this scandal is not a cause for concern and it has nothing to do with what the Liberals are doing.

As well, within weeks the Liberals had recovered and indeed were firmly in majority territory when the writ was dropped in 2004. So do not be surprised and do not overreact when the Conservatives recover in the coming weeks. It has nothing to do with what the Liberals or Conservatives are doing. It will be a function of the fact the story will be off the front pages by then and nothing more.

Of course, when the election campaign starts and all of these nice eggs that the Conservatives have laid in the last couple of weeks begin to hatch it should be interesting to see what will be the dynamics.

I could not be more happy that the NDP has decided to give the Conservatives a pass on this scandal. This scandal has the potential to lift all of the opposition parties but the fact the NDP has decided to support the Conservatives virtually guarantees they will receive no benefit. In fact, there are about 20 NDP seats that will be close battles between them and the Liberals and at the local level NDP support of the Conservatives will be a potent weapon against the NDP candidates. I have been waiting a long time for Jack Layton's obsession with the Liberals to trip him up and it finally has. It will be fun to see his face during the next election when he sees his party reduced, perhaps to the point of losing official party status.

This scandal is manna from heaven for the Bloc. They will now be able to campaign on the idea that the only honest federal party in Quebec is the Bloc. The rest are crooks they will claim. It could work in some of those ridings where they are in close battles with the Conservatives.

Finally, to those who believe this scandal creates the conditions for an election I would say: Are you out of your freaking mind?

An old political adage comes to mind. When your political opponent is making a big mistake just get out of the way.

Liberals want Canadians and the MSM to be talking and thinking about this scandal. They want this scandal and its implications to sink in and sink in deep. That will take time.

As well, the Conservatives want the exact opposite. They want to change the channel and they want it changed yesterday. The Liberals forcing an election at this time would do exactly that. They would be doing a huge favour to Stephen Harper.

The Conservatives have laid the eggs of their electoral defeat and their actions and words since this scandal has broken is only incubating those eggs. However, they are not ready to hatch just yet. That will take time and the Liberals are right to buy that time.


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