No election this Fall
As expected Mr. Harper did not put any poison pills into his economic statement on Monday so I would expect the government to last at least until Spring. With the EI legislation still working its way through The House Jack Layton still has his excuse to support the government during the vote on the Liberal confidence motion.
This is the ideal situation for the Liberals. Although it was apparent that they were ready for an election their best outcome is to wait but not be blamed for the delay. Despite the likely defeat of the confidence motion they will have established themselves as the Opposition party in the House and they will have displayed strength and resolve. This will probably not overly impress the general public and the defeat of the confidence motion will have the media saying it is a crushing defeat but this motion will further energize Liberals for the Winter in preparation for a Spring vote. Hell, it might even convince many of those 800,000 some odd Liberal supporters who stayed home in 2008 to come out next time, which would have a significant impact on the final outcome.
Incidently, congratulations for the Liberals for sticking to their guns despite a concerted effort by the Conservatives and the media to force them to change their minds. The media in particular tried their best by publishing polls and telling us all that we did not want an election. Their final salvo was found in the G&M today and Bob Fife yesterday buy taking a little incident in Quebec and trying to conflate that into disunity within the Liberal Party. The Globe had about three articles, an editorial and a column by Mr. Simpson today on the Liberal Party's perceived troubles. Kind of excessive if you ask me but I guess that is what you call a full court press. Mr. Fife was funny last night though. His voice and body language demonstrated to me that he did not believe a word of what he was peddling about Liberal disunity. It was fun to watch.
Stephen Harper got what he wanted. He desperately wanted to avoid an election this Fall because he knows that it is an even bet that he would lose it and even if he were to win it he would probably only win another minority. I am pretty certain that after three kicks at the can, ending in minority governments every time, his own party would force him out. Or at least try, with him fighting it tooth and nail, which would be a great thing to see. He has bought himself the Winter with which to come up with a way to rehabilitate himself and his party. That probably involves waiting for the end of the Olympics followed by a budget then an election. It will likely fail. Him and his government are past their best before date and they will only become older and moldier as the cold winter months progress. The small rise in fortunes that they have enjoyed in the last couple of weeks will fade a little bit, as the threat of an election fades, and we will again settle into a pattern that should be very familiar to political observers and bloggers.
The NDP got what it wanted but at a price. They have avoided an election but at the cost of some of their credibility. In the long run it will not harm them but they are destined to lose support and seats as people grow tired of the Conservatives and gravitate back to the only party Canadians believe can govern competently, the Liberals. Jack Layton will be like Mr. Harper, looking to rehabilitate himself and his party but he will have as much success in that as Mr. Harper will in his efforts.
The Bloc is just trying to stay above the fray and they are succeeding. They will probably just spend the winter doing what they usually do.
All-in-all, everybody got what they wanted, for now.