Posted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 11:54 am Post subject: The Upcoming Session of Parliament
When the House resumes after recessing for summer holidays, what do you expect the session to be like? Will be it be a continuation of the last session of Parliament? Or will there be a few surprises to come? Also, how long do you think before the government falls and new elections are called?
I think it is going to be another rawkus session. And I think there are some key issues that should be interesting.
1) Environment - The plan and the reaction.
2) Softwood - There is going to be a lot of" Bush sellout" lines. But eventually it will pass with the help of the Bloc. So I think Conservatives have to go on the offensive and explain the deal. They have to get away from how the liberals and NDP will brand them as Republicans.
3) Fiscal Balance - I have no idea how the Cons are going to swing this.
4) Afghanistan - I hate that this is a political issue. I think we are doing the right thing, and I just wish we would stop with the "Bush war"" Vietnam" blah,blah,blah. So look for Wacko Jacko Layton, telling us "this is not Canadian mission".
4) PM Harper in Question Period - This is not an issue, I just like the way Harper handles himself in QP. And it will be good to see Harper giving the smack down on some questions, like his first session.
Well that's all I can think of, off the top of my head. It could be a very good parliamentary session for the Conservatives. But if they do not handle these issues above well, it could be trouble.
Posted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 3:15 pm Post subject: Next election timing
Minority parliaments are all about positioning for the next election. There are really two near-term windows - Fall 06 and late Spring 07. Ontario goes to the polls in Fall '07, which would mean that the next window will open in Spring '08.
Fall 06: The only party that would want an election would be the Conservatives. Assuming a target date of early Dec 06 at the latest, the writ would have to be dropped sometime around Thanksgiving. The Tories would, therefore, have to build up a sizeable lead in both Ontario and Quebec over the next six weeks. My reading of current polling would suggest that this might not be achievable. This window is, therefore, effectively shut.
Spring/Summer 07: This is probably the most likely time period, unless the polling is still stuck at current levels or if the Liberals have built up a significant lead. The timing of the Quebec election could also factor into the equation: current Quebec polls would seem to indicate that Premier Charest is unlikely to go to the polls before Spring 07, at the earliest.
To sum up, the Tories can launch an election virtually anytime they can be reasonably assured of getting closer to a majority seat count. The Liberals would need the Bloc to cooperate, which they will do only if they are assured of gains in Quebec. The NDP, unlike in 2005, do not really play a role in election timing.
I agree that there is little chance of an election this fall unless the three opposition parties miscalculate and fail to count properly. I expect that the PM is planning for a spring election in 2007. Don't pay too much attention to the polls right now. They are distorted by too much attention on foreign policy. Once an election campaign is underway, the issues will likely revert more to a domestic focus.
Good call Brian, the election will turn to domestic issues. Libs won't be able to pull the Afghanistan card, cause we'll turn it around and say "Well why did your party send us there in the first place? If you don't have the stomach to finish what you started, you have no business running this country." The NDP may try to bring it up, but that will only hurt the Libs, not the Tories.
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