Yesterday, apparently, some Ottawa journos were speculating about Stephen Harper dropping the writ today for a spring election.
I was told last week that Harper has already brought in a couple of heavy hitters to staff his campaign war room so I followed up on the speculation with a message to my go-to, Ottawa veteran Tory. His terse reply: "lots of signs. good bet."
So, what, if anything, might stand in Harper's way from pulling the pin? It certainly won't be his own, fixed election date law. He's ignored that before.
One factor might be the deep freeze that besets most of the country east of Lotus Land. EnviroCan says there's at least another month of Arctic fronts that'll be rolling through central and eastern Canada. Not the best weather for campaigning.
Then there's the Duffy trial. That's a double-edged sword. If Harper goes now he'll be exposed to those who'll say that the prime minister wants to get Canadians to vote before they can learn the true state of skullduggery that went on in his PMO and details of Harper's personal involvement.
On the other hand, if Harper knows the evidence that will come out during the trial will show him to have lied about what he knew and when - or worse - what has he got to lose from speculation?
Recent polls show Trudeau and Harper neck and neck. What if Harper doesn't see much chance of his fortunes improving over the next several months? What would he have to lose by going now?
With world oil prices tanking, Harper can't expect Fortune to smile on Canada's petro-economy. His supposed stewardship of the Canadian economy has saved him before but that'll be a harder sell this time around.
Somehow I don't think the terrorism trick is going to work this time either. Even the rightwing media won't rally to defend Harper's assault on Canadian civil liberties, Bill C-51. He needs us afraid and I just don't think enough of us are any longer.
When you step back you can see this is an awfully tired government that's fresh out of ideas. Harper will probably try to turn the next election into a referendum on Justin Trudeau, the tactic he employed to trash Dion and Ignatieff in their turn.
What do you think? Will Harper, yet again, try to catch the opposition off guard?