Thursday, February 26, 2015

What Stands Between Stephen Harper and a Spring Election Call?

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?  


Troy said...

I think the Liberals, NDP, and Greens are prepared for an election.
They've learned from Harper's past bad behavior, and have all made sure to have their people ready, and their election funds full.
This will probably be a hard fought election, and the winner is a toss up.
Anybody new would be better than Harper, at this point, but I doubt Trudeau or Mulcair are very much better.
Personally, I feel abandoned by the NDP, and ambivalent to the Liberals. I'll vote as hard-left as I can, I suppose, considering I live in a district that's voted as hard-right as possible for the past few decades.
Go anybody but Harper, go!
Seriously, I mean it. Harper, just go, somewhere else. Please.

The Mound of Sound said...

Troy, you're preaching to the choir.

Grant G said...

Indeed Mound....

I believe Harper wants to pull the trigger, has wanted to for some time, however the polls show him getting a small minority Government at best and or Trudeau with a minority Government..

Remember too, only the Cons have been campaigning, $millions spent on radio ads across Canada, select TV spots too..

Team orange and the red wave have yet to launch a single ad.

Carson, Duffy, Del Maestro, Nigel Wright, Sona...

With Tar sand operations canceling, no LNG final investment decisions in BC, still no ship-building jobs, you know, the ones he announced during the last federal election...Irving shipyards and Seaspan..Still not one piece of steel cut in either yard, they were awarded federal contracts 5 years ago..

Canada post home delivery ending, cutting back on healthcare funding going forward, unhappy veterans, retirement CPP old age pension rising to 67..

Climate change, scientist and science muzzling, plus the continuation of the war on drugs(maryjane)

Indeed, the other parties have plenty of issues worth reminding the public about..

My call for an election, mid summer, late July early August, young people and students away holidaying, middle-class folks on holidays, ...While most seniors are in Canada..

You know, what better time to capture the older, male less educated voter.


The Mound of Sound said...

I don't know, Grant. The Duffy trial is scheduled to run, on and off, from early April into the second half of June.

It's hard for me to imagine Harper wanting to be snarled in an election campaign if his plans could be derailed by revelations from the trial. He could find himself stuck back in the PMO during Wright-Duffy, unable to get out from under the scandal.

On the other hand he could hope that the trial leaves him with plausible deniability, just another scandal to fade during the dog days of July and August as have so many others.

the salamander said...

.. great summary analysis Mound..
Tired government is awfully generous of you though
They're tottering, rotting.. damned by their record, clinging and catering.. OK, caterwauling to lazy, ignorant and uninformed timid voters.. Send 5$ or we lose what we've fought for together.. 'We'? 'fought for'? 'together'?

These posers, liars, swindlers and incompetants are shaking in their boots. Its not just that they may lose.. and to a Trudeau or Mulcair or a coalition.. Its that their fearless leader will beat a retreat, leaving.. ulp.. Jason Kenney to explain why they still are sticking around

In my view, the only temporary escape is no election. Harper suspending it and Parliament due to some crazed war footing delay. Otherwise its summer as Grant suggests and they flog the vote suppression, the polls, the TV ads, cross their fingers that some catastrophe or war distracts their base and voting block enough to squeak through..

And of they don't, watch the plague ship Harper tilt up and slide ass first to oblivion.. and their own private Rapture.. uh The Harper Rupture ...

The Mound of Sound said...

I don't see Harper daring to suspend the election, Sal. There would be insurrection. Who would back him? The military? The RCMP? A constitutional usurpation would invite, almost demand, the monarch's intervention.

Summer, post-Duffy, possibly unless he needs a couple of months for the stench to abate.

Anonymous said...

Harper will likely go for a spring election & win.
The election will be fought over Muslim head wear ,security & ( believe it or not) the resurrection of the tarsands & LNG.
The voting public will , again, fall for the ploy.

Anonymous said...

Nonsense! Inhofe brought a snowball to the US Senate floor and he's the chairman of the Senate Environment Committee. Harper is the Senator of the Great State of Canada, ergo ... Strong Stable Conservative Majority!

Purple library guy said...

Well, I don't know what Harper will do, but it would seem that a snap election is a possibility that's on the NDP radar, at least.
That is, just this morning I got an NDP email begging for money explicitly on the premise that Harper could call an election at any moment.

The Mound of Sound said...

I've had e-mails and phone calls from the Libs out to raise money and support at the polls. If they're working that far down their list of supporters (and I must be near the bottom) it suggests they're pretty active.

Anonymous said...