Welcome to 2010.
There is increasing speculation on the likelihood of a federal election either this spring or fall.
Globe and Mail columnist Norman Spector writes in his blog today the various reasons why it will be this spring – specifically, Monday April 12 – and not in the fall.
Spector writes, “The Throne Speech will be read by the Governor-General on Wednesday March 3rd and the budget will be tabled by finance minister Flaherty the next day; both will situate Canada on the path to gradual economic recovery and stress the need for a firm hand on the tiller, and on the till. With these documents on the public record, Mr. Harper could then cross the street to Rideau Hall to request a vote on (Monday) April 12th, explaining to voters that Canada needs a single set of safe hands on the wheel (namely, his!) to deal with the next phase of the economic recovery through gradual expenditure restraint and no tax increases.”
He adds, “Waiting until the fall would… give Michael Ignatieff more time to recover from his disastrous 2009. On the other hand, dropping a quick writ in the spring – a page straight out of the Jean Chrétien playbook – would throw a spanner in the Liberals’ thinkers conference, planned for Montréal from March 26 to 28.”
It should be noted that columnist John Ibbitson also says a spring election is possible, and veteran broadcaster Don Newman writes in his CBC column, “get ready for a spring election.”
Newman even suggests, “By their own internal logic, Conservatives think gold medals by the men’s and women’s hockey teams in particular will translate into that kind of feel-good moment that will lead to a majority government. …Maybe they are right. For no logical reason, Harper’s image and approval ratings were enhanced when he surprised everyone by playing the piano and singing a Beatles song on the stage of the National Arts Centre a few months ago.”
Time will tell if the writ is dropped on March 5 and we go to the polls on April 12, but we will need to be prepared for this possibility.
For Norman Spector’s full list of reasons for a spring election, please go to www.theglobeandmail.com or http://theglobeandmail.com/blogs/spector-vision/mark-april-13th-in-your-new-2010-calendar-as-election-day/article1416553/?.
Don Newman’s comments can be read at www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/12/31/f-vp-newman.html.