|J.R. McLoughlin (1918-2011)|
Canadian Election Suddenly Gets Interesting
The first three weeks of the campaign were fairly predictable, with little movement in the polls and the Conservatives teetering on the brink of a majority. The first spark in the NDP movement was Jack Layton's performance in the English and French debates, and then really kicked into high gear when Gilles Duceppe appeared at a provincial Parti Quebecois conference and committed the Bloc to pursuing another referendum. That irritated Quebecers who are as equally tired of the never-endum referendum argument. Besides the off-tone Gilles Duceppe campaign has not gone down well - alternating anti-immigration and multicultural rhetoric with angry shots at the NDP and the others has shown a not-too-attractive side to Duceppe.
If they can hold that support and really make big inroads agains the Bloc in Quebec, the NDP may be able to get close to 100 seats, blowing the Liberals out of the water as the Official Opposition. If they do that, the Conservatives will not be able to secure the majority they clearly need.
All of which means......
A very real chance that a combined NDP-Liberal alliance [led by Jack Layton] could secure more than 154 seats between them, vote down the Conservative minority government's new budget [or perhaps the Throne Speech preceding it] and be in a position to persuade Governor General David Johnson that they can maintain the confidence of the House. Look for a possibility of Liberals in the Cabinet - to steady the markets and bring experience into government. The NDP have never foresworn Coalition government. Even if it's not formal, it has to be solid enough to persuade the Governor General that it can hold more than a few months.
What could the Liberals do now? Batten down the hatches and save as many seats as they can with a massive get-out-the-vote in close ridings - particularly in vote-rich Ontario. For the Conservatives, they need to rally soft and right-leaning Liberals to come aboard their ship and then deploy machine-like get-out-the vote capacity in their ridings that are reachable. The NDP need to stop mentioning the hyper-sensitive Constitutional issue with Quebec. And of course, all of them will bombard us with commercials in a last-ditch desperate race to the finish.
And they say that Canada is boring????!!!!
I will be on CTV Power Play with Don Martin Wednesday, April 27th at 5:10 p.m. EDT. to discuss what's going on in the campaign and where it's headed.
Until next time......