I think just about everybody who’s been watching the political antics in Ottawa simply want the Liberal minority government to fall already. No one is buying that any politician regrets that we’re being thrust into an election campaign over the Holidays. All the opposition parties have cared about is to bring down the government, while all the government has cared about is to remain in power. Most are promising to suspend campaigning from December 22ish to January 2nd. I would think that the annual Christmastime interview with the Prime Minister should be suspended this year, as it would be impossible for Martin not to use that opportunity to campaign.
While much can change from now to election day, expected in mid-January, the outcome is expected to be more of the same: another minority, likely Liberal. Even the (Progressive) Conservative premier of Alberta, Ralph Klein, said as much in Halifax this week. The best small change we can hope for is that the NDP will hold the true balance of power. That’s when the sum of the seats won by the party with the most seats and the seats from a third party (like the NDP) adds up to a majority in the House, so that third party can effectively make or break the government. This time around, it’ll be important for those NDPers who ended up voting Liberal in 2004 to make sure the Conservatives didn’t form the government to stick with the NDP this time. The Bloc will likely pick up a few extra seats in Quebec (at the Liberals’ expense), but otherwise the split of seats should be roughly the same we have now. The NDP must convince its soft supporters not be convinced that a vote for them is a wasted vote …unless you’re in New Brunswick (outside Bathurst) or Alberta, where the NDP doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.