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Billythreefeathers
01-13-2015, 06:31 PM
John Ivison: Why current events are making it seem increasingly likely Harper will call an early election

http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/01/13/john-ivison-why-current-events-are-making-it-seem-increasingly-likely-harper-will-call-an-early-election/

Media interviews are not given under oath, but when the prime minister told CBC’s Peter Mansbridge that people should ignore speculation about the prospect of a spring election, I was inclined to believe him.

Now, I’m not so sure.

Certainly, the temptation to break the October fixed election date must be nearly irresistible. Stephen Harper’s pitch to Canadians is that he is best positioned to provide them with physical and economic security, at a time when threats to both are on the rise.

His forthright comments last week that international jihadists have declared war on Canada and its allies, and the country must be willing to confront the challenge, will resonate with many voters. The brutal killings in Paris seem to have exhausted any tolerance for euphemism or nuance on the security issue. Just as right-wing parties across Europe have received a bump in popularity because of the attacks, so can Canadian Conservatives expect to see some electoral momentum.


But it is the tumbling oil price, along with the economic uncertainty it heralds, that has persuaded me that the Great Opportunist will risk the charge of rank hypocrisy and break his own election law again.

Related
Blame oil: Cheap crude seen putting Canada’s recovery and surplus hopes at risk
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The price of West Texas crude dipped below US$45 Tuesday — Canadian producers receive a US$13 discount on that price. As Bank of Canada deputy governor Timothy Lane said in a speech Tuesday low oil prices are likely, on the whole, to be “bad for Canada” — which in banker parlance means “stock up on the tinned goods and bottled water.”

His explanation of how things are likely to play out suggests that the Harper Conservatives may be wise to go to the polls while the going is relatively good.

The immediate impact of the lower oil price is positive — consumer disposable income will increase by as much as $1,500 per family, according to the Bank of Montreal. Lower prices will benefit many sectors like manufacturing, as production costs are reduced. In the short term, the positive effect of lower prices on net oil-importing countries like the United States, China, Japan and the European Union will be good for Canadian non-energy exports, particularly when the dollar is trading lower too.

But in the Bank’s opinion, these gains will be more than reversed over time, as lower incomes from the oil patch and the rest of the supply chain spill over into the broader Canadian economy. The effects will be felt most profoundly in the oil-producing provinces – Jim Prentice, the Alberta premier, said Tuesday that royalties will be $7-billion lower while oil producer Suncor said it was reducing its workforce by 1,000 — but the ripples will wash over every town in the country that sends its young people to the oil patch or has companies that have customers there.

TD Economics projected Tuesday that the Conservatives will be in deficit two years longer than originally planned, due to the falling resource price. The bank said rather than a $1.9-billion surplus in 2015-16, there would be a deficit of $2.3-billion, with more red ink the following year.

TD Economics projected Tuesday that the Conservatives will be in deficit two years longer than originally planned
Joe Oliver, the finance minister, refuted the report, saying the books will be balanced in the next fiscal year — a claim that will almost certainly be proven correct once the fiscal cuisiniers in the Finance department have worked their magic.

But no one knows where oil prices are going for sure. Mr. Lane said today’s price is unlikely to be high enough to balance supply and demand, so it will recover. But the timing is highly unlikely to be optimal for the Conservative party’s re-election prospects.

My sense is that the original plan was to wait until the Mike Duffy trial in the spring had begun to fade from memory, and families had the cheques from the family tax cuts in their hands, before going to the polls.

But that plan threatens to leave the prime minister bobbing like a cork in the torrent of geopolitical events.

The contingency may well be an early budget and then a plea from Mr. Harper for a renewed mandate to protect the country from rampaging jihadists and recurring recession.

Billythreefeathers
01-13-2015, 06:37 PM
why is MSM still running with the early election prediction? there have been several articals of late all predicting an early election.

First what would be the reason to break the promice to hold fixed elections? none that I can see. It would only give the oppission fuel to burn.

Or is this just a mass ballon trial to see if the story gets any traction to increase speculation and sell papers?

RangeBob
01-13-2015, 06:43 PM
January 13, 2015
Ottawa, Ontario

At a time when Canada is headed for the political trenches for a take-no-prisoners fall election, the final sitting of the current Parliament would normally have been reduced to a venue for self-serving partisan rhetoric.

But fate has decreed otherwise, with more adult policy conversation on the agenda of the House of Commons between now and Canada Day than voters or their politicians are accustomed to.

In the charged aftermath of last week’s terrorist episode in Paris, MPs are about to resume two defining security-related debates.

The government is expected to put forward its legislative follow-up to last fall’s Parliament Hill shooting soon after the House reopens at the end of the month.

The future of Canada’s six-month combat mission against Islamic State extremists in Iraq is also on the agenda.

Both debates cannot but be informed by the murderous attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo and the shored-up sense that the security issue, both internationally and domestically, will be a top-of-mind concern for the next federal government.

The upcoming discussion will offer Canadians some useful insights into the character of the leaders who will be vying for their support next fall.

Stephen Harper’s government did not choose to place global terrorism on its pre-election radar. But the issue does provide a potentially propitious focus for the last chapter of the prime minister’s third mandate.

When it comes to crises of international magnitude, even the most unloved government leader is, by virtue of his or her function, invested with more gravitas than his opposition rivals.

To wit, the unpopular François Hollande, whose dismal approval rating is widely expected to go up as France rallies behind its president.

Closer to home, one can only speculate as to how Jean Chrétien’s decade in office would have ended if the events of 9/11 and the international developments they set in motion had not intervened.

In the end, the whimper that could otherwise have attended the departure of a leader whose party would no longer unite behind him was lost to the bang of Chrétien’s decision to keep Canada out of the Iraq war.

For the Harper government and the opposition parties, the final pre-election sitting of Parliament will feature opportunities to raise their game or, alternatively, succumb once and for all to their partisan instincts.

With an election so imminent, it may be a challenge for the Liberals and the NDP to resist the temptation to demonize their Conservative rivals long enough to assess Harper’s policies on merit.

A significant segment of the electorate is more than willing to assume the worst of the ruling Conservatives. For the NDP and the Liberals, stoking the anti-Harper sentiment would be the path of least resistance.

That is not to say the opposition parties should docilely fall in line with proposed government policies. But the onus will be on both Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair to go beyond offering a critique of the government and put forward an alternative vision of the way forward. Voters deserve no less.

Harper will also have to make a strategic choice.

Time and time again, the instinct of his government has been to practise wedge politics. Painting his rivals as weaklings in what he is portraying as a global war on terrorism may come more easily to the prime minister than attempting to co-opt the opposition into supporting a balanced approach to the security issue.

Still, opting for the latter should be a no-brainer.

Conservative electoral fortunes improved over the fall sitting of Parliament, a period that provided Harper with opportunities to break out of his partisan shell, especially in the hours and days after the Parliament Hill shooting.

If the past is any indication, there are more votes out there for Prime Minister Harper than for Conservative Leader Harper.

Four years ago, it was his handling of the global economic crisis that earned Harper his first majority mandate. With provincial governments of all stripes on side with his plan, it was also one of this prime minister’s more consensual moments.

hxxp://thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/1262849-h%C3%A9bert-advantage-harper-in-era-of-terror
Chantal Hébert is a national affairs writer for the Toronto Star.

Foxer
01-13-2015, 07:00 PM
For heaven's sake. They've been predicting an early election for about 4 years now. They'll do it before the libs get a leader - no just after before he can get organized, no in the early part of 2015 before justin gets any stronger, no in the late spring because of oil prices....

He's not going to do it. It makes no sense. These stories are just fluff to get people reading the papers.

The CPC created a 6 billion dollar reserve fund just in case this kind of thing happened. Which means, even if they don't hit their targets they'll still have billions left over and won't be in deficit. They just won't be able to pay back as much on the debt, but they won't be in deficit. And it'll sweeten their position to be on track for that going into the next election - in october they can say 'we're still in surplus, even if it's a small one. Think that'll be the case if the libs or dips are in power?" And with people worried about their jobs they'll turn even more to the CPC.

But i'm pretty sure the media's going to claim he's going to go early right up until, ohhh about september.

RangeBob
01-13-2015, 07:18 PM
But i'm pretty sure the media's going to claim he's going to go early right up until, ohhh about september.

October 19, 2015 is only a tentative polling day.
Harper might ask for it to be October 18th to take Liberal nominee's and Liberal voters completely by surprise.

Foxer
01-13-2015, 07:45 PM
October 19, 2015 is only a tentative polling day.
Harper might ask for it to be October 18th to take Liberal nominee's and Liberal voters completely by surprise.

Or maybe even.... 18-1/2!!!!! HA! POLLS DON"T OPEN TILL NOON SUKAAAAHS!

Petamocto
01-13-2015, 07:46 PM
If the goal of a political party is to stay in power, it would be almost foolish/reckless for a party with a majority government to risk calling an election to risk giving up that power before they have to.

Even if you think you have an advantage of some sort, ask Pauline Marois from Quebec how that worked out. There are simply too many variables out of your control that can go wrong in the months of a campaign to turn the tide against you, so there's almost no reason to risk losing it. You earned the majority at the last election, so ride it out.

It would have to be something like a complete slam dunk of a guaranteed win in order to call an election early, something like PM Harper takes a picture of Trudeau and Mulcair smoking crack while having sex with prostitutes on the floor of the House of Commons, and he knows he is going to publish that photo as he calls the election.

I can't see him calling an election, even if the polls were to ebb and flow him over 40% again, because there's nothing to say they won't dip under 30% again by voting day. He has the power now, and unless Trudeau does something monumentally stupid (not according to us, but according to his followers), let the cycle play out.

Zinilin
01-13-2015, 07:53 PM
These stories are just fluff to get people reading the papers.

I think that the recent rash of these stories are being pushed as part of the funding drive for Team Trudeau©

Foxer
01-13-2015, 08:00 PM
I think that the recent rash of these stories are being pushed as part of the funding drive for Team Trudeau©

Probably some truth in that.

Carguy2550
01-13-2015, 08:51 PM
It would have to be something like a complete slam dunk of a guaranteed win in order to call an election early, something like PM Harper takes a picture of Trudeau and Mulcair smoking crack while having sex with prostitutes on the floor of the House of Commons, and he knows he is going to publish that photo as he calls the election.

Just like Gene Cretin did back in the 90's. Called an election three years into a mandate to buy an extra five. All because the right was divided. Good tactics, no integrity involved, but good tactics.