Although the Conservatives may not be going anywhere in the polls the Liberals will need to gain more to get a majority surely. Come fall there will be another Liberal scan of the polls to see if Canadians really want an election. If the polls don't look as if the Liberals could get a majority we may see more of the same sitting on of hands and actual support of the Conservatives and being the butt of jokes while they sit on their butts. It seems that too many Canadians are not willing to look beyond the two main parties. Since both of them are atrocious Canadians are about evenly divided about which party is the least worst.
OTTAWA–The election dare that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has issued to the increasingly confident Liberals has set the stage for a fall election.
Bob Rae, the MP for Toronto Centre, said yesterday that his party believes it is in a good position to go to the polls.
"The issues are increasingly coming together and the differences between the Liberals and the Conservatives are very clear for everyone to see," said Rae, citing an earlier remark by Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion.
Rae was responding to the electoral challenge Harper hurled at the Liberals this week. When Parliament resumes sitting in the fall, the Prime Minister said, the Liberals must stop opposing the minority Conservative government's legislative priorities or defeat the Tories on a vote of confidence, forcing an election.
"If Mr. Harper calls the House back on Sept. 15th, as he has said he will do, then I suspect it will be a very lively and intense session," Rae, his party's foreign affairs critic, said in an interview. "The choice for Canadians is becoming increasingly apparent and it's really just a matter of time" before the country is asked to vote on a new federal government, he added.
With Dion struggling to find his feet since becoming opposition leader in late 2006, the Liberals have passed up numerous opportunities to defeat the Conservatives and force an election. But Dion's colleagues are expressing more confidence as they get ready for the renewal of Parliament next month. And many Liberals expect an election before Christmas.
Liberals are relieved that the Tories, despite 2 1/2 years in power, have not been able to consolidate their support in the polls and instead remain stuck in a close race with Dion's team.
"Canadians are very wary of this government and this prime minister," said Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale.
"They are not prepared to easily hand over to him, and his neo-conservative kind of government, the keys to the kingdom, and that spells opportunity from the point of view of the opposition."
He pointed out Harper has failed to budge his party's popularity despite having all the tools of government power at his disposal, despite spending billions of dollars on new government programs and despite "the most petty, mean-spirited, negative advertising" against Dion.
Politically, a lot has changed in the past year, Goodale said. With Ontario close to a recession, the Conservatives' handling of the economy has become an urgent issue.
And the Harper government, elected in 2006 on a promise of squeaky clean government, is mired in scandals over election spending, the alleged attempt by the Tories to bribe the late independent MP Chuck Cadman and the firing of former foreign affairs minister Maxime Bernier in the Julie Couillard affair, Goodale noted.
Liberals are also encouraged that Dion's proposed "Green Shift" carbon tax plan clearly distinguishes their approach to climate change from Harper's.
Goodale said the environment, ethics and the economy stand as the issues of prime concern for his party in advance of Parliament's next sitting.
Dion is on vacation and was not available yesterday for comment.