Elizabeth May claims Harper may provoke an election

Actually it looks as if Ignatieff has decided to force an election if he is able to do so. He has ads out and is unveiling parts of a policy platform on the economy. Harper may be happy enough to face off though with Ignatieff being blamed. Of course this is a bit ridiculous anyway since all three opposition parties must vote against the government. If Ignatieff tries to pull back from confronting Harper he may find himself being faced with bills that he cannot swallow as Harper will take advantage of the Liberal decline in the polls to dare them to pull the plug. This is from the Chronicle Herald.

May says Harper may spark election
By STEPHEN MAHER Ottawa BureauFri. Sep 25 - 4:46 AM

OTTAWA — Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is predicting that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will find a way to engineer an election this fall, even as he attacks Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff for trying to send Canadians to the polls.
"Wouldn’t it be just like Harper to decide that things are looking good for him right now and force Jack Layton into a compromise that even Jack can’t twist himself into," said Ms. May.
Conservatives were quick to dismiss her suggestion.
"This is totally inconsistent with anything I’ve heard and everything we’re working on," said one senior Conservative strategist.
"That’s absolutely ridiculous," said Conservative party spokesman Fred DeLorey. "We do not want an unnecessary and wasteful election. The economy is our No. 1 priority and we will continue to implement our economic action plan."
At the beginning of the month, Mr. Ignatieff said that his Liberals would no longer vote for the Tories on confidence measures, which could have led to an election. But the Tories announced a plan to put $1 billion more into employment insurance over three years and the NDP said they will support the Tories at least until that is passed.
Most observers concluded that the risk of an election had been averted until at least the spring, after the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
But Ms. May said she has begun to suspect that Mr. Harper is likely to strike soon, while Mr. Ignatieff is still paying a price in the polls for threatening to spark an election.
"I think one is wise never to assume that Stephen Harper won’t do the most take-no-prisoners style of politics possible at any moment," she said.
An Ekos poll released Thursday showed the Tories at 37 points, the Liberals at 29 and the NDP at 14, continuing a trend of rising Conservative fortunes.
Ms. May points out that Mr. Harper wrong-footed then-Liberal Leader Stephane Dion a year ago by breaking his government’s own fixed-date election law and going to the polls when the Liberals looked weak. She said she thinks there is a 50-50 chance he will do it again.
"Why would he not say Ignatieff is plummeting in the polls since this whole thing started?" she said. "Our ads have ramped up. His ads aren’t doing much for the Liberals. We can go to the polls now and everyone will still blame Ignatieff. That’s the key thing. If we go to the polls now, voters will still think it was the Liberal guy who did it to us."
Parliament Hill insiders say the NDP is in financial trouble and is not ready for an election, which is why they’ve been forced to back the Tories now.
Brad Lavigne, a senior NDP strategist, wouldn’t comment. "I don’t speculate on hypotheticals," he said.
Ms. May said it would be hard for Mr. Layton to keep his caucus behind him, money problems or not, if Mr. Harper tries to push a poison pill down their throats.
"Jack has already got Joe Comartin, Peggy Nash and lots of people in that caucus not so happy," she said. "So what the heck is he going to do if Harper says OK, the next confidence measure includes — who knows what he’ll do? — something to do with women’s rights, some commitment about military engagement in Afghanistan."
Ms. May, long a harsh critic of Mr. Harper, said the he likes to control the agenda.
"He likes being in control," she said. "That’s why he brought in a ways and means motion on Sept. 18, to jump the gun on the Liberal motion. Stephen Harper’s signature character definition is he’s a control freak. In the vagaries of a minority government, he doesn’t want to have a government that depends on reaching out to other parties, achieving consensus, moving forward based on giving a bit here, giving a bit there. He sees the exercise of governing as a tactical endeavour in which winning the election is everything."
A spokesman for Mr. Harper declined to ponder Ms. May’s theory.
"Liz May who?" said Dimitri Soudas.
( smaher@herald.ca)

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