Does this week's cabinet shuffle and the defection of Wajid Khan make a 2007 election more or less likely. Opinions vary widely, but tend towards a Spring/Fall vote. Just because I'm lazy and won't have time to write much today, here's a few samplings:
But former NDP campaign director Robin Sears says collaboration on the environment or other issues doesn't necessarily mean an election will be delayed. He's still betting on the spring.
"The Tories don't want Dion to get any more experience in the role than they have to, the Liberals don't want to be seen to be propping up the government, the NDP are similarly frightened that Dion will get his sea legs and begin to eat into their strength."
-Former NDP campaign director Robin Sears.
Some will wonder if the defecting Liberal should now go back to the people of his riding and have his decision ratified. I would say yes, except we are probably within 16 weeks of a general election, and it'll cost the taxpayers $2 million or so to have a single run-off in Mississauga-Streetsville. Don't know about you, but I think that's a stiff price to put on principle, when the folks there will be voting again within a couple of weeks. Mr. Harper has six months within which to call any by-election, so odds are he wouldn't even bother.
-MP and Political Rock Star Garth Turner.
With five new limos, musical chairs for seven, and yet another cabinet post for an unelected senator, Stephen Harper has redesigned his ministry more to fight an imminent election than to run the country over the longer term.
Sun Media-- Greg Weston
Harper's claim that the new lineup is not an election cabinet is somewhat disingenuous, since all parties are on election footing. But it also reflects the reality of governing with a minority, which is that campaigning for the next election never stops, even when there is serious national business at hand.
With his new cabinet arrayed behind him, Harper has now set the stage for what may be the final act when Parliament resumes this month.
-Vancouver Sun Editorial
If this is the conventional wisdom--that we are still looking at a faiimminentnent federal election--I find I agree with it. Harper's opportunities for accomplishment in the current minority situation, where he must lean on the NDP for support, will be limited to areas not dear to his heart or to the heart of his political base. Harper is a gambling man. I think he'll go for his majority on the assumption that the longer he waits the more illusory that majority is likely to become. Since Ontario votes in the fall, and since Quebec may be on tap for an election later in the year, I think Harper goes for it soon. Expect a call been March and May.
Have I ever been wrong before?