It was still officially undetermined as the News Bulletin’s press time approached Friday whether Canada is heading to the polls this spring, but unofficially, the campaign has already started.
It was all but certain a federal election was imminent for the past week. Whether it was the budget or a non-confidence motion over contempt of Parliament, Stephen Harper’s Tory government was all but assured to topple.
The governing Conservatives, as well as the Opposition Liberals and NDP, are eager to take Canadians to an election.
The Opposition parties hope to gain ground by capitalizing on the Conservative scandal of alleged ‘lies to the House’ regarding a doctored memo, an issue over which a Parliament committee (dominated by Opposition members) found the government in contempt.
But voters shouldn’t buy the Tory line that the party doesn’t want to go to the electorate. Harper sees himself in majority territory and wants to go for it.
The budget issued earlier this week was clearly designed as an electioneering tool – promising voters plenty of goodies, while also making overtures of appeasing some of the Opposition demands.
But it stopped short of crossing the critical line that would have all but forced the Liberals and NDP to approve it.
As soon as the budget was public, Tory candidates were using it as a campaign tool, berating the Opposition for denying taxpayers everything it promised if they felled the Harper regime.
And while the Liberals (who should perhaps remember the glass house containing memories of the sponsorship scandal while they toss ‘contempt’ stones) and NDP think they smell Tory blood, they face an uphill battle against the Conservatives’ strong public favour.
Even if by some miracle we avoid an election, it seems we can’t avoid the political games.
Nanaimo News Bulletin