09.20.2010 01:50 PM

Today in Parliament (and the Hill Times)

I’ll be on CBC-TV’s Power and Politics this evening with my pals Monte Solberg and Brad Lavigne, talking about the return of Parliament.  Here’s some of the stuff I may say, taken from this morning’s Hill Times:

KINSELLA: I want to believe Tim. I really do. But here’s the problem: on the evening of Sept. 15, I am reliably informed—when a minority of churlish Ottawa scribes were cackling about the departure of my friend Kory Teneycke—an interesting conference call took place.

The conference call involved senior folks within the Conservative Party. These folks were told to be prepared for an election call that could come as soon as Oct. 1. I shit you not.

The fact that this call took place at all is perplexing. For example, the polls suggest there is a rather excellent chance that the Harper Reformatories could, well, you know, lose the election. I mean, call me crazy—and plenty do—but why would evil strategic genius Stephen Harper do something as unstrategic as that?

Fear.

The tall foreheads within the Conservative Party—and there are some—fear a number of things. First and foremost, they fear the economy getting worse again. The jobs’ numbers, the housing numbers, and the grim economic data emanating from the U.S. portend that bad times may be here again.

Secondly, the Reformatory brain trust— an oxymoron, I know, but bear with me— fear further slippage in public opinion polls if they wait too long. The Great Summer of 2010 Census Debacle—which should have never become as big a deal as it did— showed the Conservatives that the country is growing weary of their modus operandi: nasty, brutish and short-sighted.

Thirdly and finally, I believe the Conservative Party has started to fear Michael Ignatieff. His summer long bus tour was not the unmitigated disaster they had hoped and predicted it would be. Instead, the tour revealed the Liberal leader to be rather adept on the hustings, with a manner that increasing numbers of voters were warming up to.

That all said, do I believe that an election is imminent? God knows.

But it sure is fun to endlessly speculate about it with my buddies Powers and Lavigne in the pages of The Hill Times!

27 Comments

  1. Anonymously Posted says:

    Thanks for posting this. Very precise. I would say that the first reason is probably the driving force. I would add a fourth — the AG’s report in late October.

  2. Lipman says:

    Very interesting and classy analysis, Warren. I’d like a Hill Times subscription but it is a bit too pricey for this broke (and soon to be ex) student. There was real fear of Ignatieff back in the days before he was defeated by Stephane Dion. It seems that they are now a bit wary of facing him in a protracted election campaign. This writer has always maintained that Harper is an overrated campaigner.
    DL

  3. jade says:

    “I shit you not”: I will laugh out loud if you actually say that. Sorry for my ignorance but what the h*** does ‘long foreheads’ mean.

  4. Cam says:

    I love this country and I’m prepared to kick the CRAP out of it.

  5. Very interesting article and there are many adjectives that describe the mean spirit and arrogant Tory leadership. I always was of the opinion the Tories are timid of Ignatieff as they know he is intelligent and speaks the truth and will answer questions. I believe the press are listening to him and paying attention when he speaks.

  6. Anonymously Posted says:

    Strange thing about this — none of the networks have picked up on it, and nobody seems to be denying it. It is almost as if everyone is so glued to the “no election until Spring 2011” mantra that nobody wants to even contemplate the Fall 2010 possibility. Bizarre!

  7. Ginger says:

    Sorry I missed it. I was too busy watching and loving Dan Matheson host ‘Power Play’ on CTV. Someone make that his job. He was fantastic – witty, quick, and informed. So much better than Giggles Tabor.

  8. Zachary Scott Smith says:

    ” I believe the press are listening to him and paying attention when he speaks.”

    True, but in reality they only have a couple of votes and equally true is that Canadians outside of Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa are not paying attention to the man.

  9. Zachary Scott Smith says:

    As to the Conservatives being afraid of the man, it would be truer to say that the Liberals are more afraid of him because as soon as he opens his month down go the numbers.

  10. Anonymously Posted says:

    WK, your source about the Oct 1 call may have it right. Flaherty has started beating the “coalition” drums again — http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/nothing-would-be-safe-under-coalition-government-flaherty-says/article1716631/

  11. allegra fortissima says:

    The people of the World are looking at Canada with envy, too… and you know what they say?

    “We want to be ‘Canadian’ – with an intelligent, well-spoken, thoughtful and compassionate political leader. We loved Canada’s Pierre Trudeau, and we love Canada’s Michael Ignatieff!”

    • Paul R. Martin says:

      Thanks for today’s bit of political humour. Cheers!

      • allegra fortissima says:

        Good going, Sir Paul! Could we have more “Cheers” 🙂

        • Trudeau was loved in Cuba and hated in all parts of Canada west of Ontario.Ignatieff is laughed at in Canada and revered in London and at Harvard.
          I would suggest that Canadians(especially those in the west)are much better judges of politicians…..

          • allegra fortissima says:

            There is a significant message in TfA’s comment: Tim wants to be Canada’s new Allan Fotheringham!

            You are not quite there yet, Tim – but keep on trying…

  12. Anonymously Posted says:

    Tom Flanagan on P&P today, Sep 21: “We are now in a pre-writ period.”

    • Warren says:

      Although, in existential terms, you could say that pretty much all the time.

      • Anonymously Posted says:

        Yes, but only last week he was saying that an election isn’t likely until Spring. He was stroking a prop campaign bus too, which was kind of strange, and he had his reading glasses on too as props.

  13. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    Coming from that party, I would venture that my former team has it all mapped out in detail — going vs. not going. They will make a minute to minute assessment. They will stand pat unless Liberal progress either spooks or worse yet from their point of view, scares the living shit out of them.

    If they determine that Michael is on an upward trajectory, they may choose to contain Michael by trying to limit him to a minority by going now. All of the above conjecture, I grant you. But you can take this one to the bank — never and I mean never, believe a word of what they say publicly. The only thing you can count on from them is a permanent state of deception and disinformation about their veritable intentions and motives.

  14. jenjen says:

    Warren, I would say it is mostly number 1.

    They are very worried about the housing sector and the excessive levels of consumer debt. At the risk of sounding like a doomsday person, I hear a lot of worry amongst some in the investment community and in economics departments about the actual strength of the Canadian economy and even of our financial sector. Many US investors are short on parts of the Canadian economy right now- and do not seem to believe in the Canadian finance miracle.

    What Canadian government wants to go to the polls when housing prices are going down, leading to drops in government revenue, as happened here in the late 80’s early 90’s? Especially when the finance minister has been going around the world bragging about a perfect regulatory framework for the banking sector and his claims that Canada does not have a housing bubble. If Harper waits too long- he will have to resort to some embarrassing explanations.

  15. Douglas says:

    You forgot two other major things they fear:

    1. Conservative voters who can just no longer abide by Harper’s strategies and tactics simply sitting on their hands this time around (hence the constant whipping up of the fervor of the base of late), and

    2. The amount of motivation Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have given every day Canadians, like me, to get active in the political process for the first time, for the sole purpose of getting him out.

    • Namesake says:

      Ditto, that. I’ve been online over for over a dozen years, and didn’t start posting on _any_ federal political matters (tho’ I used to write the odd, ya know, Letter to the Editor (I know, quaint, eh?) until about a year or two ago, and not with any frequency until this spring.

      So, sure, they’ve got their little Tea Party & libertarian militiamen they’ve been playing to, but their tiresome ‘All Venom, Distortion & Dissension Politicking, All The Time’ is awakening the great silent majority from our complacency, which, I suppose, is a good thing, in a way.

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