It’s a big decision. If the historic (and unprecedented) contempt finding is to mean anything, and if they are to avoid looking like rank hypocrites, the Opposition now must move non-confidence in the government. They have no choice. And, if everyone shows up to vote, the minority government will fall.
But is it a good idea, politically? From my secure position in an armchair, pretty much everyone has a good reason to avoid an election right now:
- The Conservatives aren’t likely to get a majority – they’d likely only get what they have now. And, with the sleaze and scandal now emanating regularly from their cabinet and backrooms, they might even lose some seats. They’ve got a leader many trust to be PM, but few like as a person.
- The NDP have recently taken a pounding in public opinion, and Jack Layton is still courageously fighting some serious health issues. They’ve got a leader many like as a person, but who they don’t trust to be PM.
- The Liberals are likely to lose seats, based on recent polls – and they lack a ballot question, and have a dearth of nominated candidates. Meanwhile, they’ve got a leader who is neither liked nor trusted.
- The Bloc? They can’t be seen to be holding up some big federal transfer payments heading to Quebec – and terminating this Parliament would do just that. They’ve got a leader, and they don’t give a rat’s ass if you like him or trust him.
My guess? Someone will get a case of Parliamentary flu. No election.
Unless a bunch of them have gone batshit crazy, that is, which – it being Ottawa and all – you can never really eliminate as a factor.