Can’t remember my password, so here’s the unedited version, filed with ’em last week:
“Political things tend to come in threes. This Parliament is likely to be no exception. Three things – three issues, three challenges – will define the coming session.
One, the war that isn’t a war. Stephen Harper’s insists that his decision to commit dozens of members of the Special Operations Regiment to the fight against the murderous, rampaging ISIS is nothing to worry about. It isn’t “war.” But he isn’t being truthful.
On its web site, the regiment describes itself as a “weapon” in the Canadian Armed Forces’ “arsenal” – that is, peacekeepers they are not. They are trained to fight, and equipped to fight. They are going to Iraq to wage war.
Harper may pretend that isn’t so, but few will be fooled. As is the case with our Western allies, we are commencing a post-9/11 type of war against an enemy unlike any we have ever encountered. How Canadians – and Parliamentarians – react to that remains to be seen.
Two, the fate of the New Disappearing Party. In British Columbia; in Nova Scotia; in Ontario; in New Brunswick; federally. The NDP is in deep trouble, provincially and federally, and the reasons are myriad.
Jack Layton is gone, and Tom Mulcair is no Jack Layton. Traditional sources of NDP support – particularly trade unions – are contracting, and no longer pledging fealty solely to New Democrat candidates. And the party seems uncertain about what to do about the resurgent Liberals, who are stealing soft NDP voters away, hand over fist.
The NDP is in trouble. To preserve its Parliamentary bench strength – almost wholly situated in Quebec – it may start mouthing sovereigntist rhetoric. But if it does that, it risks an angry backlash in the rest of Canada.
What will the New Demoracts do? No one knows – and New Democrats apparently don’t, either. The coming months are unlikely to be happy ones, for them.
Third, the people are sick of Harper’s Cons. They’ve been in power for nearly a decade, and it shows. The Tories look old and tired and fundamentally out of ideas. They’ll trumpet a budgetary surplus, to be sure, but that is never enough to win re-election.
Instead, the Conservatives need to re-capture a narrative, because they decidedly do not have one anymore. It isn’t enough to say “you’re better off with Harper.” That sounds like someone deciding to stay in loveless relationship because they have nowhere else to go.
Canadians have somewhere to go, and it is into Justin Trudeau’s waiting arms. Nearly every poll has shown him ahead, or far ahead, for nearly two years. And neither the Tories nor the Dippers have devised a strategy to change that.
A war no one understands. A New Democratic Party that no longer seems new. A Conservative Party that is adrift.
It all points in one direction, and in less than a year, too:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.