Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Well, it was fun while it lasted...

So is that it then? Has election buzz given way to election fizzle? It certainly seems like it right now.

Over the past 24 hours we have seen the Bloc indicate they will support the ways and means bill before the House, and the NDP say they will support the government's EI changes through to enactment. These moves - particularly the NDP's - ensure that the government will live through the fall. As the Globe is noting this evening, it's "Harper's Reluctant Coalition".

When the dust settles on September, it will be interesting to see who is pleased and is who unhappy following the latest turn of events. A few questions to consider:
  • Will Ignatieff be that unhappy about not getting a chance to bring down the government this fall? Jack and Gilles may be supporting Harper, but they have helped the Liberals out of what could have been an awful mess of an election.

  • Will Harper really be happy to have avoided an election? As many have noted in recent days, he might well have welcomed an opportunity to be forced to go to the polls by the Liberals-Separatists-Socialists. If you close your eyes you can just see the ads and hear the talk radio chatter in that campaign scenario.

  • How happy are the NDP to be helping to prop up a government they have spent something like eternity vilifying? And what did they get for their support?

Readers (ok, I am not sure there are any but a blogger can dream...) will recall the following from my last post:

"At some point, the Liberals needed to break themselves free from supporting the government. While it may have been a necessary evil, it was damaging credibility, sapping party morale, and for many made them look weak.Mr. Ignatieff needed to make a break with the past and begin to set his own tone."

They swallowed hard, took a chance and have now broken free without paying a real cost. Polls may be worrisome right now, but in-between elections they mean less.

As Taber and Ibbitson commented this evening, they can stop looking like they are capitulating and start acting like a government-in-waiting. Time will tell if they can run with the reprieve they have been given.

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