election time

Let's get this election on the road already! The Harper government is on its heels, taking well-deserved hits on both Afghanistan and the environment. It's time to knock them over. I'm looking forward to posting a big, fat I Told You So to everyone who was so sure Harper would come back with a strong majority in his second term.

Chantal Hebert, as smart a political observer as there is, muses about when the election will be called.
Harper has taken the climate change file out of the play of the minority Parliament. Voters, not the opposition, will eventually hold his government accountable for its choices.

The only element that the other parties still control is the timing of that moment of reckoning.

If St├ęphane Dion, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe feel that the failure to move more decisively on climate change is grievous, if they are convinced that Harper is wrong when he argues that he cannot do more without doing irreparable harm to the economy, then they are free to move a non-confidence motion in the government at the first opportunity.

That places Dion in front of the starkest choice of his short tenure. The Liberal leader has staked his leadership on his environment credentials. But polls consistently show that his party would face long odds in an election this spring.

For its part, the NDP can no longer delude itself that it is engaged in a collaborative effort that gives it a chance to act as the environmental conscience of the government.

Yesterday, the Conservatives put more nails in the coffin of their Clean Air Act. It has clearly become redundant to their plans. The time spent at Layton's initiative fleshing out the act in committee has turned out to be a make-work project designed to tide the government over while it came up with a strategy to reduce its electoral exposure on climate change.

As for Duceppe, election fatigue in Quebec may mean that he is under no great pressure to seek a federal election but there is no way that his party could live down propping up the Conservatives on the climate change issue.

For months, the opposition has collectively wrapped itself in the various folds of the Kyoto protocol. Now the time has come to see whether the emperor had any clothes.

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