Sunday, April 20, 2008

If Not Now, When?

It is increasingly clear that the Conservative Party is not fit to govern this country. A party which has its offices raided by the RCMP, that threatens the hard work of our men and women in Afghanistan, that believes the solution to economic problems is political bickering, that threatens the environmental future of this county, that disregards basic tenants of our democratic system is not fit to govern. I understand that there is more to election timing than the mistakes of your opponents. However, the polls are looking increasingly positive and an election campaign would focus the voters attention on the mistakes of this government which they might otherwise ignore. We have eighteen months left before this government calls an election based on the fixed election date. I know we talk about how Canadians don't want an election now, but let's think this through. Is there a better time to go to the polls. There are essentially four windows for an election: before July 1, 2008; fall 2008; post-budget 2009; at the appointed time in 2009. Let's consider each option starting with the last one.

Option 1: Just Wait: This would be disastrous. One of Dion's major problems right now is his perception as being a weak leader. If he let's the Tories govern until fall 2009, he will only confirm everyone's suspicions. At that point, the Tories will be able to say, quite legitimately, if we did such a bad job, why didn't you defeat us?

Option 2: Wait for another budget: First of all, pulling the plug on a government that is six months away from its appointed death, looks desperate. Yes, Dion will have used his power but it will look petty. Second, and more importantly at this juncture, what's in the 2009 budget that isn't in this years budget. What is going to be the poison pill that the Canadian people will revolt against. Even if the economy goes down the tubes, the budget won't show the true extent of the damage (see the last pre-election budget delivered by Mr. Flaherty). One of the Tory scandals might have been blown wide open by now but honestly, I doubt it. Mr. Harper has adopted Mr. Chretien's strategy of letting it work through the justice system. The justice system doesn't work on a political clock. It could be well after fall 2009 before any of the scandals are fully resolved. We can't just pray for the election to fall into our lap.

Option 3: Fall 2008: What's the difference between now and five months from now? Is Dion going to win the country over on the barbecue circuit this summer? Are all the Tories' misdeeds going to come to a head in September? Is there some bill that's coming up in the fall that we want to fight an election on? Is the LPCQ going to turn into a well-oiled machine? I don't see anything changing dramatically in the next few months.

Option 4: Now: As I said at the beginning, we can pound Mr. Harper on a whole slate of issues. We could roll out a scandal a day if we wanted to (by the way this would be a disastrously confusing PR move). We can take our pick and just chip away. Let Mr. Dion be relentless in the debates plugging away at Harper's weaknesses. The best argument against an election now, is our disorganization (particularly in Quebec). Some of that disorganization is, quite frankly, going to exist no matter when we go. We are dead in the water in some ridings and will be eighteen months from now. However, the easiest way to get people fighting towards a common goal, is to have a clear and finite goal, like winning an election.

Thus, Mr. Dion and the rest of the Liberal caucus, I implore you, stand up for Canada. Defeat this government.

Side Note: On a personal note, I have finished my BA! Yay! I commence the job hunt in earnest tomorrow. However, I might be able to delay the search a bit if there was an election campaign to work on.

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