Tuesday, September 15, 2009

We've Avoided an Election, For the Next Week or So

With both the NDP and the Bloc voting with the government on Friday, implementing among other things the home renovation tax credit, the country has staved off an election for now. Nevertheless, this will not last long.

For the Bloc, it would have been stupidity itself to oppose one of the few popular measures taken by this government. And they have indicated that they would likely vote against the no-confidence motion the Liberals will inevitably table. Gilles Duceppe said "All in all, if we're asked if we have confidence in [this] government, the answer is no." Of course, that does not technically preclude abstention or any other number of tricks, but it would seem that the Bloc is still readying itself for an election.

More importantly though, although Jack Layton will be propping up the government in the near future, this situation cannot last forever for three reasons. First, the general reason of the acrimony of the conflict between the Conservatives and the NDP.

Specifically, despite Harper having found a carrot to dangle in front of Layton this time, he will have to keep doing so if Jack Layton is to support him. Layton cannot ever support classic Tory policy, lest his base abandon him for the Liberals or Greens. Seeing as this Prime Minister is highly partisan, I doubt he will be able to keep conceiving of flavours of the month for Layton's pleasure. After all, if we go to the polls, the NDP will suffer immeasurably more, as of now, than the Conservatives.

The second consideration is that Layton cannot afford to support the government for an extended period of time. If Stephane Dion taught us one thing, it's that abstention and/or supporting the government for too long will exact heavy tolls on your results at the polls. The poll numbers may be bad now, but what would they be if Layton were to support the Conservatives through this entire session, on confidence votes.

Not to say we won't have a short period of time in which the NDP will support the government. We will, if only to give the NDP time to fundraise in preparation for a campaign, and as well to receive some support for saving the nation from an election and making parliament work.

Then Layton will pull the plug, unless Duceppe somehow steps in.
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