Who is calling the shots in Ottawa? The minority Conservative government, or the Liberals?
I think it is now the Liberals. The Conservative budget, the war in Afghanistan, they are all being tailored to please the Liberals and keep the current minority Conservative government in power.
Because they are tied in the polls and if we went to an election we would only get another minority government. It is a stalemate between the two.
"A de facto government is a government wherein all the attributes of sovereignty have, by usurpation, been transferred from those who had been legally invested with them to others, who, sustained by a power above the forms of law, claim to act and do really act in their stead."
The only party that is growing in power (cough, cough) is the Greens, mostly due to the youth vote and the environmental movement which is currently all the rage. Which is pathetic at the same time, because they didn't win a single seat in the last election despite being tied with the NDP in the polls. (Methinks Green voters either forgot to actually vote or all voted for the Liberals out of fear of a Conservative majority.)
Another problem is what would the Conservative Party actually promise in a 2008 election? They already made good on their GST reduction of 2%. There is really nothing they have left to offer right now, beyond maintaining the status quo.
The Liberals however are riding high on the environmental issues, with their leader Dion an active environmental crusader. It is too late for the Kyoto Protocol to be implemented (the Conservatives deliberately dragged their feet until it was too late), but that doesn't mean Canada can't do other things to set targets on greenhouse gas reductions.
Therefore the 10% of the population which are Green voters are just enough to push the Liberals towards a majority win. Outside of Quebec, the Liberals and Conservatives are neck and neck with about 37% of the vote. If the Green voters vote Liberal instead they can push it over 45% threshold usually needed to win a majority (thanks to the marvel of vote splitting in a multi-party system).
Quebec however could still be key to winning a majority or a minority. Depending on how few seats the PQ win, if the race is close enough in English Canada, the deciding factor could be 10 to 20 seats within Quebec for either the Liberals or the Conservatives.
And right now, it is anybody's call as to who would actually win and how would they make a government. If the Liberals win a minority they could forge an alliance with either the PQ or the NDP or both. If the Conservatives win a minority they would need to make an alliance with the PQ or the Liberals (the chances of a Conservative/NDP alliance is extremely slim).
The problem however is that the Conservatives already had an alliance with the PQ which has since fallen apart. The current situation with the Liberals isn't even an alliance. First the Conservatives tried to bully the Liberals by threatening an election if they didn't pass key legislation. Now the Conservatives are hanging on by a thread and changing things just to please the Liberals to avoid going to an election.
Stephen Harper seems to keep flip-flopping on whether to call an election or not. First he says he wants one, but then he turns around and tailors legislation in order to avoid one.
I would love to see what the hell is going on inside Conservative caucus meetings. Do they want an election or not? Make up their damn minds.
If we keep going as is it is basically a Liberal de facto government because they are currently the ones calling the shots.
If we go to an election the current environmental political climate and Green swing voters gives the Liberals the edge they need to win.
The Conservatives may be flush with cash and able to afford non-election ad campaigns, but all those anti-Dion ad campaigns have done very little to diminish his support amongst Liberal and Green voters.
(On a side note, the United States is also going through an interesting phase in its run up towards the 2008 election in November. The Republicans have basically already chosen their leader, but he's a bit of a nobody vs. the likes of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The real question is who the Democrats will pick? A woman, or a black guy with a name that sounds like Osama bin Laden?)
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