Thursday, January 26, 2006

Dangerous Thinking By Conservatives

There seems to be a consensus developing among Conservatives that they have almost a guaranteed year in office. Even more, there seems to be more and more saying that they can pass almost whatever they want in the first 100 days. There are two premises this is based upon. The first is that none of the opposition parties want an election, primarily because the public does not want an election. Although there is some truth to that, they should keep in mind that the public did not want the election we just had but still elected the Conservatives to government. The second premise is that with the Liberals heading into a leadership race they would not dare to bring down the Conservative government. And without the Liberals the Bloc and NDP are incapable of defeating the government. I would not put too much faith in that if I were the Conservatives. It is ironic that on both of these premises Joe Clark would be Harper's best advisor. Pierre Trudeau's resignation did not prevent the Liberals from defeating Clark's government. In our current situation, I do not believe it would be Paul Martin who would come back to fight. Instead, here is how I think things could develop. If the Conservatives brought in legislation that the Liberals thought they could win an election on they could defeat and bring down the government and then bring in someone like Frank McKenna to serve as leader and fight the election. There certainly are party rules, and I do not believe any of the rules allow for this. However, most people do not realize that the various political parties technically have no authority over their party's caucus in parliament. The leader of the Liberal party is the person the caucus recognizes - period. Originally, and for quite some time, it was the caucus that elected the leader. So if they appointed Frank McKenna he would be recognized by parliament as the Liberal leader. If he won the election he could then go through a leadership race, one in which I am sure he would be appointed. If he lost the election he could still go through a leadership race, but I am sure he would be challenged in such a case.

Do I think this will happen? Only if the Conservatives become arrogant enough to think they can act like they have a majority.