OTTAWA — Federal Conservative organizers say they have been told that their election campaign offices should be ready for opening on Oct. 20 and that candidates should begin canvassing constituents immediately.Or let's put this another way: What, exactly, could Harper put in the Throne Speech that would be totally unacceptable to the other 3 parties but not unacceptable to the 65-70% of voters they represent? I suppose there's been some electoral success in heightening the contradictions, but not when your party is stuck at 30-35% and has been for a year.
They also say campaign chairman Doug Finley told candidates in a conference call yesterday that there will be four or five items in the Throne Speech that will be absolutely unacceptable to the other parties. And they say Mr. Finley told them the Conservative brass is currently trying to decide between three different election dates.
I would want to be very, very sure that I could wallop the hell out of Dion before I made a move like this. And I don't see it -- neither the Conservative attacks nor the Liberal feet-shootings over the last little while have moved the poll numbers significantly. Dion would have to screw up hugely to hand the election to Harper, and meanwhile Harper's caucus could always choose to de-muzzle on some issue like abortion or teaching creationism. Elections, in short, are terribly risky things.
Oh, and there's the little fact that Canadian voters seem to show an incredible amount of agency -- every time Harper gets to within a few % of majority territory, his number bounce like a superball off the ceiling.