Monday, July 19, 2010

A Cabinet Shuffle and Fall Election?

The Hill Times is musing today that PM Harper will have cabinet shuffle and then call and election this fall.
They go on speculating what was reported in Le Devoir that Minister Jim Flaherty will be shuffled out of Finance in which I truly find that hard to believe. Minister Flaherty has done a great job steering us through a very bad recession and is well liked and has been given kudos from the international world.  The PM has full confidence in his Minister, why would he want to suffle him now?  The economy is still recovering and is still very fragile.

Secondly they are speculating that PM Harper will go the GG before the House is scheduled to return on Sept. 20 for the fall sitting, and ask for an election depending on how Iffy's desperation bus tour goes.
The Le Devoir story raised discussion not only of the government's plans for the short term, but also of the odds Prime Minister Harper may decide to ask Governor General Michäelle Jean to dissolve Parliament before it reconvenes on Sept. 20, paving the way for an election in which he would hope to capitalize on rising support his party is experiencing in public opinion polls while the fortunes of the Liberal party and Leader Michael Ignatieff (Etobicoke-Lakeshore, Ont.) continue to decline in the opposition direction. 
Joanne at BLY pointed out a particular comment of  pollster Frank Graves  in this column on her blog.

Joanne says:
Rather surprising to hear Frank Graves say this:
Ekos pollster Frank Graves said Prime Minister Harper has already benefitted from his appearances this year with Queen Elizabeth, his leadership at the G8 and G20 summits, the Vancouver Olympics and his gradual ascension on the world stage over the past four years.
“I believe that what’s happened is that Stephen Harper has gradually and slowly, almost without anybody noticing, he becomes the proxy for national pride,” Mr. Graves told The Hill Times. “This has never happened [with Prime Minister Harper] before. I think it’s a new dynamic
Methinks it’s a trap.
I happen to agree.  Frank Graves should not be trusted since he has been advising the Liberal party.
Even though the temptation might be there, the PM should refrain from calling an election this fall instead as stated by Joanne from BLY to continue governing competently.
Frmgrl – I really hope PM Harper refrains from calling an election anytime soon – no matter how tempting. He should continue to do just what he’s doing – govern competently with a view to get us back on our feet economically. He’s doing a great job.
It would be a mistake to call one this fall for three main reasons.

 1. There are municipal elections both in Alberta and Ontario this fall.  It would result in lower voter turn out because election fatigue.  It's hard enough to GOTV in the municipal ones since the turn out  is usually very low.  Voters would not be happy campers to have two elections at the same time or just weeks apart.

2.  I believe PM Harper would be seen as opportunistic and it could backfire.  He could very likely be punished at the polls.

3.  There needs to be a very good reason to drag the public to the polls and I don't see one right now.

Anyway I don’t see a Jim Flaherty being shuffled out of his Finance Ministry portfolio nor do I see  federal election until at least next spring after the budget.  Let the  media speculate all they want.  Let the opposition parties defeat the government on a bill.  They can get the flak then for an unwanted election.

I do think all this  fall election talk by the MSM is because THEY are the ones that really want one in order to send "The Visiting Professor" back to academia  so  that their favorite party can anoint their next messiah in hopes that next one will  win the big prize.

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