Monday, 2 January 2012

The Year Ahead: Canadian Politics

So I have a plan to do three of these - one for Canadian politics, another for Canadian Liberalism, and another for Baseball - three topics I write about on a regular basis. I will be opening with Canadian politics. So let's dive in.

1. Prime Minister Harper will have his way with the Parliament of Canada.

Let us be frank folks. No matter your political allegiance, we must all acknowledge that this Prime Minister may very well be the most powerful in Canadian history. With both the Liberals and NDP consumed by internal leadership races and the Bloc and Greens not numerous enough to make even the slightest dent in the Prime Minister's agenda he will be able to do essentially anything he pleases. That said, if the first few days of 2012 are any indication it will mean more taxes, more spending, and expanded government with a greater reach. That is the legacy of this Prime Minister. And while I have a great deal of respect for Bob Rae (I still believe he would be a fantastic Prime Minister) and Nycole Turmel (although I have never met her), but both can only be so effective. Their powers in the House are limited by those looking to occupy their current seats in the House of Commons.

2. The NDP's leadership race will bare all.

To date the race has been fairly ... well boring ... But I do believe that this race will turn negative very soon. And leading that charge I believe will be Brian Topp and Thomas Mulcair. When you have two emotional figures emotions will bubble to the surface. Topp has already begun calling Mulcair out as a 'centrist' - something he speaks to with negativity. Mulcair will respond. If he doesn't I believe he proves himself not up to the job of beating Prime Minister Harper (whether or not that be your preferred scenario). And much like 2006 did for the Liberals, this will open up the race for someone like Paul Dewar or Peggy Nash to slide between them and become the new leader of the NDP.

3. The Liberal leadership will do the same.

One thing Liberals do not do well is play nice. Whether it be Rae v. Ignatieff, Martin v. Copps, Chretien v. Martin, or what have you, fractures emerge during Liberal leaderships. This isn't a bad thing. Its good to be passionate. And I suspect what we will see next will be David McGuinty v. Leblanc. I do not relish such a situation, but it when the gloves come off we see how a candidate handles themselves. The gloves will certainly not be on in 2015. And I'd rather see a leader that has the ability to take on the Prime Minister following a hard fought internal battle, rather than a candidate that waltzed to leadership without the ability to win the big price.

4. There will be zero talk of an NDP-Liberal merger.

There really is not further need to expand. There is no merger candidate in the NDP race. And there is no prospective candidate in the Liberal race that would be open to the same. If it ever does happen it will not be until 2016.

5. The Ontario McGuinty government will survive the entire year.

There just is not a demand for an election. Both Andrea Horwath and Tim Hudak have proven themselves unable to unseat the Premier. They will reserve the following year to lick their wounds and hope they don't have to take on Dalton McGuinty again. What we may see, however, is two parties that come together to put the Ontario Liberal government in a position of stalemate. They have already begun this with their coalition on the HST. I would not be shocked if they pushed that envelope.

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