After a summer of simmering politicking in Ottawa, Stephane Dion's proposed Carbon Tax, Stephen Harper's attack ad's on Stephane Dion's Carbon Tax, and confusion that surrounds Carbon Tax and anything to do with the idea of Global Warming in general clouding the dying days of August, people are saying that there's going to be a fall election. No, seriously. This time they really mean it.
Dion introduced his proposal on the Carbon Tax at the beginning of the summer, and now that people are returning to their normal lives and are realizing that something might actually be happening in Ottawa for once, he seems like he might actually have the piece of policy he needs to fuel the fires of an election debate. And what a perfect issue. The environment has been for a long time Stephane Dion's hallmark, and fighting an election on his three pillars that won him the Liberal leadership nomination is the best chance that he's got against the sharp minds of Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party. Dion is beginning to show some of that old fire that we saw during his glory days with Chretien. When asked about why he would possibly want to make his party a target instead of him targeting the government by Maclean's magazine columnist Paul Wells, he responded by expressing that he was happy that the Conservatives were drawing attention to his idea because it meant that people were talking about it. And in this day and age, if you can get attention, you can get votes.
Of course, now that Dion appears ready to force an election, Harper doesn't want to give him an inch. The Prime Minister brilliantly stole headlines from the Leader of the Opposition by suggesting strongly that he could possibly request that Governor General Michelle Jean dissolve parliament so that an election can be had. Poor Stephane. Always getting his toes stepped on by people that try to be pushier than he is.
Indeed, if Dion or Harper decides now to go into an election situation, it will be Judgement Day for the Liberal Leader. The Liberals are short on funds, whereas the Conservative warchest is fat. The Conservatives have spent two years trying to grind Dion's reputation into the dust, and have been moderately successful in doing so. And we all know that Harper is a shrewd opponent in any situation, with a clearly powerful intellect and a bite to back up his bark. Not only do these things stand on Dion's slim shoulders, but if he fails to impress in an election situation, or even if he doesn't force an election, he could face serious challenges to his leadership of the party, particularly from disenfranchised Ignatieff delegates or Rae delegates. So the pressure is none to small.
However, Dion has the experience, creativity, and strength of mind to box in the ring with any political opponent. After all, he did beat a former Premier out of a leadership position, and he knows how to scrap in the House of Commons with the best of them. His stubborn streak can be an enormous asset, and his fiery conviction to his trade will be a force to contend with the Prime Minister's.
Of course, we may just be looking at another bit of speculation here. This minority government has been the longest lived in Canadian history (I think), so there's no reason to stop the fun now. After all, the Conservatives can't get any bills they really want to be passed through the Liberal dominated Senate, and many committees are bent on exposing various ugly truths about the Mulroney-Schreiber affair, the Conservative fund allocations, and lets not forget the horror of the Cadman Scandal.
But all in all, my guess is that come September we'll still be watching more T.V. about Barack Obama vs. John McCain than Stephane vs. Stephen.
Election, or not.