I don’t know about you, but eveything feels…different. So many things will work out differently this year! 2008 is over! I checked on the calendar, and there’s a new digit at the end of the year! In politics, I feel quite confident that the following changes will result:
- There will be no election in 2009. We’ve had so many elections lately! Your MPs will realize that they are condemned to get along, and they’ll get right down to business. Quiet diligence will be the tone. The people demand no less.
- Stephen Harper will not cooperate with the Opposition on everything, nor should he, because he has different ideas from the other parties and a pretty strong mandate to pursue them. But he’ll realize that, because they outnumber him, he can win only by conscientiously explaining his ideas to Canadian voters. Ambushes and brinksmanship were fun while they lasted, he’ll realize, but they’ve stopped working. The next time he goes on the teevee, it won’t be to save his own bacon, it will be to patiently make the case for modest, restrained government action. The Canadian people can handle a serious discussion about public policy, and by God, Stephen Harper’s the man to lead that conversation.
- The Liberals, blessed with the leader the overwhelming majority of MPs wanted all along, will stop back-biting. Blackberries will be turned off on the way into caucus meetings. Hy’s will shut down because nobody will be left who wants to gossip. Jane Taber will start to feel like the Maytag Repairman because nobody ever calls any more with gossip designed to make the next Liberal look bad.
- Having swallowed himself whole on Iraq, constitutional change, Qana and the need for a carbon tax, Michael Ignatieff will decide that pleasing whatever credentialed crowd he happens to find himself in has not exactly been a paying proposition up til now. He will decide it’s time to be a bit less of a people-pleaser. To that end, he will stop regaling journalists with tales of how tough and decisive he is. He will realize that quiet determination is not quite so effective if you can’t stop reminding everyone how quietly determined you are. He will stop declaring that every issue is Stephen Harper’s “last chance.”
- Jack Layton will judge issues on their merits. Since he can’t afford an election anyway, he’ll sometimes tell NDP MPs to vote with the government.
- Elizabeth May will decide that the Green Party deserves a leader who wants Canadians to vote Green every time they get a chance.
- The press gallery will refrain from breathlessly chronicling any squeaker vote in the Commons unless we have first explained what the vote is about. What the bill or motion would change in the lives of Canadians if it passed or failed. Nobody will call the budget “boring” if it fails to become a confidence cliffhanger, because we understand that there is no boring way to spend $200 billion and that in any case, our job is not to judge the government’s ability to excite, but the effects of its actions.
Nah, I don’t believe any of this either. But it was fun to dream, no?