Election Speculation Update

Kady O'Malley has all the latest from the front line

leadersOkay, so ITQ has to begin with yet another apology — honestly, she must be the most frequently sorry journalist ever — for not being able to be in like, nineteen places at once, not the least of which would be inside Jack Layton’s head, since that’s probably where all the really exciting stuff is going on at the moment, at least from the perspective of the perpetual election speculation machine that is Canadian politics at the moment.

At least we’ll get to hear from the man himself tomorrow afternoon, when he’s scheduled to hold a press conference in Halifax, but, as reported by Colleague Wherry earlier today, it doesn’t sound like the Conservatives — or, at least, Jason Kenney — are planning to pitch a little parliamentary woo in the direction of the New Democrats, despite the fact that, as far as party director Brad Lavigne is concerned — or so he told CTV earlier today – it’s Team Orange that wields the balance of power, which, if ITQ’s math is right, is true only if you pretend that those 49 Bloc Quebecois seats don’t exist.

Anyway, it doesn’t sound like Layton is going to be getting that call from PMO any time soon, although it’s possible that Kenney is out of the loop. Not likely, but possible. Although in his post-announcement media availability in Sault Ste. Marie this afternoon, the prime minister sounded distinctly cool to the idea of making overtures to a party that was a card-carrying supporter of the separatist-socialist-notaleader-led coalition. (Should I start capitalizing that, since I suspect we’re going to be hearing about it an awful lot over the next few months? )

Meanwhile, there’s also a rumour running rampant that the government is plotting to force the Liberals to bring them down before that much-discussed opposition day — see this post for more on the timing — by — get this — making them vote against a ways and means motion that would include that home renovation tax credit that just a few months back, the finance minister’s office was assuring all, sundry and ITQ was a done deal, even though it hadn’t yet been introduced — let alone passed — by Parliament.

The Liberals, for their part, have apparently sworn up and down  seven ways til Sunday that, in the unlikely event that they manage to get themselves elected, they’ll re-introduce the rebate in plenty of time for next year’s tax season — which doesn’t seem all that far-fetched, to be fair, since they did vote in favour of it by supporting the budget, after all. Still, the Tory Talking Point Brigade will likely be out in force, decrying the heartless opportunism of the home-renovation-hating Liberals.

Oh, and finally, the Liberals have apparently served notice that they won’t be attending the meeting of the EI working group that had been scheduled for tomorrow, which probably won’t come as much of a surprise to the other panelists, although Miss Manners wouldn’t approve of bailing out on a previously-agreed-upon event on such short notice.

Anyway, that’s the latest from the front, y’all — I’ll update if anything new breaks, but I figured you deserved a fresh thread to thrash out the most recent developments.

UPDATE: Hey, look, it’s Gilles Duceppe on the television screen! What does he have to say about the looming election threat? Well, he’s going to do what’s right for Quebec, of course — and he points out that the Bloc Quebecois was the only party that came forward with “costed proposals” on employment insurance. He won’t say that he’ll vote against the government, and he won’t say that he won’t — it will depend on the motion. Why does that sound so much less frantically backpedally when Duceppe says it than any other party leader? Anyway, he also ‘takes all his adversaries seriously’, and judges people based on their actions, not their motives — and he’s not interested in trying to figure out what Ignatieff is thinking. His lines in the sand appear to be more money for the forestry industry, and no moving the securities commission to Toronto from Montreal.