Parliament assembles in mid-October for the government’s speech from the throne. Harper’s conservatives need one of the three opposition parties to support the throne speech or else the government would fall on a vote of confidence and this would trigger a general election probably in late November.
Already Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe has asserted five non-negotiable demands before he will support the throne speech. These include elimination of all federal spending powers in provincial jurisdictions; Kyoto Protocol to be respected; Canadian troops to pull out of Afghanistan when the current mission ends in February, 2009. I doubt the Tories could accept any of these demands except for the first one.
That leaves the other two opposition parties. Stephane Dion says the Liberals want the government to promise an early 2009 exit from Afghanistan and the re-introduction of clean-air legislation. That leaves the NDP and Jack Layton has said he does not see how his party could support a Tory throne speech.
If all three opposition parties gang up on the Tories we would be in for a late fall election costing about $250 million dollars. Chances are the Liberals and the Bloc would lose seats. The NDP could win a few more. So could the Conservatives but it is still difficult to see how they would achieve a majority.
So we would end up pretty much the same as we are now with a Harper minority government.
Would you favour a late fall election with that kind of result?