Now that the Liberals are once again behaving like the Official Opposition, the role of kingmaker once again falls on Jack Layton, who wants Harper to know that he has to “reach out” if he wants to avoid an election. Not that Harper is keen on the whole “playing well with others” thing. Word on the Hill is that an election is pretty much inevitable at this point. Which is why all of the parties are now getting their election infrastructure in place – busses and planes are being rented, priority lists for projects and legislation currently before the House are being drawn up, and teams are being assembled.
(Incidentally, the Toronto Star has an excellent sidebar with each party’s demands here).
And to make you really, really think that an election is now a sure thing, they’re already starting to make election promises. Both the Conservatives and the Liberals have promised not to touch provincial transfers as a means of tackling the deficit if elected. The Liberals are even suggesting that they made a mistake by doing so back in the '90s. Of course, election promises are one thing, and the books will almost certainly look quite different should the Liberals get into power (and they see just what Jim Flaherty has been hiding in them – like he did when he was the Ontario finance minister and hid a sizeable deficit).
Remember those secret documents that then-foreign affairs minister Maxime Bernier left at his ex-girlfriend’s place? (Yes, this was the closest we’ve come to a sex scandal in Canada in a very long time). Well, several media outlets filed Access to Information requests on them, and they finally arrived – 560 pages of heavily redacted materials, and what wasn’t blacked out still paints a picture of some pretty sensitive material. Bernier and the Conservatives are trying to downplay this as overly cautious civil servants justifying classifying it as “Secret,” but Bob Rae made a very good point during his media availability yesterday afternoon – either it’s sensitive or it isn’t, and if it’s that heavily redacted, chances are it’s sensitive.
Another Conservative cabinet minister found himself in some hot water as Peter MacKay discovered he “forgot” to declare that he was on the board of two companies his father owns, and that he should have resigned. Oops. The fine for the transgression? $200. Because wow, that’s going to put the fear into any future ministers caught in such a situation.
And incidentally – the two sharpest dressers in the Conservative cabinet, past or present, both in a bit of trouble. Coincidence?
Up today: The Supreme Court is going to render a decision on the government’s obligation toward Omar Khadr. It’s a fast turn-around, and it should be very interesting, considering that the government would have no where left to appeal, considering that every decision thus far has been against them.
UPDATED: My mistake – they decided to hear the appeal today, not actually render a decision. They will hear the case on November 13, but who knows – we may have a new government by then.