I think the Federal Conservative Government has started to believe its own propaganda that even in minority, it was elected to govern until fall 2009.
Clearly the sense of, and momentum for an election as early as this fall appear to be waining. The House of Commons resumes sitting this week following a one week break to mark the Victoria Day Holiday, but there are every indications that politicians are now focused on an altogether distant future timing.
There will the usual attacks, gnashing of teeth, bluster about this and that. In reality though, this spring, despite landing a flurry of jabs that shook the Conservatives the Liberals still seem unable to convince Canadians they can go the distance. This month polls show the Liberals at 34%, the Conservatives at 33%. Last month (April) they were even at 36% apiece. In other words, statistical dead-heats that would lead to more minority government were an election to be held soon.
Instead the Prime Minister, Mr. Harper, is stepping-out of the Commons on a series of international initiatives; some no doubt will suggest to counter the ill-effects of his hapless Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maxime Bernier. Mr. Harper this week is on a tour of Britain, France, Germany and Italy. His plan is to promote trade with the European Union and seek support for the government's environmental initiatives. To that end he'll be joined by the Environment Minister, John Baird.
The diminished fear of the Government's imminent defeat on a House motion, and perhaps facing the possibility they'll be in office until 2009, the Conservatives are seeking initiatives and issues to sustain their momentum. Mr. Harper will follow-up his European tour this week with a visit to the Middle-East next month, and a round of talks with G-8 Leaders at a summit in Japan in July. To wit: the extent of Conservative confidence against a snap-election while the PM is out of town.
In fact all three national leaders are planning extensive cross-Canada consultations and travels to just about every region over the summer months. All of the Party leaders may finally have caught-on that Canadians are getting tired with the negative politics of the past several months. By the fall party strategists on all sides hope to position the focus of supporters on a longer term vision. Some of this may be wishful thinking, but the generally unchanged public opinion poll results since the election of January 2006 seem to suggest that electors have quite simply turned-away from the constant bickering amongst politicians. And, it appears they would be grateful if someone...anyone, had a vision, short or long term, to offer Canadians.