Crunch time: There is a sense as Members arrive in Ottawa for the resumption of Parliament on Monday that the shine on the Liberal euphoria following the Sudbury caucus may have tarnished.
I'd predicted earlier that once the politicians touched base in their home ridings for the Labour Day weekend they'd get an earful from Canadians clearly in no mood for a fall election again this year.
The problem is that the game of ultimatum and heading to the brink of an election every six months will end eventually, as electors grow increasingly weary of a House of Commons paralyzed by the bluster, charges and counter charges from each side.
There is growing concern amongst politicos that Canadians though will punish both the leader and the party they blame for forcing yet another Federal election. In particular if there is an election before year's end. In this case the Liberal Leader, Michael Ignatieff, has already called his play and it may take a Herculean effort to extricate the party from being blamed once the Prime Minister again visits with the Governor-General and the writ drops for a bitter trek to the polls.
Never mind the $400 million cost of a fourth national election since Y2K! The message about voter fatigue, if not outright burn-out, seems to have resonated with more than just Liberal caucus members in their ridings over the past two weeks since Mr. Ignatieff threatened to pull the plug. The evermore dysfunctional charade of minority parliamentarians who balk at cooperating for the good of the country seems to have also infected the lesser party leaders as the threatened election looms. The leader of the N.D.P. has been sounding increasingly conciliatory as the hours tick-down to Monday's first sitting of the House of Commons in three months. At this late hour, the trouble for the three opposition parties is that Mr. Harper's Conservatives, infused with improved polling results, may seize the opportunity to trip their own defeat in the House with a "Ways and Means" (budget) Motion over the popular home renovation credit program. Then blame the Liberals for forcing an election. Out of the gate into a fall election, that scenario could be Micheal Ignatieff's, undoing...or at least his worse nightmare.
The Prime-Minister heads for his first Washington meeting at the White House with President Obama on Wednesday. The national and American media will be trailing close behind; particularly since from an American perspective, Canada's universal health care system is playing a significant role in the health care debate down south. After a heavy, heady media frenzied high down in Washington at mid-week, it could be tempting to shaft the House of Commons with the "home renovation credit" motion on Friday - Something the Tory House Leader, Jay Hill, hasn't exactly ruled out.
One thing is clear. Whether sanity soon prevails or not: It is quite unlikely that anything progressive for the good of rank and file Canadians will be achieved in Parliament over the course of the next however many days. The atmosphere has been charged...if not once again poisoned; and political posturing will trump any substantive issues and matters which should be debated at our critical juncture in the country's economic recovery.