Warren Kinsella has given his list of predictions for 2011, and while I agree with most, there are some I would like to challenge.
1. Election in the Spring. I agree. Few want a winter election, and even fewer a summer one. But it would not be prudent to try and compete with so many provincial fall elections.
2. "For years, now, polls have reflected a simple reality: They don’t like the Tories enough to give them a majority — and they don’t trust the Grits, yet, to form even a minority government." He's right about the polls but I'm not so sure I put as much faith in polls now. The pollsters have been discredited.
They never predicted the backlash over the last prorogation. Harper had been up 10 points in the polls and we took that away. They thought that his handling of the Haiti crisis would have an impact, but it didn't. Because there are two things Canadians will always rally for. Our democracy and our country. Stephen Harper holds both of those things in contempt.
There is anger and resentment under the surface that is not showing up in the graphs and charts. It was unleashed across all political stripes, and the group Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament gained momentum almost overnight. 225,000 Canadians joined. Harper has to be very careful not to unleash that kind of passion again, and pollsters have to realize that phone calls alone, are no longer good enough to get a handle on the views of the electorate.
3. Which brings me to Kinsella's third prediction, that if Canadians find a galvanizing issue, anything can happen. I think we have several, but the big ones will be income disparity, Corporate tax cuts, which helped to create income disparity, and the loss of our sovereignty, as a result of the new security measures.
4. "Stephen Harper will play piano again." Yes and Vladimir Putin will probably sing again. An old Stalin trick, creating a "cult of personality". We just show images of Putin and Stalin and Harpo may give up his crooning for votes.
5. "The provinces will beat up on Ottawa" and they should, especially since they know it gets them what they want. Brad Wall and the Potash deal immediately comes to mind. But the big issue as Kinsella points out will be healthcare. We just need to remind people that it has been a longtime goal of his to "scrap the Canada Health Act." I've got enough quotes and links to fill a book. If the Liberals or a coalition of Liberals/NDP and Green form a government, they would be wise to shore up healthcare and Canada Pension first. That way the provinces will have nothing to complain about and will instead turn on provincial conservative governments. Why? Because they always blame everything on the last party in power.
6. New leadership races will also probably include Stephen Harper's job, whether he loses or gets another minority. He's been able to fool some of the people some of the time, but never all of us, most of the time.
7. Michael Ignatieff will look sad. So will everyone else. If he wins he'll smile. Right now a little sadness when people are suffering is not a bad thing.
8. Too late for a coalition? Maybe. Who knows? Who cares? No matter what happens, Harper will exploit it. At least this time, we have enough ammo to show that he is just smoking smoke.
9. "Scandal-mongering will persist. But it won’t work". Scandal mongering has never worked in Canada, except when it involves the theft of our money. Harper's wife can date who she wants, but if we pick up the tab, that's a whole 'nother thing.
10. "As mad as they make us, we’ll keep reading about our politicians. Because — face it — Ottawa is Hollywood for ugly people." Love that line ... hmmmm .... maybe. Does this mean I'm ugly?
The fact is, I think the next election may have a few surprises. I think Canadians are catching on. We're stuffed with Turkey and exhausted from exchanging gifts, but somewhere there is a message in everything that has been happening lately. Like one of those "connect the dots".
I read that the Conservatives are losing the support of women and those under 40, so it's up to women and those under forty, to talk to men and those over 40, letting them know why they believe that neoconservatism is failing us. It will be a pretty interesting story to tell.
Meanwhile, enjoy one of my favourite Canadian videos.