No good deed unpunished
Maybe Green Day was right after all, perhaps nice guys really do finish last. That certainly seems to be the lesson some would take from some of the reactions I've seen to Stéphane Dion's decision to allow the Conservative government's throne speech to pass.
The general impression seems to be that Dion "blinked", or backed down in the face of Conservative toughness. From my point of view, nothing could be further from the truth. Dion is well aware that now is not the time for a third federal election in 4 years. Has everybody forgotten how many provincial elections have already occured this year? Is anybody else aware that there is currently a provincial election going on in Saskatchewan?
Some are suggesting that Dion's decision came as a result of our party's recent poor showing in Outremont, as well as unfavourable polls, but this strikes me as being rather unlikely. The last thing that the Liberal party needs right now is to be branded as the party that forced yet another expensive election.
Whether we Liberals like it or not, Canadians voted for change in 2006 and they want to see us give Prime Minister Harper a chance. If they don't see him getting that chance with a minority government, they might just decide to give him a majority government and see what he does with the country.
Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe are as hungry for an election as Harper is. Both declared their intentions to vote against the throne speech without even waiting to hear it, leaving the ball in Dion's court. Dion listened to what Prime Minister Harper had to say and ultimately decided not to throw the country into an election. Is that so bad? Let's try to remember that it was the throne speech and not an actual bill. Had the PM actually been trying to slip through a confidence bill that all three opposition parties absolutely could not support, then I would say it was time for an election. Perhaps, a new session of parliament might actually get some important bills passed, such as the amended Clean Air Act.
As it stands the Conservative agenda contains several matters that the PM intends to call matters of confidence. If the Prime Minster comes right out of the gates with a confidence bill that no opposition party can support, he may just find that is he who suffers the backlash for triggering an early election.