It looks like Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s minority Conservative government is going to fall today. The Liberals have introduced a motion of non-confidence in response to the federal budget that was submitted earlier this week by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. If the government falls, Canadians will elect a new parliament sometime in May.
Frankly, I don’t understand why the Liberals have decided to topple the government now. After all, a poll that was released last weekend by Nanos Research had the Conservatives leading the Liberals by double digits (38.6% to 27.6%). Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff is also the least trusted of the three major national political leaders. Ignatieff is well behind both Harper and New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jack Layton on that score. As late as yesterday, an Ipsos-Reid poll had the Tories ahead of the Liberals by nearly 20 points (43% to 24%).
It is also worth noting that according to another Ipsos-Reid poll, half of all Canadians do not want an election at this time. Indeed, if the Tory government falls it will be the third election in a little over five years.
Now I could understand Ignatieff doing this if the Liberals were up in the polls by double digits and if he was the most popular leader in the country. But it seems to me that if half of all Canadians don’t want an election a lot of them aren’t going to vote Liberal. Now I realize that a week in politics is a lifetime. Harper could make a mistake and Ignatieff could capitalize. But unless Ignatieff becomes Prime Minister in the next 60 days or so then his political career is done.
So methinks Stephen Harper will remain Prime Minister. The only question is whether Harper will lead another minority government or if he and the Conservatives will be given a chance at majority rule.
UPDATE: Prime Minister Harper met with Governor General David Johnston this morning to advise him to dissolve Parliament. Canadians will go to the polls on May 2nd.