The mighty Globe & Mail has spoken, on this, the first day of our election campaign. The writ has been dropped, and the G&M has carried the golden election forecast down from the mountain top, and is displaying it for all to see.
As of today, this is the entrails of the portent-indicating G&M chicken:
Methinks there is one of the 6 projections that we can all take to the bank: the 95% chance that the LPC and NDP will together gain a majority of seats in the new Parliament.
As for the 79% chance the Tories will have a minority government because they will gain the most seats, the jury is still out, in my view.
And the Bloc will do better in Quebec than most non-Quebec commentators expect. It has a new lease of life, and will draw back into its fold many more NDP supporters there than either the G&M or the NDP think will happen. Fortress Quebec is no longer a sure thing for Mulcair’s party.
But the interesting event will be this: How long will it take for the Harper minority government (if he gets one) to lose power?
If the Liberal MPs and NDP MPs all vote against the Harper minority government in the Throne Speech confidence vote, then the Governor General will call upon the leader of the party with the next highest number of seats (Mulcair, according to the mighty G&M, which is never wrong, eh?) to try to gain the confidence of the House by gaining a simple majority of MPs to vote for his government.
If – it would insane for Trudeau and Liberal MPs not to do so – Mulcair does gain the confidence of the House, he will then attempt to run a minority government, seeking cooperation on all confidence (money bills) votes from either the Tories (fat chance of this happening – see Ibbitson’s article on Harper’s DNA-response to those he believes have slighted him) or the Liberals.
He should get that confidence, provided he does not do something really silly in his budgets, or couples something silly (like the repeal of the Clarity Act) with his omnibus budget measures. So he could stay in power for 18 months to 24 months on this basis.
And if Mulcair tabled a bill to start public discussions of electoral reform, with a referendum allowing Canadians to choose between two substitute methods of electing MPs (other than a continuance of the first past the post system), he would definitely get the support of the Liberals for this vote (which, because it is not a money bill, would not be a confidence vote unless Mulcair makes it one). That would mean the next election would not be on the first past the post system.
And that would mean that our democracy has come of age, with every vote being counted, and every vote counting. And I will blade a bottle of champagne on a sandy beach to celebrate that! Date, time and place to be announced when the bill is signed by the Governor General.