The Governor-General has today granted Stephen Harper’s wish to prorogue parliament for six weeks.
In those six weeks he must hope that three things happen:
- His government puts together a budgetary package that commands enough public confidence to ensure that the public is happy for him to stay in office;
- That the Conservatives’ battle for ‘hearts and minds’ leads public opinion against the idea of a coalition involving Quebec separatists taking control of Canada’s government;
- That tensions between the Liberals, far-left NDP and Quebec nationalists tear the prospective coalition apart.
On (3) there are already numerous rumblings of discontent within the Liberal Party about their outgoing leader – Stephane Dion – forming such a controversial coalition and without the full agreement of the candidates to succeed him. The National Post’s Steve Janke previews the coalition’s ‘six week trial of fire’. Andrew Coyne notes the Liberal MPs who are already distancing themselves from Dion’s coalition plans. The very different performances of Harper and Dion in their televised addresses to the nation have given Canadian Conservatives fresh hope.