Dion predicts victory
[PoliticsWatch updated 5:15 p.m. March 29, 2007]
|Liberal Leader Stephane Dion addresses the
Liberal caucus on Thursday.
The leader of Canada's Official Opposition delivered an
election-style speech to his caucus on Thursday and predicted his
party would win the upcoming federal election.
"We don’t want an election. But if an election comes, it’s an election we’re going to
win," Liberal leader Stephane Dion
He also challenged the conventional wisdom in Ottawa that his party
is not ready for a spring election. Many reporters and pundits
believe now would be an opportune time for Prime Minister Stephen
Harper to call an election partly because the Liberals are still
recovering from their leadership race.
The Conservatives are said to be prepared to go on 24-hours notice
"If the prime minister wants to force an election on Canadians, so be it. The Liberal Party is
ready," Dion said.
The Liberal leader pointed to the Conservatives' television attack
ads, the party's candidate training school in Toronto and a recent
budget containing billions in new spending as signs that an election
Despite Dion's suspicions and a number of recent polls that put the
Conservatives at the minimum level of support needed to form a
majority government, the prime minister this week denied publicly
and privately that he plans to have a spring election.
"The public didn't elect me to sit around looking for election
opportunities," Harper said on Tuesday. "The public elected me and elected our government to govern on its platform. We've got a lot of work to do to continue to get things done."
Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe told reporters Wednesday
that Harper approached him in the House of Commons this week and
privately told him that he had no plans for a spring campaign.
If Harper were to force an election there could be some political
damage not only because of his denials of a desire to have
The Conservatives campaigned in the last election on a promise to
bring in fixed election dates. Last year, the Conservative
government introduced legislation that would set a fixed election
date of October 19, 2009.
That bill was passed in the Senate this week with a minor
Liberal House leader Ralph Goodale pushed the government on
Thursday to give Royal Assent to the bill so it would become
The final hurdle would be for the House to consent to the minor
amendment. Goodale used his weekly Thursday question to the
Government House Leader in the House of Commons to get unanimous
consent to pass a motion.
He said the Conservatives were the only party not to accept the his
"The only person standing in the way of having fixed election
dates is Stephen Harper himself," Goodale told PoliticsWatch
after question period.
Goodale said the Conservatives' reluctance to give the bill Royal
Assent raises questions about the prime minister wanting to keep his
options open for an early election.
"This is just one more little bit of evidence that he's trying
to contrive the situation," Goodale told PoliticsWatch.
"When he says he wants fixed election dates, he simply wants
that as a political issue to flog. He's not really interested in
having fixed election dates because it fetters his political
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