Okay, I will join the ranks of those who are peering into teacups littered with a broken tea bag leaves, or those with illusions of having paranormal abilities, and making a few predictions for Canada in 2009.
First, when Parliament reconvenes on January 26th, there will be no surprises in terms of a minority government being turfed in a non-confidence vote regarding the Speech from the Throne. On the following day, the vote on the budget will pass as it will be more “liberal” than Liberal. It might even be more “liberal” than the NDP. Who will vote for the budget? My guess, is that only the minority government will actually vote for the budget with enough opposition members missing due to colds, flus and pressing family matters. I don’t think anyone wants to be tagged with the fallout of that budget. Of course, the Bloc may be convinced to vote for the budget as it WILL contain all kinds of goodies for Québec in an attempt to cobble together a fast fading support of Conservatives in that province.
Second, like most are predicting, the economy will be much worse and last much longer than has been predicted. Market fluctuations will give false signals of encouragement, if only to sucker in more investment dollars before sucking them away as profit for a few who would sell as people begin to buy back in. This fits the Harper advice that there is money to be made in the market. Saskatchewan will lose, not grow, during the year. It isn’t an island outside of the storm waters.
Third, the Liberal party will take time to heal and partly refill election coffers while the Conservatives break every rule of their ideology. Strategic avoidance of pulling down the government while appearing to attack the government will accomplish two things, time for the healing and powerful influence on Harper’s government to stay away from ideological traps that would spell out the end of their brief rule.
Fourth, the Conservatives will make mistakes and piss off even more of their own supporters. They will “cross the line”, likely in the late spring, resulting in the government being tossed out in a vote of non-confidence.
Fifth, there will be no coalition government to follow this fall from power if the Conservatives can last until May or June. If for some reason such as a death-wish policy proposals, that the government falls earlier, I do expect a coalition that will be open to NDP, Liberals and a few Conservative backbench MPs or even leader wannabees. It would be a coalition of necessity for all parties at that point, one that would actually be welcomed by the public.
Sixth, Harper will lose his status as party leader.
Seventh, Prentice will become the next Conservative leader, not Charest.
And, I will end there. Seven is a nice number. Besides, the crystal ball is getting cloudy at this point, likely because the wind has picked up. It will be interesting to watch the year unfold now that I have a measuring stick.
Happy New Year.