By Harvey Oberfeld
Keeping It Real…
September 21st, 2014
Canadians are not supposed to go to the polls federally till NEXT Fall … but don’t bet on that!
The stars … as well as the courts, and the polls, and the issues … are all aligning for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to call the vote for next Spring.
How about after a new federal budget, showing a surplus and opening the way for new income tax reductions!
Here’s why ….
A few weeks ago, former BC Finance Minister Kevin Falcon calculated that by fiscal year end, the federal SURPLUS will be even larger than federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver’s has indicated:
“Minister Oliver advised that Canada is poised to deliver a budget surplus of at least $6.4 billion early next year. I expect the government will do even better when factoring in its $3-billion forecast allowance cushion.”
Read more HERE
And under current projections, the government will collect $3 BILLION more from Employment Insurance premiums in 2015 alone than it will need to cover claims.
The Conservatives have announce premium cuts for small business that will cut $550 million from those revenues …but that still leaves a lot of extra bucks stuffed in the government’s pockets.
This recently from the site iPolitics on the web addressing Oliver: “You already have the final financial results for 2013-14 which, in our opinion, will show a deficit significantly lower than the estimate in the 2014 budget. That means there actually could be a substantial surplus this year, along with a 2015-16 surplus larger than the $6.4 billion forecast and larger surpluses in the outer years.”
What better for a government to do with a surplus than buy votes! Bribe the taxpayers by promising them SOME of their own money back. At least until after the ballots are counted.
Especially as Harper worries about a few other not-so-positive happenings shaping up politically.
Like the trial of Senator Mike Duffy … that Harper appointee now charged with 31 criminal breaches, involving fraud, breach of trust and bribery.
Duffy is seeking an early Spring or Summer trial … so of course the pressure is ON for Harper to call an election shortly after a new Budget is handed down in early 2015 …. BEFORE the muck starts to fly in the “Honorable” Senator’s trial.
What a nightmare for the Prime Minister and the Tories to have that trial taking place during or just before a federal election!
And don’t forget Pamella Wallin: what might still come out of that debacle in the next few months? ANOTHER trial next Spring, Summer or Fall?
With the Prime Minister subpoenaed as a WITNESS in both?
What fun!!! But NOT for Harper!
And then there are the polls.
Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair and the NDP have clearly been faltering … consistently well behind Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau now … and are not only scrambling to get a platform together NOW, but will also try something new: announcing various proposals/details over the next several months … like maybe a $15 an hour minimum wage … instead of waiting to come out with their platform during a campaign.
I suspect they realize that once the Duffy trial and testimonies does begin … Canadians will be more interested in THAT than politicans’ press conferences, photo ops or pamphlets.
With Trudeau as Harper’s REAL and GROWING concern, I expect Harper will want to seek a new mandate before Canadians get TOO comfortable with the Liberal leader and many lose their impression that he still too inexperienced and unaccomplished for the top job.
In fact, I could even see Harper looking for an excuse to go to the people this Fall … denying Trudeau and Mulcair all those days in the Commons Question Period cutting up the government’s programs, failings, energy and environmental stances …or lack of them.
But I believe he’ll wait till Spring: campaigning in many parts of Canada in late October and November could pose serious challenges; and, more importantly, if the Republicans in the US take control of BOTH the Congress and the Senate, approval of the Keystone pipeline in BOTH Houses could come before Spring … a feather in Harper’s cap, both economically and politically.
It’s all adding up … the positives and, more importantly, the negatives … making the scheduled Fall 2015 vote very unlikely.
Especially if Duffy gets his EARLY trial!