NDP running second makes election a stretch run to the wire

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by admin on April 20, 2011

It looks like this federal election is going to be a bit different from the preceding two elections that saw Stephen Harper back into parliamentary supremacy.

This time around the Liberal party, led by Michael Ignatieff, appears to be starting into a death spiral and the NDP, with Jack Layton at the helm, could be heading for a second- place finish.

At least that’s what the political pundits are pondering at the halfway mark of the election race.

One of the reasons for the NDP ascendancy is results from Quebec polls which show Canada’s socialist party running second to the sovereigntist Bloc Quebecois. Why, pundits predict, the NDP could well double its Quebec seats number. It currently holds one. And that second seat is close to us in the nearby riding of Gatineau.

The well-respected Globe and Mail correspondent, Neil Reynolds, finds this federal campaign so interesting that he devoted a recent column to the possibility that Gilles Duceppe could be our next prime minister.

He arrived at this after analyzing all possible election outcomes. Harper wins but not a majority, is defeated in a budget vote and goes to the governor general to ask for dissolution of Parliament and another election.

His three opposing parties counter with a demand for a chance to govern and, since Duceppe had the second-highest number of seats, as Official Leader of the Opposition, he would lead the coalition and become prime minister.

(At dissolution, the Liberals held 77 seats and the Bloc had taken 50-plus seats in the three preceding elections.)

According to Reynolds’ reading of Canadian political history, Duceppe could be called on to govern a coalition with

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the Bloc at 60, Liberals at 58 and NDP at 40 with the GG spurning Harper and offering the official Opposition Leader a chance to govern.

The Liberals could escape this outcome if they combined with the NDP to come up with a majority (155). Then the NDP gets cabinet posts in trade, and we are in for still more interesting times.

This is all speculation, however, and a lot of

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fun to contemplate. The reality could be less amusing.

Locally, it is all but over once again with our of Pontiac riding, a near-certain win for the Conservatives. Why not, with our sitting member flitting around the world as foreign affairs minister and Hwy A5 a beehive of construction just at voting time.

Pity Liberal candidate Cindy Duncan Macmillan who, despite hard work, looks to be an also-ran once again, while Bloc hopeful Maude Tremblay will bring up the rear based on northern riding support. Not interesting here, but elsewhere what a horse race!