Monday, September 5, 2011

The calm before the storm

The federal parliament goes back on September 19th and it will be a very changed world in Ottawa.   The fall of 2011 session of parliament will more like the spring 2001 session than any of the ones in the intervening years.   That is how long ago the start of the last majority parliament was.   2001 to 2004 also was an era in which the right united which meant the political media focused on the opposition and not the government.

The summer of 2011 has been politically very quiet.  

The federal Liberals seem to no longer exist - certainly here in BC I got no sense at all that the party is actively doing anything.  

Without a campaign, or the threat of a campaign, the number of Conservatives MPs passing through Dullsville-by-the-Sea has been lower than in the last years.   The fact we have no sitting MPs in the government from this town likely has something to do with that.

The NDP has also been quieter than in other years.  I suspect that in part it had to do with resources being pulled into the provincial parties in so many provinces, but I also think that the summer was needed to come to terms with who or what the federal party was and now how to deal with the death of Jack Layton.

I had expected to see more activity from the federal Greens as their leader is an MP in this area.   Elizabeth May seems more like a one person activist than the leader of a party.   I see little or no evidence of party building going.   If the Greens are going to win more seats in the future they need to be spending the next three years fundraising and building local organizations.   They could not afford to miss out on this summer.   I also see very little evidence of the federal Greens trying to work with and promote the Greens at the provincial level or municipal level.

This quiet summer is coming to an end.   The people who want to run the NDP have to kick into high gear.   The Liberals need to show they can hold the government to task better than the NDP.  The Liberals will focus as much energy as they can on the NDP to cut them down as much as possible.   I expect they going to be digging into the background of all of the new NDP MPs to find embarrassing things.

This fall the political media will all about the NDP and the Liberals and where the two parties are going. The political chattering classes will be saying that the two need to merge.   Positions on merger or not will define the campaigns for the leadership of both parties.
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