Having fought all spring to save their minority government, Liberals are now mulling the tricky question of whether to allow their own downfall in the autumn to take advantage of polling strength.Mr. Martin will be hard-pressed not to look opportunistic; especially if he decides to say use the Alberta health care reform (considering his Health Minister, doesn't immediately dismiss it - Statement from Federal Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh on Alberta's Third Way Announcement).
[Prime Minister Paul Martin's] team recognizes that if he openly calls an election before that report, or puts forward legislation obviously designed to fail, it may look opportunistic.
But it may be tempting, given the reversal in fortunes of the main opposition Conservatives. They led by as much as 11 percentage points when the kickback scandal's most serious allegations emerged in April.
A mini-budget is unnecessary, so he won't do that.
If Mr. Martin wants to bring down his own government, he will need to bring about legislation that will be defeated by all parties. I had originally indicated, that maybe some kind of health care reform to counteract the Supreme Court ruling that doesn't please anyone - but given Mr. Dosanjh's response to Alberta, that would just be blatant.
What I'm thinking he could do is re-introduce those corporate tax cuts he originally took out of the budget. It would be a matter of spending, so it should be a motion of confidence. I thought about the bank merger legislation, but that wouldn't be a confidence motion.
The NDP and the Bloc will not support corporate tax cuts. The Conservatives will, but they won't support legislation that won't go deep enough to bring tax relief to middle income Canadians.
It would be hard to spin that as not being opportunistic, though. And then, if he is defeated on tax cut legislation, he wouldn't have anything to wave a "We are Canada" flag about.
But, if they could engineer their defeat, it would be gold for the Liberals if they miraculously somehow manage a majority before Gomery releases his report. They would remain in power through Gomery and even if they were found to be partly responsible - especially Mr. Martin as Finance Minister - there'd be nothing we could do to get them out.
I'd like to wait till after Gomery, personally.
Update: Mr. Martin is re-affirming that he will not call an election before Gomery (Reuters, via Yahoo! News: Paul Martin said not contemplating early election)