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Endless scenarios

Posted by cwaddell under Election 2011, Election 2011 Campaign strategy, Election 2011 Faculty links, Election 2011 Media commentary

Christopher Waddell

As Elly has noted, coalitions and minorities are back on the table with reporters tossing out scenarios to party leaders and demanding they respond even though no one knows what the parliament will look like after May 2.

So here’s a couple more scenarios to throw into the mix.

First, let’s say Mr Harper and the Conservatives end up on May 2 with the most number of seats (which almost everyone concedes at the moment is the most likely result) but are still in a minority having lost most if not all of their 11 MPs from Quebec.

With a Quebec provincial election on the horizon that the Parti Quebecois stands a reasonable shot of winning, wouldn’t the Bloc Quebecois do all it could to keep a Conservative federal government with little Quebec representation (and lots of representation from the West) in office?

Mr Harper’s government would then be a perfect foil for the BQ/PQ in a provincial election campaign and then in whatever comes after that in terms of moving to another referendum on Quebec’s future. The Liberals and NDP wouldn’t have the votes to defeat a Conservative government propped up by the Bloc. How would Mr Harper deal with that?

Second, building on that scenario, let’s say as some polls have suggested, the NDP gets the largest share of the vote in Quebec among the three federalist parties and wins at least one seat. If Mr Harper is Prime Minster with no Quebec MPs facing a PQ government, would he have to make some sort of arrangement with the NDP to ensure his government has Quebec representation?

There are 11 campaigning days left after today so there’s still plenty of time to dream up even more scenarios.

In doing that though it is important to remember that a minority result will put all the party leaders on the spot, not just Mr Ignatieff. At that point, the statements they have all made during the campaign on coalitions and minorities seem likely to come back to haunt them.

Christopher Waddell is director of the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University. He is a former reporter, Ottawa bureau chief for the Globe and Mail and a former CBC-TV parliamentary bureau chief and executive producer-news specials for CBC TV News. You can follow him on Twitter @cwaddell27