I'm not sure anything would surprise me at this point. The last month and in particular the last ten days have been among the most bizarre times I have ever seen in Canadian politics.
Here are a few random thoughts leading up to vote - I'll update as the wild and wacky adventures in Parliament Hill continue (although, at this point, it's hard to imagine what can possibly be said as Canadian Politics begins to look like a cross between Survivor and the X-Files):
-On the Belinda defection, I still don't think very highly of her, but I'll give Martin credit for this catch. This is without a doubt the crowning achievement of his 18 months as Prime Minister. I'm not sure whether that's an insult or a compliment but it's quite the coup regardless.
-I'm not sure what to make of this Grewal tape. The Volpe connection is very interesting in light of recent events. I suspect that if the government survives today, we'll see a lot more about this is the coming days.
-Harper, Martin, MacKay and Stronach should all be in Question Period today. I suspect that will make for a nice warm up act to the main event later today.
-Belinda took some questions today and it looks like "it's a complex file" will be added to "growing the economy" and "baking a bigger economic pie" on the Belinda talking doll. (Note to Anne McLellan: Just so that I won't be called a misogynist, the doll reference has nothing to do Belinda being female. Rather to the fact that she seems to have a difficult time coming up with complex and varied answers to questions.)
-Given that it is numerically impossible to defeat the government without Bloc support, could someone explain to me if the Conservatives would ever be "allowed" to bring down the government without being accused of being in "alliance with the separatists".
-Since I was asked to elaborate on my "first impressions" of the Grewal tape in the comments section, I'll throw a little more out there. I'd rather listen to the full tape before rushing to judgment. But, yeah, at first glance it sounds very incriminating. Tim Murphy is smart not to explicitly offer anything so I doubt we'll see the kind of criminal prosecution a lot of the Coyne clones are asking for. But regardless of who initiated the conversation, it certainly didn't sound like the "Grewal wouldn't take no for an answer" line the PM is using today. I mean, that sounded like a pretty obvious "you scratch our back, we'll scratch yours" offer. As I hinted above, I think the Volpe reference is by far the most interesting part of the tape. The media doesn't seem to be making a big deal of it now, but it could turn into a big news story next week if there's no election.
-Finally, given an election is unlikely to change anything and would be very costly, I do think it would be best for everyone involved if the budget does go through today. It's certainly the right of the Tories to try and bring down a government they consider to be corrupt but there's a lot in this budget and some important legislation (ie. SSM) that I'd like to see passed. And I think a lot of Conservatives realize now may not be the best time for them to go to the polls too. They really only get one more chance to run on Gomery and wasting it at a time when they're nose diving in Ontario might not be so wise.
-It's official: Kilgour will vote with the Tories. It all comes down to Chuck Cadman.