For the Bloc, it will be business as usual and another excuse to bring up Adscam.
For the NDP, this is certainly Jack Layton's best Christmas ever. He's got the Klander slander comparing his wife to a dog, he's got the President of the LPCBC writing about Layton's "boiled dog's head smile", and now there's an RCMP investigation thanks to a letter his Finance critic wrote. It's an abundance of riches for Jack to go after the Liberals on. The Income Trust leak plays perfectly into his whole "Liberals help their rich friends" shtick and you can bet he's going to milk that for all it's worth.
For the Tories, Stephen Harper has got to be as close to giddy as Stephen Harper can get (which, for most of us, translates to "solemn"). As I mentioned in the earlier post, it's the perfect way for him to segue into the attack phase of the campaign when the Tories will hit the Liberals hard on corruption. Harper has been grasping for Martin era scandals to link with Adscam and I'm almost positive he would have been hitting the Libs on Herle contracts and Dingwall chewing gum if it hadn't been for this.
Which brings us to the Liberals. Watching Ralph Goodale on The National tonight was...almost sad. I mean, even though Goodale is one of the "Martin guys", I've always felt he was an extremely competent Cabinet Minister. I never loved Ralph Goodale (but, then again, who does?), but I've never disliked him in that very special Jean-Lapierre-Joe-Volpe sort of way. Mansbridge absolutely tore his talking points apart and it's obvious that the pressure for him to step aside is going to be intense. Dalton McGuinty has made a habit of making Paul Martin's life difficult and the Greg Sorbara precedence is still fresh in the minds of Ontario voters.
For the Liberals, the end game is out of their hands now. If the RCMP links someone in Goodale's office to this, the Liberals are done like the turkey dinner. If the RCMP clears everyone before election day, then there's only minor harm done. But it's unlikely the RCMP will finish this investigation in three weeks so it all comes down to how you handle the climate of rumours and speculation. I suspect Paul has learned from the Mad as Hell Tour and won't be fanning the flames this time (it also helps that the flames are on Ralph Goodale and not, you know, on Jean Chretien). The big question is now whether or not Goodale resigns. On the one hand, having the Minister of Finance step aside during an election campaign only makes this story bigger. And, like I said, Paul's learned his lesson about making scandals bigger. On the other hand, if Goodale steps down you can simply say you won't comment on an RCMP investigation and the story dies down under the barrage of negative ads. So long as Goodale is Finance Minister, the opposition can keep calling for him to step aside.
My prediction? Goodale will try to hang on for the rest of the week and wait for Herle's latest poll numbers to come in. The best time for him to step aside, media wise, is on December 31st, so I suspect we may be in for a New Year's Eve announcement, hoping that no one notices.