Best Political Play
It's gotta be the Accountability Act. Harper won an election on Liberal corruption and this was the first of his five priorities. By getting it passed, he's shown he's a doer (no, not the Premier) and shown he's for clean government. Plus, the problems it may cause the Liberals make this a very smart political play, especially since the media or public are unlikely to be very sympathetic to the Grits.
Worst Political Play
For Harper, it's obviously the Emerson/Fortier debacle. I haven't seen any pay-off from either of these moves yet and they're easily the most memorable events of the last session. The entire Youth for Volpe fiasco deserves mention here, as does Scott Brison's over-active Blackberry.
Probably the Afghanistan vote. This issue may yet take over the Liberal leadership race and it has certainly defined Harper on foreign affairs. It's hard to get overly emotional about a 1% GST cut but an issue like this brings out passion on both sides which means it will be in the news and on people's minds for a while.
Stephen Harper is the obvious choice here and it's hard to argue with that selection. I also tend to think that since the media is so down on the entire Liberal leadership field, whichever one of the 11 emerges on top is going to surprise people in a good way.
Andrew Coyne's pick of Gilles Duceppe is a good one, as was Rob Russo's pick of Peter MacKay. Personally, I've made my opinion on this topic fairly obvious over the past few months. The Jim Dinning bubble is going to burst and it's going to be beautiful when it does.
Who would win the Liberal Leadership Race if it were held today?
The last ballot would come down to Ignatieff against one of Kennedy, Dion, or Rae. I have no freaking clue which of the four would win.
Chantal Hebert's pick for Andre Boisclair seems about right to me. There's going to be an election in Quebec within the next 16 months and the implications are going to be massive. Boisclair is looking more and more like a dud with every passing day but may still become Premier par forfait.
When is the next election and how does Stephen Harper orchestrate it?
It won't be in this fall. The common consensus is that it will be next spring, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say this government lasts longer than people think it will. Fall 2007 at the earliest and maybe even Spring 2008.