At Issue...the Thrilling Conclusion
Overlooked and Under Reported
Hebert: Smitherman and Couillard leave their health portfolios
Coyne: Shift of power to the west
Gregg: Can/US energy relations
Rex: Human rights commissions
Hebert suggests a worthy choice, but I tend to disagree with her claim that the health portfolio "defeated" Couillard and Smitherman. At the very least in Smitherman's case, he was highly regarded for his work on the file and left to a promotion.
I can't think of any obvious stories the media overlooked this spring but I will say that conservative.ca seriously under reported Conservative Party accomplishments - I assume there must have been some, although you'd never know it by reading their site. A rough eyeballing of their 2008 news stories shows over three quarters of them with shruggy Dion as the main graphic.
Shamelessly Exploited Issue
Coyne: Aboriginal Affairs
Gregg: Harper attacking green shift before its release
Rex: Global warming
Hebert: Couillard affair
The harder challenge might be to find an issue that hasn't been shamelessly exploited.
If you're looking for comical issue exploitation, nothing comes close to Dennis Coderre slamming the Tories for allowing CBC to ditch the HNIC theme. Except perhaps all the other hockey insanity we saw during the playoffs this year.
Ballot Question for Next Election
Gregg: If the Tories succeed: "is Dion up to the job?" If the Liberals do: "referendum on the environment".
Rex: The economy's relationship with global warming
Coyne: The carbon tax driving style differences between the leaders
To a certain extent, I think all four panelists are right, although I wonder if they might be over emphasizing the carbon tax's impact because it's top of mind right now. That said, right now both the Liberals and Conservatives think they can win an election on the carbon tax so they'll do their best to keep it front and centre. So in the end, I think Coyne may be closest to the mark - opinions of the carbon tax are going to shape opinions about Dion as a leader, so this one will probably come down to leadership.
Who will we be Talking about in One Year?
Coyne: Shawn Graham
Gregg: Elizabeth May
Rex: Danny Williams
Hebert: Jean Charest
Mansbridge gave Coyne the mandatory shout-out for picking Maxime Bernier for this question last year. And with Kevin Taft and Phillip Couillard out of politics, being picked by At Issue for this question might very well be the kiss of death.
With a federal election likely this fall, picking any of the party leaders or their possible successors would be a safe choice. If the carbon tax backlash in BC drives Gordon Campbell to defeat next May, we'll definitely be analyzing that election. And, depending on how long Judge Oliphant takes to run his inquiry, we might be talking a lot about Brian Mulroney at this time next year.
When will the Election be?
Gregg: First opportunity
Coyne: October '09...if the grits want to go, the Bloc or NDP will back down
I'm putting my money on a November vote but Coyne does make a valid point - it wouldn't at all surprise me to see Duceppe propping up the Tories if Dion gets more hawkish about an election.