Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mark Your Calendars

Lysiane Gagnon's Monday article was titled "Don't expect a Quebec surprise". Which is an odd prediction to make since surprises are unexpected by definition.

My advice would be: expect surprises. Every election has surprises. Even the mind numbingly boring 2008 election featured a collapse of the world economy in the middle of it.

But, as Donald Rumsfeld would say, there are "known knowns" and "known unknowns". So let's look at what we do know, heading into a possible May 2nd or May 9th election. Here's your election 2011 calendar:

Week of March 21st: With a slew of confidences votes, the government should fall this week. Unless Jack decides to get results for people.

April 1st - April Fool's: It will mean a chuckle or two and, sadly, the inevitable talking point that "Leader X's policy is like a bad April Fool's joke". Seriously, I may just vote for whatever party resists the urge to use that line.

April 13th - NHL playoffs begins: This likely won't be a big distraction in battleground Ontario, but it's impossible to make it through the playoffs without some form of political controversy.

Third Week of April - Holidays: Holidays are weird creatures during elections. The pace of the campaign slows to a crawl but, at the same time, they're a time when families get together and talk politics...providing the perfect breeding ground for shifts in public opinion. Passover and Easter fall during the third week of April, around the time when vote intentions begin to solidify. If anyone makes a move, that's likely the week it will happen.

April 29th - Royal Wedding: We know Stephen Harper is attending. The common consensus is that this will give him a chance to shine on the world stage but this strikes me as something that's a common consensus only because everyone keeps saying it is (like the "Olympic bounce" or "G20 bounce"). On the bright side, we know it's not a Catholic wedding, so Harper won't have to worry about any embarrassing communion wafer mishaps.

April 30th - Happy Birthday Mr. Prime Minister: Stephen Harper celebrates his 52nd birthday.

April 30th - Tax Filing Deadline: Making this an excellent campaign to propose income tax cuts during.

May 8th - Mother's Day: Having the entire country thinking about their mothers the day before E-Day could be good news for the Liberals and their caring, family-focused agenda.

TBD - Debates: You can fit 2 to 4 debates in somewhere above...though the CBC is going to have a tough time scheduling them, given their wall-to-wall hockey coverage. Last election, there was only one set of debates - if that's the case again, they would likely fall towards the end of April. Debates haven't been game changers in recent years, but they certainly hold the potential to be.



  • I never read Lysiane Gagnon, maybe I should.

    I was surprised when you recently called Chantal H├ębert "arguably the best political columnist in Quebec", as I think of her as residing in Toronto, Ontario (I could be wrong, it's just the impression I usually get).

    If you were to recommend a person one or two or three columnists to read, as "the best political commentary regarding/in Canada", who might that be?

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 11:40 a.m.  

  • JBV - That's a tough one, since I find myself spending a lot more time on blogs than newspaper I'd probably be biased towards the heavy blogger journalists.

    I like Graham Thompson for Alberta politics, and I used to find Don Martin an enjoyable read. There are the staples like Simpson, Martin, and Hebert, but I can't say there's anybody who I'll immediately seek's more if the headline on an aggregator.

    I generally like checking out Chris Selly's Full Pundit over at the Post around noon or 1 o'clock each day - he usually does a pretty good round up of what the journalists are saying, and which articles are worth reading.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:01 p.m.  

  • Hm I'll try that Full Pundit I like a good round-up of stuff


    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 12:29 p.m.  

  • Good point on the income tax deadline. Harper's GST cut worked well in 2005 because the election coincided with Christmas shopping.

    By Anonymous CJS, at 1:21 p.m.  

  • The best columnist in Canada, by far, is Dan Gardner of the Ottawa Citizen.

    Readers of Full Pundit (as I am) will have noted that Chris Selley includes each of Dan's columns in his daily take (Dan only publishes 2 columns a week).

    Graham Thompson of the Journal and Don Braid of the Herald are usually good for the Alberta perspective. The Sun chain (with a few notable exceptions, though rarely in politics) are, for the most part, even more far right than the Harper, if that's even possible - and apparently it is.

    By Anonymous Brad, at 10:23 p.m.  

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