You know you must be heading into the silly, nothing-better-to-write-about summer season in politics—not to mention in the shelf life of any government—when commentators begin to twist every announcement, pronouncement, silence, head nod, eyebrow raise and weather report into an earnest discussion of whether said announcement, pronouncement, etc., increases or decreases the likelihood of a provincial election tomorrow.
Once any majority government celebrates the third anniversary of its elevation to power—and usually many months, even years, before—pundits presume it must be waiting only for this next poll result or that good-news announcement to pull the plug and plunge us immediately into another to-be-desired-only-by-commentators-and-sign-makers election campaign.
Even when the man who must make the call to send us back to the polls, Premier Darrell Dexter, attempts to tamp down the speculation—“I think the people elected us for a full term”—we find ourselves parsing his words, Bill Clinton-like. It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘think’ is…
Dexter announces a pre-budget, down-the-road-after-the-budget-is-balanced-and-into-the-next-mandate cut to the HST? Get out the signs. We’re headed for a fall election. It’s all part of the premier’s Machiavellian master plan.
The electoral boundaries commission throws a wrench into the works by arguing the government should keep those minority ridings it wants to get rid of? Put away the signs. Chances for a fall election, pronounces one prominent pundita, just “faded.”
Making an unexpected cabinet shuffle announcement at Government House? Well that, wrote one reporter, just “fired up suspicion in some circles that the premier’s visit there was really to kick off a snap election.” Of course… not.
A nine per cent plummet in support for the government in the latest public opinion poll? That, opined the Truro Daily News earlier this month “will probably put an end to any election speculation for this year.”
In fact, I’d bet on ‘not.’
My own secret-source prediction: there will be no election this week. As you were. Back to the barbeque. Happy summer. Happy almost-Canada Day.