Predictions are in the air these days. Not long ago, Lawrence Martin predicted that, after spending time in the wilderness with Bob Rae, the Liberal Party will be led to victory by Mark Carney. Peter C. Newman predicts that the party will not rise again: "I maintain that instead of being a punishing time-out, it's game over for the Liberals," he confidently asserts in The National Post.
Newman accurately recounts the reasons for the Liberals fall from grace:
The Grits lost their once unassailable electoral fortresses in Toronto and most of Ontario, as well as their former strongholds in Quebec and the Maritimes. West of Kenora, they remained an endangered species. Theirs has been a political self-immolation seldom equalled in Canadian history.
The problem with Newman's analysis is his assumption that Quebec and Ontario are lost forever to the Liberals.The wholesale disgust Torontonians feel for Rob Ford -- Stephen Harper's ally in establishing a foothold in the GTA -- suggests that beachead is already crumbling. And Tim Hudak's implosion during the recent Ontario election suggests that the Conservative brand is still not a household word in Canada's largest province.
As for predictions about Quebec, those of us who grew up in the province know how volatile the province's politics are. Anyone who thinks that the NDP will be a powerhouse in that province for more than one election cycle doesn't understand the place.
I have no crystal ball. But experience suggests that those who are writing obituaries for the Liberal Party need to remember Mark Twain's reaction to his own premature obituary. Reports of the death of the Liberals are greatly exaggerated.
And, when it comes to Stephen Harper's long term political future, it would be wise to remember Mr. Newman's assessment of the man. Harper, he writes, has "the best medieval mind in the Commons."