It takes exceptional incompetence for an incumbent party to lose an election when the economy is strong. Stephen Harper is not incompetent, and the Canadian economy is not weak. The housing bubble is still gently inflating, the construction industry remains busy, exports are rebounding from the 2009 slump, and the Loonie's at a three cent premium over the Greenback.
So what do the Liberals do? Wait for real estate to crash? Wait for the stock market to crumble? Wait for exports to crater as the US goes into the second dip of the recession? No. They force an election on the issue of the Conservative Government's contempt of Parliament. LOL. Everyone has a contempt of Parliament.
So what could Ignatieff have been expecting?
That he could win by shear force of being Ignatieff? Why would Canadians flock to the standard of a Harvard professor parachuted into Parliament with a complete contempt for the principals of representative government by Canada's last great Liberal fiasco, Paul Martin?
Well, whatever the assumption, it's not happening. So the Liberals have resorted to attack ads, which among other things allege that a vote for the Tories is a vote to give Stephen Harper "absolute power."
"Absolute power," lest anyone be unclear, means power unconstrained: unconstrained by the Constitution, unconstrained by the law of the land. So what the Liberals are saying is that a vote for Harper is a vote for King Stephen I.
Stephen Harper would no doubt prefer to rule as an absolute monarch than as a Prime Minister answerable to Parliament. But then so would Michael Ignatieff and every other so-called democratic leader. But it ain't gonna happen next month here in Canada.
So perhaps the only interesting question to which this election gives rise is who will be the next leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. Another of Paul Martin's "star" candidates: That paragon of domestic service employers, Ruby Dhalla? Grow-op rentier and purveyor of welcome mats with lots of lovely fur on them, Ujjal Donsanjh? Or will we see a return to the Liberal Party leadership of Jean Chrétien, the last Canadian Prime Minister who spoke for Canadian sovereignty?