Provincial election looming

I recently speculated that the Premier’s – almost bizarre – hard line against Tanker Malley was an indication that he and his advisors see an advantage to going to the polls this year – maybe even this spring. This view was shared by others including political commentator Don Desserud.

Now, the latest CRA poll shows the provincial Tories gaining steam – most likely from the recent Liberal hammering at the national level – according to Don Mills of CRA. The Tories are closing in on the margin of error only 7% behind the provincial Libs in public opinion.

Now, once again consider my premise. 2007 will not be a kind year for the governing party. Statistics Canada will publish its 2006 Census data which will show another population decline – the second straight Census to show such a decline. Pundits will postulate. Activists will resonate. Oppositionists will cast an apocalyptic furor. How could this happen? Fingers will point menacingly at the Premier – describing him as the only elected Premier in the province’s history to leave with less population than when he arrived. Not to mention the occasional cranky blog from this corner of cyberspace.

Add to that the potential closure of the Miramichi Mill and no more major highway construction (which will drop the employment numbers) – and 2007 is shaping up to be problematic.

But if you are the provincial PCs and you eke out a small majority win in 2006, who cares about 2007? You’ll ride it out and hope for the best.

Now they have momentum in the polls. There is nothing in the short, short term that should come out of the woodwork to bite them.

My guess? They will develop a budget in April full of goodies and then dare the opposition to bring them down. They will include a carrot for the Miramichi – but not too big – daring Tanker to bring them down.

Then they will run on their now infamous themes: record growth, prosperity for all, etc. etc. etc. and hope that Moncton and Fredericton ridings pull them through again.

Politics is a miserable sport, n’est pas?