Edited to add: The Globe & Mail has now joined the fun. With due respect to Bill Curry, it's hard to take seriously someone who writes for a rag so absurd that last week it simultaneously endorsed Harper's re-election and called for his resignation. Anyhow, Curry and the Globe are worried that next week it might be "tough" to know who Canada's Prime Minister is. No, it won't be. There has been, is, and will be only one Prime Minister at a time. You may not like him. He may be on the way out. There may even be a constitutional crisis. But there will never be doubt about who the Prime Minister is. Sheesh, people.
There has been a great deal of titillating nonsense, even amongst mainstream journalists who really ought to know better, about so-called nightmare scenarios for hung Parliament that could await us in less than 24 hours. It's as if we haven't had minority Parliaments before in this country. I realize not everyone is a historian, but is it too much to ask that adults have memories of more than four years ago?
Anyhow, here are my predictions, and I will very certainly claim credit for these later on when I'm proven right, even though all you need to make them is a pulse and an Internet connection to Wikipedia, really:
1. If Harper does not win the most seats in Parliament, he will resign as prime minister. This should be obvious and I don't understand why journalists at no less than the redoubtable CBC are stirring the pot here. The political damage of Harper declining to resign would be incalculable, even if he could persuade the Governor-General to go along with it (which he could). His own party would remove him, as they've always had the power to do, and as they already would have done long ago in any other Westminster-style Parliament, let alone THE Westminster Parliament, the one known for beheading certain historical people with autocratic pretensions. His party would do this because if Harper insisted on running the country despite not winning the election, the NDP and the Liberals would probably do what they have foolishly declined to do to date: formed an explicit coalition, complete with coordination in determining ridings to contest, to destroy the Conservative Party forever. This is a ridiculous scenario. People should drop it.
2. Incidentally the Liberals will be in a worse state of affairs if and when Harper resigned in this scenario. That's because they will have to form a government, and they won't have the unifying factor of a Harperite dictatorship to bind a coalition together. Unless the Conservatives are clearly and decisively trounced, my prediction here is that Harper will stay on as leader, at least tomorrow night anyways. What happens after that depends on whether there is anyone in the Conservative caucus that still has a spine and a pulse, a question which is anyone's guess.
3. If the Conservatives win a minority, Harper will stay on as prime minister. I do not think he will try to persuade the Governor-General to delay opening Parliament until next year -- although that would be his prerogative and the G-G would agree to it. It is far more likely that he will load up the Throne Speech with so many goodies that the opposition will feel politically unable to oppose it. You know, like he did for five years. (Again -- doesn't anyone have the gift of long-term memory in this country? It's a skill you usually pick up at some point...)
4. If the Conservatives win a majority, then obviously it's the status quo.
My bet is on #3, and if not that, then #2. #4 is a nightmare and #1 is preposterous.
So there. I'm Sixth Estate, and we'll talk again tomorrow.