Minority report

(UPDATED with inconvenient truths) Politics, like baseball, offers endless opportunity for important-sounding trivia. Like this: The last time a minority government was re-elected in Canada was 1968. Joe Clark lost in 1980 and Paul Martin in 2006, so it’s now 40 years since Canadians liked enough of what they saw of a minority government to return it. (UPDATE: Not true.) And since that was Pearson’s Liberals newly headed by Trudeau, that’s probably not even a good comparative case. So we really should look back to 1965, when Pearson’s minority Liberals won re-election with another minority. (UPDATE: No we shouldn’t.)

That’s a long time. Unfortunately I have no idea what to make of it. (UPDATE: Also I’m completely wrong. Alert readers are reminding me that Pierre Trudeau got re-elected from minority to majority in 1974. So I actually have no point at all.) I suppose that if Harper wins re-election, he’ll have bucked a trend almost as old as he is. (UPDATE: This sentence is true if Harper is 35.) Of course, to find out how the next election ends, we have to wait for it to start. Won’t you please give a warm welcome to Stéphane Dion, who gets to decide whether that will ever happen. According to Joan Bryden, who has the best sources, the Liberal leader’s entourage has succeeded in talking him down, yet again, from the prospect of a spring election.

Not everyone will be happy if that’s the case. “My advice,” a Liberal strategist told me last week, “would be to say: ‘What more do you want?! The police raided his party headquarters! His voice is on the tape!‘”

But cooler heads seem to be prevailing. As Ezra Levant has said, it’s a good thing the Harper government is term-limited or this Parliament would never end.