Can I Call 'em or What?
Can I call 'em or what? The dreaded budget vote happened yesterday in Commons, and the government survived with support from the Bloc. The NDP joined the Liberals in opposing the budget (I declined to call that one), but it passed 176-119. Harper will stay in power for at least a few more months, and there will be no spring election.
Of course, the press is still predicting that Harper will engineer a confidence vote to take advantage of his boost in popularity in the wake of the budget. It's true that his position is a bit precarious. With the budget vote behind us, the Liberals will undoubtedly start turning up the heat on environmental issues (and possibly "First Nations" issues) since that's pretty much all they have left to gripe about. Kyoto may yet prove a weakness for Harper.
I doubt it, though. I think, much to the press' (apparent) dismay, the Conservatives' recent boost in popularity is not a fluke. It won't last forever - and Harper does need an election within the next year, I would say, if he ever wants that majority - but there is still time. Whether he can get a majority right now, though, is anyone's guess. Waiting for his lead to grow a bit is a gamble likely to pay off.