The deteriorating Ottawa-Quebec climate could be the gift of life to both the Parti Québécois and the federal Liberals.
The Liberals, having digested the census numbers, appear to be having night terrors, thinking of a perpetual Tory majority.
In the days after the budget, expect ministers to make much of the programs they have preserved whenever they are on the hot seat for those that they cut.
But for chiefs with more immediate needs, can they sell trust at home?
There could be a day when both the Keystone XL and the Northern Gateway pipelines are built, but not before some political careers are badly bruised, if not killed.
But it turns out that while the legions of Harper opponents were waiting for the hard-right social agenda to be firmly planted in Ottawa, the Conservatives are actually exporting those policies.
The least known factor on the 2012 political watch list is also the one with the most potential to alter the Canadian landscape.
The choice Liberals make at their Ottawa convention will go a very long way in determining whether this party can reinvent itself or whether it withers and dies after 2015.
But for a party on life support, is Sheila Copps, a lightning rod for controversy, a woman who has roller-derby-style politics in her DNA, a figure as polarizing as any in an often polarized party, really the party president to dig Liberals out of their hole?
If you can’t win it, try to steal it by spreading lies, sowing confusion, destabilizing the rightful winner and wallowing in the slime.
The NDP leadership campaign is so far not promising to freshen up Canada’s progressive discourse, but it could be the best venue to measure the chilling effect of the bare-knuckled Conservative approach to politics on the country’s political conversation.
To hear the noise from the Conservative side of the House of Commons, one would think that the Halifax NDP MP and her colleague from Nickel Belt, Claude Gravelle, were treasonous subversives who should be drawn and quartered at dawn.
These will be tumultuous times because it is not only austerity that is driving this government in its war with labour. It is being driven by ideology and plain old politics.
Michael Ferguson has toiled diligently in the service of the New Brunswick government and is now on the brink of becoming Canada’s new auditor general. But he should never get the job.
The government’s penchant for using its reinforced Parliamentary arsenal to curtail debate has been par for the course for a governing party that routinely closed down Parliament in the face of political adversity in its minority days.
This year has been remarkable for the number of federal, provincial and territorial elections, but it will also be recorded as the year of the status quo.
It’s the opposition parties’ turn to see their already shortened Parliamentary wings clipped by Harper’s majority.
Among the prospective candidates, none worked more closely with Layton than Topp. He was at the late leader’s side until the very end.
So it is hard to imagine the federal NDP heading into its second consecutive leadership race without a serious female leadership candidate; not one freighted with symbolism, but one who carries a realistic chance to win.
It won't serve him well as Treasury Board president. In that pivotal capacity, he will be in charge of tightening the belt of the federal government, and doing so under the wary surveillance of a suspicious chattering class.