Since Peter Milliken's ruling of this week, media pundits have been weighing in on what they think the response of the Harper government will be.
I'm not claiming to be a pundit, but here's what I think won't happen.
1.) Mr. Harper will not call a snap election. With the Conservatives getting the nod from less than one-third of those who actually pick up the phone and talk to the pollsters, surely he knows that he will not get a majority government. At best, he'll get another minority, his third in a row and technically the fourth election he will have lost as the leader of the Conservatives. As a result of his successive minority governments, he has not yet had the chance to fully indoctrinate Canadians with his full Conservative agenda and he will view this as a personal failure.
My suspicion is that those who are pulling the strings in the back rooms (formerly known as the "men in the smoke-filled rooms" before it became politically incorrect to both smoke and refer to them by gender) will not tolerate another election loss by Stephen Harper. While the Conservative Party largely funds itself through donations from everyday Canadians, they are also well-funded by Canada's elite who control much of Canada's economy. For further information on who supports Stephen Harper, you can search the donor list for all of Canada's political parties at the following website:
It is most interesting to look through the list of donors to the CPC who donate less than $1000. There are thousands of them and when you look through the list of surnames, you see many recognizable figures among them. These are the people that ultimately control Mr. Harper's future; without them, he cannot fund another very expensive election.
The other reason that the Conservatives will not be anxious to face an election is their lack of a viable heir to the throne should Mr. Harper be defeated and forced out as Party leader. Mr. Harper's complete control over his caucus has prevented the grooming of any potential replacement Party leader from the ranks of the already elected. Conservative Party insiders certainly know this and while the Liberals are in bad shape with Michael Ignatieff as leader, they are in the fortunate position of having several replacement leaders-in-waiting.
2.) Mr. Harper will not prorogue Parliament. Governor-General Michaelle Jean will not rubber stamp another prorogation. I suspect that her term has not be renewed by the Prime Minister because she did not bend immediately to his wishes in December of 2008, rather, she actually researched the issues behind prorogation of Parliament. The third proroguing will be much, much harder to get.
3.) Mr. Harper will not willingly give up the documents. He now has a point to make. He does not like to lose a battle and his people will have to devise a scheme in which Mr. Harper comes out looking (at least to himself) the winner. I suspect he will have to be dragged kicking and screaming to the table of compromise and that, in all likelihood, the compromise will have to be that the documents will be viewed by only a select number of MPs from all Parties. While I am strongly against government secrecy solely for the sake of secrecy, this is probably the most palatable solution to the government, the House and Canadians. It also preserves the security of military personnel who are still serving in Afghanistan.
One thing I am quite certain of is that Peter Milliken (Liberal - Kingston and the Islands) will not be re-elected to a fifth term as Speaker of the House after the next election, especially if the Conservatives control the House.
The next two weeks will prove to be most interesting.