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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Will the Grits implode on Oct. 14?

Is it possible, do you think, that in the next election the liberal vote will fracture into small pieces, with bits going to the NDP, Greens and Conservatives and only their inner core of support staying with the Grits.

Wishful thinking, of course, but beyond the realm of possibility? Let's look back to the early 1990s.

campbell In 1993, Kim Campbell became leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada (PC) and the nineteenth Prime Minister of Canada. The PCs were in a second term of majority government, and Campbell had developed a considerable profile during her three years as Minister of Justice.

During that summer, Campbell did extensive campaigning and, by summer's end, her personal popularity had increased, far surpassing that of Liberal Party leader, Jean Chrétien. Support for the PC Party had also increased, and they were only a few points behind the Liberals, while the Reform Party had been reduced to single digits.

When an election was called in the fall of 1993, the PC party had high hopes that it would be able to remain in power or would at least be a strong opposition to a Liberal minority government.

However, Campbell's initial popularity declined due to gaffes committed during the campaign. The PC's support tailed off rapidly as the campaign progressed. Finally, on election night, the PCs were swept from power in a massive Liberal landslide. The Tories still finished with over two million votes, taking third place in the popular vote, but due to the "first past the post system," Tory support was not concentrated in enough areas to translate into victories in individual ridings. As a result, the Tories won only two seats.DION PRIORITIES The PC party never recovered.

The once proud party, founded in 1867, dissolved in 2003, just 10 years following their historic defeat in 1993.

I'm not taking any bets, but history does sometimes repeat itself. An inept leader, a funding crisis, other parties fighting for you supporters, a less than brilliant election platform and a slow start in a short, hotly contested election campaign could be the ingredients for disaster.

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