2. Economy: The economy continues to weaken and is possibly heading into recession.
3. Diminishing Support in Quebec: Harper did a lot to bring Quebec on side, but his recent cuts in arts funding may have started a slide, according to Chantal Hebert.
4. Scandal: Elections Canada announced that Conservatives exceeded the $18.3 million election advertising limit in the 2006 election and wrongly claimed taxpayer rebates. It is charged that they laundered money between local and federal accounts. This will go to the courts, but not until after the election.
5. A second scandal: Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier flagrantly broke the rules about confidentiality, apparently frequently, but finally by leaving important NATO documents in the care of a woman who has ties to organized crime. There is going to be some kind of inquiry but again, not until after the election.
6. A third scandal: There are disturbing allegations that Conservatives tried to buy dying Chuck Cadman's vote in parliament. New revelations came out just this week pointing at Harper's direct involvement.
7. A fourth scandal: Sometime soon, presumably, we will finally get our inquiry into how much money Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney got from international arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber, and under what circumstances. We may even learn a little about how Harper managed to cover up, or at least delay, the investigation.
8. Failed military policy: The war in Afghanistan is going really badly. It was one thing to go in initially to try to stabilize the country. Now Canadian soldiers and dying and Afghan civilians are dying and it's not clear that we're making any progress at all. There are also disturbing questions about the real motivation of the American involvement.
9. November US election: An Obama win in the United States will strengthen the momentum of progressives here.
10. PR strategy: After papering the nation for six or eight months with negative, scaremongering anti-Dion ads, the Conservatives apparently feel the groundwork is laid for them to "go positive" with touch-feely "at home in my mansion" ads featuring that ballpeen hammer of a charmer, Stephen Harper. (I caught the first one on TV last night.)
And a final reason... Every new opposition leader has a learning curve (someone did an historical analysis and estimated three years before they're fully effective) but Stephane Dion is coming into his own; with Bob Rae now in parliament, the Liberals are becoming more of a threat to Harper.
If you have more, please let me know!