Coyne v. Wells on why we still have to talk about a coalition

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Coyne v. Wells on why we still have to talk about a coalition

  1. The comment about you having to make money before you can use the RESP doesn't make a lot of sense in the same conversation where you're lauding income splitting, something which also requires you make a certain amount, and pay a certain amount in taxes, before you see any benefit from it.

    Basically, I think that particular comment was a reach for a downside.

    • I thought their point was rather clear. While $1,000 a year is nice, school still costs $5,000 (or whatever) a year. So does reducing the cost help provide access to everyone who wants to further their education, or is there a better way of doing this.

      I'd be interested to know more about this 'graduate tax' or whatever they called it. Kinda sounds like a student loan that gets paid back over time.

      • To pursue a BA in Halifax each year of university costs approx. $8000 ($32, 000 total for the BA). Ignatiff's policy would pay for 1/8 of a BA. However, RESPs and grants are as consider prior income when applying for student loans. The student would (over a four year degree) trade access to $4000 in debt (at 0% interest while in university) and $2232 in tax breaks for $4000 in grants. When you look at the level of debt incurred I'd prefer to have the extra $2232 so that I can avoid use of my student line of credit (w/ interest at market rate). Also, interest on Canada Student Loan debt is tax-deductable which is another incentive for students to utlize Canada Student Loans over other options.

        • Did the libs get back to you on your question?

          • I haven't received anything as of yet from the Liberal Party but my MP Geoff Regan's response was "Mr. Regan will do his best to respond in a timely manner". I'm holding out hope that as he is my MP I will get a response eventually.

          • Hopefully they'll be honest enough to get back to you even if they think you have a point. But i wouldn't be surprised if you got filed under post election.

    • In addition I think both Paul and Andrew need to read Jeffrey Simpson comun today to get up-to-speed on the facts about income splitting. See http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opin

      In fact the income splitting policy distorts the tax system in all the ways the Conservatives have campaigned against in all elections past. This policy as anounced by Harper this week is all about politics and has nothing to do with effective policy. It's about time Paul and Andrew talked about this.

    • This comment was deleted.

      • I'll pick on just one thing from that linked article:

        "Income splitting as proposed by the Conservatives is also a dumb policy because it favours women staying at home rather than encouraging those who want to join the work force at a time when Canada needs more people working to support the increasing number of retirees."

        First: *faux surprise*, Oh, it's only the husbands income that is allowed to be split?

        Second: "Hey honey, you could work and earn 60 to 80 thousand dollars this year, or you could stay home and we could save up to 6000!!!! Well, that's a no brainer to me. Thank you Conservatives for encouraging my wife* to stay home!

        *On my use of the wife as the one being encouraged to stay home, see "First".

        • Also, Coyne rightly notes in the above video that presumably the end game for the Conservatives is income splitting for all couples.

          What of singles you ask? I respond simply with a facepalm.

          • Singe parents can already claim a child as a spouse.

      • You couldn't have found a dumber column to latch on to. Poor families and single parents pay nothing in taxes and get post-secondary education for basically free. Income splitting helps the middle class; the majority of the population.

    • Let's get real here. The reason Harper has to talk about a coalition is because if he dosen't, he would have to talk about real issues. He cant do that because his issues are not the voters issues!

  2. The comment about you having to make money before you can use the RESP doesn't make a lot of sense in the same conversation where you're lauding income splitting, something which also requires you make a certain amount, and pay a certain amount in taxes, before you see any benefit from it.

    Basically, I think that particular comment was a reach for a downside.

  3. Vast majority of students who go to University come from parents who went to University? huh. I must have missed that memo.

    • Statistics Canada has shown that the most reliable predictor as to whether a Canadian will pursue post-secondary education is whether or not their parents did.

      This is a more reliable predictor than race, language, location, or even family income.

      Of course, there are some interconnections.. if there parents went to university, odds are that they have the financial resources to go as well.

      • Also from StatsCan: the vast majority of people with toilets in their homes came from parents who also had toilets in their homes.

        Coincidence???

        • Haha, coincidence, I think not!!

  4. Vast majority of students who go to University come from parents who went to University? huh. I must have missed that memo.

  5. Call it a coalition, alliance, confidence-and-supply agreements, accord, it does boil down to needing the same constellation of parties (Lib-NDP-Bloc) to always vote together to overcome the numbers of the biggest party bloc (the CPC, this is assuming that we're in a minority much like the last one).

    Whereas the CPC can horse-trade with any one of three opposition parties to gain majority support, that parliamentary alliance would always need the same three parties voting together on any confidence measure. That does give the Bloc considerable leverage. If that potential gov't gets unpopular, as I think would be highly probable, then the Bloc's price for continued support keeps going up. I remember Bob Rae's term in Ontario, and how he held out to the bitter end thinking that it would eventually turn around for him (it didn't, and Ontario suffered for it).

    A Lib-NDP-Bloc parliamentary alliance could go the full 5 years, but at a huge price for Canada. Does anyone think a CPC-NDP-Bloc parliamentary alliance could've lasted longer than a year?!?!

    There's more to come on this coalition/parliamentary alliance stuff …

    • Wouldn't the Tories have leverage in that kind of Parliament, too? I mean, the Official Opposition has the duty to oppose, yes, but that doesn't mean they have to vote against every bill. I can foresee a lively debate within the Conservative caucus if they have the most seats but Iggy becomes PM anyway, particularly if Harper quits. On the one hand, supporting the Liberals could undermine their claim to be the legitimate government. On the other hand, Iggy has to know giving the Bloc everything it wants will look really bad, so the Tories could set a relatively high price on their support to make up for that — scrapping that universal child-care monstrosity, perhaps? The base would like that. besides, if they refused to deal with the Grits, they'd just be accused (accuratly) of hypocrisy if they make it an issue in the next campaign.

    • That's rather why the formal agreement, with the Bloc signing on to the C&S was such a good one for Canada. It would have effectively taken away the Bloc's hammer for two years. Plenty of time for the federal parties to show the people of Quebec that the Bloc needn't exist.

  6. Call it a coalition, alliance, confidence-and-supply agreements, accord, it does boil down to needing the same constellation of parties (Lib-NDP-Bloc) to always vote together to overcome the numbers of the biggest party bloc (the CPC, this is assuming that we're in a minority much like the last one).

    Whereas the CPC can horse-trade with any one of three opposition parties to gain majority support, that parliamentary alliance would always need the same three parties voting together on any confidence measure. That does give the Bloc considerable leverage. If that potential gov't gets unpopular, as I think would be highly probable, then the Bloc's price for continued support keeps going up. I remember Bob Rae's term in Ontario, and how he held out to the bitter end thinking that it would eventually turn around for him (it didn't, and Ontario suffered for it).

    A Lib-NDP-Bloc parliamentary alliance could go the full 5 years, but at a huge price for Canada. Does anyone think a CPC-NDP-Bloc parliamentary alliance could've lasted longer than a year?!?!

    There's more to come on this coalition/parliamentary alliance stuff …

  7. I looked far and wide for an example that would be even close to what The Coalition proposed in 2008.

    The closest that I could find were the John Costello Inter-Party Governments in Ireland, starting in 1948.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_general_electi

    Of course, John Costello was not the leader of any party that contested that election, but emerged as the compromise candidate to be PM, b/c other parties didn't like the actual Fine Gael leader, who was a Pro-Treaty General in the Irish civil war.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_of_the_13

    So nevermind Ignatieff leading a loose coalition afterwards, it could be even worse … it could be Bob Rae!!! Mon Dieu!!!!

  8. I looked far and wide for an example that would be even close to what The Coalition proposed in 2008.

    The closest that I could find were the John Costello Inter-Party Governments in Ireland, starting in 1948.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_general_electi

    Of course, John Costello was not the leader of any party that contested that election, but emerged as the compromise candidate to be PM, b/c other parties didn't like the actual Fine Gael leader, who was a Pro-Treaty General in the Irish civil war.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_of_the_13

    So nevermind Ignatieff leading a loose coalition afterwards, it could be even worse … it could be Bob Rae!!! Mon Dieu!!!!

  9. Harper's not 'criminalizing' the coalition option? Huge straw man there.

    And you can niggle about the work 'illegitimate' but you need to define your terms.

    Constitutionally legitimate – yes. Democratically legitimate – not so much. That's the point.

    • Exactly … the biggest thing being what is the mandate given? What parts of the Liberal platform are sacrosanct, and which can be jettisoned in the face of a coalition/accord/agreement? Same with the NDP and Bloc platforms. What would the eventual Government of Canada governing program look like? Voters would like to have some idea.

      • Let me also say it's all well and good for the Liberals to swear off a coalition, but if the NDP pushes the issue, saying "if you don't give us Cabinet seats, then we'll side with Harper", what do you think the Liberals are going to do?!? Deputy Premier Layton, much like Clegg in the UK coalition.

        I think we all know that Jack's been measuring for the ministerial office drapes for a long time now. He won't give that dream up easily.

        • The Liberals will tell the NDP to forget about getting cabinet seats. What do you then think the Conservatives are going to do?

          • Do you really believe that?!?! The Libs would whore themselves like no party's whored themselves before!!!

          • And considering the whore that Harper's party is to the corporations.. that's saying something!

    • If it's another minority Conservative gov't, Harper will immediately prorogue Parliament and only come back in September with another Budget. If the Budget is defeated, he will ask the GG to drop the writ for another election. Then the Coalition will attempt to seize control of the gov't, notwithstanding the refusal of the GG to recognize them.

      Then Ignatieff will attempt to make "I love the Republic I live in.", a reality … ya think?!

      • Why would he have to prorogue? Parliament would not have been recalled. Waiting until the fall to call the House back would not be unusual. When Joe Clark won his minority gov't in 1979, the prior Parliament was dissolved on the same day as this one was, March 26th. Clark didn't recall the House until October 9th of that year.

    • Agreedzoop, is not the coalition, agreement or whatever they want to call it, it's the players that has people so uncomfortable plus you feel hostage, not knowing when is the government is going to fall again.

      • You guys are simply projecting. You're entittled of course. However the fact is our system is flexible enought to permit a number of possible scenarios – including the one Harper envisioned in 04. The one thing that doesn't change is you must maintain the confidence of the house. Your call for some kind of guarantee ahead of the throne speech is simply bogus. Coyne pointed out that it is legit to point out the possibility of you not getting what you think you're getting. But he also pointed out that you can take that into consideration while you vote, but after that all bets are off. The house rules.

        • But to me that's the problem, if we don't get a majority (either party) we will be having more of" if we don't like it we'll take you down" I personally think, that the whole house LPC, CPC, NDP are being irresponsible and careless and looking only after themselves, they don't seem to care what we think.

          Now coalition even though is part of our Parliament is relatively new to our government, it is a fashionable term, even countries like Mexico (that have a Legislative power) are talkig about "alianzas" (coalitions). We are not used to them and we were introduced to them by a the three amigos that were something that we felt was very undemocratic, Harper is right when he says that coalitions are for winners. If Harper had gone through the coalition in 2004, he would have paid the same price and never been PM, he can thank his lucky stars he never went through with it.

          http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/maj

          This is an interesting article

          • Oh and I forgot, I am exhausted, so tired of elections, it's too much, they do need us to let us breath.

          • Perhaps we could persuade AC to come up with some suggestions on preventing this scenario from happening again? Is it time for some ground rules on just constitutes a reasonable case for overturning the electorated first choice. Perhaps he feels convention is just fine? Perhaps it's the honourable men and women of the House who need to live up to their tittle again?

          • oops…electorates

          • The most sensible coalition in a minority Parliament would be a Con-Lib coalition government, but it's unlikely to happen, b/c both sides have burned bridges.

            Although as Harper said yesterday, a Lib-NDP-Bloc coalition/alliance/whatever would not be able to support any new trade agreements, and Canada would suffer b/c of it.

          • One way to be sure we don't get more of the same?

            No Incumbents!

  10. Harper's not 'criminalizing' the coalition option? Huge straw man there.

    And you can niggle about the work 'illegitimate' but you need to define your terms.

    Constitutionally legitimate – yes. Democratically legitimate – not so much. That's the point.

  11. Exactly … the biggest thing being what is the mandate given? What parts of the Liberal platform are sacrosanct, and which can be jettisoned in the face of a coalition/accord/agreement? Same with the NDP and Bloc platforms. What would the eventual Government of Canada governing program look like? Voters would like to have some idea.

  12. For what it's worth, I appreciate these Coyne v. Wells videos. Going beyond strategy to debating policy is particularly helpful. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Harper and Ignatieff could sit down and debate policy in a similar fashion?

  13. For what it's worth, I appreciate these Coyne v. Wells videos. Going beyond strategy to debating policy is particularly helpful. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Harper and Ignatieff could sit down and debate policy in a similar fashion?

  14. Let me also say it's all well and good for the Liberals to swear off a coalition, but if the NDP pushes the issue, saying "if you don't give us Cabinet seats, then we'll side with Harper", what do you think the Liberals are going to do?!? Deputy Premier Layton, much like Clegg in the UK coalition.

    I think we all know that Jack's been measuring for the ministerial office drapes for a long time now. He won't give that dream up easily.

  15. I disagree with Mr. Coyne's argument in favour of the Tories' income splitting proposal on two grounds. First, as many economists already have stated, families with the luxury (and it is a luxury) of having one income earner and a stay-at-home parent already are saving a considerable amount of money when compared to dual income families that earn the same amount before taxes, as the dual income families have to contend with a variety of childcare expenses that the single income families do not such as daycare, etc. Second, the spin in favour of this proposal describes hypothetical families, one with a single income earner earning $70-100k, and the other with two earners earning $35-50k each. The argument seems to assume that $70k-100k jobs are out there for the taking, so that a family could have a parent stay at home, and the other parent simply would double their income and split it come tax time. The fact is, those jobs aren't out there in the quantity that would be required for people to take advantage of this program, and when you have kids and earn $35-50k/year, you NEED to have two income earners, so no income is being split. This really is a program for upper middle class families, and not many of them, at that.

  16. The Liberals will tell the NDP to forget about getting cabinet seats. What do you then think the Conservatives are going to do?

  17. I thought their point was rather clear. While $1,000 a year is nice, school still costs $5,000 (or whatever) a year. So does reducing the cost help provide access to everyone who wants to further their education, or is there a better way of doing this.

    I'd be interested to know more about this 'graduate tax' or whatever they called it. Kinda sounds like a student loan that gets paid back over time.

  18. Wells & Coyne:

    If we have another Harper minority gov't, I suspect that he will immediately prorogue Parliament and watch if the Liberals, NDP and BQ form an immediate Coalition. Parliament will only return in September and be presented with another Budget. If the Budget is defeated, Harper will ask for another election … and then the Coalition may attempt to present itself to the GG as an alternate governing choice.

    The only way Ignatieff will be PM of Canada is with a formal coalition with the NDP and/or the BQ separatists. If they require the support of the NDP to exceed the Conservative MPs, they will most certainly form a coalition. In fact, Layton will demand a coalition and a ministry in their coalition gov't.

    If the Liberal and NDP MPs still don't outnumber the Conservative minority, they will enroll the support of the BQ separatists … but once the GG smells this scheme, he will not accept such a separatist-controlled gov't. A Liberal-NDP-BQ separatist gov't would split the country and even cause civil unrest verging on violence … believe it !!!!

    That is why a "coalition" must be flushed out early in the election, for the sake of Canadian unity.

    • You're totally confused by this supposed coalition and that is exactly what Harper wants. In Canadian government, the party that rules is the party that has the confidence of the House of Commons – i.e. can get a majority of elected representatives to support it on any key vote. So a formal coalition is not needed – never was. Just on each vote to convince enough MP's to vote for it. This is true for a Conservative minority or a Liberal minority. What Harper is afraid of is that he has alienated so many members of the other parties that he will not be able to secure enough votes to remain as the government. In which case, the Liberals will get a chance and most likely will have enough support from elected MP's to remain as the government for a while. No coalition is involved. No splitting of the country is involved. Wake up and learn how your government works, for crying out loud!

      • I think it is you who is either confused or just trying to mislead us. We are in an election now, and the political parties must be up front is they intend, post-election, to form a coalition gov't to overthrow the duly elected Harper minority gov't.

        It's a matter of truthfulness with Canadians who want to know now what they are voting for … a majority Conservative gov't or a post-election Coalition gov't. If Ignatieff and Layton suddenly spring a coalition agreement shored up by the BQ separatists and intended to displace the duly elected gov't, there will be violent opposition across Canada …. believe it.

        You just can't sanitize a sudden coalition formed immediately after the election attempting to seize power, and just call it normal parliamentary procedure. Blue Grits and hardcore socialists are not voting for a Liberal-NDP-BQ separatists coalition junta …. believe it.

        • You need to take an observant look at 2004[ or simply watch the video again and listen this time to what Wells had to say] ; and tone down your rhetoric…junta…have you any idea what a real one would look like?

    • Good of you to know the GG's mind for him.

    • It's true that the GG would likely require concrete assurances that a coalition gov't was stable, so a Lib-NDP coalition agreement on that score would likely be necessary, assuming the same sort of numbers in the House as last time. That is, after all, why they formed a coalition last time, to present a better case to the GG.

      But I don't know how the GG overlooks the Bloc's party charter, and how they want to have Quebec separate from Canada. The GG's first responsibility is to have a stable gov't in place … one that requires the constant support of a party dedicated to the breakup of the federal polity would seem to undermind the "stable" requirement.

      A great book on this subject is "The Governor Generals and the Making and Unmaking of Governments".

  19. Wells & Coyne:

    If we have another Harper minority gov't, I suspect that he will immediately prorogue Parliament and watch if the Liberals, NDP and BQ form an immediate Coalition. Parliament will only return in September and be presented with another Budget. If the Budget is defeated, Harper will ask for another election … and then the Coalition may attempt to present itself to the GG as an alternate governing choice.

    The only way Ignatieff will be PM of Canada is with a formal coalition with the NDP and/or the BQ separatists. If they require the support of the NDP to exceed the Conservative MPs, they will most certainly form a coalition. In fact, Layton will demand a coalition and a ministry in their coalition gov't.

    If the Liberal and NDP MPs still don't outnumber the Conservative minority, they will enroll the support of the BQ separatists … but once the GG smells this scheme, he will not accept such a separatist-controlled gov't. A Liberal-NDP-BQ separatist gov't would split the country and even cause civil unrest verging on violence … believe it !!!!

    That is why a "coalition" must be flushed out early in the election, for the sake of Canadian unity.

  20. If it's another minority Conservative gov't, Harper will immediately prorogue Parliament and only come back in September with another Budget. If the Budget is defeated, he will ask the GG to drop the writ for another election. Then the Coalition will attempt to seize control of the gov't, notwithstanding the refusal of the GG to recognize them.

    Then Ignatieff will attempt to make "I love the Republic I live in.", a reality … ya think?!

  21. Agreedzoop, is not the coalition, agreement or whatever they want to call it, it's the players that has people so uncomfortable plus you feel hostage, not knowing when is the government is going to fall again.

  22. Yes it would!

  23. There's another angle to the coalition debate; it has to do with the internal strife within the Liberal party itself. The Gerard Kennedys and Bob Raes obviously could (and would) readily merge with the NDP somehow in a "unite-the-left" movement.

    However, the old order, centrist Liberals still have strong influence. They were the ones who attempted to right the sinking ship by installing Ignatieff as leader without an election.

    Currently, party members seem to be willing to gloss over their deep divides for the sake of clutching power. If the Liberals were somehow to gain minority government status, these divisions would re-emerge and the whole situation in parliament would become highly unstable. Because Ignatieff is inherently weak and not a strong leader, he'll go to the Bloc for support time and again.

    The Conservatives have, up until now, shown calm, competent government in the midst of extenuating circumstances. Canada's best hope for stable government and a strong economy lies in the hands of a Conservative majority.

    • Blue Grits and hardcore socialist may be opposed to a post-election coalition, and would declare they were mislead during the election with assurances that there would be no coalition between the Liberals, NDP and BQ separatists.

      • You're thick if you truly believe this.

        Largest deficit ever? It's nothing of the sort … it was 3.5% of GDP. We had deficits of 8.7% of GDP back in 1984 under Trudeau! And it wasn't even before the recession, you numbskull. The 2008-09 deficit was $5b i believe, and then 2009-10 was the big one, at $55.6b. Now, the 2010-11 deficit that just closed yesterday is around $40b.

        That's what happens when automatic EI benefit escalators kick in during a downturn.

        If the Conservatives were taxing the economy the same as the Liberals did back in the day (i.e. revenues as a % of GDP), then we would be in a big surplus. But of course, then the economy wouldn't be as big as it is now, etc. It's a trade-off between growing the economy or balancing the books. The former is more important at the moment … that is why every G20 nation agreed to stimulus measures in late 2008 as a means to fight the recession.

  24. There's another angle to the coalition debate; it has to do with the internal strife within the Liberal party itself. The Gerard Kennedys and Bob Raes obviously could (and would) readily merge with the NDP somehow in a "unite-the-left" movement.

    However, the old order, centrist Liberals still have strong influence. They were the ones who attempted to right the sinking ship by installing Ignatieff as leader without an election.

    Currently, party members seem to be willing to gloss over their deep divides for the sake of clutching power. If the Liberals were somehow to gain minority government status, these divisions would re-emerge and the whole situation in parliament would become highly unstable. Because Ignatieff is inherently weak and not a strong leader, he'll go to the Bloc for support time and again.

    The Conservatives have, up until now, shown calm, competent government in the midst of extenuating circumstances. Canada's best hope for stable government and a strong economy lies in the hands of a Conservative majority.

  25. You're totally confused by this supposed coalition and that is exactly what Harper wants. In Canadian government, the party that rules is the party that has the confidence of the House of Commons – i.e. can get a majority of elected representatives to support it on any key vote. So a formal coalition is not needed – never was. Just on each vote to convince enough MP's to vote for it. This is true for a Conservative minority or a Liberal minority. What Harper is afraid of is that he has alienated so many members of the other parties that he will not be able to secure enough votes to remain as the government. In which case, the Liberals will get a chance and most likely will have enough support from elected MP's to remain as the government for a while. No coalition is involved. No splitting of the country is involved. Wake up and learn how your government works, for crying out loud!

  26. A coalition is definitely in the future, right after May 2nd. Ignatieff has stated (during the campaign) that he would not support the CPC budget tabled in the House. Layton said the same withing 30 minutes of the budget being tabled. Flaherty & Harper have said the will reintroduce the same budget. And I believe that Duceppe indicated on budget day that he would not suort the budget.

    So … there's a non-confidence vote to bring down the Conservatives (once again), and the Libs/NDP/Bloc quickly cobbling together a Coalition (think of lots of our money being horse-traded forever) … or Harper agreeing to spend more of our money, just to get one of them to support the budget. Probable? Either way, he's right. Always has been. And the intelligencia of our nation say, "don't worry".

    • They will resurrect their Coalition Troika Junta "lightning fast" if it's another minority situation ….. believe it.

  27. A coalition is definitely in the future, right after May 2nd. Ignatieff has stated (during the campaign) that he would not support the CPC budget tabled in the House. Layton said the same withing 30 minutes of the budget being tabled. Flaherty & Harper have said the will reintroduce the same budget. And I believe that Duceppe indicated on budget day that he would not suort the budget.

    So … there's a non-confidence vote to bring down the Conservatives (once again), and the Libs/NDP/Bloc quickly cobbling together a Coalition (think of lots of our money being horse-traded forever) … or Harper agreeing to spend more of our money, just to get one of them to support the budget. Probable? Either way, he's right. Always has been. And the intelligencia of our nation say, "don't worry".

  28. To pursue a BA in Halifax each year of university costs approx. $8000 ($32, 000 total for the BA). Ignatiff's policy would pay for 1/8 of a BA. However, RESPs and grants are as consider prior income when applying for student loans. The student would (over a four year degree) trade access to $4000 in debt (at 0% interest while in university) and $2232 in tax breaks for $4000 in grants. When you look at the level of debt incurred I'd prefer to have the extra $2232 so that I can avoid use of my student line of credit (w/ interest at market rate). Also, interest on Canada Student Loan debt is tax-deductable which is another incentive for students to utlize Canada Student Loans over other options.

  29. Did the libs get back to you on your question?

  30. You guys are simply projecting. You're entittled of course. However the fact is our system is flexible enought to permit a number of possible scenarios – including the one Harper envisioned in 04. The one thing that doesn't change is you must maintain the confidence of the house. Your call for some kind of guarantee ahead of the throne speech is simply bogus. Coyne pointed out that it is legit to point out the possibility of you not getting what you think you're getting. But he also pointed out that you can take that into consideration while you vote, but after that all bets are off. The house rules.

  31. Great debate guys. If only half the debates during the campaign reach this level we'll be lucky. I'm gonna have to watch this at least a couple of times more to take it all in.

    However…if this gets much more informal i may have to switch to audio only. I am NOT watching you two duke in your underwear, surrounded by your empties.

    ps…get a shave Coyne. You're a disgrace sir![ and there's me with a winter's growth of beard yet to come off along with my long johns...actually they're already off...better stop now.]

    • Hahaha, aren't you picky, he does look cute, it's a girl thing : )

      • But i have bigger whiskers then he does.

        • photo, photo, photo….

          • er…did i mention i've got bigger greyer whiskers then he does? But he does have more hair then i do…but he doesn't have my worries…

          • hahaha I was kidding : )

          • So was i. I'm only really 12. [ ouch...that's sticking my neck out a bit]

          • Haha, I meant I was just kidding because you should be able to protect your privacy if that's what you want : )

    • Andrew, Paul, if you're planning on sitting around in your underwear surrounded by empties, count me in!

      • It was akind of Wellsian snark on my part…hark i hear the clink of bottles.

    • Agreed, I love, love, love these things.

      And I know Paul has poked fun at his own television appearances in the past, but this kind of conversational format is such an excellent fit for him.

  32. Great debate guys. If only half the debates during the campaign reach this level we'll be lucky. I'm gonna have to watch this at least a couple of times more to take it all in.

    However…if this gets much more informal i may have to switch to audio only. I am NOT watching you two duke in your underwear, surrounded by your empties.

    ps…get a shave Coyne. You're a disgrace sir![ and there's me with a winter's growth of beard yet to come off along with my long johns...actually they're already off...better stop now.]

  33. I think it is you who is either confused or just trying to mislead us. We are in an election now, and the political parties must be up front is they intend, post-election, to form a coalition gov't to overthrow the duly elected Harper minority gov't.

    It's a matter of truthfulness with Canadians who want to know now what they are voting for … a majority Conservative gov't or a post-election Coalition gov't. If Ignatieff and Layton suddenly spring a coalition agreement shored up by the BQ separatists and intended to displace the duly elected gov't, there will be violent opposition across Canada …. believe it.

    You just can't sanitize a sudden coalition formed immediately after the election attempting to seize power, and just call it normal parliamentary procedure. Blue Grits and hardcore socialists are not voting for a Liberal-NDP-BQ separatists coalition junta …. believe it.

  34. I haven't received anything as of yet from the Liberal Party but my MP Geoff Regan's response was "Mr. Regan will do his best to respond in a timely manner". I'm holding out hope that as he is my MP I will get a response eventually.

  35. Hopefully they'll be honest enough to get back to you even if they think you have a point. But i wouldn't be surprised if you got filed under post election.

  36. But to me that's the problem, if we don't get a majority (either party) we will be having more of" if we don't like it we'll take you down" I personally think, that the whole house LPC, CPC, NDP are being irresponsible and careless and looking only after themselves, they don't seem to care what we think.

    Now coalition even though is part of our Parliament is relatively new to our government, it is a fashionable term, even countries like Mexico (that have a Legislative power) are talkig about "alianzas" (coalitions). We are not used to them and we were introduced to them by a the three amigos that were something that we felt was very undemocratic, Harper is right when he says that coalitions are for winners. If Harper had gone through the coalition in 2004, he would have paid the same price and never been PM, he can thank his lucky stars he never went through with it.

    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/maj

    This is an interesting article

  37. Oh and I forgot, I am exhausted, so tired of elections, it's too much, they do need us to let us breath.

  38. Hahaha, aren't you picky, he does look cute, it's a girl thing : )

  39. You need to take an observant look at 2004[ or simply watch the video again and listen this time to what Wells had to say] ; and tone down your rhetoric…junta…have you any idea what a real one would look like?

  40. But i have bigger whiskers then he does.

  41. Anything is better than a PM who won't debate:

    http://betshort.com

    We can reduce the government by 75% if we get rid of the incompetents.

  42. Anything is better than a PM who won't debate:

    http://betshort.com

    We can reduce the government by 75% if we get rid of the incompetents.

  43. photo, photo, photo….

  44. Perhaps we could persuade AC to come up with some suggestions on preventing this scenario from happening again? Is it time for some ground rules on just constitutes a reasonable case for overturning the electorated first choice. Perhaps he feels convention is just fine? Perhaps it's the honourable men and women of the House who need to live up to their tittle again?

  45. er…did i mention i've got bigger greyer whiskers then he does? But he does have more hair then i do…but he doesn't have my worries…

  46. oops…electorates

  47. hahaha I was kidding : )

  48. Andrew – are you ok? Has the campaign buses been that hard on you? I love the podcasts but, it would look better if you appeared shaved and showered. Keep up your health!

  49. Andrew – are you ok? Has the campaign buses been that hard on you? I love the podcasts but, it would look better if you appeared shaved and showered. Keep up your health!

  50. Wouldn't the Tories have leverage in that kind of Parliament, too? I mean, the Official Opposition has the duty to oppose, yes, but that doesn't mean they have to vote against every bill. I can foresee a lively debate within the Conservative caucus if they have the most seats but Iggy becomes PM anyway, particularly if Harper quits. On the one hand, supporting the Liberals could undermine their claim to be the legitimate government. On the other hand, Iggy has to know giving the Bloc everything it wants will look really bad, so the Tories could set a relatively high price on their support to make up for that — scrapping that universal child-care monstrosity, perhaps? The base would like that. besides, if they refused to deal with the Grits, they'd just be accused (accuratly) of hypocrisy if they make it an issue in the next campaign.

  51. Question the first: Paul, why did you keep saying "theological" instead of "theoretical". Really threw me off.

  52. Question the first: Paul, why did you keep saying "theological" instead of "theoretical". Really threw me off.

  53. The 800 lb gorilla in the room that nobody is willing to talk about, is Canada's so called two solitudes. In the last two elections the Liberals and the NDP were trounced in English Canada. I have no doubt the same will happen again. For the first time in history English Canada faces the prospect of being Governed by political parties soundly repudiated at the polls, but Governing anyway supported by a party dedicated primarily to the countries breakup. In many places and times gone by, this would be a recipe for revolution.

    • No government (aside from the occasional landslide victory) can win among every constituency. A government supported by a majority of Quebec MPs but rejected by a majority of ROC MPs may well put strain on the federation, but let us not delegitimize representatives of one part of the country in favour of others. If English Canada had had its way, the Conservatives would have won majority governments in 1957, 1962, 1965, 1972, 1979, and 2008, while minority Parliaments would have resulted from the elections of 1968, 1974, 1980, and 1988. Quebecers' votes have had a profoundly "distorting" effect on the way English Canada has been governed in the last two generations, have they not? However, none of these results have ever made Canadians question Quebecers' right to vote as they choose.

      • Let me add some nuance to that. The Bloc is, obviously, a special case. Just one reason Iggy is not enthusiastic about getting into the weeds of post-election speculation is that he doesn't want voters to think about a Liberal government that has to rely on the Bloc's support. He certainly hopes he won't have to, so he'll push for a Liberal majority/strong minority as hard as he can. Should the next Parliament look like the last one, though, it will be rather unseemly to lots of folks for the prime minister to ask for Gilles Duceppe's permission before he can do anything. The Tories would, I'm certain, remind every Canadian of every controversial compromise this would necessitate in the forty-second general election — especially federalist Quebecers.

      • I couldn't disagree with you more. An election by definition means a mandate to Govern. What kind of mandate can you argue a Government repudiated by English Canada, and only able to survive propped up by seperatists has? Any body that actually believes this could have any legitimacy what so ever, does not understand western Camada at all. Instead of just one seperatist Province there may well be several.

  54. The 800 lb gorilla in the room that nobody is willing to talk about, is Canada's so called two solitudes. In the last two elections the Liberals and the NDP were trounced in English Canada. I have no doubt the same will happen again. For the first time in history English Canada faces the prospect of being Governed by political parties soundly repudiated at the polls, but Governing anyway supported by a party dedicated primarily to the countries breakup. In many places and times gone by, this would be a recipe for revolution.

  55. Andrew, when you discussed coalitions you listed three alternative outcomes after the election, but it seems to me you neglected a fourth, which would be a Liberal majority. I realize this appears somewhat of a long shot at this time; but it was disingenuous not even to mention it. It is clear to me that Harper's incessent repetition of the words coalition leader when referring to Ignatieff is designed to make sure the idea of a Liberal majority is not on anyone's mind and I fear you followed his lead. It was not many months ago you and many journalists were talking about Ignatieff's difficulty diferrentiating his policies from Harper's. The slightly right of center swing voters you were talking about may feel quite comfortable with the Michael Ignatieff the are seeing during this campaign, especially if Harper keeps on displaying contempt for journalists and voters by refusing to answer questions or debate Ignatieff.

    • Polled Canadians do not want a PM "Ignatieff" … and even half those polled who support the Liberal party brand do not want Ignatieff as it's leader.

      Expect many polled Liberal supporters staying home on voting day because they don't want to bother getting out to vote for a loser .. both the loser Liberal party and loser Ignatieff … believe it.

      • So you don't want anyone talking about a Liberal majority either.

        • Yeah! Come to think about it, he also forgot to mention the potential Green plurality….what? why are you looking at me like that?….oh, I guess you just don't want to discuss the green plurality, do you?….you must really hate democracy!

  56. Andrew, when you discussed coalitions you listed three alternative outcomes after the election, but it seems to me you neglected a fourth, which would be a Liberal majority. I realize this appears somewhat of a long shot at this time; but it was disingenuous not even to mention it. It is clear to me that Harper's incessent repetition of the words coalition leader when referring to Ignatieff is designed to make sure the idea of a Liberal majority is not on anyone's mind and I fear you followed his lead. It was not many months ago you and many journalists were talking about Ignatieff's difficulty diferrentiating his policies from Harper's. The slightly right of center swing voters you were talking about may feel quite comfortable with the Michael Ignatieff the are seeing during this campaign, especially if Harper keeps on displaying contempt for journalists and voters by refusing to answer questions or debate Ignatieff.

  57. Sorry, but you can't justify a 2011 opposition coalition using the 2004 "options" letter … but you can link it to the formal 2008 Coalition Accord that defined a true coalition between the Liberals, NDP and BQ separatists.

    Any way you cut it, another minority Harper gov't will be either defeated with an immediate vote of no confidence post-election … or another Coalition Troika Junta will be resurrected "lightning quick" and make a bid to form the next gov't.

    Only a clear majority Conservative gov't can stop a Coalition abomination which would split Canada and even could precipitate violent opposition. The only way a Coalition can be legitimized is if each of the party leaders admit now they will form a coalition if their combined vote and MPs exceeds that of the Conservatives.

    A post-election Coalition gov't attempt does not have a mandate from Canadians and will be met with stiff opposition by Canadians … even those who voted Liberal and NDP and may have rejected any coalition during the election.

    The unity of Canada may well hang in the balance in this seminal election … believe it.

  58. Blue Grits and hardcore socialist may be opposed to a post-election coalition, and would declare they were mislead during the election with assurances that there would be no coalition between the Liberals, NDP and BQ separatists.

  59. True and loyal Canadians in the RoC (excluding Quebec) must elect 155+ Conservative MPs for a clear majority gov't … otherwise they will again be subordinate to the demands of the BQ separatists in a Coalition Troika Junta gov't.

    If Canadians in the RoC cripple the federal gov't with another minority situation, they will deserve the gov't they get …. a Coalition Troika Junta controlled by the BQ separatists and upwards of 70 Quebec MPs representing the largest provincial contingent in the Coalition. Think about that …!!!!

  60. Polled Canadians do not want a PM "Ignatieff" … and even half those polled who support the Liberal party brand do not want Ignatieff as it's leader.

    Expect many polled Liberal supporters staying home on voting day because they don't want to bother getting out to vote for a loser .. both the loser Liberal party and loser Ignatieff … believe it.

  61. They will resurrect their Coalition Troika Junta "lightning fast" if it's another minority situation ….. believe it.

  62. In addition I think both Paul and Andrew need to read Jeffrey Simpson comun today to get up-to-speed on the facts about income splitting. See http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opin

    In fact the income splitting policy distorts the tax system in all the ways the Conservatives have campaigned against in all elections past. This policy as anounced by Harper this week is all about politics and has nothing to do with effective policy. It's about time Paul and Andrew talked about this.

  63. So you don't want anyone talking about a Liberal majority either.

  64. I'll pick on just one thing from that linked article:

    "Income splitting as proposed by the Conservatives is also a dumb policy because it favours women staying at home rather than encouraging those who want to join the work force at a time when Canada needs more people working to support the increasing number of retirees."

    First: *faux surprise*, Oh, it's only the husbands income that is allowed to be split?

    Second: "Hey honey, you could work and earn 60 to 80 thousand dollars this year, or you could stay home and we could save up to 6000!!!! Well, that's a no brainer to me. Thank you Conservatives for encouraging my wife* to stay home!

    *On my use of the wife as the one being encouraged to stay home, see "First".

  65. Also, Coyne rightly notes in the above video that presumably the end game for the Conservatives is income splitting for all couples.

    What of singles you ask? I respond simply with a facepalm.

  66. Andrew, Paul, if you're planning on sitting around in your underwear surrounded by empties, count me in!

  67. No government (aside from the occasional landslide victory) can win among every constituency. A government supported by a majority of Quebec MPs but rejected by a majority of ROC MPs may well put strain on the federation, but let us not delegitimize representatives of one part of the country in favour of others. If English Canada had had its way, the Conservatives would have won majority governments in 1957, 1962, 1965, 1972, 1979, and 2008, while minority Parliaments would have resulted from the elections of 1968, 1974, 1980, and 1988. Quebecers' votes have had a profoundly "distorting" effect on the way English Canada has been governed in the last two generations, have they not? However, none of these results have ever made Canadians question Quebecers' right to vote as they choose.

  68. Yeah! Come to think about it, he also forgot to mention the potential Green plurality….what? why are you looking at me like that?….oh, I guess you just don't want to discuss the green plurality, do you?….you must really hate democracy!

  69. Let me add some nuance to that. The Bloc is, obviously, a special case. Just one reason Iggy is not enthusiastic about getting into the weeds of post-election speculation is that he doesn't want voters to think about a Liberal government that has to rely on the Bloc's support. He certainly hopes he won't have to, so he'll push for a Liberal majority/strong minority as hard as he can. Should the next Parliament look like the last one, though, it will be rather unseemly to lots of folks for the prime minister to ask for Gilles Duceppe's permission before he can do anything. The Tories would, I'm certain, remind every Canadian of every controversial compromise this would necessitate in the forty-second general election — especially federalist Quebecers.

  70. I couldn't disagree with you more. An election by definition means a mandate to Govern. What kind of mandate can you argue a Government repudiated by English Canada, and only able to survive propped up by seperatists has? Any body that actually believes this could have any legitimacy what so ever, does not understand western Camada at all. Instead of just one seperatist Province there may well be several.

  71. So was i. I'm only really 12. [ ouch...that's sticking my neck out a bit]

  72. It was akind of Wellsian snark on my part…hark i hear the clink of bottles.

  73. Oddly enough i was watching CBC the other night and they did show the accord…there was no BQ signature, in fact no place for Duceppe to sign at all. So, stop your lying, and read up a little on our system of governance…oh and stop watching those scary late night coalition monster movies…it's not real you know.
    It could make you paranoid or something.

    • http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/posted/a

      There was a coalition gov't agreement, which was only signed by Dion and Layton; and then a confidence-and-supply agreement that was signed by all three of them.

      I found that link in a minute …

  74. Oddly enough i was watching CBC the other night and they did show the accord…there was no BQ signature, in fact no place for Duceppe to sign at all. So, stop your lying, and read up a little on our system of governance…oh and stop watching those scary late night coalition monster movies…it's not real you know.
    It could make you paranoid or something.

  75. Statistics Canada has shown that the most reliable predictor as to whether a Canadian will pursue post-secondary education is whether or not their parents did.

    This is a more reliable predictor than race, language, location, or even family income.

    Of course, there are some interconnections.. if there parents went to university, odds are that they have the financial resources to go as well.

  76. Good of you to know the GG's mind for him.

  77. Do you really believe that?!?! The Libs would whore themselves like no party's whored themselves before!!!

  78. Why would he have to prorogue? Parliament would not have been recalled. Waiting until the fall to call the House back would not be unusual. When Joe Clark won his minority gov't in 1979, the prior Parliament was dissolved on the same day as this one was, March 26th. Clark didn't recall the House until October 9th of that year.

  79. The most sensible coalition in a minority Parliament would be a Con-Lib coalition government, but it's unlikely to happen, b/c both sides have burned bridges.

    Although as Harper said yesterday, a Lib-NDP-Bloc coalition/alliance/whatever would not be able to support any new trade agreements, and Canada would suffer b/c of it.

  80. It's true that the GG would likely require concrete assurances that a coalition gov't was stable, so a Lib-NDP coalition agreement on that score would likely be necessary, assuming the same sort of numbers in the House as last time. That is, after all, why they formed a coalition last time, to present a better case to the GG.

    But I don't know how the GG overlooks the Bloc's party charter, and how they want to have Quebec separate from Canada. The GG's first responsibility is to have a stable gov't in place … one that requires the constant support of a party dedicated to the breakup of the federal polity would seem to undermind the "stable" requirement.

    A great book on this subject is "The Governor Generals and the Making and Unmaking of Governments".

  81. http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/posted/a

    There was a coalition gov't agreement, which was only signed by Dion and Layton; and then a confidence-and-supply agreement that was signed by all three of them.

    I found that link in a minute …

  82. You're thick if you truly believe this.

    Largest deficit ever? It's nothing of the sort … it was 3.5% of GDP. We had deficits of 8.7% of GDP back in 1984 under Trudeau! And it wasn't even before the recession, you numbskull. The 2008-09 deficit was $5b i believe, and then 2009-10 was the big one, at $55.6b. Now, the 2010-11 deficit that just closed yesterday is around $40b.

    That's what happens when automatic EI benefit escalators kick in during a downturn.

    If the Conservatives were taxing the economy the same as the Liberals did back in the day (i.e. revenues as a % of GDP), then we would be in a big surplus. But of course, then the economy wouldn't be as big as it is now, etc. It's a trade-off between growing the economy or balancing the books. The former is more important at the moment … that is why every G20 nation agreed to stimulus measures in late 2008 as a means to fight the recession.

  83. Breaking News – Layton will be Leader of Coalition not Iggy

    Now it turns out Ignatieff is out on his ear in a two leader debate. We learned today that if there is a coalition on the left, people want Jack Layton to be the leader by a long shot ( 59% to 27%), and not Count Iggy . So if consortium of broadcasters arrange the two leader debate, it will be Layton versus Harper – what a turn of events – but that is democracy that Ignatieff believes in and defends.

    OTTAWA — If Canadians find themselves being governed by a Liberal-NDP-Bloc Québécois coalition following the May election, they want to see the NDP's Jack Layton become prime minister, results of an exclusive poll for Postmedia News and Global National released Friday suggest.

    Only 27 per cent of the poll's respondents said they'd want Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff to be top dog, compared with 14 per cent who support Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe and 59 per cent who said Layton.

    Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Layton+prime+

  84. Also from StatsCan: the vast majority of people with toilets in their homes came from parents who also had toilets in their homes.

    Coincidence???

  85. Agreed, I love, love, love these things.

    And I know Paul has poked fun at his own television appearances in the past, but this kind of conversational format is such an excellent fit for him.

  86. That's rather why the formal agreement, with the Bloc signing on to the C&S was such a good one for Canada. It would have effectively taken away the Bloc's hammer for two years. Plenty of time for the federal parties to show the people of Quebec that the Bloc needn't exist.

  87. And considering the whore that Harper's party is to the corporations.. that's saying something!

  88. One way to be sure we don't get more of the same?

    No Incumbents!

  89. Singe parents can already claim a child as a spouse.

  90. You couldn't have found a dumber column to latch on to. Poor families and single parents pay nothing in taxes and get post-secondary education for basically free. Income splitting helps the middle class; the majority of the population.

  91. Let's get real here. The reason Harper has to talk about a coalition is because if he dosen't, he would have to talk about real issues. He cant do that because his issues are not the voters issues!

  92. Stephen Harper knows a lot about coalitions.

    Mr. Harper served as President of the National Citizens Coalition from 1998 to 2002. National Citizens Coalition is a Canadian conservative lobby group founded in 1967 to oppose the concept of a national health care system.

    National Citizens Coalition supports privatization, tax cuts, government spending cuts and opposes laws that limit spending by non-party organizations during election campaigns. It has been heavily involved in advertising, political campaigns and legal challenges in support of its goals of "more freedom with less government." (ie – fewer regulations, less enforcement).

    During its almost four decades of existence, the National Citizens Coalition has campaigned against the Canada Health Act.

  93. Haha, coincidence, I think not!!

  94. Haha, I meant I was just kidding because you should be able to protect your privacy if that's what you want : )

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