Liberalism made easy

Andrew Potter on how the Liberals should respond to the Bev Oda affair


Seems to me the Liberals will have a very easy time making money off this Oda affair.

1. They declare: Either Oda goes or we go to the polls. If Oda goes, then they get a scalp.

2. If Oda stays, they declare they will vote non-confidence in the government at every opportunity from now on.

This will lead to four possible scenarios:

3. Scenario one: NDP and Bloc support the government — then the government becomes, for the remainder of the term, a “coalition of socialists and separatists” — that’s the end of that Conservative talking point.

4. Scenario two: the NDP supports the government. Then the Libs have a great attack on the NDP in the next election (“they supported contempt for parliament and the defunding of Kairos”)

5. Scenario three: the Bloc supports the government. Then the Liberal attack becomes “this government survives only through the support of separatists”. So much for that Conservative talking point.

6. Scenario four: Election

I can’t see how any one of these scenarios is tactically any worse than where the Liberals are now. Also, it gives them the advantage of being on the right side of truth, accountability, parliament, and democracy. It’s very rare that these line up so nicely with partisan advantage. Be a shame to waste it; it certainly beats riding around in a bus shaking hands.


Liberalism made easy

  1. Speaking of making money,

    It amazes me that despite the fact that I am subscribed to Liberal email alerts, etc. I have not yet received one request for a donation on the back of this whole Oda/Culture of deceit thing.

    • You could send that money order over to MacLeans.ca and they will…………no even better, send it to me and I`ll make sure it gets to the right people.

    • Things would sure be different if Rocco Rossi were still in charge.

    • The Libs fund raising is not organized.

    • The e-mail the Liberals sent out asking people to sign a petition to have Ms. Oda resign, included a request for donations to the party.

  2. "It's very rare that these line up so nicely with partisan advantage. Be a shame to waste it; it certainly beats riding around in a bus shaking hands."

    The Harper govt engages in a full frontal assault of our Parliament… again, and this is what you have to say about it, Potter?

    This is a perfect example of everything that is wrong with political reporting in this country.

    • easy there junkie, full frontal? if you want full frontal go rent Basic Instincts.

      • Rrrrrrrr

  3. I think those are good tactics. Will they overcome the disinformation response? Will they overcome voter apathy? Will voters respond to appeals to the higher values of truth and good government

    • Sadly, I think that the response to all of your questions is no.

      Back in 2006, we thought that we had elected a party that stood for that very thing, truth and good government. We voted out those lying, thieving Liberals on the promise that things would different.

      Now, we have that very same party, that ran on a promise to change things in Ottawa, not only operating in the same way, but continually using the excuse of "the other guy did it too" as justification for their misdeeds.

      Will we ever have a government that doesn't lie to us? May be I am young and naive, but I definitely hope to see one in my lifetime.

      As voters, I hope that we continue to demand better of our elected officials.

      • So you think voters will hold the same amount of disgust for the Conservatives, who used questionable means to refuse spending the public`s money on an entitled group, as they had for the Liberals who used questionable means to continue to give millions of the public`s money to some of their entitled friends.

        • Someday, that election spending scam that Conservatives attempted may be resolved. And, not necessarily in the Conservative's favour.

          • ……don`t know where you`re at

        • Sadly, I think that most Canadian's have now tuned out of the whole process b/c there is no longer any truth and honesty in the whole affair.

          While I can't state the level of disgust that every Canadian will hold, I can tell you that from a personal standpoint I find both the case with Ad Scam as well as the current case further proves that unethical behavior crosses party lines. I further hope that regardless if you cheer for the blue team or the red team, that you demand that both or operating from the same rule book.

          As a Liberal, I can tell you that from a political standpoint the stupidest thing that Martin ever did was call the Gomery commission, airing out the dirty laundry in public for all to see. However, from an ethical standpoint, it was the best thing that could have been done.

          • As a Canadian, I would want a Conservative PM to call a Commission of Public Inquiry if an AdScam situation were ever repeated.

            In the meantime, just govern.

          • Hypothetically speaking of course, if presented with the same circumstances as Martin was presented with, do you think that PM Harper would move to hold a public inquiry?

            I agree with your sentiments of "just govern". I actually agree with the message track that the Conservatives are currently on this week. The decision was the Minister to make, and she made it. This is the role of government to make the hard decisions. Where the conservatives fell in trouble is that they didn't stand by their initial decision when it was made. They opted to stretch the truth in an effort to mitigate the potential fallout of a less than popular political decision, and instead of being accountable, they opted to shift the blame. They are currently in this hot water for a failure to stand by the decision that they had every right to make.

          • You mean if thousands upon thousands of dollars went out to friends of various CPC MPs in untendered contracts for things like speech-writing which may or may not have actually happened?

        • Meanwhile Harper gave a billion dollars of the lumber industries money to his entitled friends in the US.

      • As voters, I hope that we start to demand better of our elected officials.

        Fixed that for you.

  4. I don't agree with most of these talking point except perhaps for #1 and #2.

    With respect to coalitions, most Canadian understand the the distinction between voting with the government and a governing coalition, and I suspect the author does as well. Moreover, both the NDP and the Bloc have voted with the government on various issues, including confidence measures, in the past, so I don't see how additional examples of ad hoc support offer any advantage to the Libs.

    With respect to an election, the odds of the Libs doing much better than their present seat distribution seems highly unlikely, though not impossible. Tanking support for the Libs is already causing consternation in their ranks (based on Robert Fife's comment on his conversations with various Lib insiders). If the Libs are counting on the NDP to uphold the government on the budget, they may be sorely mistaken. The NDP may not be keen on an election at the moment, but they are in reasonable financial shape to fight one.

  5. Simply hollering and screaming at the government for every single controversy is an example of being "right for quite a while" is it? I don't see any indication that the Liberals have learned one thing since leaving power, and none that they would improve on anything if given power.

    Heck , they tried to grab power with the coalition the last time. Iggy has risen to the top without democratic challenge. And no substantive proposals to change anything that they say the Harper government is doing wrong.

    I know you won't respond to any of this with substance, so you'll attack me personally, then claim to be an arbiter of all that is just and right in the world.

    • The internal workings of political parties have no democratic legitimacy. We still don't know what shadowy forces paid to install Harper atop the CPC. And it doesn't matter. The only poll that matters in the election of representatives. We never vote for a PM, and the PM has no inherent democratic legitimacy beyond their own election to represent their riding.

      • You must be one of them troop-haters.

      • Of course internal party workings have a democratic legitimacy. Maybe not directly to the electorate, but they certainly reflect how seriously a party takes democracy and its principles. And if a party can't adhere to democracy internally, how can it be expected to do so externally? But thanks for admitting that the Liberals aren't interested in democracy for themselves. I think you're making my point for me.

        btw, I believe you're referring to the disclosing of leadership supporters for Harper when he was running for the Alliance. I suggest you get you shore up your own glass house before throwing a few stones.

        • There's nothing within parties that is democratically legitimate. You're complaining about the difference between tiny proportions of the population selecting the leader. Sure, the way MI was selected was undemocratic. But the same goes for SH, Layton, etc. Internal party structure and procedure has no democratic legitimacy. A few thousand people picking the leader of the party does not make that leader democratically representative.

          My personal preference would be for the leader of a party to be selected by its caucus. At least then the leader has some democratic legitimacy, flowing through the democratically elected representatives. Being elected by a tiny subset of the population who felt like buying a vote is not democratic.

        • More to the point, the leadership of the Liberal Party was elected by the members, and they selected the leader. I'm not convinced that this is substantially different in terms of democratic legitimacy to selection process of other parties, which use delegates, etc.

        • "I suggest you get you shore up your own glass house before throwing a few stones."

          Whoa there, Dennis…I believe you cast the first stone on this thread regarding democratic integrity, with your comment that "Iggy has risen to the top without democratic challenge."

          If you throw that rock first, why isn't someone allowed to pick it up and throw it back?

          • My comments were in reference to my original point, which is that Liberals should first concentrate on being democratic themselves before having the stomach to accuse others of not being so.

          • As far as I can see, that WAS your original point, inasmuch as it is your first contribution to this particular discussion.

            So you cast that stone first. Perhaps it's you whose glass house is at risk when someone picked it up and threw it back.

            So (and I've always wanted to use this rather condescending and dismissive closure): Next.

          • All drink!

    • Why should I lend your disingenuous comments unearned legitimacy by replying to them as if you were bringing up sincerely held beliefs?

      • You won't rebut it because you can't. You'd prefer to attack me personally than justify anything you have to say with facts or reason.

        For some reason, you come on here pretending to be a casual observer who thinks it's time for the Liberals to have power. In reality, however, you seem more like a party agitator who gets angered at people who expose him.

        Of course, you can prove otherwise by sticking to the topics instead of agitating like you are now.

        • Wow Dennis you seem to see everything as a "personal attack". Paranoid?

          • Really. I've accused one person of such in this thread, and it's precisely because he'd rather attack me than my views. Right? Next.

          • Aaaah. man. Who can keep up with this!?

    • And Harper gained leadership, Dennis, because McKay betrayed the old PCs to form the new party. I only point this out because as Andrew (nPorC) says, an actual election is what matters.

      • Democracy isn't just about having one election every four years, then forgetting about everything else. It's about having a constitution in place that preserves certain democratic principles, such as being accountable to voters, members, or whatever form of governing body that you're talking about. Heck, even corporations have structures that ensure the rights of its shareholders. Now you're saying that political parties are held to even lower standards? Come on.

        And I don't understand this line of reasoning. We can attack Harper for every little controversy in government, but we don't have to practice what we preach in our own party? I think this is insane.

        In fact, the Conservatives seem to care more about democracy within their own party, however skewed the process can sometimes be, than the other parties are. They insist on candidate nomination races. They rarely appoint nominees,etc. So, if the other parties are worse on that score, what makes anyone believe that they'll be better if ever given power?

        • I think you skipped his question entirely there, Dennis. He was asking about the whole "McKay betrayed the old PCs to form the new party" thing.

          Maybe you need glasses?

          • He didn't ask me a question about that. I suggest you're the one in need of some visual assistance. Thank you.

            Now, you're more than welcome to ask me the question you thought he asked, and to have me answer it.

        • Bullfeathers.

          Mr. Harper has created more top down control than any leader ever has. No-one outside the PMO and a very few other people have a voice.

          Just one example:

          In spite of being democratically elected as the Conservative candidate in the riding, and winning the general election that followed, Garth Turner was ousted from the party.

          The Conservative brain trust was so distrustful of the local riding association, that they would not allow them to go through another candidate selection process. Instead, they parachuted Lisa Raitt in to the riding.

          The Conservatives are on no higher ground than any other party.

  6. Scenario one: NDP and Bloc support the government — then the government becomes, for the remainder of the term, a “coalition of socialists and separatists” — that's the end of that Conservative talking point.

    It is to people who can't seem to think at all clearly on the issue, which seems to go for most who supported that monstrosity of a coalition in the first place.

    • The Bloc doesn't appear to care about the prospect of an election, as they'll probably do just as well as they've done so far, if not better. So, for the Conservatives to gain their backing, they'll probably have to give them something the Bloc wants. Maybe an arena, maybe adjustments in provincial transfers, etc etc. I can see Potter's point that the Liberals might be able to at least deflate the power of the Conservative's talking point, if not completely erasing it.

      • I don't think the Conservatives would do anything of the kind. Knee-jerk coalition supporters have been likening a friendly glance between Harper and Duceppe to a coalition. I've never seen anything like it.

        • You may be completely right, and I don't see that sort of cozy relationship developing either. I noted that *if* the Conservatives wanted their backing, they'd have to sweeten the pot.

          If they don't, they won't, and we'll head to an election, and the previous talking point will remain sound. It all depends on just how much SH wants an election right now.

        • "…never seen anything like it…"
          Funny, one-time GG Clarkson saw something exactly like that. Harper's done it all, and done it to everyone. You're just the last to realize. Roll with it, and roll over Denis-F.

          • I don't know what you're talking about. I said I've never seen anything like the ongoing attempt by coalition supporters to now making every little thing seem like an unelected power-grabbing coalition.

  7. This proves Andrew Potter hates the troops.

    • He also bites puppies.

  8. Potter missed scenario #3: Bev Oda's resignation is submitted but is, um, subsequently "adjusted".

    • LOL!

  9. The Liberals have over 60 years experience of lying to Canadians while in government. They ought to know!

    • What exactly is your point? That the Liberals did it so the Conservatives get to do it worse? (from what I am seeing they are close)

      • It only took them 5 years to catch up. Something to be proud of.

      • Ah, but the Liberals have a record of corruption yet their supporters do not want anyone pointing it out. It is not an excuse to point out that the Libs did it and maybe worse. Its merely to emphasize the hypocrisy of the Liberal party and its leaders. If Ignatieff had been in the country longer than 5 years he would know the record of his party and hang his head in shame when he speaks.

    • How can so many people disagree with the above statement. It's the absolute truth !!!

    • Funny, that's not in the R.O.B.

  10. Andrew Potter noted:
    "I can't see how any one of these scenarios is tactically any worse than where the Liberals are now. Also, it gives them the advantage of being on the right side of truth, accountability, parliament, and democracy. "

    Obviously, Andrew…..you missed a few things. You seem to have forgotten:
    1994, 1995, 1996,1997,1998,1999,2000,2001,2002,2003,2004,2005

    Now tell us again, oh wise one…..how the Liberals could ever claim to be "on the right side of truth, accountability, parliament, and democracy. "

    Sometimes, the state of Canadian media is so pathetic…albeit, still completely predictable. sigh.

    • So openess…transparancy….accountability….they were just Con buzz words to get elected…..Good to know

    • And it's taken the cons far fewer years to drop even further! After making being better an election plank!

    • Loser.

      • "Looser":,.shurely.

        Stand up for internets vernacular!

  11. I think you need to get out of the bubble more. Ask a typical Canadian what they think about the Oda affair, they would wonder why you are asking about the funny little guy in StarWars. The general population has gone beyond suspecting their politicians are juvenile, irresponsible scumbags; it is considered common knowledge. For any party to force an election over parliamentary shenanigans thinking they will be seen as above it is naive.

    The truth is: the Conservative strategy of denial worked for Cadman, worked for prorogation and it will work here. Hell, lets remember Harper was eager to learn a few lessons from Mulroney before he cut him loose, and Mulroney has raised absurb denial to an art form.

    The losers in this are actually decent Conservative supporters. For those that advocate a win at all costs for the sake of winning approach, what will happen next will delight them. However, those that truly believed in the rhetoric of a new way of governing, (which certainly includes a few Conservative MPs) are going to have to give up a little piece of their soul to continue. (As a Liberal who lived through the second half of Chretien, I know a bit about this) For the intellectual rationalist (like Coyne) it will require a few more mental contortions and convenient mental lapses before proclaiming that since the Liberals economic policy is so similar to the Conservatives why would we ever throw them out.

    • Ask a typical Canadian what they think about the Oda affair, they would wonder why you are asking about the funny little guy in StarWars.

      It's funny because it's true. This story is completely off the radar for almost everyone outside the bubble.

      • So were Adscam, Shawinigate, Billion Dollar Boondoggle, etc.

        This one day story is still only three days old.

        She lied to Parliament: Canadians don't like that, no matter how low an opinion they already have of politicians.

        Add it to Cadman, In-and-Out scam, census, prorogation (3x), longest list of broken promises of any PM, etc. and you have something, but it's the kind of something that grows slowly and is only focused on in an election.

        • It doesn't involve the spending of taxpayer money, so it is quite different. Also, remember Adscam & Shawinigate did not (completely) sink the Liberals… Martin would have likely pulled through. The RCMP announcement of a (bogus) investigation into Goodale sunk the Liberals (because it was consistent with earlier issues and timely).

          I am not saying Oda is not a weight the Conservatives will bear. I am not saying the opposition should not push through whatever punishment they can. I am saying this is not an election issue.

          That said, Harper the Control Freak is now accepted popular wisdom. Most Conservatives don't directly deny it anymore. My prediction is that when he does cross the line and makes a mistake that is:
          1) can be captured in a sound bite
          2) consistent with his Mr. Hyde syde
          3) matters outside of Ottawa
          all of these other issues will start to matter, not in specifics, but rather because they point to a consistent narrative. At that point, he may well push past Mulroney (1993), because he has none of Brian's roguish charm to fall back on. (I don't think it is true that SH has no friends… it is just that all his friends are afraid of him.)

        • She lied to Parliament: Canadians don't like that, no matter how low an opinion they already have of politicians.

          It's the kind of story that diminishes in the telling, though. "Oda doctored a document and lied to Parliament" loses its punch when people learn that the "doctoring" consists of a single handwritten "NOT", and the "lying" consists of flustered, contradictory statements.

          If Oda had stolen from taxpayers, taken bribes, or peddled influence, then the story would have legs. As it is, you can certainly add Oda's screw-up to the laundry list of partisan grievances, but no matter how this story is spun and amplified, it's not a game changer by any stretch of the imagination.

          • There's also the fact that the Liberals claim Harper has destroyed our democracy every other week. It's the story of the boy who cried wolf. After a while, when the Libs make that claim, people just stop listening.

          • The Liiberals are telling a story and the Conservatives keep throwing them bits to ad to it.

          • destroying democracy is way too far… damaging democracy once every 3 months is more like it.

            We now have a Supreme Court which has officially decided that Canadian foreign policy is within their field of review (albeit with limitations… but if this question was asked 5 years ago, the answer would have be unequivocal)

            We have an embarrassing spectacle of a law heralded by this government, being broken by this government and yet (according to this government) not broken. Why not broken? Because they interpret one phase in the law as an escape clause, but of course then the original law said exactly nothing.

            This government forced our former figurehead position of (nonelected) GG, to make potentially one of the most important constitutional decisions in recent memory. It will take decades of inactivity before anyone with a brain considers the GG a figurehead again.

            This government has choked the Senate with almost cartoon figures. Cartoon figures that have actually pre-signed away careful consideration of legislation in certain areas in exchange for that appointment.

            Those cartoon Senators then used a clever trick to thwart the intent of the duly elected lower house and kill significant legislation, I believe for the first time in Canadian history. (I know lots of things have been sent back to the House, but this was different.)

            It is not about the specifics, it is about the precedents. What Conservatives such as yourself should realize is that non-elected positions (GG, SC, Senate) all have effectively become more significant in the future of Canadian political decisions. This past 5 years has seen the second largest transfer of power out of the hands of democratically elected officials and into appointed positions in Canadian history. (The largest transfer of course happened with your other hero as PM, PET)

          • The meme of Harper is destroying our democracy has obviosly lost its lustre. Look at the polls. Harper I bet is hoping that not only does he rush for the cliff but acutally jumps off.

          • See, THAT was reaching. Shoulda stuck with "Gee for some unknown reason this just isn't sticking. Pity."

          • I think you've highlighted one of the problems with politics today: If it isn't a "game changer" it doesn't matter; if doesn't register across the country instantly, it doesn't matter.

            The thing about this issue, like prorogation to avoid accountability, like census to make government less efficient, like the in-and-out scam to fix the election, like Cadman's "financial considerations" for his vote, like so many other things… is that the Conservatives are wrong, ethically wrong, and badly so.

            As Potter rightly points out: the Liberals are on the "right side of truth, accountability, parliament, and democracy" on this issue. It's a good place to be, regardless of the polls.

            So whether or not there is an electoral gain to be had or not, bravo for them to stand on these principles. Once upon a time, Conservatives use to say and act as though they thought principle mattered more than polls. Now they completely reversed themselves the second they got into government, but it was a building block to electoral gain. More importantly, it was supposed to be a building block toward better and different government.

      • It's sad how happy that makes the CPC.. YAY! Nobody cares how vile we are!

      • You are a principled frog, CR. I agree entirely that this is inside the bubble furor and not very likely to intrude on the consciousness of the average voter/Canadian outside the Queensway. Unless, of course, the CPC rag the puck and make it a federal case. The longer it drags on, the ore it's in the news. The longer it's in the news, the greater chance it has of penetrating. Why not take the principled high road, jettison the dead weight and move on to saving the economy (TM)?

        • Why not?
          Maybe, Ms. Oda has the goods on Mr. Harper. If he ousts her, can she go to the media and tell them that Mr. Harper personally ordered her to do what she did?

          Faithful soldier that she is, if she gets thrown under the bus, would she stay faithful?

        • You are a principled frog, CR

          Merci! Une grenouille sans principe est une grenouille qui manque une raison d'être élevée.

          I agree that the issue is more likely to intrude on the consciousness of the average voter the longer it stays in the news. It should be interesting to see if Harper asks for Oda's resignation. I don't see that happening yet – if history is any indication, the PM will be reluctant to jettison a loyal team player like Oda, unless the merde really hits the fan. That's what happened with l'affaire Guergis, when it became clear that the story just wouldn't die.

          • I suspect that she'll be quietly jettisoned, or demoted, at the next opportune moment (ie when no one is watching).

          • I agree with suggestions made yesterday – doesn't run in next election, gets plum public appointment if Harper wins.

          • Or more likely announce that, because she has decided not to run in the next election (more time with family, the relentless demands of political life, pursue other opportunities in the private sector, yadda, yadda), she is stepping aside from cabinet immediately to give the PM a chance to maintain an election-ready cabinet.

          • I definitely noticed a significant level of plausible deniability being injected into all the QP comments by CPC MP's over the past few days. While they are sticking up for Oda, they are merely sticking up for her right to make the decision, but never really commenting on how she went about making that decision.

            But I do think that if they bail on Oda, and shuffle her, she might not go quietly into that good night, and may–in fact–highlight the role the PMO played in that decision.

            When it comes right down to it, the loyalty of an MP is not solely to their party, but also to themselves, and their eventual re-election. If she figures Harper is ruining her changes of retaking Durham, she may go on the offensive.

          • This would be a good thing. Not solely because it hurts Harper, but more importantly because it'll hurt the PMO. And, of course representaive democracy and accountability will be the real winner.

    • Bravo!

  12. "it's tea time at the Harvard Chess Club."

    You're kinda blurring your dispariging attacks, there, Dennis. Stay on point. Don't mock the education, stay with the "just visiting" part. Remember, people hate economists too, those elite number crunchers…

    • What, now you're saying he didn't go to Harvard? lol

      • Not sure how you got that out of my post.

        You really do see what you want to see, don't you?

        • Weren't you accusing me of making up some kind of new line on Iggy? I wasn't. He actually did teach at Harvard, didn't he? Why is it so inappropriate to you for me to mention this? Some people seem to be in the habit of telling others what they can and can't say, or to characterize negatively something they don't like said. Well, tough. Last time I checked, this is a democracy.

          • Again, I have no idea what you're talking about, or what you think i said.

            Honestly, Dennis, I think you have aphasia. I'm not being snarky, I'm actually worried you're going to see a stop sign, and read it as as something else and plow it into a schoolbus full of nuns.


          • You're the one who seems to have a beef with what I originally said. I'll let you explain it if you want.

  13. We're talking within the bounds of the hypothetical here, Dennis_F. Hypothetically, assume the Liberals decide that they are not supporting the government on a matter of confidence. Assume again that the Bloc doesn't care which way they swing on the issue. Therefore, the last decision would be made by Stephen Harper, whether or not he wishes to make a deal to prolong the current government or avoid that deal and head into an election.

    • Since when does the responsibility of elections get decided on your own personal chronology of things? That's the way you've decided to set up the scenario. Seems awfully selective to me.

      • Last I checked, we're talking about the hypothetical scenario set out above by Potter, which was #5, Scenario Three: "the Bloc supports the government."

        Perhaps you can provide an alternative viewpoint of just how the Bloc would come to support the Conservative government in that scenario? Perhaps there is a different mechanism that would lead to that hypothetical scenario?

        I'm all ears.

        • I specifically cited Scenario Number 3, last time I checked. Nevertheless, you're putting your own spin on how events should be interpreted. A very narrow spin, I might add.

          • You're correct, I was focusing solely on the Bloc, when this thread indeed started out discussing a Bloc/NDP support proposition. That does change how this could all play out, as the NDP would have much to lose with an election right now.

            As for my spin, how could I make it more non-partisan? I'd love suggestions, as I'm not pitching a specific outcome either way.

  14. OK Liberals, here is what you need to do if you want to get the public`s attention on this file.
    Forget about Potter`s scenarios, Coyne`s angst, Wherry`s whine, and Feschuk`s funnies.
    What you need to do is to somehow connect the 17 million saved by not giving it to Kairos to a Conservative friendly group that will siphon it back to the CPC. If that didn`t happen you won`t get the voter`s attention. If the 17 million saved is just going to reduce the deficit, there is no story here.

    Most Canadians think this country works not because of what goes on in Ottawa, but in spite of Ottawa. The country works because average Canadians make it work. Screaming politicians and over-zealous pundits and entitled bureaucrats are not important in their eyes. If Liberals think they can win votes because Canadians are angry with the Conservatives because of this Oda-Kairos thing, then somebody high up in the Liberal Party is foolish. I expect an election soon.

    • I think you've inflated contribution request by $10 million.

      • Oh he's inflated a lot more then that. We all know the ends rarely justifies the ends, but apparently we must not even protest that the means effect the ends.

    • I dunno. What if only 100,000 Canadians inclined to vote CPC but not die-hards say to themselves "I wonder what would happen if I pulled a stunt like that where I work? And y'know, I make about half of what this clown makes."

      That wouldn't be good for Harper, would it?

    • I can't disagree with your logic here, Blue. There's a tiny hint of a political opening, but unless the Liberals can pull their act together it's going to slam shut faster than the PM's door in Helena's face.

    • I think you've nailed it – if the Lieberals think this Oda thing is worth triggering an election over and that they'll be swept back into power by legions of Canadians outraged by it Oda's document editing and shaky recollections of the minutae of minsterial life, they're delusional.

  15. Well, in a minority Parliament, unless the prime minister specifically calls an election — like he did the last time — it can't be the responsibility of only one party that a non-confidence motion passes. According to your logic, it's the responsibility of a minority government to cede to the demands of the opposition. That, of course, is unreasonable and no one expects it.

    • Of course the minority government has to take into account the demands of the opposition, because the opposition has the majority. Stephen Harper has been running his government like he has a majority, but that does not change the fact that he is in a minority position, and therefore has to respect the wishes of the opposition.

      If Canadians wanted the Conservative Party of Canada to have a mandate that permitted them to ignore the demands of the opposition, they would have shown that trust by voting in a majority of CPC MP's. Alas, that is not what happened.

      • Yes, but why does Harper get all the blame if he refuses to meet opposition demands? He can't control what those demands are. What if they're unreasonable. He's only one man leading a party that is the minority. He can't control the majority.

        • Because he's the Prime Minister. If he doesn't want to cave to those demands, he has full rights to stand on principle and send the country to an election. Or, conversely, he could display leadership and convince other parties that their demands are unreasonable. Part of the way of doing this is involving them more heavily in some of the more contentious decisions and policy priorities of the CPC, so that they have some ownership.

          Harper obviously doesn't want to work with other parties, but he wants them to shoulder the blame when his government tries to push through policies that the opposition doesn't agree with. He can't have it both ways.

    • So you're suggesting it's unreasonable that the majority of Canadians get something their representatives can live with? Interesting.

      • Please show me where that's what I'm suggesting. lol

        • Certainly. You claim it is unreasonable that a minority government cede to the demands the opposition.

          If the minority government refuses to cede to any opposition demands, then it is only their own constituents which are getting something their representatives can live with, which, by definition, is a minority of Canadians.

          Yet here you are saying it is unreasonable that anything else occur.. ergo, that the majority of Canadians get something their representatives can live with.

          Now, do they have to cede to all opposition demands? Of course not. But they need to cede to enough so that a majority of the house (ergo a majority of Canadians) can support the course of action agreed upon.

          If they refuse to do even this, then it is indeed their fault.

          • You're still all over the place. I said that it was unreasonable to expect a minority government to simply cede to opposition demands. Otherwise, the opposition could ask for anything it wants, and the government would have to give in. That's not how it works. Furthermore, any dispute between the parties in a minority government is over what they think the majority of Canadians want. Just because one party or more asks for it, it doesn't mean that's what Canadians want. Indeed, we ultimately have elections to find out just what they want, and which party was right about it in the first place.

  16. The "crying wolf" metaphor is always a little funny to see, because eventually (when no one was paying attention anymore) the wolf did show up and eat the flock. (unlike, say, Chicken Little). So the questions are, will PMSH eventually eat our democracy? and if so, will he take it with BBQ sauce? raw or well-done?

    • Democracy is a dish best served cold.

      • like carpaccio or sashimi? mmmmmmmmmmmmm

        • Good question…. I'm going to get some sushi now :)

          • bon appétit (hopefully none of it tastes like Canadian democracy, which can be quite bitter if taken with insufficient salt)

  17. Your vague accusations tell me you are completely out of touch with how people think.

  18. Ad Scam was actually pretty minor. Chretien's first impulse was to ignore it. But the Conservatives had been harping on about Liberal's being out-of-touch, corrupt elites for years. Without that that advance narrative preparation, rumours of Liberal bagmen (and the Bloc's) shuttling money through favoured advertising agencies probably would have gone unnoticed. Political parties redirecting money through advertising agencies back to themselves is practically standard operating procedure.
    The point isn't whether Canadians care about Bev Oda, or even know who she is, the point is constructing a storyline about Conservative incompetence and hostility to Canadian political institutions. The emerging storyline here stretches back to Rights & Democracy, runs through Harper overriding CRTC decisions, repeated contempt of Parliament, proroguing Parliament for nakedly partisan reasons, etc …
    The reason this story is emerging is because it rests on actual Conservative governance (or lack thereof). These are people who don't believe in government, so of course they aren't going to govern with respect for the rules and procedures of Canadian democracy.

    • I dunno. What if only 100,000 Canadians inclined to vote CPC but not die-hards say to themselves "I wonder what would happen if I pulled a stunt like that where I work? And y'know, I make about half of what this clown makes."

      • Then the country would explode?

        Was that the right answer?

  19. Don expects snow for February, and now we're getting rain. You can never predict the weather, or the future. :)

    • Heh. I guess it depends what city you're in. Don Martin is a Calgarian at heart, and Calgary got some snow in February, in between Chinooks. ;-)

  20. You don't win an election on procedural grounds, no matter how bad the government messed up.

    The majority of people don't care that the government lied and got caught, they don't understand why it matters.

    I doubt an election is desired so forcing an election on something like this will backfire no matter how you spin it. You can't forget how powerful the CPC spin machine is, if you give them the opportunity they will drive you into the ground.

    • All of this is true. However, now the oppo may actually be able to state, "This is a Government who has lied to you and likely will continue to do so" , have foundational proof and be indemnified from such claims and thus freely bruit it about.

      Suddenly, Poof!, the frame is no longer 'procedural', it's mass moral.

  21. Well, I am glad that you carry that amount of confidence in Mr. Harper. I can tell you that ALOT of partisan Liberals would have thought the exact same thing of Mr. Chretien, and often replied with the same dismissal of misconduct, much in the same way that current conservative supporters excuse and defend the actions of Mr. Harper and his government.

    I think that you still have a huge potential for another Ad Scam to happen b/c next to none of the recommendations that were put forward by Mr. Gomery were never acted on. In my opinion there is still FAR to much power vested in the office of the PM.

  22. Whatever happened to the new improved narrative the Libs were pounding Harper with, about "prisons, planes and pensions" ?

    The consensus seemed to be that the Libs were onto something effective, and had found a consistent, coherent narrative to take them through the next election. I can't believe they've ditched those talking points for a week, replaced by this attack on Oda.

    The proper strategy, IMHO, was for Ignatieff to bring up Oda for one, maybe two days. Then he should revert to "prisons, planes and pensions", while a couple of his attack dogs keep hammering away at Oda. But hey, what do I know.

  23. You're the one who accused me of not answering a question about Peter MacKay. I maintain that such a question was never asked, and that you can point it out for me if you wish. Instead, you accuse me of having a disease and in engaging in knee-jerk political accusations. Wow. Next.

    • Sheee-ooot. Itsssh only sheven o'clock….hic.

    • A question was certainly inferred. If it's so clutch-the-pearls that Iggy was chosen unopposed, then where's your outrage about McKay's betrayal of the former party he lead in order to merge it with another? Isn't going back on a direct promise anti-democratic?

      (EDIT: "party he lead" was added to this)

  24. Show of hands of who here gets to personally vote for a party leader or any current ranking cabinet minister?
    Not many since we elect MP's with our votes, not parties or leaders.
    Unless you are someone of importance inside a political parties machine, then you have no say over the leader. None, not one binding opinion once so ever.
    What can be done? Check your riding and find out who is running "there". Those people are your choices. Pick or vote for one that meets the grade of a representative of your views or that you can trust. Maybe then the government will better reflect the needs and desires of it's representative constituents, instead of this current draft lottery of people elected to spite the other guy.
    Enough with the whole let's vote out someone that you don't have a say over.

    • Can I sign you up for my "No Incumbents!" movement? :)

  25. 'The Oda Affair' – potentially a major Hollywood blockbuster, the Liberals could steal some money and hire Michael Moore to produce it! Who wouldn't want to go see it? LOL!

    Trying to create a tempest in a teapot isn't the same thing as actually having one that rises to such a level of 'scandal'. LOL!

  26. When will these pundits ever learn. They constantly underestimate the wiliness of the PM. He snows them time and again, and they never seem to catch on. Maybe after his second majority something will finally click . . .

  27. I wonder how different that calculus looks if you consider Michael Ignatieff as the relevant actor, as opposed to the Liberal Party. Lets say there is an election – the Liberals could win 25 more seats, although many will be at the expense of the NDP (keeping the Liberal + NDP short of the numbers they need to form a government). What is Michael Ignatieff's political life expectancy in this scenario?

    The guy is about to turn 64, and has never been elected Liberal leader. He probably only has one shot at becoming PM, and his actions suggest that he believes this to be the case. Ignatieff led the Tories in the polls by a fair slice through the darker days of the great recession. Yet he did not push for an election (well, he did briefly, but quickly lost his stomach). The second prorogation, census-gate – all of these were great opportunities to gain a few seats. But it is clear that isn't the game Ignatieff is playing.

    Every day Ignatieff waits could being a Tory adscam, a new recession, or some other political gift. Even if they don't, there isn't much difference between being the guy who gained 25 seats before resigning as leader, and being the guy who never called an election on Harper. Moreover, if the Harper government VONC's itself, Ignatieff doesn't have to suffer the ugly optics of standing alongside Duceppe and Layton (and yes, I know Harper did the same thing, but voters weren't being primed to look for dalliances with separatists the way they are now).

    • Another factor: When does Ignatieff qualify for his pension? Doesn't he have to wait for his six-year anniversary (January 2012)?

      • I honestly dare someone to put that question to him on record.

  28. Here is a little reality check on this non-story. How desperate the Opposition has become and it becomes clearer daily that the interests of Canadians are their lowest priority.
    From my friend Sandy:"As many know, I worked for an Ontario MPP from 1995 until 1999 who also happened to be the Parliamentary Assistant to a minister. In that role, I know first hand that staff use the electric pen to sign documents for their bosses all the time. It is not considered “forgery.” On the recommendation of the PA or Minister, staff might also be instructed to insert words like “not.” It is not rocket science. It is business as usual. And, given how many documents are signed by a Cabinet Minister in any given week, it is not lying to not remember who inserted a particular ”not.”
    Every MP knows this to be true. Shame on them for targeting "this woman" as Ignatieff says with disdain. Is there a Conservative FEMALE MP they haven't tried to bash??

  29. wasm believes:
    "Ad Scam was actually pretty minor."

    Obviously, you are not a taxpayer.

  30. Naw, involves way too much common sense.

  31. If the Liberals pursued any of these tactics, the Cons would just accuse them of forcing an unnecessary election and being hungry for power.

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