The failed Conservative-Bloc coalition


So, the Conservatives and the Bloc coalesce on a bill to ixnay ridiculously generous parole terms for non-violent criminals à la Vincent Lacroix and Earl Jones, proving to the Conservatives how fun and fruitful it can be to govern with the evil separatists. The Great [sic] Conservative-Bloc Coalition of 2011 may not be, however, thanks to the late game jab from the NDP and the Liberals, who say they are considering voting against it—even though they’ve been for it in the past. Translation: two thirds of Harper’s dreaded separatist-coalition government—yes, the same one the Conservatives been warning about in the ‘we-don’t-want-an-election-but-what-the-hell’ attack ads—is against Harper’s own coalition with the separatists.

I forget now. Are we at war with Eurasia or Eastasia?

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The failed Conservative-Bloc coalition

  1. The NDP need to be very careful about this one – their keysters are on the line in more than one swing riding …

  2. I don't think even the Cons know who they're at war with anymore.

    Seems to be everybody, depending on the time of day.

    • They are fighting three left wing parties in the House of Commons. Lizzie May does not count in the equation. So yes they are fighting against everybody as you so artfully put it.

  3. "Are we at war with Eurasia or Eastasia?"

    Neither, it's Oceania. Try to keep up would ya?

    • passes tobyornotoby a note chaning who we are at war with.

      • Can't we just have it on a twitter feed?

    • Good find LL. So why are the NDP against this now when they agreed to it before??

      "Currently, all non-violent criminals who commit first crime are released after having served a sixth of their prison sentence."

      It is kinds nuts when you read the current law. No wonder Canada gets targeted.

  4. The elimination of the so-called 1/6th access to early day parole for crimes committed by non-violent offenders not only better protects victims, but also serves to provide a stronger deterrent in our society against any acts of serious fraud, and theft resulting from such fraud, from white-collar criminals.

    Most notably, Vincent Lacroix was recently eligible for early day parole, and has subsequently been released from prison, and onto the streets of Montreal.

    We do not want to see the same thing happen to Earl Jones, and we are asking all political parties in Ottawa to stand up for the victims of Earl Jones, and asking them to do the right thing and support these bill changes.

    Joey Davis
    Earl Jones Victims Committee

  5. So let me get this straight…The Libs and NDP are going to vote against what the consensus seems to be is a good bill, that they actually support, for no other reason than they want to put the Conservatives in the uncomfortable position of only having the Bloc support them?

    Who exactly do we think are the adults here?

    • You know, it's been said repeatedly that the old proposed Liberal-NDP coalition was metaphysically incapable of surviving without the Bloc. Why? Because the Tories would steadfastly refuse to support any legislation that they put forward, in order to keep the Liberal-NDP government in the uncomfortable position of only having the Bloc support them.

      I'm not thrilled with parties playing games like this either, but I'm not going to naively pretend that the Tories wouldn't do the exact same thing if the roles were reversed. In fact, the bulk of the anti-coalition rhetoric from the Tories is predicated explicitly on the very premise that the Tories would never vote in support of a Liberal-NDP government no matter what.

      • Well, I'd argue it's more a function of the point CR made below. The Libs and NDP are encouraged to play this game because we're allowing journalists to pretend that passing a single piece of legislation with Bloc support is exactly equivalent to an 18-month blanket agreement to back any piece of legislation from a coalition.

        • Yes, though we could go around and around on this all day. Arguably the reason the media is incorrectly lumping the Bloc in with the Tories in a "coalition" when it's just not true in reality is because of how eager the Tories were to lump the Bloc in with the Liberal-NDP coalition when that wasn't true either.

          It's not just "the media" that's confusing "voting with a government on pieces of legislation" with "inclusion in a 'coalition'". Emphasizing that incorrect premise is actually the CPC's entire anti-coalition strategy. It's true that the agreement between the Tories and the Bloc isn't EXACTLY equivalent to the loose agreement between the Liberal-NDP coalition and the Bloc, but it's not a difference in quality, only quantity. It doesn't really matter, in this sense, whether the Bloc agrees to support a federalist government on a single piece of legislation, or whether they agree to support a federalist government's entire legislative agenda.

          • Yeah, you're right, this is the age old question of "was the Bloc really in the coalition if they don't have cabinet seats". You say no, I say yes, and we'll never agree on that one so probably no point in pushing this one further.

          • Well, one more round.

            I'd say it's a question of just a bit more than "no cabinet seats". The Bloc were promised precisely NOTHING in exchange for agreeing to support Liberal-NDP confidence motions. No cabinet positions, no role in policy formulation, absolutely nothing whatsoever (my presumption is that ending the Harper government was considered compensation enough). The Bloc's ENTIRE connection to the coalition at all was only in promising not to defeat it on certain votes in the House of Commons (just like they promise not to defeat the TORY government on certain votes in the House of Commons). There's no difference between the Bloc's promise to support the Tory government on certain votes and their promise to support a Liberal-NDP government on certain votes except that the Liberal-NDP coalition got a broad commitment in writing.

            You can't just say "If the Bloc agrees to support the Liberal-NDP government on X, Y and/or Z then the Bloc are therefore a part of the Liberal-NDP coalition; however, if the Bloc agrees to support the Tory government on X, Y and/or Z the Bloc are nevertheless decidedly NOT in a coalition with the Tories". You can take one position (agreeing to support a government on a vote or votes in the House does not make a party a part of a coalition with said government), or you can take the other position (yes it does), but you can't hold both contradictory positions AT THE SAME TIME. Well, clearly you can, but it makes no logical sense whatsoever.

  6. I love how journalists attempt cheap irony by equivocating about the meaning of the word "coalition". If any party cooperates with the government on any bill, it's a coalition that proves the government's hypocrisy! Whee!

    • I was about to say the same thing. Patriquin has now joined Wherry in this silly game. If a Conservative eats lunch with an NDPer, is it a coalition? If no, what if the bill is paid by just one of them? If no, what if they drove there in the same car?

      • It depends on what colour the car is. If it's a blue car, it's definitely a coalition, thus proving the government's hypocrisy.

        • LOL I didn't expect an answer, let alone such a witty answer. You may be right, if a Conservative gave a ride to an opposition MP, the crack Ottawa press gallery would be all over it.

        • Actually, it apparently depends upon who's driving the car. If the Tories are driving the car and the Bloc agrees with the direction they're driving it's NOT a coalition. If anybody else is driving the car and the Bloc agrees with the direction they're traveling it IS a coalition.

    • So, we're going to pretend it's just "journalists" who are misusing the term "coalition" are we? We're just going to ignore that a certain party has apparently built it's entire election strategy around the deliberate misuse of the term coalition??? You seem to misunderstand where the journalists are getting the irony from. It's not ironic that they're misusing "coalition" in and of itself, it's ironic that they're misusing "coalition" in exactly the same way that the Harper government is misusing the word coalition.

      I don't think the journalists at Macleans are trying to fool us in to thinking that the Bloc is in a coalition with the Tories. What they're trying to do is point out the idiocy of the Tories doing exactly the same thing to the old Liberal-NDP coalition proposal, and not, apparently, seeing the irony. There's no more vociferous defender of the notion that the Tories are NOT in a coalition with the Bloc then those who argue that the Liberals and the NDP were going to form a coalition with the Bloc, based on the exact same reasoning.

  7. It depends who you read. According to the CBC, the Libs will vote with the Cons and Bloc.

    Adults, or Sesame Street age group?

  8. Isn't that the whole point they're making by ironically misusing the term coalition??? I rather presumed the goal here was to get the current government of Canada to stop misusing the term "coalition". I think the whole point of journalists misusing the coalition ironically is precisely to get people to stand up and say "Hey, that's not a coalition!!!", and then point out to those people that, ahem, then neither is this other thing over here with the Liberals and NDP!!!

    The fact that many commenters here apparently have a big problem with journalists' misuse of the term coalition for ironic effect, but apparenlty have no problem with Cabinet Ministers' misuse of the term coalition for electoral effect would seem to indicate that the journalists are right to keep the irony circulating, as some people still seem to be missing it!

    • Thank you, thank you, a thousand times.

    • In case you missed it… what Harper is referring to, was indeed a coalition: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/posted/a

      Surprising that you missed it. It was all over the news. Perhaps it's denial. Or maybe, like Wherry, you simply don't care.

      Harper is saying that the same thing might happen again. If it was a coalition before, and it happened again, it would also be called a "coalition".

      • Yes, it was a coalition between the Liberals and the NDP. I didn't actually mean to imply that the Liberals and NDP never agreed to form a coalition.

        I see now that my comment isn't precise enough, in that when I say "neither is this other thing over here with the Liberals and NDP!!!" it should say "neither is this other thing over here between the Liberal-NDP government and the Bloc". I didn't intend to say that the Liberals and the NDP weren't forming a coalition government, just that they weren't forming a coalition government with the Bloc. The Bloc agreeing to vote in support of that Liberal-NDP government didn't make them any more a part of the coalition than the Bloc agreeing to support a Tory government puts them in a coalition with the Tories.

        The Liberals and the NDP proposed to form a coalition government. The Bloc agreed to support that government on certain pieces of legislation. The Bloc agreeing to support a Liberal-NDP government on certain pieces of legislation doesn't make them part of a Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition any more than the Bloc agreeing to support the Tory government on certain pieces of legislation makes them part of a Tory-Bloc coalition.

        One cannot logically believe both that "The Bloc are part of a Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition because they agreed to vote with the Liberal-NDP government on certain pieces of legislation" and simultaneously that "The Bloc are NOT a part of a Tory-Bloc coalition just because they agreed to vote with the Tory government on certain pieces of legislation".

        "Condition X" can cause "Reality A", or "Condition X" can NOT cause "Reality A". However, "Condition X" cannot simultaneously cause, and not cause "Reality A".

        • Still in denial I see. Check that link. See at the bottom? It says Gilles Duceppe. Now think again. Think about how a coalition would work without the Bloc. That would result in a government with few seats than the main opposition party. Exactly how would that work in Parliament? When you say "The Bloc agreeing to support a Liberal-NDP government on certain pieces of legislation", what you really meant to say was "The Bloc agreeing to support a Liberal-NDP government on any and all legislation". Because without the Bloc, the Conservatives would dictate what was in the legislation. The only legislation that would ever happen is the legislation supported by the BQ. That's how votes work: you need to have the most of them to get anything done.

          If parties A and B have X seats, and party C has Y seats, where X < Y, then parties A and B cannot have a coalition. Got it? Simple math.

          In summary: without the Bloc, there was no coalition. That makes them part of it. That's why Duceppe's name is on the bottom. That's why they enlisted BQ support before they went ahead with the letter to the GG. Because there was no coalition without them. Even Dion could do the math. That's why they came to an agreement with the BQ. Because unlike you, they understood that without the BQ in their coalition, there was no coalition.

          You've got a major case of denial going on there.

          • Ducceppe's name is on the bottom of a letter explaining that he thinks that the Liberals and NDP should be allowed the opportunity to form a government, not that he intends to join this coalition. Your arguments are all about the relative STABILITY of a Liberal-NDP government, or the advisability of a Liberal-NDP government given the relative position of the Bloc in the House. To say that the coalition would likely have been defeated without the Bloc is fair enough (if you're willing to just totally ignore the fact that the Bloc agreed not to do this). However, it's equally possible, on any given issue, that the TORY government could be defeated without Bloc support. In neither case is the Bloc a part of either government, even if the Bloc is the only thing keeping either government in power.

          • If parties A and B have X seats, and party C has Y seats, where X is less than Y, then parties A and B cannot have a coalition. Got it? Simple math.

            Indeed that is simple math, and it's also COMPLETELY UNTRUE.

  9. Since the Liberals claim to oppose prison expansion, does anyone know know if they intend to undo the Harper changes to the criminal legal processes that are responsible for the upcoming increase in the number of incarcerated people?

    On this, the Liberals seem to be against the result of these changes, but are not prepared to actually address the cause.

    And why has no journalist even asked this question of Ignatieff and other Liberals? (or have they, and I missed it?)

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