When Grits turn to Blue-skying


Tim Naumetz has a good piece in this week’s Hill Times, in which various Chretien-era Liberals note that the second Mulroney majority was a blessing of sorts: the absence of any possibility of an election gave the party the breathing room and time to rejig itself. Would it have been easier for the Liberals if Harper had won a majority? Perhaps, but as Wayne Easter says, what might have been good for the Liberals would have been a disaster for the country:

“I don’t think people really understand how much this guy, Stephen Harper, has turned this country backwards in so, so many areas. This place [Parliament] has become a very, very bitter, divisive place. If you oppose these guys on anything, then you’re the enemy.”

(Now is the time for everyone to repair to the discussion boards to grind the usual axes. Keywords of the day: “Fixed election date law”.)

Related: I have a column over at the OC about the upcoming Big Think conference the Liberals announced last week.

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When Grits turn to Blue-skying

  1. Both links go to Hill Times, can't read your article Potter.

  2. But fixed election date law!

  3. It's an interesting conundrum that you point out in your article, Potter. Iggy = big ideas man, does not need stinkin' conference. I think Iggy's problem is that he enjoys foreign affair issues and not domestic ones and Canadians don't think our PM's number one job is as Commander in Chief (I know he's not officially but he is in all but title). So Iggy's expertise does not particularly help him in the argy-bargy of domestic politics.

    I think Libs have malaise because they have won the ideological battle since Trudeau was elected. There might be lots of things that need tinkering, according to liberals and progressives, but they have already imposed their main priorities. Everything of importance is controlled by government one way or another, all that is left to decide are details.

    "I don't think people really understand how much this guy, Stephen Harper, has turned this country backwards in so, so many areas."

    Easter quote is interesting. If it is just boilerplate partisan thought, it can be ignored, but if it's sincere than Libs have problems. If Libs think Harper turned Canada 'backwards' then they are completely out to lunch. How many people notice a bit of difference in their day to day lives since Harper/Cons took over a few years ago? Harper's let spending increase dramatically, expanded power of State and mostly ignored his base. Liberals have nothing to complain about and until they realize it's them, not us, Libs are going to continue floundering.

    • I think you have a good point that Ignatieff is drawn to foreign affairs but most Candians are more inclined to follow and vote on domestic issues. Americans seem to assume a competent Commander in Chief will be able to handle domestic issues, while Canadians assume a competent leader at home will be able to deal with whatever the world stage demands. Maybe it's because we're used to grooming our hockey players in small towns and then sending them off to the city.

      • From the viewpoint of Wayne Easter I have no doubt that he sees a picture of a world upside down. Harper's major accomplishment that follows a script has how he's attacked parliament and how he's treated the machinations of our government, how it is used, how it is seen outside our borders. From that standpoint, I'd agree wholeheartedly with Easter. I'm thinking that what Harper really wants to accomplish beyond the halls of parliament and in the streets of Canada can't happen without that majority. Note no reference to 'guns'… Back to the fixed election date law.

    • I've noticed one major change. Politicians and politics are in my face a lot more.

      That can't be a good thing.

  4. I think under the circumstances we have been lucky. Harper is definitely not trustworthy enough to be given a majority. Under normal circumstances he should not even get a minority but these are not normal circumstances. The infighting in the liberal party left us without a viable alternative to the conservatives. The liberals needed to rebuild but instead they gave the job to Dion. Now that the adults are back in charge of the LPC it appears to be (finally) working on providing Canadians with a viable alternative to Harper minority governments.

    • What gives you the idea that the adults are in charge? Have you been asleep for the past 12 months?

  5. Who's willing to take a bet that this conference will turn out well?

    In the meantime Andrew, what about those round-head egg-heads of yesterday? Did Sol show up?

  6. Hate to bring up the obvious, but I recall something about the "Red Book". Were there not some specific Liberal positions laid out on the GST and NAFTA? You know, the two biggest public policy questions of the day? How did that turn out?

    Yeah I guess I'll trust the LPC, after all only "those evil Conservatives"(TM PPG) would ever BETRAY the public trust..

    • I don't want to get locked into a battle over the merits or lack of them on those two policies, but let's address the main principle: are you advocating that a government be locked into a lock step approach to governance; that nothing their MPs say about what they are hearing should influence decisions, that nothing they learn once the keys are handed to them should change their minds; or that changed circumstances might necessitate a different approach? Democracy isn't just what happens when you vote, it's the ongoing dialogue and the ability of a governement to make hard decisions in defiance of popular sentiment sometimes, or listening to the people and behaving accordingly.

      It's not a digital, black and white, if this, then that business.

      • Never mind the fact that a vast majority of items in the red book did become government policy and were inacted. But 'Flanagan dupes' like Peter obviously chooses debt and deficits over well-considered decision and wise policy.

  7. "I don't think people really understand how much this guy, Stephen Harper, has turned this country backwards in so, so many areas."

    I don't think people really understand that because he hasn't. People are happy with this performance, his approval rating is 51%, which is about the same as Obama.

    I don't think Easter really understands. When will this ridiculous Liberal grandstanding end? It's getting tired and absurd. Harper has won two elections and we've still got this crazy talk. It start as the hidden agenda, now it's the hidden completed agenda. Harper is outpolling the others by a wide margin and Easter is sticking with this retarded line.

    • With Kinsella temporarily out of the picture, Easter has been drifting like a boat without a rudder.

  8. The polls clearly indicate the why the lib's are retreating to their good ol standy of having a conference. First : it premepts the growing call from within the party to have a ' Convention ' of the leadership variety. However if you read this post try to remeber what I am about to say. Coming in around 3 – 5 months (depending on how trick Stevie gets) will be a budget and if the Iggy's numbers continue to plummet (and they will) then we will have a unique opportunity to test Iggy's abilities as he will either oppose or support that confidence motion – how will he vote – that is the question … and as usual the numbers needed to answer this question will be in the polls.

  9. Not good when you're from the island.

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