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And another thing about that interview


 

As Adam Radwanski points out—having read this magazine—that bit about the opposition parties “planning to overturn the election results since election night” is several kinds of problematic.

Rather cynical conclusion from Adam: “Treating people like complete idiots is an act that might eventually wear a little thin.”


 

And another thing about that interview

  1. ”planning to overturn the election results since election night”

    First of all, that is Harper’s opinion. If you are certain he’s wrong, prove it.

    Secondly, Capital Diary mentioned in the Nov 6 issue that two oppo parties were talking about forming coalition and bringing down government. So we know the NDP and BQ were scheming to bring down the government well before the fiscal update gave them the cover they were looking for and they were also talking about Lib support, that’s why musing about Goodale as PM.

  2. jwl writes: “First of all, that is Harper’s opinion. If you are certain he’s wrong, prove it.”

    This is the opposite of how opinions are normally received. I think you know this.

  3. jwl- “First of all, that is Harper’s opinion. If you are certain he’s wrong, prove it.”

    It has been proven wrong- repeatedly. The results of the election were a House with not enough Tories to have confidence without help. They acted in a way that made others unwilling to help them. Thus there is no confidence. In our parliamentary system when one party does not have confidence others are free to attempt to form a government by getting confidence. This is the way the system works and the way it has always worked. So long as the House maintains the same MPs that were elected in the past election, no election results have been overturned. We elect MPs, NOT governments or PMs. Consequently, even if you hate the coalition and everything related to it, Mr. Harper’s “opinion” about overturning elections is factually and demonstrably wrong. For further confirmation please consult ANY introductory text book on Canadian politics or high school civics.

  4. jwl
    If you are certain he’s wrong prove it…
    you know you can’t prove a negative. the burden of the proof is on harper. He’s very good at throwing around allegations eg: it’s undemocratic , treason, no flag… not so good at backing them up. He;s got the tapes and maybe more, who knows, let him prove it.
    opposition scheming, while highly distasteful, has a context. i can see where Shakespear got all those wonderful stories from

  5. rumor

    I think reporters should print what Harper says and let people decide if he’s right or not.

    However, if reporters are going to add “several kinds of problematic” or “treating people like complete idiots” while writing about the comment than it’s up to the reporter to illustrate why their opinion, and not Harper’s, is correct.

  6. But jwl, Adam’s “treating people like complete idiots” was in reference to his remark about “overturning the election results”. That is obviously a false statement, and so the PM must be hoping people are idiots and will believe him.

  7. First of all, that is Harper’s opinion. If you are certain he’s wrong, prove it.

    It was Harper’s opinion in early Oct that if there was going to be a stock market crash, it would already have happened. It was also his opinion, that unlike the rest of the world, the Canadian economy was sound and that a recession was just not in the cards. He was also of the opinion that Canadians had given him a mandate to be PM and that the coalition was undemocratic and illegitimate.
    He was wrong on every one of these as well as others not mentioned here — you know they say about a track record….

  8. jwl writes: “I think reporters should print what Harper says and let people decide if he’s right or not.”

    Well, either you want them to disprove his opinion or you want them to do nothing. Which is it?

    You also missed or avoided my point and are trying to divert the discussion from being about Harper’s opinion to about reporters. You started a discussion about Harper’s opinion in your first comment, so we need to finish it. An opinion, being an assertion, first requires its own proof before we require proof for the rebuttal. Logical argument has stages. As Harper’s opinion has no proof, the argument is essentially complete.

  9. “For further confirmation please consult ANY introductory text book on Canadian politics or high school civics.”

    RyanD

    There are no examples in any country with a Westminster Parliament of a coalition taking power with 30 less seats than the party they plan to take over from. Nor is there an example of party claiming to have the confidence of the House, like the Libs were doing, just after the party received their lowest vote total in history and the leader has quit because no one has confidence in him. The proposed Coalition planned to ignore all previous conventions and precedents while claiming it was technically legal.

  10. jwl, that’s why they’re called blogs. It’s a good blog site where you can applaud Coyne and condemn Wherry ( even when he’s passing on what somebody else wrote ).

    Tell ya what. I’ll ignore Coyne and You ignore Wherry. We’ll think about a player to be named later.

  11. “it’s up to the reporter to illustrate why their opinion, and not Harper’s, is correct.”

    Should he also have to prove it is Tuesday if Harper’s opinion is that it is Saturday? That it is December if Harper say March or that he is, in fact named Aaron if Harper says he is Joe? When opinions conflict with eachother with no obvious winner proof and argument is called for. When opinions, such as Mr. Harper’s clearly conflict with objective reality (our parliamentary system works a certain way, I know it, you know it, Aaron knows it and Harper knows it) there is no need to belabour the point of proving what we already know to be true. This line of reasoning would destroy any possibility of reasoned and intelligent discourse as anyone could literally make up their own reality based on any opinion they wish to state and then demand proof of the blatantly obvious over and over to stifle real debate.

  12. jwl- there is also no previous precedent of a man named Stephen Harper being a PM in any Westminster system, does this mean precedent doesn’t allow for Harpers as PM? Using such specific terms and then saying there is no precedent is disingenuous to say the least. Honestly, this discussion is bordering on the absurd. This is BASIC Parliamentray democracy here. You can claim the coalition is wrong or stupid or anything else you want (although I’ll disagree with you) but saying it overturns the election results is objectively incorrect.

  13. “Tell ya what. I’ll ignore Coyne and You ignore Wherry.”

    Sisyphus

    Sounds like a plan.

  14. What’s problematic Aaron is the continued effort from you and your media brethren to lead us to believe that this coalition of 3 parties who generally hate each other magically and spontaneously came together within 48 hours of an unpopular fiscal update. Even though an NDP conference call the week before the fiscal update indicated that the coalition effort had been underway for some time.

    You expect us to believe that the Liberals went from blissful unawareness about this coalition to majority partner within 48 hours.

    When you talk about “Treating people like complete idiots is an act that might eventually wear a little thin.”, perhaps that’s some excellent advice that you and the rest of the media should take to heart.

  15. john g: “What’s problematic Aaron is the continued effort from you and your media brethren to lead us to believe that this coalition of 3 parties who generally hate each other magically and spontaneously came together within 48 hours of an unpopular fiscal update.”

    It’s always problematic when people don’t buy in to your conspiracy theory. It problematises everything.

  16. jwl
    Iv’e put out an AOB. There’s a pile on, on this post. But hangin there jwl, i think backup may be on the way.
    Logic isn’t your strong suit. How do we know whether the opposition hasn’t got the confidence of the house? Hasn’t Harper rather precluded that, for now?

  17. ‘This line of reasoning…’
    As succinct a suming up of discourse in the HOC as iv’e come across to date

  18. Um, folks? I think this disagreement boils down to a simple distinction:

    (A) The NDP and BQ were clearly planning a coalition takedown of the CPC since immediately after the election, if not before. This is fact. See the Capital Diary, or else Layton’s recorded phone conference, if you still doubt it.

    (B) “Coalition takedown” does not amount to “overturn the election results” since, as was pointed out above, it is merely a different alliance of the elected MP’s in Parliament.

    Therefore everyone is right. Except Wherry: he seems to be so biased that he can’t even admit point (A).
    All better now?

  19. Harper’s messaging is aimed at people like jwl. It is taken from the Bush/Palin/Rove playbook of appealing to the dumb and the dumber, and hope the rest are too busy to notice.

    Bush still has an approval rating of about 20% — so Harper still has a long way to go, but I’m sure he’ll get there, smart strategist that he is.

  20. John g
    ‘What’s problematic Aaron…’
    Are you forgetting: ‘ the enemy of my enemy…’ Hatred is a powerful motive.
    I’m with you on the point of the conspiracy, i’d like to see some more solid reporting. Maybe a little more bugging is in order; only if you are invited, of course.

  21. Anon
    What’s scary is that jwl is not dumb.

  22. First of all, that is Harper’s opinion.

    How very post modern. Facts don’t matter. Opinion is all. I won’t bore you with the facts jwl, you know them. You just choose to play the fool for political reasons.

  23. Personally, I think Harper was given evidence of NDP-led coalition planning in the weeks after the election, and he believed that the coalition was a credible threat. The FU economic update was a calculated first strike aimed at strangling the coalition in its crib.

    The irony of Harper’s miscalculation is that he *under*estimated support for the coalition among opposition MPs. I don’t think he expected to come as close as he did to losing the government.

    If Harper does have evidence for a coalition, he’s keeping it under his sweater for a reason. Either his evidence consists mainly of rumours, hearsay and speculation, or he has solid evidence that he will never be able to reveal because of its shady origins.

  24. Jack – “problematises” is gold.

  25. Critical Reasoning: “or he has solid evidence that he will never be able to reveal because of its shady origins.”

    Having sneaked into an opposition caucus meeting/conference call and released a recording to the press, I shudder to think what Harper considers too shady to reveal.

  26. Of course the coalition didn’t come from nowhere, without a historical buildup. In particular, it seems clear that the NDP and Bloc were in some discussions on the possibilities of coalition, and how they might work. I think it is wrong to suppose these discussions were strange considering the parliamentary disfunctionality Harper has been cultivating for the last 3 years. It is patently unremarkable that various opposition party members would consider their democratic options to protect our democracy from the deliberate and numerous efforts to sabotage it in parliament and committees. That the Bloc plays a role in this movement should encourage all Canadians and Quebecoise. If there hadn’t been discussions and if there weren’t any sort of background to these discussions Harper et al could always complain the coalition came out of the blue. All this being said, the more salient issue is sidelined by these speculations and obscured by the conservative characterizations/opinions/propaganda. It seems apparent to me that In a five party system our future is one of MORE coalitions. The sort of allergic reaction and hysteria Harper and his friends are disseminating through the media is actually retarding the development of our democracy and setting us up for regional dissolution.

  27. Don’t worry. I’m sure the boys in the PMO are , as we speak ,are looking for proof of a plot that predates the election. Maybe some of those notes that were taken around the 5 way debates can be ressurected, with the addition of some handy, almost, but not quite illegible ps’s: ‘that’s a toupe, i’m sure of it. why does he keep saying: ‘look…’ I can’t think of anythink nice to say abouy him, can you? No… let’s get him…’
    weak stuff, i know, but mark my words, if the truth ever does come out what’s the betting it’s even more farcial.

  28. There has been many comments about the legality of a coalition.

    Parties can form coalitions, but a sitting prime minster has right to ask for an election if he loses confidence in the house.
    In every case but 1 it was granted.
    That case caused one of the biggest problems in our democratic history. Inthe end we ended with the Westminster statute and division of the British and the Canadian crowns.
    I for one think Byng was wrong and King was right. There should have been an election after King was defeated and this has been case in every minority parliament since then.

  29. Treating people like idiots hasn’t failed Harper yet, why change now?

  30. H H
    I see your point. But if she had’ve allowed an election. What then? Wouldn’t this set up a situation where the PM always gets his way. We might as well abandon minority parliaments all together. Remember a minority parliament was what the public voted for.

  31. kc,
    People voted for the conservatives to lead a minority government, this is true until the next election.
    The minority parties power is to stop bills that would be harmful to the country and to take leadership on many of the committees in parliament. When the minoirty parties lose confidence in the government, then we have an election.
    The liberals have lost most of the power of being in opposition by not working with the present government and by not letting the committees do their work, this has really hurt them in the latest polls and In my opinion is what the people want.

    There was nothing stopping Martin from forming a coalition during his time as prime minster. This would have allowed him to hold on to the job of prime minster longer.

    I believe that the system that we have functions best by majority and as it stands right now would be handed to the conservative government..

    My opinion is that the problem for the 2 major parties in forming a majority government and in Canadian politics is that we have one party that has 43 seats but was only elected by 10% of the population.. There are many ways to deal with this, but it would take a concerted effort by the 2 major parties to develop both better election financing and better programs that suit small town Quebec.

    This is what the two parties should be working on during the break.

  32. There is now plenty of evidence to support the contention that Stephen Harper is a serial liar (income trusts, elected Senate, the state of the Canadian economy, running a deficit, etc. etc. etc.). And this blog posting points to more evidence of this. Lying regularly only takes you so far in politics and usually ends badly (ask Brian Mulroney).

    The media should continue to question Harper’s communication strategy of distortion and outright lies (there are only a few media outlets that bother to, like Maclean’s on occasion, instead of repeating whatever comes out of his mouth). And Canadians should do a bit more work on understanding how their own parliamentary democracy works (see recent discouraging poll) before they question the validity of a Coalition option. Whether it is a viable and politically astute option is another question but it is indeed valid, despite what Harper says.

  33. Heric, it wasn’t Liberals misusing committees.

  34. John G: “Even though an NDP conference call the week before the fiscal update indicated that the coalition effort had been underway for some time.”

    You gonna stick with this one, John G? I tried this with Francien last week, maybe you’ll do better than she did. Are you prepared to admit that you were wrong to say the conference call was a week before the FU? (Rather than the truth, which was it was three days later). Or are you so blinded by partisan ideology that you would allow yet another mis-truth from the Conservative side of the debate to stand?

    And we already HAVE the proof that Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe were talking coalition long before the FU of November 27, 2008. Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe are still the leaders of their respective parties. And three leaders sent a letter to the Governor-General which included the line “We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation.” That letter, just in case you don’t know, was sent on September 9, 2004 and was signed by Stephen Harper.

    Just because they changed the Liberals for the Conservatives, doesn’t mean everything else they talked about had no value. Geez, a raised eyebrow ought to have been about all the early discussion needed this year.

  35. HH
    i see where you are coming from, most of us would like to see our parliamentarians working together. But a fair few of us now see Harper as being the problem, not the solution. Remember we didn’t vote for him as PM. there is a good deal of evidence that he is the problem, yet again, on the committees [remember that book on how to disrupt comm’s ] From what iv’e seen of minorities, i don’ like them – or maybe Harper isn’t the man to lead one. Don’t be too sure those polls are an indication of support for H.
    For sure canadians are mad at the coalition, but i think it’s a vote against not a vote for change

  36. Mike,
    What I meant is that the committees never even really went back to work, every thing stops at committee level until the house sits again under a new throne speech.
    People want the elected government to function it isn’t.

    The liberals did a much better job at framing Harper during the last parliament with committees then they have during this parliament with the coalition.
    At least that is what all of the polls are saying anyway.

  37. Jenn,

    could you point out to me where exactly I have stated that the NDP conference call took place before the FU?

  38. kc,
    I ma hoping that we can get a majority liberal government sooner rather then later.
    If the liberals paired down their policies, had more family friendly policies and worked with the conservatives to reduce the bloc in Quebec.
    I think it is possible. The liberal party needs to use a much larger net though.

    I see this coalition challenge to the GG as being a bad precedence if it were to happen, that would be used against the liberals if they formed a minority government in the next election.

  39. Nope, sorry to be unclear, Francien. That was all John G.

    Yours was that it was “silly to suggest that 62% of the voters didn’t vote for Harper.” (this may not be an exact quote, but it’s pretty close)

    The fact is, 62% of the voters didn’t vote for Harper. Now, those 62% of voters may have had any number of reasons to vote as they did, and I also asserted that 62% of voters didn’t vote for the coalition (it wasn’t an option on the ballot) but you refused to admit that what you had inferred (i.e., 62% of the voters DIDN’T not vote for Harper, or in other words that 62% of the voters DID vote for Harper) was factually incorrect. Remember?

    But I did goof. I did make it sound like you said the same thing as John G, and I apologize unreservedly. I also said the fact was the conference call took place three days later, and the fact is, I can’t count. It was two days later.

  40. Jenn,

    but one cannot mix two electoral systems: one that we have (FPTP) and another one that we wish for, perhaps (PR).

    We elect our MP’s under FPTP system. The 62% not having voted for Harper does not mean a thing. The percentage numbers are only for comparison. For instance, the LPC, NDP and BQ within the House represent 55% of the popular vote, not 62%.

    Futhermore, the LPC and the NDP hold 114 seats total. The Conservatives hold 143 seats. Those are the only ligitimate numbers one must work with. The minority Conservative government needs 12 votes coming from other parties for the House to work. The LPC and the NDP combined will need more than 12 votes; they will need 41 seats, which is pretty well the entire BQ. Therefore, the coalition is beholden to the BQ necessarily.

    The LPC should have thought this through before they had acted on the formation of a coaltion. Had the LPC been willing to work with the Conservative government before or after the FU, the LPC would have saved itself and the country from a lot of trouble.

    A minority government in need of only 12 votes, is a lot more stable for the country, than a coalition first dependent upon two parties which then in turn will need nearly complete approval from a provincial/separatist party, the BQ. If the LPC would have had a strong leader during the election campaign, and had they had a strong leader going into the House, they would never ever have agreed to this kind of coalition.

    Note: Golden oldies such as Broadbend and Chretien have reputations to re-capture. Beware! The Liberal demise has a lot to do with what Chretien had left in its wake. All of those thoughts must be taken into consideration, and must be taken into consideration most seriously.

  41. h H
    You and i don’t have much to disagree on. I assumed you were a conservative. It’s all a bit sad really. I feel for all those cons in the west who put their trust in harper. On the coalition i agree, if it’s implmented it will be a disaster for all of us. Only the bloq will really win. Roy Macregor [ Globe] described Duceppe as having the look of a man who has just pulled a winning lottery ticket out of the trash.

  42. “Treating people like complete idiots is an act that might eventually wear a little thin.”

    The Tories don’t think so, judging by their ten percent mailings.

  43. kc,

    compare the two sentences you just wrote down:

    “I feel for all those cons in the west who put their trust in harper”.

    and

    “Only the bloq will really win.”

    Isn’t that what Harper had said all along? The west trusts Harper precisely because he catches on so quickly. That the BQ would be the big winner had been clear to Harper right from the start,. That’s why the coalition signing ceremonies are such a telling moment. The coalition partners went ahead not fully realizing what they had just signed. But Duceppe understood fully.

    It’s for good reasons that the west trusts Harper. (and by the way, the Conservative party gathered more seats within Ontario than it did in Alberta)

  44. francien that just about the most disingenuous thing iv’e heard from you so far. The west trusts Harper …
    This may seem so to you, but i saw an entirely different chronological sequence of events .
    First came Harper utter disbelief, then realization hits him, he seizes his opportunity to turn a parliamentary crisis into a constitutional crisis and who knows where from there. I’m saying the west, in particular has mis-placed it’s trust in this man.

  45. Francien, there you go! Why didn’t you say this last week? You are absolutely right that the popular vote doesn’t mean anything, really. What counts is the seats in the House. The Conservatives do not have a majority of seats in the house.

    I do have to disagree with you on this point, “Futhermore, the LPC and the NDP hold 114 seats total. The Conservatives hold 143 seats. Those are the only ligitimate numbers one must work with. ”

    The seats held by the Bloc Quebecois are every bit as legitimate as any other party’s seats. You and I may prefer that not to be the case, but I’m going to have to defend my Quebec neighbours’ right to put their mark on the ballot any way they see fit.

    Just the same way I’d prefer my Alberta neighbours wouldn’t vote en masse for the Conservatives (or the 17 more than half of the people in my own riding, for that matter) but I must accept their right to do so.

    I don’t see the BQ’s power in the coalition as the scary separatist veto that you do. But I understand that the BQ doesn’t dislike Canada, it just likes Quebec better. And a lot of things that are good for Quebec are, also, good for all Canadians. Plus they already agreed not to ask for specific sovereigntist concessions. Add to that the part about how everything doesn’t HAVE to be a vote of confidence, and the Bloc would be free to vote however they like most of the time.

  46. Good grief! My riding did not vote 17 more than half for the Conservatives! Ah, to have a two-party system. We don’t. The Conservatives won by 17 votes. I don’t know how it broke down between the other parties.

  47. I understand that the BQ doesn’t dislike Canada, it just likes Quebec better.

    Wow. Do you really want to stand by that fundamental misunderstanding of the Bloc’s raison d’être, Jenn? Perhaps you would like to rephrase…

  48. Francien

    you argue that “Therefore, the coalition is beholden to the BQ necessarily.” The problem with this statement is that it ignores the observable reality that the Bloc contractually committed to providing support for a period up to a year without setting conditions that established any ability to set or influence coalition policy. In reality the whole ‘beholden’ arguement misrepresents or ignores this.

  49. the observable reality that the Bloc contractually committed to providing support for a period up to a year …

    Well, I thought the deal said 18 months, but whatever.

    Committed to providing support, blah, blah, but can anyone explain to me what the penalty would be for failing to abide by this commitment? Were there financial payments to be made by the BQ to the Libs & Dips if the BQ reneged? I doubt that would pass any legal hurdles. So what exactly is this “commitment” based on? The Bloc’s obvious love of Canada? The electoral penalty they would suffer for abandoning its agreement? Riiiiiight.

  50. “Francien, there you go! Why didn’t you say this last week?”

    Jenn,

    I have said this all the time. Read back over my postings: seek and you shall find.

    THE difference between the BQ and all other parties participating within federal elections is that the BQ party and its leader:

    -never runs to become PM of this country
    -never puts out a national outlook
    -never puts out a national anything

    the BQ is just provincial (and in Duceppe’s words ‘separatist’ in nature).

    And a provincial party with a leader who does not run to become PM of this country is a protest party, not a federal party to be holding power over our national parliament. Btw, the confidence motions and money bills are the one by which the BQ would benefit the most. Think for a moment about that sort of power.

    Your opinion may differ on that, and I have no problem with a difference of opinion. But do not call the BQ a federal party, because they are not!

  51. it would be the same penalty faced by any party that breaks it word in a parliamentary setting: it would face the electorate as such.

    nonetheless my point stands, the Bloc held no power over the coalition. as such claims of the coalition being beholden tot he bloc are greatly (or entirely exaggerated).

  52. Well, my surf-and-turf friend, you seem to be arguing that the Bloc willingly removed themselves from any position of power and influence. Which is bonkers.

    And if you think the “penalty” you offer up is some sort of painful punishment (facing their separatist supporters with the message that they broke up the evil federalist foreign power because they were failing to take Quebec’s interests to heart, blah, blah), you might want to get to know the province of Quebec a little more.

  53. kc,

    I am very serious about this: I agree that Harper had not foreseen all of that which had played itself out; of course, not: on one can foresee all of the forces coming into play.

    But one thing is clear to me, and perhaps most clear to westeners: subsidizing a provincial/separatist party, BQ, to then for all true federalist parties to try and defeat such provincial/protest party ,within federal elections, is absurd! First we prop up the BQ with our federal taxdollars and then we go and try to defeat them come election time.

    And during such federal election times, all federalist parties must compete with a man, Duceppe, who only has to speak and worry about one province: the province of Quebec. Never does Duceppe have to take all of Canada within his heart when he sets out on the campaign trail.

    Westerners find it very strange indeed to subsidize such contradiction. Therefore, if the party subsidies are to be done away with, at least the people of Quebec wanting to have a protest party in place should be forced to at least raise the funds themselves for having such protest party in play.

  54. “The fact is, 62% of the voters didn’t vote for Harper.” I think it was much higher than that since only the people of Calgary Southwest get to vote for or against him. However, the rabid left that is fed on hatred and thus has no appetite for discussion of platforms apparently didn’t vote for anyone but merely voted against Stephan Harper. Sad.
    It was also sad to see how easy it was for Dion and Layton to deliver their caucuses after they made their power grab pact. Stephan Harper has tightened up his control of his caucus but I know he would never be able to deliver everyone if it meant going against their principals.

  55. klyph: “Stephan Harper has tightened up his control of his caucus but I know he would never be able to deliver everyone if it meant going against their principals.”

    In the high school sense or in terms of the shadowy backers?

  56. madeyoulook
    I’m no advocate for the coalition, stll you need to have a closer look at the agreement. the bloq were contracted [or obligated ] to support the coalition on votes of confidence. Presumably there wouldn;t be too many of those. my own oppsition is on other grounds.

  57. francien
    i see you are providing your own answers now. Yes Quebers can and probably should provide their own party financing. I don;t like this form of blackmail either. But, as been pointed out to me, this is democracy.
    why didn’t Harper quietly approach the other fed parties with a gradual plan to wean everyone off the gov sauce. Could it be because his goal is to destroy the lib party as much as call the separitists bluff.

  58. kh – Yes Quebers can and probably should provide their own party financing.
    ————

    God, it’s so frustrating having to make the same point over and over again. The $1.95 subsidy is directly tied to votes. So YOUR tax dollars are not subsidizing the BQ, only the tax dollars of people who vote for the BQ are subsidizing them. If no one voted for the BQ then they would not receive any public financing. Geez, is that so hard to understand?

    Now you could make an argument that the tax deductability of political donations is more problematic, but Conservatives have never proposed eliminating those. Not a peep in fact. And BQ supporters pay federal taxes too. So its hard to figure out where YOUR taxes go as opposed to where THEIR taxes go.

  59. Harper’s spin on this amounts to lying. In a minority Parliament, it is totally to be expected that opposition parties will talk to one another about what they might do should the government be defeated in a confidence vote. To not have such conversations would be surprising, and rather unwise.

    However, to depict any conversation whatsoever between opposition parties as an agreement to topple a government is far-fetched, unless there is actual evidence of this. And even if they did agree to do this, it still would be well within the bounds of Parliamentary democracy.

    So what we have here is attempt by the PM and CPC to defend their foolish FU by hurling a counter-accusation that they hope will shift public attention away from their transgressions, and register with a public that (they hope) is very poorly informed on matters Parliamentary.

    To make such an accusation on the basis of a snippet of dialoque obtained from the surreptitious taping of another parties caucus discussion is well beyond the pale of acceptable behaviour by a government. Shame on Harper.

    – JV

  60. Withoutanet,
    The problem with the 1.95 a vote is that regional parties greatly benefit while national parties suffer.

    This is because regional parties don’t need to buy national time to advertise, they don’t need to spend as much on travel and they don’t need to run different organizations throughout the country.
    All this means that the 1.95 covers almost all of their expenses and that they don’t have to fundraise.

    The Canadian government needs to encourage strong national parties not weak regional ones. Especially since different regions have different levels of clout under our federal system, which would only lead to more animosity.

  61. kc, to suggest a contractual obligation is in place therfore implies that there is a meaningful enforceable sanction or penalty for failing to fulfil it. I still don’t see any (meaningful enforceable penalty), and the argument “these politicians have to go along because in December ’08 they said they would” fails to convince. So I just don’t get the suggestion, repeated around here as if people know stuff, that the BQ has willingly withdrawn from any position of power and influence. They have not.

    Not that I detect a pulse on the coalition corpse, anyways…

  62. MYL

    I did not mean to imply that the sanction is very severe. though I think that the lack of pain has little to do with the nature of quebec. facing the electorate in this country, generally, seems to have little consequence except when the situation is so far beyond the pale that some consequence is inevitable.

    that being said, i whole heartedly disagree with you assertion that claiming the Bloc has surrendered their power is ‘bonkers’. where exactly in signing away support for a year without having seen and policy or the right to do so in the future, let alone have any say at the cabinet table or otherwise, do they have power?

    you seem to be keyed in on their ability to walk away without consequence. i don;t entirely disagree with you on a formal level, but it would have major consequences for their legitimacy in Ottawa. i understand you insinuation is that they don’t care but I think you are incorrect. if they demonstrate that they can’t be trusted to fulfill such an obligation after having formally signed a written document, all parties would be loathe to enter into any formal arrangement with them in the future. and, in the unlikely instance that a party actually did, the GG at that time would be unlikely to grant much merit to the commitment regardless.

  63. I follow your thinking, but I still don’t buy it. Sorry.

    all parties would be loathe to enter into any formal arrangement with them in the future. Where I am coming from, any party should be loathe to enter into any agreement with these bozos from the outset. And before the moles pop up from Lib HQ, I happily include the Tories from two parliaments ago.

    Libs or Dippers break their deal once consummated, they pay a price before the electorate. BQ breaks off, no penalty. Which makes the contract meaningless. Which makes the coalition, well, …

  64. myl
    No problem admitting i know squat about Parl procedures. That said, if the bloq are going to support cofidence votes, where’s the payoff. unless there’s a secret clause. IT’s likely to be for financial support, which given Harpr’s track record in Quebec, they’d have got anyway. It’s all moot, as a fed party like the libs would be committing suicide to go through with this.

  65. myl
    If the coalition is dead – why does Harper seem so worried? You only attack that [ and those] whom you fear. I’m puzzled.

  66. kc, the only payoff I see is the Bloc gets the frisson of socking it to Harper. And I’m not saying the coalition couldn’t get off the ground. I am just saying this sucker cannot confidently make it to 18 months, because the BQ’s signature is of no particular use for long-term stability.

  67. “why didn’t Harper quietly approach the other fed parties with a gradual plan to wean everyone off the gov sauce. Could it be because his goal is to destroy the lib party as much as call the separitists bluff.”
    ————————————–

    No, I really think that Harper is looking forward to a workable Liberal party.

    It is my opinion that the LPC did not take its internal problems seriously. I really think they needed to be put on the spot publically. Yes, I know, this sounds rather strange, but given the ‘climate’ overhanging our traditional Canadian political landscape, it seems rather so.

    There was a very interesting write-up by Belinda Stronach a few weeks ago, about the need for the Liberal party to renew itself. And the nice thing about it was that within her written piece she did not once refer to Harper bashing. In fact, if I remember correctly, his name wasn’t even mentioned. That told me that she was completely focused in on Liberal party workings. I thought it showed a lot of class.

    For how long has the Conservative party and Harper been fighting off this ‘extremist’, the ‘hidden agenda’ and the ‘Bush buddy’ smears, acting as excuses for the Liberals to hide their problems behind? Perhaps some of that will be gone now that Ignatieff is known to have been in favour of the Iraq war, and now that he may harbour hidden agendas by teaming up with the separatists. Time will tell if his previous ‘insights’ will be treated as an asset or as a liability. Of course, the party membership at large has not had a chance to express an opinion on that .

  68. MYL: “the only payoff I see is the Bloc gets the frisson of socking it to Harper”

    Well, that’s not nothing, given the Biodome atmosphere of the House.

    Other payoffs:

    a) getting to tell the Quebec electorate that they well & truly stood up to Harper / the ROC / conservativism etc. on behalf of the One True Quebec — the Bloc’s current raison d’être;

    b) avoiding the crippling blow of the party subsidy reform. Of course, the Tories have backed down on this, but the Bloc like the other parties had committed their rhetorical reserves to the battle before the Tories retreated; they can’t pull them out.

    Above all, the Bloc doesn’t particularly care who’s in government. For the Tories the very idea of the Liberals running things is offensive (x2 for the NDP); and vice versa. But the Bloc just doesn’t care.

    No need for back-room deal theories when Realpolitik explains everything perfectly well.

  69. myl
    i’m pretty much at an impass on this issue.Of course, as usual we only have a part of the picture. How’s this viewed from a Quebec pov? Hav’n’t heard much.

  70. jm
    Reading my mind once again.

  71. Oh, and kc, don’t forget.

    Harper could not negotiate with the LPC to do away with party subsidies if the LPC would not first get its house in order (financial fundraising will be much easier if the party is on track once again!).

    Once the LPC succesfull fundraising is in full operation, then federal tax dollars flowing in support of the BQ can be looked at in earnest. Therefore, yes, I do believe Harper has given the LPC a good and solid jolt.

  72. Francien: “No, I really think that Harper is looking forward to a workable Liberal party.”

    Francien, yours is a truly fresh and wonderful perspective.

  73. ” which given Harpr’s track record in Quebec, they’d have got anyway. ”

    Exactly, but that’s the point. During the past 2-3 years the Conservative party had worked hard to appease the negative sentiment within Quebec. And what does Harper get in return? During election time the topic of cuts to the arts (which in reality were not cuts at all, merely shifting of programs) was so completely overblown that the BQ could safely hide behind the real issues and use the sentiment of Quebeckers to vote in the protest party MP’s once again.

    It does not matter what any of the federal parties accomplish in Quebec between elections; when election time rolls around, and the BQ needs an issue for rallying up the masses, Duceppe will find the issue, don’t worry. It will never stop.

    And I think what Harper is trying to get at, is that the time has come to stop subsidizing a separatist/protest party running within federal elections. I don’t think that is an unreasonable request at all. We as a nation should be able to debate such issues in the open. Indeed “Harper had wished things had gone differently” but perhaps those remarks were pointed at the unavailability or unwillingness of open and honest debate within this country. “The opposition was indeed not prepared to engage in financing that’s responsible.” Well said,

    And, had the media been prepared?

  74. MYL: “I follow your thinking, but I still don’t buy it. Sorry…Libs or Dippers break their deal once consummated, they pay a price before the electorate. BQ breaks off, no penalty. Which makes the contract meaningless. Which makes the coalition, well, …”

    Uhhm, while i don’t necessarily disagree with much of what you said in your last post, I think that we are now talking past each other on two distinct issues. you are focussed on ‘can the bloc walk away’. i think they are less likely and unencumbered then you do. but even if they do the consequence is that the coalition might/would likely fail at that point. it still does not grant them any power (my point), in the agreement as currently constituted.

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