Big shiny new year! -

Big shiny new year!


I don’t know about you, but eveything feels…different. So many things will work out differently this year! 2008 is over! I checked on the calendar, and there’s a new digit at the end of the year! In politics, I feel quite confident that the following changes will result:

  1. There will be no election in 2009. We’ve had so many elections lately! Your MPs will realize that they are condemned to get along, and they’ll get right down to business. Quiet diligence will be the tone. The people demand no less.
  2. Stephen Harper will not cooperate with the Opposition on everything, nor should he, because he has different ideas from the other parties and a pretty strong mandate to pursue them. But he’ll realize that, because they outnumber him, he can win only by conscientiously explaining his ideas to Canadian voters. Ambushes and brinksmanship were fun while they lasted, he’ll realize, but they’ve stopped working. The next time he goes on the teevee, it won’t be to save his own bacon, it will be to patiently make the case for modest, restrained government action. The Canadian people can handle a serious discussion about public policy, and by God, Stephen Harper’s the man to lead that conversation.
  3. The Liberals, blessed with the leader the overwhelming majority of MPs wanted all along, will stop back-biting. Blackberries will be turned off on the way into caucus meetings. Hy’s will shut down because nobody will be left who wants to gossip. Jane Taber will start to feel like the Maytag Repairman because nobody ever calls any more with gossip designed to make the next Liberal look bad.
  4. Having swallowed himself whole on Iraq, constitutional change, Qana and the need for a carbon tax, Michael Ignatieff will decide that pleasing whatever credentialed crowd he happens to find himself in has not exactly been a paying proposition up til now. He will decide it’s time to be a bit less of a people-pleaser. To that end, he will stop regaling journalists with tales of how tough and decisive he is. He will realize that quiet determination is not quite so effective if you can’t stop reminding everyone how quietly determined you are. He will stop declaring that every issue is Stephen Harper’s “last chance.”
  5. Jack Layton will judge issues on their merits. Since he can’t afford an election anyway, he’ll sometimes tell NDP MPs to vote with the government.
  6. Elizabeth May will decide that the Green Party deserves a leader who wants Canadians to vote Green every time they get a chance.
  7. The press gallery will refrain from breathlessly chronicling any squeaker vote in the Commons unless we have first explained what the vote is about. What the bill or motion would change in the lives of Canadians if it passed or failed. Nobody will call the budget “boring” if it fails to become a confidence cliffhanger, because we understand that there is no boring way to spend $200 billion and that in any case, our job is not to judge the government’s ability to excite, but the effects of its actions.

Nah, I don’t believe any of this either. But it was fun to dream, no?

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Big shiny new year!

  1. What?

    I was reading the list in good faith :)

    We need an alternate univrse where shuch things could happen.

  2. “To that end, he will stop regaling journalists with tales of how tough and decisive he is. He will realize that quiet determination is not quite so effective if you can’t stop reminding everyone how quietly determined you are.”

    Iggy has obviously been trying to come across as tough the past couple of weeks and I’ve been wondering about this. Is it in response to Dion and how weak he came across or has Iggy always been one to constantly point out how tough he is?

    Iggy should remember Margaret Thatcher’s comment: “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”

  3. Maclean’s Magazine: Will stop using slang and return to using full sentences when asking its readers to vote in an online poll.

    (Scroll up and look to the right)

    • I don’t like those poll choices.

      The only choices are that the economy will get worse or better. I for one, think it will not get worse, but it will be a year before the economy starts improving again, along the lines of 1 or 2% growth for the next year and an uptick in unemployment of a few percentage points for about a year and a half.

  4. Of course, as soon as I posted my comment, they changed the poll. If this is an omen for how 2009 is going to be, I am going to go hibernate for the next 364 days.

    • It’s just a poll AMM,

      I think we can cut it a little slack :)

  5. Kody’s call:

    Harper, being a ruthless tactician against his political opponents will trigger an election in the next two months by inserting one or more poison pills in the budget or confidence motions. The pill will be on a wedge issue that will further fracture an already weakened Liberal party. Harper will not allow the Liberal party to regroup and will capitalize on the recent opposition blunder of a forming a wildly unpopular coalition.

    During the election Harper will make the coalition (and more importantly Iggy’s signature and continued reference to it still being on the table) the centerpiece of the campaign. The Liberals will, for obvious reasons, be unable to thwart the theme of the election as being a choice between a stable, centrist Harper government capable of guiding us through touch economic times, and a socialist/seperatist government which is radical, unstable, disorganized and ill prepared to serve Canadians in these tough times.

    As a result, Harper will gain a majority (very possibly a super-majority of historically significant proportions),

    Iggy will return to his hallowed Ivy League halls in the U.S.,

    and the Liberals will actually use the opportunity of “impossiblity of governing” (the only scenario where this is possible given current dynamics of base political power grabbing now dominating their party) to form policy, regroup, and revitalize,


    they will fail to do this, break apart, and a new party will form in its ashes to fill the political void.

    (50/50 chance of the Liberal party disintegrating)
    (90% chance on the rest)

    And when your Grandchildren ask about the man who had the vision to see it all,

    you remember the name:


  6. You could have saved this one for April 1.

    • Ditto

  7. Despite the fact I am sure we are all used to Kody’s blather, hyperbole, and generally non-sensical ramblings, the fact that he has predicted something called a “Super Majority” leaves me feeling all warm and tingly. Way to bring your A Game Kody! And so early in the new year too!

    • Although had it been termed a “major majority,” I would have orgasmed.

  8. Nah, I don’t believe any of this either. But it was fun to dream, no?

    Oh, I dunno. Take that last paragraph about the press gallery. I don’t see anything stopping you, Mr. Wells, from using your blog to call your PPG colleagues on the spot whenevery they indulge in “breathless chronicling” without providing context, or judging “the government’s ability to excite.”

    After all, it’s not like they’re going to ostracize you for pointing out that they should be doing a better job of reporting Parliament. Are they?

    • Chris Selley was always good at pointing out the excesses of the commentariat. I miss him….

      • He’s at work at the National Post now.

        • Thanks!

      • You can even continue to comment on his posts and articles.

  9. Gee, why didn’t I think of that before now.

  10. Maclean’s commenters responding to my comments with base insults? (My comments which do contain such spiteful name calling, invective and other forms of personal attack against others here, but which do dare to recite my opinons and world view.)

    Looks like commenters of the tolerant progressive left of 2009,

    will be just as tolerant and progressive as they were in 2008.

    • This is a leap year — one more day to jump for joy, Kody.

      • Last year was a leap year, not 2009. One LESS day for Kody.

        For which fact, we are truly grateful.

    • The Lib/NDP commenters not resorting to insults? Now that’s a stretch. On the other hand, I’ve noticed the absence of the two most combative Harper-haters, both of whom used to post in great volume.

  11. Sometime during the year, I’ll figure out how to get my picture to appear with my comments on

    • It’s not easy. I spent months trying to get your picture to appear with my comments and I finally gave up.

      • Too bad; the one on my site is about the only one where I’m wearing a tie. I’m hoping to leverage it as much as I can.

          • Thanks for tip. I too have been wondering how you get the fancy photo to appear.

          • Excellent.. Thanks!

          • You can learn so much more about a person with a pic.

          • hmmm

          • Can everyone see that I have blue eyes?

  12. Two more predictions,

    and then back to my cave (recall that daylight burns the skin of true conservatives and it’s getting frighteningly sunny in my neck of the woods):

    1) the over-hyped great depression of our times, will turn out to be relatively short lived, with fairly healthy growth returning by this summer [dirty little secret – car sales may actually be going up as we speak, to name just one indicator]

    2) the IPCC will issue its next report (very tacitly mind you) backing down from its preditions of warming and placing the theory itself in the “debateable” category. They won’t say it explicitly, but it will be inescapable to not draw such conclusions based on the report’s content.

  13. Reviewing the year past (actually a pretty spectacular year, the best political year – and 2, really, the US election got started way back in ’07 – I expect to see in my lifetime. Hell, I hadn’t even heard of Obama till almost the middle of the year, say nothing of almost VP Governor Palin – and thought a dust-up between Clinton and McCain would be something most generations never get to witness) Gwynne Dyer predicted or declared a Recession way back in April and said the price of oil would go way up and then come way down on account of said recession. Alright, he didn’t predict it would got below $40.xx a barrel, but it’s still impressive. And he didn’t predict a Depression, which I am, now, officially. You thought last year was fun. . . And then in Slate Magazine they had a reprint of Thomas Hardy’s lovely little poem to the new year 1900, that poem being “The Darkling Thursh” which put me in mind of how interesting it is to review the past century and wonder if overall it was gooder than bad. And then I thought, and continue to think, what would that thrush be singing about today, over our gray fields? What sort of a century are we in for? Honestly, with the fiscal meltdown, continuing and worsening wars, nuclear proliferation as the new status among nutbar states, global warming (and the deniers) if I thought I could collect I’d bet long odds that we don’t make it out alive.

    • Five or six years ago, Sir Martin Rees estimated the probability of humans becoming extinct by 2100 at around 50%. I thought he had it about right then. The election of a US president who seems to value reason and knowledge improves our odds slightly, but there are a lot of global forces in the opposite direction.

        • I didn’t say I necessarily considered the human race killing itself off a bad thing. Where’s that Doomsday Clock? About quarter past two? The depressing part is I can’t figure out a way to make any money on it. Kind of ironic that, were it possible, the one rising stock could be futures betting against the human species. I suppose it’s possible to sell short a rising stock, and thereby make a profit on your own extinction. Could be a growth industry; I’ll look into it.

  14. I think there will be an election, precipitated by a budget that will use tax cuts more than new spending to “stimulate” the economy. Your prediction assumes that Harper will do as he is being told by eastern media concerns. He will go the other way. He and his cronies in the bunker will reason that it is better to fight Iggy before he can get too well established, or raise any money. The fiscal position at the end of 2009 will necessarily be worse than in January (imagine the revenue side!) so whatever Harper has his monkey, Flaherty do at the end of the month will appear, to the increasingly dull-witted Canadian public, to have been a failure. His only hope is to get a majority and hide for the next 4 years. Being the PM of a MInority Govt. at this time is slow suicide.

  15. My predictions:
    -the global cooling trend will continue, but it will take another 5 years or so for the AGW fanatics to admit they’re wrong
    -unemployment will jump a few points
    -coroporate profits will drop
    -the economy will recover in about a year
    -the big 3 automakers will cease to exist: Chrysler will disappear entirely, will Ford and GM will go bankrupt and be restructured into 2 new companies
    -Harper will get his majority by winning several byelections and allowing several other seats to go unfilled
    -Obama’s approval ratings will drop as people fail to notice any “change”

  16. I predict some exciting testimony in the renewed In & Out committee meetings, Cadman Affair investigation and the Mulroney-Schreiber inquiry hearings, along with the breathless berrying of Kady O, and hope the murder charge against Capt. Semrau doesn’t turn into this century’s Somalia-Airborne disgrace.

  17. Oh how I wish we could really predict the future. For sure American politics and Obama will take most of the space in all forms of communications.
    Canada will likely limp along behind Stephen Harper and his crew and those in opposition will as usual give up what they must for what they can get.
    The economy will brighten, it always does, but it is going to take some time, perhaps into the late fall of this year. We all got ourselves into this mess by thinking we were who we are not and smugly thinking that the prosperity would never end.
    Most of all we should reach out to one another and do our little bit to create sound economies and political and personal peace.
    Good luck to all and particularly “Iggy”, he will need all he can get!!

  18. Stephen Harper is the man to lead conversations, is he?

    How do think he would make out in a conversation about Bill C-51? This magazine has never written about Bill C-51. This is the legislation that sought to legalize the sale of human body parts. It defined ‘cells, tissues and organs’ as therapeutic products that could be sold.

    Stephen Harper is scum bag. When will you get it Paul Wells? He’s no good. A bad person. A liar. A secretive cheat.

    • This is why I will never stop writing the tongue-in-cheek stuff: because it reliably smokes out the readers who are seriously unable to get even a simple joke.

  19. Actually, your first prediction is probably true. Everything I’ve seen seems to point to the idea that Her Excellency told Mr. Harper in no uncertain terms that there would be no election, and that if he can’t maintain confidence, she’d find somebody who could.

  20. Prediction – you will all see water or drink water or pass water before morning. I truly believe this.

    • After last night I hope to do all three. And in that order.

  21. Ha Ha Ha Ha Hoo Hee ahah. And I thought my jokes were bad.

    -There will be an election as soon as the polling numbers consistently (maybe for one or two months) suggest that either the Conservatives or the Liberals can win a majority government. That may happen this year, or not.

    -Stephen Harper will never lead an intelligent, reasoned discussion on public policy or the role of government because, fundamentally, he is a career machine politician who doesn’t give a damn about any of those things, and even if he did would consider the electorate to be too stupid to comprehend his pearls of wisdom. No, he will continue to do whatever the latest polling numbers suggest with occasional measures designed to piss off the opposition thrown in for good measure. While he may personally believe (quite rightly) that deficits and big keynesian stimulus packages will be no better at saving the economy than they have been at any point in the twentieth century, he will pretend to embrace them enthusiastically, compel all conservatives to do the same under threat of expulsion or other less legitimate reprisals, and find some kind of new wedge issue to distinguish himself from the Liberals and provide fodder for the fundraising letters.

    -The Liberals will resume backbiting the moment Iggy is seen to make a mistake or back down on something. Bob Rae will insult him behind his back, try to win over the MP’s who feel they haven’t gotten their fair share and generally cause sh*t while publicly praising the virtues of party unity and congratulating himself on his unparalleled maturity and sense of perspective, gained from all the wonderful lessons he’s learned in public life.

    -Having never seen him in action as a leader or seen him indulge in the kind of odious, slimy partisanship that Martin, Dion and Harper are so good at, I think there might be some hope for Ignatieff.
    But he has zero margin of error within the country or his own party. If anything, get hurriedly crowned as leader instead of winning fair and square will turn out to be a curse. His tendency towards pandering and grandstanding will start to get annoying at some point. Given how angry most Liberals are at Dion for backing down so much, and given that he is already seen as a kind of right wing Liberal, any attempt Ignatieff makes to reach a consensus with Harper will be held against him, and the Tories will use this to their advantage. Similarly, at some point he will have to decide to either indulge Jack Layton on the coalition or repudiate him entirely, and thus risk either pissing off the country or else losing control of the Commons and angering people within his own party.

    -Jack Layton has nothing to gain from going along with the Grits in using the coalition as nothing more than a threat to get the Tories to behave. He will continue to raise it at every possible opportunity, putting the Liberals in a difficult spot and feeding endless media speculation of a repeat of what we saw in December.

    -Elizabeth May is irresponsible and frankly, kind of nuts. She will continue to behave erratically, and may even leave of her own accord to briefly join the Liberals if that seems advantageous. In any case, with a recession going on (and the fact that average temperatures are actually going down and the winters getting colder) most people won’t be spending much time worrying about global warming or climate change.

    – The media will speculate about the possibility of a constitutional crisis several times a week. Anonymous sources close to Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe will now get as much attention and as many free dinners from eager journalists as Liberal hacks looking to overthrow the leader were getting one year ago. The 30 billion dollars in stimulus, most of which will be spent on crap, will be largely ignored, except when the shifting of a few billion from one useless project to another becomes a sticking point in secret backroom negotiations to overthrow the government and kickstart a constitutional crisis.

    Happy New Year Paul.



  22. Jeesh – I almost … well ..for the most part agree with Ted but then again welcome to canadian politics and reflecting back to my young Liberal days and the one finger salute from Pierre I would say that these are safe predictions as not much has really changed.