Harper’s hypocrisy problem

Andrew Coyne on why he considers the coalition issue settled

As Jerry Springer might put it, what have we learned after day one of the campaign?

This morning’s statement from Michael Ignatieff on the coalition question was, for the most part, admirably clear:

Whoever leads the party that wins the most seats on election day should be called on to form the government.

If that is the Liberal Party, then I will be required to rapidly seek the confidence of the newly-elected Parliament. If our government cannot win the support of the House, then Mr. Harper will be called on to form a government and face the same challenge…

If, as Leader of the Liberal Party, I am given the privilege of forming the government, these are the rules that will guide me:

… We will not enter a coalition with other federalist parties. In our system, coalitions are a legitimate constitutional option. However, I believe that issue-by-issue collaboration with other parties is the best way for minority Parliaments to function.

We categorically rule out a coalition or formal arrangement with the Bloc Quebecois…

That certainly sounded like he was ruling out a coalition altogether. Indeed, the conditions were similar to those suggested in my previous post.

There seemed nevertheless to be a possible loophole: the statement explicitly mentioned only what would happen if the Liberals were to win the most seats. But the whole coalition issue has centred on what would happen if the Tories won a minority, but were then defeated on a confidence motion in the House. Did the no-coalition pledge apply in that case? Was the Grit statement a carefully worded dodge, leaving room for the party to claim later that it had never ruled out a coalition in the latter event?

I called the Liberals to inquire. Their MP, David McGuinty, called me back. He was careful to make sure he understood my question, and I was careful to make sure I had heard his answer correctly. And it was unequivocal: the same rules would apply in either case. No coalition, no formal arrangement with the Bloc.

I consider the issue settled. It has taken far too long to get Ignatieff to this point — he should have ruled out a coalition long ago — and there can be little doubt the reason for his silence until today: he was trying to keep his options open. But now he has been forced to choose. Unless he is just flat out lying — the biggest lie that ever was: formally, publicly and in black and white, on a matter of the highest importance and the hottest controversy — there will be no Liberal-led coalition. The Tories are certainly entitled to point out that the Liberals in general, and Ignatieff in particular, said there would be no coalition before the last election, too. But while the Grits might claim, weakly, that those earlier statements were honestly intended at the time, that circumstances arose they could not have anticipated, they can make no such defense of breaking such a blood oath as Ignatieff has just issued. This one is — must be — ironclad.

Now: none of this means that Ignatieff has promised not to topple a Conservative minority government, should one be returned, or replace it with one led by him. He has ruled out a coalition; he has not ruled out a minority government of some other kind. Nor should he. There is absolutely nothing “illegitimate” about one government being replaced by another in this way, that is by the vote of Parliament rather than the votes of the people, and the Tory leader was wrong to have claimed there is. For that matter,  there’s nothing illegitimate about coalition governments, either — though the involvement of the Bloc would be an exception to that rule. On this Stephen Harper was right: you can seek to break up the country, or you can govern the country, but you can’t do both.

The only issue with regard to the possibility of a Liberal-NDP coalition was a political one: would voters, especially right-of-centre voters, care to see a government with NDP cabinet ministers? His pledge today should assuage that concern. Voters must still weigh whether they are comfortable with a Liberal government propped up by the NDP, perhaps via some sort of electoral pact, a la the Peterson-Rae accord in Ontario in 1985 — for the Governor General would want some assurance, in the event the Tories were brought down, that whatever replaced it would be likely to last. And whatever was cobbled together between them would probably still be short of a majority, meaning it would have to seek the support of either the Bloc or the Tories to pass legislation. The Tories are perfectly entitled to point all this out. But that is a very different thing than a coalition. People who consider this a matter of potato-potahto do not know their constitution. It is the difference between the legislative and executive, between MPs and cabinet ministers.

But what of the Conservatives? Weren’t they proposing a coalition themselves, via that notorious 2004 letter to the Governor General? No. While it’s abundantly clear that Harper was ready to replace Paul Martin as prime minister under exactly the circumstances he now denounces — making him not just wrong but hypocritical — it is equally clear he was not proposing to form a coalition. The letter makes no mention of it. All three leaders denied it at the time. And all three have continued to deny it to this day: asked about it at his morning press conference, Duceppe protested he did not want “to invent things.” (Duceppe later tweeted that Harper “talked about” a coalition in their meeting, but has not clarified what this means. Did he propose one? Then why was no such coalition proposed in the letter?) Harper’s readiness to form a government, with the support of the other two parties, in 2004 does not mean he was plotting a coalition, for the same reason that Ignatieff can promise one without the other now: cooperation is not the same as coalition.

Still, it’s worth pursuing Harper on this point. What would he do if his party was returned with a minority, or if the Liberals were? I presume he, too, would rule out a coalition, and I’m prepared to take him at his word on that point. But if he now believes it is “illegitimate” for one government to replace another without going back to the people, is he then formally swearing that he would never again make the kind of agreement with the other parties, whatever it was, he was so evidently prepared to make in 2004?




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Harper’s hypocrisy problem

  1. Pierre Trudeau on wage and price controls. "Zap, you're frozen."
    Jean Chretien's Red Book. "The GST will be repealed"
    Dion "No coalition".

    Andrew is Charlie Brown believing that the Lucy Liberals are not going to break the promise to not take the football away.

    • See, Harper supporters are going to say Iggy plans to make a coalition no matter what Iggy says. Whatever lie is most convenient at that second is what will leave their lips.

      • And that support, and issuance, of the convenient lie is exactly what brought Harper to this point: Contempt of Parliament, misleading the House….whatever's convient, no matter how wrong or untrue it may be.

    • Brian Mulroney "I will clean up government"
      Stockwell Day "Dinosaurs walked with humans"
      Stephen Harper "I will balance the budget"

      • Peter MacKay " I will not merge the parties"

        • Stephen Harper:
          "My government will be transparent and accountable."
          "The Afghanistan mission will end in 2010."

          – This is a fun game! We can play for days without repeats!

          Next!

          • STephen Harper: "No tax on income trusts!"

          • Stephen Harper: "I will not tax income trusts, I will remove non-renewable resources from the equalization calculation, and I will not appoint unelected Senators".

          • Stephen harper: "We should tender the contracts for new fighter jets to ensure we get the best value for the money"

          • Stephen Harper (2008): "We will never go into deficit"

      • He will. After the Tory majority in May.

        • He will what? Balance the budget? LOL

          Flaherty just stood up and his budget would be substantially the same if the CPC was re-elected.

          So, here are your "conservative" options: the CPC – once MY CPC – is either lying to us because it's ashamed of fiscal conservativism, or it's telling the truth and the budget they'd have after winning an election is basically a liberal government with a blue cover. Who reads tea leaves like that and comes out with "a majority will change everything"?

          It's time for the sheep to stop bleating.

    • "Andrew is Charlie Brown believing that the Lucy Liberals are not going to break the promise to not take the football away. "

      I was just in process of embedding youtube clip of Charlie Brown landing on his arse when I read your comment.

      I wonder if McGuinty and Coyne did a pinky swear or somesuch and that's why he is so confident – an ironclad blood oath, no less – that Iggy won't put together coalition. You are way too credulous, Coyne, voters expect pols to lie now. Iggy will do whatever he can to take power, just like every other leader.

      • The reason I like Ignatieff is that he's not much of a politician. There's no cunning there, but there's a bit of wisdom, considerable intelligence, and a lot of humanity. He may very well prove to be a man of integrity. That's what I want in a leader.

        • I like you.

          • and I like you

      • Ask McGunity about his lying brother in Ontario. No new taxes in writing no less and on TV. Election. He wins. Zap a new health insurance premium. Coyne needs to give his head a shake. Once Ignatieff is in government Coyne and others can rant and rave but Ignatieff has achieved his dream of being PM despite the fact Canadians did not vote for a Liberal government and by extension Ignatieff as PM.

        • On the other hand, Flaherty cooked the ONtario books so McGunity didn't know how much money he had.

      • The only promise I believe is"I will jump off a high building if I have lied"

    • The real problem here is that the Liberals have made promises before. Make it a legally binding document and I'll believe them. Not before.

      • And the same for the conservatives?

    • It doesn't matter want McSquinty said privately, their official statement says nothing about what they would do if they did not get the most seats, so this coalition issue is not dead in the eyes of your non-readers. Coyne, you may be satisfied, but that doesn't make it as dead issue.

    • With corporate support we will create 250,000 day care positions. My kids are still waiting outside and their getting cold, Steve.

    • Harper, "No appointed senators"
      Harper: "No tax on income trusts"
      Harper: "Require US to live up to their NAFTA obligations"

      It takes three members of the opposition to lie as often as Harper does by himself.

  2. At Mr. Coyne, I've wondered, too; what's good for the goose, etc. But I'd rather journalists not bother to ask that question at all, especially you, given your focus in the past on actual issues like the economy & fiscal policy.

    I want all this crap put to bed now, not after another round of questions, so we can hear what Ig & Harp would actually do with the budget, etc. if either had a *majority* to work with. Let's worry about their ideals before we worry about their compromises.

    • Amen

  3. Brian Molruny, Airbus and 300 grand in a brown bad.

    Joe Clark well just the name says it all for that parties demise.

    shouldsellyourwheat, I could go on right down to the start of the CPC, PC CRAP, or whatever name they need after losing party status in Canada. Lies won you a con government in 2006. The start of the "in and out scam by the conservative party" Lies worked for you again in 2008. But what you don't see is everyone watched Britain form one and they see that it works. Harper is losing his job on May 2nd.

    • Lies? Like soldiers in the streets? The Conservatives criminalizing abortions?..you mean Liberal lies..

      Btw, Britain's coalition govt actually contains the party that won the most seats..under the proposed coalition of the losers, the three defeated parties would govern without the representative of the people's choice in the first past the post system.

      I call that a perversion of democracy…and you will weep my friend when your leftists heroes are crushed in the largest spanking seen in 40 years.

      Bank on it.

      • Perhaps you could learn how parliamentary democracies actually work before declaiming on the topic.

      • During the Olympics in Vancouver, the Vancouver Integrated Security Unit (VISU) comprised a $900 million budget and over 16,000 security personnel, including 4,500 members of the Canadian Forces. The G8/G20 summits in Huntsville/Toronto are following the same trajectory, except on a larger scale and in a shorter time frame. The G8/G20 Summits Integrated Security Unit (ISU) is led by the RCMP and comprised of partners from the Canadian Forces, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Toronto Police Service (TPS), and Peel Regional Police (PRP). Canadian Forces Operation CADENCE 2010 will provide support to the ISU for the duration of both summits, while the elite special forces unit JTF 2 will remain on standby. The visibility of the CF as part of the ISU remains ambiguous according to the ISU website: “The visibility of Canadian Forces members involved with the G8 and G20 summits will range from very low to highly visible, depending on their location and the tasks to be performed.”
        http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/blog/crustby/3689

      • I don't know about that….Toronto looked like a war zone for a week….and there were several arrests that were made that were "questionable". during the G8(another huge waste of money)….

  4. Toppling a government which won at the polls and replacing it with one showing vastly inferior number of seats (and popular vote) is not what Westminster Democracies are about, coalition or no.

    Ignatieff needs to be clear that if a Conservative Minority govt were to fall early into its new mandate, he would recommend we go back to the polls yet again and NOT ask to form Govt with informal support of other parties UNLESS the number of seats differs by less than 5 AND the popular vote differs by less than a few percentage points.

    When you are rejected by Canadians and lose the election, you don't get to sit as Prime Minister just because the party that won the election didn't get a majority. If it's close, then second choice is legitimate. If it's not close (as has been the case) then it is not legitimate.

    • Commanding the confidence of the House is what a westminister parliament is all about. If one group can do that and aonther can't the first should be the government. I understand you might not be in favour of the composition of a particular group and that's certainly your right to hold that opinion, but that is not what the overall system is about.

      • I'd agree with you EXCEPT for the inclusion of a party dedicated to the destruction of the country. That NEVER makes sense.

        • If you take umbrage with the BQ, then you need to do something about it. Why has Harper not banned the BQ, or had its MPs arrested for sedition? You can't deny the legitimacy of Bloc MPs and rely on their votes for your survival dozens of times, as Harper has done.

    • You also don't get to be Prime Minister if you don't have the confidence of the House. Harper just doesn't seem to get this even now.

      • I think he showed it quite clearly by calling the house to adjournment and going to the GG to ask him to disolve parliament and call an election…. but nice try.

      • Harper did a very commendable job as a minority Prime Minister. He has repositioned Canada on the world stage a solid second tier power (none of this "soft power" crap); he looks out for Canada' interests abroad (did not buy into a sovereignty and tax stealing carbon treaty with hooligans at the UN) and has guided the Canadian economy with the taxpayers interests in mind (no billion dollar programs that encroach on provincial jurisdiction that would make the F35 look cheap over the life of that contract). The country is positioned to do very well in the next 10 years as we fully recover from the recession. All this in a minority position with no coalition in place. It's called competence.

        • "He has repositioned Canada on the world stage…"

          That must be why he tried so very hard for that SC seat, and lost, and then tried to blame Ignatieff.

          You guys are going to have to learn that simply saying something does not make it magically come true. Some actual evidence that he has done something that enhances our position on the world stage would make your argument persuasive.

          The ONLY reason Canada's economy is doing well is that we were not hit as hard as other countries – and for that you can thank Paul Martin and Jean Chretien who denied the banks when they wanted less regulation.

          Where did Harper stand on the regulating banks question again?

    • Didn't bother Harper when he was in opposition. What frightens him now is what he sees when he looks in the mirror; he knows with absolute certainty that HE would do it if the opportunity arose…

    • It’s neat the way you make up your own rules.

    • "Ignatieff needs to be clear that if a Conservative Minority govt were to fall early into its new mandate, he would recommend we go back to the polls yet again and NOT ask to form Govt with informal support of other parties"

      And in so doing, risk being accused of forcing another "unnecessary" election, wasting millions, "destabilizing" government, perverting democracy, blah, blah, blah. He's already hearing all that noise, despite the fact that this government survived for 18 months, the lifespan typically forecast for minorities.

    • Why "less than five"?

      It sounds like a Jim Flaherty budget figure (i.e. pulled our of thin air…)

      • I'm not sure that's where it was pulled from.

    • Paul, how does it feel to be surrounded by the crowds here at the maclean's blog as soon as you dare say something against Ignatieff? They pay attention to you right away, eh! Print something which makes sense, and there they come, instantly attacking your statement. Like little minnions without a mind of their own jumping to the defense of Ignatieff

      • There's plenty of bad stuff to say about iggy without making up transparent lies. That's what's so odd about the CPC attack pattern.

        • The other odd thing is betting so hard on this red herring issue. Why don't they run on their record?

          • Hahaha! Glad I'd finished my coffee before reading; hate it when it spurts out my nose.

      • Some one has to!!

    • Please. We don't elect parties, or PMs, or even governments. We elect MPs. They carry our democratic legitimacy as our representatives. 40% of the voters, no matter how self-righteously indignant, can go to hell if they're one MP short of a hodgepodge of MPs who agree on a government.

      Hey, I'd be up for PR or STV or something, but without it all this stuff of "this or that is what the voters want" is ridiculous. We know only one thing for sure: that voters want certain representatives, who will chose a government. That's all the legitimacy we get, but it's something. The rest is fuzzy stories we tell ourselves when we win.

      • So true. People prattle on about how MPs don't represent them and then claim that a majority of the MPs can't form a govt when a minority of MPs form the biggest single set of sets. Coalitions are one way to have a truly representative, broadbased govt and we've demonized them.

    • Yes there is that pesky problem of what the people actually want. If they elect a minority Conservative government that's what they want regardless of the constitution. So Harper will try and convince people they need to vote for his party in the majority to avoid this fight. He will argue and I believe legitimately that without a Conservative majority the country will not be in a position to manage the serious issues facing it because of political machinations. If the Libs win a majority then good on them but we all know thats not going to happen.
      I would suggest that if the GG agrees to hand the reins of power to Ignatieff thus shutting out the party that wins the most seats there will be a hew and cry across the country.

      • "what people want regardless of the constitution" so you're against the rule of law now? bravo.

      • I have no problem with the majority of elected representatives representing me. If Harper can gain the confidence of the majority of MPs he can drive the legislative agenda with all the advantages that gives him. If someone else can gain the confidence of the majority of MPs then they get to drive the legislative agenda.
        Key word here is majority of the elected peoples representatives.
        That our first past the post process scews the popular vote in relation to party seats is what is causing the current impasse.
        It means those in Alberta that don't vote Conservative have no direct representation and that the Bloc has undue influence at the national level.

      • "He will argue and I believe legitimately that without a Conservative majority the country will not be in a position to manage the serious issues facing it because of political machinations."

        And yet he takes full credit for "steering" Canada through the recession, which apparently he did while in a minority.

    • That's not how it works, you realise? A legitimate government is Westminster system is one that has the confidence of the House. That's it. The Prime Minister could be an independent and have no party, it doesn't matter, because parties aren't a necessary instrument in our system of government at all; if anything, they're a bug, rather than a feature. By convention, the Governor General asks the largest party to form a government, but even this isn't necessary. The GG could ask the third largest party to form government; it's just extremely unlikely that such a party would maintain confidence. These rules you're trying to introduce about seat differences and popular vote don't exist and never have. Second place parties, regardless of how small, can form governments as long as they can muster enough support in the house to pass a confidence vote.

      If Ignatieff and Layton combined end up with a majority of seats, I would say that there is a very good chance Ignatieff will end up as PM. If they're short and need Bloc support as well, maybe not.

  5. This comment was deleted.

    • Your definition of "cooperation" is not the one that most kindergarten alumni would understand. This is why nobody takes niceguy71 seriously.

  6. Patrick Doyle… You appear to be vary knowledgeable about scams. Could you maybe fill us in on Ad-scam , or maybe the Shawinigan golf course scam. or the attack on the BDC boss for not giving Chretieans friend a bad loan. Please enlighten us Patrick.

    • Those scandals had nothing on the harper scandals that are going to cost us not millions but BILLIONS!!! Contempt for democracy, a first IN ALL THE COMMONWEALTH!!! Just read the responces to EVERY article you can find online about this election and you will see an overwhelming disgust with Harper. I see a LIBERAL MAJORITY myself. Don't worry Rob C, you can still keep your tory, politically appointed civil service job after a liberal majority because liberals are not tories and they will not have you drawn and quartered. They have what is called 'compassion' but you wouldn't know that word, it never comes up at your meeting!

  7. Let's not forget that in 2009 at Iggy's coronation as leader of the Liberal party he said

    “only I speak for the Liberal Party of Canada”

    No point in listening to anything David McGuinty says – he may be working as a Wal-Mart greeter after the election.

    • Harper's caucus underlings wouldn't even be allowed to work as Wal-Mart greeters…too unscripted.

    • And his brother is as big a crook as Jeanie Cretin and has lied to Ontario voters repeatedly

    • The harper scandals are going to cost us not millions but BILLIONS!!! Contempt for democracy, a first IN ALL THE COMMONWEALTH!!! Just read the responces to EVERY article you can find online about this election and you will see an overwhelming disgust with Harper. I see a LIBERAL MAJORITY myself.

    • The media is being paid to keep talking about a coalition. Keep the real issues off the front pages. Check out the CRTC Feb 9, 2011 ruling (google it) and see that the rules have changed to allow the press to mislead the public just so big business can have their puppet Harper give us FOX News North. Thats why we are hearing about these so called polls putting harper way out in front. It's bullsh*t. Talk about Power Hungry!!!! Canadian culture died on Feb 9, 2011. And the right wingers killed it.

  8. Andrew, the question that should be put to Ignatieff, yes, Ignatieff, last I checked McGuinty is not the leader of the party, is if the Conservatives win a minority government, will the Liberals vote in favor of the throne speech and budget, which Flaherty has already stated will be the same one just presented if re-elected. If the answer is no, than the whole purpose of the election is exactly what the PM states it is, an attempt at a power grab.

    • Odds are, the budget won't be the same. For one thing, the weak concessions they made to Layton were there to make it look like they were doing something, when they knew he'd find them unacceptable. As they were there solely to cause an election without it looking too obviously like a poison pill, they'll be pulled.

      For another thing, economic conditions will change by the time there's a new Throne Speech and budget; they'd be fools not to adjust accordingly.

      Finally, if things start going bad, Harper will start making promises that – it he intends to keep them – will necessitate changes.

      • Flaherty stated today the budget will be identical.

        • And Flaherty's word is his bond. Give me a break.

        • So, I suggest you make a point of saving it in your hard drive. Then, reference it if the CPC gets back in government. I'm dying to see how they compare.

          • I'll be looking for arena funding in Quebec.

          • Do you really think? What would be the political point if they're already back as government? The only rationale I can imagine would be to give Peladeau his rink.

          • I fully believe they'll be the exact same…

            ..after all, I don't expect Flaherty to work more than the absolute minimum he can get away with.

        • I'm sure he did. I'm saying I'll take that with a grain… nay, a handful of salt.

    • What, exactly, is wrong with the other parties trying to take power if the current government does not have confidence?

  9. Excellent essay, Coyne.

    I agree: for Ignatieff to form a coalition after today would be political suicide; he'd end up vying with Kim Campbell for the biggest federal electoral loss in Canadian history. In fact, as people would not be inclined to differentiate between a true coalition and some other arrangement, then Iggy's only real option would probably be to take us to the polls… again.

    You're bang-on about Harper's hypocrisy, as well; while he may not have entered into a coalition, his relationship with the Bloc was on par with the elationship the Liberals had: it was an agreement of support. There may be some variance in the technicalities, but the intent was the same: to have the Bloc support the wresting of power away from the sitting PM without an election. If it's illegitimate for the Libs, then it's equally illegitimate for the CPC.

    But it's now a moot point: the Liberals won't strike any new agreement with the Bloc – and based on Duceppe's language today, Harper could beg, plead and cry and Duceppe would still walk away.

    • Yeah, anyone who screeches that what Harper agreed to with the bloc is acceptable while what teh Libs did with the bloc is treasonous is probably lying.

    • Great joke on Twitter – Harper to Duceppe – What I said was coal and fishin'.

      • Harper to Duceppe – No not coalition, colon-ition. You know like a fart.
        Sorry couldn't resist some kindergarten humour.

    • IT wouldn't be politcal suicide necessarily – Trudeau survived the "zap you're frozen" deception, Chretien did the same after reneging on the "promise" to get rid of the GST. look at Ignatieff's choices if he winds up roughly where he and his party was before today: if he lets the CPC run things much the same way as he has since 2008, the LPC will terminate him as leader. If he negotiates a coaliton – which is exactly what Dion did to further his term in the position as leader in the slim hope of recinding his resignation a la his idol PET.

      Bluntly put: Mr. Ignatieff will have NO OPTION if he wishes to remain leader but to quickly cut a deal with at least the NDP at almost any policy cost (doubling the CPP for starters) .

      • See, you started in a place that was almost true, then drove straight to crazyville in about 20 words.

      • The political reality was much different for Trudeau and Chretien. Among other things, they didn't have the spectres of adscam and Dion's own flip-flop on coalitions to exorcise. If he is to have any hope of saving himself and the Liberals from being Campbelled, he HAS to keep this promise.

      • I don't agree with ruling out a coalition, but it has been done. So I, along with every other Liberal I know, would walk away from Ignatieff if he were to go back on his word. Because honesty and integrity damn well do matter!

        • then why are so many people still supporting a party that stole $40M from Canada and put it into their own pockets and STILL haven't repaid it?

          • I don't know ….why are you supporting a party…..sorry….The Harper Government….that is the first to be found in contempt of Parliment….and who has also lied…..alot……..at least no Liberal I know has ever denied that adscam happened……….Harper seems to think he has never done anything wrong……….

          • The contempt charge?? The Liberals should hang their heads is shame for using the contempt charge for such a minor offense. It's never been used before in the Commonwealth, and all of us can be sure a lot more serious offenses were committed that did not trigger this charge (look at Chretian for starters). The Liberals and the rest of the opposition should be censured for abuse of power and process. All for an election trinket they can wave around so they can claim to the ignorant they did something grand. And they want to lead this great country – not with my vote!!

          • So you are saying that they did nothing wrong…..of course…and that is my point….

          • I never said they did not do anything wrong, but you don't hang people for a speeding ticket. The Liberals again abuse the system for political gain.

          • And spent millions and millions of tax dollars, during a recession, to advertise themselves.

            The CPC are not the only hypocrites. Anyone who whines about Adscam on one hand, and turns a blind eye to the misuse of public money to advertise a government, is the very definition of hypocrite. I guess that is why there is never any point in proving Harper's hypocrisy to those who share his "moral" code.

          • Uh, we voted the bums out.

            But according to your logic, you shouldn't support the Conservatives because Mulroney got a whole bunch of cash in a brown paper bag, lied about it, then sued and won a whole bunch more of OUR cash. And he still hasn't paid it back.

          • Got proof? Take it to the RCMP.

            Got nothing? Take a hike.

  10. Got to hand it to Duceppe, while the words coming out of his mouth say "not trying to invent things" he is waving a copy of the 2004 letter and tweeting the coalition word.

    How many people will take the time to understand that "cooperation is not the same as coalition"?

    • I guess you didn't hear what he said. Feel free to draw conclusuins anyway.

    • How many people will take the time to understand that "win some-lose some" is not the same as "found in contempt of Parliament?"

      • Oh, yeah, and did the CBC tell you that it was an historic event.

        Please, remember, it was an historic event. HIstoric I tell you.

        • "When a government starts trying to cancel dissent or avoid dissent is frankly when it's rapidly losing its moral authority to govern."

          Stephen Harper Canadian Press, April 18, 2005

          • This is not 05. The Liberal party was caught systematically stealing money from the taxpayers and you know it. The government had to go. Once again this is not 05 and you know that too. Where has the Harper government tried to cancel dissent. I think you are somehow living in the twilight zone of your own making.

          • yes…actually….everyone "Knows" it….we don't seem to have a problem admitting when mistakes are made..Adscam was wrong…..we ALL know this Hollinm…..
            ..Harper and his supporters do , however, seem to have a very big problem admitting a mistake….it come across as arrogant…..and someone on here actually accused Coyne of being a "Liberal"…..

          • When you with-hold from the opposition the numbers needed to make prudent fiscal decisions, you are attempting to avoid any dissent that may arise from the opposition perusing those numbers. This can, and did, result in the Conservatives being found in contempt of Parliament.
            Cutting Kevin Page's PBO staff and budget to undermine his reporting is another way to avoid dissent.

            These are but two examples.

            hollinm, your crack about the twilight zone is tawdry and cheap. These are Stephen Harper's words, and you know damned well that he has strayed from the principles that uttered them.
            You are always quick to leap upon the perceived hypocrisy of others, but when Conservative hypocrisy is revealed, you retreat to your fallback adscam/everyone else is wrong twilight zone meme.
            All leaders make mistakes in conduct and in judgement. But to hear you defend it, you would think that Stephen Harper is beyond reproach in both word and deed. In my books, myopic support for any one party is simplistic at best, and dangerous at worst.

          • Bravo – this is an excellent dressing down of hollinm. Reading their posts is exhausting because they are either not self-aware of or are in denial of their own cognitive dissonance.

          • I sure do know it is not 2005. It is 2011 – it took Harper a mere 6 years to out corrupt the LPC.

            Bravo Mr. Harper. Bravo.

          • Funny, I thought 'dissent' was a generic term, I didn't realize it specifically refers only to Adscam.

            Learn something new every day, I suppose.

          • The Liberal Party didn't steal a dime. But a few corrupt individuals starting with civil servants and ad agency execs did.

        • If this is the first government to fall because of contempt of parliament, it is an historic event.

          • Nobody who follows politics believes the crap you just spouted. When a cabinet minister gets held in contempt in a majority government then we can talk.

          • I follow politics….I believe "the crap" he just spouted……..and yes …I am a real Canadian….

          • "Nobody who follows politics believes the crap you just spouted."

            Not for the first time, I encourage you to speak for yourself, hollinm.

          • The opposition abused the process. They should be censured.

          • I totally hear you. That horrible mean and nasty Opposition – actually doing their jobs

            (Maybe you missed the part where the Speaker had to first rule a case for contempt was provable on the facts before the MP's could find the government in contempt. They do this in order to avoid a situation where an opposition simply makes it up. There is a requirement for an objective analysis first. But you will ignore this because it does not fit the "poor poor little conservatives" narrative.)

          • Were that the case, the Speaker would have intervened. He didn't.

          • To bring such a trivial issue as spending estimates up for a contempt charge is contempt of the process.Try getting that done in majority government. The fact that this has never been done before in the Commonwealth suggests our friends in the other Parliamentary Democracies have more respect for the institutions we live under and don't abuse them for crass political opportunism. Prime Ministers in all countries more than likely have done far worse (start with Chretian) and were never found in contempt – why – because they had majorities most likely. Bleat about contempt all you want, most people see through it.

          • Parliament has a quite reasonable right (in fact, a fiscal duty) to know the cost of bills it is being asked to approve. In the case of bills that apparently would significantly add to the cost of corrections, this is not a "trivial" amount. The government met its obligation to parliament with a perhaps-still incomplete document dump on a house committee at the eleventh hour. That is an arrogant display of contempt of parliament, and that (among a host of other transgressions is why the Harper government lost a vote of confidence.

            If, as you assert, this has never happened in the Commonwealth, perhaps that's because no other government has shown such brazen disregard of it's democratic obligations.

            Don't try to frame the matter as a mere quibble of "spending estimates". In doing so, you are either being disingenuous or are ignorant of parliamentary conventions and procedures.

            And I would suggest you shouldn't presume to speak on behalf of "most people". It has yet to be seen how many will "see through it".

          • The Gun Registry.

          • I agree that was a fiscal disaster but, in hindsight, it would seem to have been an example of administrative incompetence rather than deliberate withholding of financial information from parliament. In other words, I suspect that, as it rolled out, the Liberals themselves were mortified at the ballooning cost.

            By that's not the same as refusing to disclose financial information to which Parliament is entitled, which is the contempt issue we're been discussing.

            I mean, if we want to include mismanagement in our debate about each party's sins, I'll see your gun registry and raise you the G/20 fiasco.

          • You know what brooster, you are a piece of work, I'm wasting my time here but, you Libs always have a fall guy, ie administrative error, my a$$, Libs never stand up and take responsibility. Where did much of that "mortified" ballooning cost end up, or where did the the "HDRC Billions Dollar Boondoggle" bucks go? I don't think the advertising thing was an isolated incident. Pure conjecture on my part but a pattern of missing money. Lots of money. A contempt of Parliament charge? Not with a majority.
            The G20 costing was public and yes damaging to the government, so do we host it again? I would say forgetiaboutit.

          • Sorry for "wasting your time". I assumed you were one of the few in Harper's camp who was capable of discussing issues other than the dreaded coaltion. My mistake, obviously.

            And I'm not a "Lib"; never have been.

      • Harper refers to this as 'just a vote in parliament'.

        • Just a vote in parliament that Canadians don't care about.

          • Harper thinks voters are all dumb and apathetic.

          • Harper WANTS voters dumb and apathetic

    • People who taught at Havard don't seem to understand the difference. And we want the professor to run this country? God help us all.

      But then again, he will always have Andrew Coyne, the G&M and the CBC to do the dirty work for him

      • Now your just being pithy.

    • As best I can determine the letter does not explicitly mention coalition, that is right. OTOH, the letter also does not explicitly mention cooperation.

      The letter does indicate that at some time in the past the opposition parties "have been in close consultation" (still nothing about coalition or cooperation).

      As to what they want to happen in the future, the letter simply asks the GG (in the event of a request for dissolution) to do two things:
      1) "consult the opposition leaders", and
      2) "consider all of your options".

      It is not clear what would have occurred during the consultation phase; different people will draw different conclusions. The second phase, since it was to cover "all of your options" would not be complete unless if included consideration of a coalition arrangement as well as consideration of a cooperative arrangement.

      If only the letter would have been clearer one way or the other.

      • You may be right but would that so called coalition have actually divied out cabinet positions and given the Bloc veto over anything to do with Quebec? Trying to decipher a letter that was done in 04 really does little to advance the discussion today. The real question is why is the Liberal party, if you believe the polls, prepared to jump over a cliff where they have little chance of winning? There is a hidden agenda and it is not Harper's.

        • Hey. You know what is so funny about your post?

          That the agreement with the Bloc did not have them any veto. At all. Over anything.

          When you have to make stuff up to prove your point, it generally means you do not have one.

    • Leo states "How many people will take the time to understand that "cooperation is not the same as coalition"?"
      So good for the goose, good for the gander? Your alright then Leo if the non Harper elected representatives dance the cooperation rag but stop short of the slow coalition waltz?

  11. Harper should know when he says "you can seek to break up the country, or you can govern the country, but you can't do both."

    He's been trying to break up the country since he worked for the NCC and he's never been governing since cheating to steal the 2006 election. He uses divisiveness and our money to campaign full time. He deserves to be thrown out of our government all together not just put in the opposition seats.

    • Stole the election?

      How? B y using a funding technique that was legal and being used by all parties?… and now, after Elections Canada has changed the law, they deem it illegal and retroactively go after only the Conservatives? Seems like there is a massive bias at EC, no?

      Give your wee head a shake man…

      • It has never been ok to spend over the limit.

        Nice try though.

      • EC has no power to change the law, and of course they never did so.

        You’d be more persuasive if you demonstrated you knew what you are talking about.

      • Yeah, "Harper is" is more than a bit over the top with the breakup and election-stealing assertions. You want to know what true election-stealing looks like, look south and back a decade (give or take); Dubya will show ya how it's done.

        Nonetheless, the CPC – despite their spin, which you are trying hard to perpetuate – do appear to have gotten a little too creative with their spending scheme. If a prosecutor appointed by the CPC took 20 months to review the evidence and decided charges were necessary, it really doesn't look good for them. The fact that similar charges weren't laid against the other parties implies the difference in behaviour was more than minor – because you can be sure they looked.

        The courts will have the final say, but on the basis of what is currently known, it doesn't pass the smell test.

      • I know exactly what you mean. In my work, I use accounting techniques that are legal and used by everyone, but CRA only goes after me. It's so unfair, and it's totally because they're massively biased against me. I even made up some fake invoices to make them go away, but when they found out they were fake, and that the people on the invoices didn't order those goods and services, this just made them madder!

        I tried to tell them that if they agreed with me that it would show that they'd learned their lesson, and that they wouldn't be biased anymore, but they weren't ready to hear me yet. If only they'd give their heads a shake.

    • I agree totally. Harper wouldn't know truth if he shook its hand [yes Ignatieff said it but I thought it was a good line.]
      What I am bothered about is that Macleans has studiously avoided the contempt of parliament ruling as if it had no merit. I understand this is the first time this has happened in Canada. Surely it merits serious attention.

  12. Oh yeah Coyne. I'd believe ANYTHING you and ANY Liberal said. (insert sarcasm here)

    • Albertans are almost as bad as Quebecois when it comes to believing or trusting outsiders.

      • So Coyne is a Liberal now?

        Hey, Andrew! Did you know about this?

      • Gee. I wonder why. $5 on how long it takes Ignatieff to join previous Liberal leaders in bashing Alberta during federal elections.

        • Maybe it's so easy to bash you because you're such a bunch of whiny little martyrs.

  13. Getting better, Andrew. I'd sill take issue with the thing about entering into a coalition with the Bloc being illegitimate though…they are duly elected and they represent their constituents so entering into a coalition with them is legitimate, if distasteful. I've yet to be convinced that Canadians couldn't understand that were it explained to them in a calm, factual manner.

    As for the agreement that Harper signed in 2004 and the one Dion signed in 2008, Dion specifically left the Bloc out of a formal coalition but Harper's letter left that door open by not specifying. That makes Harper even more hypocritical, I think.

    • Dion left them out but had Duceppe sign the paper anyway? The actual agreement included a veto for the Bloc. Explain to me again how Dion specifically left them out.

      Oh, and I guess I could point out the whole math problem with your premise. You know, Consevatives had more seats than the Liberals and NDP combined. But why bother.

      • It did not give the Bloc a veto. Stop lying.

        • Read the coalition agreement. It gave the Bloc veto over all things pertaining to Quebec.

        • Can`t count?

          Without the Bloc support the Lib-NDP coalition can't be formed or kept the confidence of Parliament.

          Thanks for demonstrating your Liberal math education.

          • I can count, but I see you still cannot read.

            Try again.

          • Sure it could. The CPC could support it. Case by case. Just as it was done over the past two years.

      • "Explain to me again how Dion specifically left them out."

        Dion signed a coalition agreement with the NDP. He signed an agreement with the Bloc pledging their support. Specifically different agreements, specifically leaving the Bloc out of the coalition.

        There is no "math problem" unless you lack the intellectual wherewithal to understand ho our system of government works.

        • Explain how the Liberals and NDP coalition keep the confidence of Parliament with the support of the Bloc on supply bills.

          • The same way all minorities do…on a case by case basis, just as the Conservatives have been doing.

          • Cognitive dissonance on display, without the 48 votes from the Bloc to remove confidence and give it to the Lib-NDP coalition how does it exactly work out any other way?

            The CPC were able to get support as the longest serving minority in Canadian history from each party taking turns in passing their agenda? They were rewarded in 2008 or punished by the taxpayers?

            Based on the performance of Canada in comparison to the G7 and the global problems what would give a rational person an angry taxpayer? The polls are clear, Liberals have not hit 30% since 2010.

          • The Bloc agreed in writing to give up their right to defeat the government for 18 months.

            That is not giving them a veto. That is taking their veto away.

            it is not that hard. All you have to have is a basic understanding of the English language.

          • Shorter Gayle, only a radical leftie does this math.

            143 CPC = 113 LPC+NDP

          • I see you STILL have not learned to read.

            It is cute the way you totally ignore the facts and continue to spout your nonsense in the face of them.

            ha ha ha ha ha

    • " I've yet to be convinced that Canadians couldn't understand that were it explained to them in a calm, factual manner. "
      22 million is a lot of tractor rides…

  14. "If I am given the privilege of forming the government ..… We will not enter a coalition"

    I can't believe you think we're as stupid as he does. he rules out the coalition if he wins the election, but he knows that's not happening.
    if he gave us "no coalitioon of losers" i might believe him, but considering that his lips were moving …

    • "if he gave us "no coalitioon of losers" i might believe him"

      I'f like to see him specifically rule out a coalition with the Conservatives as well.

    • "considering that his lips were moving … "

      Must be contagious. Harper has been experiencing the same problem since before Iggy came along…

      • And the voters decided to reward him with more seats in 2008 and hand the Liberals the worst election defeat since Confederation in popular support.

        • Worst election defeat since confederation.. and still a minority.

          Hell of a "reward" Sounds more like it was punishment for the Liberals and the CPC happened to catch some happy fallout for themselves.

          • Follow the trend lines since the last Liberal majority in 2000. The other parties have been gaining at the expense of the Liberals.

            A drop of another 1-2% for the Liberals according to the pollsters will result in a dozen seats loss from the Liberals.

            Despite Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff's protestations that a coalition is suddenly and entirely out of the question, the majority of his own supporters don't believe a word he says.

            Worse, if a coalition did evolve from the debris at election's end, they wouldn't want him to lead it. http://www.torontosun.com/comment/editorial/2011/

            This is NOT the first poll that has confirmed this FACT.

            In the next 34 days cheerleaders, apologists will be attacking non-Liberals as knuckle draggers.

            It did not work in NB, Toronto or in the US when Democrats got their heads handed to them.

            The left-Liberals agenda tax and spend ideology is losing it's cachet.

  15. When are you guys going to get it straight. Stephen Harper will be Prime Minister on May 3 whether he has the most seats or the second most seats. Nobody is "called to form a government" We already have a government. The question is will the newly elected House vote confidence in the Harper government? If so he continues. If not he is replaced by someone who does have confidence of the House.
    Lets move on.

    • I agree that what you have described is technically correct (not to downplay technicalities at all). But for completeness, it is convention to resign/concede defeat/call the GG ahead of the first day back in the house if your party does not have the highest seat count (or if you haven't made a coalition arrangement, I suppose), no?

      • Yes but Mackenzie King messed it up. I have NO doubt our PM would not repeat that crisis.

        For many of us the inclusion of the Bloc is a no go for either the Liberals or Conservatives.

        If the NDP and Liberals want to form a coalition without Bloc support they should declare it with details before the ballots are counted. Ignatieff refused in 2010 to formalize the negotiations hinted to by Warren Kinsella going on again in the background with the elders from the Lib-NDP.

  16. Whew ! That was close, Mr. Coyne. The prospect of Libby Davies as Minister of Defence
    must have you in nocturnal petit mal seizures. Now that you've .. to your satisfaction ..
    eliminated the thought of the nation being bumped even slightly to the left, you can go
    back to your usual obsessions. Unless you have another red herring to troll across
    the current.

  17. This foolishness will be gone when Harper has vacated the premises. As long as he is infesting the HoC, there will be paranoia, micro-managing, suspicion, and backstabbing in Parliament.

    • I dunno, Margaret, he has a whole caucus of mini-mes to carry on his traditions…

    • Agree wholeheartedly with the second sentence. Not so sure his departure will cure Parliament of the problem (though the symptoms may be less severe)

    • Canadians will fumigate the Liberats and Dippers out of the HoCs … according to all the polls.

      • There IS no Canada; it's Harperland. Read the talking points you were given before posting.

      • And this will help democracy, how?

    • HA! Welcome to life as a (small c)conservative circa 2005

  18. And so Mr.Coyne is starting to feel sorry for Mr.Ignatieff. Sounds like the boys in the media had some get-to-gether. The Globe today asks its readers to play it nice, to not beat up on Ignatieff – afterall, the Liberal leader is such an esteemed intellectual and all – and now we have Mr.Coyne himself asking us to deflect attention away from Ignatieff's problems by shuffling them over onto Harper.

    Mr.Ignatieff must really be in a cozy relation ship with the media. But then again, he was a media personality himself.

    Yesterday, Mr.Ignatieff questioned Terry Melewski when the reporter asked a question about the coalition. Ignatieff seemed utterly shocked that a CBC reporter dared to ask a question which had been asked by the Conservative party for so long.

    This is not about two leader duking it out; this is about the media being questioned about impartiality.

    • yup, the media is in a huge conspiracy against you. They are controlled by giant inter-dimensional, shape-shifting lizards, and those lizards really hate Steve Harper.

      • The National Press Gallery have lost the trust of Canadians.
        Canadians can not be manipulated by the old boys in the Liberal MSM . We thankfully have the internet!

        • Hear, hear!!!

        • Just like your Dear leader has been answering questions since he came into power. Harper has avoided the media like a plague because he can't bring himself to answer ay question without being scripted. Talking of the National press gallery, they have been so cowed by the Cons. that, they can't call the P.M. on his numerous lies. I think you should chose your words carefully especially when it comes to the media favoring one party over the other. I think th media has given the Harper Govt. a free pass for the past 5years.

          • Free pass? What universe are you residing in? Remember the character assassination and religious persecution of one conservative on national television during a leadership convention in 2000? Warren and Lloyd laughing their heads off using dinosaur dolls to openly ridicule someone who has actually turned out to be one of the very best parliamentarians by anyones standards in the last eleven years (since the TV event).

            I have no religion at all personally but that pathetic TV character drudging was never warranted because time has shown that the MP never once brought his faith beliefs into his professional job in any way that we can decipher.

            Because it is always politics with the Ottawa reporters and partisans, no one ever stood up to defend that man….like they stood up to that terrible face advert of PM Chretien a few years earlier. Why? The actual religion of the conservative it turns out, was also shared by 37 other willingly silent Liberal MP´s.
            Partisanship triumphs over reason and truth.

          • Anyone who believes the Earth is 6000 years old is worthy of any and all scorn. They are not members of the evidence-based community.

  19. Hey Andrew, I consider the issue settled. It has taken far too long to get Ignatieff to this point — he should have ruled out a coalition long ago

    He has many months ago Andrew, wh so where have you been? . You know Andrew for a smart man you can also be a dumb one just as well. If you are going to make accusations, be prepared to prove it with a credible link to what Mr. Ignatieff actually said about forming a coalition I consider the issue settled. It has taken far too long to get Ignatieff to this point — he should have ruled out a coalition long ago

  20. Andrew for a it certainly shows where your alliance lies with the mock collation party of harpers Reformer, Alliance party and a few true progressive conservatives in the mix. Now that'd what I call a coalition. If you are going to make accusations, be prepared to prove it with a credible link

    • I think Coyne is quite a bit smarter than you. You talk about Reform and Alliance as a coalition? Hate to break it to you, but that's what is called a merger. Should the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc choose to merge into one party and only run one candidate in each riding, you would have a valid argument. As seen by your above comments, Coyne has valid reason for his comments regarding Ignatieff fumbling the coalition issue.

      p.s. The reason the three opposition parties will never merge comes down to money. That $1.95 per vote for each party. That and the fact Canadians would never want Layton controlling fiscal policy and Duceppe giving input on transfer payments and provincial jurisdiction.

      • Yeah, because none of the opposition parties existed before the per-vote subsidy. See what happened was they were just one big, happy party called the opposition and then the per-vote subsidy came in, so they split into three. Also, the Sasquatch are arming themselves and plan to take over Moose Jaw.

  21. Like the federal Conservatives, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's government is apparently an ardent supporter of lower costs for corporations, plans to follow Ottawa in cutting taxes and is committed to the construction of new, large correctional facilities.

    I called the Liberals to inquire. Their MP, David McGuinty, called me back. He was careful to make sure he understood my question, and I was careful to make sure I had heard his answer correctly. And it was unequivocal: the same rules would apply in either case. No coalition, no formal arrangement with the Bloc.

    Hey Coyne. Aren't these guys both brothers and Liberals? They seem to be on different sides of a Conservative election plank. Maybe you should call Dalton and get his view of things. Baaaahahahahahahaha.

    • Oh right. The Dalton guy isn't going to stump for Iggy. Not very much trust between the provincial and federal Libbies.

      • Dalton has his own problems, and his own election to prep for.

        • Very good observation, Keith: indeed, Dalton has his own problems and his own election to prep for. He's eyeing Michael how things pan out………………..since it will be the provinces which will end up paying for the daycare spaces Michael is promising with someone's else's money.

    • How's that dispute between your provincial government and the feds on the single regulater coming along?

      • Sorry Jan. My party is the Wildrose Party of Alberta. The Progressive Conservative Parties of Canada are Liberals in Conservative clothing in most cases. And just as useless.

        • And you consider Harper to be a true blue Conservative?

          • Harper is a Conservative who is just right of centre who has been saddled with a minority government and whose party would be given 2 or 3 majorities if given that first one. Canadians would be pleasantly surprised as are the nervous nellies who thought he had a hidden agenda. Those people are now voting CPC.

          • In your opinion is the Harper conservatives closer to the Wild Rose Party or the Alberta Progressive Conservative party?

        • I don't talk to Alberta separatists, sorry.

  22. Andrew:

    Unless you get it from Mr. Ignatieff a statement on this carries no water.

    And even if it did, Mr. McGinty did not rule out a formal coalition agreement with the NDP and the NDP brought down the government because it wouldn't double the size of the CPP.

    The point remains – in a minority situation there is a very high likelyhood that the result will almost immediately be a Liberal coalition with one or more of the left-wing parties. (if the LP+ND seat count is less than the CPC's that means at the very least veto power for the BQ) That is the choice before Canadians.

    And as for promises – the LPC has a long history of breaking vows made during a campaign – "Zap, you're frozen"; Cancelling the GST; Dions vow to not form a coalition etc. Canadians should have little confidence (paerdon the pun) in the LPC in this under-duress case.

    • PS- what the heck are you doing watching Jerry Springer?

      • The government wasn't brought down on the budget, Gord. Day one and we're knee deep in lies.

    • Notice how new criteria are simply invented on the spot to further CPC deceptions? "Oh, unless you were wearing a double blazered brown suit it's still oK for the CPC but Libs are lying no matter what they say."

        • You understand how linking to another opinion, even if its an opinion by an opinion writer, isn't proof of anything, right?

          I think its good that you link to an opinion by someone that shares your opinion and that we might not have read. I don't have a problem with that. But all I can hear is my children arguing with each other and bringing in Mom, Dad, Auntie Mar, even Grandma and Grandpa and our respective opinions to 'win' the argument. And as everyone knows, it was only Grandma's opinion that really counted :) Miss ya, Mom.

          • May 2 will be essentially what you have outlined above – whoever brings in the most people to support their opinion/side of the argument wins. That is how all issues – even those of science are dealt with by the way. I think that more will agree with my side than yours. we shall see.

          • This is an interesting variation on the "say it a number of times and it becomes true" argument.

          • Uh-huh, but this isn't election day, nor is this forum a ballot box.

  23. "While it's abundantly clear that Harper was ready to replace Paul Martin as prime minister under exactly the circumstances he now denounces — making him not just wrong but hypocritical — it is equally clear he was not proposing to form a coalition."

    Say what? Can you make sense of your own logic, Mr.Coyne?

    Could you state for us whether you have been offered a job position in the PMO were Ignatieff to form government?

    So that everyone can be clear on this from the get-go.

    • "Could you state for us whether you have been offered a job position in the PMO were Ignatieff to form government? "

      Doesn't typing this sort of thing make you feel at least slightly embarrassed? You've basically just accused Andrew Coyne of taking bribes from the Liberals.

      • I have not accused any body, least of all Mr.Coyne. It does not embarras me at all to ask important questions. I know the possibility does exist that media personalities come to fill PMO offices, and so I am asking point blank if such offer has been made to Coyne in advance.

        He may not have been offered a position or he may have. Just knowing about that would clear up any confusion which may exist. Clearing up the confusion would serve the state of our democracy well, I believe.

        • I'm sorry but that's absurd. Are you going to ask the same thing of every media personality? If so, I hope you also ask them if they intend to work for any of the other parties.

          And by the way, accused was unfair, implied would have been a better word.

          • Thank you for apologizing for having tried to put the word 'accuse' coming out of my mouth.

            Look, Mr.Coyne knows that I do not suspect him of being offered a position in an eventual Ignatieff government. (That does not mean that I don't think the possibility does not exist; it merely indicates that I don't believe Coyne has taken up such an offer.)

            And so if Mr.Coyne knows that Harper has been consistent in his take on coalition forming, then why would Coyne suddenly shift focus onto Harper when it comes to the coalition issue? He should know better than that. If Coyne has the right to publically suspect Harper unnecessarily and call him a hypocrite on such conclusions, I will reserve the right to do the same when called for. And the situation called for it, in my ooinion. Coyne's write up is also just an opinion, not?

          • I find it rude and offensive of you to imply that Andrew Coyne's opinions might be a result of him being offered a job in a Liberal government (which is how I read your original comment).

            Since you "don't suspect Andrew Coyne of being offered a position in an eventual Ignatieff government" then can I respectfully suggest that you refrain from implying he has been?

          • Do you not understand my post before this one?

            "And so if Mr.Coyne knows that Harper has been consistent in his take on coalition forming, then why would Coyne suddenly shift focus onto Harper when it comes to the coalition issue? He should know better than that. If Coyne has the right to publically suspect Harper unnecessarily and call him a hypocrite on such conclusions, I will reserve the right to do the same when called for. And the situation called for it, in my ooinion. Coyne's write up is also just an opinion, not? "

            Are we now to believe that only Harper is capable of hypocracy? Or of being wrong? Mr.Coyne does not stand above the fray for having opinions and not be questioned on them.

            Indeed, you have the right to hold your opinions. We all have such rights.

          • The guy offered his opinion. That's it. Take your outrage some place else. Do I agree with him? No! I disagreed with his comment.

        • Maybe you should just have a warm glass of milk and go to bed. You've gone beyond being amusing and thought-provoking. Now you're being ridiculous.

          • Of course, then the real questions are being asked, one is advised to go have glass of milk and go to bed. Why are we so afraid to talk about the real issues? Why are we only allowed to touch the surface and not go beyond that?

            In my opinion, politics is played on a much deeper level than what's generally discussed here on the boards. And if we are not waking up to such happenings, what good does an understanding, or pitching, of a democracy truly mean if we are not to discuss those deeper levels?

          • So what are the "real issues"? I'm sorry for being a mere mortal who is (demonstrably) incapable of fathoming "those deeper levels".

            Evidently, I and millions need your guidance. Show us the way…please.

            I await your response.

          • I know you are just trolling but I am willing to take this challenge up in good faith. There are indeed millions and millions of voters who read just the headlines, and who are not interested in seeing beyond the surface.

            When titles such as "Harper's hypocricy problem" are being pitched to catch the eye of the casual browser, the image Coyne portrays of Harper is a misleading one, to put it mildly.

            Now, I may have my suspiscions why he would title the piece the way he did, namely to push the conservative surge down a notch. The same intent could be read in the G&M editorial today!

            The fact is that Harper has always been clear in his stand on coalitions: anything without formal involvement with the BQ is fair game when it comes to forming of coalitions in this country as well as in other countries. If anyone believes that the general population stands for BQ holdiing the balance of power in this country (even when Spain and Iraq are offered as examples to the contrary), they are mistaken. And to lead readers into believing that Harper has been a hypocrite or has been wrong in making his intentions known, then Coyne is hypocritical himself. And I called him on it. He implied that Harper has been hypocritical when it comes to the forming of coalitions and I say Coyne is hypocritical for calling out Harper on such a call unnecessarily, specially when it manages to take the hot potato out of Ignatieff;s hands.

            I believe Coyne knew what he was doing, but a casual reader will not be able to see through to deeper levels being played out by the media. And our democracy is in danger if the average reader does not care for looking beyond the headlines. The headline Coyne used, and Harper's hypocracy so-called explained by Cpyne within the piece, are like looking for excuses to put Harper in a position he did not put himself into. Coyne has placed Harper in the position. Harper had not put himself in that position. That is the difference.

            Let me tell you that a coalition between the LIbs and NDP in 2008 could not have been possible without the involvement of the BQ. The numbers did not make it possible. Harper was very clear on that. And so was the rest of the country when giving Harper the 45% of confidence at the time of coalition annnouncement.

          • " But it's so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you: are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet or his enemy's? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me."

          • "Do not be tempted to abandon your trust in the senses when the proposition is put before you: that the sweetness of wine is produced by the presses; for has the grape not told you, when you picked her off the vine, that the sweetness of sunshine had already been gathered up within her growth?"

          • Nice quote. Where is it from? Google doesn't seem to recognize it.

          • Thanks, sine_ingenio

      • To be fair, there is a precedent for this sort of thing.

        Mike Duffey makes hay out of an improper question posed to the LPC leader. A report that certainly hurt the LPC in the 2008 election.

        Mike Duffey gets appointed to the Senate soon after.

        • Gayle, thank you for making that clear. You are right. It has happened in the past. All parties have done it. And all parties will do so in the future. We cannot be naive in thinking that it will not happen. We, as readers, must be on guard, always.

          • Well no, I don't think you can say "all parties have done it".

            I have proven that Harper did it. Can you prove anyone else did?

          • Jim Munson jumped from a prominent reporter position to become Chretiens Chief of Staff or Communications Director (can´t recall which) for quite a period of time and then Chretien Senatorized him.

          • And did he report on something during the campaign that vastly increased Chretien's chances of winning?

          • Never mind. I looked it up myself. Seems he was let go by CTV in 2001 (long after Chretien had an established majority government) and then hired by Chretien a YEAR later.

            Hardly the same thing.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Munson

  24. It is good to know that Iggy will never enter a coalition win or lose. Thanks for clarifying for us. It is now on record.

    • Only if Iggy wins the most seats. There is nothing in the statement saying what he would do if they did not get the most seats. Also remember that the 2008 Coalition agreement is still in effect and expires in June 2011. Will that be a factor?

      • RTFA.

        • I did RTFA and just because Coyne had a private – very carefully – listened to conversation with a lackey doesn't make it official policy of the Liberal party unless the leader makes the statement himself, publicly. So my comment above stands.

  25. Harper is trying to ensure that he remains PM no matter what the outcome of the next election.

    He is the most arrogant PM that Canadians have gad to endure.

    He refused to apologize for this utter contempt of Parliament and Canadians after his government was voted out of office for this contempt.

    Instead, a contemptuous Harper then pushed he contempt of our Parliamentary democracy further by stating that no Party except his can form a government after the vote because his party will still hold a plurality of the seats – not a majority.

    Harper considers that since Liberal or socialist are inherently immoral they do no have the right to govern Canada. Only good upstanding Evangelical Christian nationalists like himself have the right to govern Canada.

    He is a dangerous demagogue and should not be trusted.

    • No worse that Trudeau and Chretien.

      • Actually worse than both of them put together. For a youthful guy with so much hate and meanness about everything aropund him. He is eveil personified.

    • OK; that last sentence was waaay below the belt.

      I'd address the Iggy comment, but that nasty shot at Jack makes it clear I'd be wasting my breath.

    • It's fortunate for you that our democracy tolerates free speech, including tripe like you just posted. You must be one nasty specimen.

  26. I am so tired, already, on the first day, of this preciously tedious parsing . Omigod he's breathing! That means he's lying! Omigod he not breathing! That means he's lying! He said something! He's lying! He didn't say nothin' He's lying!

    Look at the record. Look at the history. Look at the actions. Stop thinking and start looking. Draw your conclusions from what you know, not from what you dream.

    • Liz May? That you?

    • I saw his signature on a coalition document. The leader of his party before him did it. I wasn't dreaming when I saw three Leaders – the BQ included at the coalition press conference in 2008.

      • So you're afraid of a parliamentary democracy led by a cooperative arrangement amongst the majority of it's members?

        • When it includes and always requires the support of a party whose raison d'etre is the breakup of the federal polity, then uh, yeah.

          I think some people figure that 'cos the Bloc's been there for 20 years now, that they're just a nice warm and fuzzy political party. They're not … they are a serious jam on the working of our national Parliament. It is a Parliament after all, and not a Congress, but the Bloc members act at all times as though it's the latter, only worried about what Quebec's share is, what Quebec's getting out of the federation, and not worried at all about what's in the best interests of the federation as a whole.

          • Then you consider a large portion of Harper government legislation invalid?

          • ::crickets::

          • They come out at night.

          • I thought that was cockroaches.

          • Also vampires.

        • Reread the article.

          "cooperation is not the same as coalition"

          • Well, there seems to be a difference for you between a number of elected representatives from our parliament agreeing to a course of action, and a number of elected representatives from our parliament who have signed a piece of paper agreeing to a course of action,

          • Um, no. There's a difference between one party forming the government and multiple parties forming the government. Maybe AC can write an article for you about "cooperation is not the same as coalition" so that you understand.

          • Parliament is the government led by the party which can command the support of the house. Government is not invested in a party.

          • Good for you, you can make things up as needed.

          • I know it's a quality you admire.

    • hear hear. what a waste of time. the parties elected will do whatever they can come up with to cobble together something to lead the country, end of story.

      it's sad that the liberal party had to exclude a completely valid parliamentary option because of fearmongering. socialists! duly elected! in our streets!

  27. So now, it seems, the option of forming coalitions of any kind in Canadian federal politics is radioactive. That's a shame, IMO, since they can offer the best promise for stable government in multi-party democracies. Now, we have both major parties swearing they'll try to form minority governments based on constant issue-by-issue negotiation. Not a bad dynamic if we like the idea of collaboration, but hardly a recipe for "stable" government.

    How did the idea of government by coalition become so toxic in Canada when it has worked effectively and repeatedly in other countries?

    • Simple: CPC attack ads and a politically unsophisticated populace.

      • In reply to both Keith and brooster: Is there any evidence that coalitions are considered toxic? I think the 2008 coalition was toxic to many people for a number of good reasons. I also think the Liberals want to avoid a coalition now because it wouldn't serve their own political interests. I also respect the fact that Ignatieff was very clear that coalitions are perfectly legitimate, but that the Liberals are not intending to form one.

        I also don't think its necessary to blame the general public for being stupid (or politically unsophisticated if you prefer).

        • A significant portion of the populace have clearly been taken in by Harper's assertion that the attempted coalition in 2008 was some sort of coup d'etat; ilegal and traitorous. That he keeps hammering away at it – and that Ignatieff has had to disavow any possibility of a coalition – is proof that (a) a good portion of Canadians don't understand our political system and (b) even the hint of a possible coalition is political poison.

        • No coalitions is probably preferred by the Liberals, as it means that they don't have to share cabinet seats with the NDP (a lot of Liberal MP's think they're due a ministerial limo). Of course, the NDP would have a say in this as well, they don't just have to accept that they wouldn't be afforded seats.

      • Maybe the collective wisdom against that coalition proposal was bang-on, but the collective ability to express its faults was not.

    • Coalitons aren't bad per se, it's the possibility of a coalition that would lead the country in a direction much firther to the left politically than it wants to go.

      • Gotta a problem with Israel's?

        • Both "big" parties in Israel received around 25% of the seats. So of course, barring a Grand Coalition between them, they would have to cobble together a bunch of the other smaller parties to form a governing majority. There's a big difference when one party has 46% of the seats, and the next has 25%, as was the case in 2008.

      • What's "too far to the left"? And what country are you presuming to speaking for?

    • Ah, but one thing that Stephen harper has said at one time (which, naturally, is different from things he has said at other times), is that coaltions are Okay as long as they don't use the world coalition. So you may or may not have anything to fear, depending on what Harper wants to say at any given moment.

    • How? See the 2008 Coalition proposal. That was, and still is, completely nuts. A party with 25% of the seats, with their leader already resigning, enlisting a separatist party in the deal, and the combined gov't caucuses still 30 short of the single biggest party bloc?!? Crazypants all 'round.

      If the Conservatives won and asked the Liberals to join them to provide a stable government for a full parliamentary term, I think most Canadians would applaud that. But the Liberals cannot in any way, shape or form say that's a possibility, and now the Conservatives will find it hard to say that they would form a coalition if they only received a minority mandate, even though Harper while meeting with UK PM Cameron said that coalitions were ok if it was the largest party forming them.

  28. Ladies and gentlemen, It's 11:41 on a Saturday nght, and a two hour-old posting now has almost 80 replies. A large number of them are from brand new anonymous accounts….

    The proxy war of the Young Conservatives and Young Liberals has begun..

    • "Mere coincidence" or "sheer coincidence"? You be the judge!

  29. Coming up soon: Mr.Coyne trying to defend the Liberal financial platform by trying to convince us it will be far superior to anything the Conservative leader could ever hope to produce.

    Mr.Coyne will find a way for explaining the Liberal numbers as to be good solid numbers. All can be trusted because, really, the onus is on Harper to explain his numbers. Coyne might even call Brison to make the promise that the Liberal numbers will be solid. The question will, of course, be repeated and the answers will be repeated also as to convince us that all has been understood correctly.

    Mr.Coyne, what are you doing to yourself?

    • Historically, Liberal platforms have outshone CPC ones.

      • Historically, Liberals have broken fewer of their platform promises than the CPC. Not sure that's what people thought they meant when the CPC promised to do things differently.

        • Wage and price controls, the GST, no coaliton with the BQ those are far far larger than any broken promise save perhaps the "not now not never" weasel words of Brian Mulroney. (that that i am saying the FTA was a bad idea – quite the contrary)

          • ladies and gentlemen, the self-selecting memory and lying mouth of Gord Tulk!

          • Here's a challenge for you: get hold of the 2006 CPC platform (they didn't really have one in 2008, but there are undoubtedly a few promises made then too), and put them into three columns – those achieved; those ignored; and those broken.

            I'll admit, my answer above is purely subjective, and my memory of Lib promises and their completion rate has undoubtedly faded with time, but the sheer number of CPC broken promises certainly seems to me like it must be a record.

            Heck, Harper broke two promises in his very first act as PM: he said no MP should ever be allowed to cross the house without seeking re-election; and he said he would not appoint senators. When he named his cabinet, it included a member just elected under the Liberal banner, and a Quebecois he appointed to the senate so he could be included as a cabinet minister.

            It was at that very moment I lost all respect for and trust in the man. He has reconfirmed my opinion almost daily since.

          • Harper NEVER said that MP's should not be allowed to cross the floor … you are purely projecting that onto him. What he actually said is that there shouldn't be rules governing floor-crossings, b/c that would give party leaders even more power over their MP's.

            As for appointing Senators, he only appointed 2 for the longest time: Michael Fortier, his Montreal rep in gov't, and Bert Brown, who won the Alberta Senatorial election.

            It was only in the wake of the 2008 Coalition crisis that he started appointing to the Senate en masse. By then it was clear that the Liberals could not and would not be shamed into supporting Senate reform, so obviously to pass such bills, you need a majority in the Senate. Seems pretty elementary to me.

          • He only appointed 2, 1 of whom he appointed as his first act as PM. So that means, what – that it was only a teensie weensie broken promise?

            How many does he have to appoint before it is a broken promise? I am pretty sure that answer is 1.

            As for his so-called Senate "reform", I think it is pretty clear he never had any intention of enacting it.

        • Whaaaaaa?!?!?!

          Good luck convincing Canadians of that one! People have seen the Liberal broken promise movie more times than they would like, for multiple lifetimes.

      • yes when they are based on lies, obvuscation and fabrication i..e national daycare, elimination of the GST, elimination of child poverty, lower taxes, getting rid of free trade etc. etc.

    • "Coming up soon: Mr.Coyne trying to defend the Liberal financial platform by trying to convince us it will be far superior to anything the Conservative leader could ever hope to produce."

      You're truly amazing! You seem to see left-wing conspiracies everywhere. Now you're training your sites on Coyne who, I suspect, is regarded by most readers as moderately right-of-center.

      Who, in your view, confirms your world view and speaks "the truth"?

    • I don't know about you but when I'm deciding who to vote for I want all of the parties to "explain their numbers".

      • Absolutely. But so far we've only heard the Tories' numbers and numbers from the Liberals saying that the Tories numbers don't add up. I am waiting for the Liberal numbers and how they would explain their numbers, and furthermore, how the Liberal "exact' numbers will be explained by the media.

        That's all. Fair enough, I'd say!

        • I dunno, I've heard Kevin Page's numbers and they sure differ from the governments.
          Kevin Page was appointed the Parliamentary Budget Officer by Stephen Harper – the same Stephen Harper who has cut his budget and limited his access to the files he needs to do the job Stephen Harper appointed him to do. I wonder why the government would do that?

          What is your opinion of Kevin Page and the PBO's numbers?
          Is he part of the conspiracy too?

  30. Though he would never admit it, I think Coyne sometimes does his contrarian thing and uses inflammatory language like that in the title of this post just to feed the predominately Liberal commenters on this site.
    There is no way he would get 90 responses on a Saturday night if he didn`t entices some of the regulars here with a little bit of Harper-bashing.

    • This is what I think is going on behind the scene: the media elite (not necessarily Coyne) has always liked the prospect of being able to hoist Ignatieff into position of PM. They would love to have him replace Harper. Now that the chance exists that Ignatieff may fall as far as John Turner did in 1984 (you had a choice, sir, you could have chosen to be elected leader by the party membership) or heaven forbid, to fall as far as Kim Campbell did, he must be spared such embarrasment at all cost and the media elite will do anything to spare Ignatieff, and the Liberal party such feat.

      • Who are these "media elite" to which you keep alluding here and elsewhere? Are they large corporations or individual opinion makers?

        • I would certainly include the G&M editorial board and many of its perenial writers such as Simpson and Lawrence what's his name, and the CBC – Peter Mansbridge wears the hate for Harper on his sleeve and cannot stop from smiling when he mentions Ignatieff's name. Just watch the broadcaster in action. Body language says a lot.

          (Did you know that in the last proposed budget, the CBC had been offered a 60 million pay increase for the corp, paid for by tax dollars, that is, if the budget had passed….)

          • So, what if I counter that Quebecor and it's chain of Sun newspapers are similarly biased in the other direction (and throw in the National Post for good measure)?

            I suggest that a spectrum of political views and apparently diverse sympathies in the media are also hallmarks of a robust democracy.

            You have a problem with that, too?

          • But I don't think you could claim that the NP would stoop as low as did the G&M editorial board by printing today's editorial.

            Never seen such insult to the intelligence of the Canadian newspaper reader. But judge for yourself, and see if you can spot how they try to pull the wool over our eyes. I won't comment on this any further, because if readers don't get this insult, then there is not much to discuss.
            http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/edit

          • See, I'd already read it and didn't find it particularly "low stooping". It's all in the eye of the beholder.

            Which goes back to the theme I've been ragging on in our exchanges all evening: neither of us has the right, in an open democracy, to declare the views of others (like the Bloc) "illegitimate", just because we happen not to agree with them.

          • "(Did you know that in the last proposed budget, the CBC had been offered a 60 million pay increase for the corp, paid for by tax dollars, that is, if the budget had passed….)"

            What's the point of this observation if, indeed, it's true?

          • I just wanted to make sure that the reader knows who pays for Mansbridge salary. It's the taxpayer. Therefor, Mansbridge specially has to be none partisan. But his body language does tell a different story. Body language has a difficult time lying.

          • I think you're underestimating the typical CBC viewer if you assume they don't know how the mother corp is funded. I also think that, as a crown corporation, it can't possibly please all citizens in its efforts to be non-partisan. You are an obvious case in point.

            Unfortunately for it, CBC's mandate goes far beyond a mission to simply appeal to partisan voters. In many parts of the country, it's the only game in town.

        • Terry Milewski, Lynne Robson, Craig Oliver, and Don Martin come to mind!

          From their statements and what they choose to cover and report on you wonder if they're not actively trying to manipulate the news so that a closer horse-race develops.

          Coyne is usually a shining beacon of objectivity, but even he seems to be going "wobbly" too.

          • poor little CPC. Everyone is ALWAYS against them!

            (IT is almost as if they are unable to take responsibility for their own actions, and have to blame the mean nasty media for covering anything that shows them in a bad light).

    • interesting take. Certainly the vast majority of the column has nothing to do with the title.

      • Yeah, I had to look twice as well for making sense of the title, but when it comes down to it, Coyne does manage to wiggle in that hypocracy part. It can be found if you read the whole thing. I've read it twice and cannot understand Coyne's logic going into the piece or coming out of the piece. But peace, man! :)

  31. Spot on Gord Tulk

    The existing Lib/NDP coalition is still in force (it expires June 30th – I've never seen reference to its annulment – perhaps Andrew has better contacts within the LP to get them to show him the Annulment Document!

    Then we have Mr. McGuinty and others say they will never form a coalition with the Bloc. One was never formed in 2008 either – just an agreement by the Lib/NDP coalition to allow the Bloc effective veto power over the Coalition's decisions. That agreement expired in June of last year.

    If I were Mr. Ignatieff, I would suggest he be straight about it. Whats wrong with Mr I saying "Look, – for heaven sakes if there is a way to replace the current Government by any means, we have an obligation as the Liberal Party to do all that is necessary to accomplish this." This outcome will be for the good of Canadains – Trust me!." After all, it's the only reason why we are having an election is to accomplish the replacement of the Harper Government – is it not?"

  32. Iggy: We won't form a coaltion.

    Harper: Yes, you will.

    Iggy: No, we won't.

    Harper: Yes, you will.

    Iggy: No, we won't.

    Harper: Yes, you will.

    Pretty much summed up Day 1 of the campaign there. Will it get better? I hope so. If not, can we, I dunno, just have the vote tomorrow? Because, really, I don't think I need a month to make up my mind who to vote for based on a campaign like that. I can just flip a f*cking coin, if that's the case.

    • Except that Ignatieff had said: Maybe I will, maybe I won't. He said that was clear enough.

      • "We will not enter a coalition with other federalist parties. In our system, coalitions are a legitimate constitutional option. However, I believe that issue-by-issue collaboration with other parties is the best way for minority Parliaments to function."

        Yeah, he sure left a lot of questions unanswered.

        Either believe him or don't believe him. But he was pretty clear today.

        • I agree – but watch the tories jump all over the "federalist" bit and claim his failure to rule out separatists as well in this one sentence is proof of plans to collude with the Bloc (even though he specifically reuled that out as well, elsewhere in his speech).

        • "Whoever leads the party that wins the most seats on election day should be called on to form the government."

          "If that is the Liberal Party, then I will be required to rapidly seek the confidence of the newly elected Parliament."

          "If our government cannot win the support of the House, then Mr. Harper will be called on to form a government and face the same challenge."

          So he's setting up the scenario whereby Harper wins the most seats, but not a majority, and that when he goes to test the House, he is defeated. Then the Liberals become gov't, test their hand, and are supported by the NDP and Bloc. How convenient. See mom? No formal agreements!

          If the Libs and CPC are close, I can have and will have no complaints about this. But if they're far behind the Conservatives, I think it would be far better of them to acknowledge the biggest voting bloc and the platform that most people voted for, and offer to work in coalition with the Conservatives to provide strong, stable government over a full parliamentary term.

          • But if they're far behind the Conservatives, I think it would be far better of them to acknowledge the biggest voting bloc and the platform that most people voted for, and offer to work in coalition with the Conservatives to provide strong, stable government over a full parliamentary term.

            The Conservatives do not want to be in a coalition with anybody – especially not the Liberals. The chance that they will listen to any opposition party when enacting legislation is 0%. And the chance that Harper and Ignatieff will be able to agree on the direction that Canada should take looks to be 0% also.

  33. But in his press conference, Ignatieff said: "I will not seek a coalition with the Bloc or NDP!"

    Layton said: "We will work with the other parties to stop another Harper government!". Duceppe said: "Harper is a liar … we had a coalition in 2004!"

    Ignatieff may NOT seek a coalition … BUT … NEITHER does he say he will refuse a coalition after the election if Layton and Duceppe entreat him …. and to make him the PM of Canada.

    Furthermore, the 2008 Coalition Accord is still a live document that lapses on June 30, 2011 …. and Ignatieff has already signed his name to approve it.

    Ergo, Iggy need not seek another coalition because the original coalition is still in effect !!!!!!

    • Wow – bet you're a great pretzel-maker! The troops in the CPC must love you!

      • Ignatieff knows that the only way he will be the PM of Canada is with a NDP-BQ coalition … and ailing failing Jack knows it's his last chance to get his shaky hands on the levers of power in Ottawa.

        If another Conservative minority gov't is overthrown by a Liberal-NDP-BQ coalition to become the gov't of Canada, the largest provincial contingent will be from Quebec with upwards of 70 BQ, Liberal and NDP MPs. Now wouldn't that be interesting!!

        A Lib-Dip-Sep coalition would conceivably be a Quebec-Toronto axis of evil … which would split the country apart .. believe it.

    • And it was the NDP that whispered in Dion's ear about a coalition – it was caught on tape.

      • There is a tape of Layton whispering in Dion's ear? I gotta hear this!

        • Don't you remember the intercepted NDP conference telephone call from Layton to the NDP faithful … where he openly bragged that he was the perpetrator of the infamous 2008 coalition ??!!!

  34. It is curious that when asked by Evan Solomon in 2004 if he was working on forming a colition, Mr. Harper did not deny it.

    Solomon: So why did you write that letter to the Governor-General with Gilles Duceppe and Jack Layton saying in the event of a confidence vote situation do not call a snap election – are we to assume that therefore you're working to form a coalition?
    Harper: There seems to be an attitude in the Liberal government – that they can go in, be deliberately defeated and call an election – that's not how our constitutional system works. The government has a minority – it has an obligation to demonstrate to Canadians that it can govern. That it can form a majority in the House of Commons. If it can't form a majority, we look at other options, we don't just concede to the government's request to make it dysfunctional. I know for a fact that Mr. Duceppe and Mr. Layton and the people who work for them want this Parliament to work and I know it is in all of our interests to work. The government has got to face the fact it has a minority, it has to work with other people.

    • He said then what he has been saying all along. A minority government must work with other people. When the budget was introduces, many things which had been suggested by Layton did end up in the budget. In fact, some of the Liberal suggestions are in the budget.

      But should the Tories have put every NDP and Liberal demand into the budget? In order for the parties to work together don't the opposition parties have to do their fair share?

      That is what Harper said then and what he is saying now.

      • precisely. well put.

      • Flaherty refused to negotiate. How's that for working together?

        • Jan, have you ever entered into a negotiation process? If one party has offered a counter, such as the Conservatives had done by including some of the NDP and LIb demands within the budget, would it then be the Conservative's turn again…..? Flaherty had offered his counter offer into the budget. And Jack had chosen not to take the counter offer. He would rather go campaigning instead. And so it is.

          • Actually, good faith negotiations would be in person. Layton should not have had to wait for the budget. IF Harper was sincere he would have called him up and said "we are prepared to put X in the budget. Are you prepared to support it if we do?".

    • The complete opposite of what he now says. Will the real Harper please stand up?

    • They denied it in the press conference. It was on CTV News tonight, showing Duceppe saying "we are not a coalition!"

      Now he's saying they were one. He talks about how Harper asked him about what he wanted in a Throne Speech … conveniently leaving out the fact that they were talking about an amendment to the Liberal Throne Speech of Paul Martin's gov't.

      That amendment was moved on Oct. 6th, 2004, during the Address in Reply debate. See it here:
      http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publicat

  35. Coyne did you read Maher's column where Dion swore up and down in the Chronicle Hearald board room prior to the election there'd be no Coalition? Then went out right after election day and signed the deal, along with Iggy, Rae et al. What says MI won't do it. And BTW that piece of paper they signed with Duceppe in 2008 is valid until June 2011. Read it!
    Here's the Key Phrase
    'Furthermore, upon its formation, the government will put in place a permanent consultation mechanism with the Bloc Québécois.'
    and this "Term of this Accord
    This Accord will expire on June 30, 2011 unless renewed.
    Agreed on December 1, 2008."
    And they all signed it including Michael Ignatieff

    • Maher: "If, on that day, the Liberals and the NDP have more seats combined than the Conservatives, the Liberals may have the opportunity to take power, either in a coalition with New Democrat MPs in cabinet, or in a looser arrangement, such as the one that saw the Liberals govern Ontario with NDP support in the 1980s.

      Doing so would be democratic and legitimate, however much it would enrage conservatives from sea to sea."

      This report is contradicting itself. The Conservatives are not against the opposition parties forming a coalition if the NDP and Libs come out of this election with more seats combined than the Conservatives on their own. Never have they said that. The 2008 coalition was not legit precisely because the total seats between the Libs and NDP were far less than the Conservative seats and they coalition would have needed most of the BQ seats to make the coalition work. Harper warned us against that part. And it was dangerous for the country to let the BQ have the power in Ottawa. It would have been absurd.
      http://thechronicleherald.ca/Opinion/1234977.html

      • But in order for the LIbs and NDP to have a larger seat count combined, the Tories must be down considerably. And of course when the Conservative seat count goes down because the LIbs and NDP go up, then there is no problem regarding the NDP and LIb forming government.

        The numbers work together, not in isolation. We cannot end up with high numbers for the Conservatives and end up with high numbers for the LIbs and NDP. It is impossible.

  36. here's a report and picture on the 08 coalition:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2008/12/01/co

    and here's the preamble of the document WHICH Mr. Ignatieff SIGNED onto:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/pdf/081201_Policy%20Frame_

    and the key Snip – please take the time to read it carefully:

    "The new Government is supported by parties that share a commitment to fiscal responsibility, a progressive agenda and a belief in the role of Government to act as a partner with Canadians and Quebecers…"

    Some enterprising journo should ask Mr. Ignatieff why he thinks quebecers and Canadians are mutually exclusive (and MR. Layotn and the other signatories while they are at it)

  37. and here's rex murphy's take:
    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/03/26/re

    a key snip:

    " it's worth an underline: If a coalition is one of the prospects on offer in this election from the opposition parties, they owe it to themselves and the electorate to be explicit on the matter. People do not vote for what they cannot know about. And parties cannot claim support for what they did not campaign on."

    If Mr. Ignatieff decides to form a coalition after all he needs here and now to commit to going to the polls again – under a coalition banner to get approval. Given the LPC's extensive track record even then it would be hard to believe/trust them.

  38. here's the question iggy needs to answer.Maybe Andrew you could ask him,your on the same team. If the con's get a minority government and submit the same budget and you reject it, will you go back to the people for a vote, or form a coalition.

    • That's the governor generals call.

      And if it's a minority, it's Harper's job to keep the support of the House – not Iggy's.

      • You are right. However, the GG has a responsibility to ensure whatever arrangement is being requested is legit, is workable and is in keeping with precedence and our constitution. We need a functioning government. Not one who is running around trying to buy votes.

        • Since Mme. Jean's ill-conceived decision, it's kind of a grey area what the GG uses to decide if a government has to go back to the polls or not. I prefer a simple mechanism: can the government show support of the House. Period. Not, do I feel at some future date they may have difficulty controlling the house, or pass policy of which I disapprove in order to keep control of the house.

          But in many respects I am a traditionalist conservative. Your opinion may vary, esp. on what suits your parties needs at any given moment.

    • You would hope they would pass it, seeing as this election is partly b/c of the budget. Maybe if they slipped in the HST agreement with Quebec, that Duceppe could agree to it, and then plan his hop back to Quebec City.

    • If the con's get a minority government and submit the same budget and you reject it, will you go back to the people for a vote, or form a coalition.

      There's another option: the GG could ask Ignatieff to form a government. He could create a cabinet consisting entirely of Liberals, and then attempt to secure the support of one or more opposition parties when enacting legislation. In other words, what the Conservatives have been doing since they were elected.

      It's only a "coalition" if the cabinet consists of members of more than one party.

      • No silly, it's only a coalition if Stephen Harper says it is! Get with the program!

  39. Funny, every time I write something which touches a nerve of the anti-Harper crowd, my "blueberry" starts blinking. Must have said something right in the last few minutes because I had five blinks within two seconds of my latest posting.

    It's funny!

  40. You'd of thought the Liberals and the media would have had this question sorted out with a co-ordinated strategy. Iggo looks and sounds like an interloping candidate who's desperate for this question to go away, and the media wish it would too. Coyne has been easily satisfied and placated by Iggo's deliberately confusing non answer, but not all Canadians are so easily pacified. Everyone in the country knows the Liberals are going to ignore the results of this election, if they lose, and are planning a governing coalition with the Separatists and the NDP after they lose. Because Andrew and the media are fine with the Liberals seizing power at any cost is nothing new, but Iggo still has not, and will not rule out a coalition with Separatists and caviar communists. The media selling the Separatist coalition is not going to work, and just because Igg has convinced Andrew, it's going to take much more then that to convince the rest of the nation. The Liberals and their subsidized media comrades are good at manufacturing "scandal" against their enemies, but not so good at manufacturing the truth when it comes to themselves.

  41. I called the Liberals to inquire. Their MP, David McGuinty, called me back. He was careful to make sure he understood my question, and I was careful to make sure I had heard his answer correctly. And it was unequivocal: the same rules would apply in either case. No coalition, no formal arrangement with the Bloc.

    I consider the issue settled.

    If this is really the official Liberal/Ignatieff position, wouldn't it have been revealed in an official manner, like in their news release or a statement from their Leader?

    One of their candidates saying it to a reporter in a private phone conversation doesn't really cut it, IMHO.

    • Amen!!!!!!!!!!! Andrew is more experienced than this. The fact is if they go back on their word and form a coalition Andrew can scream and yell from the roof tops but they will ignore him and in fact give him the one finger salute. All that matters to the Libs is they are back in power. To hell with what Canadians want and to hell with how they have to get back into power.

      Once again why does a party who is running 10-15 pts behind the government trigger an election? Once again with feeling. There is a hidden agenda here and it is not Stephe Harper's. Coyne should know better.

  42. Don't be so misguided Andrew!
    I am astounded at the short memories of our Ottawa press gallery. The 2004 letter was meant as a shield against PMPM calling a snap election were his numbers to shoot up. Or does anyone in their heart of hearts truly believe that a minority Conservative gov't could've survived a budget-making process with the NDP and Bloc?!? They might've passed something like the Accountability Act, but its main purpose would be to protect themselves from being caught out by an opportunistic election call.

    Just read Harper's first speech of the 38th Parliament, in reply to the Throne Speech:
    http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publicat

    Does that sound like someone who doesn't accept the election results, and is instead hellbent on replacing the gov't? (cont'd) …

    • (cont'd from above …)
      When Duceppe says "he asked me what I wanted in the Throne Speech", do the Ottawa pundits just assume Harper was talking about a future CPC Throne Speech?!? If so, you guys got played. Duceppe is talking about Paul Martin's Throne Speech, and Harper asking him what he would like in the Conservative AMENDMENT to it. You'll see those amendments that were put forward at the end of Harper's speech in the above post.

      They opposition parties wanted rule changes in the House, from the Standing Orders to the structure of committees (remember the vice-chair thing?), as well as supply days. They had telegraphed early on to the gov't that they would move an amendment to their Throne Speech to insert these things, to which Don Boudria had repeat apoplectic fits ("You can't amend the Address in Reply to the Throne Speech!!!" he would say).
      (cont'd …)

    • (cont'd)
      The attempt at moral or rational equivalence between these two documents (the 2004 letter and the 2008 formal coalition proposal) is quite simply RIDICULOUS!!! There is no comparison, at all.

      And if the pundits can't see the big gaping hole left by the Libs on the coalition issue, then we really are ill-served. They have set up a situation where they will create a phony issue to get all angry about if and when a minority Conservative gov't goes to test the House, and then they'll defeat the gov't, and the Libs will then test the House, and lo and behold, the NDP and Bloc will back them.

  43. Andrew! I'm appalled by this insistence of absolutely ruling out a THE only sensible first option to an inconclusive election! Yes, the party with most seats is invited to form a government. But if it is a very small minority situation, and a workable arrangement cannot be made to gain the confidence of the House, THEN the GG can invite other parties to attempt to form a government that does have the confidence of the House. That attempt may also fail, and then we have a second immediate election. That's how the system works! It is ridiculous to insist, as SHrug does, that this is NOT an option in any circumstances. But when has he ever cared about proper Parliamentary rules or conventions? We lose our democracy through the death of a thousand cuts.

  44. The New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois held talks to form a coalition party well before the opposition's uproar over the government's fiscal update, CTV News has learned.

    NDP Leader Jack Layton was in talks with Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe for a "considerable period of time," reported CTV's Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife on Sunday.

    Layton held a telephone-conference meeting with his caucus Saturday morning that was recorded by a Conservative member. According to the audio tape, Layton appears to take credit for the possibility of a coalition.

    "Let's just say we have strategies. This whole thing would not have happened if the moves hadn't been made with the Bloc a long time ago and locked them in early," Layton says. "Because, you couldn't put three people together in one or three hours. The first part was done a long time ago."

    He then goes on to say that the NDP "spotted and prepared for the opportunity and had taken the steps that were required, so that when the opportunity arose, which was when Mr. Harper made his disastrous strategic error by not providing stimulus to the economy and instead playing political games, we were able to move and things began to move very quickly."

    Layton also says about the Bloc: "Nothing could be better for our country than to have 50 members who have been elected to separate Quebec…actually helping to make Canada a better place."
    http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20081130/con

  45. The question is really what happens when the three opposition parties having lost the election are faced with a Throne Speech by a minority Conservative government. They will vote non confidence immediately and Ignatieff will go to the GG and say Harper has not won the confidence of the House and he wants the chance.

    Given the election has just finished the GG will probably grant Ignatieff's request. Since the opposition has no use for Stephen Harper and think the Liberals are closer to their thinking they will support Igantieff and bang we have some form of coalition government.

    Coyne has askded the question before. Why would an official opposition party trigger an election when they are running 10-15 pts behind the government and their leader is very unpopular with the Canadian people?

    There is a hidden agenda here and it is not Stephen Harper's. Remember the existing coalition agreement does not expire until June 30th 2011.

    • "and bang we have some form of coalition government." I don't think you are using the word 'coalition' correctly.

      • Oh yes I am. The GG will not agree to give the party that has a seat count that is well below the Conservatives seat count the government unless there is a clear indication that it has the ability to actually govern. Running around looking for support on virtually anything they want to do is not stability. The GG may insist that a formal agreement needs to be put in place with the other parties so that there is some certainty the government can function and last for a particular period of time. We cannot be having elections every other month until the Libs get the results they want.

        • How good of you to know the GG's opinion for him.

  46. "I presume he, too, would rule out a coalition, and I'm prepared to take him at his word on that point."

    Really? You trust Harper's words? I laugh for fear that I might cry.

  47. I consider the issue settled.

    As do I. But, sadly, it doesn't really matter what Ignatieff says. Harper is still going to repeatedly raise the spectre of a Liberal-Bloc-NDP coalition on the campaign trail.

  48. One good thing about the spring election, lots of fertilizer for spring planting.

    The cynic in me is saying that nothing will change. The chairs might be rearranged but until you replace the band, the music will remain the same.

  49. THanks for this excellent post, getting the truth out. Can we get a version of this into next print issue?

  50. Hi Andrew,

    Excellent article, some great points. The headline seems very misleading as to the content of the article.

    • Note: the authors of the columns and articles do not usually create the headlines. These are usually decided by an editor or someone who assists the editor.

  51. Mr Coyne may consider the issue closed, but that does not mean the Canadian people do. These are the Liberals after all. The Conservative leader has said it himself: Like in 2008, the opposition parties will deny it during the election but do it right after if they can get away with it. Ignatieff himself undermined his case when he made his second commitment to the Canadian people (the first being "I will not form a coalition"): "I will not raise taxes on Canadian families." David McGuinty standing behind Ignatieff should of thought about his brother Dalton and advised Ignatieff not to do this because nobody believes a Liberal who says they won't raise taxes.

    As to coalitions, I think the most likely possibility is the Conservatives forming a coalition with the remnants of the Liberal party, like the Cameron/Clegg coalition government in UK although I don't think a Liberal would be deputy PM. The Canadian people would be OK with this arrangement, especially if the Bloc was the Official Opposition, in which case it would be a National Unity Government.

    However, looking at the trends now, a Conservative majority looks increasingly likely. Ignatieff is suffering because he has no plan to take on the Bloc in Quebec. If the issue becomes Conservative hypocrisy or ethics or mean evil Harper, that benefits the Bloc in Quebec, not the Liberals.

    The 2008 Coalition was a blunder which the Conservatives of course will exploit. It was a blunder for the Liberals to not support the budget and force the election. Everyone I talk to says this election is a waste of money. The Conservatives will capitalize on this.

    • Yes, and it would be a good fit if the right wing of the Liberals were to form a coalition with the Tories if so needed. Perhaps it wouldn't be such a bad idea for the LIberals, after this election, to think about splitting off in meaningful directions. A left wing party and a right wing party. That way the people of this country will finally know which way the Liberals are gonna go. Now they don't have clue where they're going and that cannot be a good thing for the country.

      At least with Layton you know where he stands.

  52. Andew, the Conservative supporters do not like your opinions because you can think independently and critically. I may not always agree with you. However, I do appreciate that you can gather information, and espouse your own views which makes me want to think critically about Canada and the world. I do know know what you are going to write or say. You do not spew drivel. Keep up the great work!

    • Andrew is a shill for the Liberal Party. He is supposed to be a conservative, this man is nothing like a conservative.

      The show “At issue on CBC” is a laugh fest. 2 Liberals and a socialist. yeah, the CBC is balanced alright.

  53. I find it hilarious that with all the Harper bashing, the Tories still top the polls. The obvious left wing bend of almost all media outlets is hardly slowing down the Tories and Mr. Harper. That tells me that you A Coyne a re out of touch with the rest of Canada. You along with the rest of your Liberal media masters. Canada isn’t buying what you guys have been preaching for 5+ years.

    Where’s Harper’s hidden agenda? Have you found that yet? You’ve were talking about that 5+ years ago.

    The Liberals, NDP and BQ signed a coalition agreement that is a matter of public record. It went into great detail about who would be PM and the number of ministers each party would get etc.

    If Harper did the same please produce it…where is it? 2004 we had a $500 million Adscam perpetrated by the then sitting Liberal government. Are you seriously trying to draw parallels between then and now?

    I urge you to do it. Reminding Canadians about the 2004 Adscam will only strengthen the Tories and PM Harper. Please continue. You must think Canadians as a whole are stupid. That would only be the ones who watch you are your band of lefties on the CBC At Issue panel. Any effort ot looking for the facts paints a very different story then the one you’re trying to put over on Canada.

    • The obvious left wing bend of almost all media outlets is hardly slowing down the Tories and Mr. Harper.

      I have no idea where this "left wing media" meme comes from. I live in Toronto – hardly a hotbed of conservatism – and the political orientation of the Toronto papers can be described thusly:

      The Star – okay, they're left-leaning
      The Globe – neutral (endorsed Harper in the last two elections)
      The National Post – basically a Conservative house organ
      The Sun – pro-Conservative

      If you called a Sun editor a left-winger to his face, he would likely punch you in the nose.

      • The year is 2011, there is more then newspapers out there now. Tv’s are even in colour now, embrace technology.

        The globe is a Liberal Rag, always has been and always will be.

        All TV news agencies are left leaning. Until SunTV news comes to right that balance.

        People have a choice in this election. Give PM Harper a majority or the BQ, Liberals and NDP will form a government even if the Tories have the most seats of any one party.

        If the election turns out that the seats remain exactly the same as they are now then the BQ, Liberals and NDP will vote down the Tories and will move to govern Canada.

        So from now on any election result that isn’t majority by the Tories will be defeated by the three left wing parties. Canada will be run with the BQ as king maker.

        So you have a choice either Conservative or the rest of the parties will run the country together. Vote splitting doesn’t matter anymore. As long as all three left parties together have more seats then the Tories they’ll run Canada.

  54. @ ANDREW COIN AND ANY LIBERAL STRATEGIST READING MACLEANS: Why has the left never, ever learned the successful tactics of the right? Brand your opponent first. Be the first to deine your opponenet, and he will be simply playing defense. Ignatieff should say Harper is un-Canadian. He should say Stephen Harper is anti-Parilaiment, and wants to turn our Parliamentary Democracy into a U.S. style one. Harper’s repeated assertions that coalitions are un-Democratic is flat out wrong, and a lie, but he got the story out first! Will someone on the let please grow a spine and some hustle?

    • Why has the left never, ever learned the successful tactics of the right? Brand your opponent first. Be the first to deine your opponenet, and he will be simply playing defense.

      Two reasons: (1) They can't afford it. (2) There's only so many attack ads that the general public can take, and the Liberals have to position themselves as different from (and on a higher plane than) the Conservatives.

    • The opposition can define what another Harper government would look like.

  55. Yes indeed, I am glad that Ignatieff cleared the air. His purpose is now immanently clear on this. He intends to coordinate the defeat of the Harper government on the throne speech and form a government propped up by (at the very least) the NDP. It's his only avenue to power. He won't get a plurality of seats and it's highly unlikely he'll even be ale to get the balance of power with NDP support alone.

    So Canadians must know this: either they elect a conservative majority or we get another minority parliament with Jack and Gilles forcing their legislative demands on Iggy to keep him in power. Ok, it's not a "coalition" it's just a recipe for bad government.

  56. Nice headline…..you mention Mr. Harpers hypocrisy problem, then go on to detail Iggy's hypocrisy through the first 3/4 of the body of your argument. No media bias here….

  57. Ignatieff needs to change the channel from the coalition and start attacking Harper on his undemocratic ways and his contempt of Parliament (and the Canadian people). When a reporter asks a question about coalitions, Ignatieff needs to switch to attacking Harper on what a contemptuous Harper regime would be like for Canadian families if Harper were to receive a majority.

    • The true attack on Canadian democracy is the spectre of the looming Coalition Troika Junta … preparing to seize power after the election. They are snakes in the grass who will say and do anything to mislead Canadians just to get their hands on power …. sooooo obvious.

      • If Party A receives 35 percent of the seats, Party B receives 34, and Party C receives 31 percent of the seats; You assume that only Party A can form the government. Party B and C can't get together in anyway either in a formal coalition or informal agreement.. That's not democratic. 35 seats beat 65. That's why the Conservatives hate democracy.

        • Get used to the semi-literate trolling by Sun readers.

          They shout because they have no points and are just regurgitating the talking points.

  58. The Harper regime must go. majority?! says Flaherty? LOL! can you imagine the Harper regime with a majority government?! SCARY!.

  59. Harper owes everyone in Canada an apology for his contempt of parliament. He is toast.

    • The true contempt of Parliament was the rigged majority Opposition motion to defeat the government and avoid voting on the Budget and Economic Action Plan. The Opposition are political cowards of the lowest order, and that's what Canadians will conclude on May 2nd … believe it.

  60. This whole Coalition issue and how fearful Canadians should be about it reminds me of the 2004 election when the tanks were rolling through the streets, that in conjunction with "beer and popcorn" was the death of the Liberals in that campaign. I believe this fear mongering is a little far fetched, Canada's future was fine before Steven Harper and it will be just as fine without him. I have in past voted for the Conservative party, however I can in no way see any legitimate strives Canada has made over the past five years that the Harper Conservatives have been running the Harper Government. I think the time to rethink the Conservative policies, just say no to high deficits, big government, and unelected senators.

  61. Harper is within striking distance of a majority – even the most partisan media types can't honestly deny this. Harper's solution and Canada's solution to a good stable government is a Harper majority.You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see what Iggy's game plan has to be – he has no choice. Ignatieff can not form a majority, as polls indicate, and he will require the Bloc's support of 50 plus seats to become Prime Minister. This comes with an extortion attempt of 5 billion dollars from the Canadian taxpayer by Duceppe which failed with Harper but is sure to succeed with Ignatieff because that is the only way Iggy can stay in power from day one. Why do you think Duceppe has made Harper enemy number one for the Bloc?

  62. Harper is a lying hypocrite.

    The only party leader not to have signed a coalition agreement in this election is Michael Ignatief. Harper once again is treating Canadians like we are idiots, that we can't read or something. That letter from 2004 is a coalition proposal – no matter what Harper and Coyne say. He wanted to form a government with the Bloc and NDP. That is a coalition government, by definition.

    Lets stick to the facts without the con spin, the only party leader not to have signed a coalition agreement in this election is Michael Ignatief. Harper is and was the first to the coalition party and I hope he keeps harping about it. It just makes him look more idiotic every day.

    Harper says "I wanted to from a government with the Bloc and NDP but it was not a coalition". Duceppe and Layton both said "This is not a coalition". Call it what you like – it would have been a coalition government. What would you call it Coyne you hypocrite! If the Liberals, NDP and Bloc formed a government but they wanted to call it a "Group of Hosers" would you just go along with it? No, you would be screaming coalition to anyone who would listen. Coyne is the biggest hypocrite of them all if he expects us to buy this crap.

    Harper is a lying hypocrite.

    • Ummmm …. didn't Ignatieff sign in a Liberal letter of approval for the 2008 Coalition Accord ..??!!!

      After the 2008 Coalition collapsed, didn't Ignatieff say he only reluctantly signed on to the 2008 Coalition Accord??!!!

      Here is a YouTube video with Ignatieff openly saying he supports the Coalition Accord, so who is the hypocrite now?:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iILxBcUAFRM

  63. It was wrong then, it would be wrong now …

    The 2004 letter was only to consider "options" as agreed upon by the three parties..it was not a "formal" coalition.

    The 2008 Coalition Accord was a formal agreement that fully defined their coalition gov't.

    Now Ignatieff said he would not "seek a coalition", but Layton and Duceppe said they were open to a coalition.

    Would Ignatieff refuse a coalition to replace another Harper minority gov't, and making him PM of Canada if Layton and Duceppe sought HIM out .. after an election? I doubt it.

  64. Hey Andrew! Smart guy.

    Find me a government anywhere on Earth composed of "co-operating parties" that is not called a coalition.

    Andrew? Are you there? Find anything yet?

    • Perhaps you should attempt to respond to my reply to your "Harper is a lying hypocrite" posting above … or do you avoid responding because you have been blown out of the water with your fallacious accusations??

  65. If we must worry about coalitions, we should worry about Harper wasting 1.2 billion dollars on the G8/G20 summits. That's about $35 dollars that he wasted from every Canadian. That's $140 from a family of four.

    • Canada is the only nation in the G8 or G20 to openly reveal the costs associated with hosting these world leader events.

      People often cite Italy as a prior host which had only spent $30 Million on their G8 but as Don Martin revealed last year, that $30 Mil was only the transportation costs of getting the leaders there. Nothing more.
      Japan once intimated that their Hokkaido (sp?) G8 event on that island might have cost in excess of $700 Million but no exact cost has ever been made public.

      Canada is the only nation so far, which has attempted to provide accountability on the costs of hosting. I agree that it is plain ugly but for all intents, this is a worthy trend and that have been given no credit for attempting to do so.

  66. Another Harper lie on CTV.

    He stated that in 2004, his party did not bring in a non-confidence motion to change the government, he brought one in to force an election.

    Actually, when non-confidence motions are passed, only the governor-general can decide if there is to be a change of government or an election. No confidence motion can force the GG to dissolve Parliament and have an election. However, one or more opposition parties can state that they will not agree to form a coalition or lead a minority government. This would essentially force the GG to announce an election.

  67. We have the interesting , if not downright pathetic, situation of Harper running on a platform of not knowing or understanding how our parliamentary system of government works. Contrary to what he and his flacks are putting out, coalitions are legitimate and they do not have to include the party that gets the most votes. An obvious example is the country much loved by Harper, Israel. But there are others. Since Harper is frequently praised for being so intelligent, we can assume that he does in fact know this, so he is once again appealing to the ill informed who will believe anything he says.

    • If the Liberals, NDP and BQ attempt to resurrect their covert Coalition Troika Junta, the will be met with civil resistance if not outright violence across Canada … believe it.

      Their Quebec-Toronto axis of evil will be overthrown by true and loyal Canadians who were never given the opportunity to vote for a coalition during the election.

      The Liberals, NDP and BQ are being called out now about their covert coalition agreement, and only Ignatieff lies about a coalition that would make him PM of Canada … while Layton and Duceppe embrace another coalition with the devious Liberals … sooooo obvious.

  68. Simply put….Ignatieff has a real credibility problem with respect to coalitions.

    He has flip-flopped on them so many times before over the last 3 years it is hard to believe he can actually hold a consistent position on it.

  69. Coyne is too easily satisfied.

    The coalition issue is one of intent not history. Ignatieff and his accomplices were ready to form a formal coalition in 2008 and thwart the will of the people. It is irrelevant that Stephen Harper was aware of the constitutional possibility of a coalition in 2004. Present intent is easily inferred from the actions of the opposition opportunists in December 2008.

    The issue will be settled at the ballot box.

  70. I don't trust the right-media radio stations, and tv, reporters who I guess think they will like Mike Duffy lose all credibility in order to get a senate seat. Media is mostly pro-Harper sold out a long time ago. The CBC has changed its entire website to ensure posters cannot make any anti-Harper comments, CBC in other words looks like it's also controlled by the Harper government and its many sycophants.

    As far as Harper goes, he was to scare us with the idea of a Bloc coalition with other parties unless Mr. Duceppe came up with the proof, that letter which proves Harper is a liar. I for one do not trust this man. Wish I could vote for Duceppe.

    • Move then.

  71. Either way if we do not get a majority this country is in for some very difficult and divided times. I am a con supporter and do think Harper now needs to make his own position on coalition clear. I do not think that harper’s letter is equal in intent and consequences to the agreement signed and still in force. The point has been made now and the campaign should move on to matters of policy and what the relative parties would do. The issue of Ethics has no substance as an issue given the Liberal record. But either way you slice it it will be an east west divide that will cripple this country for a long time if we do not have either a majority Lib (God forbid) or a con majority.

    • Another Lib-Dip-Sep Coalition Troika Junta would simply be a Quebec-Toronto axis of evil willing to split Canada apart just to gain power …. soooo obvious.

  72. I confess I was living in Europe at the time but I am pretty sure Paul Martin was the Prime Minister in 2004. When exactly did the Harper coalition try to take over power? Who were to be the NDP cabinet ministers in the Harper coalition government? How long did the Bloc Quebecois agree to support it? And what concessions for Quebec did the Bloc obtain as the quid pro quo? And how is any of this relevant for 2011 and the future?

    I am astonished that 48 hours into an election campaign after a Government was found in contempt of Parliament everyone is arguing about what people at a meeting writing a letter to the GG in 2004 said. That's 7 years ago. Is this an election about the future, or just a political history seminar?

    If 2004 shows anything it is that there is nothing wrong with coalitions per se. Even Harper concedes that, as he did presumably in these "discussions" of "options" in 2004. It was the 2008 Coalition that Canadians didn't like. Why? Because Dion and Layton lied about it before the election; because it gave a key role (veto) to the Bloc; and because they wanted to take power without an election being called because they knew they would be creamed. Thank goodness Harper prorogued. In January after the anti-Dion palace coup Ignatieff tried to be cute with his "coalition if necessary but not necessarily a coalition" theme but now he has to pay the price for his cute-ness. His ruling out of a future coalition is not credible.

    I gotta say the longer this election is about coalitions the better it is for the Conservatives. Just sayin.'

  73. Andrew says "But the whole coalition issue has centred on what would happen if the Tories won a minority, but were then defeated on a confidence motion in the House. Did the no-coalition pledge apply in that case?"

    I'm no expert but regardless of what Ignatieff, Harper or Coyne have to say on the matter, I think the Governor General may take issue with sending Canadians back to the polls a month or two after an election. I would think it would be incumbent upon him to at least ask the other parties if they are willing to try and form a coalition government in such circumstances.

    What the post 2004 Harper is trying to do is to make sure that no coalition governments are ever allowed in Canada now or in the future until the end of time no matter what the circumstances. I believe this is because he has already swallowed up his only possible coalition partner, the progressive conservatives. He has no one else to count on so of course he is at a disadvantage.

  74. "We categorically rule out a coalition or formal arrangement with the Bloc Quebecois…"

    The assumption, based on the previous statements, is if the Liberals are given a minority government from the voters, Ignatieff will not attempt to form a coalition. The statement very subtly evades a situation where Conservatives are once again handed a minority mandate. There's nothing in this statement to deny that Ignatieff would form a coalition and usurp the Prime Ministry in such a scenario.

  75. Those scandals had nothing on the harper scandals that are going to cost us not millions but BILLIONS!!! Contempt for democracy, a first IN ALL THE COMMONWEALTH!!! Just read the responces to EVERY article you can find online about this election and you will see an overwhelming disgust with Harper. I see a LIBERAL MAJORITY myself.

    • Bev Oda adding a "not" to a funding document and Jason Kenny using a government letterhead for party donation purposes are going to cost us billions?

      Do you really see a Liberal majority? Wow.

      • Once again to the ever deflecting, in denial tories, Harpers Contempt of Parliment was because he refused to show Canadians the real cost of prisons, war jets and tax cuts to big business that totals some 50 to 60 Billion dollars. And yes I do see a Liberal Majority because the tories may own the Canadian press and the right wing polls but you don't own social media and cant control it. Surf the web for an hour or so and see that Canadians are overwhelmingly disgusted and rejecting Harper. It would do the Tory voters good to see the real story instead of relying on the right wing press propaganda in this country. Check out the CRTC Feb 9, 2011 (google it) and see that the rules have changed to allow the press to mislead the public just so big business can have their puppet Harper can give us FOX News North. Talk about Power Hungry!!!! Canadian culture died on Feb 9, 2011.

        • I really doubt that the CRTC decision was influenced by the CPC seeing as the two have been at odds with each other lately… Not impossible just improbable. The CRTC is already the lap dog of the big 3 telecoms, not any particular political party, especially considering the effort on the part of the CPC to disrupt the business as usual of Robelus.

  76. Andrew, the 2004 Martin government had become splintered and dysfunctional. Martin was in the same position Kim Campbell was after the mess Mulroney left, only with Martin it was the mess Chretien left. The electorate wanted change and "Mr. Dithers" was desperately trying to bail out the sinking ship in a minority government setting.

    At the time there was an emerging shift among voters toward the Conservative government, as witnessed in their gaining power in the 2005 election. The suggestion of Stephen Harper to the G.G. in the "notorious" 2004 letter was reflective of that shift in public opinion. Compare this to the public will expressed toward the attempted 2008 coalition coup which included a written pledge of support from the Bloc. The two reactions couldn't be more polar opposite.

    Stephen Harper has no problem with hypocrisy, quite the contrary. He's the only politician who has shown that he's down-to-earth enough to understand the needs and opinions of pragmatic Canadians.

    • Cooperation.
      Collaboration
      Coalition.

      In the 2004 letter to the G.G. Stephen Harper suggested the opposition parties agreed to cooperate to continue governing Canada because the existing minority government (the Martin Liberals) were fractured and failing due to internal difficulties.

      The current situation couldn't be more different. Please attempt to be more contextual before you cry "Aha! I caught the P.M. with a legal incongruity".

  77. After 8 years of Mulroney's government the P.C.'s were left in tatters. The political right broke into splinters. In the early 2000's there was a movement to "unite the right" which came to fruition with the Conservative party in 2003. This Conservative party gained minority leader status in the 2005 election.

    The Liberals were in tatters in 2004 after 9 years of Chretien's government. However, unlike the Conservatives, there has been no attempt to rebuild the party from the ground up. It's the same broken, splintered, hobbled, fractioned party held together by the gum and wire of self-entitlement and a lust for power.

    The Liberals should have been taking the time during this Conservative minority to rebuild. Instead they play parliamentary games and gun for power like disaffected church ladies, wasting taxpayer time and money in the process.

  78. Wow gimme some of your kool-aid.

    Contempt? Even the longest running minority government in Commonwealth history is actually governing because the opposition votes with it and keeps the minority in power. The opposition parties get to fully control the Parliamentary Committees which create ingueries faster than you can pull your socks up. They use these pulpits to denigrate every move the government does. Just like the Afghan detainee morbid event of one such Parliamentary Committee where the opposition threatens to take Canada to the Intl Criminal Court. It was almost treason in my opinion. But really it was just craven politics.
    I want a Conservative Majority to put those power hungry little partisans back in their high chairs and let the rest of us keep working to survive the global meltdowns and other crisis´ that we are all trying to cope with.

    • Typical Tory. Dont answer my concerns, deflect from the issues, treat Canadians with Contempt. So you are saying Contempt is OK, Torture is OK and may I remind you that your contempt for " power hungry little partisans " we make up 68% of Canadians but you Tories don't get that fact. Your true feelings about Canada are shown in your comments "let the rest of us keep working to survive the global meltdowns and other crisis´ that we are all trying to cope with. " As if we, the 68%ers do not want to clean up your mess! Right wingers got us into this mess (and made Billions doing it) and now you want us to trust you to clean it up? (and make several more Billions?) How much do the tories pay you to flog their lies? I will bet you are a tory paid, appointed civil servant or your family owns a big business. Your distain for 68% of canadians is hard to hide! Maybe your one of harpers paid tory trolls.

  79. The H.R.H. GIGANTIC TITANIC is going down.

    And there's no life-ring big enough to save this fat fool.

    http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Harper+Layton

    Read it and weep, Steve. You're nothing but a cheap LIAR and you've been outed today.

    "Co-Oppostion" – what a disingenuous creep, you are steve.

    • Get a job, loser.

  80. The deep chasm that exists between Harper and the media

    and the media and the average Canadian (Harper's personal approval ratings are way above the rest),

    is remarkable.

    The media should never hitch their wagon to any particular horse. Doing so is a basic corruption of an insitution that should inform, not advocate.

    That the media does so, so openly, and worse, to a losing party,

    will cause repurcussions to the media's credibility that will last long beyond this election period.

    • Do you realize people have been saying this about “the media” since “the media” was invented. Your own bias is just as much a factor in your perception of media bias.

  81. C'mon Andrew, let's not nitpick over the term 'coalition' ! …

    Although the word 'coalition' is not mentioned per se in the letter in question, that is exactly what is implied in the following passage of the said letter to the Governor General, "We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority."

    The only other option for the GG besides dropping the writ would be to ask the 'majority' Opposition, essentially a 'coalition' involving the Bloc, the NDP and the Cons, whether it sees itself capable of governing the nation. In short, both 'cooperation' and 'coalition' are terms that can be used interchangeably.

  82. I wish the media get off the coalition issue, stop playing Harper's game and ask serious questions about issues that is pertinent to our well being. Ask intelligent questions and get off of this issue, please????

    • The media is being paid to keep talking about a coalition. Keep the real issues off the front pages. Check out the CRTC Feb 9, 2011 ruling (google it) and see that the rules have changed to allow the press to mislead the public just so big business can have their puppet Harper give us FOX News North. Talk about Power Hungry!!!! Canadian culture died on Feb 9, 2011.

  83. Harper will tie the "coalition" anchor around Ignatieff's neck in the next couple of weeks, and the remnants of Iggy's credibility will be destroyed. No use debating "issues" with loser Iggy because he will be political viande morte and not worth bothering with whatsoever. The man is a interloping imposter who only returned to Canada to be PM … and is failing miserably while dragging down the Liberal party brand with himself … soooo obvious.

  84. Oh My God! The Sky is falling!!
    Did all you pussies hide in your basements during Y2K? Are you planning on hiding there for the 2012 prediction?
    You certainly have no respect for Democracy.
    If a ‘coalition’ represents 60% of the Population, then I don’t have a problem with it. It makes more sense then the Country run by a group only supported by 38% of the Population.
    I don’t see how you can look at yourselves in the mirror and not be disgusted by the Hypocrisy if you condoned Harpers coalition in 2004 but not accept the feasibility of one now, and what if circumstances turn out that Harper forms a ‘coalition’ at the end of this Election?
    This pathetic display is turning me off of even keeping up to this farce. I don’t like or trust any of these idiots.

    • Pre-election coalition, yes … post-election coalition, NO …!!!!

      Those who vote Liberal and NDP deserve to know if they will also be voting for a coalition with the BQ separatists … that's democracy.

      It's likely that Blue Grits and hardcore socialists will not vote for a coalition … and will prefer to stay home in opposition.

      • Wrong!

        Did the UK organize their ‘coalition’ before the election?
        Until you know the results, you don’t know for sure what your options are.
        If you’re going to enter into a ‘coalition’ before the election, you might as well merge the parties like the ‘right’ did.
        I don’t want a 2 party system like the U.S. so their needs to be another right leaning option.
        I’d vote ‘right’, I did for Manning and Day, but never for Stephen Harper.

      • better take that course : Westminster parliamentary 101

        • yeah i'm talkin 2 U observant

  85. I'm sorry Andrew this matter isn't over, the Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition is alive and sitting in the shadows awaiting for the results, keep in mind is this coalition happens, Canadians would be helpless to stop it. Michael Ignatieff made this issue as clear as mud and not until the weekend was there a defined response, and even then, depending on how you listened to, in my case David McGuinty, just spoke gobbley gook, and danced all around the topic, I took it as the door is always open for anything. I'll repeat myself, if this Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition, Canadian will be stuck with it for years and years since the NDP long for a role as a government, and Canadians will be helpless to remove them.

  86. Trouble with the left is they adamantly refuse to believe their 'heroes' are scum too. You can go both back and forth all day, everyday with the lies on both sides and not one opinion will be changed. Now that, is dogma. Those that give, give, and those that take, take. Won't change until the parasites kill the host and it all collapses.

  87. Mr Coyne should be insisting Duception apologize for calling Harper a liar!

  88. The problem with this picture is that Mr Harper is succeeding in convincing people that this is an issue. He is not giving us a brilliant plan of how he is gong to run this country but using the baffle them with BS strategy and apparently it's working with at least some of the people. When are we going to learn about how the politicians are planning to serve the people. and yes Andrew is right this is a democracy and the "MAJORITY" of elected representatives do have the right to chose who will lead them. Not the party with the most MPs.That is really only a convention that normally occurs in a minority government. They only rule by the agreement of parliament not by right as Mr Harper and his followers would have us believe. Democracy for those of you who have difficulty understanding the meaning of the term means majority rule.

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