How could the NDP and Liberals turn a coalition down?

Paul Wells speculates on all the post-election coalition possibilities

Tom Mulcair (Photo by Andrew Tolson)

Tom Mulcair (Photo by Andrew Tolson)

I’m grateful to the National Post‘s Chris Selley for spotting this apparent contradiction. Thomas Mulcair yesterday, after a question on post-election Liberal-NDP coalition scenarios:

“We’ve always said we’re ready to work with other parties. We’re a progressive party. We want to get results,” NDP leader Thomas Mulcair told reporters when asked if he would be willing to form a coalition with Mr. Trudeau after the election….

“We even were willing to make Stephane Dion prime minister of Canada,” he said, referring to the then-Liberal leader. “It’s the type of water we were willing to put in our wine.”

Thomas Mulcair in 2012 on coalitions:

One thing Mulcair is clear on is that he’ll go after Liberal supporters, but won’t work with the rival party.

“N.O.,” he told HuffPost. The NDP tried to form a coalition with the Liberals in 2008 and then the Grits “lifted their noses up on it,” Mulcair said.

The coalition experience taught Mulcair everything he needs to know about the Liberals. They’re untrustworthy and he said he’ll never work with them again, whether in a formal or informal coalition.

“The no is categorical, absolute, irrefutable and non-negotiable. It’s no. End of story. Full stop,” he said.

Actually, while it was Selley on Twitter who first pointed out Mulcair’s apparent contradiction, I note that Althia Raj had also turned it into a HuffPost story.

From Justin Trudeau, only steely clarity: no coalition, no-how, nope.

I don’t buy it.

I know, I know, Stephen Harper ran his 2011 campaign on the assertion that in the absence of a Conservative majority, Canada would be stuck with an NDP-Liberal coalition “led” — as it seemed at the time it must be — “by Michael Ignatieff.” Supporters of the NDP and Liberals have concluded that any talk of opposition-party cooperation after an election must therefore be a Harper trap, and therefore a lie. But why would it be a lie?

Let’s do some simple arithmetic.

Many possible outcomes from the next election render the question moot. If the Conservatives win another majority, no problem. The Conservative leader will remain as Prime Minister, and I guess I’ll have another book to write. If the Liberals or NDP win a majority of seats, no problem.

And indeed, if the Conservatives win fewer seats than another party which itself falls short of a majority, no real problem. This is the 2006 scenario: a governing majority party falls behind another party and voluntarily abandons its claim on power because it’s been beat fair and square. Paul Martin remained PM after the 2006 election and could have tried to concoct some sort of arrangement with the NDP or Bloc Québécois to outnumber the Conservatives. Gordon Brown made such an attempt later, with the Lib Dems after the last UK election, to no avail. But Martin’s heart wasn’t in it and he announced his resignation on election night. It would be very surprising if Stephen Harper’s Conservatives won, say, 120 seats to the NDP’s 140 in the next election, and the Harper government did anything but quit. The prime minister has referred to scenarios like the one Brown tried to cobble together a “coalition of losers.”

But there is another case, and its likelihood seems pretty high. That’s one where the Conservatives lose their majority, an opposition party comes close in seats, and with the other opposition party it greatly outnumbers the Conservatives. Something like this: 145 Conservatives, 100 NDP and 90 Liberals (plus 3 left over so nobody feels left out of my imaginary Parliament).

By the 2006 precedent, the party with the largest number of seats forms the government. That’s Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. As a bonus, the incumbent prime minister gets to test the House by putting the first actions of his new government to a confidence vote, if he likes or dares. To the Conservative supporters among you, surely Harper’s legitimacy to continue as PM would be obvious.

But how about to the Liberals and New Democrats? If the next election shakes out the way I just sketched, then an NDP government with Liberal support could end almost a decade of Harper. But they’d have to move immediately: as we saw in December 2008, just a few post-election confidence votes for the returning government would give it enough legitimacy that the Governor General would follow the Conservative PM’s counsel in any subsequent conflict.

Trudeau and Mulcair say now they would never cooperate. [UPDATE: I am reminded that should say, “Trudeau now says he would never cooperate, and Mulcair recently did but may now be saying something different, it’s kind of hard to tell.”] How does that go down, New Democrats and Liberals? Would you accept a few more years of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, while New Democrats and Liberals had the makings of a solid parliamentary majority between them?

And if your parties’ leaders inexplicably failed to take power when they had a shot, how long could they remain as leaders?

One more thing. Brian Topp has written that before the 2004 election, Jack Layton “directed that a low-profile working committee be formed to think about options” following an election. The committee “met steadily through early 2004, eventually producing a carefully considered package with a strategy note and a number of appendices” that considered “all possible permutations.”

During the 2006 campaign, Topp brought this “scenarios committee” back together. Topp’s group included Ed Broadbent and Anne McGrath. Top-level stuff. And in the 2008 campaign, the committee convened again, with McGrath again a member.

The 2008 election produced a lousy coalition scenario, one that would require almost every Bloc MP to support a Liberal-NDP coalition with Stéphane Dion, wildly unpopular by this point among his own devastated caucus, as prime minister. But Jack Layton tried to set that plan in motion on election night. And five weeks later, at the next opportunity, he tried again and nearly succeeded.

Is it plausible that the “scenarios committee” that met during the 2004, 2006 and 2008 campaigns is not meeting now? If Mulcair gets a better chance than Layton had, could he turn it down and survive as NDP leader? Could Justin Trudeau?


How could the NDP and Liberals turn a coalition down?

  1. Oh, pigeons … there is a cat among you.

  2. Politics isn’t just simple arithmetic. The NDP voted with the Cons to bring down the Libs. Martin resigned, the Libs fell into disarray and we’ve been stuck with the Cons ever since.

    But….for the first time in 60 years, the NDP got out of their starting position to become the Official Opposition, so they are happy. It’s likely a fluke, and won’t stay that way…..but in the meantime what happens to the country?

    We need statesmen….what we have are politicians. It’s why a lot of people don’t vote anymore. They are tired of playing the game.

    • Wells is full of crap. If Mulcair said he was opposed to a post-election coalition during the leadership race, he has obviously recanted his earlier mistake.

      But anyone who knows anything about how our democracy works realizes that after an election, when there is no majority government, negotiations happen among the parties to establish a government. So it’s utterly foolish to take any options off the table before the election results are known.

      Iggy made that mistake and ended up a huge fool because of it.

      • That’s the trouble….it’s all another version of a hockey game, and Iggy didn’t know how to play.

      • In case you hadn’t noticed, Trudeau just made the same mistake. And it was Dion who made that original mistake.

      • Not sure what there is in everything Ron said that makes me full of crap, although I’m open to the possibility it was a pre-existing condition.

        • “Trudeau and Mulcair say now they would never cooperate.”

          That’s an obvious falsehood. Trudeau now supports legalization even though he supported decriminalization and mandatory minimums in the past. No one is really saying his present commitment is confusing because of his earlier positions on the issue.

          • So when I report what Trudeau says about his future actions, I’m committing “an obvious falsehood” because everyone knows he’ll do something different?

    • You are RIGHT ON TARGET with this post. Statesmen YES…yes.

      We SHOULD execise our voting rights though.(.many died for us to have this privilege)

      IF we make the effort..possibly THEN will we have those in power whose PRINCIPAL CONCERN is FOR CANADA and the good of it`s citizens..and not for their own partisan concerns.
      We are following the U.S.`s example unfortunately.
      The Republicans in the U.S.A .continue to practice their political agendas while the country slides farther into the crapper

    • A very poor reason not to vote.

      • Obviously others don’t see it that way.

        • Then it’s up to those like you and me to continue to urge people to vote, because their votes DO make a difference.

          • Voting for the sake of voting won’t make a difference. People need a reason to vote, and that’s up to the parties.

    • We need to see the question Althia Raj asked Mulcair in 2012. The general discussion at that time was about “co-operation,” a vague term that included some kind of possible electoral alliance before the election. He says that’s what he ruled out. That’s what I recall him ruling out in 2012, too. What did she ask him?

  3. Paul is presupposing that Libs and New Dems are very much alike. Their leaders may be, but the members aren’t.

    Libs are closer to Cons than they are New Dems. Talking members here.

    Leaders pretty much ignore the ideological divide. They like the perks too much.

    I suspect they’ve already chatted.

  4. I’d like to see a transcript of what Mulcair actually said. The reporter is paraphrasing and might have conflated the issues of post-election coalition government and electoral cooperation.

    This was a big leadership issue for both the NDP and Liberal leadership races. Mulcair and Trudeau were adamantly opposed to electoral cooperation (only one center-left party runs a candidate.) Nathan Cullen and Joyce Murray supported the idea.

    If Mulcair actually did put his foot in his mouth on this issue, it’s good he cleared things up after becoming NDP leader.

    Unfortunately, both Ignatieff and Trudeau support Harper’s absurd anti-democratic position that coalitions are an affront to democracy, when they are the norm in the developed world.

    • I am not sure it is fair to say Trudeau supports Harper’s assertion.

      Trudeau has indicated that he thinks ruling out a coalition following the next election is the best strategy for his party which is not exactly the same thing.

      Trudeau is a pragmatist at the core (i.e. a Liberal & I know it drives the other parties nuts) His position is simply the result of an assessment that the Conservatives have done such a good job of fouling the coalition concept that it is a nonstarter at this time.

      The Conservative “win” on the coaliton front is two-fold; one it is now virtually orthodoxy in Canada that a coalition is “illegitimate” unless at least discussed during the election. Also, enough Conservative-Liberal swing voters oppose a coalition on principle that if the Liberals were open to it the Conservative could well move back to a majority position. If Harper hangs on with a minority, it will not last long but another majority term for the Conservatives is unacceptable to both parties.

      • I highly doubt Harper’s 2011 election strategy has become “virtual orthodoxy”; it certainly has not rewritten the rules of our democracy.

        Fact is Harper was getting nowhere with this strategy during the 2011 election campaign. And Iggy obviously didn’t get anywhere capitulating to Harper. The polling data shows Harper was not making any traction in until election night. What changed? There was a last-minute blue counter-surge to the orange surge: moderate conservatives voted Con to stop the NDP from forming the government.

        When Iggy ruled out a coalition mid-way through the campaign, this did not reassure moderate conservative voters. It had no effect at all.

        Is Trudeau being practical following Iggy’s dud move? Time will tell.

        • “The polling data shows Harper was not making any traction in until election night.”
          Yup, let’s rely on what the polls tell!

  5. Isn’t the Liberal and NDP leaders’ posturing just that: bravura intended to rally the voters into believing their first-choice team is going to win, and win big? How can a leader act as though they may lose to the public and still be seen as a leader with a vision to lead? I would not be surprised to learn meetings about options were ongoing — but why are we so sure that, in your scenarios, if CPC had the most votes but not enough for a majority, that they wouldn’t approach other leaders to cooperate, even on a one-issue-at-a-time basis? You seem to assume that, since Harper called it a “coalition of losers” when Brown tried it, that he would not cooperate with other parties. I don’t think I have the same faith that Harper never changes his mind, or doesn’t love power.

    • Yup.

  6. My prediction has been that Harper will end up in a weak minority position following the next election. (i.e. I think his experience is enough of an advantage that Trudeau’s current lead will be eroded, but that Conservatives who think Trudeau will implode are engaging in wishful thinking.)

    So if that is true, the answers to Paul’s questions are:

    No, Mulcair could not survive as party lead if he turns down a coalition. He has pushed the NDP membership hard towards the centre with the goal of winning (or at least advancing). If the NDP is going back to third place in any case, I suspect they will want someone who is naturally one of them as leader.

    Yes, Trudeau could easily survive (see Coyne’s somewhat tongue in cheek article). Trudeau (unlike Dion & Ignatieff) will be flush with cash, and his best talent will be fresh. He and his team will have gained valuable experience. As a result, Trudeau will be eager for another go, and will not have Liberals ducking votes to avoid bringing down the government. Indeed, Trudeau’s best shot (at a strong, stable Liberal majority) is to lose the next election (by a bit).

    • If Trudeau were to turn down a coalition under a Con minority, he would have to prop up the Conservative government. That kind of situation makes a Liberal leader look pathetic. They aren’t in a position to criticize legislation they are forced to vote for, which is what happened to Ignatieff.

      Harper would step down and the Cons would get fresh leadership. Given conservative voters make up 40% of the electorate and a majority comes at 39%, that could just as easily produce a Con majority next election.

      • But in your scenario, if harper stepped down, the Cons would have to go through a leadership race, which seems at this point like it could be very divisive — and those ranks are already divided, seemingly moreso than either LPC or NDP. Nothing in our history says new leader = continued success.

        • i actually think harper wouldn’t mind stepping down after only getting a minority, handing leadership over to kenney who orchestrates a six-minute leadership race which he wins.

          • I agree, I don’t think Trudeau would mind that much either.

          • I read Kenney is not even considering running. He is considered too social conservative to lead the party. Jim Prentice is running however. There’s no guarantee he will win (Kenny could oppose him as king maker.) But if he does win, Trudeau is in trouble.

          • Ron, do you have any sources that show Prentice is planning a run?

          • Prentice can’t come right out and say he’s running for a leadership race that doesn’t officially exist. But when he recently came out and said Canada will have to look beyond Obama to deal with Keystone and reboot NAFTA, that sounded an awful lot like someone mapping out a future as Conservative leader.

          • He was asked by Evan Solomon if he would run for leadership and he didn’t come out and say no. Typical coy politician.

          • Canada, and especially the Con base are not ready for a non traditional family values kind of guy.

          • You figure it will only take him 6 mins to take Flaherty out then?
            I agree, pcers like Prentice aren’t making it back into a leadership part in any party that SH has built. Harper’d sooner blow the place up than that.

        • Jim Prentice has already staked out a position in the next leadership race. If he wins, he could easily put together back-to-back majorities like Mulroney. He would have the capacity to unite all 40% of conservative voters and go beyond the con tent like Mulroney.

          Trudeau is in for some punishment if he faces off against Prentice.

          • Well, we can make up all kinds of scenarios: this is fun! I saw Prentice on TV last week and he looked pretty happy with his life these days. Could he possibly go away for 5 years and expect to win a leadership race with the dregs of a harper minority? And do you think someone like Kenney would lay still and let Prentice jump back in if he felt threatened? I don’t find your scenario likely.

          • Why?
            Another old white elite running against Trudeau?
            Same shite, different day.

          • Suppose Kenney did the apparently inconceivable thing (and made heads explode the the Ottawa punditry), and backed a Baird leadership bid. And say Raitt and Aglukkaq were on board.

            Arguably Harper’s two most able ministers representing the dialectical opposites of the social conservative axis joining forces to block the “outsiders” like Prentice and MacKay.

          • I think you are forgetting BM could not hold his coalition together in the end. Since the present CPC coalition leans heavily toward hard core Cons i really don’t see Prentice having any where near as easy time as you do – i’m doubtful he could even best Kenney.
            I like the guy but i can’t see him making it back as leader.

      • Republicans only make up about 30% of the US electorate….so they’ve gone for the swing vote…which they think is religious.

        Cons only make up about 30% of the electorate here….they need the swing vote to be govt as well. We don’t have a large religious right here, and don’t spend all our time talking about abortion and gays and all….so Harpo has to appeal to as many other people as he can. Immigrants, Jewish voters, people who hate X, gun owners, hockey parents, left-handed bagpipe players etc

        • What’s your point? Don’t other parties need these same swing voters too? Perhaps that’s why they’re called swing voters.

          • The US only has 2 parties. We, unfortunately, have 3.

      • “If Trudeau were to turn down a coalition under a Con minority, he would have to prop up the Conservative government.”
        Not necessarily. He could let Mulcair prop up the Conservative government, which is far more pathetic (….to steal your phrasing…). Or Trudeau could let the government be defeated, which would result in a second snap election the Liberals would be far more comfortable fighting than the NDP (financially speaking).

        • When Iggy rejected the coalition it was on him to prop up the Harper Government. He was forced to support almost everything that Harper legislated. Since the NDP was the minor party, the fear of the wrath of voters for forcing an early election fell on him.

      • I reject your assertion that Trudeau would have to prop up Harper. Igantieff really had no choice… he was broke.

        One of the reasons for my supporting Trudeau is that he assessed correctly what was the first priority for the Liberals; fixing their fundraising and eliminating the Conservative’s fiscal dominance.

        • “I reject your assertion that Trudeau would have to prop up Harper. Igantieff really had no choice… he was broke.”

          I think there’s more to it than fundraising. If the NDP is the minor party, the Liberals could face the wrath from voters for forcing two $300M elections in a row. That’s what Iggy feared the most his time in opposition. That’s why Harper ruled like he had a majority.

          • I think they LPC had no money to fight another election, and the party was badly divided. I don’t understand why we are projecting the 2015 election results onto the 2011 one at all — so many different issues now, two new party leaders, LPC not broke and feeling momentum and most importantly: Harper’s Very Bad Year.

          • We sort of disagree. I do agree that with a quick election, nobody wants to be responsible for the election call.

            Not being responsible is partly about strategy, if the opposition can generate a “condition for support” that the public finds reasonable but is abhorrent to the government then the government takes the hit. (Environmental & public protection rather than industry generated voluntary safety guidelines would do nicely!)

            However, it is also about framing, media management and advertising. For that you need money.

            With no money and a weak backroom, Ignatieff knew that Harper would be able to dictate the messaging. So we are also kind of saying the same thing.

          • That’s a pretty good argument for Trudeau’s first choice[should he get one] for coallition or even cooperation being ndp…at least as long as Harper is around. I really can’t see him staying on, particularly if JT is his first partner.
            I haven’t figured it all out, but i’ d say there is a real danger for JT to lightly enter any kind of arrangement with SH. Should harper leave things could well change. I also don’t see the LPC membership ever permitting a formal coalition led by Harper and only marginally more o with the ndp. Things can change though.

            So, if Harper stays libs first choice really should be ndp.

        • Exactly. Harper totally controlled the liberals for years because he knew they could not afford an election. That was part of his strategy to break them. Remember how he called a by-election in Ontario, waited for the liberals to spend precious resources there and then call a general election before the by-election was held, further financially crippling the LPC?

          He cannot do that anymore. This is not 2011.

  7. This article is for the most part full of the insight mr. Wells is routinely and justly praised for. However, I think he makes a mistake when assuming the harper government would feel bound by statements and situations regarding “coaltion of losers” or when it is “allowed” to form a government. If it becomes convenient to say the complete opposite, they will do so. Certain well-known commenters here will echo their statements endlessly.

    For the Liberals and NDP, I also figure they will form the government if they are able, rather than let Harper continue on. (They will probably claim they have some other arrangement than a co-alition, the CPC will howl but it won’t matter).

    Un less harper tries to shut down the government for several months within 30 seconds of winning a minority, There will likely not be any shenanigans with the governor general this time (I know there’s a “the coaltion was bad because if it could have just held on five weeks it could have survived and beent he government” school of thought, but I think it is flawed because those five weeks drastically increased the likelihood of an election rather than merely being made the new government).

    • Why would they want “some other arrangement than a Coalition?” Anything else would be less stable. Scotland had a stable Labour/Liberal coalition that lasted a full four years, won re-election, and lasted another full four years. In Canada, after Christmas 2008 public opinion shifted away from the Conservatives — too late, Ignatieff was dismounting.

  8. The other thing I wonder about is why it is assumed that Mulcair is doing things the same way Layton did — I mean, Topp ran for leadership and lost, so I’m not sure what Topp wrote is still the action plan for NDP.

    Anyway, I heard Trudeau invite disaffected Cons to vote LPC last weekend. And I keep getting told off by NDP supporters whose leader is courting my vote. Funny way to try to win over my vote, by telling me my views and values are crap, so why not come and vote for us…

    • Heh, now you know what it feels like to be a Conservative supporter.

  9. How can Wells predict that the NDP will get more seats after the next election? They trail the Liberals by about 12 %. Their ratings have been falling slowly. Their policy of supporting any Quebec separation vote over 50% will get a bigger play in the next election – and its not holding their vote in Quebec.
    So let’s talk about the real options. Trudeau’s Liberals do much better; the NDP goes back to a strong position but one well below their last showing; the CONs stumble along, losing big outside their Alberta and rural base.
    The question of forming a conditional coalition (announced ahead of the election) is very important. Everybody will know in advance that no matter how well Harper does, if he dosn’t have a majority (and he is so far from that he wont make it) that there will be some coalition. It wont be some “sell-out” after the fact. It will be upfront and will condition the vote. It will tell the CON supporters to get ready because you will be looking at a new government bent on undoing all that your friend’s have done (probably disheartening them and suppressing their vote) and it will give strength to NDP supporters not to switch to the winning Liberals. The outcome therefore will better represent the left, centre-left, and right orientated voters of Canada.
    So as a corrolary – why would Trudeau announce he was getting into bed with the NDP? It will just weaken his results after the next election.
    A better arrangement would be for both the LIBs and NDP to avoid giving away seats to Harper in 3 way races (perhaps min 30- max 50 seats), pick up the chips, make the Liberals call on the NDP to join it in a coalition after the election.
    So the basic question is – Will Mr Trudeau and Mulcair think of the interests of Canada before their own party’s and plan for future possible co-operation?
    Stay tuned.

    • I noted it in the first instance and assumed he was just being even-handed. Like when a certain young speechwriter of Ignatieff had a mercifully short tenure at maclenans, he wrote a piece about election recounts in which he graciously constructed a hypothetical scenario generous to the NDP results. Here, I assumed Mr. Wells would cycle through the scenarios using the different opposition parties one after the other (had it been long and convoluted enough, eventually he’d have to weigh Harper’s reaction to 311 Green MPs). Then I was lulled into a lack of observance and didn’t notice the NDP keep winning in the examples.

      • Paul tweeted that he thought this would be the likely outcome, so it’s more about what he thinks will happen as opposed to being even-handed.

        • Harper is a known quantity and unless a lot of Conservative retire, he will have a big advantage in incumbents, a big disadvantage in baggage.

          The NDP will have a lot of incumbents in ridings that have voted NDP exactly once in history. Is Vegas a keeper?

          Trudeau will be loved by the crowds, crucified by Sun News. Can he attract high caliber candidates across the country?

          Virtually any prediction for the next election is reasonable… of course until afterwards when it will all be obvious.

    • It wasn’t a prediction, it was a hypothetical parliament.

  10. Categorically ruling out a coalition before attempting one a few weeks later is what got them into trouble in the first place. Justin seems like he’s willing to make the same mistake again.

    • Announcing the coalition before voting to take down Harper, and a mis-step by the Governor General is what got them into trouble.

    • It’s not a mistake if you’re trying to win over disaffected PC voters. If that well runs dry, expect JT to relent nearer E day. Right now he doesn’t have to. Mulcair OTOH…

    • I disagree. What got them in trouble was publicly signing their agreement with the Bloc, followed by the failure of Dion’s team to get a frickin videotape of half decent quality to the media. People were already wary of Dion, so this put the nail in the coffin.

      I know Harper was pushing a different meme, but I don’t think Harper’s meme was working.

  11. What are they supposed to say. “Vote for me I will make a good coalition partner”
    Besides if it was a minority government then the conservatives would have the first shot at forming a coalition.
    So why do you not make the article something like “in the event of a minority government you could have a Harper – Mulcair coalition”?

    • That would require convincing another party to form a coalition with them. I don’t see any good will for such an arrangement between the CPC and either major opposition party.

      • Harper would do anything to stay in power. Did he not try to form a coalition government when Paul Martin was pm?

        • That would require the Libs or the NDP being willing to get into bed with a long-in-the-tooth governing party.

    • Harper has no potential coalition partners. Bridges burned with LPC and zero common ground with NDP

      • Politics makes for strange bedfellows…

      • Maybe another party will a very strong regional base will make a miraculous comeback?

        • very, very naughty.

  12. Something else I forgot to add:

    Formal arrangements between parties to share the responsibilities of government are an unusual (though not unheard-of) phenomenon in our politics. What’s the best way to ensure such an attempt fails politically?

    It seems to me the best way to ensure it fails is to solemnly insist, many times before an election, that nothing of the sort can possibly happen — and then to do it immediately after the election in plain violation of one’s own word. In other words, I think Stéphane Dion offered an excellent demonstration of how not to do this sort of thing, but that his successors have taken his method as the ideal.

    • I swear that sending media a grainy, ill-lit video proclaiming, “when I am prime minister” mere weeks after you were just handed your a$$ on your election platter also helps to ensure a fail.

    • I think you’ve always been a little too harsh on Dion.Granted i still haven’t read Topps book, but wasn’t it a fact Dion was not privvy to everything that[or anything] Jack and Gilles were cooking up prior to and during the election? Yes he broke his word after the circumstances changed in ways he could not possibly have foreseen[ as often happen in life and politics] He took a huge gamble and lost – not least because he was incompetent and lacked real party support.
      Dion’s mistake was to my mind saying anything more committal than…we will have to see…as convention permits. Point taken that JT would be wise to start fudging closer to E day rather then risk a similar fate.

      • What exactly were the circumstances he could not possibly have foreseen? Harper winning a second minority government? Dion didn’t foresee that as a possibility?

        • No, that’s something he would have obviously considered as being in the cards. I’m talking about the Update that Flaherty/Harper sucker punched Parliament with…almost none of which was in the throne speech[ which Dion in good conscience voted for] or even in the CPC platform.

    • I don’t see that Paul, because doing the diametric opposite of what you promised is certainly NOT unheard of – and particularly when the gov’t changes.

      There are any number of plausible excuses, the most frequently used is ‘oh we looked at the books, and those evil predecessors leave us no choice but to take that action we previously promised not to take’.

      In the case of a CPC minority (IMO the most likely of many possible outcomes), JT could easily contrive an excuse to coalesce with Mr Mulcair on the basis of ‘urgent defeat of Harper’s crippling throne speech’ being the ‘greater good for middle class Canadians’ or some other vacuous fairytale. I really see nothing that would stop that.

      In fact, I predict it.

      • It’s entirely within the rules. Whether you deem it vacuous or akin to fairy tales is irrelevant. Other than to show you’ve already made your mind up well in advance that any possible outcome other than a Conservative one is automatically invalid unless it is clearly a reflection of he who has the most seats always wins, no matter what. May i suggest a primer on Constitutional Parliamentary democracy.

        • True, but Justin’s reputation will take a big hit by ruthlessly jumping for power against his own word. He’ll lose the high ground he currently occupies and will irreversibly become “just another politician.”

          • So following the existing convention is jumping for power now! To be clear, if he goes into the election promising to not form coalitions he will need to stick to it. My advise..,don’t promise, leave legitimate options open,

        • I made no judgment whatsoever, beyond declaring my expectation that Parties will lie and do what they see in their best interests, and I certainly did not judge any outcome as invalid. Go shove your partisan BS up against someone else.

          • Excuse for misreading your post. But perhaps if you want to be taken for a non partisan you should learn the lingo. IOWs pull the other one Peter.

    • It’s an underhanded and dishonest tactic. They should just be honest, but I guess that’s asking a lot.

  13. Well, based on the polls over the past year, the most likely outcome right now would be a Liberal minority, that would surely need propping right?
    What do you think would happen in a case like this?

    • 18-24 months to govern with the Conservatives propping them up until they select a new leader.

      • I suspect you’re right about that. What I wonder most is what the NDP would do, especially since they will likely have lost seats and official opposition.

        • New leaders for everybody!

          • LOL

          • A purge and cleanse for Canada!

          • Nope. Baring a disastrous election performance your stuck with JT, the same way we’ve been stuck with SH. Guess you’ll just have to suck it up!

          • Trudeau is a new leader; he won’t be going away for awhile. (he’s gonna be pm one of these days, ya know).

          • Time for a full reset.

          • Let’s get Ben Mulroney for CPC and Mike Layton for NDP.

        • They will go back to what they do best: being a good social conscience to the traditional governing parties. And getting a new leader who walks their talk better than Mr Mulcair.

      • That sounds very likely to me. The more interesting question is, what do the Liberals do with that small honeymoon period? The problem remains for them that a divided left is only a threat to CPC ownership when they’ve been doing particularly poorly.

        Personally, I think (hope) he tries to follow through with changing us to a PR system instead of FPTP. Yeah, it means they might never get a majority again, but neither will anybody else. And after seeing how that got abused once, that might be an acceptable sacrifice to make.

        • Interesting that a proposal to take a look at PR got through at convention[ at the insistence of the caucus as rumour has it] over JT’s own preference for AV. Is that a sop to the ndp? Maybe not intentional, but nevertheless a smart move since PR is a huge draw for many dippers, and one well worth a look at on principle.[ still not convinced Canadians will go for though]

          • Preferential ballot (AV?) would be much easier to sell to Canadians since it’s an evolutionary, not revolutionary, change to FPTP.

            To sink PR, all one has to do is remind voters that they would not have a dedicated representative as they do now.

          • Yes that got a good airing at the Liberal leadership convention last year. Surprisingly PR had a lot of supporters, mostly from Joyce Murray’s camp. I’m a bit surprised to see JT give on this. It’s a debate that needs to happen nationally.
            I live in the nwt where we have no parties, a system that i’m gradually coming to like. For one thing the executive is always in minority and needs to approach a standing committee of the other mlas in order to get their agenda through. I’m starting to think its the party’s themselves that are the problem as much as overly partisan politicians.

        • Making major fundamental changes to our electoral system would require a hell of a lot bigger mandate than winning a minority.

          • That might have been true before this last government. However, I think they’ve been instrumental in showing that having a moral right is irrelevant to realpolitik.

          • That might have been true before this last government. However, I think they’ve been instrumental in showing that having a moral right is irrelevant to realpolitik.

            edit: Weird.. it moved this comment out of the thread a moment ago.

        • A switch to a preferential ballot would be much less of a change and thus more easily digestible than PR. And *assuming* it’s true that the NDP and LPC are each other’s second choice for NDP and LPC supporters, it would achieve an end to vote splitting, which is what one would think the NDP and LPC would want to see.

          • That rather depends on the specific variety of PR that’s chosen. Double-percentage PR has no visible change for the voter, no party lists, and maintains the one representative per riding. The downside is that-in close races-the representative is more likely to be one that reflects the national percentage rather than the riding percentage.

            Of course, you don’t even need to go full AV to have the desired effect. Simply give voters the ability to mark one “negative” vote along with their positive one. Every negative vote for a candidate cancels out one of their positive votes, and after they’re all counted, the highest total wins. This has some advantages over AV in that it’s simple to calculate, simple to explain, and simple to administer: no partial-votes or strange maths for the voter to deal with.

      • Who’s the “they” refer to? Harper supporting a minority govt, even for just a year or two, led by the scion of his arch enemy pet, is almost beyond comprehension.
        That would be the equivalent of the Hatfields and McCoys agreeing to take up knitting while the news guns were being ordered.

        • Come on…please use your head a little bit. If Harper loses he resigns as leader on election night or shortly after. An interim leader would be selected.

  14. I still can’t believe the best the Liberals could do was Trudeau. It makes me shake my head. It also worries me.

    • Pretty sure Liberals felt the same about the choice of Harper as leader. I remember thinking it was a mistake to choose such a cold, aloof, downright meanie kind of guy. But it worked out pretty good for CPC, didn’t it?

      • There’s just no similarity there at all. None.

      • Harper was probably the biggest policy wonk in Canada at the time. Trudeau? Not so much.

        • And dishonest and a despicable human being, as it turns out.

    • Well you know, beggars can’t be choosers! LOL

    • But it’s just your opinion, isn’t it?
      Personally, I can’t believe Harper would appoint pond scum like Duffy, Brazeau and Wallin to the Senate – but then again, they weren’t “good” appointments. They were fundraising/optics appointments. So I can’t believe Canadians would vote for a guy like Harper…. and on and on it goes…..

      • You don’t understand at all, do you?

        • Apparently you see much the rest of us fail to see.

  15. Great discussion, folks.

  16. The present Canadian political landscape is so poisoned, it’s a shame that rational alternatives are scorned. It’s the job of the centre-right, the centre and centre left to put this country back on the correct course. Just do it.

    • Which is why I describe myself as a radical moderate.
      Stay the course down the middle, or else!

      • Well, if you are driving, it’s a good idea to adapt to the road conditions. Steadily turning right can only mean the ditch.

        • I ride motorcycles. You can’t lean one direction for long.

      • Would that be similar to an extreme centrist?

        • They wish.

  17. “The no is categorical, absolute, irrefutable and non-negotiable. It’s no. End of story. Full stop,” he said.

    …that’s a maybe then?

    After observing fairly closely from the touch lines for the last 8 years i’m not surprised, nor do i think it beyond the bounds of possibility those words might pass the lips of JT, [or even SH… although i might insist he sign an affidavit to the effect before i half believed him, let alone trusted him]…and still mean…depends!
    Good column that raises a question not often debated – to what degree do our leaders lead and to what degree are they pushed in a certain direction by their Parties?[ or even the wishes of the wider non political public]
    In the Wells’ scenario [the ndp on top so to speak] i see problems for many liberals[ not so much myself under certain conditions, understandings etc] Many LPC old line members might indeed hold their noses or just suck it up if it was the LPC as the senior coalition partner – it’s happened before. I’m much less certain under the Wells’ scenario[ surely you did that just to wind liberals up?] I guess it would come down to simple old fashioned horse trading, where’s the better or best deal for the LPC in this instance, and how will the members react if JT still says no way, over my dead body! Trudeau has considerable sway and capacity to try and persuade the Party one way or the other, but in the end he has to listen too if he wants to survive long or avoid badly splitting the Party.
    Easiest back track for JT – libs on top. But what about a really wild card[ totally dependent on how negotiation went between LPC/NDP camps] if JT decides to look across the room instead at a CPC govt, with SH’s head as the minimum price of cooperation? {i can’t imagine the membership would go for full LPC/CPC coalition under almost any circumstances]
    To my mind much would depend on where the ndp wanted to lead if they hoped for a JT led LPC to follow. Just how much water will Mulcair put in the wine; and just how much will his party let him?

  18. No astute leader in opposition is going to publicly contemplate, let alone commit to, any coalition scenario before the results are in. To do so deflates the troops, creates confused discourse among the faithful, provides talking points for the fear-mongering incumbent government, and deflects the fourth (and fifth) estate from transmitting the party’s preferred political messaging (the media being like a bunch of tykes swarming the wrong soccer ball).

    Neither should opposition leaders explicitly rule out coalition arrangements before the results are in. To do so holds the danger of being forced to recant or to rule out an otherwise perfectly viable post-electoral option.

    So their position is simple: coalition if necessary, but not necessarily coalition.

    • In other words, nothing the Liberals or NDP say during the next campaign should be taken even remotely seriously? Done!

      • It’s never too late to make this NotRick’s Story.

      • Thank you so much. I’m delighted that you, in particular, will be ignoring everything the opposition says. Your obvious cognitive processing limitations only distort their message anyway.

        Ergo, where opposition messaging is concerned, I look forward to complete radio silence from you. That will be refreshing, indeed.

      • Accomplished with your usual inductive flair for missing the point entirely.

  19. Mulcair and the NDP will say prior to the election that they would participate in a coalition to make sure they hold their vote and their Quebec vote against the potential threat of another bout of Trudeaumania.

    So Trudeau and Harper will battle over the small c conservative vote. Trudeau trying to sell them on the idea that Harper has failed them (the Montreal convention speech theme), and Harper will say that a vote for Trudeau is a vote for a Trudeau-Mulcair coalition, so Trudeau won’t be able to keep his promises once he is in a coalition with Mulcair.

    • Who says he has to enter a formal coalition? Since JT hasn’t said it is an option you shouldn’t assume it will be one just because PWs thinks it is a swell idea.

  20. What might make things interesting for the next Federal election is Quebec’s upcoming Provincial election.
    If the PQ win a majority and proceed with a separation referendum with the date either coinciding with or soon after a federal election, would the Rest of Canada want a Quebecer running the show?

    • Interesting point. Especially considering Mulcair is viewed to be a soft nationalist and Trudeau’s publicly mused about supporting separation in the past. The only truly federalist option are the Conservatives.

      • That’s not even a passable attempt at spin, given Trudeau’s often stated federalist credentials. Regardless of gaffes, goofs or even just badly chosen words on an obscure QC show[ obscure in the RoC] most voters above a certain age are well aware of the Trudeau families federalist bona fides.
        I’d love for you to explain how Harper is planning to hold the country together with numbers and reputation in the basement within QC.

      • Seconded, kcm2 – this is lousy spin.
        Rick Omen, there are umpteen things Joe Schmo Canadian might legitimately have reservations with about Trudeau, but to paraphrase a prior Wells article, the man practically has a maple leaf tattooed on his ass, his federalist bonafides are that solid. Only a CPC partisan could look at the man and think “separatist”.

        • I think Well’s mistook a Marijuana Leaf tattooed on his ass for a Maple Leaf. Or maybe Trudeau was too high when he was getting the tattoo and thought he was getting a marijuana leaf, not a maple leaf.

          • You could do with a toke yourself there. It might increase your rational to bs comment ratio.

          • As I said, “only a CPC partisan could look at the man and think “separatist”.
            I think the Liberals would love for the CPC to pursue this line of attack.

    • I love how you toss out the idea of another referendum as not a HUGE deal in and of itself but something that might, just might, add a new spicy dimension to a federal campaign.

      As for your answer, the NO and YES side have always been helmed by Quebecquois, with the YES Quebecquouis always winning. You think the guy who sat for 16 years under jean charest ISN’T the best poised to win that fight?

      • sorry, meant NO side always winning.

        • Last time was very,very close.
          Do you remember what the Liberal sponsorship scandal was all about?

          • In fact, the best indication that Quebec isn’t big on separatism is that there hasn’t been a big push in QB to have a referendum against harper.

          • Maybe not.
            But if the PQ pushed one,it certainly would make it a Federal
            Campaign issue.

  21. Paul I have no doubt at all that regardless of what the NDP and Lib leaders say, they will take power together at their very first opportunity.

    They (and particularly Mr Trudeau) must baldfaced-lie about that now, else they give Harper the ammunition to say ‘they will steal the gov’t’…risking never getting to the situation where they can in fact do it.

    • Since “stealing the govt” is itself a lie under our Parliamentary rules and conventions, i fail to share what appears to be your moral outrage.

    • So you’re advocating the Trudeau lie to the public for political gain? Let me guess, you’re a Liberal?

      • Not advocating anything/taking no sides … just stating what I think will happen.

      • Good one! But at this point, I think your best option is a “Lying is good!stance.

    • That would be repeating Dion’s mistake of pledging no coalition before the election, and then trying to form one after the election. It didn’t go down well then, and it would be unlikely to go down well in the future.

      People make voting decisions based on all kinds of criteria, however, I think it is fair to say that the coalition question is one that would be given prominent consideration by a significant chunk of voters. So changing one’s position afterwards, like Dion did, is just not a good thing to do.

      • Nothing succeeds like success – the problem wasn’t trying to form the coalition, the problem was not getting to be the government. I suspect that if Mulcair and Trudeau’s seats > Harper’s in 2015, they’ll just say “circumstances changed in ways we couldn’t have foreseen and we realized it was time to come together for the good of Canadians.” After 10 years of Harper, I doubt anyone who voted Lib or NDP would refuse to do so in 2019 for that alone.

    • I think we can take this as a retraction of his fake apology/remorse over being wrong on Iraq.

      Is Michael Ignatieff the #1 neo-imperialist in the world or what?

      And the Liberals have the chutzpuh to blame the Canadian people for their good judgement in rejecting him, and to blame the Conservatives for the accuracy of the attack ad.

      Not a Canadian, just visiting indeed. Back to being an “American” again arguing for another American Deep State war.

      The American Deep Staters are trying again to takeover the Liberal Party, this time not at the top, but through Freeland and Summers.

      • So, was Libya a retraction of war-monger Harper’s fake apology/remorse over being wrong on Iraq?

      • You do realize Harper was for that war at the time…he just didn’t have the balls to say so later. Selective outrage seems to be your bag these days.

        • So Harper was a neophyte in foreign affairs at that point. Rookie mistake. Unlike Ignatieff, who had decades of foreign policy experience.

          Notice Harper has learned from his mistakes, and preached caution on Syria. Whereas Ignatieff is right back at pushing the American Deep State neo-imperialist propaganda.

          The American Deep State sells neo-imperialism to so-called conservatives and so-called progressives in differential ways.

          It sells it to “conservatives” as American exceptionalism, and front organization like the Project for the New American Century.

          It sells it to “progressives” as the ridiculous “responsibility to protect”, crafted by no less than Ignatieff himself.

          The result is pretty much the same now…the endless rain of drone missiles.

          The American Deep State. American exceptionalism and neo-imperialism. Financialization, the creation of private rentier streams (i.e. private taxes) paid for by public dollars. Larry Summers, who directly the repeal of Glass-Steagal, and Commodity Futures Modernization (and the non-regulation of derivatives) through the Clinton Administration and Congress as Treasury Secretary is the banksters main general in the bankster division of the American Deep State.

          Silicon Valley is the private sector tentacle of the NSA division of the American Deep State.

          • BS. Harper didn’t learn from that mistake. He flat out denied[lied] he ever made it. I don’t particularly like or admire MI, but compared to Harper he’s as straight as an arrow – well he is now he’s out of politics.

            If you dog that tin foil hat down a bit more and go stand outside you might be able to pick up Mars central. Watch out the NSA isn’t logging your meta data first though.

  22. It’s a fascinating distraction from more important stuff[ my dogs agree] to speculate on just where the strategic best interests of the Parties lie…perhaps they only lie anywhere for about a week at a time.
    1] CPC principal long term interest[ beyond holding power]…making sure the “left”remains divided as much as possible. If worst comes worst they might even be forced to support a LPC govt, w/o presumably SH. Would they go so far as to support an NDP senior partner…impossible…surely even SH wouldn’t/couldn’t drag his party there?!?!

    2] NDP long term interest are more difficult to define. Not looking so good now, so that might explain Mulcair loosening his corsets a tad on cooperation with other progressive parties. Question is, how progressive are the libs under JT? Other question is do the party members have a different view of that than Trudeau? Who wins that one? Depends what’s at stake and what’s on the table. Traditional bottom line for ndp, if you can’t be king, being king maker isn’t so bad!
    3] LPC long term interests…back in power, as always. Question here is do they despise a Harper led party enough to consider being second banana to a leftish party led by a centrist… at least while JT learns the ropes? Or do they see[ Trudeau’s faction anyway] the long term interest lie in marginalizing the left to the extent they’d be willing to prop up a CPC minority? Or Is that just playing SH’s game, even if he isn’t there?

    My head hurts now. I’m not sure i care THIS much. But i still wonder if the faint possibility of working with a CPC led by a moderate is enough to overturn conventional wisdom that the left must be reunited in order to succeed long term?[ that isn’t LPC conventional wisdom anyway as far a i can tell]
    Leaving the door permanently closed to the ndp is a dangerous game for JT to play long term no matter how enamoured he is in wooing pcers right now. If there’s no clear favourite by next spring or so i expect he will be loosening his corset also.

    Here’s the basis for why i think a JT led LPC will not easily support an ndp minority govt and may even back a cpc minority, sans SH at a minimum.
    It’s worth a look through the rest of the Observer for a related story surrounding issues with the hearings for Kinder Morgan. Just backing this pipeline wont be as easy as imply saying yes to this one.

  23. Coalition building after an election always seems to miss a very important step. First you must vote down the government. If Dion & co had quietly defeated the Harper government on that confidence motion (instead of holding a press conference to announce their intention to do so) the story would not have been that the opposition had brought them down, but in fact that Harper had failed to maintain the confidence of the house. By spinning it as *Harper’s failure* the opposition leaders could then have met and approached the GG with their alternative proposal.
    Hopefully the parties have learned from that mistake, and in the future there will be less talk of defeating the (conservative) government, and more voting to just do it. (Leave them wondering until the last minute, in fact, whether they’re actually going down).
    In the aftermath of a lost confidence vote, by precedent (1980) the GG still checks with the leader of the opposition before granting an election, even within 9 months of the previous one.
    Remember the #1 rule in Canadian politics (besides Wells’ laws): Governments defeat themselves. Let them.

    • I don’t think you have that quite right. The govt got wind of the intent to bring the govt down and simply delayed any possibility of a non confidence vote. I’m not sure it is possible to just spring such a vote on a sitting govt…not even one led by Joe Clark.

  24. Polls taken two years before an election have virtually no predictive value. Days away yes. Trends months away yes. Now? Not a bit. After celebrating Harper’s demise on three previous occasions one would think that the partisan leftists would at least pause before counting their electoral chickens. But no, not even with the lightweight gafftastic political Paris Hilton up for increasing scrutiny can they contemplate that which happened three times in a row may actually happen again.

    Iggy was tenfold prospective PM material over our unnaccomplished man-child. That the partisans here think it is Harper who will somehow wilt under the presence of the intellectual giant Justin in a heated election, baffles the mind.

    • Like I said, I have to shake my head. It makes no sense; well, it does, but why it does is mind-boggling.

    • Polls taken just days before an election have no predictive value anymore. See Dix, Adrian and Smith, Danielle.

  25. While your Harper book(s) was excellent, Mr. Wells, surely to goodness you could stretch a point and write about another leader, should we be lucky enough to get a change.

    • I do hope The Longer I’m Prime Minister wasn’t my last book about a prime minister. I’ll have an easier time of things if the PM in four years is Harper or Mulcair; if it’s Trudeau, I suspect it’ll already be raining books about Trudeau by then. In the meantime I hope to sneak in a book that won’t be about politics at all. Thank you for your kind words.

      • Hey Liberal voters! A VOTE FOR TRUDEAU IS A VOTE AGAINST ANOTHER BOOK BY PAUL WELLS! What if you vote for Trudeau and there are no more books by Paul Wells? Do you want those kind of troubles lapping at our shores?

  26. The NDP under Layton was committed to making Parliament work – regardless of its complexion.
    That is exactly what Tom Mulcair is saying.
    I’ve met an increasing number of folks in my community who want to see the Harper gang out – and expect, whatever the seat allocation ,that both the New Democrats and the Liberals will make sure that Harper and company are replaced.
    Tom Mulcair speaks for a growing number of Canadians – hopefully Trudeau will eventually respond in a responsible way.

  27. Let me rephrase the writer’s question:

    “Are Liberal and NDP party insiders so desperate to retain their pathetic little fiefdoms that they would turn down power?”

    Answer: discuss.

    • Anyone that starts a conversation with discuss is a bit pretentious

      • You got me.

  28. The Libs and NDP cannot admit to having discussions about a coalition BEFORE any elections. There are quite a few Libs who would balk at voting for the Party if they knew the NDP would have a say in how the budgets are managed. They would rather vote Conservative before voting for the NDP-Lib coalition.
    Of course, this is offset by those who would rather vote NDP, but choose to vote Liberal because they have a better chance of governing….so it’s a toss up.
    Admit the coaliton before the next election and you are faced with:
    1. Traditional Lib voters who are fiscally conservative…..who vote for Harper’s party to avoid NDP economic illiteracy.
    2. Traditional Lib voters who are more in tune with NDP policy, but would rather have a say in Government… vote NDP thinking it is a safe bet they will have influence after all.
    3. What will the outcome be if these movements in voting patterns result in certain Conservative ridings seeing an increase in support for Harper as fiscal Libs vote for Harper over Trudeau and Mulcair, while at the same time seeing Lib support decline, and NDP support rise in ridings that usually go Liberal…….maybe Conservatives come up the middle and take a seat they would not have otherwise won.
    Makes for interesting times…….so its no wonder no one is talking about in detail.
    What we’re seeing is “putting the idea out there” and see what happens. Don’t make any decisions about a merger until the actual results are in…..and then it’s too late for fiscal Libs to change their minds.

  29. Canadians are not stupid.
    We were all well schooled in 2008 about coalition govts being legitimate.
    We all know the option is there for the Opposition, and we saw Libs lie about their intentions to form a coalition of losers before.

    So how about the Trudeau Liberals actually doing politics differently,
    and tell the truth.
    If the LibDippers or DipperLibs want a legitimate mandate to govern as a coalition,
    say so, and let Canadians decide.

    • So how about the Trudeau Liberals actually doing politics differently,
      and tell the truth.

      Well it would certainly be a refreshing change from the current government.

      Thanks for finally admitting Harper is a liar Wilson.

  30. Patterns of Democracy by Arend Lijphart. I would suggest that anyone
    who is serious about changing our present system in Canada read it. Its a
    tough slog for a mug like me but it is an eye opener to the varied
    forms of democracy and a good place to start shopping for a change.
    Outside of opening the constitution, which nobody seems to have a
    stomach for, there are meaningful ways to change the way our governments
    are formed. The PMO is much too powerful and partisan, ironically it
    was the elder Trudeau that made it so. I would suggest that in the
    spirit of Liberal resolution 31, and if Justin Trudeau really wants to
    get rad that he consider changes to the way cabinets are formed. Would
    Mr. Mulcair’s constituency be better served if he considered meaningful
    reform? That’s debatable, but for sure ‘abolish the senate’ starts to
    sound like a broken record after awhile. Make the reforms now that are
    necessary so when you go down that constitutional path if doesn’t lead
    you to a quagmire.

    Majority governments are such arrogant beasts that any discussion of meaningful change is heresy when parties A humble coalition could accomplish much in the way of reforming politics in Canada.

  31. Hmm

    My thinking is that it currently benefits the NDP to get people to support a coalition, or strategic voting. If we go with strategic voting, based on the results of the last election that would largely mean liberals changing their vote to NDP.

    Since Trudeau is current in “first”, there is zero advantage to him agreeing to a coalition or strategic voting. He wants the LPC to be seen as the only palatable alternative to Harper. Hence, he should not even discuss it.

    My guess is a conservative minority, and a Harper government that cannot bully its agenda through parliament anymore. At that point Trudeau is going to have to demonstrate he can govern, because the election will be called within 18 months.

  32. Blue liberals will run from that nonsense.

  33. Any political party who in the interest of its own ambition refuses to do everything in its power to bring Harper down? Vanity vanity! If they were serious? If they were thinking about what’s good for Canada?

    They would put aside their differences – that are petty compared to their differences with the Harper – get together and smoke some pot, have a few drinks…

    And give us all a break from this worst prime minister in my whole sixty-three years, a prime minister who makes me, a social democrat, look back on Diefenbaker with fondness.

  34. Would you accept a few more years of Prime Minister Stephen Harper,
    while New Democrats and Liberals had the makings of a solid
    parliamentary majority between them?

    That question is rhetorical.

  35. The ‘water in wine’ comment by Mulcair just shows how desperate the NDP/Liberal junta would be in securing power at any cost to Canadians. The only thing missing is the engrained separatist Gilles Duceppe and the Bloc Quebecois which was an accepted and equal member by Jack Layton and Stephane Dion for their last attempt to secure power at any cost. Hypocrites is too kind a word for these power hungry dogs who would rather rule in hell then serve in opposition in Canada.
    The majority of Canadians must see this.