Iggy’s (continuing) problem, Harper’s opportunity

As others have pointed out, and as I’ve said myself, Ignatieff’s formal disavowal of any post-election coalition with the NDP and the Bloc does not mean he has sworn off trying to form a government with their support.

Indeed, if Harper does not win a majority, that is the almost certain result: though it’s always possible Harper might try to strike a deal with them himself, and not impossible they would accept, the greater probability by far is that a Conservative minority government would soon be defeated in the House. Depending on the numbers, and assuming Ignatieff could give the Governor General some assurance, sans coalition, of its stability, a Liberal minority government would then follow.

That’s fine. It’s how the system works. But it still presents Ignatieff with a problem, and Harper with an opportunity. The problem for Iggy is similar, though less acute, to that which bedeviled him so long as coalition talk was in the air. His strategy for winning left-leaning voters, who might otherwise vote NDP, depends upon insisting that they must vote Liberal to keep the Tories out — that unless the Liberals win the most seats, they are doomed to be governed by the Conservatives. But if in fact the Conservatives can be removed from power without giving the Liberals more seats — if the other parties can combine to defeat them in the House and put the Liberals in government in their place — then the NDP-leaning voter can vote Dipper in good conscience, and the traditional Liberal fear campaign loses its potency.

To be sure, Ignatieff can plead with voters to give him enough seats to persuade the Governor General to call upon him: without the cement of a coalition deal, he’ll need some other means of proving his ability to provide stable government. But it doesn’t have quite the same dire appeal as Us or Them.

That’s why Iggy is so reluctant to talk about what would happen if the Liberals don’t win the most seats. (Even the no-coalition pledge neglects to mention it, an elision which at first appeared as if it might have been intended to provide an escape hatch, but which I am accepting the party’s word does not.) And that’s why it’s perfectly fair game for Harper to talk it up. He just has to be less hysterical about it.

It’s not a matter of such parliamentary transfers of power, by a vote of the House rather than a vote of the people, being “illegitimate” — an argument he is in no position to maintain. And he’ll have a hard time keeping up the argument that Ignatieff is simply lying through his teeth for five weeks. The point is, he doesn’t need to. All he needs to do is point out that the most probable alternative to a Conservative majority is not a Liberal majority, but a Liberal minority, in cahoots with the NDP and the Bloc. It needn’t be a coalition, with New Democrats in cabinet and all that, but it would still very likely involve some sort of deal that would pull the Liberals to the left — particularly if the Liberals do not possess even the plurality of seats in the House, and must pitch the Governor General on their ability to hold a government together. (Of course, if by some miracle the Liberals seemed headed for a majority, that argument would be moot. But then Ignatieff would face a different problem: NDP switchers defecting back to the left to force him to work with the Dips.)

That’s Harper’s appeal to centre-right voters: Us or All of Them. But it also has the virtue of reminding left-wing voters of their options. And if he doesn’t, you may be sure Layton and Duceppe will. Iggy may have put the coalition monkey to bed, but he still has a problem on his hands.

CODA: The problem facing Harper until now has been this: so long as the choice appeared to be between a Conservative majority and a Conservative minority, a certain number of centre-right voters preferred the latter. That’s one reason he’s been unable to get above 40% in the polls.

But the election presents an opportunity to recast that choice, since it presumably removes the option of a Conservative minority: such a government would almost certainly be defeated at the first opportunity. So now Harper can present the choice as one between a Conservative majority and — on present standings — a Liberal minority, heavily dependent on the NDP and the Bloc.

That sort of government might sound perfectly fine to a lot of voters, but not to the ones he needs: centre-right, Lib-Con switchers. The ones who until now have been opting for a Conservative minority. He’s got to impress upon them that that’s no longer an option.




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Iggy’s (continuing) problem, Harper’s opportunity

  1. jus cas harpers gonna act like an idjiot for fur da hol efffing lection dont meant ya hav ta do da same

  2. There are a few other issues that are worth discussing but you are too busy carrying Mr. Harper's water jugs.

  3. It's now way more fun to watch Gilles Duceppe with that letter in his hand!

    • I thought it was a real eye-opener to hear Mr. Duceppe say that steve had actually said to him if they could get their new coalition government with steve as Prime Minister: "TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT IN THE SPEECH FROM THE THRONE"

      I don't vote for blatant LIARS who have so little respect for their electorate that they don't care if they lie as they have absolutely no intention whatsoever of keeping their word. Stephen Harper is a very ugly little man.

      • The Speech from the Throne he talks about was Paul Martin's government's Throne Speech!!! The Conservatives moved an amendment to the Address in Reply to the Throne Speech debate, and it on this amendment that Harper asked for Duceppe's and Layton's input.

        See the amendment here:
        http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publicat

        It's clear from reading that, and Harper's entire speech, that he clearly accepted the results of the election, and was in no way threatening to bring the gov't down.

        Let me just add that it's hilarious that you would take the word of a politician who wants to see the breakup of Canada. You got played by Gilles.

        • http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/
          Harper, NDP and BLOC announcing their coalition in 2004. You know what really upsets Canadians is when you tories treat we, the majority of Canadians, with such contempt and ignorance. But contempt is all you know and now the whole world also knows your true colors! Yellow!

  4. Agree with you Andrew, this is a huge opportunity for Harper. He would be smart to use some media clips of the "historic" moment, the Liberals, NDP and Bloc signing the coalition and support agreements. Pretty powerful, visual stuff!!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pshd-ariyfs

    • It's a given. With ominous music and dire, deep-voiced warnings. Probably in grainy B&W. Harper can't resist the heavy-handed cliche.

    • "It's funny," Duceppe told Maclean's magazine last year in an interview.

      "When we're supporting the Tories, the Liberals are telling the Tories, 'You're sleeping with the separatists.' And when we're supporting the Liberals, the Tories are telling the Liberals, 'You're sleeping with the separatists.'

      • Well at least we can agree that Duceppe doesn't care who he sleeps with, lol!!!

    • Good idea. You can show the footage of harper, Jack and Gilles doing the same thing, you know…just to be honest about it

      • Except that such footage doesn't exist. If it did, I'm sure we'd be seeing it played daily. To be honest about it.

        • I just saw it on CTV news! Another tory bulsh@@er I see but you will not see it often only when the tory owned press is obligated to show it…
          Funny how Tories always say the opposite of the truth. The Canadian press is owned and controlled by tory business and any educated, plugged in Canadian can easily see that. We know that they continually whine that the press in not on their side so that the public believes it, but if the Canadian press were any further up Harpers ass they would see George Bushs feet! For instance the CTV network or Conservative Television Network have more Senators than any other company in Canada. Pam Whalin? Mike Duffy, Minister Bev Oda and if thats not enough to convince the Canadian voters that our press is controlled by tory business did you ever ask yourself how Ben Mulrony got his CTV job! I will end with this "the CTV reporters do not aspire to be great reporters, they aspire to be Senators!
          PS. Why do you think Tories want to kill the CBC? Its the only press they dont own! BEWARE OF THE RIGHT WING PRESS AND THEIR MADE UP POLLS!!

          • Here's a web address with a picture the three of them sitting together announcing the Harper, NDP, Bloc coalition in 2004. To be honest about it. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/

          • Really? That looks like just a picture of the three of them sitting at a table. Can you link to a single news article from the time that refers to said 2004 coalition?

          • So it's all just a big conspiracy?

  5. Memo to Parliamentary Press Gallery:

    Ignatieff has never formally stated that he would not form a coalition with Martian invaders, in fact, he has never once disavowed the proposition that he would hand over the raigns of powers withing weeks of the Martians arriving on our planet.

    I really think you should focus on that for the next several days. All of you, in one voice. Canadians need to know about his unwillingness to clearly distance himself from the Martians. And for heaven's sake, please make sure that none of you get diverted form this fundamental point and try to talk about anything with substance.

    • I, for one, welcome our new Martian Overlords.

    • I thought Ignatief's country was America. Now you tell me he's been living on Mars!! No wonder the dude is so out of touch.

    • I for one don't take the possibility of the Bloc Quebecois having significant leverage over the Government of Canada lightly, as apparently others do.

      It's just something I don't want to see happen. Simple as that.

  6. I think that you are overlooking something very important–Harper's first appeal to Quebec, the speech that got him recognized in Quebec, was all about the shared interests. Those shared interests were in decentralization and getting Ottawa out of people's lives. For the BQ, a commitment to massive decentralization would be a very attractive offer. The CPC would not have to offer anything else in the bargain to get a commitment of BQ support. In enacting such a program, Harper would be appeasing, rather than aggravating, his Western base. That is the most natural coalition that exists.

    • No way! Duceppe knows he can get much more leverage when being strong in the House. Duceppe knows that he will never be PM or sit at cabinet, but his power of influence will be great if the real federal parties are put at a disadvantage by the BQ being allowed to run in federal elections. The party which wants to break up Canada; the party which does not have to travel across Canada for gathering support; the party which does not have to understand the complexity of this country from coast to coast to coast will be able to seed confusion and will hold out for becoming the balance of power in Ottawa.

      The party which the narrowest of views (it only caters to Quebec) may end up deciding what's best for Canada/ Duceppe knows his game. And it is up to Canadians to counter Duceppe at his game. Quebeckers may have a say, certainly, no doubt about that, but Canadians have the right to voice their opinions also and to stand on the side of a united Canada!

    • With the SEPARATISTS??? Butbutbut… th-th-that's ILLEGITIMATE!!!! UNPRINCIPLED!!!

    • I would agree with you, except that I just don't believe that the Bloc cares about decentralization or "smaller" Ottawa anymore. I think that the separatist movement is much weaker than it appears. The Bloc just uses separation as a threat to extort more money from Ottawa, and that's all that they're really interested in anymore.

      • It's certainly all that a lot of their supporters are actually interested in (except for the hard core).

  7. In some ways I am looking forward to the possible coalition of the losers…it will make Western Independence virtually inevitable. I for one would work tirelessly to see that come about.

    • Me too! Absolutely!

      If the NDP and LIberal numbers combined need the Bloc to form a coalition , and if they go ahead like last time, and the GG will allow a coalition of the NDP-Lib -BQ to overtake a Harper minority government, the west will not be pleased. In fact, it will be furious and rightfully so. No party which runs to break up this country should be able take over a part of the country which pays so much towards the well being of Quebec.

      • So you're against the BQ yet are excited about a new western separatist party? Your cognitive dissonance is getting worse; you need to see someone about that.

        • I have never said I was against the BQ…in fact, I somewhat admire their ability to get Quebec virtually everything it wants (and more) with little to no effort. However, if a bunch of socialist Toronto latte sippers conspire with Quebec separatists to overthrow the elected will of most Canadians (while being virtually shut out west of Thunder Bay), we have a problem…a very big problem. I imagine many of you have not even thought about the optics of that have you? According to AC western alienation is over….well, let me tell you something, only in Canada would a Central Canadian poser come out west and tell us our 'alienation' is over. It proves that Easterners (including those who write for a living) know nothing, zero, nada about what the west has put up with over the decades.

          So, go ahead, vote the commies in….blow back is a B$tch though….

          • My comment was addressed to FV, but since you followed up and she didn't…

            Words like "commies" are just a wee bit over the top. If any of the centrist or left-leaning parties are "commies' then that makes the CPC, Wild Rose et al "fascists". Are you sporting a little toothbrush 'stache? I didn't think so; dial it back if you expect respect.

            As for Western Alienation – well, wah! Pretty much every region of the country has grievances with the Feds and with other regions. As an ex-pat Nflder, I can reel off a list as long as my arm of ways the Feds (both Lib and Con) have screwed mt home province over. I can write a similar, overlapping list of grievances against Quebec (as the two often colluded in the screw-overs).

          • (cont'd)
            But you know what? That's the mark of the spoiled child; they want everything for themselves and don't want to share. Have a look back at your region's history; you exist because of nation-building by the east. You have been supported by the rest of Canada in times of need. When Canada asks something in return, your response is to hug it to yourself and scream "No! It's MIIIINNE!!"

            Grow up!

          • I agree that every region has it's problems with the feds. But out West it's a little different than that. In the last election, for example, the Liberals won 2 seats out of 56 in the prairies, and I don't think anyone expects their numbers in that region to improve during the upcoming election. What that means is that a Liberal lead government after the next election would have next to zero representation from an entire region of the country. That's more than just a grievance, it's a complete divergence of views of what the priorities of government should be.

          • And the thing that I find troubling is how little Liberal supporters seem to care about this problem of next to zero representation in the West.

          • I agree. I've found it fascinating. While the Conservatives have made obvious attempts (some successful, some not) to make inroads with groups that have not voted for them before, the Liberals have done essentially nothing to make inroads in the west. The NDP has also made efforts to win over new voters. But the Liberals don't seem to want to expand beyond Ontario and Quebec, the center of their universe.

            It makes me wonder if they seriously fail to understand what Western voters would be looking for, or whether they simply don't care, or what.

          • I think it's more of a case of self-perpetuating myth: westerners won't vote for Liberals because they want to punish them for not listening – and then they complain about a lack of representation. Sort of the antithesis of having your cake and eating it too.

            A dialog takes two. The west, from my admittedly east-coast (and now central) view is that they'd rather complain than participate.

          • "then they complain about a lack of representation"

            A lack of representation? Are you kidding? The Liberals have no chance whatsoever of winning this election. The West is currently very strongly represented in government, perhaps better represented than any other region, and there is no indication that will change. The west is better represented than ever before, and that is because they DON'T vote Liberal!

            As for the rest of your comment, what are you talking about? People vote for politicians, not the other way around. If the Liberals want to win ridings in the west, then it's up to them, not the people that live there. You're doing the analog of blaming the customer for not buying something. If the Liberals present policies that are hated by the West, that's not the West's problem. I can't remember the last time the Liberals ever presented a policy that would have been well-liked by the west. Dion's main campaign plank was a screw-the-west policy, and Iggy thinks that having a BBQ in Calgary is enough to win Alberta while at the same time telling the rest of Canada that anyone against the gun registry (farmer, hunter, you-name-it) is a threat to the rest of us.

            The Liberals could start by praising Alberta's strong economy instead of trashing it all the time, or doing the "yes, but…" routine.

          • I was going to try a reasoned response, but then I read "Dion's main campaign plank was a screw-the-west policy" and realized that all that dinosaur juice has given you dinosaur brain.

            An attempt to reduce pollution and improve the environment is somehow an attempt to screw over Alberta? Boy, are YOU self-centred! It's about helping to preserve Canada and the planet for our children and grandchildren. If you could keep all your poisons within your borders, I'd say "knock yerself out!" But this is about all of us, and the longer we take to start moving to a cleaner future, the longer and harder it will take.

            …but I'm guessig you tuned out after the second line and went back to picking lint out of your navel…

          • I think you're being harsh when you suggest that Liberal's don't care. I'm sure that Anita Neville and Ralph Goodale care. But it does show how little influence anyone from outside of Toronto has with the Liberal Party of Toronto.

          • In the last election, the Conservatives won, remember? Lots of representation. Yet, oddly, Harper too picked a substantial number of his key ministers from… Ontario. The ones we see daily answering questions in QP? From Ontario. Is Harper really providing the west with more access to power, or listening? Well, enough to maintain his power base, maybe…

            Here's the thing: If you don't want to vote Liberal out of protest, then don't be surprised if they don't spend a lot of time listening. NL has zero seats (of seven – and the prairies have 56? Oh, woe are we! We're doomed!!!) because NL knew that, zero or seven, it wouldn't matter – he wasn't going to listen. Sound familiar? But we know the problem of the moment is Harper's pettiness – we don't think we'll NEVER be heard by the CPC..

            My somewhat belaboured point: if the west doesn't vote in any representation, they shouldn't be surprised if they don't have as much influence as the areas that do. But – as my notes on Harper show – representation is not necessarily a guarantee of voice either.

          • I don't think that Ontario is over-represented in Harper's cabinet. I don't care where the parties political support lies geographically, I expect them to appoint the most competent ministers from their caucus, and I think for the most part Harper's done that.

            And I guess you're point about NL is kinda my point about the west, and AB specifically. You say that most NLers don't think they'll never be heard by the CPC again. Most Albertans probably do believe that they will never be listed to by the LPC ever again. And they have good reason to believe so.

          • AND the CPC is going all-out this election to win back those seats in NL. What are the Liberals doing in Alberta? Going all-out?

            Bueller?

          • Sorry; my double negative may have confused you. I think it is quite possible BL could someday become favourably inclined toward the CPC someday; I just think it will require Harper's retirement (or an amazing about-face on his part in his treatment of NL) for that to happen.

            Which is the point about the west:their take on the Liberals is far different. Suggest to a westerner – esp an Albertan – the idea of voting Liberal and the first thing out of their mouth is "NEP". There's been thirty years of change since then but most westerners aren't wiling to get past that. They are now as bad as the Quebecois; no matter what is given them, it isn't enough; whatever is done for the nation at large, if it in any way might potentiaalt have a negative impact on them, them Dam' Eastern Liberals are out to eat their children. It's a bizarre paranoia that the Liberals have little hope of doing anything about. It's getting to the point where I have more sympathy for Quebec (and my sympathy for them is around zero.)

          • I expect a couple of Nfld ridings to go Conservative. What happened in one election is not a pattern. I don't think Nfld feels that the Cons don't listen, the Cons are competitive across Atlantic Canada.

          • No more than Liberals are in Alberta. Harper has broken promise after promise after promise to Newfoundland, and insulted us to boot. We're a friendly bunch, but not stupid.

            One or two might get in but it will be because that candidate's reputation was strong enough to withstand the CPC taint.

      • nice guy and FVerhoeven: Canadians of Convenience.

        Once they don't get what they want, time to break up the country.

        • Canada is a lot of things….convenient isn't one of them.

        • Michael Ignatieff: Canadian of Convenience.

    • Knew it! The Wild Rose Alliance is a fifth-column separatist movement…

      • Not yet…but it could be…very quickly.

        • And Harper's plan to break up Canada progresses apace…

    • So we've now established that NiceGuy is a traitor to Canda. Let me guess – you are from Aalabamerta and your ancestors came up from the States via Montana, so you are really more American anyway.

      And you idiots keep calling yourself the west. You are a PRAIRIE PROVINCE. We in B.C. would not want to be a part of any Americanized KKK-loving, John Birch society home, white-bread only province that your type represent.

      Move back to Georgia or Alabama. Your kin would take you back in a flash.

      • Born and bred in BC actually….most of my family still lives there. I am glad you feel you speak for, and represent the 5 million people that live there. I wonder how many in BC would agree with me?? Will be interesting to find out…

        PS How can you be a traitor to a place that isn't a real country?

        • This BC'er does not agree with you. Take that pipeline of yours and place it where it will get little light.

      • It's rants like this that ensure nobody in the prairie provinces would ever elect an NDP or Liberal government.

        • Scott Reid: "Alberta Can Blow Me". Says it all about the LPC, doesn't it?

          • Seems to be a few bigots in that party. I did not know Reid said that. Another one in a long list of offensive statements from that fellow Reid. But it's never stopped Maclean's from paying him to make football picks, and it's never stopped the CBC from hiring the guy either.

          • Seen more than my share of Albertan bigots… some on this site. You should hear the things "true Albertans" say about immigrants – and bythat, they mean anyone not born in the prairies (and maybe BC), I've heard many a derogatory comment about Newfoundlanders from Albertans – worse than the "pur laine" Quebecois.

            If you expect to be treated with respect, you might start by having some for others.

          • Really? Post a link. I don't believe you. If there's a bigoted comment by an Albertan on this site, then go ahead and link to it. We've got one heck of a bigoted anti-Albertan comment right here in this page. Don't pull this "everybody does it routine" without at least pointing to a single example. LOL

            And really, blaming the victim is absurd. If a white guy gets shot, do you blame him for being white? If a black guy gets shot, do you blame him for being black? Then don't justify the above comment by saying it's OK because it's Alberta's fault.

          • It speaks VOLUMES. And it also says a lot about their long-term future. It would take a miracle for western Canadians to ever start voting Liberal in any kind of significant numbers ever again.

  8. When reporters ask Ignatieff about coalitions, he needs to switch the topic by stating what the effects of a contemptuous Harper government would have on Canadian families.

    • He needs to flip off these paid Con hacks and tell them "I don't repeat myself to idiots".

      Frankly, he needs to reverse the question and ask these robotic brain-dead minions with the IQ of a park bence just what it is about a COALITION that makes them such cowering scaredy-pants? They seem to work well in most ccountries. Just ask Steve's mentor Benny Netenayhoo (wonder if he knows how Steve feels about his COALITION government?). At the very least, a COALITION government usuaually represents the MAJORITY of the elctorate – something we haven't seen here in Canada for a number of years.

  9. It's still very early days in the campaign, so I'm not giving up hope yet that the media might move on to some issues that will really affect Canadian's lives.

    I'm watching Harper's fear-mongering with some interest. Do people think he can keep this up through the entire campaign or is he going to have to shift to a saner level at some point? Harper started right out of the gate in a kind of nutsy mode – accusing his competitor of lying and wanting to destabilize the country.

  10. There is no coalition problem. This is not an issue except in Mr, Harper's mind. Will the media please switch the channel and deal with the real issues, those of interest to Canadians instead of being mesmerized the smoking mirror?

    • Well, some media did hound Harper a bit about his own 2004 coalition deal, so they deserve some credit for that. I think if they keep up that approach Harper may wean himself from using coalition 21 times per speech, down to single digits.

      • I have a single digit for him… and will happily salute him with it every time he uses "coalition".

        He needs to stop treating this nation – and Parliament – as though he's the only adult in a room of three-year-olds. Truth is, with his pouting, take-my-ball-and-go-home behaviour, he's more like a three-year-old than most of them (or us).

        • Amen to that

    • Will the media please only talk about issues that the Liberal Party of Canada and their supporters want to talk about? Anything else is unfair and proof of a vast right-wing conspiracy.

    • How refreshing – a journalist whose brain isn't flooded with Harper's messaging and has actually done some research. There is hope yet.

      • It's unfortunate that the majority of the media in this country seems willing to give traction to this issue instead of making him address the contempt and ethics problems that brought his government down. He has yet to acknowledge that his party is the first and only party to have been found in comptempt of parliament and the impact that had on our democracy. Instead we are fed umpteen blogs about a CRAP crafted conspiracy on a hypothetical question. Please let our media members know we want them to find answers that reflect the real issues, not this garbage. Harper continues to play them like a bunch of fools ( and they are doing nothing to disprove him).

  11. WE WILL NEVER TOLERATE SEPARATISTS IN THE GOVERNMENT IN ANT WAY SHAPE OR FORM!!!If Quebec wishes to participate as they've done so very often in the past via Laurier, Pearson, Trudeau, Mulroney, Chretien they can do so again by supporting mainstream political parties. If you want a fight over this, you will get one hellll of a fight!!!

    • Yet some of Steve's most robotic minions are freely talking about separating from Canada to form a Priarie COALITION (BC is not one of them, thank God), yet do not comprehend their own dumb-witted hypocrcay.

    • I tend to watch what people do, not what they say; from all appearances, the Separation meme used by the Bloc is nothing more than a rhetorical device designed to convince their constituents that they will do everything possible–up to and including separating–to ensure that the people of Quebec get what they want out of being a part of Canada. While I don't agree with the message, I do express some admiration that a province's MP's would actually go to parliament to fight for what's best for their provincial constituents, instead of always bowing to the national party line.

      Gilles Duceppe and the entire BQ MP brigade is making off quite handsomely by participating in Canada's Parliament. It's inevitable that they'll keep snapping and barking, but why in the world would they ever actually bite the hand that fed them?

    • So, can we investigate the CPC for any ties any of their members may have with the Wildrose Party?

    • Mulroney gave the separatists cabinet posts and it almost broke the country up.
      Cons divide, Liberals unite.

      • So when Scott Reid said "Alberta can blow me", when Keith Davey said "screw the west, take the rest", and when Trudeau flipped the bird in Salmon Arm, they were trying to unite this country?

        When all the Liberal supporters on this blog slag Albertans for being dumb, rednecks, knuckle-draggers, racists, wannabe Americans, etc., those Liberal supporters are trying to unite this country?

        Interesting interpretation.

    • Yet he is probably the only current leader in the House who is repsected by ALL parties. Guess you didn't know that,eh, sport?

  12. I hate that the "coalition" parties never participate in anything to help Canadians. We are not their main concern. All they seem to do is argue and fight and try to make themselves look good by making Harper look bad. Nit picking. Like a bunch of spoiled bratty kids saying "look at me". Their whole platform is criticizing everyone else. I am sick of it, get on with looking after the country, that is what you get the big bucks for. I will never vote for those self serving parties,

    • Harper does an excellent job of making himself look bad. And just listen to Ignatieff's stump speech (posted by Wherry) and Harper's stump speech. Harper spends almost his entire speech trying to make others look bad and instilling fear. By contrast, Ignatieff focusses on the positive role of government in helping Canadians.

      So, you've got things backward. Pay attention to reality, not partisan lies. Many things out of Harper's mouth are not based in reality.

    • Oh, do grow up, sonny.

    • When the Liberals took a break from their unconditional support of the Conservatives the NDP got EI improvements. They also had a list of things they wanted to help Canadians from the budget, but what they got wasn't nearly enough.

  13. 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 is a lying hypocrite.

    • You are joking, right? It's well known that Ignatieff signed the coalition letter to the GG in Dec 08. In fact, he signed it last of all, because it took him that long to decide between doing right by the country and preserving his chance of being Liberal leader.

      • Funny, but Ignattieff could not have signed it as he was not the leader of the party at the time: Stephane Dion was. You guys must think that all Canadians are stupid and don''t read or follow events.
        Shame.

    • Here is a link to the 2008 coalition agreement signed by Michael Ignatieff, it's right there at the bottom.

  14. Hey Andrew,
    If you are going to give nicknames to the politicians at least be consistent and judicious.
    I am sure Iggy is fine….but I am wondering what your pet name for Mr. Harper is?
    "Snuggles" "lovey" "Harpy" ?
    Waiting to see what you choose to use.

  15. I didn't realize that the LIAR in CONTEMPT of Canadians was so far into American right-wing style personal attack ads, bringing our system down to new and filthy lows, that it was now A-OK to bring in a candidate's family to denigrate. What next? Will the Harperoids headed by this disgusting little man next start peddling that Mr. Ignatieff was born in Kenya and is a Muslim and demand to see his birth certificate? Is this the type of crass low-lifes we want representing us in the world? They call Mr. Layton a communist and accuse Mr. Duceppe of wanting to destroy Canada when we all know that the vast majority of Bloc voters, our fellow Canadians, feel it's a safe place to park a vote and with a party that will look after Quebec (which represents 20%+ of all Canadians).

    This Canadian Richard Nixon who was charged with Contempt of Congress under Article 3 at least had the decency to resign before impeachment. harper represents the very worst of Canadians and pretty well just the old, white and out-of-shape males of our species.

  16. And let us not forget that it was STEPHEN HARPER who asked Mr Duceppe in 2004: "TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT IN THE SPEECH FROM THE THRONE" – what a lying traitor this foul little thing is.

    • And who is minding the Dead-Eyed Dick's kids? Certainly not him! And I gather Laureen is seldom 'at home' if what the rumour mill is saying has an ounce of truth to it?

  17. September 9, 2004

    Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson,

    Excellency,

    As leaders of the opposition parties, we are well aware that, given the Liberal minority government, you could be asked by the Prime Minister to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government's program.

    We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. 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.

    Your attention to this matter is appreciated.

    Sincerely,

    Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.

    Leader of the Opposition

    Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

    Gilles Duceppe, M.P.

    Leader of the Bloc Quebecois

    Jack Layton, M.P.

    Leader of the New Democratic Party

    • and what about it? Comparing this to the 2008 Coalition deal is ridiculous. Apples and oranges.

  18. Andrew, just give it up.

    Ignatieff could state a hundred ways that he wouldn't form a coalition or anything else and you and Harper will still demand that he re-state it a thousand different ways more.

    You have gone off the deep end along with Stephan Harper who today said: "I wasn't trying to bring the Martin government down. I wasn't even tabling a confidence motion," Harper responded Sunday. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canadavotes2011/s

    Harper was referring to his 2004 letter and vote against Martin's Throne Speech which if it was defeated would have brought down the Martin govt.

    Care to comment on this latest statement by Harper? Would you say that it is a lie?

    • Iggy's had two years to definitively answer the question, yet he's waffled every time, so I'm not surprised that some people would need a little more convincing than others.

    • Harper voted FOR Martin's Throne Speech … in fact, the vote was unanimous.
      http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publicat

      Up until 5 mins before that though, Martin was maintaining that any change to the Address in Reply motion was one of confidence.

      Let me remind you that all of Harper's Throne Speech's have been amended by the opposition, and passed with gov't agreement.

      And Harper is the one described as stubborn …

  19. From the spitting-in-the-wind department:

    Can we PLEASE refrain from the belittling bastardizing of the man's actual family name? He may not have impressed me much, and I likely won't vote for his party, but Mr. Ignatieff deserves at least the respect of calling him by his actual name.

    • I don't see Jarome Iginla complaining. Lighten up, fer Crissakes.

    • With all due respect, it was Iggo himself, or his handlers, who branded himself "Iggy"… he also made the ridiculous claim of some sort of "Iggymania" taking over the country.

  20. But the election presents an opportunity to recast that choice, since it presumably removes the option of a Conservative minority: such a government would almost certainly be defeated at the first opportunity. So now Harper can present the choice as one between a Conservative majority and — on present standings — a Liberal minority, heavily dependent on the NDP and the Bloc.

    Do you really think Harper's rhetoric will get as precise as this? Somehow, I doubt it.

  21. In all this coalition discussion, one point that should be mentioned more frequently is that what Harper describes as "a coalition of losers" could equally well be described as "a coalition representing more votes and more seats than do the Conservatives."

    • He basically called a majority of Canadians losers.
      Unfortunately, he essentially called all of us idiots as well.

    • Good luck with that … people know when a party's had its a$$ handed to it, as the LPC had last election. That they tried to form a coalitiion after that was just plain nuts.

  22. C = Corrupt
    R = Reformer
    A = Alliance
    P = Parasites

    C = COALITION of
    R = Reformers
    A = Alliance
    P = Progressive Conservative

    C = Contempt of Canadians (and Parliament)
    R = Rabid Right-Wing Republicans
    A = Anti-tolerance
    P = Parasitic

    • Dear Mr. Prescott: Your churlish name-calling is not appreciated. Let's keep this blog site respectful, as was the original intent. Let your displeasure be felt at the polling station.

    • D
      U
      M
      B

  23. Prior to the budget tabling, Quebec made several demands. The response of the Conservatives was clear in the budget. What is the Liberal response?

  24. Harpers American Dream Regime
    I see you are believing the tory owned press polls. Just read the responces to EVERY article you can find online about this election (that are not monitored by the right wing press in this country) and you will see an overwhelming disgust with Harper. I see a LIBERAL MAJORITY comming myself. You guys have to dump harper, he is bad for your party and bad for Canada!
    On May 2
    UN PRESIDENT Harper!

  25. We can always start a drinking game, every time we hear 'COALITION' from Harper, take a swig.

    But first make sure you give your car keys to someone not playing the game.

  26. Put more succinctly, what Harper is saying to Rest of Canada is: the only way to stop the Bloc from forcing the federal government to grant even more concessions and money to Quebec at the expense of the other provinces is a majority Conservative Government. A vote for the "Coalition" is a vote for the Bloc Quebecois.

    I just returned from a trip to one of the Western provinces and this point resonates. Everyone I spoke to has noticed Ignatieff promising federal funding to the Quebec City hockey arena (sorry, centre for arts and culture).

  27. First of all, it is 2 billion NOT five. Secondly, Duceppe is only asking for the same treatment Ontario got when it harmonized its sales tax with the GST. Ontario got just over 2 billion, some of it being given back to Ontarians as a rebate.

    Really, you should get your facts straight before going on stupid diatribe about Duceppe and Mr Harper's so-called leadership abilities.

    • It was 2.2B just for the HST. The whole bill was over $10B, asking for compensation all the way back to the Ice Storm!!!!

      Basically he didn't want to support Harper's budget … made that clear enough!

  28. it's clear the media are in the same boat as their Liberal, Separatist comrades in trying to explain away the Separatists having power in the PMO. American Iggo and the Separatists are campaigning together, because Duceppe needs the Liberals to win enough seats to keep the Separatist cause alive and wealthy, with taxpayer welfare. Iggo and the Liberals are at an all time low in the polls and yet they force an unnecessary election because the coalition fix is in, and as much as the Liberals, Separatists, Commies and their media comrades try and create a fog of disinformation and excuses it won't work. The media and the Liberals and Separatists should stick to manufacturing "cultural wars" and divide and conquer tactics that worked so effectively for Trudeau and quit trying to fool everyone with the preposterous claim that there is no Liberal Separatist coalition, and if there was, it really isn't that strange of a concept.

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