812

Ignatieff talks minority scenarios

It shouldn’t matter, but it probably will


 

I suppose it was a tactical error for Michael Ignatieff to describe the way the parliamentary system works in his interview today with CBC’s Peter Mansbridge.

You might imagine it wouldn’t be all that risky to display a rudimentary understanding of the conventions of the House of Commons, as inherited by Canada from Britain. But there you’d be wrong. This will be treated as big campaign news, and the Conservatives are naturally all over it.

What exactly were the dangerous words that Ignatieff dared utter? Well, if Stephen Harper wins with a minority, but can’t gain the required confidence of the House, and the governor general calls next on the Liberal leader to try to form a government, then Ignatieff said he would “talk to Mr. Layton, or Mr. Duceppe, or even Mr. Harper, and say, ‘We have an issue, and here’s the plan that I want to put before Parliament, this is the budget I would bring in,’ and then we take it from there.”

That’s it. In a better world, this bland description of the possibilities in an unstable minority situation might  be useful in a rigorous high school civics class. In this one, it will be useful to the Conservatives.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with Harper arguing that Liberal government of any description would be a terrible thing, in particular one propped up by the NDP or the Bloc or both. But it’s a disservice to democracy to suggest there’s something nefarious in what is merely one of the outcomes allowed by convention if an election doesn’t reward any party with a majority.

It’s true that what Ignatieff described to Mansbridge isn’t the usual thing. Canada has little experience with any party governing other than the one with the most seats. The key example would be the 1985-87 Ontario Liberal government of David Peterson, which was supported by the Bob Rae’s NDP under the terms of an accord.

I don’t recall anyone seriously claiming that was a constitutional travesty. For a more recent case study, you can’t beat the creation just last year of Britain’s coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Harper has been widely quoted on his observation that this showed that “winners are the ones who form governments.”

But that’s only how it happened to work out, with the first-place Tories cutting a deal with the third-place Lib-Dems. It might well have gone the other way, with second-place Labor leading the coalition. In fact, that’s what David Cameron believed would transpire on the very evening before he became prime minister.

“It’s not going to happen,” Cameron told his wife that dark night. “I’m going to be leader of the opposition. I’m depressed that it hasn’t worked out as we wanted.” (This quote is from an engrossing BBC behind-the-scenes story on the formation of the coalition.)

It’s worth noting in the current Canadian context, though hardly for the first time, that the prospect of a second-place party running the show was not viewed in Britain as illegitimate. In fact, the BBC account has Cameron being praised for tactical “brilliance” for not asserting his right, as the leader of the party with the most seats, to form a government on the morning after the inconclusive election. Instead, he put a comprehensive plan on the table, courting the necessary Liberal Democrat backing, rather than trying to bluster his way into 10 Downing Street.

Lest we imagine that those Brits are just so damn sophisticated that they automatically handle these situations with a minimum of nonsense, I should mention that their 2010 election also stirred up anxiety surrounding minorities and coalitions. Nick Clegg, the Lib-Dem leader, felt the need to assert well before election day that the party with the most seats would have won a mandate to try to form a government. Clegg was trying to insulate himself from incessant campaign questions about how he might act if no party won a majority.

Sound familiar? Ignatieff tried to stop this issue from dominating the race he’s now running by asserting early on that the party with the most seats gets first crack at seeking to win the confidence of the House. And that seemed to have worked for him, at least up until today’s interview.


 

Ignatieff talks minority scenarios

  1. "I suppose it was a tactical error for Michael Ignatieff to describe the way the parliamentary system works"

    Ya, we wouldn't want Canadians knowing any of the nefarious secrets of parliamentary democracy. We just can't handle the truth.

  2. "I suppose it was a tactical error for Michael Ignatieff to describe the way the parliamentary system works"

    Ya, we wouldn't want Canadians knowing any of the nefarious secrets of parliamentary democracy. We just can't handle the truth.

    • In the case of CON's insurmountable rights to govern, ignorance remains bliss, and obviously mandatory.

    • Is this really a tactical error? The Cons will likely not be able to steal any of the Liberals' support because of this. Their base is maximized and they can't reach beyond it. So this alone won't hurt the Liberals to the benefit of the Cons. It may benefit the NDP, but it won't make them the official opposition; thus, Ignatieff will still be first in line after Harper falls.

      Also, now Ignatieff has said, during a campaign, that he is open to forming a government if the Cons' minority falls. He cannot be condemned for a maneuver not mentioned when elected.

      So, to sum up, if things come to pass such that Ignatieff becomes PM in the way he outlined, it will now be constitutionally and electorally legitimate. This has become a very likely scenario.

      • OR fancy this: Cons win minority, as still seems most likely. Then, knowing what Ignatieff plans to do, and able to do little about it, they actually deliver a throne speech/budget that they may be compelled to vote for. Ignatieff wins again by getting Cons to cooperate with other parties.

        As an objective observer who believes the Liberals, this time around, are the best choice, I'm liking Iggy's answer to Mansbridge more and more. Provided, of course, it doesn't somehow provoke a Harper majority.

        • I agree with this and I disagree – strongly – with that segment of Liberal supporters who think that you can out-pander the Conservatives. The Conservatives have the gullible and ignorant vote LOCKED UP and you will never pry it away from them. So they should not alienate their soft supporters with insulting double-talk. Ignatieff has answered the question honestly and accurately.

          If Mr. Harper can't get a majority, and he can't work in a minority, then someone else will have to make a minority work. It's really as simple as that. I think it's well demonstrated now (by contempt findings, by multiple elections, by two strategic shut-downs of the parliament) that Mr. Harper is not capable of running a minority government.

          • Well said. Conservatives often like to mention that Harper has resided over the longest minority governments in Canadian history…but have there ever been any governments to achieve less??

            I'm trying to think of anything significant this government has achieved, and I'm coming up blank…can you come up with anything?

          • Gullible and ignorant?Is that what you twits think of Canadians?My friend.. this election is over now.The Libs will be lucky to get 40 seats.

    • If they have their coalition in place, why did they call an election? Why waste the money?

      • Mr. Geddes, better open that middle school civics book again. We have some confusion over here.

        Tsk, tsk, the intellectual elites' work is never done.

      • Because they can't.

        And I'll say once again, $300mil on democracy, the foundation of our government, is worth it. Actually, compared to Jets and Jails, it's nothing. Or compared to the G20.

      • It's a good question. All the opposition did was vote non-confidence. Perhaps you should direct your question to Mr. Harper, who then asked the GG for an election, rather than to simply see if anybody else could muster the confidence of the house.

  3. The fear s the uncertainty of the unknown. What policies of Liberals and New Democrats are negotiable. How does foreign policy work? Irwin Cotler at foreign affairs and Libby Davis as critic. How would that not explode. Sure a budget could pass if enough money is spent to satisfy the NDP but what about the day to day business.
    NDP want all troops home from Afghanistan, how do they square that with Liberal policy? Scary at how unstable it all would be.

  4. The fear s the uncertainty of the unknown. What policies of Liberals and New Democrats are negotiable. How does foreign policy work? Irwin Cotler at foreign affairs and Libby Davis as critic. How would that not explode. Sure a budget could pass if enough money is spent to satisfy the NDP but what about the day to day business.
    NDP want all troops home from Afghanistan, how do they square that with Liberal policy? Scary at how unstable it all would be.

    • Coalitions work fine elsewhere….worked in Ontario too….are you saying the rest of the country is too stupid to manage one?

      • Coalitions and working together are fine.

        I just don't want the NDP involved in governing the country.

        • I'm sure there are Cons in the UK that don't want the Lib-Dems involved in running the country, but they are anyway. That's the way the cooking crumbles.

        • We might just note that the MP's who will make up Parliament, have ALL been duly elected!

        • I don't want the Conservatives "involved in governing the country" but when someone is elected as an MP then that becomes a legally, democratically accepted possibility. All MPs are equal in that sense, they all represent one riding and only when they become a part of the govt are they placed above other MPs.

          However, ALL become acceptable as possible members of the govt by virtue of being duly elected in their individual ridings.

        • I'm going to guess this is because you vote conservative.

          • Yeah, I but I move between the LPC and CPC. LPC moving too left for my liking right now.

        • I'm sure many feel the same about the Conservatives, Liberals or Bloc.

          Of course, just because you don't vote for them doesn't mean they're not allowed.

          And what kind of policy do you think they would enact that's bad?

      • No I'm suggesting people are stupid to not understand why Liberals, NDPers and others may not like the idea of a working agreement between these 2 parties.

        • They liked it just fine before, so I don't see that this time is any different.

          • You are wrong. Many did not.

          • I'm not talking about clueless Conbots who have no idea how the country works.

          • A Strategic Counsel poll in Friday's Globe and Mail newspaper put the Conservatives ahead of the Liberals 45 to 24 percent, with the New Democrats trailing at 14 percent.

            This compares with the Oct. 14 electoral result of 37.6 percent for the Conservatives, 26.2 percent for the Liberals and 18.2 percent for the New Democrats.
            Wow that is a lot of Conbots…..
            An Ipsos Reid survey released on Friday in Canwest newspapers put the Conservatives at 46 percent, the Liberals at 23 percent and the New Democrats at 13 percent.
            An Ekos poll released the night before showed a 20-point lead for the Conservatives.
            Fifty-six percent of those polled by Ipsos Reid said they would rather go to another election, even though one was just held, rather than let the coalition govern…..
            http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/12/05/canada-

          • And is the undecided still holding at plus 20% ?

          • Let's wait to see the REAL results on May 2nd.

          • Poll numbers aren't the same as seat projections, luv.

      • Or how about Maxime Bernier and his biker connection in foreign affairs? Gordon O'Connor in charge of defence, or Vic Toews approaching anything about ethics? Or Bev Oda in charge of anything? I feel a Munch moment coming on…

        • A pack of incompetents, the lot of them

        • You missed Tony Clement.

          • And how could you? :P He's all over that there twittersphere, like some kind of jazzed up teenager.

    • What do you think will happen when Jack and Gilles shut down part of the oilsands and Gilles will still demand his equalization payments in full?

      What fun to look forward to!

      • Enough with the fearmongering. Think what you will about these two, but they are intelligent men.

        • All people in Canada have chance to vote for federal parties when federal elections are called, except the people in Quebec; they can vote either for a federal party or they can vote for a provincial/separatist party. Such are the undisputed facts.

          In a coalition government, the BQ is a must to prop up the government if the CPC were to win more seats than the LIb/NDP combined. That is just a basic understanding of logic.

          And so, we will then find ourselves in a setting in which voters who have voted for a federal party (the CPC voters) who will now have to yield power to a provincial/separatist party, which will then be in power to shut down the oilsands because it would serve the BQ's outlook on our environmental future. Yet, the province of Quebec would still demand huge payments coming from the west in order to balance the Quebec provincial books.

          If you think this is scaremongering, you better think again. I have three young adult children living in the west, and there is no way that I will hand them a Canadian future in which a separatist/provincial party will decide the future of my kids. That would be unthinkable in a truly working federation we call Canada. It has nothing to do with scaremongering; it has all to do with Canada being an opportunity equally for everyone living across this country.

          • good point FVerhoeven, but im afraid your kids will take a back seat to the Liberal's insatiable lust for power.

          • "All people in Canada have chance to vote for federal parties when federal elections are called, except the people in Quebec; they can vote either for a federal party or they can vote for a provincial/separatist party. Such are the undisputed facts."

            I'll dispute that. The BQ is a federal party, not a provincial one. They just don't have riding outside of Quebec. There's a provincial separatist party, the PQ.

            So I dunno where you were going with that, but it's very unlikely that the Bloc could even begin to "Shut down" the oilsands. Do you have any idea what they might have to do to get a bill like that through parliament? The political ramifications? Don't you think you're oversimplifying things to suit an arguement?

      • Why have you not been terrified of Jack and Gilles holding the balance of power these last five years?

        I'm guessing it's because Liberals can act like adults and help to govern the country, while conservatives, in opposition, will do everything they can to make the parliament unworkable?

        • Jack and Gilles did not hold the balance of power. All oppositions, each onto their own, held a tiny portion of the balance of power at various times. Either opposition party could have agreed or not with the CPC minority government.

          The CPC minority government has governed as such, knowing that it always needed some support coming from either of the opposition parties.

          That is why the CPC did include quite a bit of Jack's demands in the last budget, but Jack got greedy and wanted to claim more than his 30 some elected seats in the House could demand. Remember, 30 some seats is only 10% of the house seats and such 10% does not warrant to demand everything to be implemented within a CPC proposed budget. The CPC voters did have a seat count in the house as well. In fact, the CPC seat count was at least 4 x as large as Layton's. Therefore the CPC budget could reflect the direction it did.

          And also, you must have noticed, that the CPC minority government has not courted the BQ seat vote because they have had no need to do so. The CPC was only short 12 seats.

          Now you are trying to tell me that the party with the most seats won, should prop up two parties with less seats combined. That's upside down thinking, highly illogical.

          That is why, over the past five years, Harper has always found a way to secure such support. The support never needed to be onesided, nor did the support have to be big; just enough.

          • It doesn't really have anything to do with relative sizes of the parties. It's a matter of how desperate they are.

            Harper spent the first two or three years exploiting the weakness of the Liberal party going through its leadership campaign to declare every motion a matter of confidence, essentially forcing the opposition to capitulate or face an early election. He's always been rather a dick and not overly inclined to genuine cooperation with the opposition. I imagine this is why we've seen such heights of rancor and partisanship.

          • Man, you're wrong all over the place.

      • I don't know, neither do you – but what we do know is that Harper gave Duceppe all the billions he promised him in 2004

        • And passed a bill calling Quebec a nation.

          Who's in bed with the separatists? The Cons? The Libs?

          Guess again, it's EVERYONE.

    • Yes Mark, this is scary.

      I'm scared of this "reckless coaltion" too, I'm scared of the evil-doers, I'm scared of not enough people in our prisons, I'm scared that we won't have enough fighter jets to defend our country, I'm scared that Iggy went to Harvard, I'm scared that our troops might come home early. The world is a scary place Mark, thank god Harper is out there to protect us.

    • absolutely. If we think a minority parliament, with the opposition clowns threatening an election every 3 months, and spending the rest of the time manufacturing daily faux outrages, and blocking every attempt by the Conservatives to improve things, – well, we ain't seen nothing yet. Just imagine the egos of Layton and Ignatieff colliding, with Duceppe regularly extorting taxpayer money for Quebec, in exchange for his support.
      Let's not go there, people.

  5. Harper may have to create a coalition to form govt….it's just he doesn't have as many friends.

    Plus it would be very hard for Harp to explain that coalitions are now 'un-evil' when it comes to him. LOL

  6. Harper may have to create a coalition to form govt….it's just he doesn't have as many friends.

    Plus it would be very hard for Harp to explain that coalitions are now 'un-evil' when it comes to him. LOL

    • Emily
      Suppose the results of the election are the same as last month. The Bloc becomes the balance of power and this is totally unacceptable. That's a great big PERIOD.

      • Hon, the Bloc has already been THE OFFICIAL OPPOSITION in this country.

        The only thing they HAVEN'T been yet is govt.

    • Any other party is just as unlikely to want to form a coalition with the CPC. LPC won't do it, because they'd be playing second fiddle to their chief rival. NDP could never have enough in common with the CPC.

      • Like I said…Harp doesn't have any friends left to form a coalition with….even though he may need one to stay in power.

        • OriginalEmily1; why do you think they need to be "friends" to form a coalition THIS IS POLITICS!!!! How old are you!!! Have you ever studied political science. THIS IS NOT ABOUT BEING FRIENDS!!!! Buoy are you stupid!!

          • Nobody trusts Harper at this point – that's his problem.

          • Jan; that is not true about Harper, Iggy is the one that can't be trusted!!!

          • Thing is, though, lyndie, that if Harper needs support from another party, after the heavily partisan games he's been playing, any party he courts will insist on serious concessions. I don't think Harper can bend that far.

          • It's 'friends' as opposed to 'enemies', get a grip on your yard arm.

    • Harper has never said that a coalition of the winning party and one of the other parties is wrong. Only when 3 losing parties form a coalition and stage a coup to oust the winning party. That's what's wrong, speciallyt when it includes the Bloc.

      • No dear, it's not wrong…those are the rules. Always have been the rules.

        The GG asks 'do you have the confidence of the house'?

        If Harp doesn't, someone else gets asked

  7. Coalitions work fine elsewhere….worked in Ontario too….are you saying the rest of the country is too stupid to manage one?

  8. One important consideration is that any Liberal minority government almost certainly have to be propped up by the Bloc . To gain the confidence of the House, Ignatieff would have to negotiate an agreement not just with Layton, but with Duceppe. Who knows what concessions Duceppe would demand in exchange for his support?

  9. Emily
    Suppose the results of the election are the same as last month. The Bloc becomes the balance of power and this is totally unacceptable. That's a great big PERIOD.

  10. One important consideration is that any Liberal minority government almost certainly have to be propped up by the Bloc . To gain the confidence of the House, Ignatieff would have to negotiate an agreement not just with Layton, but with Duceppe. Who knows what concessions Duceppe would demand in exchange for his support?

    • And one HUGE consideration is who will prop up the minority Harper Government ™ and what concessions will be demanded in exchange for support.
      If the answer is nothing, then Harper doesn't deserve the opportunity.

    • Garbage. Conservatives will have to cooperate and support many of the Liberal government's bills. If they do not they will suffer the wrath of Canadians.

      Not much critical reasoning in your diatribe.

      • You should look up the word "diatribe" in a dictionary. You don't seem to understand what it means.

        • He might have seen your comment as a "diatribe" and overstated the intensity of your baloney argument, yet I think he nailed it when he wrote "Not much critical reasoning" except I would have added "in evidence" since I believe you are simply being disingenuous. You are "begging the question". By the way, when did you stop beating your wife? ("fallacy of many questions")

          • Your understanding of fallacious reasoning is almost as poor as your reading comprehension. Nowhere was I "begging the question".

          • So you disagree with me CR? I disagree with you, yet I do not postulate bunkum to make an argument. You are essentially saying "The conclusion that the CPoC would not support a minority Liberal government is unavoidable, after all that's what everyone believes." You offer a circular argument (also known as "begging the question") to misdirect people into missing the obvious — the Conservatives might have to support a Liberal minority under some conditions to avoid the scorn of even their own base.

            As to my accusation of your being disingenuous — you know very well that all of this speculation plays into the Conservative script. You have no intention of employing critical reasoning — you are merely spouting the party line. That makes you prima faciea phony.

          • You offer a circular argument (also known as "begging the question") to misdirect people into missing the obvious — the Conservatives might have to support a Liberal minority under some conditions to avoid the scorn of even their own base.

            No. In that situation, the Conservatives would probably prefer to resolve the situation with another election and let the voters decide. If Ignatieff decides to take power via the back door route, despite leading the Liberal party to one of its worst defeats in history, he will be doing everything possible to avoid another election. I imagine that an Ignatieff-led ultra-minority government propped up by separatists would be extremely unpopular with Canadians, and Ignatieff would be bending over backwards for the Bloc in his desperation to hang on for a few months and avoid facing the wrath of voters.

            Meanwhile, the Conservatives would be doing everything possible to bring down Ignatieff's flimsy abomination and go to the polls–which is the democratic thing to do, of course.

          • Actually, in a parliamentary system, the majority of MPs choose who gets to be PM. That's the democratic thing to do. And if Harper decides he wants to ignore the will of the people being expressed by the majority of the members of the HoC by refusing to find a compromise with at least one of the other parties, then the majority of MPs, who, again, represent the will of the majority of Canadians, have the right under our system of government to try to form government by either coalition or ad hoc cooperation. This is not a "back door route", it's called parliamentary democracy. Of course, you know this.

            Really, I expected better from you based on your previous posts

          • Heh. I thought you'd like the "back door route" phrasing (I'm assuming that you're the same Joe as "Just Joe"). It was a comment on public perceptions of legitimacy.

            If the CPC wins 150 seats, and the LPC wins 70 seats, I'm pretty sure any attempt by Ignatieff to become Head of Government would be profoundly unpopular. Even though he'd have the confidence of a thin majority of democratically elected MPs, and it would be perfectly legitimate in a constitutional sense, I think the Liberals would be brutally punished by voters in the subsequent election, which would probably happen sooner rather than later.

          • I'm pretty sure any attempt by Ignatieff to become Head of Government would be profoundly unpopular

            I agree, but this is also why I think the whole "Ignatieff's going to try to snatch power at the first opportunity" is a B.S. Tory conspiracy theory. I can't seem to convince any Tory supporters that it's anything less than a fait accompli though.

            I guess we'll see who's right soon enough.

      • Don't bet any money on it. If you thought the Conservatives were obstructionist in a minority put them in opposition and see what happens. They will make life miserable for the coalition. Remember Harper has control of the Senate and so the ability of the coalition to do much without Conservative support will be minimal.

        • Let me see if I get this: you have complained bitterly on these boards about how obstructionist the opposition has been during Harper's tenure. But such behaviour would be entirely reasonable if it were the Cons in opposition?

          How does that work?

          • He's right in a way – we just need to look south to see what sort of antics we could expect from a Harper opposition. We'll long for the good old days of mere 'bickering' in Parliament.

          • The CON trolls have shifted from 'beating a dead horse4' to 'mayan death spiral2' in their talking points… That means the next sound you'll hear is: "Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, idn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage!"

        • Why am having trouble imagining the Cons being any more obstructionist in opposition than they were while governing? Maybe they could be talked into boycotting the house…

    • That is pure hypothetical BS and you know it. This whole thing is BS. Suppose Harper is booted by his caucus for failing yet again and they decide cooperation is in best for their constituents? Suppose Harper's head explodes because he failed to heed his dad's warning to "always wear a hat, son." That's about as realistic as the question Mansbridge posed. Getting all hypothetical is horsesh*t anyway. Ignatieff should have told Mansbridge to get stuffed.

      • Now THAT would have been some good TV. Might get Ignatieff some positive coverage over on Sun TV too!

      • It's not an unlikely hypothetical. There's a pretty good chance that it will actually happen, and an election is a pretty good time to consider all possible outcomes.

      • I'm envisioning more of someone throwing a bucket of water on him and Harper melting to a puddle of goo. The then so-called loyal subordinates clap and hand the government the so-called mp from calgary's broom stick and everyone lives happily ever after…

    • Oh come off it…

      How many bits of CPC legislation passed with the support of the NDP and, yes, the Bloc during Harper's tenure as minority leader?

      • Shhhhh, you're interrupting the narrative.

    • I'm really disappointed in this line of reasoning: "any Liberal minority government almost certainly have to be propped up by the Bloc."

      A Liberal minority government could also appeal to the Conservatives. Apparently that's completely out of the cards?

      The Conservatives in government have pushed lots of legislation through with the help of the Bloc so I don't see why your hypothetical situation is any different. Or why on certain bills a Liberal minority government could count on the support of some parties and not others and on other bills vice versa. It's not as black&white as everyone is trying to portray.

      • a liberal government could not count on the support of the conservatives if they just usurped power from them. that's the thing about usurping power, whether constitutionally valid or not, you usually cant count on the support of the people from whom you just usurped power.

        weird, i know.

        besides, under this scenario, it's a safe bet that Conservatives would flirt with 50% in the polls. i imagine that they would be itching to defeat any coalition-in-everything-but-name monstrosity of a government.

        • It doesn't matter what 'usually' happens or what 'might' happen. What matters is how our system works and I'm tired of people misrepresenting it and saying comments like "Liberals would usurp power and be propped by the Bloc". It's a bunch of malarkey on TWO counts. It's not usurping, because usurping assumes no legal right – which they would have if the GG asks them. And they wouldn't necessarily need to be propped up by the bloc. They could possibly count on their support for some bills, or others, much like the CPC has. So stop making false claims.

        • So you're saying the CPC is incapable of doing what's right for the country if they feel hurt.

          Poor babies.

          • That's been the argument from the get go though. The whole reason a Liberal-NDP coalition would be forced to rely on the Bloc to pass legislation is that the Tories have made it clear that if they can't be in charge anymore, they're taking their ball and going home. While the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc have all (separately and sometimes together) supported various legislative initiatives put forward by the Tories over the years, the Tories have made it reasonably clear that if they're forced back to the opposition benches they wouldn't vote with a Liberal-NDP coalition government on a motion declaring Stephen Harper to be awesome.

    • One important consideration is that any Harper minority government almost certainly have to be propped up by the Bloc. So what's the point?

    • "Who knows what concessions Duceppe would demand in exchange for his support?"

      Probably some cash for Quebec. Just like it has been since Confederation.

      C'est la vie canadianne.

  11. Coalitions and working together are fine.

    I just don't want the NDP involved in governing the country.

  12. It's a real shame when someone stating something simple like this can be considered as a huge mistake.

  13. If it was a tactical error, what else should Iggy have said? I'm at a loss regarding what else he could have said, even if it was BS.

  14. It's a real shame when someone stating something simple like this can be considered as a huge mistake.

    • It is a mistake because Ignatieff is losing the election as we speak. Coupled with this Canadians have said in virtually every leadership poll they don't much like his leadership abilities. Is it possible that Canadians if they keep rating him below Layton and significantly below Harper would turn up at the polling booth and vote for him. I don't think so.

      With this in mind I suspect that the polls are going to move in favour of Harper as he ratchets up the rhetoric and Ignatieff is put on the defensive to explain the variables.

      Meanwhile the GG is watching and gauging public opinion. He also knows the reaction of Canadians in the 08 coup attempt. So it will be interesting if he believes that a patchwork government put together by Ignatieff is the best for the country. If we believe Ignatieff there will be no cabinet seats for Layton et al and so he will have to buy their support. It will be expensive to put it kindly.

      • COUP? Was that when they brought in the army and kidnapped Harper? I must have overslept!
        Such drama thrives in the minds of fans of the Conservative party. It gets my attention every time, and is easy to remember too, what a bonus!

        Such skills in the arts of pumping adrenaline really perk up Canadian politics, as they have since Stockwell first donned his hott wetsuit. (Justin Trudeau, I think you are too 'nice' to really fight this battle, although you are hott). CPC party lines are better than Ultimate Fighting Challenge and Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games combined, because you don't need to be hott to feel like a real warrior with your trusty CPC fearmongering attention-getting game-hack slogans up your sleeve these forums.

        Ignatieff needs to buck up and make some pointed comments about what's good for the goose (Harper 2004) being good for the gander, and cooperation being the aim of parliamentary democracy. If SH can't get it together, how can he really call himself a great leader?

        • You know, conservatives will tell you over and over again that they don't question how the Westminster parliamentary system works, or the legitimacy of coalition governments, but they'll still refer to attempts to form a coalition government as an attempted "coup" when it serves their purpose.

  15. If it was a tactical error, what else should Iggy have said? I'm at a loss regarding what else he could have said, even if it was BS.

    • How about "If Harper can't command the support of the House of Commons I'll insist that we turn around and have another election again in July".

      • Yeah; THAT would have gone over well with voters who didn't want THIS one…

      • I would've prefered "If Harper can't command the support of the House of Commons I'll insist that he keep on governing in the form of an autocratic dictator"

    • He could have lied about how Parliament works — like Harper did in 2008.

      I'm not sure that would make me feel any better, though.

    • He is trapped in his own misleading of the public and I suspect this is not going to be good for his polling numbers over the next week or so.

      • Nah, he was trapped back in 2008, wouldn't matter what he said, truth, lies, whatever. That coalition deal has been the gift that keeps on giving for the Conservatives. And it ain't done giving yet.

      • As to "misleading of the public", you've named the wrong guy. Harper is the one who keeps lying to the public about how our parliamentary system works.

    • He probably should have laughed it off and told Mansbridge that he'd remind the Governor General that he has "options" :)

      • Well, back in 2004, Harper was the one who said the GG had options besides a) calling an election or b) letting him be PM. I know I'd like to what those options are, and I bet so would Iggy.

        • So would I! So would most Canadians who care about such matters*

          *all 35 of us ;)

          • 36

    • Perhaps he should have said (in addition to what he did say) something like: "Now I know that Mr. Harper is going to claim that this means I am actively planning a coalition. Let me be clear that I am only reviewing the options that the Governor General would have if this scenario arises; I am neither predicting nor recommending any of the options. Clearly my preference would be a Liberal majority. But if there is a Conservative minority that fails to hold the confidence of the House, we owe it to the Canadian people to see how we can all work together to avoid another election so soon after this one."

    • He should have added that, if he were Prime Minister of a minority gvt., Harper or Layton could also topple him and try cobbling together a coalition.

    • That's kind of the point though, isn't it? The truth is that there isn't a good response to that question.

      • sorry, "good" should be in quotations, meaning the question was never meant to yield a net positive response for him.

        • Could be… but if it's a no-win question, you can't say he made a 'tactical error'.

          • well, then if that were the case, calling the election would be the tactical error. did he not think he would have to face this down?

  16. Any other party is just as unlikely to want to form a coalition with the CPC. LPC won't do it, because they'd be playing second fiddle to their chief rival. NDP could never have enough in common with the CPC.

  17. And one HUGE consideration is who will prop up the minority Harper Government ™ and what concessions will be demanded in exchange for support.
    If the answer is nothing, then Harper doesn't deserve the opportunity.

  18. Why is it so hard for some people to understand…its not the Coaltion thats the issue…it was standing in front of cameras and being asked if this election was about gaining power through a Coaltion and Ignatief answering "no". It was the CBC on March 26 saying..Ignatief clears air on coaltion. It was the MSM reporting that Ignatief had finally swept the coaltion idea away by saying "no". Its Stephen Harper saying over and over again that this was the main goal of the Liberals and the CBC, the Globe and the TorStar all coming out ridiculing the PM. The media got played because you WANTED to believe him. Coaltion…fine…no big deal….just friggen tell me about it before I vote and find out that Jack Layton is friggen Finance Minister. Why is that so hard for you guys to understand??

  19. Perhaps Ignatieff would cravenly give in on the payments for harmonization of the sales tax? Wow, that would be awful.

  20. Why is it so hard for some people to understand…its not the Coaltion thats the issue…it was standing in front of cameras and being asked if this election was about gaining power through a Coaltion and Ignatief answering "no". It was the CBC on March 26 saying..Ignatief clears air on coaltion. It was the MSM reporting that Ignatief had finally swept the coaltion idea away by saying "no". Its Stephen Harper saying over and over again that this was the main goal of the Liberals and the CBC, the Globe and the TorStar all coming out ridiculing the PM. The media got played because you WANTED to believe him. Coaltion…fine…no big deal….just friggen tell me about it before I vote and find out that Jack Layton is friggen Finance Minister. Why is that so hard for you guys to understand??

    • Your absolutely right! Why did it take three weeks for him to admit what he had in mind.

      • Ahem….it's how the parliamentary system works. I'm sure it's not Iggy's first choice either, but those are the rules.

        • Emily,
          We all know how it works. Teaming up with the Bloc is unrealistic and English Canada will be up in arms just like 2008.

          • No, that's the problem. You don't.

            English Canada was never 'up in arms'…..Cons were.

            But then Cons have a vested interest.

          • If your assertion is right then why did Harper's polling numbers go up to I think it was 45%. Get real Emily.

          • I doubt Harper was ever at 45%….but again you confuse polls with seat projections

            Harp's large following in the west skews the national numbers

        • Why did Iggy lie to us by denying it?
          This sounds like another scandal

          • No one except Harper has denied it.

            You might ask why he lies to you….and why you believe it.

      • He hasn't changed his tune. He said at the start that the party with the most seats after the election gets first crack at forming a government and that he's not going to form a coalition. He was asked about what happens if that Party fails.

    • I wasn't aware that Ignatieff said anything about a coalition today…

      cooperation =/= coalition

      • Too cute by half that's the problem. He is afraid to utter the word coalition so he uses other uphemisms.

        • Ah yes, that age old uphemism [sic] for "coalition" – "I'm not going to form a coalition."

          • Same way Harper avoided it in 2004, doncha know…

    • Um, it still wouldn't be a coalition.

    • Because there is no plan, and therefore nothing to tell you about. The guy wants to win an election, and if he doesn't, Harper has to get the confidence of the House. If SH goes for his usual brinksmanship and demands that his minority be afforded majority-like authority, he won't have earned the confidence of the House. In that case, it's up to the GG to find someone who can. No one is scheming to make anyone minister of anything. What is so difficult about that to understand?

      Have an argument about whether he should be scheming or not, if you must, but there is simply nothing to suggest anyone is actually doing so. Wild speculation and partisan ranting doesn't make it true.

    • Why is it so friggen hard for you to friggen understand that it's not that I don't understand your friggen argument, it's that your friggen argument fails to move me?

  21. Hon, the Bloc has already been THE OFFICIAL OPPOSITION in this country.

    The only thing they HAVEN'T been yet is govt.

  22. Your absolutely right! Why did it take three weeks for him to admit what he had in mind.

  23. Does Wales have a separatist/provincial party running in Britain's national elections? NO

    Does Wales get the chance for holding the balance of power within a British National government? NO

    Would the average British voter be upset if the separatist Wales Party were to be handed the balance of power over the British nation, if the Wales Party were to run on a separatist platform? You bet they would be upset. Majorly upset!!

  24. I'm sure there are Cons in the UK that don't want the Lib-Dems involved in running the country, but they are anyway. That's the way the cooking crumbles.

  25. Does Wales have a separatist/provincial party running in Britain's national elections? NO

    Does Wales get the chance for holding the balance of power within a British National government? NO

    Would the average British voter be upset if the separatist Wales Party were to be handed the balance of power over the British nation, if the Wales Party were to run on a separatist platform? You bet they would be upset. Majorly upset!!

    • I like how you used Wales and not Scotland there.

      • Wales not only has it's own parliament, there are Welsh MPs in the UK parliament.

        • Yes, as does Scotland, of course. My point was more that the SNP is bigger than both Plaid Cymru and Sinn Féin in terms of representation in the National Parliament (the SNP has 6 MPs, Plaid Cymru 3, and Sinn Féin had 5 elected, though for that party they choose to not actually sit in the House I believe) and that while many people know about the SNP, comparatively few know about the separatist party of Wales.

          My point was merely that I presume FVerhoeven used Wales as an example because if he'd used Scotland it would have been more obvious to most people that his first answer is a lie, because while relatively few people outside of the UK are familiar with Plaid Cymru, most people are familiar with the Scottish Nationalist Party (thank you Sean Connery!).

          • Technically what you say is true, but given the fact England has more MPs than any other constituent nation of the United Kingdom combined, I'm not sure you can equate a baker's dozen of separatist MPs (out of 650) at Westminster to the sizeable parliamentary "force" that the Bloc Quebecois presents in Ottawa. If Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland had a population of 30 million (and hence hundreds of MPs), as opposed to a only a few million, than I imagine the people of England would be much more apprehensive about national coalition governments being formed with the aid of separatist parties. In fact, I imagine their wouldn't be a United Kingdom if this situation were actually the case.

            Perhaps Belgium would be a better example of the parliamentary deadlock Canada could expect from having to rely on political parties trying to form coalitions with their sworn enemies. As it stands, it looks like Belgium as we know it may not be around much longer anyway. (On that note, I'm kind of curious as to whether Flanders would join the Netherlands or try to remain independent. Any insight, FVerhoeven?)

      • Scotland would have been incredibly inconvenient to use as a point of reference.

      • What's particularly funny is that not only does Plaid Cymur exist, but in the Welsh Parliament they're actually the junior partner in a COALITION with a non-separatist party.

        LOL

    • Actually, Wales does have a separatist provincial party running in Britain's national elections (Plaid_Cymru). Not only that, they won 3 seats in the last election.

      So does Scotland (SNP) and so does Northern Ireland (Sinn Fein) and those parties win seats too. The Isle of Man has a separatist party (Mec Vannin). I think even Cornwall has a separatist party. Of course, England is so much more populous than all of those places combined, it's simply impossible for the separatist parties to hold the balance of power in any government.

    • "Does Wales have a separatist/provincial party running in Britain's national elections? NO "

      This is false, as repeatedly demonstrated in the replies.

      "Does Wales get the chance for holding the balance of power within a British National government? NO

      Would the average British voter be upset if the separatist Wales Party were to be handed the balance of power over the British nation, if the Wales Party were to run on a separatist platform? You bet they would be upset. Majorly upset!!"
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1979_vote_of_no_conf

      The vote here came down the SNP, Plaid and the party pack of Northern Ireland parties.

      I don't recall how much talk about them occurred over last UK general election.

  26. That's because Iggy is way over his head on this one. He does not understand the complexity of this country, with the involvement of the BQ.

  27. I wasn't aware that Ignatieff said anything about a coalition today…

    cooperation =/= coalition

  28. Like I said…Harp doesn't have any friends left to form a coalition with….even though he may need one to stay in power.

  29. I'd vote for the Tories before voting for a party that would give in to that sort of blackmail…

    Oh, wait…

  30. Ahem….it's how the parliamentary system works. I'm sure it's not Iggy's first choice either, but those are the rules.

  31. I'd vote for the Tories before voting for a party that would give in to that sort of blackmail…

    Oh, wait…

  32. How about "If Harper can't command the support of the House of Commons I'll insist that we turn around and have another election again in July".

  33. I like how you used Wales and not Scotland there.

  34. Wales not only has it's own parliament, there are Welsh MPs in the UK parliament.

  35. Mansbridge, in a premeditated move, laid a trap for Ignatieff and he fell into it big time. Shame on Mansbridge. He has lost a lot of credibility and so had CBC. He was shameful and very determined to play a king maker role in the election.

    Harper is a constitutional revolutionary. He has poisoned and warped Canada's parliamentary system into a strange republican system where he remains in power no matter what transpires in the House. How? By claiming, quite wrongly, that it is constitutionally and politically illegitimate for any other opposition party to form a government at any time between elections.

    If, after the election, a prospective Harper minority government falls on its Throne Speech or its budget that matter is punted to the GG. The GG must decided one of two things:
    1) drop the writ for an election. He is unlikely to do this immediately after an election;
    2) call upon the leader of the official opposition to form a government if he can assure the GG than he can obtain the confidence of the House.
    Harper, by warping and undermining our Parliamentary system, has put himself in a win-win situation. He can't loose power because he will hold a plurality of the seats. He will be called upon to become PM and form a cabinet. The opposition might defeat him but the GG's hands are tied. The GG will not be able to call upon the leader of the Official Opposition, as is custom, to form a government.
    The media, badly informed on the nature and scope of Canada's Constitution Act, 1867 as well as the unwritten rules of how Parliament functions, has aided and abetted Harper's constitutional revolution.
    Peter Mansbridge's entrapement is merely the confirmation that he has sided with Harper all along in his attempt to subvert our Parliamentary and constitutional democracy. Shame on him!

  36. Mansbridge, in a premeditated move, laid a trap for Ignatieff and he fell into it big time. Shame on Mansbridge. He has lost a lot of credibility and so had CBC. He was shameful and very determined to play a king maker role in the election.

    Harper is a constitutional revolutionary. He has poisoned and warped Canada's parliamentary system into a strange republican system where he remains in power no matter what transpires in the House. How? By claiming, quite wrongly, that it is constitutionally and politically illegitimate for any other opposition party to form a government at any time between elections.

    If, after the election, a prospective Harper minority government falls on its Throne Speech or its budget that matter is punted to the GG. The GG must decided one of two things:
    1) drop the writ for an election. He is unlikely to do this immediately after an election;
    2) call upon the leader of the official opposition to form a government if he can assure the GG than he can obtain the confidence of the House.
    Harper, by warping and undermining our Parliamentary system, has put himself in a win-win situation. He can't loose power because he will hold a plurality of the seats. He will be called upon to become PM and form a cabinet. The opposition might defeat him but the GG's hands are tied. The GG will not be able to call upon the leader of the Official Opposition, as is custom, to form a government.
    The media, badly informed on the nature and scope of Canada's Constitution Act, 1867 as well as the unwritten rules of how Parliament functions, has aided and abetted Harper's constitutional revolution.
    Peter Mansbridge's entrapement is merely the confirmation that he has sided with Harper all along in his attempt to subvert our Parliamentary and constitutional democracy. Shame on him!

    • The GG could call on any member of parliament to form a government — maybe he'd look to John Baird — then we'd be sorry we didn't give Harpo a majority.

      • Garbage. Conservatives will have to cooperate and support many of the Liberal government's bills. If they do not they will suffer the wrath of Canadians.

      • Actually, Jack Layton is the most popular leader of all the parties.

        And personally, I would laugh my arse off if, in playing hardball, Mr. Harper gave the leadership of the country to the NDP. Because if Layton was smart, he'd use it to immediately push for proportional legislation of some sort, permanently hobbling both the CPC and the Liberals.

    • After what I saw today I will be watching very critically Manbridge's interview of Harper.

    • What an stupid comment since when Mansbridge or any other journalist has to back away from any though question just because you don't like you candidate being put in an awkard position.

      • If it was Harper he would have just turned it around to the economy :) Guy knows how to stay the course.. something Iggy hasn't seemed to pick up on at all this whole campaign

  37. We might just note that the MP's who will make up Parliament, have ALL been duly elected!

  38. Garbage. Conservatives will have to cooperate and support many of the Liberal government's bills. If they do not they will suffer the wrath of Canadians.

    Not much critical reasoning in your diatribe.

  39. He actually said no coalition. He couldn't have been clearer but no one is going to pay any attention to that.

  40. What do you think will happen when Jack and Gilles shut down part of the oilsands and Gilles will still demand his equalization payments in full?

    What fun to look forward to!

  41. That is pure hypothetical BS and you know it. This whole thing is BS. Suppose Harper is booted by his caucus for failing yet again and they decide cooperation is in best for their constituents? Suppose Harper's head explodes because he failed to heed his dad's warning to "always wear a hat, son." That's about as realistic as the question Mansbridge posed. Getting all hypothetical is horsesh*t anyway. Ignatieff should have told Mansbridge to get stuffed.

  42. but can't gain the required confidence of the House

    What Geddes fails to understand… is that no matter what Harper does after the election, the opposition will vote no-confidence. That's why they called an election they have no chance of winning, and that's why they did it just prior to the budget, because the budget is a confidence vote. Everybody understands this.

    This issue has nothing to do with the rules of the house, it has to do with Ignatieff and Layton's intentions.

    Ignatieff said this because it's clearly been his plan all along, but he does not want to spring it on unsuspecting Canadians, so he decided to let the cat out of the bag just in time, so that he can say he wasn't hiding it during the campaign (even though he actually denied this at the beginning of the campaign).

  43. but can%E2%80%99t gain the required confidence of the House

    What Geddes fails to understand… is that no matter what Harper does after the election, the opposition will vote no-confidence. That's why they called an election they have no chance of winning, and that's why they did it just prior to the budget, because the budget is a confidence vote. Everybody understands this.

    This issue has nothing to do with the rules of the house, it has to do with Ignatieff and Layton's intentions.

    Ignatieff said this because it's clearly been his plan all along, but he does not want to spring it on unsuspecting Canadians, so he decided to let the cat out of the bag just in time, so that he can say he wasn't hiding it during the campaign (even though he actually denied this at the beginning of the campaign).

  44. but can't gain the required confidence of the House

    What Geddes fails to understand… is that no matter what Harper does after the election, the opposition will vote no-confidence. That's why they called an election they have no chance of winning, and that's why they did it just prior to the budget, because the budget is a confidence vote. Everybody understands this.

    This issue has nothing to do with the rules of the house, it has to do with Ignatieff and Layton's intentions.

    Ignatieff said this because it's clearly been his plan all along, but he does not want to spring it on unsuspecting Canadians, so he decided to let the cat out of the bag just in time, so that he can say he wasn't hiding it during the campaign (even though he actually denied this at the beginning of the campaign).

    • Harper FELL on a confidence vote…it just wasn't the budget

      Iggy could have been PM long time ago, by going forward with Dion's coalition.

      Simple rules of Parliament, dude. Always has been.

      • Yep, he could have, and perhaps he'd be PM now, but more likely he would already have released his memoirs recounting the whole experience, written no doubt in his beautiful Harvard office ;)

        • Well Harp only has the mail room to go back to, so I guess he'll finally have time to work on his 'hockey book'.

    • What you fail to understand is that Harper has to deal with the fallout after the election.
      It has everything to do with the rules of the house. Harper has NO plan to co-operate with the opposition parties. Harper has already abdicated his responsibility as PM. He can wean himself off his anxiety as oppostion leader forever as far as I'm concerned.
      Harper – NOT A LEADER – next SUN headline.

    • What Geddes fails to understand… is that no matter what Harper does after the election, the opposition will vote no-confidence.

      Interestingly, I'm FAR less confident of that than you appear to be, and I actually want it to happen!

      • I see. Well, I believe that's why they voted no confidence in the first place. Look at the polls:
        http://www.sfu.ca/~aheard/elections/polls.html

        Ignatieff called the no-confidence vote just after Conservative support jumped to 38%, and Liberal support dropped to 27%. Why would you call an election at such an inopportune time? And of course, since then nothing has changed in terms of popular support. So what other possible motive was there? It's blatantly obvious.

        • Honestly? What time would have been more opportune?
          Stephen Harper simply does not present "opportunity".
          Allowing him to complete his mandate would have given him more time to get all his ducks in a row – a very daunting scenario for the opposition.
          I don't believe for one second that the plan was to force a minority and then take the Conservatives down. The timing of the election comes down to making the best hand you can when you have bad cards – and aren't likely to be dealt better ones cause you know the dealer is out not only out to beat you, but to also destroy you using any means he can.

          • but to also destroy you

            Oh lordy. Destroy. Puhleaze. The Liberals invented gutter politics. When the opposition tried to take over the government just two weeks after losing the last election, that was all about integrity, but it's the Conservatives who are out to "destroy". Wow. You've been watching too much TV. When Paul Martin ran an ad saying Conservatives wanted soldiers in the streets of Toronto, that was all about integrity. But it's the Conservatives who are out to destroy. Wow.

          • Those ads run by Paul Martin were lowbrow, and the Liberals got what was coming to them.

            While I appreciate your righteous indignation, Stephen Harper's disdain for the Liberals is well known, and destroy was was not over the top. I contend that the elimination of the per vote subsidy in the 2008 economic report was intended to do that very thing. The Conservatives were enjoying a massive lead in fundraising and Mr Harper knew that cancelling the subsidy would strangle the opposition financially.
            Conservative supporters are quick to point out the strategic genius of Mr Harper; It is also no stretch to concede that he is one ruthless individual. So connect the dots and ask Helena Geurgis. Ask Richard Colvin.

            So save your sham Wows and get back to 2011 and how the Liberals deliberately forced an election to seize minority power – and how tough but fair Stephen Harper doesn't want to destroy the opposition.

          • The Liberals will destroy themselves if they do not get out of this coalition mess they are in.
            And I don`t mean that they will do temporary harm to their brand for a few years—-i mean permanent damage. The disaster that will ensue from even a short-term coalition gov`t will be blamed entirely on the Liberals.

            Layton`s short-term goal is to get into Stornaway—–Iggy is making it easy for him.

          • One thing that deserves mention is that getting rid of the per vote subsidy aligns well with the CPC values. . . It doesn't have to be a partisan attack. . .

        • "So what other possible motive was there?"

          Honour. Respect for our nation and its parliamentary traditions. A belief that when someone so clearly breaches parliamentary procedure and privilege, the people of Canada should have the right to express their shock and discontent. The [apparently mistaken] belief that average Canadians are smart enough and attentive enough to understand and care.

          • LOL… you guys are funny. Harper has more integrity in his pinky toe than does the entire Liberal party. This is the same Liberal party that tried to turn government into an enterprise that funneled laundered money back into their party bank accounts. When that didn't work, they unilaterally passed a law that funneled taxpayer money into their bank accounts. Then they tried to overtake government immediately after losing an election because they didn't want to lose the money that was being funneled into their bank accounts.

          • Powerful hallucinogens you've ingested, s_c_f!

            OK; the Liberals you are talking about are gone. Holding the current crop accountable is like holding Harper responsible for the Mulroney Airbus scandal. As an argument, it just doesn't hold water.

            As for integrity and Harper: the two words do not belong in the same sentence. The man broke promises with his very first act as PM and has been breaking them ever since. He and his henchmen ride roughshod over parliamentary procedures and our laws. He has criminals as advisors. His acquaintance with the truth is a passing one; he might recognize it if he saw it across the room. For just some of the latest examples, see the minority report introduced to parliament just before dissolution, where two quotes not at all related to the contents of the report were included to mislead parliament and the nation into believng influential government members supported the report's conclusions. And then there's today's press release where they doctored a quote from Ignatieff and twisted what he said beyond recognition.

          • If there is integrity in the current crop of Liberals then they will back away from this coalition mess.
            I`m sure there are a few common sense Liberals scrambling around today wondering if they are ever going to be considered a viable governing Party again.

            I`m beginning to think that Iggy will be abroad in a couple years looking back at the mess he left his former Party in. Maybe he will write a book about it.

          • I agree that Keith dresses it up a bit much, but if one believes that the government is acting in contempt of Parliament how else is one supposed to vote on resolutions finding them in contempt of Parliament? You suggest that the "only reason" for Ignatieff to vote that the Conservatives were in contempt of Parliament was to set up a future confidence vote after the election, in the next Parliament, that the Liberals could win and then replace the government.

            I'd suggest sticking with Occam's razor. I know it sounds crazy, but maybe the Liberals (and the other opposition parties) voted to find the Tories in contempt of Parliament because they believed that the Tories were in contempt of Parliament.

          • maybe the Liberals (and the other opposition parties) voted to find the Tories in contempt of Parliament because they believed that the Tories were in contempt of Parliament.

            I've looked closely at the reasons for contempt, and I find them ridiculously absurd. So do most Canadians, which is why it never really became an election issue. One was that they were not pleased they did not get enough financial numbers about the F35 purchase, but the Conservatives had provided them a massive stack of documents and they ignored that. The Conservatives provided everything they had and more. And to think that you rule a government in contempt over differences in financial accounting seems ridiculous.

          • Conservatives had provided them a massive stack of documents and they ignored that.

            Yeah, having a massive document dump of cost estimate documents from 2009 a week before a 2011 contempt vote was cute. However, burying the opposition in outdated documents that don't actually answer any of the questions being asked by the opposition anyway is an example of displaying contempt for the House, not dutifully complying with their requests.

          • Um, that's exactly what I mean, for you to call that contempt, I find that absurd. It's like equating shoplifting with murder. For the party that invented the hysterical anti-government opposition (the Liberals in the 80s), for them to be claiming the high road, that is simply a joke. The opposition wanted to turn the whole financial committee thing into a giant farce, and they succeeded. If the government could vote the opposition in contempt, that would make just as much sense.

          • How is hiding documentation on the costing of the country's largest ever defense procurement from a House of Commons EXPLICITLY asking for the costing documents laying out the costs of the country's largest ever defense procurement not contempt???

            If the government of Canada can commit the nation to spending $16-30 billion without having to show the House of Commons any paperwork, even if the House specifically and explicitly demands to see the paperwork, I find THAT absurd.

          • If the government could vote the opposition in contempt, that would make just as much sense.

            What???

            First, the HOUSE OF COMMONS found the government in contempt. The vote was on party lines, sure, but the majority of the House of Commons is the majority of the House of Commons and in a democracy the government can't treat the majority of our elected representatives with contempt (sorry, clearly they CAN treat the majority of our elected representatives with contempt, they're just not supposed to). The opposition's job is to hold the government to account, and the government's job is to BE ACCOUNTABLE. Your notion that it would make as much sense to reverse this principle is ludicrous, and it makes me want to go back and remind myl again that we all DO need a national civics lesson. It's the government's job to respect the will of the majority of our elected representatives, it is not the job of our elected representatives to respect the will of the government.

          • "Honour"

            good one.

        • Gee.. maybe the motive was exactly what they said it was.. he's contemptuous of Parliament, therefore not fit to be governing in it.

    • Why would Harper fail to get the confidence of parliament? Do you think Harper is going to purposely act like a jerk and say I know this budget is unacceptable to all of you because it is exactly the same budget I would do if I had a majority and I wanted a majority, so I'm going to act like an a$$? okay, maybe Harper will act that way. But let's hope he is more mature and responsible and actually tries to get the confidence of parliament.

      Or, are you positive, s_c_f, that Harper will act like a spoiled jerk no matter what?

      • Harper would not get the confidence of government because the only thing that Liberals want is power, while the other two parties would do anything and everything to get their first stab at running the country.

        • I'd be willing to entertain that notion, I don't put anything past the Liberals or any other party for that matter, but even the most casual observer would see that a 'power at any costs' venture by the Liberals such as the one you're describing is (from the Liberals' perspective) incredibly risky at best, and completely destructive to the party in the long run at worst. I don't think they're as eager to seize the reins of power as you think, because in doing so they're trade a short stint in power for an even longer stint back in opposition. In other words, if the Liberal are going to take a 'power at any cost' approach, they're stupidly short-sighted.

          But, I don't think it will come to that. I suspect the BQ will prop up the Conservatives. The BQ had demanded retroactive compensation for the HST. Before the election was called, the Conservatives refused. Since then, on the campaign trail, the Conservatives has pledged to give Quebec money for the HST. If they're going to put that on the table after the election (and assuming parliament looks roughly the same way it does now), I suspect the BQ will support them.

          • And let's not forget that when they were presented with such an opportunity, in January 2009, they balked…now who was the new leader of that group again….?

          • if the Liberal are going to take a 'power at any cost' approach, they're stupidly short-sighted.

            Agreed 100%. Somehow though, I dont consider that to be as comforting as you might think.

          • Well, their options are limited, and none are palatable. Bring down the government and get turfed out a few months later, or lay down and let Harper do whatever he wants. I see the second option as the lesser of two evils. It's a dilly of a pickle.

          • I would think that after two minority governments, we know now that Harper cannot do whatever he wants, regardless of how impotent the opposition is. So the 'lesser of two evils', is essentially the current situation. It sucks if you're Stephane Dion, but for most Canadians, the current situation is pretty normal, even positive. On the other hand, Iggy's gambit of bringing down the government could backfire big time. This point has been made alot, but its pretty important: having the BQ, even as an unofficial governing partner could break up the country.

            Unless Iggy wants to risk his legacy to be that he came back to Canada just long enough to break up the country, he should not even have to consider whether to take power without an election.

          • I would think that after two minority governments, we know now that Harper cannot do whatever he wants.

            The question is, does Harper realize this?

  45. People have puzzled for the past few years about why parliament is so dysfunctional. It would seem that it's because Harper actually believes what he said a few years ago when he was tearing around on an ATV without a helmet – 'I get to make the rules'.

  46. Remove complexity and replace it with any number of synonyms for ignorance, fatuousness, sophistry, etc. and you might be onto something.

    PS: Harper has cooperated with all three opposition parties to advance legislation and/or hold onto power.

  47. Remove complexity and replace it with any number of synonyms for ignorance, fatuousness, sophistry, etc. and you might be onto something.

    PS: Harper has cooperated with all three opposition parties to advance legislation and/or hold onto power.

  48. People have puzzled for the past few years about why parliament is so dysfunctional. It would seem that it's because Harper actually believes what he said a few years ago when he was tearing around on an ATV without a helmet – 'I get to make the rules'.

  49. He could have lied about how Parliament works — like Harper did in 2008.

    I'm not sure that would make me feel any better, though.

  50. It's bad enough that Harper and Co. think that all of us out here are too stupid to understand how our Westminster form of government works, but it is getting really tiresome that so much of the media assumes the same.

  51. He hasn't changed his tune. He said at the start that the party with the most seats after the election gets first crack at forming a government and that he's not going to form a coalition. He was asked about what happens if that Party fails.

  52. It's bad enough that Harper and Co. think that all of us out here are too stupid to understand how our Westminster form of government works, but it is getting really tiresome that so much of the media assumes the same.

    • Exactly. And why aren't our media writing articles informing us all of the Parliamentary rules? Ideally, this should be explained in newspapers across the country, and on TV news.

  53. Oh come off it…

    How many bits of CPC legislation passed with the support of the NDP and, yes, the Bloc during Harper's tenure as minority leader?

  54. The GG could call on any member of parliament to form a government — maybe he'd look to John Baird — then we'd be sorry we didn't give Harpo a majority.

  55. Harper FELL on a confidence vote…it just wasn't the budget

    Iggy could have been PM long time ago, by going forward with Dion's coalition.

    Simple rules of Parliament, dude. Always has been.

  56. Harper has never said that a coalition of the winning party and one of the other parties is wrong. Only when 3 losing parties form a coalition and stage a coup to oust the winning party. That's what's wrong, speciallyt when it includes the Bloc.

  57. Garbage. Conservatives will have to cooperate and support many of the Liberal government's bills. If they do not they will suffer the wrath of Canadians.

  58. If there is a Conservative minority, then Harper will propose some kind of accord with the NDP, who are so desperate for any taste of power they would accept a few crumbs to get it.

  59. Perhaps what this country needs is for you to run for office, and take up the mantle.
    Then everything would be peachy…

  60. If there is a Conservative minority, then Harper will propose some kind of accord with the NDP, who are so desperate for any taste of power they would accept a few crumbs to get it.

    • Desperate or not they are number 1 in Quebec and that's VERY impressive, who knew Layton could take on Duceppe?

  61. No dear, it's not wrong…those are the rules. Always have been the rules.

    The GG asks 'do you have the confidence of the house'?

    If Harp doesn't, someone else gets asked

  62. It is unfortunate that in a minority the CPC and LPC could not work together to form a working government. Their positions are the closest and most mirror the majority of Canadians. Unfortunately they are both wired to say no to the other no matter what the question. Therefore the NDP and/or the Bloc become the dance partners. That moves the country further left than most are comfortable with and/or gives in to Bloc extortion. The only way to avoid that – a majority. That is what the CPC should be saying – not railing against coalitions in general.

  63. It is unfortunate that in a minority the CPC and LPC could not work together to form a working government. Their positions are the closest and most mirror the majority of Canadians. Unfortunately they are both wired to say no to the other no matter what the question. Therefore the NDP and/or the Bloc become the dance partners. That moves the country further left than most are comfortable with and/or gives in to Bloc extortion. The only way to avoid that – a majority. That is what the CPC should be saying – not railing against coalitions in general.

    • I think that is precisely what the Conservatves are saynig. As we get closer to the next referendum, very few Canadians want their PM beholden to extortion from separatists in order to stay in power.

    • Harper's personality is totally unsuited to co-operation with anyone, including factions in the CPC. If he had to work with some other party, and give up micromanaging, slinging insults in Question Period, deliberately misleading the public and iron-fisted secrecy, his head would probably explode. That's why he paints coalitions as evil – to him they are unthinkable.

      • And it's also why a majority is so difficult to obtain. This is Canada. We are NICE!

        • We are too nice to the BQ. Remove the BQ from federal politics, and majorities will be in reach for any of the federal parties AND legitimate coalition forming would be within limits.

          • The BQ isn't likely to go away any time soon. The Canadian parliamentary system has to accommodate that reality. That takes collaboration, compromise, and dialogue, skills that don't seem to be in Harper's repertoire, unless for his own immediate, short-term self-interest.

          • Okay, Francien. I know the BQ is a particular thorn in your side. So, how would you "remove" them? Remembering, this is a democracy.

          • That would be easy! Two steps: cut off federal subsidies for separatist parties and,

            Any party forming government (either majority or coalition strictly between federal parties with enough combined numbers between the two parties) would have to introduce a motion to change our federal election law.

            The change to the federal election law would merely have to state that any party running within federal elections must present a federal platform, and must run candidates in at least 155 ridings.

            The BQ cannot do that, in fact no provincial party could do so, because for the BQ to run candidates outside of Quebec would do away with the party itself. It is IMPOSSIBLE for the BQ, by its own fundamental pricincple, to run candidates outside of Quebec.

            If the will and the courage is there, the way can be openend up. Simple. Easy. It just takes courage to stand up for a truly federal Canada.

          • First off, you can't cut off subsidies to a political party because you don't happen to like their platform. Mind you, I have something of a workaround for that issue, which is to remove the 60% reimbursement of expenses, increase the per-vote subsidy, but make it a multiple of how many seats you contest. So for example, $100 per vote x 308 (or 55). It has the added benefit of having a natural 'cap', so we'd know in advance how much it would cost us, unlike the expense reimbursement.

            Changing the law to require all parties to run candidates in at least 155 ridings sounds good at first glance, but it would be next to impossible to start a new party. This could be a feature instead of a bug, except if you don't like any of the current mainstream parties. That Pirate party, for example, sounds like it could eventually go somewhere, but I doubt they are running 155 candidates. But arbitrarily limiting choice in a democracy makes it less of a democracy, don't you agree?

          • Federal leaders have the right to introduce and change laws reflecting the well-being of our federation.

            Quebecers have a right to try and do what they deem right or righteous, but federally minded Canadian leaders certainly have the right to stand up for a properly working federation. And such right should never, ever be shamed out of them!

            Within first past the post, fringe parties will not have an easy go at it, no matter how many candidates they field. I happen to think that is a good thing for Canada.

            New parties can easily start off with fielding 155 candidates, and had such a rule existed when the Reform party started off, I am sure Manning would have worked with the rule. It would have been a higher treshold for entering into federal politics, but it can be done. When the rules are clear, the way is openened up to every one party equally, and our federal elections would be about federal politics, a notion which effects each and every Canadian equally. And that's what democracy stands for.

          • The real danger in trying to abolish the BQ is that it would lead to a reactionary rise in separatist sentiment in Quebec and we'd find ourselves facing another referendum. Do you really want to go through another one of those any time soon?

          • Are you kidding me?

            To live with a separatist party holding the balance of power over our federation is a better option?

            If federal leaders were to form a coalition govenment as they had proposed in 2008, the BQ would be re-elected with not 45 some seats but with a total of 75. And that indeed would be the end of our federation as we have known it for so long.

            Quebecers have a choice. There are 3 federal parties to choose from. Lots of selection, me thinks.

            But if Quebecers choose to hold the Canadian federation at randsom at each and every time a federal election is called, then I'd rather they go their own way. It would be better for Canada, that's for sure.

            But here's the real thing: the ROC works to the Quebec separatist advantage each and every time the people in the ROC tell everyone to be quiet about the Quebec separation issue, because, good grief, they might just threaten us again, and again…….

            We should not make such a fuss about the issue. When the separation card is played, we should just spell out the facts.

            Quebecers are smart people. They know they are better off within Canada. Quebecers also know that the province has enough power in order to protect and nurture its Quebec culture. But such protection and nurture of culture has to come from within. It cannot be created from without. At heart, Quebecers know that all too well. It just takes more effort to nurture a true Quebec culture from within. That's a fact. And we should never be afraid to state the obvious facts. None of us should be cowards.

          • There's a difference between being cowards and being practical. Yes, the BQ wants to separate, but their role in parliament is to preserve Quebec's interests for as long as they remain in Confederation. Thus, their interests and the interests of the ROC will often coincide. There is no reason why federalist parties can't work with them where that is the case – and they have. And Quebec blackmailing / federalist appeasement went on long before the BQ and would likely continue even withot the BQ because there's so many seats there.

          • Pt 2:

            Would Canada be better off without Quebec? I, too, have had such fantasies, but ultimately I think not. The departure of Quebec – or Alberta – would likely mean the dissolution of Canada. At the very least, it would financially cripple us for quite some time – and inevitably lead to bloodshed.

            Finally, "We should not make such a fuss about the issue. When the separation card is played, we should just spell out the facts." Agreed. I have never felt the Clarity Act took things far enough. I think we need a Secession From Canada Act that clearly spells out the obligations of the province intending to separate – up-front payment, on a per-capita basis, of their share of federal debt, as starters. It's a lot harder to spin BS when there is a law that says otherwise. And if they still decide the cost is worth it, at least there is a process set out for the world to see, which should help keep the dollar's value somewhere above the peso.

          • Thank you, KethBram. This was a most enjoyable exchange. There will always be various opinions held on this topic, but such is always better than not talking about it. Only by openly talking about it, will change for the better come about.

            I have one small comment to make: Please don't compare the Quebec separatist movement with one existing in Alberta. Albertans have no appetite to break Canada apart. In fact, I would say that most Albertans hold a strong federal Canada dear to their hearts. If anything, Alberta, young as it is, wants in, not out.

            But thanks again for the exchange.

          • It's not like the Reform Party was capable of running 155 candidates in 1988. I believe they ran 72. You gotta start a party somewhere.

          • Had the rules been 155, the Reform party would and probably could have worked with that rule.

            But what you are not addressing, conveniently enough, is the fact that the Reform Party was capable of running candidates across this federation. The BQ CANNOT. That is the major difference you are not willing to look in the face.

          • Why could the BQ not run candidates outside of Quebec? Don't you think they'd get a significant number of votes in the west? They'd just have to find a few people (80, I suppose) who actually want Quebec to separate and set them up as puppet candidates. I mean seriously, who *wouldn't* want to be the Bloc Quebecois candidate who doesn't speak a word of French?

            There are always ways around the rules.

          • Which is where FVerhoeven's first suggestion comes in: eliminate per vote subsidies. The Bloc would have a hard enough time funding campaigns within Quebec, much less trying to pay people to file paper work, find candidates, etc. for campaigns outside Quebec.

          • Reading Deerhoof's little fantasy about outlawing her political opponents, it's obvious why she's so fanatically devoted to Harper.

          • You'd also outlaw independent candidates. Personally, I think that's an incredibly anti-democratic move.

          • This is what I posted:" The change to the federal election law would merely have to state that any party running within federal elections must present a federal platform, and must run candidates in at least 155 ridings."

            Notice how it says 'party'.

            Now you may be aware, or maybe not, that an hallmark of an independent candidate is to run independent of any party.

            Why then would my proposal outlaw independent candidates?

            My proposal was not anti-democratic at all. It's just that you would like to paint me in such colours but you do so on a false understanding of what I have proposed. And that would be undermocratic.

          • Think REAAAALLY hard and you might understand that even though the CPC as it currently stands is a dictatorial monolith, parties are, at their heart, a collection of independant candidates that share the same views.

            Are you really going to start requiring that candidates can't refer to a certain website if another candidate is referring to it?

      • No true,coalitions aren't unthinkable to him he has never said that not once, it is this particular coalition, this particular set of characters.

        • So you're saying that Harper is into coalitions, just not with any of the other political parties in Canada? Very open minded of him.

  64. Yes, as does Scotland, of course. My point was more that the SNP is bigger than both Plaid Cymru and Sinn Féin in terms of representation in the National Parliament (the SNP has 6 MPs, Plaid Cymru 3, and Sinn Féin had 5 elected, though for that party they choose to not actually sit in the House I believe) and that while many people know about the SNP, comparatively few know about the separatist party of Wales.

    My point was merely that I presume FVerhoeven used Wales as an example because if he'd used Scotland it would have been more obvious to most people that his first answer is a lie, because while relatively few people outside of the UK are familiar with Plaid Cymru, most people are familiar with the Scottish Nationalist Party (thank you Sean Connery!).

  65. Now THAT would have been some good TV. Might get Ignatieff some positive coverage over on Sun TV too!

  66. What you fail to understand is that Harper has to deal with the fallout after the election.
    It has everything to do with the rules of the house. Harper has NO plan to co-operate with the opposition parties. Harper has already abdicated his responsibility as PM. He can wean himself off his anxiety as oppostion leader forever as far as I'm concerned.
    Harper – NOT A LEADER – next SUN headline.

  67. What's particularly funny is that not only does Plaid Cymur exist, but in the Welsh Parliament they're actually the junior partner in a COALITION with a non-separatist party.

    LOL

  68. No I'm suggesting people are stupid to not understand why Liberals, NDPers and others may not like the idea of a working agreement between these 2 parties.

  69. Emily,
    We all know how it works. Teaming up with the Bloc is unrealistic and English Canada will be up in arms just like 2008.

  70. What Geddes fails to understand… is that no matter what Harper does after the election, the opposition will vote no-confidence.

    Interestingly, I'm FAR less confident of that than you appear to be, and I actually want it to happen!

  71. I think that is precisely what the Conservatves are saynig. As we get closer to the next referendum, very few Canadians want their PM beholden to extortion from separatists in order to stay in power.

  72. They liked it just fine before, so I don't see that this time is any different.

  73. No, that's the problem. You don't.

    English Canada was never 'up in arms'…..Cons were.

    But then Cons have a vested interest.

  74. I came rather late to this discussion. I watched the interview and while I wasn't impressed with Mansbridge, I didn't see anything dangerous of even of particular note in what Ignatieff said about how Parliament works, the role of the GG, and working with other letters – he mentioned Layton, Duceppe and Harper – this all seemed ordinary. So what exactly is the fuss. Sure the CPC war room will lie and spin and try to kick up a fuss, but Canadians can't be that stupid. So exactly what is the issue here?

    Ignatieff said he would not form a coalition but would work with other parties, just like Harper, Martin, and every other PM with a minority has done, if he is called upon to do so. What is the problem with that?

  75. But it's a disservice to democracy to suggest there's something nefarious in what is merely one of the outcomes allowed by convention if an election doesn't reward any party with a majority.

    Wow. How many times must I repeat the following before people get it?

    Harper repeatedly ACKNOWLEDGES the legitimacy of a minority government yielding to other party(ies) taking over power by CAMPAIGNING AGAINST that real possibility. He keeps saying such an event is likely to happen in a CPC minority government. And he is right.

    This "we need a civics lesson" nonsense really must stop.

  76. But it%E2%80%99s a disservice to democracy to suggest there%E2%80%99s something nefarious in what is merely one of the outcomes allowed by convention if an election doesn%E2%80%99t reward any party with a majority.

    Wow. How many times must I repeat the following before people get it?

    Harper repeatedly ACKNOWLEDGES the legitimacy of a minority government yielding to other party(ies) taking over power by CAMPAIGNING AGAINST that real possibility. He keeps saying such an event is likely to happen in a CPC minority government. And he is right.

    This "we need a civics lesson" nonsense really must stop.

  77. I came rather late to this discussion. I watched the interview and while I wasn't impressed with Mansbridge, I didn't see anything dangerous of even of particular note in what Ignatieff said about how Parliament works, the role of the GG, and working with other letters – he mentioned Layton, Duceppe and Harper – this all seemed ordinary. So what exactly is the fuss. Sure the CPC war room will lie and spin and try to kick up a fuss, but Canadians can't be that stupid. So exactly what is the issue here?

    Ignatieff said he would not form a coalition but would work with other parties, just like Harper, Martin, and every other PM with a minority has done, if he is called upon to do so. What is the problem with that?

    • Near as I can tell, you're required to read through the lines or something.

  78. But it's a disservice to democracy to suggest there's something nefarious in what is merely one of the outcomes allowed by convention if an election doesn't reward any party with a majority.

    Wow. How many times must I repeat the following before people get it?

    Harper repeatedly ACKNOWLEDGES the legitimacy of a minority government yielding to other party(ies) taking over power by CAMPAIGNING AGAINST that real possibility. He keeps saying such an event is likely to happen in a CPC minority government. And he is right.

    This "we need a civics lesson" nonsense really must stop.

    • The left gets confused you see. The idea that we might acknowledge the parliamentary system but dislike a particular outcome enough to angrily speak out against it is foreign to them.

      After all, whenever a conservative government is elected, it is because the electorate is either a) too stupid or ignorant to know their own interests or b) the victims of electoral fraud. To them, any electoral result that is not to their liking is the result of a lack of education or because something illegal happened.

      So the fact that they would project the same way of thinking onto us on the right is perfectly understandable.

    • He spent most of 2008 declaring this very scenario, the 2nd place party forming a government, "illegitimate".

      You're not telling the truth here.

      • He has spent an awful long time scaring Canada into believing it would happen. Can you try — this will be fun — to explain how something illegitimate would be allowed to happen? Hate to rain on your parade, but I am going to answer that for you. Because he knows it is legal, and he has been raising it precisely because he knows it is legal.

        PS: It's ok to disagree, to debate, and even to be wrong. But to stupidly and incorrectly call someone a liar reflects way more poorly on you. You might want to keep that in mind.

        • Yes, HE knows it is – but he's doing his absolute best to convince the populace that it is not. Which, of course, means he's lying to the country on a daily basis.

          • Obviously you are having trouble following the conversation.

          • How do you figure?

          • You completely ignored MYL's original comment in this thread. MYL even put the important points in capitals and you still ignored them. Why would you add to a thread without reading it first?

          • Re-read the string: I was backing MYL up and simplifying. Am Hr wasn't getting it, and I thought MYL's response might be a bit convoluted for him. I was half asleep when I wrote it, bit it still makes sense to me now that I'm more alert – so maybe it's you. Let me try again:

            Yes, Harper knows a coalition would be legitimate, and his very actions acknowledge it. Those actions include lying daily to the Canadian public about the legitimacy of such actions, it order to render the idea repugnant in the minds of those less acquainted with the rules of parliament than most on this comment board. He is afraid of the possibility of losing power, so he's trying to make average Canadians fear it too. That he has to lie to do so is not a problem for him.

          • I was backing MYL up and simplifying

            No, you weren't, you contradicted what MYL said. I will quote it for you, maybe that will help.

            "Harper repeatedly ACKNOWLEDGES the legitimacy of a minority government yielding to other party(ies) taking over power by CAMPAIGNING AGAINST that real possibility"

            Now I'll quote you:

            "Those actions include lying daily to the Canadian public about the legitimacy of such actions"

            If you cannot see that those two sentences are in complete contradiction of each other, then I cannot help you.

          • Not sure if it's your reading skills or my writing skills, but what you think I said is definitely at odds with what I thought I said. Anyway, moving on… From: notifications@intensedebatemail.comTo: keith_osmond@msn.comSubject: s_c_f replied to your comment on Ignatieff talks minority scenarios

    • This "we need a civics lesson" nonsense really must stop.

      Hear, hear.

      • I almost agreed with this sentiment.

        Then, I read hollinm further down suggest that if the votes don't go the Tories' way in the new Parliament then the Prime Minister might decide to "appeal to the Supreme Court on the legitimacy of opposition parties ganging up on the government". This from a (from all appearances) intelligent Canadian who is actually interested in and follows politics.

        Don't tell me we don't need a civics lesson when even citizens who are paying attention appear to believe that if opposition parties refuse to vote in support of the government the government can take them to court.

    • Our Teflon PM says a lot of things while is minions are out there saying a lot of different things. In 2008 Conservatives, including several MPs were using the word "coup" to describe the possible defeat and replacement of the government.

      If that isn't a disservice to democracy, I don't know what is. As long as Conservatives keep up the rhetoric that the perfectly legitimate scenario of a different minority party forming a government is somehow illegitimate, I think a civics lesson may be in order. Because, clearly, if any conservative believes this nonsense, then more education is definitely required.

    • You know, downstream, hollinm (who is usually a bright poster, imho) brings up the possibility that if the Tories are defeated in the House of Commons the Prime Minister might "appeal to the Supreme Court on the legitimacy of opposition parties ganging up on the government".

      Don't tell me we don't need a civics lesson.

      • So hollinm needs one, then. The country is fine.

        • I don't often agree with hollinm's posts and arguments but to my mind he seems intelligent and engaged.

          I'd be willing to bet good money that he follows politics more closely than the vast majority of Canadians and understands our systems better than the majority too. I'd imagine that hollinm is in the TOP 20% of Canadians in terms of his knowledge and understanding of our politics and government, not the bottom 20%.

          To my mind, hollinm's ignorance on that point is not indicative of the ignorance of the "average" Canadian, it's indicative of the ignorance of an intelligent and well-informed Canadian who follows politics and government closely. Again, I'd bet substantial money that the average Canadian needs a civics lesson MORE than hollinm does, not less.

          • You're assuming ignorance over malice when there's no reason to do so.

          • What would be the "malicious" reason to bring up a ludicrous "Maybe the PM will take the opposition to court if they insist on opposing him" scenario? It was a silly suggestion, so it hardly works as some sort of threat (I don't think anyone read that and thought "Good God! What if the Tories DO appeal to the Supreme Court to stop the opposition from voting against them!!!").

            I suppose there could be some malicious reason to suggest such a ludicrous hypothetical, but I can't think of what that would be.

          • PR. Simply attempting to spread the meme where-ever he goes that what the opposition might do is so illegitimate that it's even worth going to the supreme court about.

            To anybody with an ounce of factual background knowledge about how our political system works, that'd be ludicrous of course, but given how hard Harper et al are pouding the message of illegitimacy on the stump, they obviously think most Canadians are ignorant.

          • Interesting, I hadn't thought of it that way. My earnest hope would be that the majority of Canadians would laugh out loud at such a notion, but our collective understanding of how our government works being what it is, I suppose that might be a forlorn hope.

    • "This 'we need a civics lesson' nonsense really must stop."

      O RLY??

      CPC's Pierre Poilievre responding to Bob Rae line that HoC chooses PM: “I think Canadians should choose the prime
      minister.” – Glen McGregor's twitter feed.

    • Harper repeatedly ACKNOWLEDGES the legitimacy of a minority government yielding to other party(ies) taking over power by CAMPAIGNING AGAINST that real possibility.

      That would be Harper ACKNOWLEDGING the LEGALITY AND POSSIBILITY of a minority government yielding to other party(ies) taking over power by CAMPAIGNING AGAINST that legally possible thing. That's not Harper acknowledging the LEGITIMACY of that course of action. You're confusing "legal and possible" with "legitimate".

      Consider this analogy. The Tories have also in the past CAMPAIGNED AGAINST child pornography. They keep campaigning constantly against child pornography. Is this evidence somehow that the Tories ACKNOWLEDGE the legitimacy of child pornography???

      • Wade through the commentariat: Harper is alleged to be "confusing" the poor ignorant population of Canada into thinking that this "unholy coalition" is an affront to Canada's laws and values. "How dare he make us think this can't be done!" his accusers whine. Meanwhile, Harper keeps bringing the thing up as a real possibility. Because it can be done. So his accusers are full of it.

        And the child porn attempt? Sorry, LKO, it's weak. "Ignatieff will pull this off if we aren't in a majority" can't be any simpler of an acknowledgement that the "stunt" in question is perfectly plausible, legal, permitted, likely even. How hard is this for people to follow?

  79. Harper's personality is totally unsuited to co-operation with anyone, including factions in the CPC. If he had to work with some other party, and give up micromanaging, slinging insults in Question Period, deliberately misleading the public and iron-fisted secrecy, his head would probably explode. That's why he paints coalitions as evil – to him they are unthinkable.

  80. You are wrong. Many did not.

  81. You should look up the word "diatribe" in a dictionary. You don't seem to understand what it means.

  82. Fair enough. Of course, one problem is that he may not be able to make it stick. What if Layton demands cabinet positions for the NDP? Would Ignatieff really choose to pass up power based on keeping this one promise? One doesn't have to be a cynic to believe that no, he'd go back on his word. Heck, many of his supporters would be glad if he did.

  83. Especially since the CPC edited that OUT of the quote — along with the bit about consulting with Harper.

    The lying by Tories is what gets me — but maybe I'm just old fashioned.

  84. Fair enough. Of course, one problem is that he may not be able to make it stick. What if Layton demands cabinet positions for the NDP? Would Ignatieff really choose to pass up power based on keeping this one promise? One doesn't have to be a cynic to believe that no, he'd go back on his word. Heck, many of his supporters would be glad if he did.

    • Well I can understand your reluctance to take Ignatieff at his word. There seems to be large numbers of Canadians who can't take Harper at his word.

      Hence the impasse.

      • PM, it has nothing to do with belief. It has to do with a very possible outcome after the election. If the libs want to form a 'partnership', but the NDP want a coalition, what will Ignatieff do? Call another election, or form a coalition? What would go over better with the public (neither would be widely accepted). He would form the coalition, it is simple as that.
        I find it funny that people don't realize that in politics, things change daily. What I don't like about Ignatieff saying 'no' to the coalition, is that he does it knowing full well that he might be doing it in the future. He is just saying what he needs to, in order to get votes. I don't blame him for it, but I am not blind to the facts.

        And Layton sits there and waits – it will probably all be good for him. . .

        • Maybe there is something in the theory that conservatives have difficulty with uncertainty. Why do you feel entitled to know, down to the last detail, what Ignatieff will decide in various hypothetical situations?

          I certainly don't know what will happen if the Harper conservatives are elected with another minority. Harper implies he will not bend at all but bravely go down to defeat. I don't believe that he would do nothing to save his government but I certainly don't expect that he would lay out all the decisions he might make at this point in the campaign.

          As you say, things change daily. We elect the people we trust to handle those day to day questions. That's why issues of character, ethics and trust are the most important factors in my voting decision. I know that I am not sending someone to Ottawa who has pre-made all those decisions on issues that haven't even arisen yet.

    • Hint: You don't need a coalition to take members of another party into your cabinet. — Remember, the PM can be anybody, even an independant, even a layman. The key feature of the PM be that the person be able to command the confidence of the House.

  85. Especially since the CPC edited that OUT of the quote — along with the bit about consulting with Harper.

    The lying by Tories is what gets me — but maybe I'm just old fashioned.

  86. I'm not talking about clueless Conbots who have no idea how the country works.

  87. Shhhhh, you're interrupting the narrative.

  88. The left gets confused you see. The idea that we might acknowledge the parliamentary system but dislike a particular outcome enough to angrily speak out against it is foreign to them.

    After all, whenever a conservative government is elected, it is because the electorate is either a) too stupid or ignorant to know their own interests or b) the victims of electoral fraud. To them, any electoral result that is not to their liking is the result of a lack of education or because something illegal happened.

    So the fact that they would project the same way of thinking onto us on the right is perfectly understandable.

  89. Scotland would have been incredibly inconvenient to use as a point of reference.

  90. He spent most of 2008 declaring this very scenario, the 2nd place party forming a government, "illegitimate".

    You're not telling the truth here.

  91. This "we need a civics lesson" nonsense really must stop.

    Hear, hear.

  92. The inherent dishonesty in coming from the Iggy supporters in the media is remarkable.

    The issue here isn't whether what Iggy will do is technically "legal" or permitted under the parliamentary system, it's what are Iggy's intentions.

    Is the level of inquisitiveness so low, the bar set so low that as long as it's technically feasible, we should make no further inquiries as to whether he actually INTENDS to utilize a coalition?

  93. The inherent dishonesty in coming from the Iggy supporters in the media is remarkable.

    The issue here isn't whether what Iggy will do is technically "legal" or permitted under the parliamentary system, it's what are Iggy's intentions.

    Is the level of inquisitiveness so low, the bar set so low that as long as it's technically feasible, we should make no further inquiries as to whether he actually INTENDS to utilize a coalition?

    • Given the transcript from the interview, it appears that his intentions are to find a way to make a minority government work, either with the NDP, Bloc, or CPC. It also appears that first crack will be given, of course, to the party winning the most seats, which would probably be Harper.

      Am I missing something?

      EDIT: Here's the relevant transcript. Let me know what I'm misunderstanding. It appears that your last question is answered with the portion that I bolded:

      "I respect the rules, I will follow them to the letter and I'm not going to form a coalition. What I'm prepared to do is talk to Mr. Layton or Mr. Duceppe or even Mr. Harper and say, 'We have an issue, and here's the plan that I want to put before Parliament, this is the budget I would bring in,' and then we take it from there."

      • That's what I got out of the interview too.

        Perhaps the uncertainty for chet is that Harper won't rule out the possibility that he will resign if he doesn't win a majority. I think the CPC would still have the opportunity to form a government if they win the most seats, but presumably a new Prime Minister would be chosen in that case.

        • So you guys have no problem if Harper wins say 150 seats and the three opposition parties gang up and simply vote non confidence. Is this really what you are saying? If it is there is going to be a hew and cry from the Canadian people the likes that you have not heard before.

          Two parties forming a legitimate coalition is withn the "convention" of parliament. However, ganging up will result in an appeal to the courts I suspect.

          • Learn about our parliamentary system. The PM has a responsibility to gain the confidence of parliament. If Harper puts forward a plan and budget that is acceptable to another party, then he has the confidence. If not, he doesn't. Harper cannot rule like he has a majority if he doesn't have a majority.

          • Oh for heavens sake. If Mr. Harper cannot maintain the confidence of the house, it would somehow lead to a court challenge? You actually think it should be illegal for the opposition to, like, oppose him?

            Wow, support Mr. Harper or else…

            If Mr. Harper can't command the confidence of the house, he doesn't deserve the role of leader. If 60% of the electorate don't vote for him, I don't have a problem with someone else trying.

            If and when the Greens ever get elected, this country is going to be impossible to run. At that point, by Conservative standards, there will be no party that has a 'legitimate' claim to power.

          • If Harper wins 150 seats, he only has to sway a few MP's to either cross the floor or vote with him. Two MP's switching sides would probably do it if there are two right-leaning independents that get elected.

            The opposition wouldn't have a chance to vote non-confidence.

            And quite frankly, the only thing more disgusting to the Canadian people than a coalition would be another campaign so shortly after an election. I have a feeling that the majority of Canadians would throw up their hands and sigh a heartfelt "whatever".

          • "If it is there is going to be a hew and cry from the Canadian people the likes that you have not heard before. "

            Yeah, because Canadians will have cast all those Liberal, NDP and Bloc votes in the hope of helping Harper form government and pass legislation.

          • There'll be a hew and cry from the 37% or so that elected those 150, that's true enough.

            That still leaves 63% of the country.

      • Yes, he divorces himself from the words "coalition" but then there's the quote right after than in which he specifically says he'd be open to forming a government as the second place party.

        In other words he wants it both ways.

        And I understand the Liberal supporters here advocating for that.

        But the media?

        The media is giving him a pass is totally unacceptable.

        • He said that IF Harper did not get the confidence of the House AND the GG asked him to form a government. It would be completely irresponsible if he did not do that.

        • You do understand that it is possible to govern as a minority without a coalition?

          Oh who the hell am I kidding. Of course you understand, you're just hoping to spread more misinformation.

      • What you are missing is instead of working with Harper to support him as PM if Harper wins the most seats, he will vote against Harper on any pretext at all and then work with others once he is in power.

        • That's not what the quote says. That's what you assume. His quote specifically mentions all parties, and explicitly gives Harper first crack at gaining the confidence of the house.

          I don't think I'm way off base here.

          • Ignatieff has also said, "“I'm not in politics to negotiate with Mr Harper, I am in politics to replace him”. (Feb. 24). How does that play in to the assumption that Ignatieff will either A) be open to supporting a CPC minority or B) that he will work with the CPC should the GG ask him to form the government following a conservative minority non-confidence?

            Flaherty has already said that they intend to table the same budget they presented prior to the non-confidence motion. Ignatieff and Layton have both said they will not support the budget. That alone tells us where we are headed after May 2 should the CPC fail to get a majority.

          • "How does that play in to the assumption that Ignatieff will either A) be open to supporting a CPC minority"

            I don't know, we'll have to wait and see. Spindoctors are amazing creatures; I'm sure they'll find a way to make both leaders look good with any agreement that's signed.

            Flaherty has already said that they intend to table the same budget they presented prior to the non-confidence motion.

            Jim has not yet been told what's going to be in the next budget. He probably shouldn't be guessing or he'll end up with egg on his face.

          • Well, for grown-ups, being in politics to replace someone doesn't mean you'll go to any lengths whatsoever to do so.

            That said, situation B has absolutely no conflict with his statement, as if that was the case, he would have succeeded in the goal of replacing Harper, so no problem with cooperating with him thereafter.

  94. To get a sense of the depth of propagandizing from the media here, consider this:

    Proroging of parliament is a procedure that's been done 104 times, several under the last Liberal regime, but the 105th was portrayed as a remarkable destabalization of democracy. In short it was portrayed as highly out of the ordinary, exceptional (notwithstanding its frequent use).

    Today were being told that the party that LOSES the election and then takes power is as common as the morning Sun.

    Except it isn't. The last time it happened was in 1925 or thereabouts.

    It is, in the very literal sense, unconventional.

    It is, notwithstanding the "nothing to see here folks" portrayal by the dishonest water carriers in the media, radical, out of the ordinary, and certainly at odds with the EXPECTATIONS of Canadians who expect the winner to take power.

  95. To get a sense of the depth of propagandizing from the media here, consider this:

    Proroging of parliament is a procedure that's been done 104 times, several under the last Liberal regime, but the 105th was portrayed as a remarkable destabalization of democracy. In short it was portrayed as highly out of the ordinary, exceptional (notwithstanding its frequent use).

    Today were being told that the party that LOSES the election and then takes power is as common as the morning Sun.

    Except it isn't. The last time it happened was in 1925 or thereabouts.

    It is, in the very literal sense, unconventional.

    It is, notwithstanding the "nothing to see here folks" portrayal by the dishonest water carriers in the media, radical, out of the ordinary, and certainly at odds with the EXPECTATIONS of Canadians who expect the winner to take power.

    • You're being as disingenuous as the 'media' you're railing against. Perhaps you can let me know just how many times Parliament has been prorogued only two weeks into a session?

      The wholly left-wing Economist covered this quite well at the time:
      http://www.economist.com/node/15213212

      The argument that previous prime ministers frequently prorogued Parliament is no more convincing. In almost every case they did so only once the government had got through the bulk of its legislative business. The Parliament that Mr Harper prorogued still had 36 government bills before it, including measures that form part of the prime minister's much-vaunted crackdown on crime. When it reconvenes, those bills will have to start again from scratch. Past prorogations were typically brief (see article). This time sessions will be separated by a gap of 63 days.

      • …and out of curiosity, how many were prorogued to avoid a confidence vote?

        • Chretien prorogued before stepping down as a way to stick it to Martin…before a report on the Sponsorship Program? I'm fuzzy on the details…but I'm sure someone else can fill in the rest.

    • chet, just accept you've lost the prorogue argument, for now and always, and move on. Setting it in the fridge for a while and then dragging it out when you think maybe everyone's forgotten how it went down is kind of embarrassing to watch.

  96. He has spent an awful long time scaring Canada into believing it would happen. Can you try — this will be fun — to explain how something illegitimate would be allowed to happen? Hate to rain on your parade, but I am going to answer that for you. Because he knows it is legal, and he has been raising it precisely because he knows it is legal.

    PS: It's ok to disagree, to debate, and even to be wrong. But to stupidly and incorrectly call someone a liar reflects way more poorly on you. You might want to keep that in mind.

  97. The question is this:

    Would the average Canadian want to know if Iggy would try to form a government with the support of the Liberals and the Bloc?

    Of course they would, which is why Iggy made the grandstanding announcement at the beginning of the election to rule out a coalition.

    Now we have him trying to slide it in at the 11th hour as a possibility, with his water carriers splitting hairs over what precisely is the definition of a "coalition", suggesting it's "no big deal" that its just a innocuous statement of process – some odd out-of-place history lesson in parliamentary procedure wholly unrelated to his intentions.

    The propagandizing here is simply amazing.

  98. The question is this:

    Would the average Canadian want to know if Iggy would try to form a government with the support of the Liberals and the Bloc?

    Of course they would, which is why Iggy made the grandstanding announcement at the beginning of the election to rule out a coalition.

    Now we have him trying to slide it in at the 11th hour as a possibility, with his water carriers splitting hairs over what precisely is the definition of a "coalition", suggesting it's "no big deal" that its just a innocuous statement of process – some odd out-of-place history lesson in parliamentary procedure wholly unrelated to his intentions.

    The propagandizing here is simply amazing.

    • Go to bed Chet…

    • No, the questions are:

      ? – Why are every action and statement of Ignatieff to be gone over with a fine-toothed comb, and then assumed to be false and self-serving anyway, just because "he's a Liberal and therefore not to be trusted"…

      …while the actions and statements of Harper are to be accepted at face value, to always be given the most generous possible interpretation, and assumed to be the work of the only honorable party in Canadian politics?

      ? – Why is it that most of the Liberal supporters here on these forums are capable of levelling criticisms at their own candidate when he takes a step they disapprove of, yet most of the Conservative supporters tie themselves in knots trying to justify the most egregious actions by their own party, trying to turn them into virtues?

      ? – What does this say about the state of conservatism in Canada today?

      I forgive you in advance for having no comfortable answers. Which is not to say I don't think you'll type some words anyway.

    • 3 comments in a row, chet? Just how many people does it take to run that sock-puppet?

      You guys really oughta stagger your shifts.

  99. He might have seen your comment as a "diatribe" and overstated the intensity of your baloney argument, yet I think he nailed it when he wrote "Not much critical reasoning" except I would have added "in evidence" since I believe you are simply being disingenuous. You are "begging the question". By the way, when did you stop beating your wife? ("fallacy of many questions")

  100. The Bloc doesn't scare me. Why does it scare you ?

  101. Given the transcript from the interview, it appears that his intentions are to find a way to make a minority government work, either with the NDP, Bloc, or CPC. It also appears that first crack will be given, of course, to the party winning the most seats, which would probably be Harper.

    Am I missing something?

    EDIT: Here's the relevant transcript. Let me know what I'm misunderstanding. It appears that your last question is answered with the portion that I bolded:

    "I respect the rules, I will follow them to the letter and I'm not going to form a coalition. What I'm prepared to do is talk to Mr. Layton or Mr. Duceppe or even Mr. Harper and say, 'We have an issue, and here's the plan that I want to put before Parliament, this is the budget I would bring in,' and then we take it from there."

  102. Honestly, what is Ignatieff supposed to do in this situation? If the GG asks him whether he could maintain the confidence of the house is supposed to say "No sir! No way!".

    Is he supposed to never oppose any Conservative confidence motions and work to convince the NDP and BQ to do likewise?

    I get the impression that the only acceptable action for Ignatieff is to behave as if the Conservatives won a majority..

  103. Correct me if I'm wrong, but couldn't Iggy promise not to offer any options to the GG other than calling an election in the event of a vote of non-confidence in a Harper minority government? Or is this just too much thinking on the part of people not named Iggy, Wherry, or Geddes?

  104. Honestly, what is Ignatieff supposed to do in this situation? If the GG asks him whether he could maintain the confidence of the house is supposed to say "No sir! No way!".

    Is he supposed to never oppose any Conservative confidence motions and work to convince the NDP and BQ to do likewise?

    I get the impression that the only acceptable action for Ignatieff is to behave as if the Conservatives won a majority..

    • Look at it this way:

      Let's say that, as per our system, as per seat count, the CPC would hold 49% of the seats, the Liberals 28%, the NDP 12% and the BQ the remainder.

      Now, within a presented budget, should the direction of the budget not reflect such seat count distribution? And if you could agree on that, did the last budget not manage to do that??

      I think it did. That's why there was no need for an election. The opposition parties can only claim in demands in what they have to bring to the table in seat count.

      • Am I the only one here who has no idea what Francine is on about?

      • Look at it this way:

        If past patterns hold true, the Conservatives will "win" with approximately 40% of the popular vote. Should the direction of the budget not reflect the will of the 60% who voted for someone other than Mr. Harper?

        Forget the numbers Francine. They are actually meaningless. The only thing that is important here is that Mr. Harper has to convince 155 MPs that he deserves to be Prime Minister. If he can't do that he is not entitled to be PM.

        • You are trying to come up with a logical argement by using two systems.

          Here are the facts, since we live in reality, not a dreamworld:

          40% of the popular vote means nothing once the seat count has been won. The first past the post is the Canadian system in place whether you agree with that or not.

          You don't undertand basic logic. But you keep on trying anyways. Sometimes I wonder about our educational system. It's in dire needs of reform!!

          • Clearly, you are the one who needs more education. It doesn't matter if the Conservatives have 49% of the seats, if they can't maintain confidence. They have no more claim to legitimacy than the 51% who represent 60% of the population, perhaps less.

          • I think the point is actually that even in your scenario where the Tories have 49% of the seats, that's still less than 50% of the seats.

            You say "Now, within a presented budget, should the direction of the budget not reflect such seat count distribution?" but I'm not sure what you mean by that. The budget should be a document that can win the support of the majority of our representatives in the House of Commons. As long as the government is a minority government it doesn't really matter if they have 49% of the seats or 20% of the seats, they need to craft a budget that can win the support of more than 50% of the House. "Close" only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

            We govern ourselves by the will of the MAJORITY, not the will of the ALMOST majority.

      • Except they weren't brought down on the budget. Do try to keep up.

  105. Correct me if I'm wrong, but couldn't Iggy promise not to offer any options to the GG other than calling an election in the event of a vote of non-confidence in a Harper minority government? Or is this just too much thinking on the part of people not named Iggy, Wherry, or Geddes?

    • According to Harper circa 2004, the GG has options. He could call an election. He could ask Iggy to try to govern, but he wouldn't have gotten the most seats, and that just isn't right. He could… do you know? I'm at a loss. I just know the GG has options. Harper said so. Do you know? Because, if there are other options, maybe Iggy could avail himself of them, or advise the GG of them. That would spare us loser coalitions and elections.

      • In 2004, Harper asked the GG to consider all options if it came to that, and it never did. Harper didn't propose anything, because, again, it never came to that. So, I'm not quite sure why everyone all of a sudden holds that letter up like it's some kind of a constitutional Bible or something.

        Nevertheless, why couldn't Iggy's position in 2011 be this: Party with the most votes forms government or we have another election?

        Why would that be so hard?

        • Oh, it's not a constitutional bible. It's just that Harper said most recently he had no intention of being PM when his party came in second place (losers don't form government), but the GG didn't necessarily have to call an election either. If there are other options at Iggy's disposal, or the GG's disposal, I'd like to hear them. I don't want a coalition of losers, and I don't want an election. Options? Apparently there are options. Harper said so.

          • I don't understand what a reference to consdiering "options" in 2004 has to do with what might happen in 2011. People who reference that letter seem to think it's smart, but it's not. It's just desperate. I'm sorry.

          • Sure it does. Bear with me, here. Iggy could be facing a very similar circumstance as Harper did in 2004. Here he is, leading a party with the second most seats. The governing party, the party with the most seats, appears as though it doesn't want to play ball and co-operate with the other parties. What's that second-place leader to do? He doesn't want try to form government with the the other parties in a coalition or some other arrangement, but he doesn't want another election either. Harper had no intention of forming a government with the other parties OR have an election. Nevertheless, he (and the other opposition leaders) wrote this letter suggesting the GG had other options. If there are indeed other options, I see no reason why Iggy can't avail himself of them, or advise the GG to avail himself of them, in order to avoid a coalition of losers AND avoid an election.

          • No. I think it's crazy we're talking about a 2004 letter that doesn't say what you want it to say simply because you can't answer questions about 2011. Again, why can't Iggy say he won't form a government if he doesn't have the most seats? Why is this so hard for some of you on here? lol

          • BECAUSE he has other options, the ones highlighted in the 2004 letter. I don't want another election, no one wants another election, and Iggy knows that. I don't want a coalition of losers, no one wants a coalition of losers, and Iggy knows that too. So, we have two choices that suck. Harper's letter in 2004 suggests there are options besides those two choices. What are they? Why can't Iggy, or the GG, pick one of those options to spare us an election and a coalition of losers? Unless you tell me there are no other options other than those two choices, I'm afraid I can't answer your question. I'd rather pick one of those options Harper was talking about.

          • In 2004 Harper didn't form government. So I guess in 2011 Iggy won't either. Thank you for enlightening me. Next.

          • Don't next me yet, Dennis.

            So you're saying there are no other options, then? Well. I wonder what Harper was on about in that letter, then. He was either full of sh*t then, or full of sh*t now. If there are no other options, it has to be one or the other.

            BTW, I fully realize Harper is in the catbird's seat, so I'm not desperate. I'm just making a point about Mr. Harper's convenient memory. I don't think Layton and Gilles were lying in that debate the other night.

          • Your patience is admirable.

        • I think most Canadians would view that as reckless and disrespectful of democracy. People voted and elected MPs to represent them and they should behave responsibly and work together. If Harper refuses to work with others, then Ignatieff should be responsible and work with others. If both Harper and Ignatieff refused to work with others, then I think Canadians should demand a full new slate of leaders before any election.

    • What, and have another useless $300 Million election, Dennis? You'd like that wouldn't you?

      Why don't you like the way a Westminster Parliamentary Democracy works?

      • Why isn't a political leader refusing to form government without the most votes a part of "the way a Westminster Parliamentary Democracy works?" Or does it work only the way some of you want it to. Which, of course, is the exact opposite of democracy, isn't it.

    • Why? Your side won't believe it anyway, and will continue with the same anti-coalition rhetoric.

    • couldn't Iggy promise not to offer any options to the GG other than calling an election in the event of a vote of non-confidence in a Harper minority government

      Sure, and he could promise to give his lunch money to the Prime Minister every morning, but why would anyone expect him to?

      The MOMENT Iggy made such a promise we'd be GUARANTEED a Throne Speech and/or budget from the Tories that reflects what the Tories would want to present if they won a majority of the seats. And Ignatieff would be committed to either supporting the Tory "majority" budget, or forcing a July election.

      I understand why Tory supporters want Ignatieff to commit to giving them majority power for a few years even if they don't win the majority of the seats, but I don't see why the Liberals would acquiesce, nor how giving a party with a minority of the seats in the House de facto majority power would be good for the country.

  106. Geddes do you honestly believe the majority of Canadians understand or will accept "convention" as you suggest. What if Harper wins, Ontario, the West much of the Maritimes and most of B.C. Do you honestly believe the people of Canada will accept as their PM someone who poll after poll says they don't have much confidence in? You can argue until the cows come home the legitimacy of a coalition or whatever other name you want to call it. However, it is quite another thing to have the majority of Canadians accept it. It is quite possible that the Libs and the NDP will not have enough seats to overtake Harper. We could end up with a consitutional crisis if the Bloc in any way shape or form has any invovlement iwth the federal government.

  107. Geddes do you honestly believe the majority of Canadians understand or will accept "convention" as you suggest. What if Harper wins, Ontario, the West much of the Maritimes and most of B.C. Do you honestly believe the people of Canada will accept as their PM someone who poll after poll says they don't have much confidence in? You can argue until the cows come home the legitimacy of a coalition or whatever other name you want to call it. However, it is quite another thing to have the majority of Canadians accept it. It is quite possible that the Libs and the NDP will not have enough seats to overtake Harper. We could end up with a consitutional crisis if the Bloc in any way shape or form has any invovlement iwth the federal government.

    • Nope. Not a constitutional crisis. A political crisis, yes. An economic crisis, certainly. But not a constitutional crisis.

  108. That's what I got out of the interview too.

    Perhaps the uncertainty for chet is that Harper won't rule out the possibility that he will resign if he doesn't win a majority. I think the CPC would still have the opportunity to form a government if they win the most seats, but presumably a new Prime Minister would be chosen in that case.

  109. Ignatieff has shown Canadians that he lied or at least was too cute by half. The media knew this and ridiculed Harper for raising the specter of a Liberal coalition. Now the fabrication has been exposed for all to see.
    However, I have faith in the Canadian people after Igantieff's declaration today. They have consistently said they have little faith in the leadership of Michael Ignatieff. I cannot believe that people who do not support his leadership would suddenly go to the polls and vote for him and his party.

  110. Ignatieff has shown Canadians that he lied or at least was too cute by half. The media knew this and ridiculed Harper for raising the specter of a Liberal coalition. Now the fabrication has been exposed for all to see.
    However, I have faith in the Canadian people after Igantieff's declaration today. They have consistently said they have little faith in the leadership of Michael Ignatieff. I cannot believe that people who do not support his leadership would suddenly go to the polls and vote for him and his party.

    • "I respect the rules, I will follow them to the letter and I'm not going to form a coalition."

      • Yes, but Tory supporters don't care that Ignatieff isn't going to form a coalition as long as they can trick Canadians into believing that any Liberal minority government formed by a caucus with fewer seats than the Tory caucus is a "coalition", even if it isn't.

  111. Nope. Not a constitutional crisis. A political crisis, yes. An economic crisis, certainly. But not a constitutional crisis.

  112. "I respect the rules, I will follow them to the letter and I'm not going to form a coalition."

  113. You're being as disingenuous as the 'media' you're railing against. Perhaps you can let me know just how many times Parliament has been prorogued only two weeks into a session?

    The wholly left-wing Economist covered this quite well at the time:
    http://www.economist.com/node/15213212

    The argument that previous prime ministers frequently prorogued Parliament is no more convincing. In almost every case they did so only once the government had got through the bulk of its legislative business. The Parliament that Mr Harper prorogued still had 36 government bills before it, including measures that form part of the prime minister's much-vaunted crackdown on crime. When it reconvenes, those bills will have to start again from scratch. Past prorogations were typically brief (see article). This time sessions will be separated by a gap of 63 days.

  114. You're being as disingenuous as the 'media' you're railing against. Perhaps you can let me know just how many times Parliament has been prorogued only two weeks into a session?

    The wholly left-wing Economist covered this quite well at the time:
    http://www.economist.com/node/15213212

    The argument that previous prime ministers frequently prorogued Parliament is no more convincing. In almost every case they did so only once the government had got through the bulk of its legislative business. The Parliament that Mr Harper prorogued still had 36 government bills before it, including measures that form part of the prime minister%E2%80%99s much-vaunted crackdown on crime. When it reconvenes, those bills will have to start again from scratch. Past prorogations were typically brief (see article). This time sessions will be separated by a gap of 63 days.

  115. For a long time, Mansbridge hadn't managed to impress me, but in this interview, Mansbridge was impressive.

    Tough questions and the questions were needed. Now the voter has a better understanding of Ignatieff. And so it should be.

  116. For a long time, Mansbridge hadn't managed to impress me, but in this interview, Mansbridge was impressive.

    Tough questions and the questions were needed. Now the voter has a better understanding of Ignatieff. And so it should be.

    • Wait for the Harper interview. I predict it's going to be like Last Tango in Paris, with Mansbridge playing the disaffected Jeanne to Harper's bereft Paul contemplating the death of his party's erotic dreams of majority. They'll enjoy the encounter in a perverse sort of mutual affection, only to have it end with Jeanne marrying a Liberal. Tragic an an ironic way.

      • Oh, Harper has had tough interviews for most of his political life. That's why he's where he's at today.

        Had the media given Ignatieff the same tough treatment of the years, Ignatieff would have been in a much better position. But alas, the media didn't understand that in time. They might understand it better now.

        • "That's why he's where he's at today. "

          Hiding behind steel fencing?

          • That's the easiest way to "take a punch", you know.

        • Iggy has been given the usual liberal free ride, its almost like the media think we are all dense. We are not. We are much much smarter, the liberal bubble is a funny one.The PM is running a campaign, that is much like the Trudeau and then Chretein did.But we cannot as conservatives bring that Up

    • Translation for new forumistas:

      The CBC is, always has been, and always will be an evil scourge sapping Real Canadians of their precious bodily fluids, but they recently embarrassed someone I hate, so today I'll say something nice about one of them and cross my fingers that they'll continue to give the candidate I love a free pass on everything he says or does.

  117. That's what everybody is missing here. The usual coalition scenario is the party that wins the most seats plus another party form a working coalition. However, when the opposition of losers simply gangs up there is something wrong and I think seriously questions the legitimacy of any future minority government. All the opposition parties simply gang up and vote no confidence. If Harper wins the most seats spread nationally across the country and Ignatieff tries to form a coalition with the Bloc and the NDP there is going to be a constitutional crisis in the country.

  118. Well I can understand your reluctance to take Ignatieff at his word. There seems to be large numbers of Canadians who can't take Harper at his word.

    Hence the impasse.

  119. Don't bet any money on it. If you thought the Conservatives were obstructionist in a minority put them in opposition and see what happens. They will make life miserable for the coalition. Remember Harper has control of the Senate and so the ability of the coalition to do much without Conservative support will be minimal.

  120. I see. Well, I believe that's why they voted no confidence in the first place. Look at the polls:
    http://www.sfu.ca/~aheard/elections/polls.html

    Ignatieff called the no-confidence vote just after Conservative support jumped to 38%, and Liberal support dropped to 27%. Why would you call an election at such an inopportune time? And of course, since then nothing has changed in terms of popular support. So what other possible motive was there? It's blatantly obvious.

  121. It is a mistake because Ignatieff is losing the election as we speak. Coupled with this Canadians have said in virtually every leadership poll they don't much like his leadership abilities. Is it possible that Canadians if they keep rating him below Layton and significantly below Harper would turn up at the polling booth and vote for him. I don't think so.

    With this in mind I suspect that the polls are going to move in favour of Harper as he ratchets up the rhetoric and Ignatieff is put on the defensive to explain the variables.

    Meanwhile the GG is watching and gauging public opinion. He also knows the reaction of Canadians in the 08 coup attempt. So it will be interesting if he believes that a patchwork government put together by Ignatieff is the best for the country. If we believe Ignatieff there will be no cabinet seats for Layton et al and so he will have to buy their support. It will be expensive to put it kindly.

  122. A Strategic Counsel poll in Friday's Globe and Mail newspaper put the Conservatives ahead of the Liberals 45 to 24 percent, with the New Democrats trailing at 14 percent.

    This compares with the Oct. 14 electoral result of 37.6 percent for the Conservatives, 26.2 percent for the Liberals and 18.2 percent for the New Democrats.
    Wow that is a lot of Conbots…..
    An Ipsos Reid survey released on Friday in Canwest newspapers put the Conservatives at 46 percent, the Liberals at 23 percent and the New Democrats at 13 percent.
    An Ekos poll released the night before showed a 20-point lead for the Conservatives.
    Fifty-six percent of those polled by Ipsos Reid said they would rather go to another election, even though one was just held, rather than let the coalition govern…..
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/12/05/canada-

  123. Well, your missing the obvious solution: Harper uses his leadership skills and forms just such a working coalition. A real leader could accomplish that. There would be no opportunity for anyone else to gain the confidence of the house if Harper avoids losing it. He controls what happens. If Harper can't manage a coalition of losers, how much of a leader is he?

  124. He is trapped in his own misleading of the public and I suspect this is not going to be good for his polling numbers over the next week or so.

  125. Well, your missing the obvious solution: Harper uses his leadership skills and forms just such a working coalition. A real leader could accomplish that. There would be no opportunity for anyone else to gain the confidence of the house if Harper avoids losing it. He controls what happens. If Harper can't manage a coalition of losers, how much of a leader is he?

  126. He probably should have laughed it off and told Mansbridge that he'd remind the Governor General that he has "options" :)

  127. Wait for the Harper interview. I predict it's going to be like Last Tango in Paris, with Mansbridge playing the disaffected Jeanne to Harper's bereft Paul contemplating the death of his party's erotic dreams of majority. They'll enjoy the encounter in a perverse sort of mutual affection, only to have it end with Jeanne marrying a Liberal. Tragic an an ironic way.

  128. If your assertion is right then why did Harper's polling numbers go up to I think it was 45%. Get real Emily.

  129. Actually, Wales does have a separatist provincial party running in Britain's national elections (Plaid_Cymru). Not only that, they won 3 seats in the last election.

    So does Scotland (SNP) and so does Northern Ireland (Sinn Fein) and those parties win seats too. The Isle of Man has a separatist party (Mec Vannin). I think even Cornwall has a separatist party. Of course, England is so much more populous than all of those places combined, it's simply impossible for the separatist parties to hold the balance of power in any government.

  130. Teeny weeny amygdala.

  131. Too cute by half that's the problem. He is afraid to utter the word coalition so he uses other uphemisms.

  132. Teeny weeny amygdala.

    • If you're concerned about the prospect an incredibly shaky Liberal minority government propped up by separatists loyal only to Quebec, you must have a brain defect!

      • Nothing wrong with my brain … I'm using it to critically reason. The Bloc is impotent in Ottawa.
        I've never been able to figure out what they think can achieve there. They've always elected
        40-50 members .. usually very talented and dedicated people .. who could be much more
        effective at making gains toward their goal if they were to focus their activities within the
        province of Quebec rather than splashing around in the Ottawa swamps.
        Granted, in Ottawa they can jaw-jaw. But that's only effective insofar as the usual thick suspects
        can be depended on to over-react with stupidity… which manipulative politicians and pompous
        pundits find useful as well. So, it's not the Bloc that scares me. The people that worry about them
        worry me a bit.

        • I wasn't suggesting there was anything wrong with your brain. I was mocking Just Joe's "amygdala" comment.

          Now that we've cleared that up, consider the possibility that the Bloc would no longer be impotent in Ottawa if they were propping up a shaky minority, with an effective veto over the budget and important legislation.

          There's a reason why Parizeau was so exuberant about the 2008 coalition: The Bloc would use their unprecedented power in Ottawa to siphon billions more taxpayer dollars into Quebec. They haven't exactly been subtle about such designs in the past. Did you see their recent budget demands?

          • Are you talking about the 2.3 billion that Harper offered them this time round? Pretty close to what he offered them in 2007 (2.2 billion), eh?

            Yeah…that siphoning sound…the sound of CPC supporter's heads being sucked up their butts by Harper…

      • Separatists loyal only to Quebec could be useful in passing such things as the restoration of the Census, setting up the bid for those jets Harper's so in love with, passing some environmental legislation. All kinds if things that don't hve anything to do with Quebec separation – in the way they always have.

  133. Nah, he was trapped back in 2008, wouldn't matter what he said, truth, lies, whatever. That coalition deal has been the gift that keeps on giving for the Conservatives. And it ain't done giving yet.

  134. Ah yes, that age old uphemism [sic] for "coalition" – "I'm not going to form a coalition."

  135. One person's notion of "ganging up" is another's definition of mature cooperation among duly-elected representatives in the interests of making parliament work. And if a particular configuration of parties can win the confidence of the House, that's an expression of the majority of voters. How, in a parliamentary democracy, is that "illegitimate"?

    There is no precedent, protocol, or convention that says a government must include the party with the greatest number of seats, if that party fails to win the confidence of the House. That's just one of those rules that Harper mistakenly believes only he gets to make up.

  136. Now you'er playing the constitutional crisis card. Canadians aren't buying this line from CRAP supporters, This isn't some third world country .

  137. Oh, Harper has had tough interviews for most of his political life. That's why he's where he's at today.

    Had the media given Ignatieff the same tough treatment of the years, Ignatieff would have been in a much better position. But alas, the media didn't understand that in time. They might understand it better now.

  138. One person's notion of "ganging up" is another's definition of mature cooperation among duly-elected representatives in the interests of making parliament work. And if a particular configuration of parties can win the confidence of the House, that's an expression of the majority of voters. How, in a parliamentary democracy, is that "illegitimate"?

    There is no precedent, protocol, or convention that says a government must include the party with the greatest number of seats, if that party fails to win the confidence of the House. That's just one of those rules that Harper mistakenly believes only he gets to make up.

  139. Now you'er playing the constitutional crisis card. Canadians aren't buying this line from CRAP supporters, This isn't some third world country .

  140. Well, back in 2004, Harper was the one who said the GG had options besides a) calling an election or b) letting him be PM. I know I'd like to what those options are, and I bet so would Iggy.

  141. Look at it this way:

    Let's say that, as per our system, as per seat count, the CPC would hold 49% of the seats, the Liberals 28%, the NDP 12% and the BQ the remainder.

    Now, within a presented budget, should the direction of the budget not reflect such seat count distribution? And if you could agree on that, did the last budget not manage to do that??

    I think it did. That's why there was no need for an election. The opposition parties can only claim in demands in what they have to bring to the table in seat count.

  142. So would I! So would most Canadians who care about such matters*

    *all 35 of us ;)

  143. So you guys have no problem if Harper wins say 150 seats and the three opposition parties gang up and simply vote non confidence. Is this really what you are saying? If it is there is going to be a hew and cry from the Canadian people the likes that you have not heard before.

    Two parties forming a legitimate coalition is withn the "convention" of parliament. However, ganging up will result in an appeal to the courts I suspect.

  144. Yes, he divorces himself from the words "coalition" but then there's the quote right after than in which he specifically says he'd be open to forming a government as the second place party.

    In other words he wants it both ways.

    And I understand the Liberal supporters here advocating for that.

    But the media?

    The media is giving him a pass is totally unacceptable.

  145. Am I the only one here who has no idea what Francine is on about?

  146. According to Harper circa 2004, the GG has options. He could call an election. He could ask Iggy to try to govern, but he wouldn't have gotten the most seats, and that just isn't right. He could… do you know? I'm at a loss. I just know the GG has options. Harper said so. Do you know? Because, if there are other options, maybe Iggy could avail himself of them, or advise the GG of them. That would spare us loser coalitions and elections.

  147. For the first time in quite a while I might actually tune in on Thursday evening in hopes
    of catching Pastor Mansbridge (thanks,John Doyle) and his merry gang of savants moan
    about the woeful lack of policy coverage in this campaign. It's expecting a lot,though.

  148. For the first time in quite a while I might actually tune in on Thursday evening in hopes
    of catching Pastor Mansbridge (thanks,John Doyle) and his merry gang of savants moan
    about the woeful lack of policy coverage in this campaign. It's expecting a lot,though.

  149. Perhaps there is something more going on here.

    Something that is unfathomable for some in the left leaning media to admit. Something that dare not be uttered in polite company.

    That something is this:

    Harper was right.

    The reactionary left is so used to ridiculing every utterance out of Harper, they simply oppose everything he says no matter who objectively reasonable would appear to be.

    Now we have Iggy himself saying it, and it's just too much to bare for the leftist journos.

    So they engage in logical and legal gymnastics to try to explain that while it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and has called itself a duck, cannot possibly be a duck.

    It can't be a duck if that's what Harper says it is.

  150. Our Teflon PM says a lot of things while is minions are out there saying a lot of different things. In 2008 Conservatives, including several MPs were using the word "coup" to describe the possible defeat and replacement of the government.

    If that isn't a disservice to democracy, I don't know what is. As long as Conservatives keep up the rhetoric that the perfectly legitimate scenario of a different minority party forming a government is somehow illegitimate, I think a civics lesson may be in order. Because, clearly, if any conservative believes this nonsense, then more education is definitely required.

  151. Perhaps there is something more going on here.

    Something that is unfathomable for some in the left leaning media to admit. Something that dare not be uttered in polite company.

    That something is this:

    Harper was right.

    The reactionary left is so used to ridiculing every utterance out of Harper, they simply oppose everything he says no matter who objectively reasonable would appear to be.

    Now we have Iggy himself saying it, and it's just too much to bare for the leftist journos.

    So they engage in logical and legal gymnastics to try to explain that while it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and has called itself a duck, cannot possibly be a duck.

    It can't be a duck if that's what Harper says it is.

    • It was a duck in 2004, if only Harper would admit it.

  152. Um, it still wouldn't be a coalition.

  153. I agree. However, if Harper decides to appeal to the Supreme Court on the legitimacy of opposition parties ganging up on the government who Canadians have elected albeit without a majorit it could be constitutional. Are we not talking about convention here versus legalities?

  154. Let me see if I get this: you have complained bitterly on these boards about how obstructionist the opposition has been during Harper's tenure. But such behaviour would be entirely reasonable if it were the Cons in opposition?

    How does that work?

  155. Learn about our parliamentary system. The PM has a responsibility to gain the confidence of parliament. If Harper puts forward a plan and budget that is acceptable to another party, then he has the confidence. If not, he doesn't. Harper cannot rule like he has a majority if he doesn't have a majority.

  156. In 2004, Harper asked the GG to consider all options if it came to that, and it never did. Harper didn't propose anything, because, again, it never came to that. So, I'm not quite sure why everyone all of a sudden holds that letter up like it's some kind of a constitutional Bible or something.

    Nevertheless, why couldn't Iggy's position in 2011 be this: Party with the most votes forms government or we have another election?

    Why would that be so hard?

  157. Honestly? What time would have been more opportune?
    Stephen Harper simply does not present "opportunity".
    Allowing him to complete his mandate would have given him more time to get all his ducks in a row – a very daunting scenario for the opposition.
    I don't believe for one second that the plan was to force a minority and then take the Conservatives down. The timing of the election comes down to making the best hand you can when you have bad cards – and aren't likely to be dealt better ones cause you know the dealer is out not only out to beat you, but to also destroy you using any means he can.

  158. He said that IF Harper did not get the confidence of the House AND the GG asked him to form a government. It would be completely irresponsible if he did not do that.

  159. Yes Mark, this is scary.

    I'm scared of this "reckless coaltion" too, I'm scared of the evil-doers, I'm scared of not enough people in our prisons, I'm scared that we won't have enough fighter jets to defend our country, I'm scared that Iggy went to Harvard, I'm scared that our troops might come home early. The world is a scary place Mark, thank god Harper is out there to protect us.