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‘It was incredible to watch’


 

I’m a bit hesitant to link again, for the umpteenth time, to Glen Pearson’s blog. But then I suppose it doesn’t do us any good to avoid celebrating candor from our politicians—rare as it is. (If any of our other 307 MPs are currently writing so freely online, please send any links I’ve missed.)

One way or another, last Thursday in Parliament will eventually be the stuff of undergraduate history texts. Here is how Mr. Pearson saw it.

To be sure, certain portions of the update had been leaked a day earlier, but the sheer scope of the Prime Minister’s statement suddenly laid bare everything that we had all feared might dwell beneath the veneer of the government’s civility. In that moment at least, we stared into a kind of abyss and didn’t like its depth.  What fascinated me were the faces of the Conservative MPs during the reading of the statement itself. They appeared on edge, worried, and more than a little apprehensive, as if they knew danger was ahead.

No sooner was the speech ended than the Prime Minister and his Finance Minister left the House, along with half of the Conservative caucus. The faces on those that remained told the story in vivid detail. Listening to the response from the three opposition parties, you could tell from their countenance some kind of line had been crossed.

In the Opposition Lobby, I saw things I had never witnessed in my two years here. Bloc members were “high-fiving” NDP caucus members, and some women from the Bloc were embracing their counterparts in the Liberal caucus. It was incredible to watch.


 

‘It was incredible to watch’

  1. I almost feel bad for some of the CPC MPs who don’t deserve to be put through this. There are some partisan hacks that deserve to be hung out to dry, but there are some honourable, decent people in the Conservative caucus. Hopefully they can regain control of the party for the thugs that have been ruling it with an iron fist the last couple of years.

  2. It would be interesting to know which Conservative MP’s stayed behind. I’d bet the next Tory leader was there among them.

  3. Well, thanks for that link. Incredible.

    The image of high-fiving Bloc and NDP members — while no doubt fleeting — underscores what I see here, as a Quebecer.

    Too many see the Bloc as “traitors” and warn against working with “that bunch.” But as a federalist Quebecer, I work with sovereignists every day.

    They’re not some demonized Other — unless, that is, you’ve never actually met one (or met a particularly nasty one, but nasty folks come in all stripes).

    Here, federalists and sovereignists sit across at kitchen tables, sleep in the same bed, come together at holidays, ride the bus, whatever.

    We don’t have the luxury of not working together.

  4. Here’s to everyone working together!! I wish I could be in the Opposition lobby to see these Members of Parliament looking forward to doing something for Canadians.

  5. Thanks, Shawn: That is particularly true because many sovereignists on the anglo-internet can be of the nasty variety. Thus, many Canadians have formed negative impressions.

  6. Speaking of opposition and government lobbies, does this mean the Stephen Harper Portrait Gallery will have to be moved?

  7. Andrew,
    I just wonder what will you say tomorrow when it turns out that ignatieff and eleven more decent Liberals crossed the floor and joined Conservatives??? What will you say about Liberal parisan hacks that will remain in a rump of Liberal Party??

  8. Ignatieff would never cross over and join the Conservatives but he might just abstain from voting AND get the 77 other MP’s who support him to do the same thing, thus ending this coalition right in its tracks.
    Just speculating but it could happen.

  9. Ignore Karol. Karol is a troll. Same pasted in comments in four threads, so far.

  10. In the Opposition Lobby, I saw things I had never witnessed in my two years here. Bloc members were “high-fiving” NDP caucus members, and some women from the Bloc were embracing their counterparts in the Liberal caucus. It was incredible to watch.

    That doesn’t surprise me in the least. For the first time ever, the Bloc and the NDP will be making decisions about running the country. (Well OK, the NDP were doing it from ’72 to ’74, but most of them won’t remember that.)

  11. In the Opposition Lobby, I saw things I had never witnessed in my two years here. Bloc members were “high-fiving” NDP caucus members, and some women from the Bloc were embracing their counterparts in the Liberal caucus. It was incredible to watch.

    That doesn’t surprise me in the least. For the first time ever, the Bloc and the NDP will be making decisions about running the country. (Well OK, the NDP were doing it from ’72 to ’74, but most of them won’t remember that.)

  12. I have to wonder how many of these trolls are actually the same person, who just swaps aliases from time to time. Hopefully our gracious hosts track these things to whatever extent is possible.

  13. We will see how that, “Let’s all work together for progressive ideals!” enthusiasm is holding up in about six months time.

  14. Jack: I stayed to watch Brison’s speech before returning to the bureau to write. I didn’t think to make note of it at the time, but I do seem to recall Jim Prentice sticking around for the Liberal response. Make of that what you will.

  15. Thanks, Aaron, that’s very interesting to know. (Thanks for the link to Pearson’s blog, too.)

  16. Shawn,Its called Stockholm syndrome.

    The wind that will be whip up from this is an ill one. Sorry shawn, you dont realize what has been started….I know many as well and they arent demons, I also know Ontarions outside the 416 and lots of Westerners.

    This is not going to go well at all. So federalists in Quebec better ask their Sovereigntest co workers to shut their ears and close their eyes because what is about to happen next wont be pretty, and Gilles Duceppe knows it….too bad Layton and Dion dont, the problem with being “true believers”, and neither has the credibility to contain the reaction.

    Bye Bye

  17. Of course Iggy will support the deal. He has no choice if he wants to be elected leader of the Liberal Party.

    I’m glad Dion negotiated without consulting Iggy. Iggy’s supporters have been undermining Dion since the day he won the leadership. I hope Dion enjoyed the sight of them twisting in the wind as much as I did.

  18. Stephen: Ontarians. Not Ontarions.

  19. Yep, bye Stephen.

  20. “Jack: I stayed to watch Brison’s speech before returning to the bureau to write. I didn’t think to make note of it at the time, but I do seem to recall Jim Prentice sticking around for the Liberal response.”

    This does not only seem surreal; it is surreal: reporters making up the news.

    “Make of that what you will.”

    Don’t worry, you’ve already managed to do that!

  21. Jody my dear their is nothing to get upset about. I would be the first to say that Iggy is going to hang on with Liberals but this is not how it will play out. He has nothing to gain in this scenario. If Dion were serious he would have named Iggy interim leader right after the Elections. Iggy does not have a brother working for Powercorp as Bob Rae does so if the best he can hope for is some second tier position with LIberals he can get that job with Conservatives as well.

  22. We will see in 6 months how stable things are if this thing is jammed through.

  23. Shawn,
    As an anglo small-town Ontario native currently studying in MTL, whose previous roomie was a semi-sovereigntist from Rimouski, I couldn’t agree more re: the sovereigntists not being the other. So many federalist Canadians have admired Gilles Duceppe already despite the fact he wants to rip Canada apart- and now we have the chance to see how Bloquistes are fighting For Quebec, not against Canada.

    Stephen- I haven’t been kidnapped. My anglo West Island friends who love Quebec and respect sovereigntists haven’t either. This has nothing to do with Stockholm syndrome. Have you ever lived in QC?

  24. You misunderstand me. I am saying the type and ferocity of reaction you are going to get, not saying I advocate it, just the reaction of a formal coalition with the BQ is going to light heck of a fire.

    This is not about demonizing Seperatists, it is about recognizing how unpopular a deal with them will be. People arent stupid, support comes at a price, what is the price the BQ extracted. I am not anti Quebec, my wife is from Quebec, I have family in Quebec, my kids are in French Immersion. I am saying a formal coalition with BQ that goes through the GG and not an election is going to set off something, and the discourse will be very ugly. It is about legitimacy and being tainted as owing the BQ anything for your continued support is a kiss of death. Only an election solves the question.

    I think Duceppe is a smart guy, I think he is pretty straight up, and he has been straight up about what his intentions are. There is no accomodation here, he will extract a price because support isnt free, and his worst/best case scenario is he gets to point to the confusion and say “you want to be part of this?”

    This is third rail stuff, like Charlottetown, looks like it, smells like it and will get the same result. Rumours are now Ignatieff is going to drink from his self named poisened chalice, wow he wants to be PM that bad.

  25. BTW the reference to Stockholm syndrome is that Quebecers all have to live in that environment, so learn to get along. The rules and attitude that enables that disappear once you leave the province, some would say once you leave Montreal.

  26. “I stayed to watch Brison’s speech before returning to the bureau to write.”

    Then you missed the three best speeches of that afternoon. To wit, I hope after this week, the media will stop thinking that just covering the Conservatives and Liberals is sufficient to cover the whole story on the Hill any more.

  27. Stephen: “There is no accomodation here, he [Duceppe] will extract a price because support isnt free”

    No doubt, but at the same time why would he want an election? He’s supporting the Coalition mainly in order to avoid his party’s getting bankrupted by the FU gambit. He’s not going to hand the reins back to Harper in two months, and Quebeckers won’t be that keen on a third election in six months. He’ll do what he always does: sulk, vote strategically, and hold lots of wild-eyed news conferences. Why change a winning formula?

  28. Hey Stephen, then I suppose you filed your utter disgust with your own so-called Leader’s explicit agreement, noted in a letter signed to GG Adrienne Clarkson, some 4 years ago? Because that’s exactly what Harper had in mind, if only his attempt to buy a vote — he apparently still doesn’t know the cost of one — had panned out.
    What ever way this turns out, I’d say Harper’s entering his final act.
    Darth Vader? Nay, The Nixon analogy seems quite apropos now.

  29. “In the Opposition Lobby, I saw things I had never witnessed in my two years here. Bloc members were “high-fiving” NDP caucus members, and some women from the Bloc were embracing their counterparts in the Liberal caucus. It was incredible to watch.”

    This is a good thing? The Conservatives delivered a supposedly disastrous economic statement and the opposition parties were celebrating?

    Seriously …celebrating?

  30. “some women from the Bloc were embracing their counterparts in the Liberal caucus”

    Oh my

  31. A decent human being in Parliament should not be considered an exception.

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