Leading from the rear



Leading from the rearRemarkable piece by elite Liberal blogger Rob Silver poses several pointed questions to “any and all Liberal MPs” regarding their support for the coalition and the man who negotiated it. Namely: where were you? If you didn’t think the time was right to bring down the government, if you were opposed to the coalition, if you preferred that someone other than Stephane Dion should lead it, why didn’t any of you say so? The air is full of recriminations now. But not a word was said publicly at the time — not even, it appears, privately.

Of course, when Silver points out that none of them said anything, it follows logically that one member of caucus in particular said, and did, nothing to prevent this train wreck: Michael Ignatieff. That’s significant, because unlike other MPs — Bob Rae comes to mind — Iggy has let it be known through various anonymous surrogates that he had unspecified “concerns” about a coalition government, that he was never really “comfortable” with it, that he might not even have served in it. Yet… it proceeded.

Understand: Ignatieff controls something like 80% of the caucus. With one arch of his magnificent eyebrows, he could have stopped this at any point: when the decision to bring down the government was made, when the coalition deal was being presented to caucus, when it was decided that Dion should lead the coalition, when the letter to the Governor General pledging allegiance to the coalition was being drafted. Yet he did nothing — indeed he continues to defend the coalition publicly.

Even so, his people are still winking to the press that he was secretly opposed to the deal all along. For example, as Jane Taber informs us, he was the “very last Liberal to sign the letter to the GG. The Globe even published a facsimile of the letter, with a blow-up of Ignatieff’s tardy signature. Excuse me? You call this leadership? This was a formal petition to the Crown asking her to install the coalition as the government of Canada. It was freighted with the most far-reaching political and legal consequences. It could potentially have changed the course of Canadian history. Your signature is on that document. But it doesn’t count because you had your fingers crossed?

What does all this mean? It means if you’re a Liberal looking to escape from the coalition — and virtual extinction at the next election — Iggy’s not your boy. He is implicated up to his ears, only without even the virtue of conviction. When the Tories come to remind voters, as they will, who tried to “steal” the election, who was “in bed with the separatists,” who would have let Jack Layton loose in the cabinet, they will make Iggy wear it just as surely as they would Rae or Dion.

The damage done by the coalition dalliance is already massive, and mounting by the day. If the Liberals are to have any chance of walking away from the wreckage, they have to make a clean break — with the coalition, and with those who, directly or indirectly, were responsible for it.

PS: Bourque has an interesting poll up.


Leading from the rear

  1. Many people will be along shortly to explain to Andrew that Ignatieff was being sophisticated. The Count plays chess

  2. You said it!

    The coalition for national destruction is not supported by severley normal Canadians

    This is going to be toxic for the Liberals next election

  3. In fact, Iggy’s name being last on the document, will make it easier to point out in commercials. lol.

  4. But who? Mc — I’m not sure if I want to — Kenna? John (Wo)Manley?

    Paul Martin Jr. perhaps?

    Why don’t the Liberals just draft Jim Prentice as their leader?

  5. Where is the evidence that “the damage . . . is mounting by the day”? That’s the kind of statement that a scholar would footnote and a blogger should link to. Otherwise it’s just an assertion and drags Mr. Coyne’s credibility down. He may be getting more and more frustrated by the day, of course.

    As to the Count, perhaps you mean that while he’s counting apples the public is eating them.

  6. Agreed that this would be a good time, for all concerned, to drop the coalition. I also argree that Ignatieff is trying to hold both ends of the stick at the same time, at his peril. But looking back to the day the Conservatives put the FU forward, I’d be curious to know what you would have done differently in opposition? Nothing short of such a dramatic shove back would have worked, I’d argue. Without this coalition you so despise, Haper would be continuing to act as if he had a majority.

  7. Oh, and on-line polls have about as much validity and usefulness as tarot cards.

  8. You know, we-the-media are all going to look very silly if it turns out that the Liberals actually aren’t revolting en masse against the coalition; revolting en masse against incompetence in, for example, videography – or even Dion himself – isn’t actually the same thing. In fact, at this point, if the coalition does last until January, and the Liberals manage to keep official party status after the next election, we’re still going to look silly, given the increasing hysteria of our condemnation thereof. Which is okay, really — it’s probably good for us. Builds character.

  9. The Iggy push is being brought to you by the same class of people who blessed you with John Turner and Paul Martin. Three of the biggest empty suits in recent political history.

    Ordinarily I wouldn’t care. I’m not a Liberal. But at this time I am hoping the Liberals can come up with someone capable of dealing with a very dangerous man across the aisle. Iggy ain’t it.

    But Mr. Coyne’s continuing interest in the health and welfare of the Liberals is truly heart-warming.

  10. Anon,

    “Why don’t the Liberals just draft Jim Prentice as their leader?”

    Why don’t people just vote for Jim Prentice as being a strong presence within the Conservative party. That’s where he belongs, and that it what the voter has to admit to. Or not vote for him, if they so wish.

  11. Kady,

    I think the media should have its eyes open WHILE this whole thing unfolded, not trying to save its reputation by commenting after the fact. Take a position you can believe in while it’s going on, and you will find no problem to defend your stand forever after.

  12. What this week shows is that events are the engine of politics. In particular, if the GG had not followed Harper’s Advice to prorogue, we would be looking at a Harper triumph. A majority might still be against a Coalition government, but a) it would be a slimmer majority since a certain percentage of people go with the flow; b) the Coalition would then have had many months in which to convince the public they weren’t the devil. But the GG made the decision she did, defensible in many ways. Nevertheless, it doesn’t follow that pundits’ opinions should be dictated by the latest poll, or justified with it. For me, the best guide is the LAW.

  13. Aaaargh, “we would NOT be looking at a Harper triumph,” I mean.

  14. Francien: Is “I have no idea what’s going to happen” a legitimate position? Because honestly, that’s mine.

  15. Andrew and Kady:

    “Coaltion if necessary, but not necessarily coaltion.”

    So, the lines are drawn between Rae and Ignatieff. Rae won’t deal, Ignatieff will.

    Maybe a smart move.

  16. I don’t hold to the logic — from Andrew, and Paul, who does seem to drift by from time to time — that any association with the coalition dooms Ignatieff.

    As Sean points out, the threat of a coalition did effectively stop Harper from exploiting the fiscal crisis for his own ends. If Ignatieff had refused to go along, the results would have been catastrophic.

    It is Dion and Rae who are championing the coalition now and they’ll have to wear it, far more than Ignatieff.

    I believe the tasks before the Liberals in the coming days are a) to dump Dion as leader and b) back off from the position that the government will be defeated even if they bring a non-partisan financial package before the House in the new year. That way the coalition can be retained as a “nuclear option,” but not something the Liberals and partners should ever have to use, unless Harper is, well, Harper.

  17. Forget about Dion’s mistaken tape session; it’s a red herring, it’s an excuse for pointing out his lack of leadership. But long before that it had been clear that Dion had no leadership qualities; the voters had called it first and the Liberal party had called it out soon thereafter.

    Why does the media not ask some questions regarding this silly notion that 62% of the popular vote did not vote for Harper.

    What had this 62% been based on?

    I know Jack got part of the 62% by promising to do away with 50 billion business tax cuts, and he got part of the popular vote by wanting our soldiers out of Afghanistan, NOW.

    Yet, while being so busy pushing himself into the coalition, he has given up on all of those promises. So tell us, where oh where does Jack’s part of the 62% come from? Tell us, enlighten us, because Jack’s sure trying to pull the wool over the voter’s eyes. And why exactly is the media helping him in the effort?

  18. Shawn in Montreal

    You are one easy target for having the wool pulled over your eyes. Ignatieff is counting on the likes of you to play right into his game. Well done. You would make Ignatieff proud.

  19. My god Andrew, now you’re bringing-in Bourque to support your arguments? Gee, I wonder who paid for that poll?

    That’s like saying there’s an interesting poll at Conservative.ca

  20. Francien: “Why does the media not ask some questions regarding this silly notion that 62% of the popular vote did not vote for Harper.”

    Because 62% of the popular vote did not vote for Harper. I’m not talking about the fact that NOBODY outside of his riding voted for Harper, which is also true. I think you meant to say “this silly notion that 62% of the popular vote voted for the Coalition” and then you’d have a point.

    Now the question is, are you so blinded by your partisanship that you will refuse to admit that 62% OF THE POPULAR VOTE DID NOT VOTE FOR HARPER? Will you admit you were mistaken? Or will you gloss over yet another mis-truth from the Conservative side of the debate?

  21. Steve,

    “This is going to be toxic for the Liberals next election”

    When Harper within the House had uttered the words “historic” he wasn’t referring to our Canadian federation; he was talking directly to the Liberal party across the aisle. Too bad Harper is so little understood.

  22. Jenn,

    I will not attempt to try again. If you are not able to understand what I am trying to point out, that is not my concern any longer. That would be of national concern.

  23. She picks gloss over another mis-truth from the Conservative side of the debate! Unbelievable! Well, actually it is perfectly believable, and that’s why we need the Coalition.

  24. I have always been struck by the fact that few politicians have the ability to connect with the people and to get a a sense of what the collective mood is. That is true because they are all surrounded by yes men and the applicable dogma is spouted so loud and so long that it damages the eustachian tubes!. I actually heard Layton say, yesterday. in response to the national polls…..”Well. I don’t pay attention to polls. I follow my principles and do what I think is right” He makes my point perfectly.

  25. Okay Andrew, we get the point. Can you maybe write a piece on what the coalition did accomplish? Without the coalition, Harper would now be Supreme Commander of Canada. He would be instructing Rona Ambrose on the correct method for digging a grave for the opposition in the House of Commons.

    Am I the only one that thinks that in the long-term, the coalition will have accomplished something positive for this country? Namely, that a PM with only mild support across Canada was prevented from dictating his whims to the rest of us and that Members of Parliament are required to work with each other across party lines?

    Or maybe I’m kidding myself and Harper will return to his authoritarian ways. Yeah, that would be good.

  26. Andrew Coyne can keep saying that the coalition is a “disaster” but that does not make it so. The problem is that Andrew is so damned convinced he is right that he is unable to see the world in any other way than that subscribed by his biases.

    He is right though in pointing out that Igntaieff has supported the coalition and that if he were to attempt to backtrack now and split the LPC over it he would share as much in all the political consequences of the coalitions’ failure. On the other hand if it succeeds despite his opposition he will have alienated all of his allies and admirers within and without the Liberal party.

    It is clear what has to happen now for both reasons of self-interest and principle: all Liberals need to be on the same page: enthusiastically supporting the coalition and committed to removing Harper from office in January.

  27. I actually hope Manley does decide to run, so I can have the pleasure of watching him finish last.

  28. Kady,

    “Francien: Is “I have no idea what’s going to happen” a legitimate position? Because honestly, that’s mine.”

    But this is the point, Kady. At no time in life do we know what is ‘going to happen’ ; not you, not I, and not Mr.Igantieff, therefore no one can have any ideas about that. Only what happens next is what we have in front of us continuously, nothing more and nothing less.

    The past cannot be altered, therefore we must try and make good decisions at the time of happening, so that the past and the actions we have taken in the past, can play its role successfully or unsuccessfully in the present. The problem is, the present never is, only the prospect of future. What happens in the past leads us into the future. Ignatieff must not attempt now to alter the past, for if he does he will be painting himself a dishonest future. And in such fashion, real problems start to build up fast.

  29. Therein lies the problem:

    NO ONE openly opposed this. I’m not sure how an entire party can distance themelves from something, which it appeared to unanimously support.

    When the attempt is made to put Andrew’s suggestion into practice – and there is no doubt the attempt to put this coalition behind them will come – you can be sure that the CPC will remind voters that the entire Liberal brand was behind this folly.

    I pitty the “saviour” (yes that’s what the Liberals appear to be working towards, not someone built from the grassroots up following a painful and possibly lengthy but necessary review of what the party’s core beliefs should be, but a supposed “insta-election winner”), who must go to the electorate and tell them it will all be different now.

    “It’s been several weeks now people, we’re completely different, vote for us under my saviour like leadership”.

    This will be unsustainable under the weight of recent events, and more importantly, under the weight of the massive advertising drive supported by the biggest warchest in recent history, which will remind voters of the nation threatening folly by the Libs.

    For years now, the CPC will be able to make a legitimate case that a vote for the Libs is potentially a vote for a far left socialist alliance, or worse, a government which will include the seperatists.

    Ironically, a no-longer-hidden agenda.

  30. Jean Proulx,

    “It is clear what has to happen now for both reasons of self-interest and principle: all Liberals need to be on the same page: enthusiastically supporting the coalition and committed to removing Harper from office in January.”

    That’s the true spirit then. Get Harper out. Well, at least you’re honest about your intention. You offer no reasonable argument other than to defeat Harper and we must come to believe that Harper is a threat to democracy.

    I think, first and foremost, we should define the meaning of democracy; collectively if that would be possible.

  31. Francien, PM Harper received 38% of the vote so then their logic is that 62% of people didn’t vote for him.

    However by that logic Mr Dion received 26% of the vote which translates to 74% of the people didn’t vote for him and Mr Layton received 18% of the vote which then translates to the fact that 82% of the people didn’t vote for him either.

    And absolutely 0% of the people voted for a coalition; furthermore if you believe the current polls it’s clear that the CPC would have won a massive majority had the opposition campaigned on coalition platform including the BQ.

    I’ve stated previously that if the Liberals and NDP had campaigned and won even a minority on a coalition platform excluding the BQ I wouldn’t say boo but this isn’t the case and IMO that’s why many people are upset.

  32. kody says:

    >>>>“It’s been several weeks now people, we’re completely different, vote for us under my saviour like leadership”. <<<<<<<<<

    It’s been several weeks now people; we’re completely different; we did not support Dion’s Green shift going into the elections; we did support Dion’s Green shift during the election campaign; we did not support the Green shift after the campaign. The Green shift was a good plan. The Green shift was a bad plan. The Green shift was a good plan……………………where were we??????????????

  33. On my last point,

    isn’t it remarkable, that after years of the media willingly parroting the accusation of the conservatives “hidden agenda”, while never pondering the notion (god forbid) that the Liberals themselves may have contingent plans cooked up that were…..not so open…as it were?

    Yet here we are, now learning that this coalition of the damned had been in the works for awhile. This most surely is an important element of the public’s anger.

    How rich that the accusatory finger of a nefarios “hidden agenda” was pointing in the wrong direction all along.

  34. Francien: “I think, first and foremost, we should define the meaning of democracy; collectively if that would be possible.”

    Democracy means that the δῆμος holds the κράτος, i.e. that “the people” wield the power. Our system is a representative democracy in which Members of Parliament represent (officially) their constituents, i.e. the people. So when Parliament passes legislation, it means that the people have consented to it. Further, in our system, and you can look it up if you don’t believe me, the Government (i.e. the Cabinet) only gets to remain in office if it has the confidence of Parliament, which represents the confidence of the people. Thus if a Government were to retain office in defiance of Parliament, it would be governing without the consent of the people, i.e. it would be an illegal tyranny. We have come very close to that. This is Canada: there will never be paratroopers on Parliament Hill, tanks on the streets, etc. A tyranny would be established by defiance of the constitution.

    Public opinion polls are no substitute for Parliament. MP’s are accountable to their constituents at election time. If they want to go ahead and defy the wishes of their constituents — as opposed to the wishes of Alberta and Saskatchewan, for example — they are free to do so, without losing one iota of their legitimacy; but they will have to face the music at election time. The alternative is, quite simply, mob rule.

  35. Corporal punishment,

    “However by that logic”

    I will tell you a stronger one yet!

    PM Chretien had a majority with 38% of the popular vote. But didn’t you know? Chretien’s government has always been an illegal one, according to the wisdom of the masses today. Heck, even now according to the Liberal party itself!

  36. Francien Verhoeven,

    I am completely “honest” about it. More than that I am proud of it. My over-riding goal is to remove Harper from power. That is much more important to me than petty party affiliations like Liberal or NDP or Bloc. Political parties are a means to an end, not a tribe that deserves unswerving loyaty.

    I do not normally engage in alarmist rhetoric but I genuinely believe Harper is dangerous. He is an ideologue in a country which is not designed for & cannot afford ideological politics. He is obsessed with retaining power so that he can achieve his (not so hidden) agenda of destroying any political party that could prevent the long-term installation of the Conservatives as a ruling party. He doesn’t just want to win elections. He wants to transform Canada into a neoconservative country (and Quebec will leave long before that can happen). He is a first-class jerk and he needs to be checkmated NOW.

  37. “no one voted for a coalition”

    To be sure. More importantly:

    1) they were PROMISED by Dion none would occur, and

    2) now that they are polled on the subject, the public is remiding us why Dion would would only do a coalition behind closed doors – an honest open democratic attempt to do so would have been political suicide.

    It still turned out to be suicide, only that the poison now has a delayed effect.

  38. Jack,

    I don’t have to look up anything other than the fundamental reasons why this folly could unfold before our very eyes. What passes for logic these days. Where are the people who possess reason.

    >>>>>>”that “the people” wield the power.”<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>> the Government (i.e. the Cabinet) only gets to remain in office if it has the confidence of Parliament, which represents the confidence of the people.”<<<<<<<<<<

    Jack, you think the opposition parties had any intention of working with the government before or after any motions of confidence would be introduced?

    Personally I think the opposition leaders never had the intention of working with the government at any time. They had other intentions. Now I am asking the coaltion members to explain this false notion of having 62% of the popular vote to carry then into government.

    Where is Jack Layton’s percentage of this popular vote if all his stands – get out of Afghanistan now, no 50 billion tax cuts to the businesses – have been thrown overboard?

    Where, where is is part of this 62% popular support coming from? Who gave him this support? How? What did the people who voted for Jack believe in? Did they believe in getting out of Afghanistan, did they believe the business tax cuts of 50 billion should not be implemented? They did seem to believe it then, but now do not care that Jack has thrown that all away by heading into the coalition. Where is the ligitimacy in all of this power grab?

    I have listened to Liberal members speaking on TV after the coaltion had been formed, saying that the 50 billion tax cuts will be implemented, and that our soldiers will remain in Afghanistan as so voted upon by the House. So can Jack claim he is now representing some sort of popular support? Tell me where it is coming form. Tell me and all the others who are waiting.

  39. Francien, Liberal hypocrisy make my kids cry at night.

    Jack, I do understand your point about the democracy and legality of the coalition.

    But no matter how hard I try I can’t bring myself to accept it. Although technically legal and democratic (within the Canadian context) as you’ve pointed out I can’t accept the coalition as legitimate (http://www.c2cjournal.ca/public/article/74).

    Also, I still don’t understand how the government can lose the confidence of the house days after the opposition approved the Throne Speech (yes I understand the PM unleashed a stink bomb with the mini budget but its not like the opposition tried to debate any of it, they went straight to the nuclear option).

    The optics of all of this are that Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe had this all planned out and were going to bring down the government no matter what and the fact that they can simply speaks to the shortcomings of our system.

  40. Yes, Kody, and the electorate was promised by Stephen Harper that he would try to get along with everybody.

  41. Leave it to the Liberals to focus on their leader at a time when they should be focused on Harper.

    Rather than demanding that Harper resigns, you have idiots like Manley publishing opinion pieces in the Globe, demanding that Dion resigns. Not to say that I disagree. As long as Dion isn’t dead, buried six feet under, media pundits won’t focus their attention on the greatest threat to our stability and that is Stephen Harper. But Manley’s OpEd is yet another example of how much of an imbecile that man really is. Couldn’t he provide this advice internally? No.

    Stephen Harper has now become a threat to Canada’s stability and democracy. Since he decided to make all Bloc supporters “seditionists” and “unpatriotic,” Canadians have turned on each other. Anglos vs Francos and West vs East. Parliament has now become a joke since it can now be set aside by a PM whenever his/her authority is challenged.

    But who does the press (and Liberals for that matter) focus on? Stephane Dion!

    Harper didn’t lie about one thing: he was right when he said that we wouldn’t recognize Canada when he was done with it.

  42. Okay, so if Iggy and Rae are out, and Manley and McKenna are too pro-life and too devout Christian, respectively, for the (sizable) left wing of the LPC, and McKenna is out, what are we left with?

    As a Conservative, I know we can beat Iggy and clobber Rae in an election, and Manley does not strike fear into our hearts. Who, then?

    The Bevilacqua lad? No dirt on him that I know of.
    Leblanc is relatively dirt free too.
    Tobin? Of the Fraser Institute?
    Dhalla? Too young, doesn’t exactly ooze statesmanship.
    The Alan Rock Machine? Where’s it been lately, anyway?
    Kennedy? Tainted by making Dion kingmaker.
    Dryden, Fry, Bennett, Findlay, and Brison were and are also-rans.
    I don’t know enough about the Que. MPs..Coderre?

    In terms of competency only McCallum and Goodale impress me, neither has French as far as I know. I don’t think McCallum is up for the job.

    That leaves Justin Trudeau. In all honesty I have to tell the Liberals here that this man scares me as a political opponent. His supple intellect, gaudy resume, down to earth common touch, and steely stoicism are a nightmare to us Conservative operat – ah, I mean perfectly legitimate independent website commenters. Whatever you do, please do not select this man as your leader, we cannot possibly beat him.

  43. Intrigued, did it ever occur to you that your own leader might present you with an enormous liability too on the next campaign trail?

  44. Harper broke his promise to “try to get along with everyone”?

    There were two sides to the equation of getting rid of public political financing. Harper was clearly on the correct side.

    It seems that the standard of “getting along” really means, succumbing to the Left’s demands, regardless as to whether they represent the will of the vast majority of Canadians.

    I’m also aware of marriages where the spouses couldn’t “get along” – the wives kept on making unreasonable “bully like” demands, such as requiring their husband’s fidelity. Tsk, tsk, they just couldn’t “get along”.

    Reasonable rational people see the source of the problem in “not getting along” both in the marriage scenario, and in this latest policital debacle from the left. Thus Harper’s skyrocking into supermajority territory in the polls.

  45. Francien: “I don’t have to look up anything other than the fundamental reasons why this folly could unfold before our very eyes. What passes for logic these days. Where are the people who possess reason.”

    It’s very hard to argue with you if you’re going to take this attitude. We have to reason on the basis of facts, and one of those facts is our constitution. It is different from other constitutions. It is different from American rhetoric. You seriously need to learn about it; if THE LAW isn’t a “fundamental reason” why something should or shouldn’t happen, you are openly advocating revolution and treason and you should at least admit the fact.

  46. Where is the evidence that “the damage . . . is mounting by the day”?

    Don’t be silly. Coyne and evidence?

    There’s not one shred of credible evidence in this entire post. It’s a good thing Coyne doesn’t care…I’d hate to think he was feeling guilty over this.

  47. boudica, you tool the words out of my mouth. Just when things look up for him and his party, Harper continues to be his own worst enemy. In some ways he’s the best weapon Liberals have.

  48. Didn’t you know Mitchell? In Harper’s Canada, the Constitution is used as toilet paper. Democracy is dead in this country. Harper is not a Prime Minister. He’s the supreme monarch and it is now considered high treason to speak against him. In Harper’s Canada, the greatest threat is Stephane Dion and nothing short of a good old fashion lynching is going to satisfy the masses.

  49. Jean Proulx,

    >>>>> do not normally engage in alarmist rhetoric but I genuinely believe Harper is dangerous.<<<<<<

    The BQ is a ligitimate party. The BQ is a provincial party. The BQ can never be a truly federal party because such effort would undermine the existence of the party. The voters of Quebec have every right to vote for the party they see as the best option for them.

    However, the people living in the rest of Canada, have every right to believe that only truly federal oriented parties must govern Canada. We have instituted federal-provincial relationships. We have federal parties representing the country of Canada and we have provincial parties representing the provinces. Canadian people will never allow one provincial party, the BQ, to sit at the decision making table in our nation’s capital.

    But the BQ is a ligitimate party and the people voting for the BQ know going in that the BQ is a provincial party. Even the leader, Mr.Duceppe admits that. Duceppe did not present a federal plan during the federal election campaign; he only speaks about his home province. All other party leader running within Canadian federal elections present to the voters a national outlook. And all voters within Quebec are able to vote for one of the truly federal parties. If they people of Quebec decide to not vote for a truly federal party, but decide overwhelmingly to vote for a provincial party to represent them within our national House, then they know going in that they will not be asked to run our national affairs, because the BQ has no plan to run our national affairs.

    Harper is a very intelligent man to point this out. He is not saying that the people of Quebec cannot vote for the BQ; what Mr.Harper is saying is that if the people of Quebec wish to have a seat at the governing tables of this nation , the people of Quebec must join a federal party to have such seat.

    The option for the Quebec people is out there. They could join a federal oriented party. There are many choices available.

  50. oops, “took.” damn. You “tool” the words has a rather unfortunate ring to it, sorry!

  51. on the ‘LIberals will be returned dust to dust’ tip…. what do proponents of this theory predict will occur come next election?

    It is seems there are five options (plus combinations there of) that can lead to the demise of the LPC. Those that formerly voted Liberals will vote:

    1) NDP? But wouldn’t this pose a major flaw in the theory (as I gather it)? The notion that centrist Libs will be royally PO-ed that their former centrist party is now going way to far to the left? Or that the anti-coalition former Lib voters would be jumping in bed with the other side of the coalition while rejecting the party for doing the same? Seems unlikely.

    2) Bloc? The latter part of the NDP applies. Plus the whole seperatist tinge (Unless Harper is right and Liberals are secretly attempting to destroy the country). Uhmm lets go with Harper was irresponsibly playing brinkmanship games. Unlikely.

    3) Green? Perhaps of the parties on the left, the Greens will benefit the most. While the Greens have moved left, they are a bit closer to the centre then the NDP. But to the extent that LPC would be in real trouble? The Greens (or at least their leader) has expressed support for the coalition. Mass exodus to the Greens? Hmmm, maybe not.

    4) CPC? While support for the coalition is obviously does not taint the CPC, this requires those who have voted Liberal could, based on LPC support for the coalition decide that SH and the CPC really is no longer a bad alternative. There are obviously Lib voters that are not entrenched supporters, but given that the last three elections have essentially played as referendums on wither SH and the CPC, it seems that decision to vote LPC is clear marker of not SH and CPC support. Is this migration really likely in the wake of those decisions?

    5) Combination? Will some voters drift away from the LPC in all directions. Likely, they always do. But given the above, will potential former Lib voters see a lot of good options?

    6) They just don’t won’t vote. Personally I wouldn’t be surprised, given the weeks that were, if fewer people vote. But i eexpect the decrease in turnout to come from all parties. Our politics is getting deplorable on at least two fronts: increasing vitriol and increasing amateur performances. Not to mention that all sides were able to characterize the last week as an affront to their democratic legitimacy, regardless of how much they were ill-conceived their understanding of what was happening was.

    So… the LPC reduced to nothing? I just don’t see where they go, esp. given the lines that are being spread as to why they are going to be decimated.

  52. Shawn, I thank God every day for Quebecers who had the good sense of stopping that Mugabe wannabe from obtaining complete control of Parliament.

    That being said, Harper apparently no longer needs a majority or control of Parliament. He can now just padlock the doors and crown his ownself as King of Canada.

  53. “Intrigued, did it ever occur to you that your own leader might present you with an enormous liability too on the next campaign trail?”

    Sorry, can’t hear you, too busy counting the seats that this failed coalition stunt just gave us.


  54. “democracy is dead in this country”

    coming from the one who supported fighting to the death the notion of bringing this coalition to the poeple in an election for the people to decide.

    Coming from the same group who called the last election (no doubt because it would reaffirm or strengthen Harper’s lead) a “waste”.

    Fair weather democrats. Only when their side wins (or is expected to) is the expression of democratic will legitimate. Otherwise they avoid elections like the plague.

  55. Of course you can’t hear me, Intrigued. Thinking men and women aren’t welcomed in King Harper’s court. Only trained seals.

  56. Intrigued: “Sorry, can’t hear you, too busy counting the seats that this failed coalition stunt just gave us.”

    Uh, care to be specific? 143 – 10 (QC) = 133. You need 154. Where are those other eleven seats coming from? Toronto? Downtown Vancouver? Newfoundland? You might take a few seats from the NDP in Northern Ontario, but where else?

  57. Sorry, make that “where are those other 21 seats coming from?”

    21! Start counting praying!

  58. Jack I respect the fact that you’re presenting a rational argument however within our own system the law is not absolute.

    I’m not a law expert but judges in our country have certain latitude when sentencing for example.

    It is also highly probably that there are certain unconstitutional laws in our system; for example the firearms act will soon be challenged in the supreme court.

    Challenging or questioning bad laws does not make one treasonous or a revolutionary.

    I personally believe that the fact that this entire debacle ever occurred demonstrates the need for constitutional reform.

  59. “coming from the one who supported fighting to the death the notion of bringing this coalition to the poeple in an election for the people to decide.”

    Kody, I know that a basic understanding of how Canada’s parliamentary system works and knowledge of what our Constitution actually says is too much to ask of Harper’s trained seals but really… Stop embarrassing yourself with such display of ignorance.

  60. Jack,

    I have presented many, many points waiting for rebuttal from you. You are not willing to tackle even one of them. What about the opposition’s attempt to make parliament work? Do they really believe that all of the opposition’s demands should have been in the financial update? Do we now have a constitution which says that a minority government must implement the opposition’s point of view for this country?

    Because if that is what the workings of our parliament is to be all about, parties might as well run a campaign making sure they form opposition, rather than the government, because according to your calculations, within a minority government, the opposition holds power to implement what it sees fit.

    I am not trying to be difficult. I am trying to figure out what democracy means these days.

  61. CorporatePunishment, so you believe that our laws should be set aside so as to allow Harper to have total control?

    See this Coyne? But Dion is the one that Canadians should be focusing on?

  62. Kody: “There were two sides to the equation of getting rid of public political financing. Harper was clearly on the correct side.”

    No he was not clearly on the correct side. In fact he was dead wrong. And the coalition has been wrong not to make the defense of public financing one our issues. I fully support public financing, especially if it based on the number of votes each party receives. This frees our politicians from the eternal quest for &%^&ing fundraising dollars from the perpetually apathetic electorate, and allows them to concentrate on their jobs: governing.

    Every Canadian who cares about good government and democracy should enthusiastically embrace public financing of political parties.

    And the ONLY reason the Conservatives tried to pull that stunt in the mini-budget is because they knew that while it would cost them some money it would BANKRUPT the Liberals, NDP and Bloc so that no one could mount a credible election campaign again Harper next time and he could finally squeak out a narrow majority by default. There was ZERO principle behind the Conservatives move. It was pure, vicious partisan politics. And it was Harper’s big mistake in all this and really exposed once and for all who he truly is.

    It does reflect poorly on the Liberals that we do not have a better fund-raising operation in place, but that is a side issue and can be easily explained by poisonous internal leadership politics going on for far too many years now.

  63. Intrigued: McCallum speaks passable French. He used to teach at UQaM in fact, so he can definitely get by. His is better than Harper but worse than a native spaker. I can’t tell you if he is perfectly fluent or just passable, but he’s definitely over the bar when it comes to Canadian politics.

  64. “Do we now have a constitution which says that a minority government must implement the opposition’s point of view for this country? ”

    Francien, what our laws say is that IN A MINORITY SITUATION, the government MUST obtain the confidence of the House. SO the answer to your question is YES. Harper does not have the mandate to implement HIS VISION. He HAS to account for the Opposing parties’ vision too.

    Until he obtains a majority, he is NOT free to do whatever he wants. That being said, that was before we allowed our Prime Minister to shut down Parliament to avoid being made accountable.

    It is a new day in Canada. In this new Canada, the Prime Minister, be it in a majority or a minority, can do anything he wants and to question his authority will have you labelled as a traitor.

  65. >>>>>>Uh, care to be specific? 143 – 10 (QC) = 133.<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    For your info, Jack: those 10 seats were voted upon by Quebeckers who opted for a federal party to represent them.

    Don’t start a new campaign distorting Harper’s clear vision.

  66. CorporalPunishment: “Challenging or questioning bad laws does not make one treasonous or a revolutionary. I personally believe that the fact that this entire debacle ever occurred demonstrates the need for constitutional reform.”

    No no, you’re right that people can question whether the constitution is the right one or not; they just shouldn’t question whether something is democratic or not when we have a democratic constitution already.

    The point to our representative democracy (Conbots should really write that phrase on a cue card and glue it to the bedroom ceiling) is that MP’s represent their constituents. Is that wrong? Undemocratic? Illegitimate? It’s winner-take-all on the local level. I don’t support my own MP’s party, but my MP is my MP. She speaks for me, whether I like it or not. If I don’t like it, I can vote against her and do my best to unseat her in the next election.

    What is happening in Parliament is that a majority of MP’s are against the Harper government and want to get rid of it. Just like if a majority of MP’s were against, oh, a piece of firearms legislation they could vote it down. Would that be unconstitutional? Undemocratic? Illegitimate? Wrong?

    I really don’t know where to start, but it would be helpful if those who are against the current constitution would say exactly where they think the system is flawed. Do they want PR? (Unlikely, if they’re Tory supporters.) Do they want an elected Head of Government, like in the States? If so, are they prepared for a decade of gridlock between Parliament and the Head of Government?

  67. Francien: “For your info, Jack: those 10 seats were voted upon by Quebeckers who opted for a federal party to represent them.”

    For your info, Francien, those 10 seats are now officially dead meat at the next election. Or wait, suddenly you believe in the representative legitimacy of MP’s? As quickly as that? All it takes is a quick jab at Tory support in Quebec and suddenly you’re in favour of representative government? Great, thanks, good to know!

  68. Boudica, “CorporatePunishment, so you believe that our laws should be set aside so as to allow Harper to have total control?”

    I never said that.

    But if you want to use the law to be absolute then the PM was completely within his right to prorogue parliament and by Jack’s standard at least this was completely correct and democratic.

    One question for you Boudica, do you have such a hate on for the PM that you’d want him out even if he presented a non-partisan budget when parliament resumes?

    Because if your answer is yes then there really is no point in debating any further with you and I won’t waste your time any further.

  69. Getting back to the original point of Andrew’s post:

    “If the Liberals are to have any chance of walking away from the wreckage, they have to make a clean break — with the coalition, and with those who, directly or indirectly, were responsible for it.”

    I’m sorry, but that’s simply not possible. Technically, that would mean all Liberal MPs who signed that Thursday petition supporting the coalition would have to (a) resign their seats and (b) pledge never again to run for Parliament. That’s simply not on.

    Far easier, however, would be to dispense with the Liberal Party executive, particularly those who had charge of fundraising since 2004. If the LIberals truly want housecleaning, that’s where they should start.

  70. Francien: “Because if that is what the workings of our parliament is to be all about, parties might as well run a campaign making sure they form opposition, rather than the government, because according to your calculations, within a minority government, the opposition holds power to implement what it sees fit.”

    You’re making progress, Francien! That’s exactly what it means when the opposition has a majority in Parliament! Hold on to that thought!

    Actually, what it really means is that the opposition, if it doesn’t have confidence in the government, should defeat the government. The situation in the last Parliament, in which the opposition was passing laws which the government opposed, was profoundly unconstitutional, IMHO. Now they’ve tried (finally!) to do their duty and defeat a government they didn’t have confidence in.

  71. You know, we-the-media are all going to look very silly

    Sorry, Kady, but that ship sailed years ago when the media began to view everything through the prism of the internal divisions and leadership woes of the Liberal Party. That there has been more ink spilled on that topic than there has on important ones like our involvement in the war in Afghanistan, the economy, etc. demonstrates that the media no longer has a sense of what is important. I mean, I had to learn that our currency is now backed by mortgages from Garth Turner’s blog for christ sakes because the media is enraptured by the latest bit of gossip from liberal insiders.

    This obsession with the Liberal Party has become so predominant that I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to learn that the real objective behind Mr. Wells’ trip to Afghanistan is to poll the Afghan people on whether or not Dion should resign right now.

  72. McCallum as PM.?
    I suppose he wouldn’t be the first PM with an alcohol problem.

  73. Jean Proulx,

    Sorry Jean, but in a democracy the public has the last say. And on the issue of public financing for parties it isn’t even close.

    I appreciate that forcing taxpayers to give to parties, rather than relying on their free will, runs counter to your world view. Perhaps you’d feel more comfortable making this arguement in some other country, where leftist governments (in furtherance of government run/funded utopia) tell the public what is right and wrong, what is good for them or not, regardless of what they think.

  74. Whenever a ConBot gives advice, the opposite is usually the right thing to do.

  75. >>>>>>>>>>> does reflect poorly on the Liberals that we do not have a better fund-raising operation in place, but that is a side issue and can be easily explained by poisonous internal leadership politics going on for far too many years now.<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    Yet, Harper should be blamed for that? Since when is solid party fundraising, and volunteer donations to a party a baaaaaad thing? How far we have come turning things upside down.

    Incredible!!!!!! Within this country the successfull fundraisers must get the boot; they are not representing the people. Parties who are unsuccessfull in party fundraising must be held up as the right example. Poor, poor Liberals; still haven’t figured it out and needed media’s help for hiding their internal problems, ad nauseum…….

    (but Obama’s incredible fundraising efforts were being ‘written about’ as the best thing ever!!! Which way is it? Please explain what is going on in this world!!!!)

  76. If I recall, the liberals consulted with Chretien, the craftiest man alive, did he not foresee the weakness?

  77. All I am asking for is some credible answers. All of us need answers. We must no longer hide behind washing things over by thinking that the Liberals deserve a free ride. Old style polliticking is gone. The media, too, must be willing to open its eyes to under these kind of circumstances.

  78. >>>>>>>>>f I recall, the liberals consulted with Chretien, the craftiest man alive, did he not foresee the weakness?<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<


  79. Kody,

    “Sorry Jean, but in a democracy the public has the last say. And on the issue of public financing for parties it isn’t even close.

    I appreciate that forcing taxpayers to give to parties, rather than relying on their free will, runs counter to your world view. Perhaps you’d feel more comfortable making this arguement in some other country, where leftist governments (in furtherance of government run/funded utopia) tell the public what is right and wrong, what is good for them or not, regardless of what they think.”

    Yes the public has the last say DURING elections. In the interim we are not governed by polls but my MPs who are capable of engaging in public debate and educating people like you about the merits of reducing the influence of money on politics. I am just as much of a capitalist as you my friend, but there should be some reasonable limits on the influence of money on our representatives. And the more the better actually. I want them competing for votes, not competing for donations.

  80. >>>>>Actually, what it really means is that the opposition, if it doesn’t have confidence in the government, should defeat the government. The situation in the last Parliament, in which the opposition was passing laws which the government opposed, was profoundly unconstitutional, IMHO. Now they’ve tried (finally!) to do their duty and defeat a government they didn’t have confidence in.<<<<<<<<<

    So when are you going to answer the question if the opposition had ever any intent of being in agreement with what the minority would propose.

    Listening to Layton then and now, and listening to Dion then and now, (listen to them) they sure seem very cooperative!!!!

    The opposition parties should never enter the House with intent of defeating the government; the opposition parties shoud be making sure that a minority governemt, and majority governments, which ever the case might be, are reasonable.

    I happen to think that the government’s proposals were reasonable. So do most of the people who voted in the last election, for the Conservatives have not veered far from their election stand. Yet, the oppostion parties have veered off so completely that they are no longer recognisable as to what they had presented during the last election.

    Please, answer some of these questions. One cannot publically state that our constitution says that the opposition parties must enter into the House intent on defeating the government. That is a false interpretation.

  81. Keep Dion, best liberal leader in a generation….

    Oh, and great Line from Iggy today..

    ““Coaltion if necessary, but not necessarily coaltion.””


    Iggy can sure sit on the fence with the best of them…

  82. >>>>>I want them competing for votes, not competing for donations.<<<<<<<<<<<

    Huh?? Do those two things not belong together in your world? They are not separate entities, my friend.

    “Put your money where your mouth is” Such an old saying, and yet so little understood.

  83. >>>>>>>>Iggy can sure sit on the fence with the best of them…<<<<<<<<<<

    ….while being able to talk out of two sides of his mouth. Now that’s quite a feat! I adore the man already!

  84. “I want them competing for votes, not competing for donations.”

    Good point Jean, but aren’t they the same thing if the donations come exclusively from individuals i.e. no union or corporate donations?

    I do agree that it was a mistake of the PM to bring it up now however. There are more important things to worry about.

  85. Oh dear. Andrew (and Paul), you’ve angered the Progressive Coalitionists again. (Can I call them that? Progressive Coalitionists? I kind of like it.)

  86. Francien,

    No votes and donations are NOT the same thing actually. You are catching on. Keep it up.

    One major difference is that everyone has ONE vote and all votes count for the same regardless of how much money a person has in their bank account; whereas donations are much easier to afford for the rich than for the poor and are much more likely to be given by hardcore partisans (i.e. sheep) rather than average citizens.

  87. In all fairness to Iggy, it would have taken at least two arches of that magnificent eyebrow. Let’s not make the task sound easier than it was just to make him look bad.

  88. Andrew, your partisanship is showing through like a cheap petticoat. Manley is not in the game at all. After acting as proxy for Harper’s Afghanistan policy and snookering the Liberal Party, he is career dead. Nobody likes a turncoat. Iggy is staying away from something which is very risky, and quite right too. The ‘Coalition’ served its purpose – to throw the partisan grenade back at Harper so it would blow up in his face rather than the Opposition’s. You Conservatives must really fear Iggy. I am sure that if Iggy is made interim leader in advance of the leadership convention, Harper will not try it on with him. Easy to be a bully with a weakling, eh Andrew ?

  89. McCallum is fluent in French – he was born in Quebec, jut like Layton.

    Funny, all those former Manley worshippers are now upset that he doesn’t happen to agree with them. They’re like kids rebelling against daddy……silly isn’t it? This is still a country of free speech and opinion isn’t it – or did something happen when I wasn’t looking?

    Who gains – Layton.

    Who loses – Canada, because the business sector would never accept Rae or Layton and they’re hurting right now.

    Also funny – those same people (Liberals and NDP) were Obama fanatics, and yet Obama is careful and pragmatic and never got in a frenzy.

    Boy oh boy, the double-standards.

  90. Jean,

    substitute the words “I want” (or we on the far left want),

    and replace it with “we the broad based electorate want”,

    and you’d really be onto something there.

  91. Francien: “So when are you going to answer the question if the opposition had ever any intent of being in agreement with what the minority would propose.”

    What does that matter? They have the right to agree with the minority government, they have the right to defeat the minority government, they have the right to vacation in Jamaica.

    I think, though, that the opposition parties never had any intention of defeating the government this season. Otherwise they would have rejected the Speech From the Throne. Their accepting the SFT was what allowed the GG to prorogue. It was the FUFU that provoked them to act.

    I cannot keep track of all your questions, Francien. Could you summarise them?

  92. People may not believe me and so be it their choice; a god given choice in deed.

    In a nutshell: if the 62% pv myth is not debunked, the unlocking of this debacle will not happen. The debunking of the 62% myth is the key.

    When pulling in the 62% popular argument, two electoral systems are mixed up. We select members of our parliament under the first-past-the-post system. Once we have the tally on how many members from each party are voted into the House, the selection of government has become clear.

    The Conservative party won 143 seats. The Liberals and NDP combined recieved 114 of the seats. They combined together cannot form coalition government. The two parties will absolutely need the BQ to be a signatory to the deal.

    Besides the fact that the Liberals and the NDP have thrown out all of their party principles for forming a coalition government (thereby no longer being able to keep up the charade of owning their percentage of the popular vote), they ALSO need the full cooperation of a separarist party to govern.

    Let it be clear! PM Harper is not against the formation of a coalition for voting down the confidence within the House; the PM of Canada objects to doing so with the absolute need of the party BQ.

    Never, ever has Harper sent a letter to the GG indicating that he is proposing to govern with an absolute powerhold of the BQ within. In the past, a letter had sent to the GG regarding suggestions he, Harper, together with other opposition party leaders were willing to make. But never has Harper signed a letter of intent indicating the formation of an alternative government with the absolute participation of the BQ.

    People in this nation understand the difference. This is not about going against the will of the people; this is about the well-being of a united nation and our federally elected PM standing up for a united Canada.

  93. That strange smell is gangrene setting into the open wound that this coalition business inflicted on the LPC. And the damage continues every day Iggy “supports” this by allowing his caucus to sit on their hands.

    Only three groups really support the putsch.

    The Canadian Labour Congress – especially the Public Sector Unions, The NDP and Steffi & his very, very small band of loyalists.

    The writing is on the wall for the LPC . . . . call teh political morgue and tell them to expect some business.

  94. >>>>>>>>>One major difference is that everyone has ONE vote and all votes count for the same regardless of how much money a person has in their bank account; whereas donations are much easier to afford for the rich than for the poor and are much more likely to be given by hardcore partisans (i.e. sheep) rather than average citizens.<<<<<<<<<<

    All of us have the right to vote; however, not much more than 50% of the population excersises the right. Donations of $1.95 x so many years in the house, let’s assume 4= $7.80 over 4 years.

    I don’t care how rich or poor you are, but $7.80 over four years per voter is not a heck of a lot.

    Yet, our government has been asked to look into cost savings measures. Thirty million or so per year in political party subsidies adds up to 120 million over 4 years. Not a large amount, but a lot of government savings will have to come out of small amounts. And perhaps Harper had thought that a party on the brink of bankruptcy would need some shaking up before being ready to govern this country.

    And perhaps Harper had thought that public money supporting a provincial party (separatist in nature, really) was not the wistest way of spending public money.

    Within his proposal to do away with subsidies for political parties, Harper had pointed to some startlings going on within this country, namely:

    that a lot of people in the media thought it wiser to defend a nearly bankrupt party now positioning itself to govern the nation, and

    that a lot of people in the media were willing to defend the notion that our tax payer’s money propping up a separatist party is not such a bad thing.

    It was strongly believed that coming down hard on Harper for daring to propose such cut-backs was the better choice.

    But the Liberal’s demise is not Harper’s doing. The Liberal party has only itself to blame, and the media across this country should not be unclear about this.

    Furthermore, the media in this country must not object when the PM of this country merely repeats what the BQ leader is saying out loud himself: the BQ is serving the people of Quebec. Period.

    We need to be clear.

  95. Is everybody out there as sick of pollsters as i am? Shouldn’t one of the most basic rules be: don’t ask leading freaking questions. Asking someone what they would do if the guy in the back of the bus objects to the way you are driving is legitimate. Hinting that immediately hitting the ditch, pulling a gun or heading for the nearest cliff is not. And so the dumbing down continues apace. But it’s democracy i hear someone yell!! this is not a popularity contest. Or if it is then let’s prorogue parliament for good and save us all a lot of time and money. After all thanks to Harper we now have a prescident.

  96. >>>> think, though, that the opposition parties never had any intention of defeating the government this season. Otherwise they would have rejected the Speech From the Throne. <<<<

    Had they done so (no confidence in throne speech) their intent would have been much, much too obvious. The opposition parties did at least have the insight to not jump at the opportunity coming out of the starting block. They at least possessed the wisdom to not seem overly, overly eager. Because that would have exposed their intent too soon. No, it was better in deed to let the pretend smooth its ways for a while.

  97. McCallum and Goodale are the most partisan over the top obnoxious politicians that you could imagine. They are definitely in the Baird league of not getting along or ever listening. They haven’t been interviewed on TV as much lately as I have thought the Liberal backroomers have realized that they were ruining the Liberal brand. They have yet to provide a direct answer to a question. They would seem to prefer to evade questions that they could answer to hammer home their pre-determined speaking points.

    The Liberal’s have gone to great length to keep McCallum out of the Finance Minister portfolio. First Martin which was understandable but then Manley and then they had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to put Goodale in Finance over McCallum. Now it sounds like Scottie B. or NDP would be Finance in coalition.
    Is this an extension of like Dion he is not good enough for the Liberal party but good enough for Canada?
    I do not know McCallum’s situation, but the coalition-taint may well be the shark-tank that makes Goodale un-electable in Regina.

  98. This is part of the remarkable trap set by Bob Rae. I don’t like Rae, and I see him as a slimmy undercurrent. But I respect him for his ability to plot, scheme and trap the best politician the liberals have-Iggy

    If history tells us anything, Rae is a type of car chaser that can grab onto the bumper and then not have a clue what to do with it once he’s caught the car. Rae would be a disaster as a Prime Minister just as he was a disaster as Ontario’s Premier.

    Rae’s political days are numbered, and my guess is he won’t last much longer than Dion.

  99. I won’t link to it, but Mr. Silver has an update at his Globe blog.

    I don’t know whether it’s remarkable or not.

    If it meets his approval, perhaps Mr. Coyne could supply the appropriate adjective.

  100. Francien
    So your thesis is as i understand it is: Harper is actually trying to save the libs from themselves while having the added benefit of shutting down thebq , as if there was no possibility of them raising funds in quebec. In the next breath you say [ rightly ] that it isn’t Harpers job to save the libs. I think you may be a little selfserving, a pont i tried to make yesterday.

  101. Rae currently has pulled Iggy’s hockey jersey over his head, and is beating Iggy silly with the coalition “club”.

    Rae has turned the leadership campaign into a referendum on the coalition. Brilliant for Rae. A disaster for the Liberal Party and for the country.

  102. Andrew has his head up his butt. Has had it there since the beginning. Thank you Coalition for forcing Harper against the wall. We’d have had to wait till March before he realized we had a problem. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Coalition hung together and defeated the most divisive, arrogant, dictatorial Prime Minister ever? Go Bob go!!!!!!!!!!!

  103. Well Andrew, maybe it’s time for the New Liberal Party of Canada. The wind would be in their favour as green is on the agenda and Harper hasn’t, actually cannot grasp that, as it is not in his ‘DNA’. Bush-style politics in this day and age are passé. Why not merge instead, and let their marriage become the new party of the slightly left centre. Look at Gary Doer and other successful NDP premiers thoughout Canadian history. In a sense many of them are Liberals at heart, it’s just the name of the party that’s different.

  104. All a symptom of an undisciplined opposition, and an undisciplined government.

    If both thought that an election were a serious possibility, they would have both acted with more maturity.

    The cons, like in 1980 (?) didnt think the Libs would go to an election and therefore were feeling frisky. The Libs and Dippers thought they had found the costsless way to go, it was obvious the GG had to hand over the keys.

    Neither side wanted an election, the tories might have changed their minds now given recent polls.

    I thought the Libs had sworn that they needed time to do it right, rebuild policy, replenish treasury and repair intraparty ties. They threw it all out the window, or in this case let Dion trow it all out the window. They were seduced by the same theory as Dion, sparked by the PM’s overprovocation on funding (still a good idea just not now).

    I am not sure what it means, other than the Libs would be better served by saying they arent going to bring the government down, that the government has a right to an agenda at this stage and that the government gets to wear the consequences of that agenda.

    In the old days, opposition parties would make their policy opposition clear but have numerous MP’s absent. Serves everyones purpose, mostly the Liberals own interest. You cant make election commercials out of some absent members. Finally, leaving Dion there is perfect for that, he can fulminate and lead opposition but all bad decsisions, weakness and perception of support for the government disappear with him in May.

    Honestly, Libs should leave Dion in place, but clearly they are having a hell of a time putting him on a leash. Talk of accelerating the convention is silly. Wednesday Dion walks out of caucus, using the GG decision as cover, say that the coalition is on the shelf as far as the Liberals are concerned but that Mr Harper is expected to keep his promise of accomodation.

    If Harper fails, as he inevitably will in oppsoition eyes, then they can all vote against, but as individual parties and have absent members.

    Coalition doesnt serve any strategic need for the Liberals, Andrew is correct to point out that nobody seems to have mentioned that fact. There is lots of explaining for all candidates, and there is room for an non-tainted leadership candidate. Liberals had it right the first time, rebuild, replenish and repair, nothing in the interim has diminished that as a strategy, it has only highlighted the need for it to continue.

  105. How come nobody’s lecturing the rest of the oppostion?

  106. “Professor” Francien,

    All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.

    — George Orwell

    Glass houses and stones?

  107. “Though the social envelope, broadly defined (transfers for health, education, old age security, family allowances, and unemployment insurance, plus federal housing, and labour market programs) expanded in that time from 44 per cent of program spending to 51 per cent, even that rate of increase would not have strained federal revenues unduly.” Andrew Coyne
    The historiographical fact is the rate of increase did actually strain federal revenues unduly: Because there is an exact scientific distinction between mere appearance and historical reality, meaning that socialistic ideology is not an economic science.

    Christopher Richard Wade Dettling

  108. And another thing Andrew, the coalition is not dead, as your recent mantra suggests. Everyone in the Opposition has put their signature in that letter to the GG. And what’s all this talk about the supposed messiah Ignatieff aka Mr. Meek ? Dion should not quit. He’s made it this far. Let us recap : he was chosen as leader of the Liberal party despite being a complete underdog, and he is now on the verge of toppling his adversary. My advice : just hang in there, vote against the next throne speech regardless of content since Harper cannot be trusted plain and simple. (It is after all a vote of ‘non-confidence’.) And seeing that we just had an election, I think the chances are excellent that the GG will give the Coalition a shot at governing, as long as it stays strong and united until the vote. That is the key.

    On another note Dion revealed his spunk and wit in front of a Toronto crowd yesterday :”Harper took an economic crisis, and added the parliamentary crisis, but he then tried to transform it into a national unity crisis — all of this because he cares more about his job than your jobs.”

    Hear, hear ! Well said Stéphane !

    Harper is obviously a sh* disturber, “un brasseur de merde” as they say in Québec. His present emphasis on the ‘separatist coalition’ is nothing but a smokescreen, a red herring, but not everyone is biting. NATIONAL UNITY IS NOT ON ANYONE’S AGENDA EXCEPT HARPER’S. He has stoked the fires of sovereignty with his incendiary jabs during question period in the House, and he continues to play the ‘separatist’ card, while brandishing false ‘blue cashmere’ patriotism.

    That being said, there virtually hasn’t been any talk on the environment since the last election. The environment and the economy, aka environomics, were the 2 hot potato issues back then and still are today. Let us not forget that Harper has never had a green platform, let alone an economic one. His ideology simply centres around the notion that governments should not intervene and spend (except maybe in the military) and that the free market should dictate.

    Right-wing Bush-style governments are on the decline in modern industrialized societies. It is passé. They are on the verge of becoming extinct, however you can be sure these dinosaurs are going to put up the fight of their lives before going down. It’s just the way it is. It’s all about not giving up power. That is exactly what we’re witnessing now with Harper.

    To know “where it’s at” today, look at Obama. His ‘open arms’ policy is “à l’ordre du jour”, i.e. building consensus and finding common ground for the good of all, beyond partisan politics.

    Harper will not acknowledge that the only real issue that matters today is ‘environomics’. The only parties to address it in the last election were the Libs, the NDP & the Bloc. These 4 ‘progressive’ parties (if we include the Green Party) did find common ground for the most urgent matter of all. The Cons have no economic plan, neither do they have a green plan. For that reason alone the Cons are unfit to govern, period.

    Again, it’s about the economy…. but more specifically, the green economy.

    Contrary to the defeatist mentality, no one displays resolve and determination more than Dion. He is in fact showing that he is a leader, but not your stereotypical one. Old school politics is on the wane, and that includes Harper and his puppets, as well as Manley, Chrétien, Martin, Bush, Cheney, etc., etc. Dion speaks mostly to the heart of the new generations, who place more emphasis on content rather than form, using the infamous videoclip as an example. It just goes to show that a lot of peoples’ values unfortunately lie in the superficial, the image, the hype, in a nutshell the BS.

  109. Corge Glooney, not sure if you heard, but “green” fell off the agenda when the economy tanked. Just like it did in 1989-90.

    By the way, I noticed you’ve fallen for the BS of putting the word ‘separatist’ in quotations, as though there were something wrong with referring to separatists as separatists. There isn’t. They are separatists. Plain and simple. I realize even Harper falls for this gloss-over attempt when speaking French (“sovereignists”) but he’s a politician. What’s your excuse?

    And actually, it’s the Bloc who put separatism on the agenda in Ottawa, back in 1990, just as their PQ brethren did in Quebec City in the late 1960s. Accusing someone of inflaming separatist sentiment by referring to the separatists as separatists (at least in English) is about as specious an argument as one can make. Pathetic really.

    Oh, and I love this:

    …no one displays resolve and determination more than Dion.

    He hasn’t had much of a choice has he? I mean, being so ill-suited to the job, and being elected Liberal leader by accident because the other two ill-suited candidates’ teams didn’t trust each other. He needed resolve and determination just to cling to his job as long as he has. And this somehow makes him fit to run the country? Uh huh. You might want to read the news; Dion is finished. Gone. His own party is setting up the gallows and tying the noose even as we speak. Yeah, I know – the press has been predicting his demise since he became party leader. But that’s just demonstrative of how confused and ineffectual the Liberals are right now. It certainly isn’t an indication of his survival chances.

    I’ll let you slip back into your little reverie now. Reality doesn’t seem to agree with you much.

  110. All the anguish should be over after the Wednesday caucus meeting selects a new interim Leader. Enough Liberals will leave the Party to sit as Independents to ensure Harper has a majority until the new Leader,Ignatieff, is elected democratically at the convention in May.

  111. Mr Coyne To Your horror the Idea of Coalition IS BORN and well alive and the baby is growing maturing rapidly…
    It is storm out there polls can’t really “measure ‘ how the winds are blowing…
    polls reach only people sitting home and just want to be in peace especially in this time of the year. I am not giving any Credit for polls this time..

    One thing is Clear Canadians thinking more then usual…their thinking is changing.. Complacent minds will be surprised how fast the change will shoow in the next few weeks.

    We have five established Parties with strong followers and it is absurd NOT to Think about how to combine forces when we are facing such a Horrible Lil’ Dictature Harper is offering …
    the Idea Of COALITION GOVERNMENT is born.. It may Change in shape and form But it is here to stay. Iggy seems to get it… and will use it in His own ways.

    Great !!! it is long overdue.

  112. Couple Points;

    1. 64% of people did not vote for Harper in the October 07 election, but 0% voted for a 3 headed monster, led by a loser, a socialist, and a separatist.

    2. And for Andrew…I heard no MSM pointing all these dangers out to Liberals and Canadians last weekend and at the beginning of the week. Andrew by Thursday night on the At Issues panel, you were probably the first MSM guy/ lady to get it. As usual, average Canadians were way out in front of the the supposed learned, smart guys. MSM can spin it any way the want it but Canadians had their BS deflecters up for the coalition up long before MSM realized, that though the coalition was technically legal and constitutional, Canadians judged it for what it was…a flying naked irresponsible lunge at power!!

  113. “One question for you Boudica, do you have such a hate on for the PM that you’d want him out even if he presented a non-partisan budget when parliament resumes?”

    I don’t “hate” Harper, Intrigued. I’m afraid of him. Not the same thing. As for presenting a non-partisan budget, I’ll believe it when I see it. The Harper that I see will be emboldened by recent events. The Harper that I see will certainly not admit to having done anything wrong and will press ahead in his obsession to destroy the Opposition.

    I would love to be proven wrong on this but I don’t believe for one second that Harper will change his ways. Any PM that would go as far as proroguing Parliament to avoid a vote of non-confidence is a PM that is capable of just about anything to retain power.

  114. Whether you agree or disagree with the coalition, it was necessary as a defense to Harper’s 100% political fiscal update at time when Canadians needed him to be non-partisan. Honestly, what else could they do? Did they have any other options besides let him get away with it and be crushed financially?

    Now that the fiscal update crisis is averted the opposition parties should come out with a statement saying that the coalition no longer exists but will not be ruled out as an option if the Tories try to bully the minority parliament again in the future. Then make public your suggestions for the budget.

    Now we’re back to a minority government and the Tories can’t act like they have a majority. See, it’s not that hard.

    Or we can continue dividing Canadians, attacking Quebequers, talking about Western separation, being obsessed with taking down the Tories without an election and screaming about coup d’etats and votes not counting.

  115. Iggy has learned well about what “plausible deniabiltiy” means.

    As much as I dislike Rae, at least I know where he stands.

  116. I actually hope Manley does decide to run, so I can have the pleasure of watching him finish last.

    This is what I like about the LPC these days. Attacking each other, instead of the opposition.

  117. How come nobody’s lecturing the rest of the oppostion?

    Probably because they’re obviously acting on self-interest alone, and there’s no reason to whack them. The NDP wants a hand on the levers of power, and the BQ wants to show that Canada is un-workable.

    It’s a “can’t lose” situation for both of them. I’m not quite sure what the frederalist party formerly known as the Liberals (now known as the “coalition” gets from this, other than a giant headache.

  118. So, the two best friends of the Liberal Party this month appear to have been… Her Excellency Madame Jean and the Right Honorable Mr. Harper. Runner-up: John Manley. The two winners for saving the party from its disastrous coalition idea under its current disastrous leader, and the runner-up for a good dose of say-it-like-it-is.

    Wouldn’t it be nice, for them and for the country, if the Liberal Party’s greatest assets were actually active at senior levels of the party itself?

  119. If you follow the trail back to where the start of the coalition was you find Jack Layton and Duceppe. It was Layton who dreamed up the scheme and brought the parties together. Look at the facts…

    1. Dion, who after the last election was dispirited and thought his hopes of PM were dashed forever, is approached by Layton with his crazy scheme. With nothing to lose, other than the future of the Liberal party, he signs up.

    2. Duceppe, fully knowing that if nothing else the plot will make good PR for him and the BLOC he signs up.

    3. Jack Layton himself……well he got less votes than the BLOC in the last election. No one takes him or his party seriously so his best bet was to get a this coalition going. If it succeeds he looks brilliant, if it fails he blames the lame duck Dion. At the very least he knew full well it could only HARM the Libs in the end and more of the left vote will swing NDP.

  120. Iggy is penciled in for Lil Trudeau’s cabinet. Not sure where. But he will carry water faithfully in Canada’s Chavezian Revolucion. You didn’t think he moved back to Canada and got into parliament just to stand on principles, did you?

  121. Bill….I take umbrage to the fact that you called the coalition members ” a loser, a socialist, a seperatist”

    It should read Loser, Seperatist, Democrat. ie. the LSD coalition. I think they must have been on acid when they cooked it up.

  122. Coyne is wrong on this issue: it is Canadians who need the items set out in the Coalition Accord to be passed into legislation asap by the LPC-NDP Coalition government. This is the best way open to help ordinary Canadians survice the coming recession which will be severe.

    Backing away from the Coalition is not leadership, but craven cowardice.

    Now is the time for fighters to come to the defence of the Coalition, and to ensure that the Harper neocons are voted out asap early next year.

  123. There is growing interest in the Canada West Foundation http://www.cwf.ca/V2/main/.
    This organization is like a ratepayers group, which simply wants to make sure that the system is not being abused.

  124. I am behind Harper 100%.
    No to coalition.

  125. To all my Liberal friends out there; did it not raise a bunch of red flags with any of you when Dion, having led the Party to it’s worse electoral defeat since confederation, did not resign the night of the election???? This entire episode was launched well before the election by people far more powerful than any PM, the old money power establishment of Canada. The “investigative press”will never even whisper their names publicly, but some of you Liberals will know who they are.

    Although sold to Dion and Layton as a chance to be Kings for a day, it didn’t matter if the coup failed as long as Harper was forced from office by his own party, the GG, or personal humiliation, he just must be politically assassinated.

    These men knew that none of their potential leaders could defeat Harper in a straight up fight. If left in power for one more term Harper would not only destroy the Liberal Party but also the known political and cultural system in Ottawa. He had to go!

    They could count on the press to continue their demonization of Harper. They can’t mock and ridicule him as easily as they had done to every western Tory since Deif so that the reptilian kitten eater did have a secret agenda. His behaviour was disgusting! Harper ignored them and dealt directly with the regional media who have far less to lose. The nerve of this rube! Hosting social events and serving hamburgers and hot dogs, fine wine in a box, and canopies only fit for cowboys and farmers.

    The civil servants were choked with him for reining in their expense accounts and perks. Over a dozen fine dining restaurants closed during his first year in office. They could always be counted on for timely leaks, such as the planned but yet to be announced cuts to one cultural program.

    The coalition strategy wasn’t that bad as long as Harper never got wind of it. Spring a surprise nonconfidence vote on Harper, be outraged at something, and after he resigns come to the rescue with a “spontaneous” coalition. Two mistakes were made; it did leak to Harper and there was no fall back position if it failed other than hanging Dion out to dry. To those of you who blame Harper, if you were about to be assassinated would you not plan a defense?

    Looney in Lotusland

  126. If the coalition survives, (I doubt it will) and brings the CP down in January, I wonder if the GG will pay any attention to polls that portray most Canadians’ disgust with the coalition? If she doesn’t call an election and gives the coalition a chance to govern, I’ll be pissed off; however, it may be worth it to see the NDP and LPC destroyed in the next federal election.

  127. You had me until you mentioned Bourque. Pretty hard to take anything seriously then.

  128. BC leo, I’m sorry, are you suggesting that the Governor General of Canada should make her decision – not on the advice of the Prime Minister, or constitutional experts, or the freaking constitution itself – but on polls? Why don’t we just throw our whole system out the window, declare Harper a supreme leader, and get it over with?

  129. Coyne, Wells —

    Maybe Ignatieff was playing chess — CTV’s reporting that he has this sucker wrapped up.

    Now to see just what he’ll do with the crown.

  130. If the Liberals had gotten their act together years ago and stopped relying on the big corporate donations like they did for decades, they wouldn’t be in this mess. The fact is the Liberals became lazy at fundrasing and due to their own incompetence, they have resorted to this coalition tactic because their party is in desperate need of that voting money.

  131. Jason C, the Liberals selflessly (or vindictively) did away with corporate funding on their own initiative.

    I’m curious why anybody who wants to see corporate tax cuts, or personal tax cuts for that matter, supports either the ban on corporate and union party funding or the 75% tax credit on political donations. Seems to me that all those eager-beaver Tory donors — you know, the yeomen — are only 25% sincere.

  132. Looney in lotusland – nice summary !
    Harper pre empted them and now they’re twisting in the wind.

  133. John D

    Not suggesting that at all …… just wondering if she takes polls into account. I’m hope she wouldn’t do anything that inflames regional tensions.

  134. The PM just ran away from parliament in the midst of an economic crisis to avoid a purely democratic vote. Judging by his last several posts, I guess to Andrew Coyne, that simply isn’t newsworthy. It isn’t worth comment the games Harper has played that threaten the integrity of Canada’s democracy and our nation’s unity. No, no, that simply pales in comparison to the importance (or is it just petty fun) of dissecting and taking pot-shots at the Liberals.

    Ultimately, this latest post from Andrew Coyne is just hack journalism of the Lou Dobbs variety. And for a man who raged against the media’s lust for polls, I can only laugh when he gleefully references them in his blog and on CBC.

    I used to actually enjoy Coyne’s work because he somehow wrote above the message various parties fed the media. But the recent election, and now this parliamentary debacle, have Coyne knee deep in whatever press release, poll, and approved message he can get his hands on. And for whatever reason, it has been overwhelmingly in favour of the Conservatives. No doubt because they have the most effective (to their credit) PR machine in the game. Amazing how a man as self-important as Coyne can so easily be manipulated and shifted away from a legitimate story (Harper’s manipulation of parliament in the midst of an economic crisis) to a tailored message (“the Liberals are splintering,” “their leaders are clueless”). Big PR gets big results, and Coyne has proved to be an easy “get” for the Conservatives.

  135. I don’t buy your statement that he controls 80% of the NRP (Natural Rul;ing Party) caucus. If so, he would have nixed this “Grand Collusion”. Or are you telling me that Harvard Professors can be as stupid as the man I met in the pub the other night??

  136. Will the Grand Collusion survive?

    Strangely enough, I expect it will. It’s the only thing the NRP has; otherwise it has nothing. Who would want to run nothing?

    There’s a train a-coming. And it’s gonna wreck. Yeeehaw!!!

  137. Iggy didn’t fare too well in one of the latest Compas polls. In Ontario, he gained an 8% rating on who was best to manage the economy as PM (Dion got 9% and Layton got 12% !!!!!). Harper got 53% ……… no contest !!!

  138. Who thought of that brilliant headline?

  139. Looney, you have it on the nail head there. Let me name those un-namables:

    Paul Desmarais.
    Mao Strong (the man who hides in China)
    Paul Martin (Prime Ministership was a hobby horse for him)
    The B-Ray brothers (Easy to be a socialist when your brother runs Toronto Dominion Bank – do the shareholders know?)

    Interestingly, I was thinking the other day about a book I read when I first came to Canada, called “The Vertical Mosaic”. Then, it was a classic leftist read. Now it is a classic Conservative read: know your enemies.

  140. Without this coalition you so despise, Haper would be continuing to act as if he had a majority.

    And what is to stop Harper from continuing to act like he has a majority? Canadians appear much more willing to give Harper a majority than let the coalition anywhere near the keys to 24 Sussex.

    Whether the coalition survives until Jan 26th is itself problematic, but no Liberal in his right mind would face an angry electorate in the middle of a leadership campaign.

  141. Iggy comes across as a radical fence sitter who leans from side to side. The swaying is a distraction to trusting the man. He, like the others in the ‘natural governing party’ are doing ‘unnatural ‘ things to try to get what they believe should come naturally.

    Naturally, Canadians have seen enough of the Liberal lying, cheating and stealing and incompetence over recent years.

    They must be banished from power for at least the next couple of elections. Possibly until the mythical Canadian messiah, Justin finished going through his protracted puberty and self-adoring adolescence. Then the fun will really begin.

  142. No one remembers the iggy rae-days duplceppe troika tried prior to the last election to create their gogol monster with harpoon exploding their design btg saying no to the gv’t subsidy to politicos (an action greatly favoured by us collectively mighty but voiceless unwashed) saving us all from the mindless morass of left drifting liberals (and their little friends among blocheads and dippers). Roll on the inevitable election and conservative win and finally reasonable governance!

  143. I never knew watching a “threesome” could be so much fun !

  144. I actually do understand the Silence of Iggy; I do not understand why he got involved with the NRP in the first place. Did he consider it, from his Bostonian perch, easy pickins? Does he now regret the temptation? What are his sources of money? We know those of B-Ray.

  145. >>>>>Professor” Francien,

    All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.

    – George Orwell

    Glass houses and stones?<<<<<<<

    Dear archangel,

    George Orwell is one of the first people being able to point out that being able to lie to the self is indeed possible. In fact, according to his observation, to be able to lie-to-the-self would be desirable. And I won’t be the last person to try and reiterate Orwell’s point.

  146. I’m curious why anybody who wants to see corporate tax cuts, or personal tax cuts for that matter, supports either the ban on corporate and union party funding or the 75% tax credit on political donations.

    Ahem. Yoo-hoo! Over here! I’m in for one out of the two!

    I want to see tax cuts in general because government is too bloody bloated and taxes suck prosperity out of the economy.

    I want “a ban on corporate and union” political donations because they are unfair to those shareholders and union members who disagree with the political party getting the support.

    And the “75% tax credit” is grossly unfair, created by politicians with a conflict of interest so strong it’s embarrassing.

    Happy, Jack?

  147. Coyne: You have been quick to criticize Iggy for being too outspoken in the past, yet do so here for being prudent. This is politics and he’s being necessarily pragmatic.

  148. It is most amusing to listen to the Libs agonizing over the fact they are going to pick a new leader without letting the membership vote. Some are even suggesting that they consult with Duceppe as he will have to work with the new leader!

    Where have we seen an example of that logic recently?????

  149. Further to my last post about big PR, this comment board oozes it.

    It’s an easy trick to spot, flood the comment pages of the Globe, the Star, the Post or any other major publication such as Maclean’s so as to give the appearance of overwhelming public outrage. It will be fun to watch this outrage (bought and paid for though it is, and scribed by junior political staffers or some schmo billing in 15 minute intervals) as it keeps pace on the message boards even though public opinion will inevitably even out.

    Also, another PR trick to spot: when a post emerges with a dissenting opinion, several other posts will quickly appear after it so as to bury the offending note amongst the 100+ other posts. This has the effect of removing opinions that contradict the paying client’s desired message, without actually erasing them (that would be unethical you see). Most readers look only at the top or at the bottom of threads, so the PR team’s job is to populate those areas with friendly messages.

    Newspapers and magazines who use message boards on their website pat themselves on the back for being “interactive,” but all these forums really do is add another tool to the PR flak’s arsenal of nonsense and mis/dis-information.

  150. Jason C.

    >>>If the Liberals had gotten their act together years ago and stopped relying on the big corporate donations like they did for decades, they wouldn’t be in this mess<<<

    ………………………and Canada wouldn’t be in this mess!!!!!

    I am appalled how this is being played out within most of the media outlets. And I will admit that Coyne has his ups and downs, but has been trying at least to make some sort of sense out of it all.

  151. Why should the Bloc not have a say in who is the Liberal leader? He will be consulting with Mr. Duceppe and it is important to have some one who is in agreement with Bloc principals. We were elected to Canadian Parliment too!

  152. An open letter the Stephane Dion
    Mr. Dion,
    Here is a question that screams for an answer. To all of the volunteers that dedicated and sacrificed their money, time and energy on doing everything they could to ensure a Liberal candidate won a seat in the last election only to fall short to a NDP or Bloc candidate. What do you tell these people? What do you say to those who fought the enemy every minute of every day of that campaign; with no thought of person gain; their only goal to see the Liberal party become victorious, what do you say to them? What do you say to the candidates who put their life aside to defeat their NDP and Bloc rivals? What do say to those who suffered malicious personal attacks, who went to battle for the Liberal cause only to come up short against a victorious NDP or Bloc candidate? How do you tell them, “Thanks for your dedication, thanks for your hard work, thanks for your tenacity but I am going to form a coalition with those that beat you. I am siding with those I asked you to sacrifice your personal lives to defeat.”How do you explain that to them? You have lied to your very own people; you used them as cannon fodder. They have become collateral damage for a coalition. That is the legacy you have to live with now Mr. Dion. Layton, Duceppe this legacy is yours as well.
    Dean Kelly (An average Canadian talking with his family around the kitchen table)

  153. Ryan, feel free to avoid dignifying this billable-hour-PR-flak discussion with your presence, if it offends you so mightily.

    Alternate choice: rebut that which you choose to rebut, and bill your masters.

    Alternate choice: join the debate with the rest of us Canadians who give a damn about our country, and have no one to send a bill to for participating in the discussion.

    Final alternate: allow some openness within your skull that people who hold a different view are NOT, by definition, obviously paid to have their bought souls spew such bilious nonsense.

    It is rather rude to insult our gracious host and its grateful guests by (a) not making any particular point commenting on the original post, preferring instead to (b) slander the participants.

    In a nutshell: grow up or go home.

  154. Sorry, Andrew. You blew your credibility on this issue when you quoted a Dourque Newsbought poll.

  155. John Smith,

    >>> Coyne: You have been quick to criticize Iggy for being too outspoken in the past, yet do so here for being prudent. This is politics and he’s being necessarily pragmatic.<<<<


    Dictionary + Pragmatic: treating historical phenomena with special reference to their causes, antecedent conditions, and results.

    Case in point: Harper, the pragmatist, suggests wanting to do away with political party subsidies – he is the only leader who fully understand what is going on – yet, he’s being accused of seeing things wrong and stirring up the debate within this country.

    This is what’s going on in this country:

    Federal financing of a provincial party BQ (separatists) to be able to run within federal elections, in which all federalists parties (Cons, Libs, NDP and Greens) must spend a lot of money trying to compete for the Quebec vote. In order to do this, the federalists parties must also be financed by Canadian tax dollars, or so it is regarded as being in the best interest of Canada.

    Canadian tax dollars being used to fight itself.

    Harper is an economist and could spot the math on the wall.

    But, let us collectively blame Harper for having dropped the bomb. It’s a bomb alright, but it had been dropped well before Harper had pointed to it.

    This is politics and he’s being necessarily pragmatic. I’d say!

  156. And then there are practical jokers…….


  157. Dean, Dion did what he did because he always comes first in everything. The universe revolves around Dion. That was his only chance to become PM, and however slim that chance and what it did to the party meant nothing at all.

  158. MYL: “I want “a ban on corporate and union” political donations because they are unfair to those shareholders and union members who disagree with the political party getting the support.”

    Couldn’t they resign from the union or sell their shares?

    I’m not totally happy, MYL. I ask as a student of your philosophy: so you’re a tax-cut pragmatist, not an anti-gov’t-interference zealot? By the latter I mean the view that restrictions on what people (/corporations/unions) can do with their money is wicked, immoral, etc. It seems to me that the latter tribe, whose ritual tattoos you may not wear, should be against the anti-corporate donation law on principle.

  159. Andrew the problem for the coalition now is they have to succeed or pay for it in every future election campaign. The public signing combined with all the signatures will resonate with all Canadian’s. Even future leaders like Justin Trudeau will be seen as part of the ’08 coalition group who would give the separatists the veto over our Canadian democracy. They say everyone has their price I hope the Liberal party and this inconceivable coalition will remember this for some time to come.

  160. PR, you believe people, of whatever political persuasion, are being paid to flood comment boards? Compared to TV, radio and newspapers, the Internet is still a distant fourth as far as the media’s influence on the voting public is concerned. Yet someone, somewhere, feels it important enough to pay for a flood of often rude and incomprehensible comments?

    Speaking as someone who’s posted more than his share of rude and incomprehensible comments over the years, I can assure you that I do it pro bono. And I can’t possibly be the only one. If I am, I’m getting seriously ripped off.

    This comment was paid for by an agent of the Conservative Party of Canada, using a secret fund maintained by the corporate media and the Bilderberg Group, with assistance from Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Farmers and the Military-Industrial Complex.

  161. Damn! How did that disclaimer end up on the bottom of my post? How do I remove it? HELP!! I’ve been outed!!

  162. Good God, a Bourque “poll”?

    You do realize, Mr. Coyne, that citing with approval anything that Bourque does is the politics blogging equivalent of going on nationwide primetime television with an unfocussed and rambling response to Stephen Harper?

    Please don’t do that again.

  163. Maggie’s Farmboy, it was a link. Not a Master’s Thesis. He was simply pointing out that he wasn’t the only person in the world who was suggesting Manley is the Liberals’ last best hope.

    If Coyne comes out with an entire McLean’s column based on a Bourque.org poll, then you might have a point.

  164. The coalition much as you loathe it did nothing illegitimate. But Harper has been vicious, dishonourable, unaccomodating and he has shamlessly lied. But Andrew you defend his government as if some greater principle / value of democracy is at stake. What in 25 words or less is that principle?

  165. Meh,

    I stand by my late Sunday-night expression of disgust.

  166. Jack, let me attempt to contribute to further happiness:

    What the corporate and union donations lack in fair deployment of shareholder/member capital, they more than make up for in corruption of the public trust.

    It boils down to limited government AND individual freedom. Focus on individual. A shareholder or member should not have to divest or quit; the mandate of best interests of shareholder/member should not be violated. If the organization wants to be so politically active, give back to each member his or share instead, and the member can donate to a party, to charity, or to beer & popcorn.

    Of course, if government wasn’t corrupting so much of the economy by butting its nose in everywhere, there would be far less incentive for corporations and unions to want to corrupt the process in the first place. Win-win.

    Reports say strangers can cheer you up. I hope I’ve helped.

  167. Many of these posts are so naive and single-minded, it’s painful to read them – pro or con the coalition et al.
    If one truly wants to understand what’s going on, why not drop the rhetoric, the blinding eviscerating hatred and preconceived expectations and just use common sense to examine the facts that are in plain view for all to see?
    Or is this all just a wonderfully timed opportunity to bitch and vent; a diversion from our own, unimportant lives? Really, the whole situation is all so predictable – if one sizes up the players properly before jumping to irrational conclusions.
    All the world’s a stage, etc…..

  168. David Fraser: What in 25 words or less is that principle?
    Answer: October 14, 2008.

    And, FTR, pretty much every commenter(*) has acknowledged the truth that the coalitionists were not undertaking anything illegal. Damaging, stupid, unfair, sure. Questionable legitimacy because the whole nonsense was supported by a party dedicated to the breakup of the country. But not illegal.

    (*) I therefore exclude the few “execute the treasonous bastards” commenters.

  169. Well, that clarifies everything. Whew.

    Thanks edncda! Now, back to my unimportant life…

  170. edncda I loathe hatred as a force in politics so I am dismayed by how much of it I read in these macleans blogs, one particularly obvious example being hatred toward Quebec from Albertans.

    And I believe that Harper eats fear and breathes hate as much as people close to him say he does.

    madeyoulook – sorry, my search skills are not up to finding what “Oct14,2008” refers to. Your reference to the Bloc is a curious shell game which I don’t understand: all media have reported extensively on Harper / Day etc.’s courting of the Bloc for this or that and yet you drop it i as if it is a red letter tattooed on the coalition’s forehead.

  171. Q: If Duceppe, Dion and Layton were “The Three Stooges” what does that make Ignatieff?

    A: Shemp

  172. ….and the bigger question…how soon will the Liberal party be searching for “Curly Joe?”

  173. David Fraser why do you hate Albertans?

  174. David, never mind your search skills. Try your memory. Check your Palm Pilot, or agenda, or the calendar on your kitchen wall. The “greater principle / value of democracy” you seek should be jotted down somewhere, if you are a Canadian citizen of voting age.

  175. MYL: “And, FTR, pretty much every commenter(*) has acknowledged the truth that the coalitionists were not undertaking anything illegal. Damaging, stupid, unfair, sure. Questionable legitimacy because the whole nonsense was supported by a party dedicated to the breakup of the country. But not illegal.”

    Ah, I wish. Even excluding the maniacs, the anti-Coalition folk have been tossing around phrases like “democratically illegitimate,” “against democracy,” etc. with reckless abandon — led by the PM. “Morally illegitimate” or “patriotically illegitimate,” sure, it’s a matter of opinion & debate; but there’s been a pile of populist rhetoric this past week which has, IMO, shown both how little many Canadians know about representative democracy and/or how little meaning they attach to the word “democratic.” These days anything one dislikes is liable to be labeled “undemocratic,” even in a context in which serious issues of democratic legitimacy — especially the confidence of the House in the Government — were in play. I don’t think that, ultimately, anything undemocratic was done, but it was certainly a fine balance, and the populists would hardly have noticed what it was if it had happened. There was a lot of marching under the banner of the idée fixe. Fortunately things seem to be calming down, but we need to do a better job of educating people about how our democracy works: we are, after all, liable to go through this again before too long.

  176. I guess one has to accept the premise that the coalition was/is a train wreck for this blog to make any sense. Less than a week ago they were strong. A few Conservative radio adds and a few Jekyll and Hyde performances by the PM later, and apparently the coalition is weak. The prime minister has lost the confidence of the house. It’s that simple.

  177. No, Steve Wart, it’s the ‘Get the hell out of Canada, then, if you’re gonna go and elect the Bloc” sentiment that irks. Equating the Bloc with the people of Quebec and then daring the Quebecois to leave is not helpful.

  178. This tells you a lot a about the man who would be king of the Liberal party. The Lizard tongue, licking his lips, his sophistry when he speaks and of course those eyebrows that look through the camera likes he talking to a pile of dunces in a class room. As my wife says he is one creepy person.
    Watching him dance last week when he spoke after the last Liberal caucus he looks like a smarmy school teacher. Mr. Ignatieff may believe he will be the saviour of the Liberal party but the Canadian people will have something to say about that the next time they get to vote.
    The Liberal/NDP have no irrepairable harm to their brands with this attempt to seize power. The Canadian people are angry and they will ensure there will be a majority government particularly if the opposition parties decide to bring down the government over the budget.
    The GG will never allow this desperate group who call themselves a coalition to take power no matter who its leader is. She would have a rebellion in the country given the outcry to date.

  179. Inadvertently I typed….”The Liberal/NDP have no irrepairable harm ”

    It should have read “The Liberal/NDP have done irrepairable harm……”

  180. Or even “The Liberal/NDP have done irreparable harm . . .” unless your planned rebellion will also decapitate orthography.

  181. madeyoulook this vast continuing discussion re: the fascinating events of the past few days is a rare window into the mechanics of our democracy. Saying, if I interpret you correctly, that Stephen Harper won that election and so we should all just shut up, is a mere reboot, one which we all do every day but it is not progress. It’s base camp. It’s, Floyd Landis won so you can keep all your fancy French lab tests.

    Supporters of electoral reform suggest that the coalition more closely resembles what the Canadian people voted for than does the first past the post result of giving Harper the keys when only one-third of Canadian voters want him in the driver’s seat.

  182. Defending the legitimacy of Harper’s government by pointing to the last federal election that granted him a plurality of seats is now somehow a suggestion that “we” should all just shut up? No, pal, you do not interpret correctly. You asked a question, I answered it. Please settle down.

    Take the Oct 14 results (glad you now remember where you were on that day), take the law of the land as pertains to the election of our federal representatives, and take a deep breath: Stephen Harper is the legitimate PM in a minority government. Sory to sneak up on you with such a shocking statement like that.

  183. What I find amazing is if you take a Liberal MP from Toronto proper, who could easily sit with John Manley, and a Conservative MP from Edmonton or Calgary, they are essentially the same politically. Yet here we are with a wing of the Liberals possessed by a word once owned by the Conservatives … Progressive. What does that mean … joining forces with silly old-Labor NDP and Seperatists? I don’t get it. The Liberals and the Conservatives should be working together right now, not self destructing before our eyes.

    It’s grandly disappointing but with my recent discussing the idea of a Liberal and Conservative coalition for 18 months or 2 years, I get an instant negative reaction from people (I live in a sea of Conservatives) who are apolitical and have even a smaller understanding of economics and the role of the Central Bank. Issues nobody will address directly because they don’t feel they need to lead, they are simply there to take pot shots at one another and that subject doesn’t fit well with one liners.

    So if you go on face book, prove to me that hasn’t become a partisan dump. Join “Canadians for a Liberal & Conservative Coalition” ;)

    All very interesting regardless.

  184. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/12/07/liberals-dion.html?ref=rss

    It’s over. Dion still doesn’t believe it, but he’s gone. For good this time. He’ll get the picture when they start moving Iggy’s furniture into Stornaway and tossing his stuff out on the curb.

    The magnificent eyebrows are ascendant!

    (PS, are Iggy’s eyebrows really all that magnificent? Thus far I’m not seeing it, but I’ll take Andrew’s word for it – for now.)

  185. boudica scribbled: “Francien, what our laws say is that IN A MINORITY SITUATION, the government MUST obtain the confidence of the House. SO the answer to your question is YES. Harper does not have the mandate to implement HIS VISION. He HAS to account for the Opposing parties’ vision too.

    Until he obtains a majority, he is NOT free to do whatever he wants. That being said, that was before we allowed our Prime Minister to shut down Parliament to avoid being made accountable.

    It is a new day in Canada. In this new Canada, the Prime Minister, be it in a majority or a minority, can do anything he wants and to question his authority will have you labelled as a traitor.”

    Boudica, you are remarkably ill-informed, and amusingly strident in your ignorance. Please point out the relevant sections of either the Constitution Act of 1867, or the Constitution Act of 1982 which even REFER to minority governments. I won’t wait because they don’t exist. No law in Canada says any government must obtain the confidence of the House. We have conventions regarding these situations, yes, but they are not laws, and you really should learn the difference.

    No PM has a mandate to “implement” his vision; he has, at most, a mandate to present that vision to the House, where all MPs have a chance to vote on it. Is it easier and simpler to get legislation passed with a majority? Yes. Does that mean in a minority situation, a government might be wise to temper its ambitions, and work with other parties to achieve what’s possible? Yes. And, in fact, that’s what Mr. Harper has done. Conservative blogs are rife with posts fulminating on Harper’s LACK of conservative principles, and the fact that he has not slashed funding to the CBC, eliminated Section 13 challenges in the HRCs, gone harder after youth crime, abolished the gun registry, outlawed abortion, etc. You, like many, seem to have forgotten he promised his base a free vote on same-sex marriage; he held it, the right lost, and he hasn’t raised the issue again. I think Harper has been mostly pragmatic, where his conservative principles have been most on display by reducing the GST, resisting the urge to build national boondoggles like a child care industry (and instead allowing people to decide where to spend their child care dollars), and allowing people to have more control over their resources through tax-free savings accounts, etc.

    So clearly, he has not EVEN REMOTELY tried to do whatever he wants, no matter how desperately you spin it. And, in the area where most Canadians’ concerns seem to lie these days – that’s the economy, in case you didn’t know – his government has been given excellent marks by the G20, the OECD, and any number of other international bodies or commentators.

    Your comment about “allowing the PM to shut down Parliament” is quite laughable. First off, it happened – what, one week? two weeks? – before the annual Christmas recess. Wow, in the midst of an overheated and somewhat unprecedented situation, he asked the GG for a little more time to allow for more dialogue and to allow everyone to cool off. What a freakin’ tyrant! And, since you seem to be so uptight about respecting the conventions of Westminster democracy, please point to me a single occasion where the Crown in Britain, Canada, Australia or New Zealand (the functioning democracies, as opposed to say, Zimbabwe) has REFUSED a request to prorogue Parliament. Again, I won’t wait because it has never happened.

    Finally, your last comment is so monumentally stupid and uninformed, I have to repeat it here: “In this new Canada, the Prime Minister, be it in a majority or a minority, can do anything he wants and to question his authority will have you labelled as a traitor.”. The PM can do anything he wants? Er, like what, exactly? Can you point to A SINGLE ACT that Harper has done in violation of either our Constitution or the Westminster conventions? Didn’t think so. And who, exactly, has Harper EVER called a traitor? Yes, he refers to the BQ as “secessionists”. Is it your contention that their goal is not to take Quebec out of Canada? If so, please enlighten us as to your secret source of information, as all the BQ’s stated positions are precisely that secession is their ultimate goal.

    You state in another post you don’t “hate Harper, [you] fear him”. Frankly, I’m much more afraid of people like you – uneducated, uninformed, and unable to get past your own rhetoric. Harper has not, unlike, say, Pierre Trudeau, used his time as PM to stuff the Senate with a bunch of Liberal cronies and bagmen. He has steered the ship of state down the ideological middle, to the extent that the Liberals had to run and hide on 43 separate occasions, rather than risk elections on policies that most of the people support – the same people whose will you say is sovereign, but the same people you’re afraid to face at the polls. You call him names, and cast aspersions, but you’re long on accusations and short on facts.

    I’m sorry – your fantasies, hyperbole, and misinformation are precisely why I don’t trust what is generally referred to as the “Left”. Harper is doing, for me, a good (but by no means perfect) job of balancing the demands of both the “redneck right wingers” (who I freely admit exist), and the quasi-socialists of the Left. You couldn’t beat him at the polls, so now you’re trying an end-run around the people and the Westminster conventions you pay lip service to. Yes, Mme. Jean could accept Harper’s resignation and accept the coalition, but when opinion polls show that the majority of the people in Canada manifestly don’t want that, I believe the conventions point her to the direction of a new election, regardless of the cost or inconvenience. Fulminate all you want, but history, opinion, and common sense are on Harper’s side.

  186. For all of you Libs, Dips, and Quebec Nationalists out there; do any or you still seriously believe that this coalition was created by spontaneous combustion of moral outrage over the economic update, even now that the three poison pills have been withdrawn? Anyone? Please chirp up. Hello……….Hello.

    When the MSM is finally embarrassed enough to report that this entire “crisis”was planned,contrived, and staged.can you guys imagine what your poll numbers will look like?

    The stand up for Canada rallies spent no money. The local MP’s showed up to speak on improvised platforms with borrowed microphones. Most of the participants had never been at any sort of rally before The flags and home made signs stuck on hockey sticks were actually brought by the people. The rallies were all held outdoors, in some very cold conditions The MSM ignored them and didn’t even ask where all of the money to finance some very expensive venues ( Vancouver – Pan Pacific Hotel ), professional staging of lights, sound, stages and video. The “protest signs” were all printed and handed out at the spontaneous rallies. They probably have spent more money than the Liberals could raise in a year.

  187. Funny how the Bloc has been trumpeting itself as part of the “62% majority” all week, and yet they claim to represent Quebec where – irony of ironies – 62% “voted against” the Bloc.

  188. Speaking of ironies, Google “62% Canada” and one of the first hits is Bill C-62 – the Federal Bankruptcy Act…………….

  189. “edncda I loathe hatred as a force in politics so I am dismayed by how much of it I read in these macleans blogs, one particularly obvious example being hatred toward Quebec from Albertans.”

    Glad to see this forum isn’t a hotbed of sweeping generalizations.

  190. raging ranter – you carry your name well

  191. The coalition has no choice but to press on. If they oust Harper and take office, they can then do a good enough job to convince hysterical commentators that they are not such bad fellows after all. On the other hand, if they back down they will wear the damage from the hysteria and Harper’s fearmongering for years.

  192. Checkers, chess, warfare – all games of strategy and finesse. But reading this drivel not one of the posts made the case for ideas or vision or the advance of the human condition. What a pathetic lot of myopic cynics.

    I hope the coalition keeps a ace or two up their sleeve – no doubt they have learned from the Prime Minister’s viscous attacks this week that there’s no need the let the opponent know that you’re holding a trump until it’s played.

    Bottom line for all you fiscal conservative hacks and wannabees – if Harper’s goal is really just to defeat the opposition – the CPC owes the Canadian people one hell of a debt because the costs too much to keep this self-indulgent machine in office.

    Mr. Harper and friends had better drop the gloves and to work on re-jigging this economy or the CPC will be sorry they didn’t pass the reigns to more enlightened hands when they had the chance. Go ahead and toss dung at what ever party you like – but I suggest you read you own posts first and ask yourselves honestly if you have anything constructive to offer first.

  193. Very interesting comments here.

    I, like our PM, am a big hockey fan yet I have never seen the coach ask the ref for a time-out and witness the players gather around the bench hooting and hollering and giving each other high-fives – which I think fairly describes the reaction of the Tories and their supporters. Usually a time-out happens early in the game when the team has just let in three quick goals and the team needs a collective head-shake or they are down a goal late in the game and desperately need a quick goal to tie things up. Either way – you usually pull the goalie. If I were a Tory, I would be thinking about quickly easing Prince Charming out the palace gates.

    If this prorogation is just a time-out, a cooling off period, then it is important to remember that the clock is NOT running. The 40th Parliament has sat for just 17 days. Should the Government fall on a non-confidence motion with the coalition still intact come January why, exactly, would the GG be more prepared to disolve Parliament and call an election than she would have been on December 8th? Doesn’t the fact that they held together with their, supposedly, cooler heads suggest that the coalition could, in fact, hold the confidence of the House?

    No, no, you say. The House clearly can’t work and the GG needs to call an election, they have been unable to any work at all since the election in October. Even putting aside why that is the case, it will only have been, what, 3 and 1/2 months since the vote. I realize that the King-Byng affair is remembered as a political disaster, at least for Meighen, but it is still a constitutional predecent – at least far more than proroging Parliament to dodge a confidence vote where Charles I is the most politely cited precident. We look at King-Byng as a disasterous decision but what if Meighen had been able to hold the confidence of the House, if only for 6 months? Would we be so quick to assume that every non-confidence vote leads, automatically, to an election? I wonder.

    Which brings us to Iggy. I understand why he would not want to wear the failure of the coalition collapsing. Liberal leaders in opposition have enough trouble on their hands (no money, a skilled and vicious opponent poised to swift-boat you six-ways to Sunday before plunging you into an election you are completely unprepared to fight while choosing the time and the place of that fight). To add the collapse of a coalition with your name all over it to your troubles would be silly.

    But if you could get the thing to hang together… The GG hands you the keys to the car. I know that he would prefer to spend four years in the wilderness so the Liberal party can “find” itself but, well, the nation demanded leadership. All you have to do is try and keep a handful of socialist cabinet members from looking like idiots? What might they do? Leave confidential documents at your biker-gang girlfriend’s place? I think he puts up with it for 18 months. Were I him, I would much prefer my chances running an election a year and a half from now against someone from the Tory B team – because there is no way in hell Harper keeps his job if he blows this – then having to face Harper at a time and place of his choosing. If the GG does call an election you fight it and lose. You were going to lose to Harper right now anyway, get it over with quickly and start to rebuild. People are far less likely to pin a loss on you days after you became leader than had you been in charge until, do you think Harper would give him until July before trying to take him out. You might even be able to get the NDP to not run against your current crop of MPs – make the coalition an electoral one in a bunch of ridings.

    I’m not saying its the best thing for the country. Only time will tell, but to think that Iggy’s promotion means the coalition is dead or that because Harper got his time out that the GG will automatically give him an election in a little over a month are conclusions backed by at least as much wishful thinking as those held by your pro-coaltion friends.

    If the game is making Parliament work then in spite the Dion incompetence and general partisan bluster all around, the coalition can actually point to a piece of paper that says they can run this place for 18 months. So far Harper hasn’t been able to show he can run this Parliament for 18 days.

  194. “I’m not quite sure what the frederalist party formerly known as the Liberals (now known as the “coalition” gets from this, other than a giant headache.”

    It would get Harper away from the helm. In the eyes of some if not many that would be enough right there.

  195. “Even putting aside why that is the case, it will only have been, what, 3 and 1/2 months since the vote. I realize that the King-Byng affair is remembered as a political disaster, at least for Meighen, but it is still a constitutional predecent – at least far more than proroging Parliament to dodge a confidence vote where Charles I is the most politely cited precident. We look at King-Byng as a disasterous decision but what if Meighen had been able to hold the confidence of the House, if only for 6 months? Would we be so quick to assume that every non-confidence vote leads, automatically, to an election? I wonder.”

    1. Precedents can become obsolete. There is a fair case to be made that Canadians prefer to be consulted over major changes (eg. constitutional changes, changes in government).

    2. Tom Flanagan pointed out that even Eugene Forsey admitted that the 1926 decision would have been different, had a new and major political issue arisen. The coalition is, I think, defensible as such an issue.

    3. King was never defeated on a VONC, rather he asked for dissolution and was refused. So the precedent is not exactly the same (that does mean Harper probably can’t request dissolution before the VONC).

    If a VONC still goes through, an election remains a POSSIBLE outcome, though not the likeliest one. At the very least it is a defensible course for Jean.

  196. madeyoulook , let the adults talk, will you.

    To say that I was at all dignifying the PR-ness we’ve seen and will see shows a complete misunderstanding of my post. But, I gather that’s of little consequence to you, so long as you get to throw out a belligerent response (no matter how embarrassing it might be).

    As for adding to the discussion, I believe I did that in earlier posts. The story here is Harper ran away from parliament to save his job. He earned himself a seven week fully paid vacation in the face of certain defeat and job loss. I bet people working in the manufacturing and forestry sector across Canada who are losing their jobs wish they could have such an option. It is disgraceful and cowardly behaviour for a PM.

    But, what is more disgraceful is how the media is completely looking past the real story and obsessing childishly over the Liberal party. I can only attribute this to the effectiveness of the Conservative PR machine which has completely taken people like Coyne off the story (runaway PM) and onto a Con-friendly message (the Libs are pathetic).

    Now, madeyoulook, this might not be the precise discussion you want to have, or even one you really understand, but sometimes it’s good to take a step back from the details, see the big picture, and realize something is wrong here. The Libs are a mess, no argument here, but that is absolutely not the story of the day to any serious person. How it came to be the story, why journalists and commentators are giving Harper a free pass for such cowardly and divisive behaviour, is very much worth discussing.

  197. The Liberals are fools when they abstain, fools when they vote Nay and fools when they vote Yea.

    all roads lead to Harper

  198. Manley the saviour,

    for all of their “instant back to power” needs.

    I’m starting to think that the liberals will never learn. The desire to get into power for powers sake, regardless of an organizing set of ideas or prinicples seems to be in their DNA now.

    Which means its only a matter of time before they’re gone altogether. They’ll simply dissappear or be subsumed withing another party (upstart or existing – NDP move to the center perhaps).

  199. Tasso Lake, your post was so chalk full of creative policy ideas, I just don’t feel the need to offer any of my own.

  200. “…The desire to get into power for powers sake…”

    You’re confusing the issue. The vote of non-confidence and the ensuing power vacuum was a given.

    Any CEO that failed to use all legal means possible to fill that void would have been out on his ass.

  201. David Fraser: You lose all credibility with statements like this: “edncda I loathe hatred as a force in politics so I am dismayed by how much of it I read in these macleans blogs, one particularly obvious example being hatred toward Quebec from Albertans.”

    I have spent a lot of time reading these blogs. And while there is extreme partisanship at times (if you read these comments often enough you know exactly who the partisans are), and sometimes there is heated argument, rarely is there hatred, if ever. And I have never seen an example of Alberta hatred towards Quebecers, nor the opposite.

    So instead if trying to incite hatred by making false claims, why don’t you calm down and make reasonable arguments.

    If you wish to insist that you are not making false claims, then you should at least use evidence to back them up.

    Ryan Rigby: resorting to insults does you no favours. If you can’t make an argument without insulting people then you will never convince anyone of anything. In fact, it’s unlikely anyone will read your bile.

  202. sf, thanks for delivering a lecture on insults by issuing an insult of your own.

    With that said, I’m not here to insult or to engage in partisanship. I don’t feel strongly for the coalition and am not arguing in favour of it. Rather, I am simply looking to discuss what I consider is the media’s strange obsession with the Liberals despite the irresponsible actions of the PM. It is as though the recent polls completely absolved Harper of any responsibility for this mess. It’s as though the PM’s impressive numbers have justified the out right hypocrisy and misinformation he has engaged in while shouting down the Bloc’s support of the coalition. Jon Baird, on CBC, told Don Newman that the CPC intended to “go over the head” of the GG and the House should a proroguing of parliament not been granted. How is that not controversial?

    It just seems to me that the easy story is the Liberals because it’s a messy soap opera, one we tune into with morbid fascination. Meanwhile, we have a PM trouncing on Canada’s democracy, engaging in extreme misinformation, and fleeing parliament to save his job. Where is the media to comment on that? Nowhere. They’re too busy trying to read meaning into Iggy’s eyebrows.

  203. Ryan Rigby — I would beware of the idea that John Baird is speaking for Harper. He’s testing the waters, looking for his chance — and that might mean involving the PM in extraconstitutional measures to discredit him. John is playing a delicate game here. Don’t underestimate him.

  204. Sorry, make that “I would beware of the idea . . .”

  205. Prior to his disappearing act, Iggy said more than enough in support of the coalition with the separatists to fill a few dozen Conserative election commercials.

    Kinsella put the muzzle on him about two days too late.

    And his signature on the document supporting the coalition with the separatists is there for all to see. The proviso that he signed ‘last’ is irrelevant, other than to note that he’s a follower, and not a leader.

    Iggy will wear this shameful debacle the same as Rae, Dion and Layton.
    We have lots of money and we won’t let anyone forget it.

    The fact that Iggy is going to become the leader of the LPC on the strength of a backroom deal is just icing on the cake. These Liberals really do think they’re entitled to power without consulting the people, be it the full electorate or even their own party members.

    Harper should yank the $1.95/vote party welfare subsidy in the budget.

    Bring on Iggy, and bring on the election.

  206. Jack – very interesting link, thanks for sharing. I think Prentice has a similar site up, although he claims (rightly or wrongly) to have no involvement.

    I will give the Conservatives credit, while leaks seem to pour out of the Liberal caucus, Harper runs a pretty tight (or is it bound) ship. Who knows if there is any real level of dissent. If there is, the media certainly isn’t interested.

  207. I really can’t believe some people. So the Conservatives put forward something that was completely unacceptable, and the opposition countered with what can only be termed the nuclear option. Then, the Conservatives decided to give a little bit; opposition counters with nuclear. Conservatives give a little more; opposition stays nuclear.

    Let me translate into Mexican vacation terms.

    You are walking on the beach, and you see some street vendor selling something that looks interesting. You go up and ask ask how much. He says $50 USD. You know how this works, so you counter with a ridiculous low ball offer. You are willing to pay $15, so you offer $1. Now normally, both sides give until you come to a deal. But in this case, the stree vendor actually raises his price, he goes to $100. You are taken aback, wondering if you went too low, so you go up to $10. He comes back with $500. You offer $50, the original asking price, having completely abandonded your original position, and the vendor counters with $15,000,000, and yells that you cannot be trusted to make anything work.

    I really don’t get how everyone keeps saying this is all Harper’s fault. The negotiations started normally, both parties far apart at ridiculous extremes, but then, only one party was willing to actually negotiate and give things up.

    This one is all on the opposition. Period.

  208. “This one is all on the opposition. Period.”

    In the absence of context and history, that makes perfect sense.

  209. gwgm – I have to wonder whether, in the next election, the Conservatives will really press the issue of separatists as members, or supporters, of the coalition. I think the CPC is still hoping for a majority, and those lofty numbers will need to be acquired with the help of Quebec. To damn the Bloc would be to seriously impair the CPC’s chances of a majority, and I say that despite the impressive polling numbers we’re seeing. I simply can’t believe those will be sustained long-term.

  210. Kevin in Sk — Ah, I’ve never vacationed in Mexico, but that’s not how I see it.

    You are walking on the beach, penniless, with your two buddies. Suddenly a huge man wearing a balaclava appears, brandishing a huge machete. He asks you for all your money, now. You try and explain that you have no money. He waves the machete some more and starts screaming. You look at your friends, they look at you. You can’t satisfy the maniac, as you have no money. Your only choice is to try and overpower him. So you turn to face him and growl menacingly. To your surprise, the balaclava-clad maniac drops his machete, starts crying, and runs off down the beach. At that point the Policia Popular shows up and accuses you of intimidating an innocent citizen. You try and explain about the machete and the balaclava and the screaming, but it’s no use: you’re arrested and spend the night in jail.

    This one is all on Harper. Period.

  211. Kevin,

    I like your Mexican vacation metaphor, except I would start with “So the Conservatives put try to slit your throat…”, and take it from there.

    P.S. I’m from Saskatchewan, too, since we’re playing the “identify your province to establish your parochial perspective” game.

  212. “In the absence of context and history, that makes perfect sense.”

    When the assumption is that anything short of bowing to the government of the day is undemocratic how much context do you need?

  213. “This entire episode was launched well before the election by people far more powerful than any PM, the old money power establishment of Canada.”

    There may be something in this. The lack of alleged “stimulus” is the giveaway. I speculate that the usual gang of corporate so-called elites – mental midgets but extremely well connected – are looking at their balance sheets thinking, “Gosh. We are really scrawed unless we can dump the consequences from all these idiotically bad business decisions on the taxpayer.”

    The expression “old money power establishment” is of course shorthand for “we used to have money now we only have a lot of debt but we still have a lot of lobbyists on the payroll so we think we can still crawl into the taxpayer’s wallet if we get three of the major parties and the govt unions to do the fighting for us.”

    Meanwhile, real businesses – the ones that make money quietly without hiring a lot of lobbyists and sticking to the govt teat – are probably headed for the exits. Regime uncertainty with massive tax changes hovering over them and “stimulus” promised to their unprofitable but well-connected competitors is like dropping poison into the well.

  214. I will be remembering next election, who actually tried to make Parliament work, and who tried to take it over in a putsch. I will not be alone. I also would expect that we will be back to a one on one debate format. There is no justification for including 4 members from the same coalition. You will recall the Ellie May Senate seat rumors.

    To think, I was actually thinking of voting for Nettie Wiebe next time around. No chance of that now.

  215. “You are walking on the beach, and you see some street vendor selling something that looks interesting…”

    “looks interesting”?

    now that’s a joke.

  216. Well, Kevin, I’m sure your personal choices are profoundly interesting and profoundly indicative of the country at large. Tell me, what did you ask Santa for for Christmas? We’re dying to know.

  217. “I will be remembering next election, who actually tried to make Parliament work….”

    So you won’t be voting for the party that distributed a handbook on obstructing committee work, I assume.

  218. All this juicy in fighting and the poor Conservatives can’t use any of it because the media will scream ATTACK, ATTACK. Has anyone noticed that not one single jounalist has accused one single coalition spokesperson of “attacking” Harper. Watch the clips – every single spokesperson is blaming Harper for this mess, excusing their own actions and wrapping themselves in the flag. By comparison, the Conservatives are offering olive branch after olive branch but still, in the media’s eyes, they are and will ever be the bad guy. This crisis is the result of greedy, power hungry people like Jack Layton and Stephan Dion. When Harper proposed elimination of taxpayers monies to political parties they banded together and said NO – proper thing – Harper, hearing and listening to the answer, withdrew the items – again proper thing. It was when the coalition kept up its grab for power that this crisis started.

  219. Why is there no blame here for Chretien? He was all over this story in late November. What did he do or say that convinced the Liberal caucus to follow Dion into this coalition?

  220. “Has anyone noticed that not one single jounalist has accused one single coalition spokesperson of “attacking” Harper.”

    Actually, Ron, when I search Google, I get dozens of hits for jounalists accusing coalition spokespeople of “attacking” Harper.

    Your point, again?

  221. Sometimes when you try to straddle too many fences, your pants, or worse yet, other parts of your body, get damaged.

  222. Ryan Rigby :

    I think it’s time to draw the line. If you vote for the PQ or the BQ, YOU ARE a separatist. We’ve let them get away with this suck-and-blow crap for too long.

    The torrent of crocodile tears last week was too much. My blood boiled watching Quebeckers whine into the cameras, “Yes, I voted for the Bloc, but that doesn’t make me a separatist… I take offence at Stephen Harper calling me that derogatory term….”

    What a load of BS. Taken straight from the CBC’s terrorist coddling playbook, where you can’t call someone who straps dynamite on his body and blows up innocent people a “terrorist.”

    I love Quebec and I love Quebeckers who love Canada. But having to walk on eggshells around a bunch of parasitic lowlifes who take my money, vote to break up my country… and then get all offended when I call them what they are… makes me furious.

  223. Here’s my prediction: Iggy comes in and takes over the Libs as interim leader, the polls show that a Conservative majority is a real possibility (and an increased minority is almost a certainty). Neither the Liberals nor the BQ are interested in that outcome. The Bloc and the Liberals decide that the coalition is no longer “necessary” and it’s business as usual until the opposition can find a better opportunity to unseat Harper. They vote for his economic plan.

    Harper might not want this and might change tactics come January. It would certainly be fun to be a fly on the wall at some of the Christmas parties in Ottawa this season. I’d sure hate to be stuck in Afghanistan right now if I were a journalist/political blogger :)

  224. The one thing that bothers me is that the media will give Ignatieff a pass.

    HIS hands are just as dirty as Dions’ and Raes’.

    Did Ignatieff not sign the coalition agreement during their caucus debate?

    Did he himself not want to hiyjack the results of the Canadian Federal Election?

    Yes his hands are quite dirty.

  225. Helen,

    Go read up on parliamentary democracy a bit. With any luck, you’ll realize that characterizing the actions of a majority of house MPs is not “hijacking”, the results of the election. That you dislike the coalition and prefer the Conservatives may be true, but please don’t twist the facts to suit your ideological leanings.

  226. I have kind of an unrelated question….

    How come none of you pundits are writing about the cracks in the Conservative Party? I know that the Liberal circus is fun, but it isn’t the only show in town right now. How about some ink on the Quebec Conservative caucus, or Inky Mark, or Michael Chong or, or, or…..

    Has Harper tied them all to a stake in the backyard, strapped muzzles over their snouts and fitted electro-shock anti-bark collars around their necks?

    I’m not saying you should quit reporting on the Liberal mess entirely, but I’d like to know what’s going on elsewhere too.

  227. gwgm:

    Seems a bit harsh. Personally, I can’t buy into that. I’m not from Quebec, but I can imagine why many federalist Quebecers would vote Bloc. The overarching goal of separation is nowhere on the radar, be it at the provincial level or the federal level. Many Bloc members are quite able, and from what I’ve read in Maclean’s and elsewhere, have an outstanding reputation within the various parliamentary committees. So long as the separatists/sovereigntists are in no position to fulfill their main goal, but are in a position to strongly advocate for the interests of Quebec as a distinct society, why wouldn’t a Quebecer vote Bloc? I don’t think that makes them a seperatist, because they realize that separation is impossible; rather, I’d say it makes them pragmatic, because they elect an MP whose sole purpose is representing the province at the federal level. I appreciate that is a somewhat nuanced point of view, but I think it is fairer to say that than to label all Bloc voters as separatists.

  228. Blair – I completely agree with you, and have said as much in earlier posts. The Liberal soap opera is admittedly interesting (in the same way a car crash is an attention-grabber), but c’mon, how about some balanced reporting…

  229. Ranter – First off please re-read my post. The point is that partisans arguing about which team has made the best moves in an insanely partisan game at time of national crisis is pathetic. I observed after reading most of posts that not one noted that despite calling an election of the economy – his government has still not presented a single constructive suggestion on what should be done. In fact it seems to me that Mr. Harper is obsessed with the political battle and is oddly disinterested in the economy – his supposed area of expertise.

    Most Canadians could care less which party the pundits crown as the natural ruling party – they’re just waiting to see which team can step up with a set of substantive ideas that can put a rudder to spiraling economy. It could be that Mr. Harper is a wizard at public relations – as some have noted here save Don Newman and a few others – the press are as lap-dogs. But his party is devoid of ideas on how to restart the faltering economy – I expect some platitudes along the lines of Reagonomics – more corporate tax cuts and lectures on how trickle down economics really do work. And I expect a cooperative press will eat it up and spew the message at the rest of us. But will it work?

    The public is near the breaking point. We are starting to loath politicians and politics, and Mr. Harper will find it impossible to disentangle himself from their ilk. We need a “new deal”. We need parliamentarians that actually work for the electorate. When they public discovers that they are simply funding Mr. Harper’s office which is serving the goals of the CPC first, there will be a backlash.

    I expect a popular movement along the lines of what was portrayed in the movies Network. We will see if the cynics do hold power in this version – but Harper is playing with dynamite.

  230. While Iggy’s not 100% clean with respect to the Coalition, he’s hedged himself enough that it will take some serious distortion by the Tory machine to hang it around his neck come election time. The man’s getting out the point he believes in which is that this is the wrong move for our country, and that he’s the right man to lead it out of this morass.

  231. 62% of the people did not vote CPC
    74% of the people did not vote Liberal
    82% of the people did not vote NDP
    90% of the people did not vote BQ
    100 % of the people did not vote Coalition!

  232. Gwgm – stop using the flag for cover – how can any conservative have the audacity to play the patriot card after poking the eyes of Newfoundland, Ontario, and now Quebec. Not to mention the John Baird incident.

    What I expect when parliament re-opens will be that the coalition arranges to pass Harper’s budget but only with the support of the Bloc. At that point all you hypocrites either eat crow or get off your lofty horse.

    Gille Duceppe is at least as capable as you guys and he’s obsessed with integrity – not power.

  233. “100 % of the people did not vote Coalition!”

    why do you hate our democracy?

  234. Wow, what a shocker.
    A liberal without principles!
    Who would have thought……..

  235. Seriously, if the coalition went to the electorate and you knew that you were voting Dion as PM, Layton as deputy PM, May as a senator and Duceppe as the glue to hold it all together, would you vote for it?
    I agree with Pauls percentage.
    They would get less than 2%.
    But I welcome them to try it ………………………..

  236. So Dan, if it was the wrong move for the country why did Iggy not say so? Why sign off and support it?
    Again, a liberal with no principles (don’t worry I am not defending Tories, just slagging the incredible hypocrisy by this wannabee)

  237. I hope Layton & Muclair get the same rough ride from Mr. Coyne; and don’t forget two others who should be blasted for enabling the coalition from hell :- Chretien & Broadbent.
    These guys need to be back in their political mausoleums in perpetuity.

  238. “Again, a liberal with no principles…”

    What’s so unprincipled about respecting the rules of Parliament? If the Conservatives had any principles they’d stop feigning travesty.

  239. A conservative with principles? Talk about delusional at best….

  240. re: the Bloc. I think it would have been helpful for Harper to explain WHY the Bloc’s participation in federal government is so bothersome to Canadians outside Quebec. He makes the issue appear as an English Canadian gut reaction against separatists/sovereigntists, when I think it’s much more practical than that.

    While a party that pursues “Quebec interests” exclusively might sound like a good thing in Quebec, even if you’re a federalist (hey! a party that really supports my interests!!), Quebeckers need to understand how that looks from the other side. What if, say, a Montreal-first party wanted to participate in a coalition in Quebec? How would folks in Sherbrooke look on that? Exactly. The Quebec government is there to pursue the collective interests of Quebec. The government of Canada is there to peruse the collective interests of Canada. The City of Montreal is there to pursue the collective interests of Montreal, etc. Anything else and the system breaks down.

  241. Andrew. Your position regarding the coalition is similar to what I’ve seen from some of your fellow scribes in the media. But here’s the question NONE of you have answered. What was the alternative for the Liberals? Vote in support of the economic statement with the cuts to the subsidy and die? Vote it down and go to the polls for another election barely two months after the last? Back off once the Cons removed the subsidy (extremely bad optics and besides the Cons only did this AFTER the coalition formed), or do the Liberals following the traditions of a Parliamentary system seek to build an alternative to the governing Party? Seems to me like thats the most reasonable course. Of course people are going to point out the fact that they needed Bloc support. Well DUH! The Bloc’s support is a necessary requirement in a minority, Harper himself even sought it in 2005. Also it should be pointed out that the Bloc have been a duly and legitiamtely elected Parliamentary force for almost 20 years. Complaing that there are seprartists in the House now strikes me as a bit rich. If we had the guts to do it, we should have dealt with them (i.e. pass legislation banning separatist partys from running in federal elections) when they first emerged and than dealing with the fallout (which would be considerable). I think the biggest problem with the coalition is that its being poorly sold and has suffered from bad optics. If the Bloc are not a full member than they shouldn’t have been at the signing ceremony and the only commitment the NDP-Libs should have made is that they will consult the Bloc on a case by case basis. Also the Libs should have turfed Dion earlier.

  242. Stewacide – Nothing but more wishful thinking. Bloc members are 100% legitimate and they – being the only gainers in this recent political game – would LOVE to run an election right now and slap Harper and sadly Canada as payment for insults received.

    Ask yourself, who does the conservative party truly represent? After running with a sitting finance minister that basically said that any multinational company would be crazy to invest in Ontario? The conservatives are simply pandering to their base – mainly in the west. And they will have to circle the wagons because as the economy deteriorates (sorry – realists aren’t afraid to “talk down Canada”) – the seats they current hold east of Manitoba will erode quickly. They are on the verge of regional party status themselves.

    So keep throwing all these “brilliant tactician” accolades at the Prime Minister. I think his Postscript is going to be that he’s been the biggest fool in Canadian political history.

  243. By continuing with a Conservative government that lacks the confidence of both the NDP and the Liberals the hammer is exactly what the THE BLOC GET BACK because Harper will need their support. Curious how so many of the flag-wrapped have no problem with that.

  244. Brian: “Seriously, if the coalition went to the electorate and you knew that you were voting Dion as PM, Layton as deputy PM, May as a senator and Duceppe as the glue to hold it all together, would you vote for it? . . . They would get less than 2%.”

    They would certainly get less than 2% of your vote, but I’m not sure you should extrapolate from there.

    If the Coalition were indeed to run as The Coalition, presumably Liberal and NDP candidates wouldn’t contest each others’ elections. That’s what “running as the Coalition” means, if anything. So the real question is: how many seats would they pick up by not splitting the vote? Answer: dozens and dozens, esp. in Ontario. Be careful what you wish for, Conbots.

  245. The truth is that Iggy just snookered Mr Rae, or maybe more accurately allowed him to hang himself. Mr Rae (now Iggy’s only serious rival) is locked on a course which leads away from public opinion and from which he cannot stray without looking fickle and confused. The question now is how Canadians perceive Iggy’s performance. Is he a ruthless political opportunist and vacillator, or a man who had a moment of weakness in the face of intense peer pressure but ultimately succumbed to his noble conscience. The fact that Mr LeBlanc’s decision and allegences were revealed at this time may offer a clue to those who have not already made up their mind….

  246. Well said Andrew.

    However why don’t you tell that to the CBC.
    It’s becoming obvious that everyone in the CBC is towing the line.

    This coelition/Dion /Iggy/Rae/Jack he’s in no wait , he’s out, who’s the leader, who’s trained ,whats the team, 1/3 of the team is sworm to bring it down, team members have hated each other and bad mouthed each other since confederation…it won’t last to Christmas.

    This is just a joke and not even worth serious debate, and it will get alot worse. When this explodes every one will run for cover there will be alot of blood everywhere, The CBC will be spinning right out of control.

    Next time at issue please blast the CBC for supporting this … this is truely a joke, Canada diserves more than this.

  247. Bravo GWGM. It is far past time that we had a political leader in this country who called it like it is; the Bloc is a separatist party. What a revolutionary concept!

  248. Rod,

    Last time I checked, the CBC gives Mr. Coyne an opportunity to voice his opinionsat least twice a week on its national news broadcast. Check it out sometime. Why, they even have other pundits on with their views!

    I caution you, however, not everyone always agrees with Mr. Coyne. You may have to have the remote near by and be ready turn down the volume when that happens!

  249. Tasso, you’re assuming that government is capable of “stimulating” the economy. I don’t blame you. Most economists still believe that bunk as well. Some are even accusing Greenspan of causing this whole mess by not lowering interest rates enough. (Paul Krugman’s book The Great Unraveling is full of accusations of this type. The book was released in 2003 – and at the time he seemed to think that Greenspan didn’t try hard enough to keep inflating the housing bubble. Apparently a Fed Funds Rate of 1% wasn’t nearly low enough.)

    However, even with any number of economists misleading you, you should be able to understand that no government can really prevent, shorten, or otherwise alleviate a recession. They certainly can, and should, do things to help us muddle through. (Increase EI eligibility, speeding up some infrastructure spending, for example.) But if you’re expecting Harper, or the Coalition, or Obama, or anyone else, to wave the magic policy wand and “fix” the economy, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment. Not only is a recession inevitable, it is needed. There is far, far too much debt out there, be it consumer debt, corporate debt, or government debt. Sooner or later, it was going to catch up with us. Our only choice is to save (i.e. reduce consumption and debt) until debts return to more reasonable levels. When that happens (as it is right now) it’s called a recession. It tastes awful, but it works.

    It is not “trickle down theory” or “Reaganomics” to believe in the inevitablity of recession. Economists of the left, right and centre all seem to have a God complex that compels them to believe that with just the right policy mix, a recession can be “cured”. That includes many hard-core Reaganomics adherents, like Arthur Laffer (a Reaganomics original – remember the “Laffer Curve”? He believed his curve “proved that a recession could be cured with tax cuts. Those who believe it can be cured with spending are just as naive.). They’re wrong. All of them.

    Don’t believe me? Stick around for awhile. This recession is going to be long, deep, and ugly. Regardless of government’s best efforts. In Canada, the US, Europe, and everywhere else.

  250. Mr. Ennis-Smith – What’s your beef with the CBC? I for one think they should probe further into the foolhardy antics of the conservatives. But be fair – your oblique attack seems irrational and mean-spirited.

    Are you just angry that the CBC coverage is not as partisan as that of the CTV? An editorial you dislike? Was Rex Murphy unfair in leveling disgust at the Prime Minister as well as the others? What would you have a national broadcaster do?

    Your cease and desist argument has no foundation and any conservative that fails to recognize that the reckless behavior of the Prime Minister is the real story is in denial.

    Just check the coverage in US – they a laughing at our Prime Minister and last time I checked they’re not subsidized by the Canadian taxpayer.

  251. Are you all new?

    Burning down the House has ALWAYS been the Liberal way when out of power.


    Rat Packs, Kazoos, Separatists.

    Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.


  252. The impression I get is that the CBC is as tilted toward the Conservatives as all mainstream Canadian media outside the Star and le Devoir (see: almost uniformly Conservative editorial board endorsements the last two elections).

    And I’m not sure any of this qualifies as ‘bias’ (besides of the left-wing diehard holdouts), since there’s been little good to say about the Liberals the last couple years.

    Point: the media isn’t right or left, it’s centrist. It’s naturally predisposed to whoever occupies the centre, and in recent years that has been the Conservatives.

  253. This would be a good clip to play for Canadians, to see what Ignatieff as a leader would look like, as he talked down to the voters from his ivory tower.

    Michael Ignatieff today on CTV’s Question Period;
    “I think I’ve never lacked the capacity to make decisions, but a decisive person knows when he has to make decisions, then makes the decisions he has to make, when he has to make them. I’ve made it very clear I would not hesitate to make decisions, if the party gives me the honour of electing me leader.”cked the capacity to make decisions, but a decisive person knows when he has to make decisions, then makes the decisions he has to make, when he has to make them. I’ve made it very clear I would not hesitate to make decisions, if the party gives me the honour of electing me leader.”

  254. Ranter – My post was in response to the Prime Minister and the minister of finance stating (lying?) that they saw this downturn coming, and in response applied stimulus to deal with it. That “stimulus” was based on tax cuts – GST and corporate – nothing “progressive” which is telling.

    We’d agree quickly that infrastructure spending is an appropriate government response but we’re still waiting…. What – these brilliant politicians called an election with not ideas in the bank? Tax cuts – do little to create jobs in Canada. I expect most Canadians used their GST relief to help purchase big screen TV’s made in Asia.

    Where I fault this government – and I would have been willing to give them a chance – is in the fact that they broke their own law – called an early election on a platform of fixing the economy and then produced absolutely nothing substantive in the economic statement. And in fact, deliberately inflamed partisans on all sides, and national unity cinders across the country.

    Please defend this nonsense. Their actions in calling the election contradicts your argument that the government is powerless to act – and the actions taken in the economic statement were simply insanely irresponsible.

    Why should I support these clowns over the others?

  255. Orville – Keep that thought but to many it sounds more responsible than take a machine gun to your opponents what you have a minority government. Now you’re mocking prudence? Nice platform. Labels: idiots, conservatives

  256. Ignatieff sounds like Donald Rumsfeld with his famous “known unknowns and unknown unknowns” quip.

    I never heard of this guy before last week, but I’ve been out of the country. Where did they get him?

  257. That “stimulus” was based on tax cuts – GST and corporate – nothing “progressive” which is telling

    Actually cutting GST is progressive, because increasing it is regressive.

    But it’s not surprise since “progressives” don’t generally have a clue what they’re talking about.


    Can you imagine –Iggy—- sitting down — to pontificate with the military or other world leaders during a –SERIOUS–crisis, as they all dig out their dictionaries and consult with linguistic specialists —just to figure out what he –MAY –have said—-or said he –MAY ?????? do.

  259. I have no desire to defend the actions of the Conservatives, because for the most part, they’ve been parroting the same nonsense about “stimulus” and “taking action on the economy” as all the other parties. In fact I’ve criticized them for it plenty. If I were running the party, I’d threaten to suspend any caucus member who uttered the word “stimulus” in public. The entire concept of demand management (which is what “stimulus” is all about) is an academic fraud.

    I happen to agree with the corporate tax cuts (I’m more ambivilant on the GST cuts) because I think – long term – those tax cuts will be beneficial to the economy. But when the Tories (and Dion, who actually favoured a further corporate tax reduction – to 14%- in the last election) claim that such cuts will rescue us from recession, or “stimulate the economy”, they are either deluded or lying.

    We are stuck with this recession. We are going to wear it. The Conservatives know that, but won’t admit it. The Liberals ought to know it, but being in Opposition, they can pretend to have the answers. The NDP, in all likeliness, actually believe they have the answers. And the Bloc – well, who knows about the Bloc?

  260. SAINT JOHN – Stephen Harper will have to destroy the Liberal Party to keep his job as prime minister, and that’s not going to happen, Michael Ignatieff said Friday.

    Not True, all Canadians have to do is sit back and watch, this is the best sit com we have ever seen and geeting more interesting by the second. Iggy has shown his true colors just talk to his good friend Dion who he was standing firmly behind.

  261. “GST Tax Cuts” are progressive – nice try Wart – have the doctors got your head screwed on “right”…. Where did you study economics? At the CPC convention? Nice try….

  262. Actually RR, tax cuts are a perfectly legitimate form of stimulus. If the the world’s economists lined up end to end say we should run a deficit, then the way to do that is by leaving money with people so they can use it.

    The best way to create jobs is to cut payroll taxes. Starting a new business is expensive and fraught with complications, mostly caused by the government. Getting rid of those hassles will change things very quickly.

    Even Belarus (Belarus!) has just instituted a 20% flat tax. You don’t think that’s a stimulus?

    The other advantage of tax cuts as a stimulus (as opposed to say, building more Federal Government office buildings and stuffing them full of do-nothing civil servants) is that when the economy turns around, you can raise taxes again (even the NDP knows how to do that) and our political heroes can balance the budget for us once again.

  263. Tasso: no need to insult me – it works like this: everyone pays 5% GST on the things they buy, regardless of whether they’re a single mom or a corporate lawyer. A “progressive” tax would charge the lawyer a higher tax rate, which is why our tax system is considered “progressive”

    In other words, “progressive” is a technical term describing a higher rate based on a higher income level. It has nothing to do with the Marxist concept of historical progress you seem to be advocating.

  264. Wow Ranter – I never thought I’d find a kindred spirit here…. We agree. The corporate tax cuts do help – but the effect is delayed – and as you say demand growth has to be real – so will inevitably be delayed.

    I still argue for infrastructure as the correct government response – and the priority – but why the hell didn’t we start in September instead of putting this gong show is motion? You would support Harper now? The conservatives have to get a credible leader and GET TO WORK!!!!

  265. Wart – 5% is 5%. I’m sorry same rate for me…. Just sounds too much like the CPC playbook – probably “respected” economists would take either side….

  266. Sorry tasso, it’s basic math. If you don’t get it I can’t help beyond providing some simple definitions.

    Lowering the GST theoretically helps poorer people more than it helps richer people because they have to spend a bigger portion of their income on taxable goods. The regressive nature of the tax is one of the reasons I was against the GST in the first place (the other being I didn’t think the government really needed the money more than we did).

    Whether or not this is appropriate policy, you are right that economists would not necessarily agree. But they would agree on the way the terms are used.

  267. Wart – tax cuts will increase economic activity in the “real economy” yes – but where are the jobs? You would reduce payroll taxes and then jack up EI premium to support the growing unemployed in Canada. It just doesn’t make sense – seems to me the Chinese and Koreans should fund their own stimulus package.

    What’s the argument against infrastructure spending/ At least we know the jobs will be in Canada.

  268. You don’t think that people have ideas right here in Canada that don’t involve importing goods from Asia? EI is another payroll tax, I could cut or eliminate that, as well as WCB payments and I’d let employers hold off on sending their payroll deductions to Ottawa by 6 months, interest free. I believe those points have already been put forward, maybe even by the CPC (contrary to your suspicions, I haven’t even a passing familiarity with their platform).

    Infrastructure spending makes sense where it’s needed, especially in telecoms and utilities. Unfortunately those firms are so badly run I’m not sure how you would ever see any benefits from subsidising them.

    Unfortunately most government stimulus packages turn out to be corporate welfare at its worst. The guys that benefit are the ones you saw at the birthday party with Iggy, Harper and Cretien.

    But having said all that, I don’t believe in deficits. It’s the economists of the world that are agitating for stimulus packages. Frankly, I’m suspicious of their science. It’s less rigorous than weather simulations or even computer game physics models, and we all know how bad those are :)

  269. Might Dion be a Tory double-agent who is purposefully acting incompetent to keep the government looking good, by comparison…mmmm?!?

  270. Wart you said: “Unfortunately most government stimulus packages turn out to be corporate welfare at its worst. The guys that benefit are the ones you saw at the birthday party with Iggy, Harper and Cretien”. This is the obvious drawback – but not necessarily a problem that could not be fixed.

    If we could have a more transparent and inclusive process – no doubt we’d do better then with the (ironic) – back room deals of the past.

    Since you have stated your position I’ll throw mine out too – I’m non-aligned – center right and MAD AS HELL!

    The quality of leadership shown is Canada this fall is so dismal – I think many of us are simply beyond belief.

    I read a libertarian tone in your posts – and I’m tempted but there is just too much pain being felt. I sorry – I simply feel that with good – transparent government – good ideas may actually filter to the top.

    I don’t see either of us changing position – but both can agree we essentially have a leadership vacuum – with little to inspire in the wings….

  271. Well, that settles it for me. If Coyne disapproves of Ignatieff, then it’s Igantieff who gets my support. Thanks, Andrew.

  272. Steve Wart, I agree tax cuts help with long term growth. But they won’t “stimulate” anything short term. Neither will gov’t spending really. No such thing as “stimulus”, just good or bad long-term economic policy.

  273. I’m not a libertarian. There aren’t enough guns in my house to keep all my gold safe :)

    But I think government is both necessary and evil and that even the most idealistic politicians betray their principles even before they become elected.

    I favour Harper and the Conservatives because I feel they will do the least damage based on the choices we have. I have school-age kids and I left a good-paying job in the UK last year to come back to Canada. The problems we are seeing here are nothing compared to the damage caused by the credit crisis in the US and Europe.

    People claim that the Conservatives “squandered” a surplus, but I see that the banks here are the most stable in the world and the government finances are in far better shape than most other countries that have benefited from this booming economy.

    While I would love to have another good paying job with a big company, I would rather have the opportunity to be creative and productive. The NDP and their new bedfellows would rather we forget about the work opportunities provided by small businesses and entrepreneurs because they think we can somehow go back to the (non-existent fairytale) days where everyone has a good-paying union job working for a large stable company.

    Unfortunately the days of “large stable companies” are over and I’d rather put my lot in with my community to develop a business that will give my kids the opportunities I think they deserve. I don’t think the coalition is going to help with that.

  274. “What’s the argument against infrastructure spending/ At least we know the jobs will be in Canada.”

    The problem with that approach is that it is very hard to get rid of make-work jobs, because people like having them and governments don’t want to piss off voters. Most countries still have lasting expensive legacies from New Deal programs that were supposed to be temporary.

    Secondly, not all jobs are created equal. Some sectors of the economy have greater productivity growth than others, and produce greater spillovers than others. Infrastructure creates jobs and can be beneficial the economy, but only to a point (there are diminishing returns to scale – you only need so many bridges across the Fraser river). Now, Canada supposedly has an infrastructure deficit so there is room for some spending there, which will create jobs and positive effects from better roads, etc. On the other hand, some modicum of tax relief would also create jobs, and in more productive sectors of the economy. As you note, there would be a greater international leakage from such an approach, as is the risk with all stimulus packages in small open economies.

    Economists calling for a deficit aren’t indifferent to how that deficit is produced. If we got one by say, hiring people to put rocks in the Sidney tar ponds, we would gain no positive externalities from such investment. Other activities, say, military-industrial production, tend to have large spillovers because of the dual-use nature of a lot of military inventions. Of course such work is also less labour intensive.

    One way I would seek to reduce the effects on unemployment would be a massive injection to job re-training and education spending. Getting some of the unemployed into classrooms will reduce the downward pressure on wages, while it also means that once the recession is over, people formerly in Canada’s least competitive sectors (the ones that are tanking) will have jobs in the cutting edge. Moreover, I suspect student loans and such are likely to me spent largely within the Canadian economy. Such a program would shrink in cost naturally as the recession ended, because there would be fewer eligible unemployed people.

  275. I think there’s a point to Manley et al expressing their doubts out of the public eye, rather than publishing them in the Globe And Mail.

    I think it was damned good that someone thought up the Coalition and put a stain in Harper’s and Flaherty’s shorts. They’ll think twice before attemption that stunt again.

    But this “Iggy” shit: Not quite singlehandedly managing to raise simple name-calling from the grade school (and probably junior grade school, the little sophomores just learning to sound out words and challenged by tricky syllables) to the glossy pages of a national (and some would say the national) newsmagazine. I’ll allow Ignatieff is a tricky spelling, not like Harper or Day. And I have been accused for coining “Stevie Wonder” but it was Al Fotheringham who came up with Stockboy Day, but that was earned with all the Flintstones things and his other belief that Lake Ontario flowed into Lake Erie, and I never use it much and besides, I’m not a well paid pundit desirous of the respect of an ever expanding readership. I don’t read Andy Coyne (see, now you’ve got me doing it!) for mean spirited denegration. If you really wish politicians to behave more respectfully perhaps we can start by treating them with at least a little respect. .

  276. Wart -The coalition no one is looking for would be between the Liberals and the Conservatives. I support the notion of a coalition because by nature it must be more inclusive and transparent to function. Call me naïve – call me whatever you like – just give me responsible government.

    The situation we have is a poisoned legislature – sorry to parrot the sound bite – but this is plainly true. If the conservatives would only recognize the responsible choice – buy the golden watch for Harper and get on with it.

    Ignatieff has dropped the rhetoric a notch – clearly he wants to avoid the showdown. Please Mr. Prime Minister – it’s time move on….

  277. Remember corporate welfare bums? How about political welfare bums, our gift from Jean. If it was such a great idea why didn’t he institute on day One of the Reign of Jean instead of 20 minutes before he got the boot?
    Remember Bob Rae’s lament over his failure as the NDP Premier of Ontario? He said it was not him, it was his green crew. That’s leadership?
    Bob you are not a New Democrat, not a New Liberal, you and the inept crew around you are the New Green party.

  278. tasso – be careful what you ask for. I reckon that Liberal party discipline will be in tatters come January and there will be no shortage of centre-right Liberals trying to extricate themselves from the shackles of this ill-advised agreement.

  279. Wart – Me thinks you’re misunderstood me. Ignatieff and just now Le Blanc have both telegraphed that they are willing to talk with the conservatives. There is a new will in the Liberal party to work with the conservatives. I believe that would require a new agreement….

    Desperate or not – it is likely the only chance to avoid open warfare in the House…. Both sides of the House could calm down, if the general that fired the first shot would just go home…

    You think: Untenable? Uninteresting? Impossible?

  280. For the Liberals to try and blame Harper for this mess (crisis) is a bit rich, in that most Canadians know that the opposition in attempting to defeat the Harper government, and forming a coalition of Liberals ,NDP and the Bloc , is what got Canadians up in arms and demonstrations. The Liberals are completely out of touch with Canadians, if they can’t read the pulse of public opinion.

  281. Stevie bye did for the LPC what only Sarah Palin wish she could have done for for her party…. unite a winner! Harper not only united all opposition parties Red, Orange, Green and the BLOC to boot (who are voters also) against him he ignited the passions of Liberals who were about to go into hibernation….. The inside boys must be steaming, ( Hence the websites for his replacement Barid & Prentice) what was he thinking or was he do busy looking into a mirorr? Think the LPC have been around since 1867 and the Reform/Alliance/ Conservatives have never fully governed this country ever! Now Canadians have a clear, clean, concise choice for Change. Ignatieff is well spoken Rhodes Scholar with political savoy and family history from the sad roots of WW II all couched in a sound working knowledge of the world. We are now about to go deeper into this world economic crisis, contrary to the words of Harper Flaherty and Co failed to omit let alone see. (Hello) WTO= World Economy =World Trade= World Banks= Countries of the World…. and now we have hope for two reasons…. Harper must as he stated seek help from nall the Opposition or turn it over their capable hands…. Canada first and foremost for Canadians, the days of wasting time for Harper’s Reform agenda at our expense is over!

  282. Orville – please calm your pulse. If for some misguided reason you feel that the conservative leadership is somehow squeaky clean in this affair – and that the people of Canada share your view – you are WAY out of touch.

    While the first salvo of the “air war” goes the Mr. Harper – there is simply too much sense in the country not to hold him accountable. His position sucks – Ignatieff and friends just stand by watch him stumble as the recession intensifies and then take their shot. It will be like fish in a barrel.

    Just wait until the unemployment woes move west. The pending housing bubble is about to burst – again in the west. Massive job losses in Ontario and Quebec… Do you think Mr. Harper wants to wear this on his own? He may be good – but I don’t like his chances.

    Park the partisan rhetoric and start to think practically about how to get out of this mess. Your party leadership is already there. Have you noticed that Harper is not just avoiding the House? He hasn’t even held a press conference. On Steve Colbert’s “The Word” it would be vacuum!!!

  283. If Iggy wins…..and Harper stays……does this mean Elizabeth May will go away???
    Cuz I’m all for throwin’ out Parliamentary Democracy if it means she goes back to making sure the logs all flow the right way down the river!! Go Iggy….Go Harper!!!

  284. scissorpaws, lighten up a little. We call him Iggy because…. that’s his nickname. You don’t recall him urging his supporters to “get Iggy with it” during his last leadership run? I suppose we should start referring to Rae as ‘Robert’ from now on too, lest ‘Bob’ be misconstrued as disrespectful?

  285. Although I’m kinda partial to Wells’ nickname for him: “The Count”

  286. And it’s way nicer than Crouton (Chretien’s nickname).

  287. “The Count” is good. Much better than “the Igginator.”

  288. Thanks Mike from all CPCer’s today. You did you job well… now um… it’s your turn. Now I know why liberals pine for Trudeau with all his warts etc. At least he had leadership qualities.

  289. I can hope that the Liberals will try and work with the Conservatives. Given what has washed over the country for the last few years, I find it hard to believe. Working together through hard times. What a novel idea. Stephen Harper IS the Prime Minister. He will make mistakes. Any person in the leader’s role would and the future does look challenging. I wonder if ANY of the partisan hacks can put their “bully, sweater wearing control freak” BS aside long enough to ride out the storm.

    It’s not bloody likely, but I can hope.

  290. ” I wonder if ANY of the partisan hacks can put their “bully, sweater wearing control freak” BS aside long enough to ride out the storm.

    It’s not bloody likely, but I can hope.”

    Yes, Harper has done absolutely nothing to earn that reputation.

  291. He wears a sweater.

  292. A prominent BQ MP was calling on Ignatieff to honour the Liberal party’s commitment.

    Layton and Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe wanted the names of all MPs – including all potential Liberal leaders – to sign a proposal for an alternative government when they reached an agreement last week.

    “That’s why we expect Ignatieff to respect the terms of the deal,” said Pierre Paquette, the parliamentary leader of the Bloc Quebecois.

    The agreement proposed a multibillion-dollar stimulus package for the troubled economy, including support for the auto and forestry sectors.

    “Dion, Rae or Ignatieff – it doesn’t make a difference because we have signed a deal with the Liberal Party of Canada, as long as the new Liberal leader respects all the terms of the deal” Paquette said.

  293. Just another Canadian –Here’s a deal. If you’re sincere – contact your MP and share your opinion. Tell him/her you expect them to cooperate in the House. I think, if we don’t apply pressure to these clowns, the current impasse will go on forever.

    The rally I’ll sign up for is the “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this any more” rally. These “I support you carte blanche” rallies are BS. Time to re-earn my respect if you want my vote again.

  294. Yeah, I suppose Harper stops trying to murder the other parties in their sleep, and stops calling them traitors, and generally abandons his partisan psychopath routine, it might be possible to work with him again…

  295. Maggie – I personally believe it’s impractical for Harper to continue for the reasons you’re hinting. But why do we have to lower ourselves to that level? It is possible that Mr. Harper will recognize that his game plan is over and that retirement is looking good. His situation is very grim.

  296. Tom Flanagan, chennelling the ghost of Eugene Forsey, has spoken:

    “Constitutional expert Eugene Forsey famously supported Lord Byng’s refusal of Mackenzie King’s request for an election in 1926, but even Mr. Forsey had to admit that an election would have been necessary if “some great new issue of public policy had arisen, or there had been a major change in the political situation.” The emergence of the opposition coalition has satisfied both those conditions for going back to the voters.

    If, after hearing the pros and cons and knowing what they are voting for, voters give approval to such a coalition, so be it. But the Governor-General, in her role as protector of Canadian democracy, should ensure the people have that opportunity.”

    Dion is playing checkers, Harper is playing beer pong with €5.000 whores and coke while wearing gold plated diapers. Or something.

  297. Maggie… way to tone down the rhetoric

    tasso..I posted in response to your earlier posts on this thread. It may seem like I am a supporter of the right. But, as a Canadian, I too want responsible government. Both parties are cut from the same cloth and we need both parties to keep the cash where it belongs. Look at what 10 years of no opposition did to the Liberals. They have no money, no purpose except lust for power and in general, no regard for the country. The have reaped their just rewards.

    Now is the time to support Canada. With a few years as backbenchers, Liberals can emerge and kick the Cons out when they become complacent. Well maybe only a couple.

    As for Harper, his move was pre-emptive. The play was in action and he put it out for air. If that makes him a bully, Good. If that makes him a control freak, Good. HE is the prime minister. The opposition’s role is to RESPONSIBLY support him. They made a blatant grab for the ring. It was the wrong move. Ask Bob, now that it’s happening to him.

    I support Harpers’ ostracizing of the PPG. They attacked him on a regular basis. Read anything that is published by the hill times. We need a strong leader for now. The only other strong leader is Duceppe and he thinks that he’s better than any Canadian. I respectfully disagree.
    One thing is for sure. A massive bailout of union industries will leave us will massive debt and the inevitable 15 – 30 percent annual interest that will follow.

    Whoever leads better have their act together.

  298. tasso

    Now were talking. The Liberals lost Dion, again and for some strange reason the real partisan hacks are calling for the best Leader in the country to resign.

    Like I said, not bloody likely.

    An election right now would give the conservatives a majority and you hacks would cry BUSH for 4 years
    Canadian Elitists for PROPER (mine not yours) government

    Are you prepared for 20%?

  299. Ok Just – So Harper’s your man. But you sound just like Wart: “better of two evils”. That sounds like one hell of a compromise – especially if you’re suspicious that he and his team are just lining up at the trough like the others.

    Why not a coalition of the right: stable, balanced, built in transparency on spending plans, and able to address the needs of the day without the CAW running the show? Why not?

  300. I for one will really miss Dion. He was the one Liberal who could really make you laugh. His impersonation of a party leader was classic.

    And the movie? Brilliant!! Now we go back to normal boring politics.

  301. Yes Harper is my choice. Unfortunately it’s not the better of two evils. If evil is the choice, it’s the only evil.
    The Liberal need a lot of work to be in a position to run things. They are broke. They have no leader. They have no real support any ANY demographic in the country.

    Ontario tried the NDP route in a the start of the last recession and it sure seems like that attempt at buying a way out of a recession didn’t work. And this one looks like it might be a tad worse. Maybe not, but a lot of countries got sucked in by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We didn’t ( at least not as bad as the rest). And for that the Libs get the credit.

    If it is to be a coalition of the right, some centre right Libs should move to the centre right party – the CPC.

    And the rest of the Liberals should rebuilt their party. We need them.

  302. The Conservatives have a clear record of appealing to the lowest common denominator. Sophistication has never been part of their overall communications strategy, and to their credit, this has worked to their advantage. It’s much easier to appeal to the stupidity in Canadians than to discuss policy and governance in a meaningful way. Getting out the white trash vote is clearly more important than good policy. Congratulations Conservative party! Something to be proud of!

  303. And no mixing of church and state.

    The prayers from church of climate change have come true. We are cutting down on our emissions.
    I’m just wondering where all the sustainable alternatives now.

    I think I’ll go out and buy me an F150.

  304. Kay…you seem bitter, almost angry. Don’t worry Bob Rae will save the day. BTW I like how the Libs are picking their new leader. Very democratic.

  305. Do you know any Conservatives, Kay?

    Do you stereotype as unsophisticated, white trash, stupid, lowest common denominator et al, all who disagree with you in general? Or just those with whom you disagree with politically?

  306. Just another Canadian: don’t you know all those on the left are caring and compassionate while conservatives are knuckle-dragging mouth breathing beer-swilling talk show ranters?

  307. Steve,

    I’m too old to have learned that in school, but in other words, that’s what my kids were taught .

    Hey look kay, no spelling mistakes. Can I apply for Liberal membership, now?

  308. Well Just – the war is on – if you’ve one of the foot soldiers I expected it will be a protracted battle. Perhaps you and Harper have the stomach for it – I’m sure there plenty in the other camp to oblige – dragging knuckles and all…

    Pardon me for being “elitist” – I just don’t think foolhardy pride is worth destroying a great country for.

    Oh and – yes – I do feel disenfranchised – yikes there’s a big word. Hope you know what that means.

    Cheers, Think I’ll get me another beer….

  309. I do not understand the rush to crown Ignatieff. I can’t imagine going to him for leadership – opinions, yes, academic discussion, the weighing of pros and cons, sure. He is a new-minted politician, untested. Can he play politics – at all? Can he excite an electorate? I don’t see it.

  310. Mr. Fraser – Ignatieff plays poker and Steven Harper plays chess…. See how that might work for the Liberals?

  311. tasso,

    You seem reasonable, at times. I’m not sure what you are referring to when you say war.
    Is it the war that Layton declared on Harper? Or does conciliation mean people MUST agree with you.
    Currently, the Liberals are a mess. The NDP should never be allowed to get their hands on the purse strings.
    SOME of their policies make sense, but they would mortgage my grandchildren’s future for nothing.
    That leaves Gilles. Gilles for PM, anyone?

  312. I’m sorry that you feel dis…umm..enfranced… Does that mean if you can’ t vote for a citizen of france you resort to Ad Hominem to make yourself feel better?

  313. Wow Just – a qualified endorsement… Or did you just warm up ‘cause we’re both drinking a beer?

    I will not argue who started the war – perhaps our opinions differ there – but as I already noted both Ignatieff and LeBlanc have opened the door for cooperation – and I believe that takes “stones”…

    I might add that I sincerely think that Harper and Co. would be fools not to work a deal before January 26th. But as I say – pride a tough thing to manage…. And you’ve already called me a hack – so I’m not too optimistic for your support on that…

  314. I’m drinking overpriced Spanish wine. I’ll vote for the first party that promises to end the outrageous tariffs we pay on foreign booze merely to protect the molly-coddled “agri-tourism” wineries in BC and Ontario.

  315. Spanish wine? Hmm – I’ve had better luck with South African and Argentinean recently… Tough call.

  316. tasso,

    You did take a stroll down “Hack” road. IMO.

    That said, I completely agree that Harper and Co. should work out a deal with some Liberals. Preferably, with whoever ends up running that show. If the conciliatory tone is to be had, I think that Liberals might consider swallowing their pride and making a supportive move. After all, Steven Harper is the Prime Minister. And NOW is the time to put partisan nonsense behind us for the common good. NO immediate bailouts. NO quick spending cuts. NO coalitions with separatists.(and they are).
    The Liberals can begin the long walk back to holding the confidence of Canadians. And hopefully there is some humility to spare when they get there.

    Steve – I’d agree with that statement. But I have enjoyed a couple of bottles from Niagara, now and then.

  317. Tasso I have no probs with your politics. You aren’t the problem. The Bloc isn’t even really a problem. Stephen Harper is the problem. Picture a grey Hulk… Hulk not meet at table. Hulk not share Argentinian wine. Hulk not make peace. Hulk kill!

  318. Well Just – I sincerely appreciate the gesture – that’s a big step. My guess is the dorks that do this for real are going to have the meet closer to the middle. But who knows.

    BTW – I expect the auto bailout is going to “go down” – as in proceed. Too expensive to not to – Mr. Clemment’s still non-committal. So there’s some hope for you there. I think the bailouts are cheaper than EI – but Ward just tell them to piss off I think…

    As for my hack status – I think I’ve been consistent. I think Harper has crossed the line and should move out and move on. I wouldn’t want to work for or with him personally – and can’t see why others should have to either.

  319. Clearly David Fraser should be producing the next set of fair and balanced videos for the Liberals. I hear there is a vacancy on the team.

  320. In my 60 years I have proudly voted for all parties except the PQ and Greens. The most intelligent and competent party wins my vote just as the out of touch, inane or vicious parties have never earned my vote. I have read that Canada is a country that takes a lot of killing to die. Thank god for that. Nonetheless, those politicians that would inflame the passions of separation in the west or provinces in the east (do not rule out Ontario given that Ontario is used as a cash cow to fund “have not provinces” and are now denied their fair share of seats in parliament by Harper) are unacceptable to lead the country. Canada is the envy of the world can you imagine the incredulous response of the world to our needless disintegration. More ominously can the present party leaders imagine the price they will pay if they promotion such nonsense and are judged to be deficient and unworthy.
    It seems a reminder is in order and that can best be summed up as 2 seats! It was written in I believe Maclean’s magazine that the country was so enraged with Mulroney that the electorate was a glacier waiting to run over the Conservative party. And they did!
    Message to politicians, we are not America and party leaders are elected to a riding not by the whole country. They can be removed by the party itself or the country in a vote at any time. A minority government is not a divine right to rule for 4 years and arithmetic applies so the right of the majority trumps the lesser numbers of a minority!
    Conservatives stop the lies and the denial of the rule of law! Liberals get your act together and prove you have a superior vision for the country and can defeat a bully that denies our rights while promoting separatism through party affiliation based attacks. This is truly appalling! NDP you must develop a more sophisticated platform for the incredibly complex demands of government. PQ you have an obligation to Canada! You attend our parliament, your rights are respected and you benefit for an inclusive approach the country gives you. All this you take for granted while your province receives billions due to your have not status. Did it ever occur to you that your culture is valued and you will flourish better within Canada than a small county in a continent of 330,000,000 people indifferent to your goals?

  321. tasso,

    I try to take things in context. I still grudgingly admire Chrétien. I’m not sure if he wore sweaters, but he was a bully, a control freak and man, I sure wouldn’t want to work for him. But in general, he was good for Canada. Like Harper is now.

    As for Chrétien, the current banking strength can debatably be laid at his refusal to grant the banks their wish. While he coasted through his tenure, he kept his worst enemy at his right hand. Where he could watch him. He set up this $1.95 nonsense and he took away corporate/union donations. It helped that the right was splintered and the press was generally manipulated and supportive. My point is the best person for the job.

  322. John,

    Interesting, but if a minority government is not a divine right to rule for 4 years, why should a minority government try to re-align the electoral boundaries. Look at what the loyal opposition did for $1.95 a vote. Can you image the fight for each possible $1.95 to be found upon said re-alignment?

  323. Hey Just – So you know – I’m not dishing out Kool Aid. But I appreciate that you’re willing to be civil and I respect our differences. All we have to do is get ALL the goons in parliament to do the same and John here will get to keep his country intact.

    Stay vigilant, be wise, and be nice. “everybody’s got a point”…


  324. tasso,

    Wise words.

  325. Just: “That leaves Gilles. Gilles for PM, anyone?”

    Totally! At this point he’s the only one who doesn’t have a history of cozying up to he separatists.

  326. Well Jack,

    At that I gotta agree. But Parizeau sure gave Gilles at lot of praise for the real deal for a separate Quebec. But any one that thinks the separatist hooker will give you enough pleasure for the price is in for a real shocker when they reach around for their wallet in the morning.

    As a Canadian, I’ve no time for separatists of any flavour. But I respect the root cause of the separatist notion in Quebec. But most people from Quebec rejected that option. Democratically. The continuance of the pandering to the vocal few has given voice to another separatist ideal. And their root causes demand respect. Who deserves the loudest voice Jack? Ontario? Quebec? The west? Who should get the mega dollars from the “stimulate the economy” package? Any bets on where it would go had the “coalition” not been pre-empted by Harper?

  327. Andrew is really turning this magazine into a right wing rag. We used to tell our students to read Macleans for even handed analysis on Canadian politics. Now its just more of the garbage we see from american editorialists.

    Hes not happy enough that him and the right wing media lynch mob destroyed the career of an honourable and decent man, he now sees it neccesary to pre emptively pile on the next leader of the opposition.

    Only in this country would the media dynamic be so bizarre and insulated, that they think it to be reasonable to focus 90 percent of their editorial space to criticizing the opposition rather than the government.

    Whether he knows it or not, Coyne is a pawn for the PMO.

  328. Another lefty that shudders at the notion that only 98% of the media lean liberal.

    You go after that 2% there Tim. Make it 100%!!

  329. And add yet another smart move by Cnada’s self appointed King and parliamentary rules man!

    My oh my…. ode Mr. Fixed Election Date… taxpayer gamble for a majority to a long and early Christmas taxpayer skip out of a non confidence prorogation vote via world humiliation has now seen his Pals in the ADQ and its leader bite the dust…. even with all his taxpayer support. Yup Change is coming…. and it can not come too soon. Now there are three knives sharpened and ready to be flung … Barid, Prentice and Charest…. Have a Happy Christmas Stevie bye…. Charest sure will.

    And Harper thought they were all tucked in their beds waiting for Santa to do all the work for them… boys oh boys…. they have indeed awaken a sleeping giant… then again they have been around since 1867 as apposed to the Reform/Alliance/Conservative…. yup

  330. Tim, do you actually teach this ideology to children? Americans are right wing. Right wing media. FYI Harper is a decent and honourable man. Do you have a problem with the media going after him? Or is Dion sacrosanct with Harper being fair game in a balanced national media?

    The opposition, instead of working together with the government during a time of crisis, tried to grab power and threw the country into turmoil. Again, in a time of crisis.

    Just another point of view that merits discussion. Not an ideological rant from those that hold influence over minors. I truly hope that you are not a teacher, but your opinion is certainly representative of some indoctrinators that my kids called teacher.

    In politics, a consensus is transitory. In science, there is never a consensus to a theory. Bet you preach the opposite to the latter, as well.

  331. JAC

    FYI There is no prize for the most posts…

  332. Iggy’s attempt to grab the helm of the LPC without consulting anyone but his 50 MPs is flying like a lead balloon.

    Talk about all the wrong moves.

    All this guy had to do was appear “STRONG” and for a “UNITED” Canada (as his web ad banners crow)… and he was a shoe-in to beat Mr. Rae Days in May. From there, all he had to do was wait 18 months as Canadians got to know him, and then go head-to-head in an election with a recession PM. Sounds like a plan.

    But what does he do?

    He signs a deal with the separatists… holds a press conference bragging about signing it…. then he notes that he was the last one to do so, as if people are pining for a follower as the leader of the LPC… Then he goes to the wall supporting Dion…. before he says he Stephane has to go… Then he kinda sorta supported the separatist coalition he signed onto…. before disappearing like a fart in a tornado…. thereby kinda sorta signalling that he might not be in favour of it anymore…. before deciding he’d like to be the leader of the LPC TODAY, based on the say-so of four-dozen other followers who also signed the deal with the separatists.

    As a Conservative…. I’m on my knees praying for Iggy’s LPC coup to succeed. Hard as it is to comprehend, this guy is likely more incompetent and indecisive than Dion.

  333. NEWS: Bob Rae just quit the leadership race (heard on CFRB 10:30 a.m.). No joke.

  334. If Ignatieff will be leader of the Liberals and possibly PM in the near future then it is time to start taking a detailed and skeptical look at his resume and credentials. Other than being a prof. in a mostly foreign universities, what were his professional activities? What books did he write? Who published them? Where did he give off-site lectures, which bodies invited/paid him to give the lectures? Which non-academic conferences did he attend? To which non-academic organizations has he belonged, and whose interests do those organizations represent? Did he do non-university consulting, e.g. to write special reports and papers under contract, and if so, for whom, and in which areas?

    I’m not trying to stir the pot or smear the guy, but unlike any other federal political leader in the history of Canada of which I’m aware, he has spent relatively little of his time in the country.

    From dipping into Wikipedia he seems like a warmonger and an apologist for totalitarian state interventions. Do Canadians want a PM who advocates nearly unlimited war and bloody foreign interventions, torture (sorry, “coercive interrogations”) and detention without trial, all for “altruistic” reasons? If there’s one philosophy that’s been completely rebuked and discredited already in the 21st century it’s this kind of brainless, arrogant Bush doctrine, no matter how polished and professorial the spokesman.

    You should start looking into this before it’s too late.

  335. To think of it, the Liberals deserve what they got …from its own leadership choice and the process leading to it…from the Canadian public, and from Stephen Harper…..how pathetic…..

  336. You guys are so incredibly shallow and naïve. I’ll take Ignatieff’s resume of that of Harper these days.

    Let’s have a look at Mr. Harper’s resume: has demonstrated to all Canadians a remarkable lack of judgement, vision, and a strange mean-spirited side that frankly takes middle of the road guys like me out of the conservative realm – perhaps forever. As sitting Prime Minister he has broken his oath of the Privy Council several times, wraps himself in flag but shows a flagrant lack of respect for the institutions of governance of our country.

    I’m NOT sorry – I am capable – and dedicated now to remove this self-absorbed tool from the office of the Prime Minister. If you feel capable – as you are surely dedicated – try to defend your own leader before you bother to conjecture and spread non-truths about a man that you quite clearly don’t know a damn thing about and hate anyway.

    Please – try to convince me that you are not simply idiotic sycophants – because you post nothing here of much substance to persuade me otherwise.

  337. Iggy signed the deal with the separatists, to take power without consulting the people of Canada.

    Iggy stood up at a press conference supporting the deal with the separatists. The same deal that would make Jack Layton a senior member of Canada’s government.

    Iggy ran and hid when the heat was on, abandoning his so-called partners.

    Iggy said Dion was the main to lead the Libs until May.

    Iggy has taken control of the party without the consent of its members.

    What more do you need to know about the man? Seriously.

    The Conservatives are no doubt doing the final edits on their campaign commercials right now.

  338. Mr. Ignatieff’:

    – Has greed to his party’s plan to use legitimate constitutional measures in an attempt to remove a depraved leader from office. (note -–if it was not legitimate why was Mr. Harper so scared?)
    – Did not sign the agreement – he DID sign a letter to the Governor General stating that he lended his support.
    – Was actually not at the press conference.
    – Bloc members are legitimate members of parliament, who remarkably, have show more respect for the rules of parliament than the conservatives.
    – Did not prorogue parliament to avoid confronting his peers and has submitted to several press scrums. In contrast – Mr. Harper doesn’t even have the stones to hold a press conference. Please define “hiding”
    – Supported his leader faithfully. (you have a issue with that? There’s irony)
    – Has followed the rules as put forth by his party’s leadership race fully – which are now irrelevant since he’s been declared by acclamation. I’d like to see Harper face a leadership contest right now!

    Any other point you’d like to debate gwgm? I and Mr. Ignatieff’ will be happy to oblige. Time for Mr. Harper to take a permanent vacation and to give parliament back to people who are willing to serve the interests this country ahead of their own political party. Again – YOU need a new leader…. I will not recognize Steven Harper as my leader anymore.

  339. oompus boompus,

    You’re using Wikipedia to make your judgements? Did you get confirmation from the Drudge Report?

    Seriously, Ignatieff’s books are in most public libraries. Read them and then make up your mind. For instance, if you read “The Lesser Evil” (pgs 136-143, if I’m not mistaken), you’d realize that Ignatieff believes that there should be an absolute ban on torture.

    But don’t let facts get in the way of your opinions.

  340. “Permissible duress might include forms of sleep deprivation that do not result in lasting harm to mental or physical health, together with disinformation and disorientation (like keeping prisoners in hoods) that would produce stress. What crosses the line into the impermissible would be any physical coercion or abuse, any involuntary use of drugs or serums, any withholding of necessary medicines or basic food, water and essential rest.”

    Michael Ignatieff

    At least he’s against knouting.

  341. Well said, Alex. We’re going to hear all sorts of nonsense about Ignatieff’s intellectual history spoken by people who haven’t read any of his book, to people who haven’t read any of his books. I’m not saying I, or anyone, needs to agree with all of his opinions, past or present, but people should at least equip themselves with facts. Sadly, in this age of sound bite democracy, I’m not sure facts hold credibility any more.

  342. Read the quote pasted above. The man contradicts himself in adjoining sentences. But don’t let the plain meanings of words and common sense get in the way of your opinions.

  343. The quote seems pretty clear to me. And I don’t see a single contradiction. If you want contradictions, look up some of Harper’s past op-eds and compare them to what he says and does today on matters pertaining to anything.

  344. “Permissible duress might include … sleep deprivation … impermissible would be … any withholding of … essential rest”

    Read much?

    Of course Harper is also a liar and a hypocrite. He’s a politician.

  345. Oh my god – and the spin begins…. Dudes – perhaps we should dissect the Prime Ministers interview from today first….

    I think Canadians are simply not willing to listen to another smear campaign. Why not just work on some sound economic policy and we can have a fight about something of substance. If you guys think another round of spin is going to keep the good ship tory afloat – I think you’re delusional at best….

  346. Steve Wart
    Dec 8, 2008 22:29

    “Clearly David Fraser should be producing the next set of fair and balanced videos for the Liberals. I hear there is a vacancy on the team.”

    I have just downloaded the latest Final Cut Pro HD. Should I use “actors” or “real” people?

  347. Bob Rae as first mate and Ignatieff as captain works for me. I would prefer Bob as prime minister, but he’ll get there inevitably, I suspect. But for now, Radwanski’s analysis is pretty exciting. Ignatieff stays high toned, and serene, and appealing to people across the country, while Rae uses his prodigious, unmatched skills (I have never seen his equal in debate) chews Harper’s legs off in the dog House.

    Early New Year’s resolution: David, stop mexing mitaphors.

  348. …chews Harper’s legs off in the dog House.

    Bob Rae – ankle-biter.

    Sounds about right.

  349. oompus, if you can’t say there is a difference between a thug wanting nappy time and being deprived of it, and a prisoner who requires rest due to an existing medical condition that would make its deprivation life threatening, you are ridiculous. You know, part of reading is comprehension, not just selecting words out of a paragraph.

  350. Just replying to the comment that without the coalition Stephen Harper would be “Supreme Commander of Canada” That’s just hyperbolic nonsense, and sadly, this is the way that most left-wingers think.
    Could it be that the left wing is just as “totalitarian” as the right?

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