Mansbridge v. Layton

The NDP leader talks to the CBC host.

Layton said “there’s no question” Harper’s goal in 2004 talks with his party and the Bloc Quebecois was to become prime minister. Harper has also denied that he was trying to topple the Martin government and seize power in 2004.

Layton told Mansbridge that Harper is “fabricating things here.” Layton said the Conservative leader, who was then the Leader of the Official Opposition, was the driving force for the “arrangement” with other opposition parties at the time. ”We were called together by Stephen Harper to send a letter to the governor general to make it clear that if Paul Martin was defeated by the speech from the throne, she should turn to the other parties to govern,” Layton told the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge on board his campaign bus near Charlottetown. ”There was no question about it that the ultimate goal here was for Stephen Harper to become prime minister.”




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Mansbridge v. Layton

  1. Layton said he started having doubts about the 2004 plan that was to be presented to then-governor general Adrienne Clarkson.

    In a "one-on-one" conversation with Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe, Layton said he questioned whether to go ahead with the plan.

  2. Layton said he started having doubts about the 2004 plan that was to be presented to then-governor general Adrienne Clarkson.

    In a "one-on-one" conversation with Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe, Layton said he questioned whether to go ahead with the plan.

  3. Layton said he started having doubts about the 2004 plan that was to be presented to then-governor general Adrienne Clarkson.

    In a "one-on-one" conversation with Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe, Layton said he questioned whether to go ahead with the plan.

    "I said 'Are you ready to make Stephen Harper prime minister?' and he said he was," Layton said. "And I said, 'Well I'm not.' "

    Well, Jack, if you say now that you weren't prepared to make Mr. Harper Prime Minister when you signed that agreement then you must not have thought you were signing an agreement to form a coalition. Something Stephen Harper stated at the debate and which you disagreed with.
    So which is it, Jack? Did you sign an agreement to form a coalition without realizing you were making Stephen Harper Prime Minister? That would indicate poor foresight.
    Or did you simply sign a document urging Clarkson to consider other options. Something Stephen Harper has insisted from the start. Which would make you a liar during the debates.

    So, does Jack Layton have poor foresight, or is he a liar?

  4. Layton said he started having doubts about the 2004 plan that was to be presented to then-governor general Adrienne Clarkson.

    In a "one-on-one" conversation with Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe, Layton said he questioned whether to go ahead with the plan.

    "I said 'Are you ready to make Stephen Harper prime minister?' and he said he was," Layton said. "And I said, 'Well I'm not.' "

    Well, Jack, if you say now that you weren't prepared to make Mr. Harper Prime Minister when you signed that agreement then you must not have thought you were signing an agreement to form a coalition. Something Stephen Harper stated at the debate and which you disagreed with.
    So which is it, Jack? Did you sign an agreement to form a coalition without realizing you were making Stephen Harper Prime Minister? That would indicate poor foresight.
    Or did you simply sign a document urging Clarkson to consider other options. Something Stephen Harper has insisted from the start. Which would make you a liar during the debates.

    So, does Jack Layton have poor foresight, or is he a liar?

    • What other options? There is only one.

      • Well, Andrew, if you listen to the entire Layton/Mansbridge interview, you will hear Jack say that ultimately the Martin government remained in power because some of the opposition recomendations had been implemented.

        To implement some of the opposition demands as outlined in the 2004 letter, was indeed the other option and Martin had taken it to heart.

        Harper has always insisted that the cooperative effort by the opposition parties was to make Parliament work better, and Marting had partially complied. Hence, the government did remain in place, untill Harper got a mandate from the people, by means of an election, to form the next minority government………………………..as has been stated by Harper many, many times.

        • But that has nothing to do with the GG. What options did SH want the GG to consider? She had no control over what Martin did or did not do.

          • Andrew, why are you avoiding what Layton has said?

            Layton has said many things:

            Layton 2004 at the newsconference: no coalition is signed here

            Layton 2011 during the debates: the 2004 letter was a coalition agreement

            Layton 2011 during interview with Mansbridge: "I did no longer attend the meetings" Mansbridge:"did you cross out your signature?" Layton: "No, I did no longer attend the meetings and shorty thereafter Martin implemented some of the recomendations and the governemt did not fall (roughly quoted)"

            So, what is Jack saying?

            If there was a coalition agreement signed, then would he not have had to cross out the signature of such agreement existing if he werer to walk away from a signed coalition?

            Or, if he did sign a coalition agreement, does his signature not mean anything, could he just walk away?

            And if he did sign a coalition agreement, was he then, at time of such signing, not aware that Harper would be PM? Or did Jack not understand what he had signed.

            Or, what he had signed was indeed NOT a coalition agreement, but was merely an agreement for better cooperation, and therefore he had not signed onto anything of subtance.

            Jack is trying to have it both ways and that is IMPOSSIBLE. Please address it for a change.

          • I suspect the letter was mostly an empty gesture, designed to let Paul Martin know that this was no longer a Liberal majority and the collective opposition had power that could not be ignored. But these parties would not have realistically been able to form a government capable of doing anything but imposing a few accoutability measures before having an election. Within a year, when the government nearly fell on the budget, there was no talk of coalitions or other arrangements, it was clear an election would have happened.

          • And Harper has always said as much. Harper has said that the 2004 agreement was all about letting Martin know that the opposition was paying attention to the situation. Harper, at one time, called it a bluff, to put the heat under Martin. And so it was.

          • And this is the key part of the whole coalition issue, when people keep trying to pin it on Harper. It is not realistic that he would form a coalition with the others. He has governed for 5 years strictly on the cowardice of whatever opposition party happened to be hurting most in the polls at the time (usually the Liberals), and in a minority would continue to do that. What the Liberals and NDP would do is a real question.

            The point is to play gotcha and show Harper to be lying or hypocritcal, which is an attack I'm sure he'd be happy to face all the way to voting day. He's a politician, that's enough evidence for most people that he's a liar and a hypocrite. That won't change their vote. Not liking what he'll do with another mandate might change their vote.

          • Exactly, it's the letter to the GG that is the key. You don't write to her to keep her up on house strategy by the opposition.

          • Obviously, you have never been involved in playing the political games or have never been involved in any other negotiations.

            The opposition parties were not serious about forming any thing close to a coalition government. But by handing the GG a letter showing serious cooperation between the opposition parties, did show Martin that change was blowing in the wind. To hear the blowing of the wind can do wonders in negotiations.

            And, just like Layton states in the Mansbridge/Layton interview (watch the whole thing and you shall hear it): Martin did implement some of the opposition recomendation and hence, the government could hold on for a while longer.

            So, why don't you want to hear what Layton is telling you in the video?

          • What options was he referring to? The only option available to the GG was to allow someone else to seek the confidence of the House. It has nothing to do with a coalition, but has something to do with the second party trying to form a working majority to govern the country. It's what Harper was referring to in 2004. It's not nefarious. He could not have meant anything else.

          • If you read over my posts, you know exactly how I think about it. And my thoughts on this are grounded in common sense. Harper has always been consistent on this one. It is Duceppe and Layton who have various versions thereof and those versions are contradictory and illogical.

            So, you're still not willing to address Layton's various contradictory answers.

            That's fine.

            I have time and will await your response.

            In the meantime, you could watch this video, and let Harper and Layton and Duceppe speak for themselves.

            http://cpac.ca/forms/index.asp?dsp=template&a

  5. It would appear that Mr. Harper is a revisionist. When asked this question by Evan Solomon, he did not deny that he was trying to form a coalition.

    Solomon: So why did you write that letter to the Governor-General with Gilles Duceppe and Jack Layton saying in the event of a confidence vote situation do not call a snap election – are we to assume that therefore you're working to form a coalition?

  6. It would appear that Mr. Harper is a revisionist. When asked this question by Evan Solomon, he did not deny that he was trying to form a coalition.

    Solomon: So why did you write that letter to the Governor-General with Gilles Duceppe and Jack Layton saying in the event of a confidence vote situation do not call a snap election – are we to assume that therefore you're working to form a coalition?

    • So Harper didn't deny doing something that didn't happen in 2006? Has Iggy denied shooting JFK yet?

  7. 'Fabricating'….making things up….lying.

  8. 'Fabricating'….making things up….lying.

  9. Looks like Layton is going to give Harper his majority this time by splitting the vote. Time for the liberals and ndp to join forces.

  10. Looks like Layton is going to give Harper his majority this time by splitting the vote. Time for the liberals and ndp to join forces.

  11. Lib partisans, Layton is coming after the soft supporters of your party and is doing a damn fine job of it so far. That's why polls yesterday showed NDP and Libs neck 'n neck, Layton is eating Iggy's lunch and Libs have no response.

    • Leadership numbers or voter intention numbers?

  12. Lib partisans, Layton is coming after the soft supporters of your party and is doing a damn fine job of it so far. That's why polls yesterday showed NDP and Libs neck 'n neck, Layton is eating Iggy's lunch and Libs have no response.

  13. Didn't you know? The Liberals are the 3rd place party now. Its the liberals fault they are splitting the vote. <meme starts NOW>

  14. What other options? There is only one.

  15. Good luck with that.

  16. Good luck with that.

  17. Well, Andrew, if you listen to the entire Layton/Mansbridge interview, you will hear Jack say that ultimately the Martin government remained in power because some of the opposition recomendations had been implemented.

    To implement some of the opposition demands as outlined in the 2004 letter, was indeed the other option and Martin had taken it to heart.

    Harper has always insisted that the cooperative effort by the opposition parties was to make Parliament work better, and Marting had partially complied. Hence, the government did remain in place, untill Harper got a mandate from the people, by means of an election, to form the next minority government………………………..as has been stated by Harper many, many times.

  18. But that has nothing to do with the GG. What options did SH want the GG to consider? She had no control over what Martin did or did not do.

  19. Andrew, why are you avoiding what Layton has said?

    Layton has said many things:

    Layton 2004 at the newsconference: no coalition is signed here

    Layton 2011 during the debates: the 2004 letter was a coalition agreement

    Layton 2011 during interview with Mansbridge: "I did no longer attend the meetings" Mansbridge:"did you cross out your signature?" Layton: "No, I did no longer attend the meetings and shorty thereafter Martin implemented some of the recomendations and the governemt did not fall (roughly quoted)"

    So, what is Jack saying?

    If there was a coalition agreement signed, then would he not have had to cross out the signature of such agreement existing if he werer to walk away from a signed coalition?

    Or, if he did sign a coalition agreement, does his signature not mean anything, could he just walk away?

    And if he did sign a coalition agreement, was he then, at time of such signing, not aware that Harper would be PM? Or did Jack not understand what he had signed.

    Or, what he had signed was indeed NOT a coalition agreement, but was merely an agreement for better cooperation, and therefore he had not signed onto anything of subtance.

    Jack is trying to have it both ways and that is IMPOSSIBLE. Please address it for a change.

  20. Possibly both.

  21. Exactly, it's the letter to the GG that is the key. You don't write to her to keep her up on house strategy by the opposition.

  22. Agreed!!

    If the Liberals are running on a NDP platform, then why would the voter not choose Layton to carry his own platform into the House of Commons. The man has worked for it long and hard.

  23. Agreed!!

    If the Liberals are running on a NDP platform, then why would the voter not choose Layton to carry his own platform into the House of Commons. The man has worked for it long and hard.

  24. I suspect the letter was mostly an empty gesture, designed to let Paul Martin know that this was no longer a Liberal majority and the collective opposition had power that could not be ignored. But these parties would not have realistically been able to form a government capable of doing anything but imposing a few accoutability measures before having an election. Within a year, when the government nearly fell on the budget, there was no talk of coalitions or other arrangements, it was clear an election would have happened.

  25. And Harper has always said as much. Harper has said that the 2004 agreement was all about letting Martin know that the opposition was paying attention to the situation. Harper, at one time, called it a bluff, to put the heat under Martin. And so it was.

  26. Obviously, you have never been involved in playing the political games or have never been involved in any other negotiations.

    The opposition parties were not serious about forming any thing close to a coalition government. But by handing the GG a letter showing serious cooperation between the opposition parties, did show Martin that change was blowing in the wind. To hear the blowing of the wind can do wonders in negotiations.

    And, just like Layton states in the Mansbridge/Layton interview (watch the whole thing and you shall hear it): Martin did implement some of the opposition recomendation and hence, the government could hold on for a while longer.

    So, why don't you want to hear what Layton is telling you in the video?

  27. Leadership numbers or voter intention numbers?

  28. And this is the key part of the whole coalition issue, when people keep trying to pin it on Harper. It is not realistic that he would form a coalition with the others. He has governed for 5 years strictly on the cowardice of whatever opposition party happened to be hurting most in the polls at the time (usually the Liberals), and in a minority would continue to do that. What the Liberals and NDP would do is a real question.

    The point is to play gotcha and show Harper to be lying or hypocritcal, which is an attack I'm sure he'd be happy to face all the way to voting day. He's a politician, that's enough evidence for most people that he's a liar and a hypocrite. That won't change their vote. Not liking what he'll do with another mandate might change their vote.

  29. I don't think a momentary variation in the polls should change anyone's strategy – the parties all have more and better polls than we do, for one thing – but one must note that the Liberals don't criticize the NDP very often or effectively on the campaign trail. They prefer to stick to the narrative that they're the only alternative to the Tories and switching gears would be hard.

  30. "Layton told Mansbridge that Harper is “fabricating things here.” Layton said the Conservative leader, who was then the Leader of the Official Opposition, was the driving force for the “arrangement” with other opposition parties at the time."

    As Harper was the Leader of the Official Opposition, it was entirely appropriate that he be the "driving force" behind the arrangement – so what's Layton's point, exactly?

    In response to Harper's fearmongering about "coalitions", it makes sense for Iggy, Layton and Duceppe to waive the 2004
    letter in Harper's face. I think Harper's response – essentially "that was then, this is now" – has been sufficient to keep the issue from flaring up. If it does, however, I think there is a lot more Harper can say about the circumstances leading up to the 2004 letter to differentiate it from what Harper thinks Iggy/Layton/Duceppe will do in the event of another CPC majority.

    In particular, my (admittedly vague) recollection is that, by the fall of 2004, Martin had already demonstrated a willingness to play fast and loose with parliamentary protocols – IIRC, he had already lost one non-confidence motion (which he chose to ignore, to (again, IIRC) Andrew Coyne's great chagrin) and he'd had to play political hardball (whispering sweet nothings in Stronach's ear) to avoid losing another. In that context, Harper et al reminding the GG that there was the option, in the event of Martin losing another confidence motion, of inviting the other parties to govern rather than calling an election, was arguably appropriate.

    Put another way, the 2004 coalition would have been formed reactively, if Martin made yet another attempt to cling to power in the face of non-confidence, whereas the 2008/2011 coalitions have to be seen as proactive attempts to grab power from the party with at least the pre-emptive entitlement to govern.

  31. "Layton told Mansbridge that Harper is “fabricating things here.” Layton said the Conservative leader, who was then the Leader of the Official Opposition, was the driving force for the “arrangement” with other opposition parties at the time."

    As Harper was the Leader of the Official Opposition, it was entirely appropriate that he be the "driving force" behind the arrangement – so what's Layton's point, exactly?

    In response to Harper's fearmongering about "coalitions", it makes sense for Iggy, Layton and Duceppe to waive the 2004
    letter in Harper's face. I think Harper's response – essentially "that was then, this is now" – has been sufficient to keep the issue from flaring up. If it does, however, I think there is a lot more Harper can say about the circumstances leading up to the 2004 letter to differentiate it from what Harper thinks Iggy/Layton/Duceppe will do in the event of another CPC majority.

    In particular, my (admittedly vague) recollection is that, by the fall of 2004, Martin had already demonstrated a willingness to play fast and loose with parliamentary protocols – IIRC, he had already lost one non-confidence motion (which he chose to ignore, to (again, IIRC) Andrew Coyne's great chagrin) and he'd had to play political hardball (whispering sweet nothings in Stronach's ear) to avoid losing another. In that context, Harper et al reminding the GG that there was the option, in the event of Martin losing another confidence motion, of inviting the other parties to govern rather than calling an election, was arguably appropriate.

    Put another way, the 2004 coalition would have been formed reactively, if Martin made yet another attempt to cling to power in the face of non-confidence, whereas the 2008/2011 coalitions have to be seen as proactive attempts to grab power from the party with at least the pre-emptive entitlement to govern.

  32. What options was he referring to? The only option available to the GG was to allow someone else to seek the confidence of the House. It has nothing to do with a coalition, but has something to do with the second party trying to form a working majority to govern the country. It's what Harper was referring to in 2004. It's not nefarious. He could not have meant anything else.

  33. One thing that has never been made clear during the 2004 discussions is whether Mr Harper was willing to give Mr Layton any seats in his cabinet. That was part of the signed Coalition agreement with Dion. I can't help but wonder if Mr Layton didn't mind being milked but he wasn't prepared to give the milk away for free.

  34. Harper will never, ever, form a coalition with the BQ.

    Everyone knows that.

    The question is: Why are people so desperate to believe otherwise?

  35. If you read over my posts, you know exactly how I think about it. And my thoughts on this are grounded in common sense. Harper has always been consistent on this one. It is Duceppe and Layton who have various versions thereof and those versions are contradictory and illogical.

    So, you're still not willing to address Layton's various contradictory answers.

    That's fine.

    I have time and will await your response.

    In the meantime, you could watch this video, and let Harper and Layton and Duceppe speak for themselves.

    http://cpac.ca/forms/index.asp?dsp=template&a

  36. So Harper didn't deny doing something that didn't happen in 2006? Has Iggy denied shooting JFK yet?

  37. In my opinion, the question is why is everybody accusing him of forming a coalition in 2006, when it clearly did not happen. Jack and Gilles are simply lying because they know the lazy and complacent lefty media will let them get away with it. Nobody ever calls Jack or Gilles on their lies.

    • 2004 rather than 2006, but your point is well taken, and I agree with you that the media should have flushed out their lies a long time ago. I'm still waiting for that to happen.

      In the beginning of this campaign, I would go as far as to say that most members of the media were willing to help Jack and Gilles out with their lies, in fact, aiding them to freely construct their lies. I found it disgusting.

      • My mistake on the year, you are correct.

        I can't say I find it surprising that the media help the BQ and Dippers. The media wants to see a coalition government in the worst way. They would in LIKE the BQ to be in power, because another referendum would mean they could go into another hysterical tizzy for months. A stable CPC majority would be the worst thing that could happen to the media. Nothing to write about but competent government, and that won't sell papers.

  38. In my opinion, the question is why is everybody accusing him of forming a coalition in 2006, when it clearly did not happen. Jack and Gilles are simply lying because they know the lazy and complacent lefty media will let them get away with it. Nobody ever calls Jack or Gilles on their lies.

  39. I wouldn't categorize the NDP's growth over the last 10 years as a "momentary variation". The NDP under Layton have been gaining seats for years. The Liberals under a whole bunch of leaders have been losing seats for years. The long-term trend is entirely in the NDP's favor. The Liberals haven't been able to gain traction with any segment of Canadian outside of Hardcore Liberals.

    I agree, that the one poll doesn't guarantee the NDP a second place finish. But they couldn't ask for a rosier outlook at the moment, and if they were to beat the Liberals, I'm pretty sure the Libs would just roll over and die.

  40. I wouldn't categorize the NDP's growth over the last 10 years as a "momentary variation". The NDP under Layton have been gaining seats for years. The Liberals under a whole bunch of leaders have been losing seats for years. The long-term trend is entirely in the NDP's favor. The Liberals haven't been able to gain traction with any segment of Canadian outside of Hardcore Liberals.

    I agree, that the one poll doesn't guarantee the NDP a second place finish. But they couldn't ask for a rosier outlook at the moment, and if they were to beat the Liberals, I'm pretty sure the Libs would just roll over and die.

  41. 2004 rather than 2006, but your point is well taken, and I agree with you that the media should have flushed out their lies a long time ago. I'm still waiting for that to happen.

    In the beginning of this campaign, I would go as far as to say that most members of the media were willing to help Jack and Gilles out with their lies, in fact, aiding them to freely construct their lies. I found it disgusting.

  42. My mistake on the year, you are correct.

    I can't say I find it surprising that the media help the BQ and Dippers. The media wants to see a coalition government in the worst way. They would in LIKE the BQ to be in power, because another referendum would mean they could go into another hysterical tizzy for months. A stable CPC majority would be the worst thing that could happen to the media. Nothing to write about but competent government, and that won't sell papers.

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