'Politics is Broken' - Macleans.ca
 

‘Politics is Broken’


 

The Agenda is running a series on the state of our politics, the first instalment (below) covered the state of political parties. Tune in Monday night to watch me and some far smarter people try to fix Parliament.


 

‘Politics is Broken’

  1. Compared to the US budget crisis and a hung government, our system rocks.

  2. Compared to the US budget crisis and a hung government, our system rocks.

    • Talk about a low bar.

  3. Be wary of those who create the expectation of a "perfect" political system. Our democracy is messy, and so it should be.

    Nice, clean, definitive methods,

    answers easily provided by "experts",

    tend towards the authoritarian.

  4. Be wary of those who create the expectation of a "perfect" political system. Our democracy is messy, and so it should be.

    Nice, clean, definitive methods,

    answers easily provided by "experts",

    tend towards the authoritarian.

    • So does being contemptuous of parliament.

      • Well, except that one would imagine authoritarian to be for the purpose of holding on to power no matter what, and holding your opponents down so that they can't even see the light of day…

        Whereas the even you are referring to caused SH to lose power, perhaps for good. Not a very good authoritarian if you ask me.

    • Well, said, I agree.

      • So you agree then — Stephen Harper is a megalomaniac narcissist?

      • Oh, and I don't dislike Harper–the way I don't dislike a model in an art class or a rat in a research lab.

    • It's a rare thing, chet, but for once I have to agree with you.

      That doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement, though.

    • I agree completely. Those wanting a perfect system usually want what they, specifically want. Wherry does not like the fact that his party is losing so he thinks it's broken. Others think that precisely because the Libs are losing the system works. Either way democracy prevails!

  5. Also be wary of the motives and timing of those who say our system is "broken",

    for it usually comes at a time when those doing the complaining, believe the "system" has not put forth the "correct" party, and hence proclaim the process itself is illigitimate.

    Again, such rationale tends toward the authoritarian.

  6. Also be wary of the motives and timing of those who say our system is "broken",

    for it usually comes at a time when those doing the complaining, believe the "system" has not put forth the "correct" party, and hence proclaim the process itself is illigitimate.

    Again, such rationale tends toward the authoritarian.

    • Some valid points there Chet…one should be vigilant and wary of others motives.

      Couldn't agree more about your comment about democracy being 'messy'…no doubt you are equally concerned about how the concept of coalitions within our parliamentary system has been mischaracterized as 'undemocratic, reckless' and comparable with coups!

      • Yes.

        Promising the public that you won't form a coalition and then doing precisely that (as Dion did) is not like a coup in the least. It's underhanded. But as long as we have voters they'll have the final say.

        So for instance, after promising "no coalition" yet again, this time by Iggy, and he does form a coalition, I'm a firm believer in the power of the voter.

        If that should come to pass, such a coalition would likely be very fragile, ultimately come apart in short order, prompt another election in which the Liberals would be sent to the wilderness for even longer than following adscam.

        Democracy is a wonderful thing.

        • Chet must have left the mike open. No way this considered opinion was meant to be aired.

          Wonder how long it'll take you to contradict it? I'd give it a day max.

          • In Britain, the "ch" that begins a noun is pronounced as our Canadian "sh", so "chet" becomes "shet".
            So, now, who else is "up to here" with his "chet" ?

          • …..not true—-I have heard chet voice the same opinion about coalitions before. His respect for the voter tells me our democracy is safer with that type of thinking then the type that hopes for a Liberal revival at any cost.

  7. I saw a good portion of this earlier this week. Interesting stuff. Is the upshot of comparing parties to churches that the main ones remaining are fundamentalists? Lots of discussion in recent years about the disconnect between Ottawa partisanship and the average citizen and how it's leading to more voter indifference. However, if the only ones remaining in the parties are the partisan fundamentalists who are blindly loyal to the cause, where the end justifies any means, will there be any motivation for these parties to change? Without a moderating voice from within to push for the change, they're unlikely to change on their own.

  8. I saw a good portion of this earlier this week. Interesting stuff. Is the upshot of comparing parties to churches that the main ones remaining are fundamentalists? Lots of discussion in recent years about the disconnect between Ottawa partisanship and the average citizen and how it's leading to more voter indifference. However, if the only ones remaining in the parties are the partisan fundamentalists who are blindly loyal to the cause, where the end justifies any means, will there be any motivation for these parties to change? Without a moderating voice from within to push for the change, they're unlikely to change on their own.

    • Good point. What if the party is headed by a leader that does not welcome "a moderating voice from within to push for the change" what if that leader expells anyone that says anything without getting permission from the leader first? Harper comes to mind!

  9. Some valid points there Chet…one should be vigilant and wary of others motives.

    Couldn't agree more about your comment about democracy being 'messy'…no doubt you are equally concerned about how the concept of coalitions within our parliamentary system has been mischaracterized as 'undemocratic, reckless' and comparable with coups!

  10. So does being contemptuous of parliament.

  11. I watched other day and it was good discussion. The Agenda produces some terrific informative episodes.

    I have not seen or heard you before Wherry, just read you here, so I am looking forward to seeing you on Monday. Are you studying today so you sound clever tomorrow? Good luck!

    One of my suggestions for fixing Parliament is for parties/pols to take politics seriously. I think it is outrageous that health funding, and balancing budget, two biggest issues facing Fed gov't were decided on the hoof thursday evening/fri morning.

    wtf?!?!?!?!?!?

  12. I watched other day and it was good discussion. The Agenda produces some terrific informative episodes.

    I have not seen or heard you before Wherry, just read you here, so I am looking forward to seeing you on Monday. Are you studying today so you sound clever tomorrow? Good luck!

    One of my suggestions for fixing Parliament is for parties/pols to take politics seriously. I think it is outrageous that health funding, and balancing budget, two biggest issues facing Fed gov't were decided on the hoof thursday evening/fri morning.

    wtf?!?!?!?!?!?

  13. Good point. What if the party is headed by a leader that does not welcome "a moderating voice from within to push for the change" what if that leader expells anyone that says anything without getting permission from the leader first? Harper comes to mind!

  14. I just heard Harper in Quebec talking about a coalition again. He just asked the audiance if increasing their taxes is a good thing when we are in 'economic recovery'. Even though the liberals are saying they will increase corporate taxes and not personal taxes. He is a liar through and through.
    The next news item was how the Republicans are 'pressuring Harper to reduce the deficit'. Just shows you who his real bosses are and it's not 'we the people'.

  15. I just heard Harper in Quebec talking about a coalition again. He just asked the audiance if increasing their taxes is a good thing when we are in 'economic recovery'. Even though the liberals are saying they will increase corporate taxes and not personal taxes. He is a liar through and through.
    The next news item was how the Republicans are 'pressuring Harper to reduce the deficit'. Just shows you who his real bosses are and it's not 'we the people'.

    • Giorno was back on the coalition mumbo jumbo today on QP. He and Harper – neither can look anyone straight in the eye – sure sign of a fabricator.

    • Firstly,

      an increase in corporate taxes IS an increase in all of us…unless you live off the land and don't buy goods from corporations, aren't employed by one, and don't own any mutual funds or have a pension (they invest in corporations).

      But aside from that, I suspect Harper is also drawing a logical conclusion that by virtue of Iggy's lavish promises of government programs, taxes will have to be raised to pay for all of them, not just on corporations but on individuals.

      Unless of course you believe Iggy when he promises you everything under the Sun, AND it won't cost you dime.

      • I see Harper finally admitted today that he doesn't have a price guarantee on the F 35's. But I'm sure Flaherty can wrustle up some savings to pay for them. I hear he's going to recommend switching from staples to re-useable paper clips.

        • Part of their "green" strategy.

      • "an increase in corporate taxes IS an increase in all of us…unless you live off the land and don't buy goods from corporations, aren't employed by one, and don't own any mutual funds or have a pension (they invest in corporations)"

        oThat's another untruth Flaherty is peddling. That increases to the corporations are automatically passed on to consumers. Corps price according to S&D, not tax levels. At worst it affects share holders. And this man is FM for god's sake. Although he's very lilely aware of the distinction. This whole election is smoke and mirrors.

        • I think that when Harper says that Ignatieff will raise your (the people) taxes he is referring to things like the elimination of the textbook tax credit. By not getting that credit, you taxes have been raised. This is not a lie. Of course, Harper does not mention what this tax credit is being replaced with, but hey, he's a politician. Liar through and through? Well, I think you've made up your mind.

          • I'm under no illusion that all politicians lie. Sometimes it is even necessary – or at least dissembling is.I just like my lies to be less then stupid; particularly disquieting when it comes from the FM, don't you think? The lie or mistatement here is from Flaherty.[ probably deliberate] It's basic economics. Corps, indeed all businesses as far as i know, price according to the discipline of the market – not merely on the whims of the govt tax policies. That's certainly true of corporations. It's scare tactics on Flaherty's behalf, which is not likely to fool any competent economist – so why even bother?

          • You missed the point again.

            I heard Harper make this statement for his platform launch. He said Ignatieff "will raise your taxes" or something to that effect.

            He went on to explain the statement in two ways: First, he really has raised taxes by eliminating certain tax credits like the university text book tax credit. That was the example he gave, I know it's small, and only effect a small number of people, but it does make his statement technically true. Misleading? Yeah sure! Liar through and through? Well, a little far.

            Second, he claims Ignatieff simply will eventually raise taxes. Does he have any basis for this? Well, just that the Liberal platform has so much new spending in it, that's all.

            Thus, the statement, "Ignatieff will raise your taxes", actually is not referring to the CIT hike at all.

  16. I agree that 'politics is broken'.

    I don't agree that it's just local…it's happening all over the world.

    Politicians have become very ideological, very partisan, very divided…as in the outdated left/right nonsense…and this has reached extremes.

    But they aren't dealing with the issues we're facing as a country….those issues are totally ignored.

    Some were mentioned here….the environment, education, healthcare, integrating into the global economy and there are many more.

    The only time they surface is when there is a partisan fight to be had…everybody 'takes a side'….and then it just becomes very superficial. More about the political fight, than dealing with the problem.

    So people just go out and around the politicians….people act as individuals, or in groups or as NGOs….it's the only way to get something done while the politicians squabble, and Rome burns.

    So many people have quit voting, but are becoming more activist.

  17. I agree that 'politics is broken'.

    I don't agree that it's just local…it's happening all over the world.

    Politicians have become very ideological, very partisan, very divided…as in the outdated left/right nonsense…and this has reached extremes.

    But they aren't dealing with the issues we're facing as a country….those issues are totally ignored.

    Some were mentioned here….the environment, education, healthcare, integrating into the global economy and there are many more.

    The only time they surface is when there is a partisan fight to be had…everybody 'takes a side'….and then it just becomes very superficial. More about the political fight, than dealing with the problem.

    So people just go out and around the politicians….people act as individuals, or in groups or as NGOs….it's the only way to get something done while the politicians squabble, and Rome burns.

    So many people have quit voting, but are becoming more activist.

    • Emily says: "But they aren't dealing with the issues we're facing as a country….those issues are totally ignored. "

      Agreed. Politicians can talk all they want about healthcare, taxes and education for instance, but those policies can be tweeked as governments change over the years, and as the needs arise.

      However, the real issue facing this country, and something which was not discussed around Paikin's table, is the formation of coalitions in this country. Coalition forming is NOT the problem; it's the participation of a separatist party within coalition forming which will alter the make-up of our federal parliamentary system.

      And I am very happy that the Conservatives keep reminding us of this possible coalition forming because if they would not bring it up, no one else will, and if after this election a coalition agreement is signed with the BQ, then our federal system will have changed to what it has been for the past 150 years.

      The BQ IS a separatist party and should not be allowed to play a role whatsoever in coalition forming.

      And Canadians have a duty to bring this topic under discussion.

      • Exactly the opposite of what I said….and precisely what is wrong with the political system. Lying for partisan purposes, while ignoring the real problems we're facing..

        • Would I be lying when I say that the BQ is a separatist party? NO

          Would I be lying when I say that federal social policies change over the years, depending on which party forms federal government? NO

          Would I be lying when I say that handing the balance of power within our federal system over to the BQ would change our federal system? NO

          I am not spreading lies, Emily. The fact is that you are unwilling to debate the important issue in this campaign, and because you are unwilling to debate the most important issue, you label me a liar.

          Do I wish the level of debate could pick it up a notch? You bet!

          • If you'd like to elevate the level of debate in this country, then stop with the lies and the partisanship.

            I'm not interested in either.

          • Fair enough. Let us be none partisan and let us be honest.

            Having said that in all honesty, how would you characterize the following possible scenario:

            Suppose the Liberals and NDP seat count combined will be 30 seats short of overthrowing a Conservative minority government. And so this time, like last time, in order for the Lib/NDP to form a coalition goverment, they will need a formally signed coalition agreement from the BQ to prop up support for the proposed Lib/NDP coalition government.

            Last time, such signed agreement with the BQ was about the stimulus package and a few other things besides which the BQ would support. But this time around, the stimulus package is done, and so a new agreement with the BQ needs to be signed in order for the BQ to support the coalition government, or else it will fall. (not enough seats between the Libs and the NDP)

            In 2014, a new CHT needs to be in place with the provinces. And so before the BQ will agree to support the coalition government, it will seek certain aspects favourable to Quebec, and such agreement will then be signed onto by the Liberals and the NDP, just like they had done in 2008.

            Now, my question is: do you think it is in Canada's federal interest to have the BQ set demands for the federal government on this issue? And further more, do you think the other provinces would be in agreement for having the BQ involved in such demand setting BEFORE an agreement between the feds and the provinces is to be reached?

            In fact, would you say that our federal system would be the same as before if the BQ were allowed to set standards within federal politics before the feds start negotiations with the other provinces?

          • PERHAPS IT HASN'T GOTTEN THROUGH TO YOU THAT I AM NOT INTERESTED IN DISCUSSING EITHER YOUR LIES OR YOUR RACISM.

            IF YOU CAN'T DISCUSS THE ACTUAL TOPIC, STOP POSTING TO ME.

          • Topic under discussion (see above): "Politics is broken"

            In deed it is!

            :(

          • IT'S YOUR RECORD THAT'S BROKEN!

          • If it came to that, the Conservatives could be adults and help pass legislation. They are capable of that, I think. Do you disagree?

          • Don't you see that that is where the constitutional expert's opinions fall apart?

            Why would our parliamentary system approve forming of government by two parties combined having less seats than the seats coming from one party, so that the combination of parties with less seats combined could set direction for governing? Such notion would be absurd in the highest degree.

            There is only one option if the Libs and NDP come out of this election with a combined seat count less than the Conservatives, and that would be to draw up an agreement with the BQ if the parties would want to form a coalition government. And that will leave the constitutional experts with another absurd opinion, namely to approve of a separatist party to be given the balance of power over a federal coalition government by means of a formal agreement signed. I don't think it would be constitutionally approved.

          • The Bloc has the balance of power no matter what. They've had it for 5 or 7 years now. The argument you are making is that the Conservatives would not play any constructive role in Parliament if they are defeated. Basically, a 'tear the place down' mentality. You might be right, but that's a problem with the Conservatives, not the Bloc.

          • No, the BQ does not have the balance of power no matter what, and no, the BQ has not had the balance of power for the past 5 or 7 years now.

            On a motion by motion basis, all parties in the House vote accordingly, either for or against the motions proposed. Such decision making comes forth out of party policy shaping, independent of how other parties chose to vote. But in coalition forming, this understanding changes.

            You do not understand the meaning of coalition forming. To vote for or against proposed legislation on an open basis is what all parties do within a parliamentary setting such as ours and the British House, for instance. But coalition forming is done on the basis of a formal agreement signed, always agreed to beforehand, before handing in the proposal to the GG for government forming, and always before a coalition government starts governing. Such is the forming of coalition governments, in Britain and elsewhere.

          • I don't see what difference there is between BQ having balance of power in some Liberal minority coalition-or-not with the NDP, and the balance of power they hold now with the Conservatives. The only difference is that you're saying the Conservatives would not play a role in passing any legislation if the Libs replaced them, so the Bloc is the only partner. If the NDP and Liberals vowed to never support another piece of conservative legislation, we're in the same boat, with the evil separatists having veto power over the Conservative government. I think it's overblown. The real problem is any steadfast refusal to support legislation on the part of the opposition.

          • No, the danger lies in the beforehand agreement signed. You see, if the BQ would not be included in any formal coalition agreement than the BQ has no demands to put forward beforehand – BEFORE coalition governments are put in place. The 'beforehand' is what is key and what is the important part to understand. The BQ could not and never would be part of the coalition government, but the coalition agreement with the BQ would secure that the Lib/NDP coalition government to be high enough in seat count combined in order to be presented as acting government.

            BUT here is something much more important to understand: ever since the involvement of the BQ as a separatist/provincial party running within Canadian federal elections, is the probability for any of the truly federal parties to form majority reduced.

            Therefore:
            Because minority governments are most likely to be the outcome of federal election results, mainly by BQ participation within federal elections, thereby the irony presents itself, that a party which causes the chances for minority governments to be most likely, will then also place itself in a position of being needed to form coalition governments. This irony is very difficult to seee with the 'naked eye'.

            Real politics in this country play themselves out on a much different level than can be grasped by the average voter. Yet, such underlying politics determine most of what transpires in Ottawa. We must bring such underlying concepts to the fore.

      • I'll bet if the Libs squeak a minority and Harper has a chance to toss them out with the backing of the BQ, he wouldn't hesitate. They are only "bad" when they aren't giving him what he wants; see 2004.

        • How much you want to bet?

          Seriously!

          If you can show me any evidence, any evidence at all, that Harper has signed a coalition agreement in the past, such as you refer to in 2004, inclusive of the BQ, I will pay the amount you set on the bet!

          I am serious. More serious than I have ever been.

          I am tired of this election being about nothing but empty rhetoric thrown against Harper, while Ignatieff, Layton and Duceppe get off scott free in being offered a free pass in denying the existence of a coalition agreement signed by all three in 2008.

          Show me the proof! Show it.

        • 19 minutes ago, KeithBram was a couragous man, offering a bet on Harper's action in the future and the past.

          But now the couragous man KeithBram goes back in hiding. No proof? So the bet is off?

          What a farce your contribution is.

          • Hey there, FV – I logged off and went to bed right after my last post – doesn't set a good example for my staff if I'm nodding off at my desk in the morning! ;-)

            In 2004, Harper worked out a deal with Layton and Duceppe whereby they would pressure Martin for a bigger role in his minority government than opposition parties normally have. The stick they would use would be a non-confidence motion and a request to the GG that she consider "other options" rather than another election. The other option, as both Layton and Duceppe have made clear, was a Harper-led government with the support of the NDP and BQ. See e.g. this article, with an excerpt from Layton's 2006 book: http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/03/28/laytons-versio

            Is it a coalition? Not in the sense the Lib/NDP agreement was. But in both instances, the largest opposition party struck an agreement with the other two paries – one of which was the BQ – and used that agreement to force the sitting minority government to give it what it wanted "or else". In intent and outcome, if not in actual form, the two agreements run a very close parallel.

          • In fact, Mr.Layton and Mr.Duceppe have changed their telling of events since.

            Both men, in 2004, and Harper included, told the media in no uncertain terms, that the 2004 opposition cooperation was not a coalition forming and neither was the cooperative effort an attempt at overtaking a sitting minority government (Martin's).

            Layton and Duceppe have now various versions of events floating around, but at the time, at the time and not in hindsight, their positions were very, very clear and publically announced and reported on.

            To now rely on verbal events having taken place in private is but an attempt to gang up on Harper. Why would we suddenly take Layton's and Duceppe's altered versions of events when in front of the cameras they told us otherwise?

            The readers will have to make a choice: either you believe Duceppe and Layton when they spoke openly and publically in front of the cameras in 2004, or you must admit that they were lying then, while sitting there for close to an hour answering questions. So they either lied then or they lied by retelling the story, but they, we and you cannot have it both ways. That is impossible.

            Harper, on the other hand, has never altered his stand on the events of 2004. Period. He has always maintained that it was not an attempt at coalition forming and never has Harper tried to overtake a sitting minority government without going to the polls first. It is a fact.

          • Jack's book was written five years ago – two before the 2008 agreement with the Liberals. Are you saying Jack had all this planned that far ahead? If he were that good, he'd be PM by now.

            Were they lying then? Possibly. Harper wouldn't want to publicly announce that kind of deal until he was about to use it; he would have alienated too many supporters otherwise. In all likelihood, though, he probably would have looked for an informal promise of support for a period of time rather than any formal, signed document. So, in the strictest sense, there wouldn't have been a "coalition" – and Harper is quite good at being disingenuous and splitting hairs when it's to his benefit.

            As much as I dislike Duceppe's politics, he is, by all accounts that I've read, an honourable and principled man. Given how long Jack's account stood without challenge, and given that Duceppe's account is closer to Jack's than Steve's, I'm left to believe that Steve is the Pinocchio.

          • Pt2:

            MY bet wasn't about 2004; itwas about the coming election. If Harper comes second to a Lib minority, I give him one month following the throne speech to pull off a deal with the BQ and take over. If that happens, you pay $25 to my favourite charity; if not, I pay it to yours.

            Deal?

          • You've got yourself a deal.

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

            Good stuff!

            And I will be out of my office for the remainder of this Monday afternoon.

            :)

  18. Giorno was back on the coalition mumbo jumbo today on QP. He and Harper – neither can look anyone straight in the eye – sure sign of a fabricator.

  19. Yes.

    Promising the public that you won't form a coalition and then doing precisely that (as Dion did) is not like a coup in the least. It's underhanded. But as long as we have voters they'll have the final say.

    So for instance, after promising "no coalition" yet again, this time by Iggy, and he does form a coalition, I'm a firm believer in the power of the voter.

    If that should come to pass, such a coalition would likely be very fragile, ultimately come apart in short order, prompt another election in which the Liberals would be sent to the wilderness for even longer than following adscam.

    Democracy is a wonderful thing.

  20. Emily says: "But they aren't dealing with the issues we're facing as a country….those issues are totally ignored. "

    Agreed. Politicians can talk all they want about healthcare, taxes and education for instance, but those policies can be tweeked as governments change over the years, and as the needs arise.

    However, the real issue facing this country, and something which was not discussed around Paikin's table, is the formation of coalitions in this country. Coalition forming is NOT the problem; it's the participation of a separatist party within coalition forming which will alter the make-up of our federal parliamentary system.

    And I am very happy that the Conservatives keep reminding us of this possible coalition forming because if they would not bring it up, no one else will, and if after this election a coalition agreement is signed with the BQ, then our federal system will have changed to what it has been for the past 150 years.

    The BQ IS a separatist party and should not be allowed to play a role whatsoever in coalition forming.

    And Canadians have a duty to bring this topic under discussion.

  21. I am quite alarmed that even in this discussion the notion that the Conservatives can somehow be held responsible for Liberal low turn out.

    I was sure glad to hear that Michael Bliss dismissed that none sense out of hand.

    Of course, all voters, whether they be Liberal, Conservatives or NDPers or others, are responsible for their own turn-out to support the party of their choice. Complete nonesense to suggest that the Conservative party should be held responsible for low Liberal turn out!!

    But I believe such none sense will be repeated throughout the upcoming week. I have read a few write-ups on such accusations now. Absurd.

  22. Exactly the opposite of what I said….and precisely what is wrong with the political system. Lying for partisan purposes, while ignoring the real problems we're facing..

  23. I am quite alarmed that even in this discussion the notion that the Conservatives can somehow be held responsible for Liberal low turn out.

    I was sure glad to hear that Michael Bliss dismissed that none sense out of hand.

    Of course, all voters, whether they be Liberal, Conservatives or NDPers or others, are responsible for their own turn-out to support the party of their choice. Complete nonesense to suggest that the Conservative party should be held responsible for low Liberal turn out!!

    But I believe such none sense will be repeated throughout the upcoming week. I have read a few write-ups on such accusations now. Absurd.

    • "Poisoning the well" is an effective way to reduce enemy population. I think the Agenda guests touched on the phenomenon. That is not to say that all combatants in a war would forswear the tactic–they probably would not–yet it is a tactic evident in our current election. Phrases like "unnecessary election" and " (insert adjective) coalition" are examples.

      • Poisoning the well"! That's right, Some of the panelists may have expressed it in that way.

        And although I do not agree with your opinion that talking about coalition forming is an act of poisoning the well – (quite the opposite in fact: a coalition agreement with the BQ would poison our federal system considerably), I do agree that all parties engage in this scaremongering.

        Harper has been labeled 'evil' for years. Now, the word 'evil' is a very strong word. I would say the word 'evil' is certainly stronger than is the word 'unnecessary elections. And when Harper is still referred to as "scary' by our very own CBC reporters, than the well is poisoned from various corners.

        Oh, btw, have you read John Ibbitson's recent column in LaPresse, him stating that certain members of the media do have a hate against Harper. Ibbitson would not state which media outlet or which reporters specifically, but he mentioned today on CTV Question Period that he will stand by his written column.

        Interesting election, don't you think?

        • Yes, it ranks up there with the classic contests of remembered history. It feels like a "Clash of the Titans" — not because the contestants are particularly notable. The struggle playing out before Canadians is about the kind of people we want to be.

          Do we want to be helpful neighbours or insular eremites? Do we want to be selfish or generous? Do we want to fear the shadows or welcome the light? Do we want to deny the worst or prepare for it? Do we want to believe in miracle cures or work hard to be well?

          There are a boatload of choices that we collectively have already avoided. We have believed in magical solutions to very real problems — problems that refuse to respond to the pronouncements of our self-proclaimed gurus with their vested interests.

          It's not about left, right or centre. It's about what works. Our decline is tied to the same decline plaguing all the "developed" world. We demand the impossible while worshiping the improbable. We deny truth and embrace fantasy. We are moral cowards.

          If we are to survive as a nation we will need more than the wisdom of the old, more than the bravery of the young, more than the knowledge of the wise — we will need above all to abandon the selfish hatred that festers within our own house.

        • Who in the media has used the word 'evil' to describe him? Please show me one single instance, at least.

          • Today, when reading and wading through the various news outlets, I will post one as soon as I bump into one.

            I am not talking about news outlets saying that they – the particular newsoutlet – would be describing themselves as calling Harper 'evil' but that it is framed in such a way that their news reports frame it as such: "The voter still does consider the Harper government to be evil" and so forth. The media makes statements which puts them at arm's lenght of the statement being made, all the while invoking the word 'evil' nonetheless, and drip, drip, drip, over the years, the damage has been done.

  24. Talk about a low bar.

  25. Michael Bliss said it best, imho, when he indicated that in Canada we put pressure on independently minded individuals to come forward in politics, but as soon as they put forward their independent ideas, they are destroyed by the media which wants those independent minds to conform to standard, middle of the road thinking. Bliss referred to it as "logic of the media". Go figure.

    I do think that Canada is not openminded enough for letting politically independent voices come to the fore. There is no real appetite to discuss new ideas. Canada prefers the bland over the innovative and new. Canadians are more concerned about not rocking the boat. Canadians like the safe and tried approach above all else.

    How helpfull it would be in overcoming our healthcare mess if more independent voices would be listened to. That does not mean that those independent voices need to have it their way in the end, but that by being open to listening to those voices, the system would be able to benefit from new ideas being available.

    It's not happening in Canada. That's too bad.

  26. Michael Bliss said it best, imho, when he indicated that in Canada we put pressure on independently minded individuals to come forward in politics, but as soon as they put forward their independent ideas, they are destroyed by the media which wants those independent minds to conform to standard, middle of the road thinking. Bliss referred to it as "logic of the media". Go figure.

    I do think that Canada is not openminded enough for letting politically independent voices come to the fore. There is no real appetite to discuss new ideas. Canada prefers the bland over the innovative and new. Canadians are more concerned about not rocking the boat. Canadians like the safe and tried approach above all else.

    How helpfull it would be in overcoming our healthcare mess if more independent voices would be listened to. That does not mean that those independent voices need to have it their way in the end, but that by being open to listening to those voices, the system would be able to benefit from new ideas being available.

    It's not happening in Canada. That's too bad.

    • While I might agree the media–let me call it "herd instinct"–can have caused good prospects to abandon public service ambitions, the actions of party apparatchiks seems to have had a larger influence. How can an independent thinker compete with the "hive mind" that is the present-day political machine staffed with wet-behind-the-ears PoliSci grads drunk on ideological kool-aid?

      • Good point to bring up, Just Joe.

        Those overhyped young PoliSci grads drunk on ideological kool-aid is a problem, within all parties from what I could gather out of recent articles.

        It would be better for the fresh grads to get some real life experience before being active in politics.

    • Oh, and this too:

      "All warfare is based on deception."
      — Sun Tzu

    • I think he said it was the logic of our political system. Part of the problem is our electoral system, which punishes difference, principle and honesty. One wonders why conservatives oppose proportional representation. With proprep, we'd see genuine conservative parties in our legislature, not the populist patronage monstrosities we usually get.

      • Please, review the video and listen to what Mr.Bliss said.

        Then try again.

        And furtermore, on the topic of ppr: who says the Conservative party is against it? What does the Liberal party stand for in that regard? Always trying to counter my argument with something besides what I bring up; It's getting rather predictable, and completely useless for trying to have a reasonable debate.

        But I am certain by now that it's not a reasonable debate you are after. Why not go and play with the kids at the Catch 22 site.

        • The Liberals oppose it, which is a shame. If the Conservatives proposed electoral reform (and I believed their sincerity), they'd have my vote for one election at least. But both mainstream parties (but not necessarily their supporters) have the most to lose from any reform that weakens the case for huge political tents. I think it'd be better for our democracy in the long run though. We also need to do something about the creeping presidentialism of the last few decades. PMs are getting way too powerful in relation to their MPs and ministers.

          I'm not a blind partisan. I am willing to acknowledge many faults within the Liberal party, despite the fact that they are the closest to my political viewpoint on many issues.

          • Andrew (notPorC)

            In your previous post, you thought that " he [Bliss] said it was the logic of our political system"

            I've asked you to go and review the tape. It is the logic of the media Mr.Bliss mentions.

            I no longer want to deal with interpretations. There are way too many interpretations of the spoken word being debated about. Harper is constantly interpreted and then those interpretations are debated ad nauseum. And it's leading us nowhere.

            I'm more than willing to discuss the topic of ppr, but first things first; let's get these assumptions and liberal interpretations out of the way. Let us first set the record straight on what Bliss has said.

          • Hey, I was just going off memory. Please refer me to the relevant timestamp if you have it. It's late and I don't feel like rewatching the video now.

            I didn't have an agenda with my comment, just saying what I thought I heard him say. If he said media, it seems misguided to lay it all at the feet of the media. It seems to me that the problems we have today are an inevitable product of the rules of the game.

          • No harm done yet, Andrew. At least you have come clean by telling me that you went on memory rather than certainty. I don't have the timestamp, but I did write down the comment. My memory is usually pretty sharp and I do not doubt myself on this.

            I found it a very interesting comment in that it is indeed the media which plays a very important part in what plays itself out politically. Throughtout this campaign, almost from day one, what most members of the media have busied themselves with, specifically when it comes to Harper's remarks, is something remarkable: throughout this campaign, rather than report Harper's direct words and comments, most members of the media have seen it fit to interpret Harper's words and comments and then report the media's interpretations of Harper's words. That is wrong, wrong, wrong!

            It is time that Harper's words are reported, not interpretations thereof. We do not elect journalists; we elect politicians standing for elected office.

            Perhaps you have the time to review the tape tomorrow, and if I decide to watch it again, I will certainly let you know the timestamp onto which Bliss's particular comments land. Good night for now.

            :)

          • The section of interest to you and AnotPorC starts at about the 43:30 mark, with key section from Bliss about 20 seconds in.

            Bliss says “…the funny thing about Canadian politics is that there is this constant pressure on the part of independantly minded people to express themselves, but the logic of our political system and our excessively tight party discipline, which, of course, is cheered on by the media because you can spend a whole career in gotcha politics whenever you spot deviation in Canadian politics, it puts everything into a precrustean bed and ultimately the independantly minded individual goes away and says “To heck with it.””

          • Thank you, Hedges (hedging some bets!!)
            Yes, Bliss did say the "logic of our political system". But at the start of that segment he says: " the logic of Canadian politics."

            I will grant to Andrew (notPorC) that he was right in hearing the one sentence, but I want to add that in reference to the beginning of the segment, Bliss considered the full spectrum of "logic of Canadian politics", by which he certainly included the media. I was wrong in saying that the direct quote was the 'logic of the media". But within the 'logic of Canadian politics' Bliss certainly did not just refer to party discipline; he was most certainly including the press to share the procrustean bed.

            In other words: who wants to push the independent mind back into the pigeonhole? The party or the media?

            And so, it may be true that the party discipline is at fault, but the media enforcing this party discipline is what keeps the party discipline in place, and leaves the independent voice with no reporter's microphone as outlet. The "gotcha politics" is much in referral to the media, not in reference to the politicians per se.

            And so, if party discipline is to be found at fault for some of our political shortcomings, then Bliss is certainly of the opinion that the media holds this party discipline in place as much as do the parties themselves. Such is the "logic of Canadian politics". And that I found an interesting observation. Because it seems to me, that at the onset, the 'constant pressure on the part of the independently minded people to express themselves' comes from the media, not?? That's how I would interpreted the segment.

          • Do I hereby get to withdraw my contrition? I thought that was what I heard!

          • You don't need anyone's permission to do whatever you see fit.

            Yes, you heard the one sentence right, but the overal meaning still referred to the media and its logic as wel.

            The media entices independent participation, to then want push such independent pieces of mind back into the party line. That's what the career in 'gotcha politics' refers to.

          • How do we fix the media? I can see how we can tinker with parties and Parliament, but I don't what we can do about the media other than prod and plead.

          • Well, maybe Canadian politics are broken because the media has gotten a bit too partisan and a bit too lazy.

            And what we can do about that is to voice our opinions in that regard.

            I know Harper has taken a different route in that respect. He, too, for years, has probably found the media to be in need of finding objectivity back.

          • Also, I didn't point to parties in my initial comment. I was referring to electoral reform. I think you read a subtext into that statement that wasn't there.

          • In your first post you wrote:"One wonders why conservatives oppose proportional representation. With proprep, we'd see genuine conservative parties in our legislature, not the populist patronage monstrosities we usually get. "

            When you mention 'conservative' twice within your first response, I took it to mean conservative.

            Btw, your response may be about electoral reform, but Bliss's comment was in regards to the workings of the media, not electoral reform as such.

  27. Would I be lying when I say that the BQ is a separatist party? NO

    Would I be lying when I say that federal social policies change over the years, depending on which party forms federal government? NO

    Would I be lying when I say that handing the balance of power within our federal system over to the BQ would change our federal system? NO

    I am not spreading lies, Emily. The fact is that you are unwilling to debate the important issue in this campaign, and because you are unwilling to debate the most important issue, you label me a liar.

    Do I wish the level of debate could pick it up a notch? You bet!

  28. If you'd like to elevate the level of debate in this country, then stop with the lies and the partisanship.

    I'm not interested in either.

  29. Firstly,

    an increase in corporate taxes IS an increase in all of us…unless you live off the land and don't buy goods from corporations, aren't employed by one, and don't own any mutual funds or have a pension (they invest in corporations).

    But aside from that, I suspect Harper is also drawing a logical conclusion that by virtue of Iggy's lavish promises of government programs, taxes will have to be raised to pay for all of them, not just on corporations but on individuals.

    Unless of course you believe Iggy when he promises you everything under the Sun, AND it won't cost you dime.

  30. Fair enough. Let us be none partisan and let us be honest.

    Having said that in all honesty, how would you characterize the following possible scenario:

    Suppose the Liberals and NDP seat count combined will be 30 seats short of overthrowing a Conservative minority government. And so this time, like last time, in order for the Lib/NDP to form a coalition goverment, they will need a formally signed coalition agreement from the BQ to prop up support for the proposed Lib/NDP coalition government.

    Last time, such signed agreement with the BQ was about the stimulus package and a few other things besides which the BQ would support. But this time around, the stimulus package is done, and so a new agreement with the BQ needs to be signed in order for the BQ to support the coalition government, or else it will fall. (not enough seats between the Libs and the NDP)

    In 2014, a new CHT needs to be in place with the provinces. And so before the BQ will agree to support the coalition government, it will seek certain aspects favourable to Quebec, and such agreement will then be signed onto by the Liberals and the NDP, just like they had done in 2008.

    Now, my question is: do you think it is in Canada's federal interest to have the BQ set demands for the federal government on this issue? And further more, do you think the other provinces would be in agreement for having the BQ involved in such demand setting BEFORE an agreement between the feds and the provinces is to be reached?

    In fact, would you say that our federal system would be the same as before if the BQ were allowed to set standards within federal politics before the feds start negotiations with the other provinces?

  31. I see Harper finally admitted today that he doesn't have a price guarantee on the F 35's. But I'm sure Flaherty can wrustle up some savings to pay for them. I hear he's going to recommend switching from staples to re-useable paper clips.

  32. While I might agree the media–let me call it "herd instinct"–can have caused good prospects to abandon public service ambitions, the actions of party apparatchiks seems to have had a larger influence. How can an independent thinker compete with the "hive mind" that is the present-day political machine staffed with wet-behind-the-ears PoliSci grads drunk on ideological kool-aid?

  33. PERHAPS IT HASN'T GOTTEN THROUGH TO YOU THAT I AM NOT INTERESTED IN DISCUSSING EITHER YOUR LIES OR YOUR RACISM.

    IF YOU CAN'T DISCUSS THE ACTUAL TOPIC, STOP POSTING TO ME.

  34. Topic under discussion (see above): "Politics is broken"

    In deed it is!

    :(

  35. Good point to bring up, Just Joe.

    Those overhyped young PoliSci grads drunk on ideological kool-aid is a problem, within all parties from what I could gather out of recent articles.

    It would be better for the fresh grads to get some real life experience before being active in politics.

  36. IT'S YOUR RECORD THAT'S BROKEN!

  37. "Poisoning the well" is an effective way to reduce enemy population. I think the Agenda guests touched on the phenomenon. That is not to say that all combatants in a war would forswear the tactic–they probably would not–yet it is a tactic evident in our current election. Phrases like "unnecessary election" and " (insert adjective) coalition" are examples.

  38. Chet must have left the mike open. No way this considered opinion was meant to be aired.

    Wonder how long it'll take you to contradict it? I'd give it a day max.

  39. Oh, and this too:

    "All warfare is based on deception."
    — Sun Tzu

  40. Poisoning the well"! That's right, Some of the panelists may have expressed it in that way.

    And although I do not agree with your opinion that talking about coalition forming is an act of poisoning the well – (quite the opposite in fact: a coalition agreement with the BQ would poison our federal system considerably), I do agree that all parties engage in this scaremongering.

    Harper has been labeled 'evil' for years. Now, the word 'evil' is a very strong word. I would say the word 'evil' is certainly stronger than is the word 'unnecessary elections. And when Harper is still referred to as "scary' by our very own CBC reporters, than the well is poisoned from various corners.

    Oh, btw, have you read John Ibbitson's recent column in LaPresse, him stating that certain members of the media do have a hate against Harper. Ibbitson would not state which media outlet or which reporters specifically, but he mentioned today on CTV Question Period that he will stand by his written column.

    Interesting election, don't you think?

  41. Some really great stuff from the guests:

    "Instead of gravitas on political shows, I hear giggling."
    — Michael Bliss

    "Although we live in a democracy, political parties are not democratic at all."
    — Kieth Martin

  42. Some really great stuff from the guests:

    "Instead of gravitas on political shows, I hear giggling."
    — Michael Bliss

    "Although we live in a democracy, political parties are not democratic at all."
    — Kieth Martin

    • Both were great points. I've tried to make the second point before, and it was good to hear someone else make it more cogently.

  43. Well, said, I agree.

  44. "an increase in corporate taxes IS an increase in all of us…unless you live off the land and don't buy goods from corporations, aren't employed by one, and don't own any mutual funds or have a pension (they invest in corporations)"

    oThat's another untruth Flaherty is peddling. That increases to the corporations are automatically passed on to consumers. Corps price according to S&D, not tax levels. At worst it affects share holders. And this man is FM for god's sake. Although he's very lilely aware of the distinction. This whole election is smoke and mirrors.

  45. Well, except that one would imagine authoritarian to be for the purpose of holding on to power no matter what, and holding your opponents down so that they can't even see the light of day…

    Whereas the even you are referring to caused SH to lose power, perhaps for good. Not a very good authoritarian if you ask me.

  46. I think that when Harper says that Ignatieff will raise your (the people) taxes he is referring to things like the elimination of the textbook tax credit. By not getting that credit, you taxes have been raised. This is not a lie. Of course, Harper does not mention what this tax credit is being replaced with, but hey, he's a politician. Liar through and through? Well, I think you've made up your mind.

  47. So you agree then — Stephen Harper is a megalomaniac narcissist?

  48. Oh, and I don't dislike Harper–the way I don't dislike a model in an art class or a rat in a research lab.

  49. In Britain, the "ch" that begins a noun is pronounced as our Canadian "sh", so "chet" becomes "shet".
    So, now, who else is "up to here" with his "chet" ?

  50. Yes, it ranks up there with the classic contests of remembered history. It feels like a "Clash of the Titans" — not because the contestants are particularly notable. The struggle playing out before Canadians is about the kind of people we want to be.

    Do we want to be helpful neighbours or insular eremites? Do we want to be selfish or generous? Do we want to fear the shadows or welcome the light? Do we want to deny the worst or prepare for it? Do we want to believe in miracle cures or work hard to be well?

    There are a boatload of choices that we collectively have already avoided. We have believed in magical solutions to very real problems — problems that refuse to respond to the pronouncements of our self-proclaimed gurus with their vested interests.

    It's not about left, right or centre. It's about what works. Our decline is tied to the same decline plaguing all the "developed" world. We demand the impossible while worshiping the improbable. We deny truth and embrace fantasy. We are moral cowards.

    If we are to survive as a nation we will need more than the wisdom of the old, more than the bravery of the young, more than the knowledge of the wise — we will need above all to abandon the selfish hatred that festers within our own house.

  51. It's a rare thing, chet, but for once I have to agree with you.

    That doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement, though.

  52. Part of their "green" strategy.

  53. I'll bet if the Libs squeak a minority and Harper has a chance to toss them out with the backing of the BQ, he wouldn't hesitate. They are only "bad" when they aren't giving him what he wants; see 2004.

  54. How much you want to bet?

    Seriously!

    If you can show me any evidence, any evidence at all, that Harper has signed a coalition agreement in the past, such as you refer to in 2004, inclusive of the BQ, I will pay the amount you set on the bet!

    I am serious. More serious than I have ever been.

    I am tired of this election being about nothing but empty rhetoric thrown against Harper, while Ignatieff, Layton and Duceppe get off scott free in being offered a free pass in denying the existence of a coalition agreement signed by all three in 2008.

    Show me the proof! Show it.

  55. 19 minutes ago, KeithBram was a couragous man, offering a bet on Harper's action in the future and the past.

    But now the couragous man KeithBram goes back in hiding. No proof? So the bet is off?

    What a farce your contribution is.

  56. I think he said it was the logic of our political system. Part of the problem is our electoral system, which punishes difference, principle and honesty. One wonders why conservatives oppose proportional representation. With proprep, we'd see genuine conservative parties in our legislature, not the populist patronage monstrosities we usually get.

  57. I'm under no illusion that all politicians lie. Sometimes it is even necessary – or at least dissembling is.I just like my lies to be less then stupid; particularly disquieting when it comes from the FM, don't you think? The lie or mistatement here is from Flaherty.[ probably deliberate] It's basic economics. Corps, indeed all businesses as far as i know, price according to the discipline of the market – not merely on the whims of the govt tax policies. That's certainly true of corporations. It's scare tactics on Flaherty's behalf, which is not likely to fool any competent economist – so why even bother?

  58. Can we all agree that we should thank the generosity of the government of Ontario and its taxpayers for such a public good as this program?

  59. Can we all agree that we should thank the generosity of the government of Ontario and its taxpayers for such a public good as this program?

  60. Please, review the video and listen to what Mr.Bliss said.

    Then try again.

    And furtermore, on the topic of ppr: who says the Conservative party is against it? What does the Liberal party stand for in that regard? Always trying to counter my argument with something besides what I bring up; It's getting rather predictable, and completely useless for trying to have a reasonable debate.

    But I am certain by now that it's not a reasonable debate you are after. Why not go and play with the kids at the Catch 22 site.

  61. The Liberals oppose it, which is a shame. If the Conservatives proposed electoral reform (and I believed their sincerity), they'd have my vote for one election at least. But both mainstream parties (but not necessarily their supporters) have the most to lose from any reform that weakens the case for huge political tents. I think it'd be better for our democracy in the long run though. We also need to do something about the creeping presidentialism of the last few decades. PMs are getting way too powerful in relation to their MPs and ministers.

    I'm not a blind partisan. I am willing to acknowledge many faults within the Liberal party, despite the fact that they are the closest to my political viewpoint on many issues.

  62. Andrew (notPorC)

    In your previous post, you thought that " he [Bliss] said it was the logic of our political system"

    I've asked you to go and review the tape. It is the logic of the media Mr.Bliss mentions.

    I no longer want to deal with interpretations. There are way too many interpretations of the spoken word being debated about. Harper is constantly interpreted and then those interpretations are debated ad nauseum. And it's leading us nowhere.

    I'm more than willing to discuss the topic of ppr, but first things first; let's get these assumptions and liberal interpretations out of the way. Let us first set the record straight on what Bliss has said.

  63. Hey, I was just going off memory. Please refer me to the relevant timestamp if you have it. It's late and I don't feel like rewatching the video now.

    I didn't have an agenda with my comment, just saying what I thought I heard him say. If he said media, it seems misguided to lay it all at the feet of the media. It seems to me that the problems we have today are an inevitable product of the rules of the game.

  64. Both were great points. I've tried to make the second point before, and it was good to hear someone else make it more cogently.

  65. No harm done yet, Andrew. At least you have come clean by telling me that you went on memory rather than certainty. I don't have the timestamp, but I did write down the comment. My memory is usually pretty sharp and I do not doubt myself on this.

    I found it a very interesting comment in that it is indeed the media which plays a very important part in what plays itself out politically. Throughtout this campaign, almost from day one, what most members of the media have busied themselves with, specifically when it comes to Harper's remarks, is something remarkable: throughout this campaign, rather than report Harper's direct words and comments, most members of the media have seen it fit to interpret Harper's words and comments and then report the media's interpretations of Harper's words. That is wrong, wrong, wrong!

    It is time that Harper's words are reported, not interpretations thereof. We do not elect journalists; we elect politicians standing for elected office.

    Perhaps you have the time to review the tape tomorrow, and if I decide to watch it again, I will certainly let you know the timestamp onto which Bliss's particular comments land. Good night for now.

    :)

  66. The section of interest to you and AnotPorC starts at about the 43:30 mark, with key section from Bliss about 20 seconds in.

    Bliss says “…the funny thing about Canadian politics is that there is this constant pressure on the part of independantly minded people to express themselves, but the logic of our political system and our excessively tight party discipline, which, of course, is cheered on by the media because you can spend a whole career in gotcha politics whenever you spot deviation in Canadian politics, it puts everything into a precrustean bed and ultimately the independantly minded individual goes away and says “To heck with it.””

  67. Thank you, Hedges (hedging some bets!!)
    Yes, Bliss did say the "logic of our political system". But at the start of that segment he says: " the logic of Canadian politics."

    I will grant to Andrew (notPorC) that he was right in hearing the one sentence, but I want to add that in reference to the beginning of the segment, Bliss considered the full spectrum of "logic of Canadian politics", by which he certainly included the media. I was wrong in saying that the direct quote was the 'logic of the media". But within the 'logic of Canadian politics' Bliss certainly did not just refer to party discipline; he was most certainly including the press to share the procrustean bed.

    In other words: who wants to push the independent mind back into the pigeonhole? The party or the media?

    And so, it may be true that the party discipline is at fault, but the media enforcing this party discipline is what keeps the party discipline in place, and leaves the independent voice with no reporter's microphone as outlet. The "gotcha politics" is much in referral to the media, not in reference to the politicians per se.

    And so, if party discipline is to be found at fault for some of our political shortcomings, then Bliss is certainly of the opinion that the media holds this party discipline in place as much as do the parties themselves. Such is the "logic of Canadian politics". And that I found an interesting observation. Because it seems to me, that at the onset, the 'constant pressure on the part of the independently minded people to express themselves' comes from the media, not?? That's how I would interpreted the segment.

  68. I agree completely. Those wanting a perfect system usually want what they, specifically want. Wherry does not like the fact that his party is losing so he thinks it's broken. Others think that precisely because the Libs are losing the system works. Either way democracy prevails!

  69. …..not true—-I have heard chet voice the same opinion about coalitions before. His respect for the voter tells me our democracy is safer with that type of thinking then the type that hopes for a Liberal revival at any cost.

  70. Do I hereby get to withdraw my contrition? I thought that was what I heard!

  71. How do we fix the media? I can see how we can tinker with parties and Parliament, but I don't what we can do about the media other than prod and plead.

  72. Also, I didn't point to parties in my initial comment. I was referring to electoral reform. I think you read a subtext into that statement that wasn't there.

  73. Who in the media has used the word 'evil' to describe him? Please show me one single instance, at least.

  74. The Bloc has the balance of power no matter what. They've had it for 5 or 7 years now. The argument you are making is that the Conservatives would not play any constructive role in Parliament if they are defeated. Basically, a 'tear the place down' mentality. You might be right, but that's a problem with the Conservatives, not the Bloc.

  75. If it came to that, the Conservatives could be adults and help pass legislation. They are capable of that, I think. Do you disagree?

  76. "Give em the old, razzle-dazzle. Razzle-dazzle em." ~Chicago the musical

  77. "Give em the old, razzle-dazzle. Razzle-dazzle em." ~Chicago the musical

  78. In your first post you wrote:"One wonders why conservatives oppose proportional representation. With proprep, we'd see genuine conservative parties in our legislature, not the populist patronage monstrosities we usually get. "

    When you mention 'conservative' twice within your first response, I took it to mean conservative.

    Btw, your response may be about electoral reform, but Bliss's comment was in regards to the workings of the media, not electoral reform as such.

  79. Well, maybe Canadian politics are broken because the media has gotten a bit too partisan and a bit too lazy.

    And what we can do about that is to voice our opinions in that regard.

    I know Harper has taken a different route in that respect. He, too, for years, has probably found the media to be in need of finding objectivity back.

  80. You don't need anyone's permission to do whatever you see fit.

    Yes, you heard the one sentence right, but the overal meaning still referred to the media and its logic as wel.

    The media entices independent participation, to then want push such independent pieces of mind back into the party line. That's what the career in 'gotcha politics' refers to.

  81. Don't you see that that is where the constitutional expert's opinions fall apart?

    Why would our parliamentary system approve forming of government by two parties combined having less seats than the seats coming from one party, so that the combination of parties with less seats combined could set direction for governing? Such notion would be absurd in the highest degree.

    There is only one option if the Libs and NDP come out of this election with a combined seat count less than the Conservatives, and that would be to draw up an agreement with the BQ if the parties would want to form a coalition government. And that will leave the constitutional experts with another absurd opinion, namely to approve of a separatist party to be given the balance of power over a federal coalition government by means of a formal agreement signed. I don't think it would be constitutionally approved.

  82. No, the BQ does not have the balance of power no matter what, and no, the BQ has not had the balance of power for the past 5 or 7 years now.

    On a motion by motion basis, all parties in the House vote accordingly, either for or against the motions proposed. Such decision making comes forth out of party policy shaping, independent of how other parties chose to vote. But in coalition forming, this understanding changes.

    You do not understand the meaning of coalition forming. To vote for or against proposed legislation on an open basis is what all parties do within a parliamentary setting such as ours and the British House, for instance. But coalition forming is done on the basis of a formal agreement signed, always agreed to beforehand, before handing in the proposal to the GG for government forming, and always before a coalition government starts governing. Such is the forming of coalition governments, in Britain and elsewhere.

  83. Today, when reading and wading through the various news outlets, I will post one as soon as I bump into one.

    I am not talking about news outlets saying that they – the particular newsoutlet – would be describing themselves as calling Harper 'evil' but that it is framed in such a way that their news reports frame it as such: "The voter still does consider the Harper government to be evil" and so forth. The media makes statements which puts them at arm's lenght of the statement being made, all the while invoking the word 'evil' nonetheless, and drip, drip, drip, over the years, the damage has been done.

  84. I don't see what difference there is between BQ having balance of power in some Liberal minority coalition-or-not with the NDP, and the balance of power they hold now with the Conservatives. The only difference is that you're saying the Conservatives would not play a role in passing any legislation if the Libs replaced them, so the Bloc is the only partner. If the NDP and Liberals vowed to never support another piece of conservative legislation, we're in the same boat, with the evil separatists having veto power over the Conservative government. I think it's overblown. The real problem is any steadfast refusal to support legislation on the part of the opposition.

  85. Hey there, FV – I logged off and went to bed right after my last post – doesn't set a good example for my staff if I'm nodding off at my desk in the morning! ;-)

    In 2004, Harper worked out a deal with Layton and Duceppe whereby they would pressure Martin for a bigger role in his minority government than opposition parties normally have. The stick they would use would be a non-confidence motion and a request to the GG that she consider "other options" rather than another election. The other option, as both Layton and Duceppe have made clear, was a Harper-led government with the support of the NDP and BQ. See e.g. this article, with an excerpt from Layton's 2006 book: http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/03/28/laytons-versio

    Is it a coalition? Not in the sense the Lib/NDP agreement was. But in both instances, the largest opposition party struck an agreement with the other two paries – one of which was the BQ – and used that agreement to force the sitting minority government to give it what it wanted "or else". In intent and outcome, if not in actual form, the two agreements run a very close parallel.

  86. Pt2:

    MY bet wasn't about 2004; itwas about the coming election. If Harper comes second to a Lib minority, I give him one month following the throne speech to pull off a deal with the BQ and take over. If that happens, you pay $25 to my favourite charity; if not, I pay it to yours.

    Deal?

  87. No, the danger lies in the beforehand agreement signed. You see, if the BQ would not be included in any formal coalition agreement than the BQ has no demands to put forward beforehand – BEFORE coalition governments are put in place. The 'beforehand' is what is key and what is the important part to understand. The BQ could not and never would be part of the coalition government, but the coalition agreement with the BQ would secure that the Lib/NDP coalition government to be high enough in seat count combined in order to be presented as acting government.

    BUT here is something much more important to understand: ever since the involvement of the BQ as a separatist/provincial party running within Canadian federal elections, is the probability for any of the truly federal parties to form majority reduced.

    Therefore:
    Because minority governments are most likely to be the outcome of federal election results, mainly by BQ participation within federal elections, thereby the irony presents itself, that a party which causes the chances for minority governments to be most likely, will then also place itself in a position of being needed to form coalition governments. This irony is very difficult to seee with the 'naked eye'.

    Real politics in this country play themselves out on a much different level than can be grasped by the average voter. Yet, such underlying politics determine most of what transpires in Ottawa. We must bring such underlying concepts to the fore.

  88. In fact, Mr.Layton and Mr.Duceppe have changed their telling of events since.

    Both men, in 2004, and Harper included, told the media in no uncertain terms, that the 2004 opposition cooperation was not a coalition forming and neither was the cooperative effort an attempt at overtaking a sitting minority government (Martin's).

    Layton and Duceppe have now various versions of events floating around, but at the time, at the time and not in hindsight, their positions were very, very clear and publically announced and reported on.

    To now rely on verbal events having taken place in private is but an attempt to gang up on Harper. Why would we suddenly take Layton's and Duceppe's altered versions of events when in front of the cameras they told us otherwise?

    The readers will have to make a choice: either you believe Duceppe and Layton when they spoke openly and publically in front of the cameras in 2004, or you must admit that they were lying then, while sitting there for close to an hour answering questions. So they either lied then or they lied by retelling the story, but they, we and you cannot have it both ways. That is impossible.

    Harper, on the other hand, has never altered his stand on the events of 2004. Period. He has always maintained that it was not an attempt at coalition forming and never has Harper tried to overtake a sitting minority government without going to the polls first. It is a fact.

  89. You've got yourself a deal.

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

    Good stuff!

    And I will be out of my office for the remainder of this Monday afternoon.

    :)

  90. You missed the point again.

    I heard Harper make this statement for his platform launch. He said Ignatieff "will raise your taxes" or something to that effect.

    He went on to explain the statement in two ways: First, he really has raised taxes by eliminating certain tax credits like the university text book tax credit. That was the example he gave, I know it's small, and only effect a small number of people, but it does make his statement technically true. Misleading? Yeah sure! Liar through and through? Well, a little far.

    Second, he claims Ignatieff simply will eventually raise taxes. Does he have any basis for this? Well, just that the Liberal platform has so much new spending in it, that's all.

    Thus, the statement, "Ignatieff will raise your taxes", actually is not referring to the CIT hike at all.

  91. Jack's book was written five years ago – two before the 2008 agreement with the Liberals. Are you saying Jack had all this planned that far ahead? If he were that good, he'd be PM by now.

    Were they lying then? Possibly. Harper wouldn't want to publicly announce that kind of deal until he was about to use it; he would have alienated too many supporters otherwise. In all likelihood, though, he probably would have looked for an informal promise of support for a period of time rather than any formal, signed document. So, in the strictest sense, there wouldn't have been a "coalition" – and Harper is quite good at being disingenuous and splitting hairs when it's to his benefit.

    As much as I dislike Duceppe's politics, he is, by all accounts that I've read, an honourable and principled man. Given how long Jack's account stood without challenge, and given that Duceppe's account is closer to Jack's than Steve's, I'm left to believe that Steve is the Pinocchio.

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