Prime Minister Dion? -

Prime Minister Dion?


Please note the question mark in the title of this post. It’s not a prediction, it’s a cry for help. It’s the battered and fragile rationality centre of my brain finally collapsing in on itself like the house at the end of Poltergeist. It’s one of many Ghosts of Christmas Future, and every one of them is a seriously funky phantom. Survey with us these possibilities. Suggest your own.

1. This Eco-Fisc Update sets the stage for a confidence vote on a ways and means motion. We have already heard from all three opposition parties: they’ll vote against it. They outnumber the government. If nobody backs down, the government falls. Then? Well:

2. First of all, somebody might back down. The government, though I don’t know how they can fail to put a money update to a vote on a money bill. One of the opposition parties, though they could not have been more categorical. But it’s a possibility so I wanted to add it to the list.

3. If Harper 2.0 does fall, the prime minister will certainly visit the Governor General and ask for a new election. And what do you know? She’s travelling again. Watch that blackberry, Excellency; you may not last as far as Slovenia.

4. Note that (3.) contained the word “certainly.” This means it is probably not right.

5. Where were we? Oh right. A second GG visit within a calendar year may finally give Her Excellency a chance to act out an Andrew Coyne column. “Nay!” she’d say. Unless she…

6. …doesn’t. We could be in an election campaign in five days. Nobody has any money! Nobody has a plan, except to spend five weeks acting out the last week of the last campaign! But then, she…

7. …might throw it back into the House. (Incidentally, the NDP could hardly be making it more obvious, through Jack Layton’s remarks in the House and Brad Lavigne’s on Newman, that they’re pretty nearly desperate to avoid an election. Remember how they spent the limit in the last election, for the first time ever? Yeah, they were mortgaged to the hilt to pay for it. So a Parliamentary solution is a consummation devoutly to be wished if you’re Layton.) Who, then, could lead a workable voting majority in the Commons? Well, the obvious candidate is…

8. …Elizabeth May. Sorry, I mean Stéphane Dion. Like her, I have such a hard time telling the two of them apart. He is, after all, the leader of the largest party in the Commons. Downside: At this point, he has so thoroughly worn out his welcome that nobody in his caucus would spit down his throat if his heart was on fire. So maybe the price of three-party cooperation is the designation of somebody else as prime minister.

9. Bob Rae?

10. No.

11. Michael Ignatieff?

12. I don’t know. This thing got so weird a while back that I have no idea what’s coming next. Over to you, dear readers. Open thread.

HANDY REMINDER UPDATE: It’s not as though there’s anything else the country should be paying attention to.

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Prime Minister Dion?

  1. Prediction: Harper backs down, with noises along the lines of “The opposition has indicated that, in these dangerous economic times, they are more willing to have Canadians run through yet another election than engage in reasonable government. We, the Conservatives, are unwilling to throw the government on hold for another election campaign during these times and so will withdraw this portion of the bill, even though it will put Canada into a deficit position this year. We hate to do this, but if the opposition is firm that their taxpayer subsidies are worth a deficit, we have no choice but to proceed in that manner.”

  2. Prime Minister Duceppe!

    Anyway, Weston thinks the Cons will back down by splitting the public funding cuts off into a separate piece of legislation. I think that’s the most likely scenario.

  3. Oh.. forgot. “By the way, that bit about emasculating the public servants union? Yeah, that bit’s staying. Tough luck Jack”

  4. Serious flu will hit the Opposition ranks when the votes are taken (it is flu season) , and the PM will NOT split off the party subsidies.

  5. Gosh, I miss the “Macleans 50” Where is the wise counsel of Tom Flanagan, Gerry Nicholls and Stephen Taylor, when you need them?

  6. Notice I didn’t mention Jack Granatstein.

  7. Harper shouldn’t back down. Doesn’t mean he won’t. All of the opposition parties have more reasons to avoid a confidence vote than the Conservatives here, especially if the line is ‘the opposition parties want to keep their mouths in the public trough during a time of fiscal crisis. We wanted to end public subsidies to parties and they caused another election when NO ONE wanted one…”

  8. “9. Bob Rae?

    10. No.”

    This is why I still love you, Paul.

  9. I don’t think Harper is going to back down. Why would he?

    Are the Libs/NDP/BQ really going to form a coalition government. I doubt it very much, but if they do, there is going to be a lot of people angered by the fact that Libs/NDP thought it was wise to get in bed with the separatists rather than accept less money.

    And if oppo parties try to force another election, Cons message will be if people are struggling during the hard times, why shouldn’t the parties as well. And the Cons could also go with the arrogant attitude about how oppo parties believe they are entitled to their entitlements.

    Seems like a win/win for Cons. I think one of the oppo parties will back down after they have finished their chicken little acts and stopped telling us all about how the measure means the end of democracy as we know it.

  10. Prime Minister Bill Casey.

  11. Pakistan? India? Nuclear Weapons? How could that be important when you have political games to play?

  12. By the way, I bought a copy of Car Advice For Women (And Smart Men) for 99 cents at a remainder bin yesterday. A real steal.

  13. Oh, and in addition to that, there is also an attempted coup in Thailand…

  14. Are the Libs/NDP/BQ really going to form a coalition government.


  15. “Seems like a win/win for Cons.”

    I think this is exactly right, Harper has just placed his Queen in the centre of the Chess Board and the opposition, being checker players, are going to have to lose a rook and a bishop before this particular engagement is over.

  16. if just 10% of the people who voted for each party would donate a measly 20 bucks to the party they support it would not be a problem. why can’t they develop a base of political support?

  17. I see Conservative Central has gone to DefCon 1. The “Jarrid” has been deployed.

  18. Oh – how I love the way that folks like jwl read the public!
    Well – I guess if you had your head engulfed in your tush – your ears are somewhat out of service.

    More to the point -Correspondent Wells – you missed the obvious – once again!

    When your household finances are shrunk – you move in with the in-laws – and though Jack and Stephane may not be the marrying kind – they have enough in common to live together for a while.
    An alliance is on – Harper has fired everyone up to look outside the box.
    And if he is pushed to go the election route (and I think the constitutional experts are looking at ALL the options right now to avoid that by a coalition taking over) then
    Combined – their fundraising capabilities – plus what will be left if the bill gets through – will give them a pretty good war chest!

  19. Can whatever committee (Finance?) propose an amendment ending the tax credit for political donations? That would put the Conservaties n a bind – the same logic applies (all Canadian taxpayers funding political parties), but this one would really hurt them

  20. Chris B, I like your thinking. Even bringing political donations back down to the same treatment as charitable contributions is a step toward fairness. Politicians long ago decided that political contributions were more deserving of taxpayer-coerced encouragement than a cure for cancer. The conflict-of-interested jerks. Fix that, too, while we’re at it, by all means. But let that not be a reason to sneakily let this present initiative to fail.

  21. Would Gilles Duceppe be the new finance minister?

  22. I had the same thought, Paul, and more importantly, I think Dion did, too: remembering Trudeau’s unexpected return to power after the collapse of the Clark minority. It could happen. And while I’m not sure Dion deserves any more chances, I’m less than impressed with Harper and Flaherty’s ham-fisted approach.

  23. Do you think this how the world ends?

    More srs…

    Lets see if the trolls are right. Is PMSH brains over BS? If he doesn’t back down (the rest will can not, it will kill their ability to campaign for longer then 4yrs), then it is PM Dion as an interim to a summer election.

    But, Harper chickens out.

    He has to. His plan has been to kill the Libs. It is a financial plan. Erode whatever is left of the Libs cofferm knowing they don’t seem to be able to make the conversion to grassroots financing.

    While this fits with that approach, he knows that Canadians are reading through this, that the his has flip-flopped on the deficit, that his limited support in Ontario is partially tied to those who work in a sector he is appearing to abandon (*right or wrong) and that he would have to respond to the question: “in the last election 7 weeks ago, you said Dion had no for the first 6 weeks; tells us PMSH, besides travel the world over what did you do in those 6 weeks?” … not to mention there was an election 7 weeks ago where he promised to get along.

    In short he would be toxic and this would counteract whatever progress he has made on eradicating the Libs.

  24. sorry that should say

    said Dion had no plan for the first 6 weeks to fix the economy

  25. I just got polled about a # 10, Ti-Guy. You’ll never guess who it was … but, let me be perfectly clear …

  26. Of course Harper backs down. He squeaked the last one just ahead of the shit storm. You think now he’s going to fight an election on his having used a crisis to advance his political agenda? He’s evil, but not that stupid. And he can say later that he tried to save some money but the opposition wouldn’t let him. He’s in Govt. now for 3 or 4 years, why would he want to make it 3 months? He would, today, lose dozens of seats in Ontario and Quebec, that he just won.

  27. Tough economic times, Flaherty just announced a modest surplus with belt tightening in government,

    and voters will put in Dion, the little academic with the big (green) spending ideas, in charge?????

    Time to take your leftist media wishful thinking cap off for awhile, go for a walk, get some fresh air. This place is really starting to look like comedy hour.

  28. kody: the surplus is a lie. They are budgeting a $6 billion deficit, to be offset by sale of yet to be determined assets at yet to be determined prices. That is even before you consider the fact that they are using economic assumptions more optimistic than anyone else, which is another whopper of a lie.

  29. The three Opposition Parties should vote against this measure whether or not Harper drops the political party funding issue and form a coalition gov’t……since Harper has no economic plan to speak of and twiddling our thumbs while Rome burns is not a viable option

  30. This deficit debate slays me, I dont know who is on what side anymore. The Libs are calling for stimulus packages but sayign that the low taxes are causing us to be near deficit…bad….but spend more and please dont rais etaxes….unless your Warren Kinsella, who says he wants the GST back up to 7%….does iggy?

    The cons…well, a deficit is a deficit when it is a deficit but not a moment before it is a deficit. And while deficits are ok, I dont think I want to date Ms. deficit because my other high school friends might laugh at me….but the whole basketball team (the G&) seem to be dating Ms Deficit so maybe I can…..

    What a change from 30 years ago…Liberals, deficit…who cares….tories, “must….slay….Def…I…Cit” Cant say that I mind there being a real issue crossing that line. Just kind of hyperventialting here. this is why I hate minorities in times of crisis. You cant count on anyone being an adult.

    Paul, you forgot one option, if the GG is asked….she can always say I want to think about it for 2 months, so lets book another meeting in 2 months and see if anyone changes their mind, while the Canadian people express themselves through polls, discussions with MP’s etc.

    Nobody wants an election and nobody wants a coalition of the braindead and defeated.
    i cant see the bloc-heads supporting a coalition unless it was for grins and giggles which is the worst reason to let it happen.

    Why on earth would you let Dion become PM for 5 months and then leave? And is he going to bring in the freaking green shift? Honestly we are in definite twilight zone world.

    I just wonder if there are 10 Liberals who would bolt to the tories at the the thought of letting the NDP into government? The two independents will support the government. So that makes 145 plus 10… are more likely to get a few Blocheads to come over.

    Dion is crazy enough to do it because he has nothing to lose….Like watching a car approaching a stop sign in freezing rain.

  31. Dion, alone among the actors, has nothing to lose.

  32. The Libs and NDP don’t need to form a coalition with the BLOC, however the Bloc must support the coalition government for it to work. So no, its not necessarily going in bed with separatists

  33. No deficit this year, no deficit next year either? And yet the talk is of a federal stimulus package on the order of $10+ Billion in infrastructure projects? The $30 million in the party finance subsidy still leaves the PM and Finance Minister ohhhh, about $10 billion short. Jim Flaherty is running a 3-card monty game.

    Here’s an alternate option where the government falls and the Liberals still get to have a leadership vote. Caucus turfs Dion and appoints John McCallum as interim leader taking the help of a coalition government. The country gets an adult who actually knows a good bit about the economy in charge to craft a real economics package while the rest of Liberal Party gets to take each other’s eyes out with pointy sticks in Vancouver in May.

  34. “Prime Minister Dion” (somehow, the keyboard wouldn’t let that through without the quotation marks) would need a hellishly unholy alliance of enemies. But, ok. Let’s play this game. GGMJ manages to get the three non-amigos to at least sit in the same room at Rideau Hall long enough to agree to this scheme. She pulls that off, I nominate her as the next peace envoy between India and Pakistan.

    Can we have an opening bet in the pool for how many minutes that coalition lasts before the next non-confidence motion? Winner receives $1.95 to forward to the deserving political party of his or her choice…

  35. Kill the political party subsidy.
    Kill the political donation tax deduction.
    Raise the donation limit for individuals.

    And there is no way……NO WAY someone doesn’t back down on this. No politician benefits from another election right now, with the same cast of characters. If there was a none of the above on the ballot we’d have the highest turn out ever. Since that wouldn’t be the case, people would stay away in droves and whatever shred of faith in politicians is left in this country would vanish.

  36. Good God, MYL, are you of all people underestimating the power of self-interest?

    Stranger befellows have, er, shared a bed.

    It strikes me that Dion has always been at his worst in times that call for him to show he’s the man for the job, times that require him to thrust himself forward. His ambition has always ended in fiasco. But if the job is essentially handed to him by default, he might surprise us all. In other words, the man who can’t become PM might be a good PM.

    I must record that, 24 hours later, I am still flabbergasted at this insane Tory faux pas.

  37. I liked when Ti-Guy referred to Jarrid;s having posted, essentially referring to him as a hyper-partisan nuke. It’s like when a Liberal backbencher yells shame at a Conservative backbencher (or vice versa). And every bit as boring. You guys suck the life out of these comment boards the way the MPs have ruined the House of Commons. Thank God we have Paul Wells instead of Peter Milliken…

  38. Nope, Jack, I see a governing party aligning its own self-interest with what just so happens to be good for the country.

    I do see a trio of Dion-Duceppe-Layton as fragile. Is all.

  39. Well, MYL, I don’t really have a view on election spending (though the 3rd party stuff strikes me as very undemocratic), beyond wanting there to be more ideas, more parties, more dynamism in Canadian politics; whether that means increasing subsidy or decreasing it I don’t know. I refuse to take an ideological line on this and those who do so strike me as frivolous.

    But I fail to see how inducing electoral and constitutional panic is good for the country. Or is that your position too? I haven’t got caught up on the 300-odd comments on this issue which the last 24 hours have produced . . .

  40. Prime Minister Duceppe!

    Quebec can seperate and we can all join them.

  41. It’s at times like this that you realise how poisonous the Bloc really is. If they were just what they now claim to be, a leftist Quebec nationalist party, instead of separatist sheep in sheep’s clothing, this might be the moment for Dion to strike a Grand Bargain, Macdonald-Cartier-style, with Duceppe. But because the Bloc hasn’t cut and can’t cut its anchor in Indépendentiste Bay, a Dion government would be one-legged from the get-go.

    I forecast rain.

  42. Electoral panic? Constitutional panic?
    Wow, careful, Jack, your chicken little is showing.

    Either the measure is withdrawn before a vote or it is not. Either the opposition defeats it or supports it or hides behind curtains again to tut-tut about the evil law it’s letting go by.

    If the measure is defeated, since it would appear to me to be a spending bill, the governing party has lost the confidence of the House. Pretty quickly in the mandate. Governor General has coffee with other party leaders, alone or in combination, to assess likelihood of re-creating a government that could enjoy confidence. That either does or does not happen. If it happens, the inevitable collapse of the coalition within a month of sitting leads to an election. If it does not happen, it leads to another election. Then a door slams. A woman screams. And suddenly, a dark ship appears on the horizon!

    OK, keep that last bit, and I guess we get a wee bit of panic.

    (w/ apologies to Snoopy)

  43. Here’s my prediction: Jack Layton will suggest that he should be prime minister of an NDP-Lib coalition. Why? Mainly because Dion is on his way out, the liberals are in the midst of a leadership campaign and Layton has more federal parliamentary experience than any of the liberal leadership hopefuls. This might be the nightmare scenario envisaged by some.

  44. Emmett:

    Hear, hear.

  45. GG holds a tea. Layton becomes Prime Minister, the majority of cabinet positions (lessened now to cut costs) are taken by Liberals, with Duceppe as Foreign Affairs minister.

  46. Jack Mitchell, you were right after all. Folks are serving up Jack Layton for PM. PANIC TIME!

  47. I’m Jack Layton and I’m sizing up these options:

    – Make Dion Prime Minister. Assumimg this could even work and the Bloc would join us in this crusade, Dion either succeeds (in which case I’ve just created the means of my electoral demise when the next election comes) or fails (in which case I’m culpabable in the eyes of the public for forcing PM Dion on them when no one wanted him).

    – Make Iggy or Rae or some other Liberal Prime Minister. See option 1.

    – Try and make some other senior Liberal MP Prime Minister on the promise that she or he will resign their seat at the end of this Parliament. This could work except there is no such Liberal MP, and – assuming there was – if she or he was remotely succesful the Liberals would abandon their word almost instantly, declare that person the new leader and use your good will to tour the country making appeals for strategtic voting.

    – Make Duceppe Prime Minister. Even if he would take the job you’d be destroyed for supporting “people who want to destroy Canada”

    – Get Liberals and Bloc to make YOU Prime Minister.

    – Hope that someone else blinks first.

    – Go into an election that you have absolutely no money to fight.

    – Vote with the Tories and pass election finance legislation that will hurt your bottom line a lot but will hurt the Liberals even more and essenitally leave your party ahead of the Liberals (and WAY AHEAD of the Bloc) in terms of funding. You already out fundraise the Liberals and the Bloc and without public financing you’ll be ahead of them in real terms as well. You’ll lose a lot of what you need to grow but the Liberals will lose much more of what they need to recover. You may be one step closer to supplanting the Liberal party.

    If I were Layton I wouldn’t rule out that last option.

  48. Jack Layton as minister of defence!

  49. We might all wake up Christmas Day in a country led by Prime Minister Jack Layton. If this happens, I would also predict the following:

    1. The Liberals will keep a close watch on the polls and will pull out of Layton’s coalition the minute their numbers start going up,,,or as soon as they choose a more pomising leader than who they currently have.

    2. No more American television programs in prime time and 10 back-to-back episodes of Coronation Street on CBC per day, because buying working-class British soaps is a cheaper alternative to producing Canadian ones.

  50. Can I add madeyoulook and Jack Mitchell to my previous comment? Done and done.

  51. Rudy has the cool calculation correct.

    The only other option is PM Jack Layton. The Liberal party splits….it wont happen.

    It is useful to talk and look like something is happening, but even though I wondered whether something has started….I jsut dont think the Liberal party will let LAyton run the show and Rudy highlights why the NDP really cant put a Liberal government in power.

    What will be interesting is to see if there are more cheques that roll into any parties headquarters in the next bit.

    Back to the real world… isnt clear what a Canadian stimulus package would look like, other than an income tax reduction. We arent in serious free fall, the housing market fell significantly more in 1989. I am not saying its good but just wtf is supposed to happen.

    The worry right now is how to transistion the auto industry….thats the big issue…what to do with workers that probabky wont have jobs in 3 months. They will get some kind of packages and that will delay disaster for maybe 6 months paast that….so the question is what does fall of 2009 look like?

  52. Hey, thanks, Emmett, if there’s one thing that really breathes life into a comment board it’s people dissing other people for dissing other people. Remind me how I’ve attacked anyone personally here? Nor has MYL, and neither he nor I have a partisan affiliation. We’re trying to add value.

    I guess the key thing about this Layton-Dion coalition speculation is that we tend to underestimate the mutual hatred of those two parties. It doesn’t make much sense for outsiders but in a way the closer they are the more friction: the Judean People’s Front vs. the People’s Front of Judea. Strange to think they both get along better with the Bloc than they do with each other.

    Paul Wells is forecasting calm skies, i.e. that Harper will graciously back down. Now that he’s said it it seems obvious . . . I guess the craving for ever purer dope has driven all us political junkies a little around the bend here.

  53. I liked when Ti-Guy referred to Jarrid;s having posted, essentially referring to him as a hyper-partisan nuke.

    Seek help, Emmett.

  54. “Seems like a win/win for Cons.”

    It might be nice if they tried governing for a change. Somehow I don’t think much would change in that regard even if they got a majority.

  55. The first flaw in all this mess including Sarnia Paul’s stirring of the election embers is that a Bill doesn’t happen overnight, or overweek or overmonth, etc. There’s no election coming in any scenario, no “backing down” or strange incestuous unions of the opp parties to form a more perfect union.

    Remember that dusty chamber of entitlement junkies? Yea, the Senate. This doesn’t hit the fan until the Libs have a new leader that realizes that Liz May is their enemy as Dion handed her votes.

    The Lib Generals will try to learn the lesson of the last war where General Finley did a preemptive strike on their new leader which lasted for over a year. They will want to go to an election right after their convention to capitalize on the expected “bounce”. Of course, that will have to happen under Dominic.

  56. I don’t get it. The Opposition should revert to the tactics that were used in the last Parliament — don’t force the defeat of the government on a confidence vote but amend the heck out of the government legislation so that the offensive provisions are removed. That worked out pretty well.
    They can hold a quick debate at second reading and send Bill C-2 to the Finance Committee where they can delete the offending clauses and pass it at third reading. That way some action can be taken on the economic crisis, but the initiatives on electoral reform can wait for another day.
    Crisis, what crisis?

  57. Everyone should take a valium and enjoy the festive season. We are not having an election.

    PM Harper can still offer a compromise. Reduce the subsidy from $1.95 to $1.35 or $1.25. This would still make his point that the tit-sucking politicians need to participate in cutbacks and still put a nasty dent in the budgets of those parties incapable of fund-raising.

    As for me I enjoyed watching the hockey game tonight (Go Sens!). I don’t need to join Jack Layton hyper-ventilating.

    When is he going to realize that Joe voter doesn’t appreciate seeing tax dollars go to subsidize the sandbox on Parliament Hill?

  58. 1. All four leaders are too stubborn to back down, so the Cons are going to be defeated on Monday.

    2. The Liberals, wanting to avoid being blamed for a deficit, worsening economy and the political fallout of alligning with the Bloq, will choose an election over a coalition… time for another Winter Campaign!

    3. Fear of running under the shaky leadership of Dion, the Libs will look for a new standard barrer for the new election…

    4. Iggy?… Maybe, but choosing him as leader (under the assumption that he’s “likely” to win in May), will irritate a lot of people (not only Rae), and split the party… not the best way to enter an election…

    5. Another MP, not named Ignatief or Rae, as a caretaker until the Convention in May?… Again, perhaps. But it seems odd to name a random leader (who’s not running for the leadership, or having any experience as leader). And who would you choose? Kennedy? Hall-Finley? Goodale? … Either-way, likely to split the party on this choice alone, or…..

    6. Ask a former PM to come back and lead the party until a successor is chosen in May. Chrieten??… too old…. Martin? Ahhh… here’s a chance for Martin to clear his name and seek revenge on the man he feels “stole” the job from him! Interesting and possible, however unlikely. The Libs will look for a “neutral” leader (neutral between Iggy and Rae that is…), who has the ability, experience and confidence to win! Martin just might be their man!

  59. I think its kinda the reverse (of the above). Ignatieff. no no not ever. Cold arrogant professor who wants to tell us how we oughta…been there,done there.. the Bloc Torontaise will never rule….. Bob Rae. maybe. Let Ontario get over jumping on its stool and shrieking and the WHOLE rest of the country “ontario doesnt like him????BONUS”

    but really later later…

    But I really don’t see what the cons hope to gain by this, or how the others can respond. Time will tell.

    But the real question on my mind is: Who says “the country” doesnt want another eleciton??? anyhow????

  60. This might be a chance to return a Trudeau to 24 Sussex. It wouldn’t be fair to name Iggy or Rae as interim leader. It would have to be someone who’s not running for the leadership. I wonder if the party and/or the public would rally around young Justin.

  61. wish there was a way to amend these things — on 1 oclock reflection, I think the sensible thing for the libs is to ask Jean Chretien to lead an “interim” for many reasons, some more mischievous than others.

    he is really the last leader: the intervening Martin wasn’t a leader — he was the federal equivalent of Glen Clark — hot to bring down a perfectly competent leader just to prove he couldn’t do it himself. and lets not talk about Dion who was primarily neither Rae nor Ignatieff.

    he really would be interim — just ask Aline

    the sheer fun of Chretien vs Harper

    avoiding the cold vs colder/aloof vs disconnect of Ignatieff/Harper. Only the NDP would like this as the result would be to make the shellacked glow of Jack Layton seem like warmth and passion.

    a pauset to remember that the majority of the voters voted LEFT of centre and that this is the place of elections to come

    a breathing space for Toronto (which equals in its own mind Ontario which equals in its own mind Canada) a little time to get a grip/a hint of perspective.

    not that I’ m Western….or coastal… or

  62. What more could a Liberal /NDP coalition offer the Bloc to support them for one vote past the keep-us –at-the-trough vote? That Harper hasn’t already given to Quebec?
    Imagine…. the very first time that the Bloc makes a positive vote in the commons is to support the Liberals!!

    Next election …PQ: oh we don’t want to separate and we support the Liberals: they are not the bad guys we have made them out to be…. well the Liberals outside of Quebec are ok.

    The Bloc’s play on this coalition might might have enough impact to mess up the PQ in Quebec.

    Maybe this is an eloborate plan by Harper to help Charest :)

  63. Dion’s perfect for the job because he’s not a long term threat. Coallate a budget, pass it by summer, schedule a paperfight for next September.

  64. Paul did put in the Elizabeth May joke in his original posting but surely she is the one politician who could benefit from an election.

  65. Senator Liz for PM? She could always step down later.

  66. and Duceppe for deputy, but only if he promises to wear the hairnet.

  67. …just been visiting Atlantic Canada for work…and in the last great bastion of Liberal support (outside of the Toronto Crowd) it seems that Harpers tactic may be working.

    The talk at Tims was that average people here don’t seem to care about coalitions or backing down. This is coming across as just greed. People are loosing their jobs and politicians want to keep their millions. And if they don’t get their way, they will spend another 300million of our money to tell us why they are right to be greedy.

    Beware….voters are not a happy bunch.

  68. Quick, David the Oracle! Go back to the Tim’s and see what people are saying about the Harper backdown!

  69. Stephen Harper – Evil Genius?

    Opposition parties topple the government and there are two possible scenarios:

    1 – Plunge the country into another election no one wants or;

    2 – The Governor General asks the opposition to form a shaky, inevitably short-lived coalition government and they get to wear the worst of the economic downturn and the attendant big budget deficit.

    a win-win for the Tories?

  70. I’m still astonished that the parties want to bring down the government over this ridiculous subsidy issue. WHO CARES??? I know they are saying it is also over the fact that there’s no stimulus provided in the economic statement. But why is there no talk of the fact that the government wants to take away the public servants’ right to strike for at least three years, or the pay equity stuff? Isn’t the NDP the party of labour, or are they just too busy worrying about how to pay off their debt from the last election?

  71. How about a return of Prime Minister Chretien?

    Wouldn’t that be a final spike in the unfortunate years brought about by Martin and his supporters who usurped Mr. Chretien?

    With international turmoil in the markets, which all nations have concluded that action is required, it is disgusting that our government, instead of stepping up to the plate, wants to “wait and see”.

    This is something they can do as an opposition party, not as a ruling party.

    It shouldn’t surprise anyone, however, that the Harper government wants to “wait and see” as this is exactly their action for “National Security” issues that I’ve brought to their attention for many years. If the attacks on Mumbai had happened in Toronto, or Ottawa… would Harper still be in a “wait and see” mode?

    No, this government needs to be brought down, and the Conservatives given the time to re-consider their position on doing nothing when in power, except of course, concerning themselves with something as petty as party funding! Hopefully, with the leadership vaccuum in the Liberal camp, Mr. Chretien will step up to the plate in these difficult times, for the good of Canada and all Canadians.

  72. Timmies, Starbucks, whatever…the voters spoke 7 weeks ago, dammit. If I get forced to the polls anytime soon, I’ll be voting for a conservative majority. Maybe those who are rubbing their hands together and only thinking about sitting in the driver’s seat should instead think about the potential for voter backlash. I’m not thrilled about PMSH but I’m even less thrilled about all this posturing when we have much bigger concerns.

  73. Constitutional practice requires that the Governor General ascertain who can govern if Harper is defeated on his “wait-and-see” economics plan.

    Since Harper has decided to bail out in the face of the coming depression/recession/downturn, it doesn’t matter much who is the new PM, as long as he (or she!) is willing to stimulate the economy in the face of the potential disaster we face.

    I don’t even care if Harper’s little ploy brings him back to power in two years, as he no doubt calculates it will. What I care about is help for our economy, NOW.

  74. “If I get forced to the polls anytime soon, I’ll be voting for a conservative majority. ”

    I must have missed that check-box on the ballot.

  75. Nothing constructive to offer, Andrew? we’re all just trying to generate some healthy dialogue.

    Perhaps I shall clarify for you: if forced to the polls anytime soon, I shall be voting for the conservatives; seven weeks ago, I had reluctantly voted for another party. Maybe others like me will reconsider and vote conservative, too, and put a majority government in place so that the business of the nation can be appropriately addressed.

  76. Please, not another election. Canadians have spoken. Harper is handling a difficult international problem. We should support him!

  77. ==Desperate times call for desperate measures==

    As soon as Conservatives publicly declared their intention to end subsidies for political parties they effectively cooked Liberals.

    Liberals are in debt and have to borrow money in order to operate. Who is going to lend them money on commercial bases if their main source of revenue might soon be eliminated??

    Harper already sent Liberals to get knee-capped by the bankers regardless if his motion it tabled or not at this point in time.

    Liberals’ only chance to avoid bankruptcy is to try to defeat Conservative government in a non-confidence motion and form coalition government.

    That is a worst excuse that anybody could ever think of as a reason for trying to defeat newly elected Conservative government.

    What we need now is a good editorial cartoon of Dion dressed in shorts pulled down to his ankles with his knapsack and Kyoto dog on a leash submitting loan application to a Bank Manager. Bank Manager asks: Stephanie my sunny boy but you have no income to pay all that money back, so where is the signature of Uncle Harper?

  78. Karol: We read it the first time. Try an original thought.

  79. “As soon as Conservatives publicly declared their intentions to end subisdies for political parties they effectively cooked Liberals.”

    The Conservatives didn’t cook the Liberals, they did it to themselves the day they voted Dion as their party leader!!

  80. The talk at Tims was that average people here don’t seem to care about coalitions or backing down…

    Do people who write this stuff really expect others to buy it?

  81. T. Thwim,
    You people have no clue what the game plan is and it baffles my mind how you can go on spouting nonsense the way you do.
    Liberals are broke; I know it, you know it , they know it, and everybody else knows it as well. Parliament was openend November 19, 2008 that is less than two weeks ago.
    Conservatives have 143 seats and they need 11 more to have majority. Nobody crossed the floor so far. Liberals, Block and NDP are all dead ends of Canadian politics. They are useful to get elected to HoC but not very useful to hang around with for too long.
    I am quite sure that quite a few intelligent and ambitious people that got elected on Liberal, NDP and Block tickets. These people cannot just abandon their parties and move to Conservatives so they need a crisis in order to make that transition. What is better crisis than a threat of looming fall of just elected government and prospect of another election??
    If Harper plays his cards right week from now he will have the majority at HoC.
    This is most likely scenario for an outcome of this manufactured crisis.

  82. Thank you so much for the discussion/debate. It has been a joy to read. Entirely off-thread, I must express my impatience at this country continually ducking the issue of democratic fairness. Let’s get PR/STV into the mix now, while we have the opportunity. We are entitled to have constitutional crises and political circuses like this every 3 to 6 months. No way do we need or want effective government. This is just a taste, kid’s stuff. It beats anything on television, though – hockey, football, CSG, South Park and, though it pains me to say it, Coronation Street.

  83. James.

    My sentiments….not Mr Coyne’s but definitely mine.

  84. Look, the separatist movement is dead. I am fine with the Bloc. Why should I be pissed? When was the last time Duceppe started ranting and raving about Quebec separating? The Bloc has now become a party which reflects Francophone values in the house. This could actually be a great thing and create some good will between the Francophone and Anglophone cultures. Bottom line is that there are way more commonalities between the opposition’s platforms than with the Conservatives. The Conservatives have lost the confidence of Parliament. I am not saying that a coalition government will last a full term. But look at how long this current Parliament has lasted. 3 days. All good will has been destroyed by Harper. The opposition parties at least can have a dialogue together. The Conservatives seem more like Stalin from up on high dictating when, where, what, and how. With a minority government no less. What a joke.

  85. I am absolutely livid after hearing that Dion will be Prime minister. He has absolutely no mandate to sit as Prime minister and he owns an embarrassingly low approval rating of 11%. Dion is clearly not the choice of Canadians to lead this country and he has absolutely no right to assume power.

    FTR I voted NDP. I have never voted for the Liberals in my life and would not vote for Dion under any circumstance. He is unfit in any capacity. As far as the NDP is concerned they have lost my confidence and my vote in future elections. I will not vote for any party that steals my vote to assume power.

  86. People are missing the bigger issue here. I don’t remember ever seeing notice of a referendum or public vote to oust our JUST re-elected PM. If that’s how things are going to work in Canada, can I simply walk into the House of Commons, shoot Dion and say, “Hey guys, Dion sucked. To heck with what Canadians think, I’m the new Prime Minister.”? The job of the House is not to use political underhandedness to throw the country into turmoil, it’s to vote for or against bills being passed. Which is what should have been done, if they did not agree with cutting public funding to campaigning.

    What you see here is simply Dion, who was just asked for his resignation, hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt from his campaigning, using this as a ploy to band the opposition together, cement his place in the Liberal party (they can’t really oust him now, can they?) and secure his name in history as a leader of Canada. I’m outraged that the vote I cast 6 weeks ago is basically worthless.

    Canadians should be outraged at this. This is NOT democracy, not even a Republic. Dion is no better than Castro.