Prime Minister Iggy? Prorogation? The Rockies collapsing into a sea of boiling lava?


John Ivison: Ignatieff would be PM in a Liberal-led coalition:

Michael Ignatieff will become Prime Minister in a Liberal-led coalition government if the opposition parties succeed in bringing down the Conservatives in a no-confidence vote in the House of Commons next week and if the Governor-General deems it to be a viable alternative, sources said late last night. 

Mr. Ignatieff met with lame duck Liberal leader, Stéphane Dion, and leadership candidates Bob Rae and Dominic LeBlanc in Toronto last night and hammered out a deal that would see Mr. Dion and Mr. Rae step aside, with the latter named to a senior post, likely Foreign Affairs Minister.

Earlier, Mr. Dion is understood to have struck a deal with NDP leader Jack Layton in which the New Democrats would get around a quarter of the seats around the Cabinet table, if the coalition bid to unseat the Conservatives is successful. The deal would have a guaranteed two and a half year lifespan.

It is understood that Mr. Ignatieff was reluctant to sign on unless he was named interim leader because it would leave Mr. Dion, who was recently rejected by the Canadian electorate, as leader.

Prior to the deal being struck, sources close to Mr. Ignatieff said he was unlikely to support the deal because of concerns that a coalition government led by Mr. Dion would be a “poisoned chalice” for the next leader.

Well that’s tidy. Leadership races are such a bore. So instead of a Prime Minister who had just lost an election, we’d get a PM who has never been elected — not as PM, not as party leader, not as anything until two years ago.

MEANWHILE: CTV’s Bob Fife is reporting that Harper will prorogue Parliament before next Monday’s confidence vote.

MEANWHILER: PM Iggy? That’s so 11:09 PM

A spokesman for Bob Rae categorically denied Sunday night that Rae has agreed to step aside to make room for Ignatieff and said that Dion was not even at the meeting where the purported deal was said to have been hatched.

Also Sunday night, there were media reports which said that the Liberals and NDP had agreed on sharing cabinet seats, although there were conflicting reports on the number of portfolios each party would get.

Conclusion: Nobody knows anything. But the intra-Liberal intrigue is obviously where the fighting is dirtiest…


Prime Minister Iggy? Prorogation? The Rockies collapsing into a sea of boiling lava?

  1. I understand people speaking against a “Prime Minister Stéphane Dion”. That being said, he did get 27% of the vote by proposing the Green Shift. The Green Party had a very similar plan (but more ambitious) and collected roughly 7-8%. Combined, they are basically tied with the Conservatives.

    People speak of legitimacy, but like Andrew Coyne points out, up until two years ago, Michael Ignatieff had been living in another country for the last thirty years. Not to mention the fact that he actually lost his party’s nomination.

    If we can not have a proportional representation system, I would expect us to have a system which allows party’s who gain a majority of the votes to form a coalition.

  2. Funny title Andrew.

    By the way, my immediate thought on Prime Minister Iggy was that he could quite possibly be Canada’s first appointed Prime Minister.

  3. “It is understood that Mr. Ignatieff was reluctant to sign on unless he was named interim leader”

    Huh? He would be temporary leader and continue to run for the for-realsies leadership in May?

  4. We had a series of backroom chosen PMs after John A. died.

  5. Ah, quite the scoop! On the Rockies collapsing, I mean. Iggy as PM I’ll take with a grain of salt.

  6. I’m disinclined to believe this — only because I think it’s too good to be true.

    The overwhelming consensus in coverage to date is that Dion would lead. Correct?

    Does Ivison has a track record of getting good inside scoops? I’m afraid I don’t read him very often.

  7. Shawn,

    Dion queers the deal, while Iggy isn’t in unless he gets the lion’s share of power. We already knew Rae was onboard, and Layton can’t lose in it. I guess all that remains to be settled is who will replace Stephen Harper as party leader after this.

  8. I just want another election, and a solid Harper majority to shut parliament up for four years. Is that too much to ask? Peace for four years?

    But make no mistake about it: If the Prime Minister (who I like) ever gets a majority because of everything that’s happened here, expect a Mach 10 score-settling.

    Off the top of my head:

    – party funding subsidies would be gone forever.
    – the amount that one can spend in an election would probably be doubled
    – districtions would be unilaterically redrawn to favour Conservative incumbents
    – It would become virtually impossible to organize a union in this country
    – Liberal MP’s would be given a stank basement to have their caucus meetings in
    – Regional development would be gone
    – Third parties would be able to spend unlimited amounts of money during election campaigns, or at the very least the same amount parties can spend.

    It would get ugly fast. My advice: Harper is like the Emperor from Star Wars during the fight with Mace Windu. You think you have him down and cowed but give him a moment and he’ll leap up and blast you to pieces with lightning and scream orgasmically while doing it.

    You are forewarned.

  9. Indulging in a bit of social mischief from your pulpit again, eh Mr. Coyne?

    We really do need to withdraw the 10 million dollar subsidy Rogers Publications gets each year through the Publications Assistance Program

    10 million dollars. TEN MILLION DOLLARS!

  10. How does this happen: A man who didn’t live here for 27 years can come back, become an MP for two years, spend one of those losing a leadership race, and then become PM without the formality of an election or even membership in a coalition that has a plurality of seats in the House of Commons?

    I’m very supportive of our Westminster system. But this crosses too many lines. I think the GG could put Dion in place as PM, but I think she really ought to turn Ignatieff away. I know that in our system we don’t vote for PMs we vote for MPs. But that is a wildly impractical way of looking at it. All the political science literature demonstrates that in practice we vote for a combines of parties/leaders/MPs. One out of three just ‘aint good enough, IMHO.

  11. Ti-Guy,

    Vote Conservative and that $10 million gets washed out from the Conservative election subsidies.

  12. FB, what do you mean, he doesn’t have “membership” in the coalition?

  13. JFD, you just wrote the attack ad for the Coalition in the next election.

  14. So, it seems that Ignatieff’s blackmail finally worked. Powercorp boys must be livid hearing that their golden boy Bobby Rae got out-foxed in a last moment.

  15. So Karol, you want to take that bet?

  16. I have a hard time believing this… though if it drives you a little nuts Andrew, I will tolorate the idea for 5 minutes or so.

  17. Looks like and has the smell of the Charlottetown Accord…elite and backroom driven.

    We all know that we will be told who are leaders should be, and we will like it.

    BTW, I thought the Liberals said they didnt want a coronation and felt they needed to engage in policy renewal….oh to hell with that, it is boring as well.

  18. @Shawn in Montreal– The Bloc is not part of the coalition, right? They will just be supporting it, because various imperatives of cabinet loyalty/solidarity prevent them from being formal members. And so the coalition has 107 (I think?) seats, compared to 143 for the Conservatives.

    Like I suggested, that itself is not a constitutional problem: the test is whether you can command a majority in the house, not whether you are the plurality. But it is a strike against your legitimacy. And with all the other strikes I think it adds up to insufficient legitimacy. If everyone is so confident that Harper has gone off the rails, than an election to finally settle the matter is the right answer.

  19. *then

  20. Liberal leadership out of the way, now the question is how do we carve out Conservative majority out of this mess??? Considering that all Liberal MP’s who supported Ignatieff are leaning to the right end of political spectrum and considering the fact that Ignatieff’s threat to leave and take 11 Liberals with him was so real that it scared Dion into nominating Ignatieff as interim leader it seems that this holding off with floor crossing was a very wecome parting gift to Mr. Ignatieff. Timing is everything in politics and so far the timing seems to be perfect.
    I guess we have to wait for couple of days with this floor crossing thing just so it does not look so blatant.

  21. We all know that we will be told who are leaders should be, and we will like it.

    Well, you Conservatives won’t hardly know the difference, will you? After all, you gleefully recite talking points handed to you from the Party. Your Party even has a web site dedicated to robotic repetition of Party slogans and embodies message discipline and totalitarianism.

    So please…enough with the hypocrisy.

  22. Karol: “I guess we have to wait for couple of days with this floor crossing thing just so it does not look so blatant.”

    Any day now, Karol. Any day now.

  23. How kind of the Liberals to cancel their own election. But voiding one is more than enough. I’d rather they leave us the one we just had or at least permit us the one where we go best 2 out of 3 with their annointed.

    Andrew, I’m hoping this discredits coalition building AFTER elections for at least a generation. Just remind the G-G. In Canada one of your possible answers is never the wrong one.

  24. FB: There is also the matter that an election now will paralyse Ottawa for another three months. I would argue that the duly elected MPs of the House of Commons ought to be given a chance to form a working majority and govern to whatever extent is possible.

  25. Dion stepping down? I’ll wait for confirmation of that. There was no doubt in my mind that Iggy would not stand in the way of such a deal. He’d be killing his own chances to win the leadership. However, I doubt the Liberals would sweeten the pot quite that much – just handing Iggy the job? Since I don’t believe he would block the deal, I don’t believe he’d need to be bought out quite so aggressively either.

  26. It is not unusual in democracies around the world for coalitions to be formed in order to have a working majority. It’s new in the Canadian context because minorities tend to be fleeting. Now that we’ve elected three in a row, perhaps we should adapt to them rather than play the insane games of the past two Parliaments.

  27. What is so shocking about this situation? One party wins a minority, has to demonstrate it can command the support of the House; olive branches are extended etc.; then the PM basically gives the middle finger to the House, losing its support; the rest of the House get together and forms an alternative government. It’s absolutely textbook Westminster government.

    The delusion is that Harper “won” the election. All he got was a plurality; “winning” means a majority. He didn’t get that, and he didn’t realise it. Now he is about to learn how to lose.

  28. I guess we’ll have to wait and see about this stuff… stories flying faster then you can follow.

    Harper proroguing 2 weeks into a session after a months delay after the election because he faces imminent defeat next Monday? Yea.. that will really stop his imminent defeat in January.

    Hopefully the G-G refuses his “advice” on the prorogue and tells him to face the music. After all, in his little tiff of a speech on Friday. he DID promise that Parliament would get their chance to vote on the Economic Statement. NOw he’s going back on his word and taking his toys and going home?

  29. Karol, I admire your optimism. I do. But it seems to be borne of delirium and delusion, rather than of actual knowledge. Iggy’s 11? Sounds like some kind of heist movie.

  30. AC, two honest questions:

    1) what are the merits of this minority government by which it deserves to stand?

    2) how do you feel about proroguing in instances when a government is known to be on verge of losing a confidence motion (know here recognizing and upcoming opposition day, a no confidence motion already in the system, and widespread media coverage that include an agreement in principle for opposition parties to form a coalition)?

  31. Jack,
    Since nothing else is going to happen tonight lets go back to previous discussion about socialism; stealing of profits thru taxation and capitalist theory of value since you failed on a question of socialist theory of value.

  32. Karol, you’ve lost it. Go to bed buddy. Listen. I love all my fellow conservatives. All of them. Even you. From one conservative to another, get some rest. Take your anti-psychotics. Call your doctor to adjust your meds if you must. But please, get straightened out. Once you’re better, I promise, as a fellow conservative, I will forgive you for anything you said while you were unwell. Which you clearly are.

  33. Karol, what do you mean I failed? I gave you a detailed answer about the artificiality of price in communist economies.

    Anyway, I hope you don’t believe in the “just price”: that would be very anticapitalist of you. Taxes are one of the real world things that affect price, profits, etc., sort of like the weather. Basically it comes down to “pay your taxes or we’ll hang you”: pretty simple, so I guess you just resent being told what to do. Well, tough.

  34. Aw, Ranter, don’t take away my straight man. That’s half my material right there.

  35. Raging Ranter,
    They would not be doing this only to depose Dion so there must be a part two to all of this. Their other goals could be deposing GG, or deposing Chief Justice of SCC or both. Deposing GG is quite easy to arrange if she tries to give Iggy a chance to govern. Deposing GG and Chief Justice would require getting SCC involved in this mess as well.
    It might make it worth going thru all that trouble.

  36. @Andrew (not Potter or Coyne): sure, but in that case Dion can be PM. Think about the logic of the situation. Either Iggy thinks paralysis must be avoided at all costs or he doesn’t. If he doesn’t, then he should be willing to have an election. If he does, then he should be willing to wait six months to be PM. If you (or any other voter) thinks paralysis needs to be avoided, then you would presumably never support for PM a guy who is willing to subject the country to paralysis so that he can become PM now rather than in six months?

  37. Jack, you forgot a chapter in your textbook.

    1) In the classic model the party leaders are chosen by caucus, as they are in the UK In Canada they are chosen by parties, so it makes it possible to have a PM who isnt an MP, in Canada.

    2) In the westminster model the PM advises whether he holds confidence or not and then advises the GG on action to take, which,unless there are extroidinary circumstances, is agreed to. Harper, should he lose a vote, will likely advise the GG to disolve. The default is election so the people can speak, especially if there is a new leader at play. King Byng ultimately was about the triming of the GG’s powers to extroidinary circumstances, it certainly was not about confirming those powers as being absolute. But the GG could go either way, but to refuse is pretty significant and there better be good reasons.

    Being constitutional is saying a proper procedure was followed, it says nothing about whether action requiring the procedure is “correct”. Calling an election or calling on the opposition to form the government are both “constitutional”, so is declaring war without a vote in Parliament, it doenst make it right or legitimate. It all depends, but the convention that the GG does as the PM advises is pretty strong rule.

    On fear of elections, once again scale is important here, as an example, the Auto industry is potentially asking for 3.5 billion dollars from the Canadian government, an election costs 300 million…..wouldnt you rather spend 300 million to ensure that spending 3.5 billion was the right thing, and legitimate as far as the populace is concerned when it is a new issue, there arent any tanks rolling into Poland, so to speak, I think we can take 4-5 weeks out to have an election. Then hopefully we dont have to have another for 4 years after that.

    Besides for all you Harper haters, if he loses in a two party race he is definitely gone and you can all rejoice.

  38. @Karol—hahahahahahah

  39. I know Jack. I’m only trying to protect him from humiliation. Karol, they are not going to depose of either the GG or the SCC. That’s silly talk. Buddy, c’mon. It’s late. Get some sleep.

  40. If the PM prorogues Parliament, it means longer before the government officially falls and may make it more likely that the Governer General will chose an election over offering the opposition a chance to form a coalition. If they manage to come up with a solid budget, the Conservatives could then go to the polls with not only more money to spend, but will also be able to say that the opposition held up stimulus money for the economy.

    We’ll see how this goes, but I am just disgusted that we’re even in this situation in a time like this.

  41. By Sheer coincidence I’m just watching the Emperor get tossed down the shaft in the Death Star in Return of the Jedi, too bad he gets killed in the end. Really I don’t care who does the tossing Jim Prentice or Dick Cheney, whichever will work. Has anyone seen Karl Rove in Ottawa recently? Seems like Harpo was trying to craft a permanent Conservative majority, he should have looked south. Maybe now we can get some real leaders in both the Conservatives and the Liberals and move the whole country forward.

  42. Jack you are not much of a deep thinker are you?? Value of the product according to socialist theory is proportional to to amount of work required to produce it. Accordingly if you went on a stroll in a forest and found a gold nugget according to socialist theory it would be worthless as you did not have to dig whole day in order to find it. This is why socialist economies around the World kept on failing because they are based on stupid theories.

  43. Listen. I love all my fellow conservatives. All of them.

    Oh Lord, he’s in estrus again.

  44. Raging Ranter Canadian DOD invested half a billion dollars in 120 slightly used Leopard Tanks. I believe that we already took delivery of these tanks.
    I somehow do not recall seeing them on the streets of Canadian cities. That was something that Liberals said that Conservatives would do if they were allowed to govern. They were governing for almost three years now and they have not done it yet and I would be very disappointed if it turned out that Conservatives failed to delivered on Liberal promise.

  45. Karol — You were inquiring about price, not about value. Anyway, no one ever applied that Marxist “theory of value” in the real world, so it’s a bit much to resurrect it as a straw theory.

    Stephen, who raises serious points —

    In the westminster model the PM advises whether he holds confidence or not and then advises the GG on action to take, which,unless there are extroidinary circumstances, is agreed to. Harper, should he lose a vote, will likely advise the GG to disolve. The default is election so the people can speak, especially if there is a new leader at play.

    Whether the GG is to accept Advice or not is quite strictly bound by convention — so much so that it would be a desperate move on the PM’s part to submit Advice that she was not supposed to follow. It’s a way of ensuring that the PM can’t run hog wild with the timing of elections, especially in minority situations. Ah, the wisdom of the Fathers.

    Basically the PM can’t Advise the GG to dissolve Parliament if he’s been unable to keep a government together for at least 6 months (or so) + at least one budget. Until then, the GG is (by convention) required to ask other parties if they can form a government in his place. This has always been the rule: it’s there to prevent our having an election every 2 weeks in the case of an unstable minority Parliament. In this case, if Dion-Layton can’t govern (i.e. retain the support of the House for 6 months and pass a budget), the GG would be justified in asking Harper to return, provided he can show that he will have the support of the House (which in practice would mean getting the Bloc to transfer their support).

    King Byng ultimately was about the triming of the GG’s powers to extroidinary circumstances, it certainly was not about confirming those powers as being absolute. But the GG could go either way, but to refuse is pretty significant and there better be good reasons.

    King-Byng was about the GG exercising the reserve powers of the Crown in defiance of convention. Byng had previously been Governor of Bermuda and nobody had thought to inform him (or he resisted being informed) that the role of GG in Canada was analogous to that of the King in Britain, not to that of a colonial administrator.

    The key thing in King-Byng is that King had been governing (in coalition) for nearly a year when he requested dissolution — in other words, he was running a real government, as Harper is not yet doing. Thus Byng was way out of line in refusing his Advice — Byng was defying established convention. If Jean were to accept Advice from Harper to dissolve, she would be defying convention.

    I’m not being partisan here, this is literally the constitution of this country. We have a representative democracy. The point is that the Government is responsible to the House of Commons and stands or falls on its confidence. In our elections, we do not vote a government into office: we choose the MP we want to represent us and that MP then participates in framing the will of the House. At the moment (for the next six months or so, + 1 budget) the will of the House has not been determined, and it is now trying to express itself as confidence in a Coalition government. That may change again, or not. But we have to wait and see what the House of Commons wants, since they are our representatives.

  46. Jack, every time you have no answer you try to twist my question; you did it with stealing profits thru taxation and now with theory of value claiming that I was asking for determination of price BTW it is almost the same thing.
    So what determines value (price) in capitalist economy?? That should be very simple for you.

  47. Karol, this is gonna be one slow-ass Socratic interrogation, I see.

    What determines price in a capitalist economy? Um, demand?

  48. Close but no cigar, uttility.

  49. Is that “uttility” with one T or two? I’m trying to get this right.

  50. “So what determines value (price) in capitalist economy?? That should be very simple for you.”

    Ah this old, essentially semantic Marxist argument. Your theory of value is that labour creates value (or at least the value added), and so labour should get the profits of their endeavours. It is a ridiculous view – a coat doesn’t get made without a tailor, but it also doesn’t get made without a sewing machine (ironically using Ricardian economics). Think for a moment – the average worker earns 15 times what they did 150 years ago in real terms. Is that because they put 15 times as much labour in*, or because of increased capital, productivity and innovation? Moreover, management, and the effective allocation of resources also creates value. Profits are a reward for a sort of labour (wise investment).

    Price is a function of two things: scarcity and utility. This is true of all markets. For instance, in the dating market, the world’s fattest man has a girlfriend because while there is little utility to screwing him, he is scarce (there is only one of them). His “price” (the hotness of the girlfriend he might demand) is rather high, all things considering.

    *Which should rather shake the faith of a Marxist. Capitalists are supposed to drive wages down to the minimum living wage, as the reserve army of unemployed increases.

  51. hoser, you’re introducing rationality into my Socratic interrogation by Karol. That is not kosher.

  52. Just so you know; lets assume that production cost of a helicopter is one million dollars. If you could buy it for $10000.00 you would have one parked in your back yard and use it on a weekend. There would be many people willing to buy it – great demand. Since production cost of one million is limiting minumum price the only people who will buy it for that money are the one who find a utility in spending one milion in order to buy a helicopter and use it.

  53. hosertohoosier
    Did you read what I wrote??

  54. Duly noted. Now what was that about theft?

  55. Yes, your definition of price is flawed because it ignores scarcity (aka. supply). Water is useful but cheap, because it is less scarce than diamonds, which are not very useful* but expensive.

    *Now the old water-diamond paradox, I’ll admit, is a bit flawed since diamonds (barring those used for lasers) are probably Veblen goods (ie. conspicuous consumption goods).

  56. Well, sorry, but assuming supply is what it is then demand determines price. I was close, after all.

    How this has anything to do with taxes being theft is beyond me, son of Sosiphron.

  57. Canadian socialism: theft of profits thru taxation of business and individuals and financing of ever expanding public sector using profits stolen thru taxation from business and individuals as more effective way of expansion of socialism than nationalisation of industry.

  58. How so?

  59. hosertohoosier
    Forget scarcity in manufacturing of products of utility as given increased profitability supply expands, It just clouds the issues.
    Your water diamonds paradox does not contribute anything these days as we produce syntetic diamonds now.

  60. Karol, those businesses and individuals also benefit from public goods without which their profits would be impossible. You are also taking as your baseline the notion that capital is entitled to 100% of its profits – where does that come from? You are assuming that taxation is primarily distributional, when interestingly, that is not the case in Canada (if you count all types of taxation, Canada’s tax system is slightly regressive according to the CD Howe institute).

    If you want a BETTER anti-tax philosophical argument, try this one in the future (it is based on left-wing premises too). In a post-industrial economy, progressive taxation is actually worse for the working class. Why? The goal of progressive taxation is greater equalization of utility within a country (equal incomes do nothing on their own, after all). The problem is that jobs have many non-monetary benefits that aren’t taxed.

    For instance, if you work as an intern in some office, you get to work in an air-conditioned office, you get free internet access 8 hours a day and so on. By contrast, for manual labourers, the main benefit of their work is their wages. Such work is exhausting, and so has fewer quality of life perks than other jobs. This ultimately is why Joe the Plumber is a conservative (and why professors are liberals) – taxation affects 100% of the benefits of his job, and only say 60% of the benefits of a professor’s job. This is amplified by Maslowian preferences – the professor may make more, but as a function of that, having satisfied his basic needs, is interested in self-actualization (which is not necessarily expensive, though it may be time-consuming).

  61. “Forget scarcity in manufacturing of products of utility as given increased profitability supply expands, It just clouds the issues. Your water diamonds paradox does not contribute anything these days as we produce syntetic diamonds now.”

    All goods are not manufactured, and most goods have costs that impact supply. eg. the cost of labour, raw materials etc. Are you honestly saying that supply will NOT react to an increase in labour costs (say, because free labour is more scarce in a period of full employment)?

  62. (Karol, you even use supply in your helicoptor example, in the form of production costs)

  63. If you nationalise industry you have to manage it and if you do not know how to manage it profits disappear and you have to run it for a loss and subsidise it from other business that you nationalised that still generates profit (you did not mismanaged it yet to a point of nonprofitability). If you keep on taxing business you do not have to manage business you tax and you do not risk any loss in case it fails. What is so difficult to understand?? Even communist China walked away from outright ownership and switched to taxation.

  64. Sorry, who was arguing for nationalization of industry here?

  65. So, Karol, just for the record, and for the fun of tightening the iron logic a bit, you’re saying that nationalisation of industry (= socialism) is more deleterious than taxation in a capitalist framework; therefore our current system is better than socialism; therefore our current system is not socialist.

  66. I’m afraid it depends which pill Karol is on, hosertohoosier.

  67. Jack,
    You seem to have some serious comprehension problems. Canada is more socialist that Poland ever was when it was a part of Soviet Block.
    They did not have idiot divorce lawyers charging $400.00 an hour for suffling papers until they clean you out. (In Ontario lawyers have monopoly on preparing any type of legal documents). They did not have Children’s Aid Society workers stealing autistic kids so they can collect $217.00 dollars a day for keeping them in CAS custody. They did not have feminist division of labour on reproductive front: abortion on demand on one hand and CAS baby snatching and baby selling on the other hand. Man do not get me even started on this socialist nonsense.

  68. Well, let us hope for better days, Karol.

  69. hosertohoosier
    Certain very useful products are never manufacured only because mininum cost of manufacturing them exceeds their utility. Case to make my point: Moller’s Skycar

  70. Jack,
    Do not let them fool you Liberalism is mental disorder much worse than Marx style socialism.
    Have good night.

  71. You too!

  72. (cross posted from above, and not addressed to Andrew, the lone voice of sanity here)

    I don’t mean to get in the way of the liberal media’s fantasy about a far left socialist governement taking power without winning an election,


    funny how no one in said media has contemplated the notion that the entire West (and new economic powerhouse of Canada) will be run by folks no one there voted for, but rather from a relatively select few bastions of socialism concentrated in a handful of eastern city ridings.

    Kate at Small Dead Animals has a post noting the Western Seperatists are doing the “happy bum dance” today.

    Indeed they are.

  73. The Libs drop to their lowest support in a century,

    so obviously nows the time where they should take power…….well…. to make the full leftward move to marxism complete that is.

    Ahhh, reflexive socialist policies in a time of economic turmoil, the stuff mass starvations are made of.

  74. Yes, democracy at it’s finest:
    The Liberals have lost seats and the Conservatives have gained seats, so this is the perfect signal to the Liberals to seize power from the Conservatives, having gained that special mandate from the voters. But to do so, it is important to esnure that separatists form a part of the government.

  75. Separtist issues aside, there was not a great deal of differences in the Party policies of the NDP,Libs, Green and Bloc .The Bloc have even been stronger on some issues of sustainability than the Libs and NDP.
    It was a Bloc member who presented a bill to label GE foods.
    I have more fear of Alberta than I do of Quebec. They have the Tar Sands.

  76. “Separatist issues aside…”

    Uh, you do realize that separatism is the RAISON D’ETRE of the Bloc, right? This is like saying “Environmental issues aside…” and then praising the Green Party’s tax policies.

    “I have more fear of Alberta than I do of Quebec. They have the Tar Sands.”

    What, are you afraid you’re gonna sink in them or something? They’re called the oil sands, and are an integral part of a healthy Canadian economy, energy independence, and sustainability… regardless of this propaganda the global warming lobby constantly perpetuates.

  77. The Liberals should resolve their problem by naming Paul Martin as interim leader.

    Most Canadians still respect Martin and he could be sold as the man with experience to deal with economic and fiscal problems.

    Elevating Ignatieff to PM when he has no experience as leader could leave the Liberals vulnerable to an even worse result in the next election.

  78. Martin as PM again?

    Why not?

    An unelected guy to run an unelected gov’t.

    While we’re entering the realm of goofy, we might as well jump completely in.

  79. What does Harper … I mean Bob Fife think about who would be the Liberal leader?

  80. Reposting to avoid moderation…

    Martin IS in the mix. Apparently he’s part of some superstar council that’s going to govern Canada from the back rooms

    So this is what Canada has now come to. Parliament has been hijacked by a shadowy backroom coalition of defeated, unelected Liberals “to assure Canadians the economy would be managed properly”.

  81. And we’re to believe that all of this has been pulled together in the last 72 hours, because of the economic update. Right.

  82. “funny how no one in said media has contemplated the notion that the entire West (and new economic powerhouse of Canada) will be run by folks no one there voted for, but rather from a relatively select few bastions of socialism concentrated in a handful of eastern city ridings”

    sf, it’s called demographics. The amount of space occupied on a map doesn’t count. For the record, most citizens outside of Ontario and Quebec are comparatively far over-represented in Parliament. And should this all come to pass, the country will still be served by an official opposition – presumably all those western conservative MPs (unless they all plan to quit and leave Ottawa). You wanna talk governments that don’t represent you? How about the 63% (or whatever the number is) of Canadians who didn’t vote for the Conservatives?

    You’d swear we were talking about the outright seizure of Parliament by some militaristic outside force, as opposed to the potential realignment of governance that would actually replace minority rule with majority (albeit, coalition) rule.

  83. Ti-Guy, you kill me.

    Meanwhile, we have Andrew Coyne quoting John Ivison.

    You’ll pardon me, please, if I pass up the agitation and await the reporting.

  84. First of all, Karol, you’re being extremely ideological. A purely private economy would be horrendously inefficient, much in the same way a purely public economy would. Just think of all the transaction costs (pay for every road you drive on, each sidewalk, pay for your child to use a park, etc.). Some things are more efficiently provided by government (through taxes, but possibly privately delivered), while most things are more efficiently provided by the private sector. You are being absurdly ideological by opposing any government involvement in the economy.

    Secondly, it seems fair to me that the opposition have a mandate to govern insofar as they pursue common elements of their respective electoral platforms and any logical extension of those policies. And seeing as they are all centre / left parties, there is quite a bit of overlap. No, I don’t expect carbon taxes to be introduced. But I think something like emergency drug assistance could.

  85. If the prospects for Canada are so bleak that we are expected to condone the ascent to prime minister of an unelected party leader, then can the parties on all sides, including Mr Harper, please explain, clearly and succinctly, just why we should endorse such an extreme action. Is this really a state of emergency when normal democratic processes are bypassed “in the public interest”. Or is it merely a bunch of machiavellian inclined Ontario politicians indulging in the political equivalent of blood lust. ?

  86. Any Iveson story sources other than the usual ‘anonymous insider’ nonsense?

    [yellow journalism – n. Journalism that exploits, distorts, or exaggerates the news to create sensations and attract readers.]

  87. Jack, good points.

    However, the one budget or 6 months is hardly a rule….not even a convention…it is an unknown since it hasnt been tested. All speculation and faculty lounge conversation.

    The GG can accept or reject the advice. The better way to put it is she duty bound to accept the advice UNLESS she has a good reason to reject…..it is a serious matter to uise what is effectively a nuclear option. We all agree she gets to exercise judgement where convention isnt clear.

    Yes King Byng was about trimming the freedom of scope of the GG’s powers….or making clear my point, that you really are supposed to follow the PM’s advice unless you have a darn good reason not to. What those reasons are, arent clear or laid out. She will have to make a clear case and part of her judgement has to be the perceived legitimacy of the government.

    I dont know what she’ll do. But she has to address the following when she explains her decision, and she will have to explain it.

    1) The formal partners participating on government have fewer seats than the existing government, whats different

    2) The existing government has’t even presented a budget, but has signalled it will, why change now

    3) The changing nature of the PM ship inherent in the proposed agreement, and how it justifies a 2.5 year term when the PM isnt going to be there that length of time and does the agenda overall justify the length of that, how stable, realistically is the coalition

    4) The implicit support of the BQ, not just a regional party but one dedicated to breaking up the counrtry she is sworn to defend. this will cut to legitimacy elswhere in the country and she should be asking what the price of this support was. She has here own weakness in this area as well, given her husands past (sorry but thats a legitimacy issue as well, thanks Mr Martin) Quebecers might be cool with this but they arent the target of all of this.

    5) If circumstances have changed so much why is the use of GG power required versus the normal process of an election.

    At the end of the day she is going to have to say the words “In My Judgement” and it needs to make sense and even then I have my doubts. Not that it will make sense but that even if will it fly. This is not the way we choose PM’s and governments, we hold elections, as messy and inconvenient as they are. Her safest and most logical position is to seize on the circumstances to accept the PM’s alleged future advice. Added bonus, if the election returns the same result THEN she can say, well the people had the chocie before them and clearly the result is coalition. Legitimacy solved, arguing stops and we can all get on with out lives.

    The opposition wants to spend 30 Billion more, what is a 300 million to ensure legitimacy, a priceless commodity.

  88. My nerdy research indicates that precedent from other Westminsterine climes dictates the GG would likely deny any request for prorogation if the underlying reason seems to be dodging a non-con vote.

    Were things to pan out that way, it would only boost the optics of the coalition: First Harper unilaterally delays the vote, then starts frantically bargaining away everything, then runs to the GG to shut Parliament down, only to have her slap him down hard for going all extraconstitutional. And poor Steve has to twist in the wind for another day or so awaiting his inevitable execution in the House.

    I daresay it’s particularly difficult to build a narrative about the “power-mad” opposition amidst a backdrop of you being the one getting a once-in-a-generation vice-Regal comeuppance for exceeding your powers to thwart the constitutional order.

  89. To all those excusing th BLOC….they arent demons but two doses of reality

    1) The c’est la vie attitude that exists in Quebec about this stops at the border of Quebec and some salons. I am not agreeing or disagreeing, just saying this is a problem and the soft underbelly of this whole rube goldberg contraption. It is a red flag to a bull, and the coalition wont be able to contain it. I am not saying it is right, I am jsut saying it is…..

    2) Ulm, they want their own country. They are really clear about it. Confusion, backdoor deals, non transparency in the Canadian State only serves their purposes. See point 1) for why they are in a no lose situation and the NDP and the Liberals are letting them get there…..just facts.

    You know it is an issue that can be whipped up, and will be. And the shame of it all is was all calming down. This is why this is irresponsible because the next couple of steps on the path are so easy to see. The reaction, counter reaction is exactly what Duceppe wants, if he doesnt get it but gets a lot of goodies and solidifies his and the BQ’s position in Quebec as useful he cant lose.

    Someone said this on another thread, the problem with game theory is that it always assumes rational actors seeking rational goals. Layton is the wild eyed guy with the hand grenades. Those movies usually end up badly for someone, who depends on where in the movie it is.

  90. Tom,

    Good point. If this is the case, Harper needs to decide how he can fight and how easy does he make it for the GG.

    Now there is an argument to be made that he isnt avoiding a Non Con vote, since he is relaeasing the budget, which is the traditional place for governments to fall, the other being Throne Speeches and he got through that one. Once again, a little difficult for the opposition to say well we agreed with the agenda but we dont want to see the budget that backs it up. Not that anyone may care.

    The important clause is avoiding the non con vote. Saying you are prooging to get to a budget where you will be put to the test might be enough, especially since it isnt far away.

    Even then, we still have the question of GG nuclear option or tried and true election. I don’t understand why the election aversion….that is the other vulnerable point the Bloc Demorals, what the heck are they afraid of. This should be a big red flag.

  91. Stop being so alarmist. I just looked out the balcony window and the Rockies are still there, no signs of (rock) melting. I will let everyone know if that changes.

Sign in to comment.