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The clash over coalitions on the campaign’s first day

There’s nothing like starting a campaign by calling your opponent an outright liar


 

There’s nothing like a campaign that opens with the two main combatants essentially accusing each other of the being outright liars.

So it was on the first day of the 41st Canadian general election, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff hurling accusations of mendacity at each other over the matter of parliamentary coalitions.

Ignatieff had faced insistent questioning from reporters the day before on whether he would contemplate entering into a coalition with the other opposition parties if his Liberals placed second in the May 2 vote, in a bid to deny Harper the chance to form another minority government even if his Tories place first.

In a bid to prevent that line of inquiry from dominating the campaign’s earliest stages, Ignatieff put out a news release this morning ruling out a coalition with the NDP, in favour of “issue-by-issue collaboration with other parties” if there’s another minority Parliament.

As for the Bloc Québécois, Ignatieff went further—swearing off not only coalitions with the Bloc, but also any “formal arrangement” at all. (The fall 2008 attempt by the Liberals and the NDP to forge a coalition to oust the Tories sparked a popular backlash largely because they were relying on formal support from the separatist Bloc.)

Ignatieff said he issued this morning’s detailed position to counter Harper’s unrelenting insistence that a Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition is inevitable if the Conservatives fail to secure a majority. “Mr. Harper has engaged in a systematic pattern of falsehood about this,” Ignatieff said, “and I want to make the record clear so that we can get on and debate the issues that really matter to Canadians.”

However, Harper said that even after so explicit a commitment, Ignatieff’s word can’t be trusted, since his predecessor, Stéphane Dion, also said in the 2008 campaign that he wouldn’t enter into a coalition. “Their record is clear—deny it in an election and do it afterwards,” Harper said. “So that is the choice that faces Canadians realistically. A stable national Conservative majority government or an unstable coalition and all the economic and political risk that goes with that.”

Beyond emphasizing the notion of a secret coalition conspiracy among the opposition parties, Harper presented himself as the voice of “stability” in uncertain economic times: “For Conservatives, economic recovery is our focus; economic recovery is our plan; and we will continue to use each and every day of a renewed mandate to complete our economic recovery, to provide growth, jobs and financial security for Canadian families.”

And once he was finished trying to contain the coalition controversy, Ignatieff set about portraying his party as a vehicle for new programs.  “A vote for a Liberal government is a vote for your family’s priorities: child care spaces for your kids; help with the rising costs of college and university; a family care plan that helps you care for loved ones at home; stronger public health care; stronger public pensions; Canadian leadership on the world stage; and equal opportunity for every Canadian family.”

Their approaches on Day One suggests a classic clash shaping up between a clear front-runner and a challenger desperate to close the gap. Harper’s interest is in keeping voters focused on what they like about the status quo. Ignatieff’s strategic aim has to be to inspire voters to be interesting in positive change.

Against that backdrop, the coalition notion works for Harper—it’s a strange concept bound to make many voters feel the tug of the more familiar formula of the first-place party running the country. For Ignatieff, the more voters dwell on the possibility of odd parliamentary outcomes, the less they’ll be paying attention to the substance of his platform.

So Harper’s will aim to keep coalition uncertainty front and centre. Ignatieff needs to unload enough interesting policy to bury it. The tone of the rest of the campaign will likely depends on who succeeds most.


 

The clash over coalitions on the campaign’s first day

    • Yeah, Duceppe really nailed that one.

      • What I don't understand is the frenzied media insistence to make him talk about this — why didn't they ask Harper if he will move to form a coalition should they win a smaller minority, or the Libs form a minority? This is not a usual question, and Iggy is not Dion.

        As Chantal Hebert said the other night — why should Iggy be forced to decry a legitimate Parliamentary procedure? Why is the media deciding what the election is about?

        • Kady just tweeted "Which brings up an interesting q: Should we-the-media make a point of pointing that out (re:coalition not existing at present)?"

          They should point it out at every turn, just as they should point out whenever a party is being dishonest.

          • I completely agree. Harper's likely response, though, will be to stop taking questions – and all his supporters will start screaming about the "leftist media".

            Could be fun!

          • How many softball hockey questions can Harper answer before people realize he's afraid of the press though?

    • Yes, Harper was prepared to form a coalition in 2004 and is now is lying about it. Knowing that he did that, it boggles the mind why he would want to concentrate on this issue.

      • Yup, seems very odd.

        The letter with his signature on it is out there….Duceppe and Layton are still around to tell the tale…and yet he's made this issue his main election plank.

        Makes no sense at all.

        • I love that Duceppe names the hotel where they met – because one of the Baird/Flaherty refrains is -' we would never meet in a hotel room' – if they said it once they've said it 50 times – that meeting in a hotel is somehow evil in and of itself. It's as if they equate it with illicit sex wth escorts- something I trust they have no familiarty with. Surely.

          • Hmph! Never noticed that before….but they do always make hotel rooms sound evil.

            Oh surely no one in the Con crowd would have illicit sex with escorts!

          • More than you might think.

      • Because I don't think what happened in 2004 hurts Harper on this issue. I can't really imagine an NDP – Conservative coalition after this election but I can imagine a Liberal – NDP coalition. If you believe for some (weird) reason that coalitions are bad in general then hammering the Liberals on this is I suppose a good strategy.

        Also, it has to be said that the Liberals really shot them themselves in the foot in the last election by publicly ruling out a coalition as it make it so easy for Harper to claim that they are lying this time.

        Please note I'm not agreeing with Harper on this, I don't think there is anything wrong with coalition governments and I think that a formal NDP-Liberal coalition with a majority of seats has just as much legitimacy as a Conservative minority with more seats than any other party.

        • I think we should call the past a draw – both of them lied and both were prepared to work with the Bloc. As for future coalitions. I think it's a waste of time until after an election and there are actual numbers to consider.

        • I think it has the potential to hurt Harper, in the sense that it will make him look like a hypocrite if he keeps on slamming Ignatieff for something he was planning to do himself. By declaring it "illegitimate", he is then saying he would gladly have taken part in an illegitimate act in order to seize power.

          Not the greatest "talking point" when your government was thrown out for contempt of Parliament and when members of your party are under investigation for or charged with lawbeaking on at least two fronts.

          He might be wise to back off on the "coalition" rhetoric about now, or Duceppe will hammer him with 2004 over and over…

    • Yes and Canadians are going to believe every word that comes out of a Separatist's mouth. Right.

      • Yup, they will.

        Duceppe not only has the letter….but he has no skin in this game, so he can tell the truth.

        • Duceppe has no skin in this game! :))))))))))))

          So he doesn't care that the Tory vote is going up in Quebec. No, Mr.Duceppe does not care about any of that.

          You are so sweet, Emily!

          • No, Duceppe isn't running for PM, so he has no skin in this game.

            And Harp is pretty much hated in Quebec, so no worries on that front

          • So then why is he polling DOUBLE the numbers that the Iggiot is? You are such a leftard.

          • He isn't.

            You are soooo gull-i-ble.

      • He supports separation of Quebec from Canada. He is open and honest about that goal.

        Why does that make him a liar?

        Oh yeah – it doesn't.

        • Let's all go crazy, collectively! Why not!

          • So you or hollinm can provide some examples of Gilles Duceppe lying then? you both seem so certain, so it shouldn't be too hard.

          • No. S/he is just going crazy.

  1. So. Ignatieffs's understanding of a proposal to counter a minority government is as set out by Harper in 2004.

    Finally, the complexity of forming coalitions in Canada has been sorted out, sort of. Harper's letter in 2004 was on the very point Ignatieff has now adopted as to be the best solution.

    That is good to hear.

  2. So. Ignatieffs's understanding of a proposal to counter a minority government is as set out by Harper in 2004.

    Finally, the complexity of forming coalitions in Canada has been sorted out, sort of. Harper's letter in 2004 was on the very point Ignatieff has now adopted as to be the best solution.

    That is good to hear.

    • Nice Try. Harper tried to pull off a coalition in 2004 that included collaboration with the Bloc – the very thing he said this morning is "illegitimate". It is, in principle, no different than what happened in 2008 – though I'm sure you'll try splitting hairs to worm out of that.

      He'd be wise to back off now, as Duceppe has made it abundantly clear that he will school Harper over and over on this if he chooses to push it. He's been publicly called a liar by one of his "co-conspirators" at a time when he has been defeated in the House over contempt and other ethical issues. It ight be time to try a different tack.

      • You are completely misleading the public. Not once, not once, was the 2004 letter presented as a formal coalition agreement.

        Curious how the 2008 formal coalition agreement, as signed by Ignatieff, has, since yeserday, disappeared from the Liberal website.

        Duceppe can school us on whatever he wants. Duceppe does not campaign on Canadian issues. Duceppe campaigns on behalf of Quebec and Quebec only. In fact, it is written within the BQ party constitution. Or must that now be pulled from BQ webpage as well. What a democray we're having when all you try to do is mislead the public.

        • "What a democray we're having when all you try to do is mislead the public. " -is that a reference to the CPC platform?

          Seriously: Harper had the plan. Harper went to the GG. Harper signed the letter. Harper had an agreement in place with the BQ. Can you honestly say there was any difference in intent? In mechanics, sure, there's wiggle room. But you'd have to be quite the verbal contortionist to talk your way around the fact that Harper, in 2004, was prepared to step in and replace Paul Martin as PM without an election – and WITH THE AID OF the Bloc.

        • You're the one misleading readers. The post-er you challenge did not claim there was a final formal coalition agreement in '04 between Tories, Bloc & NDP. That's a straw man you set up. You are also splitting hairs, as the ' 04 co-signed by the 3 leaders demonstrates Harper (who instigated the whole '04 effort to begin with) WAS trying "to pull off a coalition", just as Keith-in -Brampton says. Jack Layton & Gilles Duceppe both corroborate evidence that in fact that's exactly what Harper was working toward in '04: a coalition agreement between Tories, NDP, & yes, the dreaded, treasonous separatist Bloc! The mendacious hypocrisy of Harper on this issue is jaw dropping. Jack's evidence suggests the main reason the '04 coalition train got derailed wasn't because Tories got cold feet, but simply because Layton ended up rejecting the idea.

    • Nice try.

  3. Yeah, Duceppe really nailed that one.

  4. I am far from certain that Iggy/Libs want Canadians to focus on their platform or message because it is just as mixed as their message on coalition is.

    It was just a few weeks ago Iggy was telling his caucus that Canadians didn't want big government, intrusive government and then Iggy unveils the laundry list of things Libs say they are going to do, but probably aren't, as soon as they take power. People are wondering if Iggy is socialist after today's cornucopia of things that Libs are going to do to make our lives better but Canadians also don't want big government, according to Iggy at least.

    I think Libs are going to have difficult time explaining to hard pressed Canadians why spending has to increase even more to pay for programs they probably won't need or be eligible for.

    Also, did you see poll numbers in Quebec? Soon we are going to be asking BQ and NDP brain trusts if they will use Libs as junior coalition partner or rule without them.

  5. I am far from certain that Iggy/Libs want Canadians to focus on their platform or message because it is just as mixed as their message on coalition is.

    It was just a few weeks ago Iggy was telling his caucus that Canadians didn't want big government, intrusive government and then Iggy unveils the laundry list of things Libs say they are going to do, but probably aren't, as soon as they take power. People are wondering if Iggy is socialist after today's cornucopia of things that Libs are going to do to make our lives better but Canadians also don't want big government, according to Iggy at least.

    I think Libs are going to have difficult time explaining to hard pressed Canadians why spending has to increase even more to pay for programs they probably won't need or be eligible for.

    Also, did you see poll numbers in Quebec? Soon we are going to be asking BQ and NDP brain trusts if they will use Libs as junior coalition partner or rule without them.

    • The Liberal Party of Canada should have stood back after the 2006 election and as a party they should have focused in on rebuilding the party, rather then trying to win favour by casting Harper in an 'evil' light.

      If they would have done so then, they could have been in a very good position now to offer the voter an honest and open stand on things. Alas, things did not turn out that way.

    • "I think Libs are going to have difficult time explaining to hard pressed Canadians why spending has to increase even more to pay for programs they probably won't need or be eligible for."

      Taking unjustifiable corporate tax cuts, more prisons to house offenders in an era of declining crime, and jet fighters that aren't necessarily required in defense of the country off the shopping list should help pay for the programs the Libs are proposing.

      Harper is going to have to explain how those expenditures are important to Canadians in an era of aging demographics, and at a time when a majority of women have long since entered the work force and are, therefore, not able to perform their traditional caregiving roles for the children, the ill, and the elderly.

      • Pretty easy to defend. If we want to be of help in the world's trouble spots, we need more than outdated equipment.

        And it was the Liberals who thought going with the new jets was a good thing. But they have now changed their plans, again, so that their policies will line up with the NDP in case they need to form a governning arrangement between the NDP and Liberals. Anyone can see through that ploy!

        No hidden agenda there at all.

        • F35s aren't the only option to "outdated equipment". The F18s currently in service seem to be doing the job in Libya, and are just as suited to defend against incursions in the high Arctic or for interdiction in air hi-jackings. I hope this election asks Canadians if they'd take F35s over better health care for themselves and aging family members.

          And if, in fact, the Liberals have changed their minds on F35s, they are demonstrating the same capacity to re-evaluate as the Cons did when they pulled a 180 on income trusts.

          And your suggestion that the Liberals are merely aligning their policies with those of the NDP is, IMO, nothing more than a facile little conspiracy theory.

          • Conspiracy theory? Sure, if you like to keep dreaming away, go for it.

            Soon the majority of voters will wake us up out of this ongoing minority nightmare.

  6. John Geddes points out: " For Ignatieff, the more voters dwell on the possibility of odd parliamentary outcomes, the less they'll be paying attention to the substance of his platform."

    And as such could have been advantageous to Ignatieff.

    I mean, when the financial numbers do come out, eventually, will the Liberal party be talking in unison on the issue of "prisons to be built"?

    Will the Liberal party rally around the 18 billion number pitched by McGuinty, or the 14 billion number guaranteed by Brison?

    Ah, the Liberal Party wants nothing to do with prison costs, you'd say? But will the Liberals tell the Canadian voter that criminals need to be housed somewhere, at least if our justice system is allowed to stand for anything at all, and will the Liberals tell the Canadian voters that some of our prisons need some serious updating? Who will do that for free? You?

  7. John Geddes points out: " For Ignatieff, the more voters dwell on the possibility of odd parliamentary outcomes, the less they'll be paying attention to the substance of his platform."

    And as such could have been advantageous to Ignatieff.

    I mean, when the financial numbers do come out, eventually, will the Liberal party be talking in unison on the issue of "prisons to be built"?

    Will the Liberal party rally around the 18 billion number pitched by McGuinty, or the 14 billion number guaranteed by Brison?

    Ah, the Liberal Party wants nothing to do with prison costs, you'd say? But will the Liberals tell the Canadian voter that criminals need to be housed somewhere, at least if our justice system is allowed to stand for anything at all, and will the Liberals tell the Canadian voters that some of our prisons need some serious updating? Who will do that for free? You?

    • Harper doesn't want anything to with the actual prison costs – he left them out of the budget. Does he think they're free?

    • Without doubt, some of our prisons are crumbling and need replacing – Newfoundland has been seeking money for a new penitentiary for a decade or more, but so far no money from either the Libs or the Cons (I don't think it's on theirradar even with all the new prisons they are promising – and I directly attribute that to Steve's pettiness over his dislike for former premier Williams). But Harper seems to have tied this to his tough on crime stance; he seems to think we'll soon need more space because our criminal element is burgeoning – despite no statistical evidence to this effect. But then, the CPC doesn't believe in stats.

    • With their fear and loathing of "thugs" and criminals, I hardly believe the Harper government gives a damn about "seriously updating" prisons if, by that, you mean improving living conditions for those behind bars. They are, instead, committed to more prisons at a time when the best available evidence points to a declining crime rate.

      • Toews said as much. He sees no problem with double bunking – in fact the worse the conditions – the more effective the punishment.

  8. Yes, Harper was prepared to form a coalition in 2004 and is now is lying about it. Knowing that he did that, it boggles the mind why he would want to concentrate on this issue.

  9. Yup, seems very odd.

    The letter with his signature on it is out there….Duceppe and Layton are still around to tell the tale…and yet he's made this issue his main election plank.

    Makes no sense at all.

  10. Nice Try. Harper tried to pull off a coalition in 2004 that included collaboration with the Bloc – the very thing he said this morning is "illegitimate". It is, in principle, no different than what happened in 2008 – though I'm sure you'll try splitting hairs to worm out of that.

    He'd be wise to back off now, as Duceppe has made it abundantly clear that he will school Harper over and over on this if he chooses to push it. He's been publicly called a liar by one of his "co-conspirators" at a time when he has been defeated in the House over contempt and other ethical issues. It ight be time to try a different tack.

  11. I love that Duceppe names the hotel where they met – because one of the Baird/Flaherty refrains is -' we would never meet in a hotel room' – if they said it once they've said it 50 times – that meeting in a hotel is somehow evil in and of itself. It's as if they equate it with illicit sex wth escorts- something I trust they have no familiarty with. Surely.

  12. Nice try.

  13. Has demonizing the concept of coalition taken place in other British systems during election campaigns? Have leaders in UK, Aust, NZ etc had to speculate on what would happen after the election under various scenarios? I don't think so.
    This is our weak kneed media who slavishly allow non issues to be made into issues at the whim of a leader. You are gatekeepers, and arbiters of truth versus lies. Media do your job. Don't make a big deal out of every lie they throw out as talking point of the day. Use some judgement; call these guys out when you need to.
    Try this: "But sir, what you just said is just not true!"

  14. Hmph! Never noticed that before….but they do always make hotel rooms sound evil.

    Oh surely no one in the Con crowd would have illicit sex with escorts!

  15. You are completely misleading the public. Not once, not once, was the 2004 letter presented as a formal coalition agreement.

    Curious how the 2008 formal coalition agreement, as signed by Ignatieff, has, since yeserday, disappeared from the Liberal website.

    Duceppe can school us on whatever he wants. Duceppe does not campaign on Canadian issues. Duceppe campaigns on behalf of Quebec and Quebec only. In fact, it is written within the BQ party constitution. Or must that now be pulled from BQ webpage as well. What a democray we're having when all you try to do is mislead the public.

  16. Harper doesn't want anything to with the actual prison costs – he left them out of the budget. Does he think they're free?

  17. Has demonizing the concept of coalition taken place in other British systems during election campaigns? Have leaders in UK, Aust, NZ etc had to speculate on what would happen after the election under various scenarios? I don't think so.
    This is our weak kneed media who slavishly allow non issues to be made into issues at the whim of a leader. You are gatekeepers, and arbiters of truth versus lies. Media do your job. Don't make a big deal out of every lie they throw out as talking point of the day. Use some judgement; call these guys out when you need to.
    Try this: "But sir, what you just said is just not true!"

    • So far, the press has just repeated the Con talking points at the press conferences. Hopefully they'll start asking their own questions. There is no shortage of material.

    • Very good point.

      I think the problem with our media is that many of them – even most of them – see themselves as players in the political arena rather than mere observers of it.

      • The media is owned by corporations; they want a 'corporation' of consumers in Canada not a nation of citizens.

      • I think this became the modus operandi back in the Chretien days when there was no effective opposition. The PCs obliterated, the Bloc the Queen's loyal opposition, with Reform and the NDP occupying 3rd and 4th place. the media took it upon themselves to act as a form of unoffical opposition. In my opinion, the media should do research and call out the BS spewing individual – anyone. Seriously, if you ask a leader a question which effectively is do you believe x (insert opposing party leader name) is lying when they say y, when you get a bob and weave answer – call them out on it in a supplementary. Seriously, I think the Canadian electorate would appreciate seeing a party leader with the stones to call it as he/she sees it.

    • Oz has the Liberal-National coalition, they run separate slates, but it's understood that they will sit together if they win enough seats to form a Government

      • Israel also has a coalition government.

  18. And we need more prisons? To house the unreported criminals who haven't been arrested? We need to pay more for jets than we ought to? (Not debating we need new planes; just whether it should be these, and whether we're getting taken for suckers on the price.) We ought to give more tax cuts to corporate welfare bums, instead of to families?

    "Libs are going to have difficult time explaining to hard pressed Canadians why spending has to increase…" Ignatieff promised he would not increase spending; where are you getting this? Please don't say you don't believe him – but you believe Harper. Our experience with Harper is enough to make anyone cynical about promises – but you can't slam Mike without expliaining in detail how he could possiby be less honest than Steve.

  19. The Liberal Party of Canada should have stood back after the 2006 election and as a party they should have focused in on rebuilding the party, rather then trying to win favour by casting Harper in an 'evil' light.

    If they would have done so then, they could have been in a very good position now to offer the voter an honest and open stand on things. Alas, things did not turn out that way.

  20. Without doubt, some of our prisons are crumbling and need replacing – Newfoundland has been seeking money for a new penitentiary for a decade or more, but so far no money from either the Libs or the Cons (I don't think it's on theirradar even with all the new prisons they are promising – and I directly attribute that to Steve's pettiness over his dislike for former premier Williams). But Harper seems to have tied this to his tough on crime stance; he seems to think we'll soon need more space because our criminal element is burgeoning – despite no statistical evidence to this effect. But then, the CPC doesn't believe in stats.

  21. "I think Libs are going to have difficult time explaining to hard pressed Canadians why spending has to increase even more to pay for programs they probably won't need or be eligible for."

    Taking unjustifiable corporate tax cuts, more prisons to house offenders in an era of declining crime, and jet fighters that aren't necessarily required in defense of the country off the shopping list should help pay for the programs the Libs are proposing.

    Harper is going to have to explain how those expenditures are important to Canadians in an era of aging demographics, and at a time when a majority of women have long since entered the work force and are, therefore, not able to perform their traditional caregiving roles for the children, the ill, and the elderly.

  22. Because I don't think what happened in 2004 hurts Harper on this issue. I can't really imagine an NDP – Conservative coalition after this election but I can imagine a Liberal – NDP coalition. If you believe for some (weird) reason that coalitions are bad in general then hammering the Liberals on this is I suppose a good strategy.

    Also, it has to be said that the Liberals really shot them themselves in the foot in the last election by publicly ruling out a coalition as it make it so easy for Harper to claim that they are lying this time.

    Please note I'm not agreeing with Harper on this, I don't think there is anything wrong with coalition governments and I think that a formal NDP-Liberal coalition with a majority of seats has just as much legitimacy as a Conservative minority with more seats than any other party.

  23. With their fear and loathing of "thugs" and criminals, I hardly believe the Harper government gives a damn about "seriously updating" prisons if, by that, you mean improving living conditions for those behind bars. They are, instead, committed to more prisons at a time when the best available evidence points to a declining crime rate.

  24. I see a huge problem for Libs due to Ig's rash decision to categorically reject coalition.
    Arguably, coalition's the only practical vehicle whereby Libs could form gov't this time. Libs would now need to gain a plurality, highly unlikely with a divided left vote. But re-gaining a plurality should be easy for Tories with an undivided right vote. By ruling out coalition as an option Libs are even allowed to contemplate, I believe on day-1 of the campaign Iggy's already committed political suicide, & has rendered Liberal prospects hopeless. Today he has virtually guaranteed Harper wil remain safely in 24 Sussex.

    No coalition, Ig? On the contrary, Ig's announcement implies he'll join a de-facto Tory-Lib coalition instead.Ig's decision means he's already decided if Tories gain another paltry plurality, Libs will not try to invoke opposition majority against them,but will willingly prop-up yet another Harper minority , while enabling Tories' ongoing abuses of parliament & our democratic system, abuses that triggered the election in the first place, no less! With "friends" like Ig, what L/liberal needs enemies? The man is an absolute disaster for L/liberals & for Canada.

  25. I see a huge problem for Libs due to Ig's rash decision to categorically reject coalition.
    Arguably, coalition's the only practical vehicle whereby Libs could form gov't this time. Libs would now need to gain a plurality, highly unlikely with a divided left vote. But re-gaining a plurality should be easy for Tories with an undivided right vote. By ruling out coalition as an option Libs are even allowed to contemplate, I believe on day-1 of the campaign Iggy's already committed political suicide, & has rendered Liberal prospects hopeless. Today he has virtually guaranteed Harper wil remain safely in 24 Sussex.

    No coalition, Ig? On the contrary, Ig's announcement implies he'll join a de-facto Tory-Lib coalition instead.Ig's decision means he's already decided if Tories gain another paltry plurality, Libs will not try to invoke opposition majority against them,but will willingly prop-up yet another Harper minority , while enabling Tories' ongoing abuses of parliament & our democratic system, abuses that triggered the election in the first place, no less! With "friends" like Ig, what L/liberal needs enemies? The man is an absolute disaster for L/liberals & for Canada.

  26. I think we should call the past a draw – both of them lied and both were prepared to work with the Bloc. As for future coalitions. I think it's a waste of time until after an election and there are actual numbers to consider.

  27. “Their record is clear—deny it in an election and do it afterwards,” Harper said.

    Jesus wept.

  28. “Their record is clear—deny it in an election and do it afterwards,” Harper said.

    Jesus wept.

    • In fairness, Mr. Harper is more "say it in an election and do the exact opposite afterwards"

  29. With all due respect, Mr.Geddes, and with all things being equal:

    Canadian people showed great interest in the presidential elections.

    So it would only be fair to ask the following question:

    If Obama had been living in Australia and Britain for 15 years prior to his entry into the presidential elections, would the citizens of the United States still have voted Obama in as President of the U.S.A.?

    Not only the coalition question needs to be answered.

  30. Toews said as much. He sees no problem with double bunking – in fact the worse the conditions – the more effective the punishment.

  31. So far, the press has just repeated the Con talking points at the press conferences. Hopefully they'll start asking their own questions. There is no shortage of material.

  32. This is true:

    A separatist/provincial party – the BQ – runs within federal elections, thereby makes it less likely for any of the truly federalist parties to gain a majority, and because minorities are more likely, the BQ has thereby secured itself a position to form the balance of power.

    In short: a separatist/provincial party is being paid by Canadian tax dollars, to secure a minority government more often than not, and by doing so , the same separatist/provincial party will have greater influence over our Canadian parliament.

    I have never ever seen such underhanded form of democracy at work. Not in any country. Not within any democratic mindset either.

  33. This is true:

    A separatist/provincial party – the BQ – runs within federal elections, thereby makes it less likely for any of the truly federalist parties to gain a majority, and because minorities are more likely, the BQ has thereby secured itself a position to form the balance of power.

    In short: a separatist/provincial party is being paid by Canadian tax dollars, to secure a minority government more often than not, and by doing so , the same separatist/provincial party will have greater influence over our Canadian parliament.

    I have never ever seen such underhanded form of democracy at work. Not in any country. Not within any democratic mindset either.

    • So you're saying you haven't looked.

      • How long are you people prepared to keep this up?

        How much longer do you think the majority of Canadian voters will eat up this spewing of none sense? Not for much longer, would be my guess.

        If you are willing to debate, let us debate. But if you are only here to troll around, then why should I take you seriously?

        • OK; let's try this: Canada is a democracy. Are you wiling to tell certain groups of people that, just because their political leanings are different from your own, that their views are illegitimate and should not be represented?

          You don't have to agree with their views – I know I certainly don't. I think if they ever actually succeed in breaking up Canada, it will be a disaster for both them and what remains of Canada. And I think that, in the aftermath, with collapsing economies and hostility all around, that there WILL be blood shed.

          But denying them the right to have their views represented – as reprehensible as they may be to many – would only harden the separitists and, ultimately, make secession more likely – not less. And really, other than the separatist part of their platform, there's not a lot to differentiate them from the other mainstream parties. Except, perhaps, a greater level of honesty of intent.

          • Canada is a democracy. Canada is a federation made up of 10 provinces and two territories I believe. But you could correct me on that.

            Federal elections are held for federal purposes.

            Provincial elections are held for provincial purposes.

            The Tories, NDP and LIberals are federal parties running for the well being of Canadian citizens.

            The BQ is a provincial party running for the well being of Quebec citizens. Furthermore, the BQ is running to do away with our nation as it stands now.

            There is nothing illegitimate about a provincial party to run in provincial elections.

            But I do think there is something quite illegitimate about running against a country one receives tax dollars from. Some people have been brainwashed into believing that Canadians have no right to speak up against such illegitimate practices of provincial/separatist parties. Yet, others have not been brainwashed yet and are free to speak up for what constitutes a true democracy.

          • "But you could correct me on that." I'll take you up on your offer; it's three territories – Yukon, NWT, and Nunavut.

            Quebec citizens are Canadian citizens. The BQ is a regional party representing the interests of those citizens in Ottawa. They aren't the only regional party we've had; they likely won't be the last.

            Each MP is representing the citizens of their riding – just like every MP (I'm assuming here, of course, that the MPs are actually doing what they were elected to do).

            You have the right to speak up; I just disagree with you that we should forcibly silence dissent – which is what you would be doing if you denied the BQ the right to sit in Parliament. That's how civil wars start.

          • Not to mention that the numbers show that the BQ gets a lot of support from non-separatists. They get that because they do work to represent their ridings. If you watch parliament beyond QP…speeches in the House and committee meetings, it's pretty clear the Bloc MPs do a lot more than campaign for separation.

          • Too true. But a lot of people don't get that they are serious politician, with separatism just one plank of a real platform, and with a genuine interest in serving their constituents. They think they are all one-trick ponies.

          • I see that as a failure of both our press and our politicians outside of Quebec. The same goes for provincial/regional issues and the role of local MPs outside of Quebec. The coverage outside of QP is generally pretty dismal in general, but the coverage outside of Ottawa is basically non-existent.

            I remember reading something of Coyne's…a pretty good piece under the circumstances, although I didn't agree with it…during the potash thing in SK. and wondering if he understood Wall's history, the almost complete abdication of responsibility by SK MPs, and so on. Why was Coyne writing about the issue at all? When was he last in SK? Had he ever spent time in any of the towns near the potash mines?

            I see coverage of Quebec and its MPs in much the same way. I don't think the national (Ottawa) press gallery can cover it properly, and none of the national news agencies publish much news that might inform us , so the conversation starts out uninformed and goes downhill from there.

          • Regional coverage – and esp. any indepth understanding of regions' history, needs or aspirations – is often lacking in the national media. Only major centers receive any substantial coverage. For example, I have to go to the local paper's website to find out anything about my home province. The result is that it feeds the stereotypes and does nothing to promote cohesion or unity. I've been tackling niceguy71 over western separatism on another thread. I think it's a boneheaded solution, just as Ithink Quebec – or Nfld – separatism is. That doesn't mean they don't have legitimate grievances, and don't deserve a voice; I justdon't think separating is a well-conceived solution. But I'll fight for their right to speak up about it – or to elect MPs to argue their case for them in Parliament. I'll also fight for my right to call them boneheads if I think they've earned it! From: notifications@intensedebatemail.comTo: keith_osmond@msn.comSubject: Reverend_Blair replied to your comment on The clash over coalitions on the campaign's first day

          • Yeah, Western Separatism is kind of goofy. Do they think Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and BC are going to be any happier being run out of Calgary instead of Ottawa? Do they understand that they could well end up with an NDP national government? Do they realize that they could end up with a federal Conservative government in Calgary facing off against three provincial NDP governments? Western separatism makes me laugh because it's really Alberta separatism, and they make the erroneous presumption they would somehow be supported by the other three western provinces and form a uniformly right-wing state.

          • I am certain, 100 % certain, that if Canadians from coast to coast were to vote on a referendum now, to decide if the separatist/provincial party should be allowed to within federal elections, the result would be in favour of no!

            Quebeckers may have a voice indeed. But Canadians have the right to a voice as well. Canadians can make up their own minds as well. Canadians living from coast to coast to coast do not have to buy the line the BQ is trying to spin out. We can make up our own minds as well, thank you very much.

            I love the province of Quebec like any other province, and I will more than gladly give all citizens of this country a voice. But I do not care much for specially treated voices because an overly weighted voice is not a demcratic voice at all. In fact, such overly weighted voice takes away from other voices. And that would be most undemocratic. And I am for democracy, not against it.

          • Believe me, as an expat Newf, I have very strong feelings about the way federal politicians pander to Quebec at the expense of other provinces. We in NL have quite a long list of grievances stemming from the special treatment they get. I was, myself, a very vocal opponent of Meech Lake. Appeasing Quebec is NOT something I'm fond of.

            That said, the vote-buying long predates the BQ and would continue if they were to suddenly pack it in.

            Letting them have their say and allowing them to participate in the democratic processes of our nation increases the likelihood that they will one day change their minds and want to be part of the greater nation. Forcibly silencing them would have the opposite effect. The more you oppress people, the more likely they are to violently rise up against you. Where do you think civil wars come from?

          • Maybe Harper would like to run on delegitimizing the Bloc? Why don't you suggest it to him?

    • As long as freedom of association, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly are considered fundamental democratic rights, there is no way to "outlaw" legitimately constituted political parties, regardless of how you interpret their goals or motives. Support for the BQ at the federal level doesn't mean the majority of Quebecois are striving for separatism. In the majority of cases, if polls are to be believed, their support springs from other concerns, such a lack of conviction that the other federal parties reflect their aspirations or have earned their respect.

      Come to think of it, similar disenchantment with existing options seems to have been a prime factor in the development of other regional parties, such as Reform in western Canada. It, too, was a totally legitimate expression of voter discontent.

      I would suggest that people who advocate suppression or banning of political organizations with whom they disagree are the bigger threat to democratic principles.

      • I should have read your reply before posting; you said what I wanted to say, only better.

      • You are so blind as to what the Reform party stood for. All you have ever managed to understand is the empty slogans by the media elite you were more than willing to buy into.

        Man, I am so glad I don't buy into things that blindly.

        • I wasn't commenting on what the Reform party "stood for". I was commenting on its right to exist, alongside other legitimately-constituted parties like the BQ (or, for that matter, like the Communist Party or the the old Cooperative Commonwealth Federation Party that, in its day, was put under surveillance by the RCMP as a security threat).

          By the way, you seem to be getting a little presumptuous, telling me what I understand.

          • The Reform party never had written in its party's founding guidelines that they would want to separate from Canada; that they only would serve the interest of one province, and that's just for starters.

            I am not being presumptuous. It is you who has trouble responding to the real issues I put forth. You side step and deflect ongoing. You keep on defending the workings of the BQ as if we should all be convinced by such conveluted twists in the operating state of our federation. Address the issue. Don't try and sidestep it with constantly coming up some things which do not pertain to the issue at hand.

          • I didn't suggest that the Reform Party advocated separatism. I was merely commenting on its right to exist, alongside a whole array of other legitimately-constituted parties (Jeez, I'm trapped in a loop here). That was my only point in referencing the Reform Party.

            Regarding your other point, you'll have to tell me what I'm sidestepping from or deflecting. What is the "issue at hand" that I'm missing? I haven't been "defending the workings of the BQ" (I'm not a member nor a resident of Quebec, so I don't pretend to know what its "workings" are). All I am saying is that in an open democracy like Canada, the Bloq has the same right to exist as any other party regardless of your (or my) opinion about its legitimacy.

            Are you having trouble with that?

          • Apparently, yes. She clearly doesn't get that you can't support democracy by suppressing those whose opinions you don't like.

    • A form of proportional representation would rectify the issue of a regional party having undue influence.

      • Proportional representation would make it worse.

        Who would select the list of MP's?

        • All versions of PR put forth for consideration retain local representation. That would then topped up so the seats in the House matched the popular vote. Lists for that would be forth by the parties, just as the parties select their riding candidates.

        • Ultimately. The voters.

    • I've replied to you about this before, and as Thwim says, you need to do some research before you say 'you've never seen such a situation anywhere', as if you did, you would:
      See Spain, where the Catalan nationalist CiU party served a very similar role to what was proposed for the BQ in the 2008 coalition in support of two Spanish governments (left and right) in the 1990s (not a formal coalition partner, but provided ongoing legislative support). Zapatero's current government also depends on the support of Catalan and Basque nationalist parties.
      See Italy, where the Northern League has been part of various Berlusconi coalition governments over the years.
      See Iraq, where the president of the coutnry is also secretary-general of the Kurdish PUK.

      Whether you respect or agree with any of these governments is immaterial, they exist.

  34. More than you might think.

  35. I think it has the potential to hurt Harper, in the sense that it will make him look like a hypocrite if he keeps on slamming Ignatieff for something he was planning to do himself. By declaring it "illegitimate", he is then saying he would gladly have taken part in an illegitimate act in order to seize power.

    Not the greatest "talking point" when your government was thrown out for contempt of Parliament and when members of your party are under investigation for or charged with lawbeaking on at least two fronts.

    He might be wise to back off on the "coalition" rhetoric about now, or Duceppe will hammer him with 2004 over and over…

  36. “Let me be perfectly clear. Unless Canadians elect a stable, national majority government, Michael Ignatieff will form a coalition with the NDP and Bloc Québécois."

    Is any reporter going to ask Harper what he means by that statement? Does Harper plan to refuse to even try to form a government if he only wins a minority, leaving Canada leaderless unless the opposition comes up with something? Harper clearly says "unless…will" as if it is a certainty, so it would seem Harper has some definite plan to make it a certainty.

    Mr. Geddes, do you know what Harper plans to do if he does not achieve a majority and why he is so certain the GG will turn to the opposition in that case?

  37. “Let me be perfectly clear. Unless Canadians elect a stable, national majority government, Michael Ignatieff will form a coalition with the NDP and Bloc Québécois."

    Is any reporter going to ask Harper what he means by that statement? Does Harper plan to refuse to even try to form a government if he only wins a minority, leaving Canada leaderless unless the opposition comes up with something? Harper clearly says "unless…will" as if it is a certainty, so it would seem Harper has some definite plan to make it a certainty.

    Mr. Geddes, do you know what Harper plans to do if he does not achieve a majority and why he is so certain the GG will turn to the opposition in that case?

    • Amazing, isn't it how so many try to circumvent the real issue facing Canadians. If you are unwilling to face the Bloc problem you are not understanding Harper at all and you do no longer understand the majority of Canadians who know too well that the Bloc cannot be talked about openly by any of the federal leaders, lest we insult the BQ!

      You may try and add up the 1 and 1 as being 3, but math nor reason works that way.

    • Oh, and btw, the numbers in Quebec are going up for the Tories and down for the Liberals. Perhaps that is why Duceppe is suddenly so eager to distort the 2004 agreement.

      It would be very beneficial to distort the image of Harper now that Harper is making inroads into Duceppe's fortresse.

      That is how politics are being played and have been played that way.

      • So, what do you take Harper's statement to mean? Clearly the GG will ask Harper to form a government if he wins the most seats, but a minority. Do you think Harper will refuse to do that? That seems to be what Harper is suggesting.

        • If the Tories win the most seats out of any parties running within the election, then Harper has the right, by conventional understanding, to form government. If it is a minority government, than he could choose whatever suits him to make government work. It could be by formal coalition with the Libs or the NDP or it could be by informal agreements on a case by case scenario.

          It all depends on the numbers. If the Tories minority were to be as now, it could only be the Tories to form either a formal or informal agreement with any of the other federal parties, because such election results would simultaneously meand that the combined numbers of NDP and Lib would be less than the total Tory numbers, hence the only possible outcome for who forms government in that case. But were the numbers to be different, and that can only be seen after the results are in, another possibility of government forming could be possible.

          Harper is not saying anything written in stone, other than that a formal coalition with the BQ is unCanadian and he has always said that (even in the House!)

          • Then why is Harper saying now that he will not govern with a minority?

          • Where does Harper say that he will not govern with a minority?

            Harper is asking the Canadian voter to give him a majority.

            Are you translating that to be as saying he won't govern with a minority? What sort of English do you speak? Let us at least come to an understanding on that front.

          • He's saying the only two options are Conservative majority of Liberal coalition. He's tacitly saying he won't lead a conservative minority. Where am I going wrong here?

          • Harper is asking if Canadians want a stable parliament or not?

            The voter has the last say.

            And what exactly do you not understand about propositions during elections. No one knows the outcome, but all leaders present us with an outcome they would like to see and they ask for support of such a vision. But you have known that all along. It's just that your leader isn't presenting you with the right vision. But that is not my problem; it's yours.

          • Other Prime Ministers have managed to accomplish a lot and give stability with minority governments. That's how we got national health care.

            Isn't Harper saying he cannot provide a government for Canadians unless he gets a majority? That seems to be what he is saying. Maybe some reporter can ask him and get clarification on this point.

          • He's saying that a conservative minority will not result from this election. If his party receives a minority plurality, he'll decline to form government. Or he's a liar. Those are your choices.

          • I know how you people operate, Andrew.

            You have been trying since this morning to turn the tables for Ignatieff by trying to impy that it is Harper who needs to address the question of coalition forming. I've seen through your ploy from the moment you pitched it.

            But why buy such nonesense. Ask Ignatieff how to solve this one:

            "If Obama had lived outside of the United States for 10 years prior to his entry into the presidential elections, would the American citizens still have voted him into the White House"

            Oh, and if you don't have an answer for me today, don't worry. Ignatieff might pitch one to you tomorrow. And then you can get back to me. TTYL

          • You're just trying to change the channel. I'm sure the just visiting meme will also be brought up again later, but for the moment let's stay on topic.

            Harper has said he won't lead a minority government after the next election if his government falls short of a majority. I don't believe him for a second, but the fact remains that some people, including you presumably, still believe him. Your guy is making a disingenuous argument in an attempt to trick Canadians into believing that their choices are a Harper majority or Deputy Prime Minister Gilles Duceppe. Regardless of your political bent, I think we should be able to agree that these are not the only potential outcomes of an election. In fact, I'd put money that the Conservatives will return with a minority after the election.

          • I can see how you might interpret what he said in that manner, but I think what he's trying to impress upon us (falsely, IMO) is that if he is reelected but with a minority, he WON'T BE ALLOWED to form the government. Typical CPC scare tactics.

          • Perhaps, but that isn't what he said, is it? He said it with certainty, saying it "will" happen. Since the only thing he controls completely is what he will do if he gets a minority, it suggests he might do what he can to make this happen. I get the impression Harper isn't interested in overseeing a third minority. Perhaps I am wrong.

          • What he means in his own mind is that if he gets a minority the opposition will defeat him at first opportunity and then ask GG to let them take over.

          • Because it's exactly what HE would do.

          • If it keeps going like this, it'll be a moot point…Harper is on his second bad day on the campaign trail. Ignatieff, Duceppe, and Layton all look pretty good. If campaigns really do matter (I'm not convinced) and Harper doesn't turn things around, he could be in trouble.

          • "and he has always said that"

            Except, presumably, in that hotel room with Jack and Gilles.

            OK; I'll grant you he probably didn't propose a "formal" coalition, but as long as we're splitting hairs, the BQ weren't "formally" part of the 2008 coalition either…

          • If you care to go over the footage of Duceppe's address to reporters yesterday in the foyer of the House, you will notice that when he talked (in english) about the 2004 agreement, he did not, and I repeat, he did not use the word coalition. In fact, he was looking for words not to have to use the word coalitoin when referring to the 2004 letter.

            Of course, Duceppe can now ad lib all he wants. None of the verbals of such meeting have ever been recorded and so he can say whatever suits him now. Later he will recall event differently. And so forth. Believe in such nonesense if you want to, but make sure you watch his carefull choice of words just yesterday. It might enlighten you and the gang.

          • There, you go; splitting hairs!

            I'll repeat my reply to you from earlier: Harper had the plan. Harper went to the GG. Harper signed the letter. Harper had an agreement in place with the BQ.

            In both 2004 and 2008, we had the leader of the second-place party working with the NDP and Bloc leaders to figure out a way to wrest power from the sitting PM without going to the polls. In neither instance was the Bloc an official part of a coalition, but in both instances the support of the Bloc was sought.

            Duceppe has been careful to avoid the word coalition because, in the strictest of senses, that's not what was in place (in either instance, where the Bloc is concerned). But the intent was the same in both scenarios.

            The basic plot is the same; the differences lie solely in the mechanics and semantics.

          • "Of course, Duceppe can now ad lib all he wants. None of the verbals of such meeting have ever been recorded and so he can say whatever suits him now. Later he will recall event differently."

            Are you suggesting the letter Duceppe was brandishing (and which has been public knowledge for many months anyway) is a forgery? If it is, why hasn't the Harper camp denounced it as such?

            If the letter is real, how do we account for the fact that Harper's signature is the 1st of the three on the document, from which we can reasonably infer it was generated from his office and signed initially by him? Circumstantially, it would appear he approached his opposition colleagues with a proposal to offer an alternative to the GG, in the event the Martin government fell.

            Unless you're calling Duceppe a bald-faced liar (which not even Harper's enablers have dared to do…yet) or accusing him of forgery, the case seems pretty convincing, whether or not the coalition word was used today. What else could have been Harper's intent in attaching his name first to such a document?

          • Same goes for Libs.

          • If you are referring to my posting starting off with:"if the Tories win the most seats……………."

            then I agree completely with you.

            The end election result will tell the tale. Indeed.

  38. "What a democray we're having when all you try to do is mislead the public. " -is that a reference to the CPC platform?

    Seriously: Harper had the plan. Harper went to the GG. Harper signed the letter. Harper had an agreement in place with the BQ. Can you honestly say there was any difference in intent? In mechanics, sure, there's wiggle room. But you'd have to be quite the verbal contortionist to talk your way around the fact that Harper, in 2004, was prepared to step in and replace Paul Martin as PM without an election – and WITH THE AID OF the Bloc.

  39. Amazing, isn't it how so many try to circumvent the real issue facing Canadians. If you are unwilling to face the Bloc problem you are not understanding Harper at all and you do no longer understand the majority of Canadians who know too well that the Bloc cannot be talked about openly by any of the federal leaders, lest we insult the BQ!

    You may try and add up the 1 and 1 as being 3, but math nor reason works that way.

  40. Oh, and btw, the numbers in Quebec are going up for the Tories and down for the Liberals. Perhaps that is why Duceppe is suddenly so eager to distort the 2004 agreement.

    It would be very beneficial to distort the image of Harper now that Harper is making inroads into Duceppe's fortresse.

    That is how politics are being played and have been played that way.

  41. So, what do you take Harper's statement to mean? Clearly the GG will ask Harper to form a government if he wins the most seats, but a minority. Do you think Harper will refuse to do that? That seems to be what Harper is suggesting.

  42. Very good point.

    I think the problem with our media is that many of them – even most of them – see themselves as players in the political arena rather than mere observers of it.

  43. Pretty easy to defend. If we want to be of help in the world's trouble spots, we need more than outdated equipment.

    And it was the Liberals who thought going with the new jets was a good thing. But they have now changed their plans, again, so that their policies will line up with the NDP in case they need to form a governning arrangement between the NDP and Liberals. Anyone can see through that ploy!

    No hidden agenda there at all.

  44. Probably not – but then, a good many Americans also believe the BS about Obama being a Muslim and faking his US birth (you have to be born American to be President; in Canada you just need to have your Canadian citizenship to be PM).

    What Americans do and believe, and what Canadians do and believe, are not always congruent (for which I am often thankful).

  45. Probably not – but then, a good many Americans also believe the BS about Obama being a Muslim and faking his US birth (you have to be born American to be President; in Canada you just need to have your Canadian citizenship to be PM).

    What Americans do and believe, and what Canadians do and believe, are not always congruent (for which I am often thankful).

    • I am least thankful of the manner in which so many Canadians manage to deflect the most honest of questions being asked.

      At the very least, we cannot accuse the American people of being so complacent and deflective.

      • I answered it. Probably not. Try a remedial reading course.

        I then went on to (somewhat snarkily) explain the difference between Americans and Canadians, as I see it, and why they wouldn't have voted for Obama.

        Yes, Ignatieff spent time outside of Canada; he went where the work was. Lots of Canadians do that; lots of them, like him, return home afterwards.

        Are you saying our soldiers, academics, oil field workers, are somehow less Canadian when they return? Less deserving of participating fully in our country?

        I guess next up, you'll be trying to disqualify Elizxabeth May from even running, as she was born a US citizen.

  46. You're the one misleading readers. The post-er you challenge did not claim there was a final formal coalition agreement in '04 between Tories, Bloc & NDP. That's a straw man you set up. You are also splitting hairs, as the ' 04 co-signed by the 3 leaders demonstrates Harper (who instigated the whole '04 effort to begin with) WAS trying "to pull off a coalition", just as Keith-in -Brampton says. Jack Layton & Gilles Duceppe both corroborate evidence that in fact that's exactly what Harper was working toward in '04: a coalition agreement between Tories, NDP, & yes, the dreaded, treasonous separatist Bloc! The mendacious hypocrisy of Harper on this issue is jaw dropping. Jack's evidence suggests the main reason the '04 coalition train got derailed wasn't because Tories got cold feet, but simply because Layton ended up rejecting the idea.

  47. In fairness, Mr. Harper is more "say it in an election and do the exact opposite afterwards"

  48. So you're saying you haven't looked.

  49. Man, Macleans is going to be pure jokes during this election…

    Why am not surprised this a Rogers company.

  50. Er'

    "Why am I".

  51. Man, Macleans is going to be pure jokes during this election…

    Why am not surprised this a Rogers company.

    • Er'

      "Why am I".

  52. If the Tories win the most seats out of any parties running within the election, then Harper has the right, by conventional understanding, to form government. If it is a minority government, than he could choose whatever suits him to make government work. It could be by formal coalition with the Libs or the NDP or it could be by informal agreements on a case by case scenario.

    It all depends on the numbers. If the Tories minority were to be as now, it could only be the Tories to form either a formal or informal agreement with any of the other federal parties, because such election results would simultaneously meand that the combined numbers of NDP and Lib would be less than the total Tory numbers, hence the only possible outcome for who forms government in that case. But were the numbers to be different, and that can only be seen after the results are in, another possibility of government forming could be possible.

    Harper is not saying anything written in stone, other than that a formal coalition with the BQ is unCanadian and he has always said that (even in the House!)

  53. I am least thankful of the manner in which so many Canadians manage to deflect the most honest of questions being asked.

    At the very least, we cannot accuse the American people of being so complacent and deflective.

  54. Then why is Harper saying now that he will not govern with a minority?

  55. How long are you people prepared to keep this up?

    How much longer do you think the majority of Canadian voters will eat up this spewing of none sense? Not for much longer, would be my guess.

    If you are willing to debate, let us debate. But if you are only here to troll around, then why should I take you seriously?

  56. Where does Harper say that he will not govern with a minority?

    Harper is asking the Canadian voter to give him a majority.

    Are you translating that to be as saying he won't govern with a minority? What sort of English do you speak? Let us at least come to an understanding on that front.

  57. F35s aren't the only option to "outdated equipment". The F18s currently in service seem to be doing the job in Libya, and are just as suited to defend against incursions in the high Arctic or for interdiction in air hi-jackings. I hope this election asks Canadians if they'd take F35s over better health care for themselves and aging family members.

    And if, in fact, the Liberals have changed their minds on F35s, they are demonstrating the same capacity to re-evaluate as the Cons did when they pulled a 180 on income trusts.

    And your suggestion that the Liberals are merely aligning their policies with those of the NDP is, IMO, nothing more than a facile little conspiracy theory.

  58. He's saying the only two options are Conservative majority of Liberal coalition. He's tacitly saying he won't lead a conservative minority. Where am I going wrong here?

  59. I answered it. Probably not. Try a remedial reading course.

    I then went on to (somewhat snarkily) explain the difference between Americans and Canadians, as I see it, and why they wouldn't have voted for Obama.

    Yes, Ignatieff spent time outside of Canada; he went where the work was. Lots of Canadians do that; lots of them, like him, return home afterwards.

    Are you saying our soldiers, academics, oil field workers, are somehow less Canadian when they return? Less deserving of participating fully in our country?

    I guess next up, you'll be trying to disqualify Elizxabeth May from even running, as she was born a US citizen.

  60. "and he has always said that"

    Except, presumably, in that hotel room with Jack and Gilles.

    OK; I'll grant you he probably didn't propose a "formal" coalition, but as long as we're splitting hairs, the BQ weren't "formally" part of the 2008 coalition either…

  61. Conspiracy theory? Sure, if you like to keep dreaming away, go for it.

    Soon the majority of voters will wake us up out of this ongoing minority nightmare.

  62. Harper is asking if Canadians want a stable parliament or not?

    The voter has the last say.

    And what exactly do you not understand about propositions during elections. No one knows the outcome, but all leaders present us with an outcome they would like to see and they ask for support of such a vision. But you have known that all along. It's just that your leader isn't presenting you with the right vision. But that is not my problem; it's yours.

  63. As long as freedom of association, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly are considered fundamental democratic rights, there is no way to "outlaw" legitimately constituted political parties, regardless of how you interpret their goals or motives. Support for the BQ at the federal level doesn't mean the majority of Quebecois are striving for separatism. In the majority of cases, if polls are to be believed, their support springs from other concerns, such a lack of conviction that the other federal parties reflect their aspirations or have earned their respect.

    Come to think of it, similar disenchantment with existing options seems to have been a prime factor in the development of other regional parties, such as Reform in western Canada. It, too, was a totally legitimate expression of voter discontent.

    I would suggest that people who advocate suppression or banning of political organizations with whom they disagree are the bigger threat to democratic principles.

  64. Yes and Canadians are going to believe every word that comes out of a Separatist's mouth. Right.

  65. In a bid to prevent that line of inquiry from dominating the campaign's earliest stages, Ignatieff put out a news release this morning ruling out a coalition with the NDP, in favour of “issue-by-issue collaboration with other parties” if there's another minority Parliament.

    As for the Bloc Québécois, Ignatieff went further—swearing off not only coalitions with the Bloc, but also any “formal arrangement” at all.

    This is incorrect. The statement only covers what he'll do if the Liberals win the most seats. It says nothing about what might happen if there's another Conservative minority.

    So, as far as we know from Michael Ignatieff's and the Liberal Party's public statements, the door is still open to a coalition agreement like the one in December 2008.

  66. In a bid to prevent that line of inquiry from dominating the campaign's earliest stages, Ignatieff put out a news release this morning ruling out a coalition with the NDP, in favour of “issue-by-issue collaboration with other parties” if there's another minority Parliament.

    As for the Bloc Québécois, Ignatieff went further—swearing off not only coalitions with the Bloc, but also any “formal arrangement” at all.

    This is incorrect. The statement only covers what he'll do if the Liberals win the most seats. It says nothing about what might happen if there's another Conservative minority.

    So, as far as we know from Michael Ignatieff's and the Liberal Party's public statements, the door is still open to a coalition agreement like the one in December 2008.

    • See the second line in that statement:

      "Whoever leads the party that wins the most seats on election day should be called on to form the government."

      He then goes on to set out the rules he will follow if called on to form a government. That could be as a majority, a minority – or as the party with the next-largest number of seats should the minority party with the most seats fail to win the confidence of the house. He doesn't explicitly say it that way, but it follows from the context.

      Nice try.

      • Actually Keith, what most Canadian's are worried about is not that the GG will call on the party that wins the most seats first…. but what happens when on the very first confidence vote that government falls and then what happens next! If you apply the exact circumstances to the Ignoramous's letter, you'll find that he's got room (albeit no moral authority) to skate through on a "loophole" in his supposed certain letter.

        What's so tough about writing a letter that states "I and my party will NEVER form a coalition nor will we make any formal arrangements of support with the BQ."

        • I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure he did in fact say that in his speech this morning. That certainly was the message I came away with.

          At any rate, it would be politically disastrous for him to do so now – for him and for the Liberals. The following election would see them in the same position as Kim Campbel's PCs – if not worse. He's not a stupid man, whatever else you may think of him.

          Harper will keep hammering at it if he thinks he can get away with it, because there are people out there gullible enough to believe it. If Iggy were truly interested in that, he would have long ago followed through.

          But I think Harper will soon back off that meme; Duceppe will take him to task for it, call him a liar, and remind Canadians that Harper was ploting essentially the same "illegitimate" move in 2004 – Bloc support and all.

      • He doesn't explicitly say it that way

        And that's exactly the point. The wording is ambiguous, creating the impression at first glance that they're opposed to coalitions anytime, but not actually saying that when examined closely.

        Ignatieff is deliberately leaving himself wiggle room on this.

  67. OK; let's try this: Canada is a democracy. Are you wiling to tell certain groups of people that, just because their political leanings are different from your own, that their views are illegitimate and should not be represented?

    You don't have to agree with their views – I know I certainly don't. I think if they ever actually succeed in breaking up Canada, it will be a disaster for both them and what remains of Canada. And I think that, in the aftermath, with collapsing economies and hostility all around, that there WILL be blood shed.

    But denying them the right to have their views represented – as reprehensible as they may be to many – would only harden the separitists and, ultimately, make secession more likely – not less. And really, other than the separatist part of their platform, there's not a lot to differentiate them from the other mainstream parties. Except, perhaps, a greater level of honesty of intent.

  68. I should have read your reply before posting; you said what I wanted to say, only better.

  69. A form of proportional representation would rectify the issue of a regional party having undue influence.

  70. Yup, they will.

    Duceppe not only has the letter….but he has no skin in this game, so he can tell the truth.

  71. " …. but you can't slam Mike without expliaining in detail how he could possiby be less honest than Steve."

    I can and I do. I think of the Liberal party as an abomination while I merely dislike Conservative party. Besides, except for me and a few others, all people do here at Maclean's is bash Harper and I have no desire to join chorus.

    "And we need more prisons? To house the unreported criminals who haven't been arrested?"

    From Lorrie Goldstein column a few days ago:

    "Prof. Ian Lee of Carleton University's Sprott School of Business has just written a paper for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute titled: "Myths and Urban Legends Concerning Crime in Canada."

    It's an interesting, provocative read, although for my money, a better title would have been: "Why are liberals so dumb about crime?"

    Why, for example, do they always mention that crime in Canada is down 17% over the past decade, but never that it's up 131% over the past five decades, and that violent crime is up 316%?

    Why do they bizarrely dismiss as insignificant Statistics Canada's estimate of a 16% drop in the rate of reported crime over the past decade alone — meaning fewer than one in three crimes (31%) are now reported to police?

    Why do they falsely accuse Canada of mimicking the U.S. in locking up criminals and throwing away the key, when, according to the International Centre for Prison Studies, Canada imprisons 116 criminals per 100,000 population, compared to 756 per 100,000 in the U.S.?"

  72. " …. but you can't slam Mike without expliaining in detail how he could possiby be less honest than Steve."

    I can and I do. I think of the Liberal party as an abomination while I merely dislike Conservative party. Besides, except for me and a few others, all people do here at Maclean's is bash Harper and I have no desire to join chorus.

    "And we need more prisons? To house the unreported criminals who haven't been arrested?"

    From Lorrie Goldstein column a few days ago:

    "Prof. Ian Lee of Carleton University's Sprott School of Business has just written a paper for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute titled: "Myths and Urban Legends Concerning Crime in Canada."

    It's an interesting, provocative read, although for my money, a better title would have been: "Why are liberals so dumb about crime?"

    Why, for example, do they always mention that crime in Canada is down 17% over the past decade, but never that it's up 131% over the past five decades, and that violent crime is up 316%?

    Why do they bizarrely dismiss as insignificant Statistics Canada's estimate of a 16% drop in the rate of reported crime over the past decade alone — meaning fewer than one in three crimes (31%) are now reported to police?

    Why do they falsely accuse Canada of mimicking the U.S. in locking up criminals and throwing away the key, when, according to the International Centre for Prison Studies, Canada imprisons 116 criminals per 100,000 population, compared to 756 per 100,000 in the U.S.?"

    • "Why do they falsely accuse Canada of mimicking the U.S. in locking up criminals and throwing away the key, when, according to the International Centre for Prison Studies, Canada imprisons 116 criminals per 100,000 population, compared to 756 per 100,000 in the U.S.?""
      You're missing a variable here to make your argument. Canada has lower crime rates than the U.S., so you can't disprove the statement that "Canada [is] mimicking the U.S. in locking up criminals and throwing away the key", simply by comparing the incarceration rates, you have to control the incarceration rates for the difference in crime rates between the two Countries first. If you can do that, then you'd, then you'd have a good empirical argument. (I would add that you should also show that we aren't trending towards the US rates of incarceration per crime, because the relative trend matters as much as the current absolute state, since Conservatives have only been in power for a relatively short time to effect a significant change in these statistics)

    • First, I didn't ask you to slam Harper; I asked you to provide examples of how Iggy is less honest than Stevie. Typical Con dodge.

      Yes, crime rates did rise for a period, but have been declining for the past decade as you yourself note. So the trend is downward.

      As for the purported rise in unreported crime: building prisons won't help that. What is the thought process here: "build them and they'll turn themselves in"? First, we need to figure out a way to encourage people to report crimes. THEN, if we find we need more prisons, we build. No point in building them to sit empty.

      But then the promise to build more may just be another of Stevie's smoke & mirrors promises. NL has needed a new prison for years, yet please to sucessive federal governments have resulted in squat. You'd think if he were serious, he'd have already started the process – maybe as part of his vaunted Economic Action Plan. Or are the prisons only to be built where people vote for him, Clement gazebo style?

      • That should be "pleas" not "please"

  73. The media is owned by corporations; they want a 'corporation' of consumers in Canada not a nation of citizens.

  74. He supports separation of Quebec from Canada. He is open and honest about that goal.

    Why does that make him a liar?

    Oh yeah – it doesn't.

  75. Other Prime Ministers have managed to accomplish a lot and give stability with minority governments. That's how we got national health care.

    Isn't Harper saying he cannot provide a government for Canadians unless he gets a majority? That seems to be what he is saying. Maybe some reporter can ask him and get clarification on this point.

  76. Duceppe has no skin in this game! :))))))))))))

    So he doesn't care that the Tory vote is going up in Quebec. No, Mr.Duceppe does not care about any of that.

    You are so sweet, Emily!

  77. Let's all go crazy, collectively! Why not!

  78. So you or hollinm can provide some examples of Gilles Duceppe lying then? you both seem so certain, so it shouldn't be too hard.

  79. Canada is a democracy. Canada is a federation made up of 10 provinces and two territories I believe. But you could correct me on that.

    Federal elections are held for federal purposes.

    Provincial elections are held for provincial purposes.

    The Tories, NDP and LIberals are federal parties running for the well being of Canadian citizens.

    The BQ is a provincial party running for the well being of Quebec citizens. Furthermore, the BQ is running to do away with our nation as it stands now.

    There is nothing illegitimate about a provincial party to run in provincial elections.

    But I do think there is something quite illegitimate about running against a country one receives tax dollars from. Some people have been brainwashed into believing that Canadians have no right to speak up against such illegitimate practices of provincial/separatist parties. Yet, others have not been brainwashed yet and are free to speak up for what constitutes a true democracy.

  80. See the second line in that statement:

    "Whoever leads the party that wins the most seats on election day should be called on to form the government."

    He then goes on to set out the rules he will follow if called on to form a government. That could be as a majority, a minority – or as the party with the next-largest number of seats should the minority party with the most seats fail to win the confidence of the house. He doesn't explicitly say it that way, but it follows from the context.

    Nice try.

  81. "Why do they falsely accuse Canada of mimicking the U.S. in locking up criminals and throwing away the key, when, according to the International Centre for Prison Studies, Canada imprisons 116 criminals per 100,000 population, compared to 756 per 100,000 in the U.S.?""
    You're missing a variable here to make your argument. Canada has lower crime rates than the U.S., so you can't disprove the statement that "Canada [is] mimicking the U.S. in locking up criminals and throwing away the key", simply by comparing the incarceration rates, you have to control the incarceration rates for the difference in crime rates between the two Countries first. If you can do that, then you'd, then you'd have a good empirical argument. (I would add that you should also show that we aren't trending towards the US rates of incarceration per crime, because the relative trend matters as much as the current absolute state, since Conservatives have only been in power for a relatively short time to effect a significant change in these statistics)

  82. He's saying that a conservative minority will not result from this election. If his party receives a minority plurality, he'll decline to form government. Or he's a liar. Those are your choices.

  83. I am certain, 100 % certain, that if Canadians from coast to coast were to vote on a referendum now, to decide if the separatist/provincial party should be allowed to within federal elections, the result would be in favour of no!

    Quebeckers may have a voice indeed. But Canadians have the right to a voice as well. Canadians can make up their own minds as well. Canadians living from coast to coast to coast do not have to buy the line the BQ is trying to spin out. We can make up our own minds as well, thank you very much.

    I love the province of Quebec like any other province, and I will more than gladly give all citizens of this country a voice. But I do not care much for specially treated voices because an overly weighted voice is not a demcratic voice at all. In fact, such overly weighted voice takes away from other voices. And that would be most undemocratic. And I am for democracy, not against it.

  84. You are so blind as to what the Reform party stood for. All you have ever managed to understand is the empty slogans by the media elite you were more than willing to buy into.

    Man, I am so glad I don't buy into things that blindly.

  85. Oz has the Liberal-National coalition, they run separate slates, but it's understood that they will sit together if they win enough seats to form a Government

  86. I know how you people operate, Andrew.

    You have been trying since this morning to turn the tables for Ignatieff by trying to impy that it is Harper who needs to address the question of coalition forming. I've seen through your ploy from the moment you pitched it.

    But why buy such nonesense. Ask Ignatieff how to solve this one:

    "If Obama had lived outside of the United States for 10 years prior to his entry into the presidential elections, would the American citizens still have voted him into the White House"

    Oh, and if you don't have an answer for me today, don't worry. Ignatieff might pitch one to you tomorrow. And then you can get back to me. TTYL

  87. If you care to go over the footage of Duceppe's address to reporters yesterday in the foyer of the House, you will notice that when he talked (in english) about the 2004 agreement, he did not, and I repeat, he did not use the word coalition. In fact, he was looking for words not to have to use the word coalitoin when referring to the 2004 letter.

    Of course, Duceppe can now ad lib all he wants. None of the verbals of such meeting have ever been recorded and so he can say whatever suits him now. Later he will recall event differently. And so forth. Believe in such nonesense if you want to, but make sure you watch his carefull choice of words just yesterday. It might enlighten you and the gang.

  88. I wasn't commenting on what the Reform party "stood for". I was commenting on its right to exist, alongside other legitimately-constituted parties like the BQ (or, for that matter, like the Communist Party or the the old Cooperative Commonwealth Federation Party that, in its day, was put under surveillance by the RCMP as a security threat).

    By the way, you seem to be getting a little presumptuous, telling me what I understand.

  89. I've replied to you about this before, and as Thwim says, you need to do some research before you say 'you've never seen such a situation anywhere', as if you did, you would:
    See Spain, where the Catalan nationalist CiU party served a very similar role to what was proposed for the BQ in the 2008 coalition in support of two Spanish governments (left and right) in the 1990s (not a formal coalition partner, but provided ongoing legislative support). Zapatero's current government also depends on the support of Catalan and Basque nationalist parties.
    See Italy, where the Northern League has been part of various Berlusconi coalition governments over the years.
    See Iraq, where the president of the coutnry is also secretary-general of the Kurdish PUK.

    Whether you respect or agree with any of these governments is immaterial, they exist.

  90. You're just trying to change the channel. I'm sure the just visiting meme will also be brought up again later, but for the moment let's stay on topic.

    Harper has said he won't lead a minority government after the next election if his government falls short of a majority. I don't believe him for a second, but the fact remains that some people, including you presumably, still believe him. Your guy is making a disingenuous argument in an attempt to trick Canadians into believing that their choices are a Harper majority or Deputy Prime Minister Gilles Duceppe. Regardless of your political bent, I think we should be able to agree that these are not the only potential outcomes of an election. In fact, I'd put money that the Conservatives will return with a minority after the election.

  91. Israel also has a coalition government.

  92. The Reform party never had written in its party's founding guidelines that they would want to separate from Canada; that they only would serve the interest of one province, and that's just for starters.

    I am not being presumptuous. It is you who has trouble responding to the real issues I put forth. You side step and deflect ongoing. You keep on defending the workings of the BQ as if we should all be convinced by such conveluted twists in the operating state of our federation. Address the issue. Don't try and sidestep it with constantly coming up some things which do not pertain to the issue at hand.

  93. No, Duceppe isn't running for PM, so he has no skin in this game.

    And Harp is pretty much hated in Quebec, so no worries on that front

  94. Proportional representation would make it worse.

    Who would select the list of MP's?

  95. Same goes for Libs.

  96. If you are referring to my posting starting off with:"if the Tories win the most seats……………."

    then I agree completely with you.

    The end election result will tell the tale. Indeed.

  97. First, I didn't ask you to slam Harper; I asked you to provide examples of how Iggy is less honest than Stevie. Typical Con dodge.

    Yes, crime rates did rise for a period, but have been declining for the past decade as you yourself note. So the trend is downward.

    As for the purported rise in unreported crime: building prisons won't help that. What is the thought process here: "build them and they'll turn themselves in"? First, we need to figure out a way to encourage people to report crimes. THEN, if we find we need more prisons, we build. No point in building them to sit empty.

    But then the promise to build more may just be another of Stevie's smoke & mirrors promises. NL has needed a new prison for years, yet please to sucessive federal governments have resulted in squat. You'd think if he were serious, he'd have already started the process – maybe as part of his vaunted Economic Action Plan. Or are the prisons only to be built where people vote for him, Clement gazebo style?

  98. That should be "pleas" not "please"

  99. I didn't suggest that the Reform Party advocated separatism. I was merely commenting on its right to exist, alongside a whole array of other legitimately-constituted parties (Jeez, I'm trapped in a loop here). That was my only point in referencing the Reform Party.

    Regarding your other point, you'll have to tell me what I'm sidestepping from or deflecting. What is the "issue at hand" that I'm missing? I haven't been "defending the workings of the BQ" (I'm not a member nor a resident of Quebec, so I don't pretend to know what its "workings" are). All I am saying is that in an open democracy like Canada, the Bloq has the same right to exist as any other party regardless of your (or my) opinion about its legitimacy.

    Are you having trouble with that?

  100. No. S/he is just going crazy.

  101. "But you could correct me on that." I'll take you up on your offer; it's three territories – Yukon, NWT, and Nunavut.

    Quebec citizens are Canadian citizens. The BQ is a regional party representing the interests of those citizens in Ottawa. They aren't the only regional party we've had; they likely won't be the last.

    Each MP is representing the citizens of their riding – just like every MP (I'm assuming here, of course, that the MPs are actually doing what they were elected to do).

    You have the right to speak up; I just disagree with you that we should forcibly silence dissent – which is what you would be doing if you denied the BQ the right to sit in Parliament. That's how civil wars start.

  102. So then why is he polling DOUBLE the numbers that the Iggiot is? You are such a leftard.

  103. Believe me, as an expat Newf, I have very strong feelings about the way federal politicians pander to Quebec at the expense of other provinces. We in NL have quite a long list of grievances stemming from the special treatment they get. I was, myself, a very vocal opponent of Meech Lake. Appeasing Quebec is NOT something I'm fond of.

    That said, the vote-buying long predates the BQ and would continue if they were to suddenly pack it in.

    Letting them have their say and allowing them to participate in the democratic processes of our nation increases the likelihood that they will one day change their minds and want to be part of the greater nation. Forcibly silencing them would have the opposite effect. The more you oppress people, the more likely they are to violently rise up against you. Where do you think civil wars come from?

  104. Actually Keith, what most Canadian's are worried about is not that the GG will call on the party that wins the most seats first…. but what happens when on the very first confidence vote that government falls and then what happens next! If you apply the exact circumstances to the Ignoramous's letter, you'll find that he's got room (albeit no moral authority) to skate through on a "loophole" in his supposed certain letter.

    What's so tough about writing a letter that states "I and my party will NEVER form a coalition nor will we make any formal arrangements of support with the BQ."

  105. He isn't.

    You are soooo gull-i-ble.

  106. Apparently, yes. She clearly doesn't get that you can't support democracy by suppressing those whose opinions you don't like.

  107. I can see how you might interpret what he said in that manner, but I think what he's trying to impress upon us (falsely, IMO) is that if he is reelected but with a minority, he WON'T BE ALLOWED to form the government. Typical CPC scare tactics.

  108. There, you go; splitting hairs!

    I'll repeat my reply to you from earlier: Harper had the plan. Harper went to the GG. Harper signed the letter. Harper had an agreement in place with the BQ.

    In both 2004 and 2008, we had the leader of the second-place party working with the NDP and Bloc leaders to figure out a way to wrest power from the sitting PM without going to the polls. In neither instance was the Bloc an official part of a coalition, but in both instances the support of the Bloc was sought.

    Duceppe has been careful to avoid the word coalition because, in the strictest of senses, that's not what was in place (in either instance, where the Bloc is concerned). But the intent was the same in both scenarios.

    The basic plot is the same; the differences lie solely in the mechanics and semantics.

  109. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure he did in fact say that in his speech this morning. That certainly was the message I came away with.

    At any rate, it would be politically disastrous for him to do so now – for him and for the Liberals. The following election would see them in the same position as Kim Campbel's PCs – if not worse. He's not a stupid man, whatever else you may think of him.

    Harper will keep hammering at it if he thinks he can get away with it, because there are people out there gullible enough to believe it. If Iggy were truly interested in that, he would have long ago followed through.

    But I think Harper will soon back off that meme; Duceppe will take him to task for it, call him a liar, and remind Canadians that Harper was ploting essentially the same "illegitimate" move in 2004 – Bloc support and all.

  110. "Of course, Duceppe can now ad lib all he wants. None of the verbals of such meeting have ever been recorded and so he can say whatever suits him now. Later he will recall event differently."

    Are you suggesting the letter Duceppe was brandishing (and which has been public knowledge for many months anyway) is a forgery? If it is, why hasn't the Harper camp denounced it as such?

    If the letter is real, how do we account for the fact that Harper's signature is the 1st of the three on the document, from which we can reasonably infer it was generated from his office and signed initially by him? Circumstantially, it would appear he approached his opposition colleagues with a proposal to offer an alternative to the GG, in the event the Martin government fell.

    Unless you're calling Duceppe a bald-faced liar (which not even Harper's enablers have dared to do…yet) or accusing him of forgery, the case seems pretty convincing, whether or not the coalition word was used today. What else could have been Harper's intent in attaching his name first to such a document?

  111. I think this became the modus operandi back in the Chretien days when there was no effective opposition. The PCs obliterated, the Bloc the Queen's loyal opposition, with Reform and the NDP occupying 3rd and 4th place. the media took it upon themselves to act as a form of unoffical opposition. In my opinion, the media should do research and call out the BS spewing individual – anyone. Seriously, if you ask a leader a question which effectively is do you believe x (insert opposing party leader name) is lying when they say y, when you get a bob and weave answer – call them out on it in a supplementary. Seriously, I think the Canadian electorate would appreciate seeing a party leader with the stones to call it as he/she sees it.

  112. Maybe Harper would like to run on delegitimizing the Bloc? Why don't you suggest it to him?

  113. He doesn't explicitly say it that way

    And that's exactly the point. The wording is ambiguous, creating the impression at first glance that they're opposed to coalitions anytime, but not actually saying that when examined closely.

    Ignatieff is deliberately leaving himself wiggle room on this.

  114. Perhaps, but that isn't what he said, is it? He said it with certainty, saying it "will" happen. Since the only thing he controls completely is what he will do if he gets a minority, it suggests he might do what he can to make this happen. I get the impression Harper isn't interested in overseeing a third minority. Perhaps I am wrong.

  115. Harper's hypocritical anti-coalition diatribe displays his utter contempt for Canada's Constitutional democracy. he really despises our system of government!

    If the CP wins a plurality of seats Harper has a right to form a government and meet the House with a Throne speech and then to introduce his lame budget once again.

    If PM Haper is defeated on the Throne speech or the budget the next move is up to the Leader of the Official opposition and the Governor General.

    GG David Johnson will most certainly not be intimidated by Harper into granting him yet another tome out to get his act together nor will he dro the writ for another election.

    GG Johnson will call upon the leader of the Official Opposition to ask if he can form a government that will hold the confidence of the House. If he is given these reassurances the LOL will become Prime Minister!

    Harper may not like our system of Constitutional democracy, preceding instead the American Republican system, but he is contemptuous in the extreme in trying to alter it to suit his desire for unconstrained power and to become President for life.

  116. Harper's hypocritical anti-coalition diatribe displays his utter contempt for Canada's Constitutional democracy. he really despises our system of government!

    If the CP wins a plurality of seats Harper has a right to form a government and meet the House with a Throne speech and then to introduce his lame budget once again.

    If PM Haper is defeated on the Throne speech or the budget the next move is up to the Leader of the Official opposition and the Governor General.

    GG David Johnson will most certainly not be intimidated by Harper into granting him yet another tome out to get his act together nor will he dro the writ for another election.

    GG Johnson will call upon the leader of the Official Opposition to ask if he can form a government that will hold the confidence of the House. If he is given these reassurances the LOL will become Prime Minister!

    Harper may not like our system of Constitutional democracy, preceding instead the American Republican system, but he is contemptuous in the extreme in trying to alter it to suit his desire for unconstrained power and to become President for life.

  117. What he means in his own mind is that if he gets a minority the opposition will defeat him at first opportunity and then ask GG to let them take over.

  118. What I don't understand is the frenzied media insistence to make him talk about this — why didn't they ask Harper if he will move to form a coalition should they win a smaller minority, or the Libs form a minority? This is not a usual question, and Iggy is not Dion.

    As Chantal Hebert said the other night — why should Iggy be forced to decry a legitimate Parliamentary procedure? Why is the media deciding what the election is about?

  119. Kady just tweeted "Which brings up an interesting q: Should we-the-media make a point of pointing that out (re:coalition not existing at present)?"

    They should point it out at every turn, just as they should point out whenever a party is being dishonest.

  120. Not to mention that the numbers show that the BQ gets a lot of support from non-separatists. They get that because they do work to represent their ridings. If you watch parliament beyond QP…speeches in the House and committee meetings, it's pretty clear the Bloc MPs do a lot more than campaign for separation.

  121. All versions of PR put forth for consideration retain local representation. That would then topped up so the seats in the House matched the popular vote. Lists for that would be forth by the parties, just as the parties select their riding candidates.

  122. Its quite clear to me, iggy as dion before will lie and then do it if he can,iggy wants us to out him in office so he can spend us further into the red.We don't need more programs to take money from the people that earn it to give to thoughs that don't,we need to cut what we have,not create more.Canadian voters need to think long and hard what a coalition of losers would do to our country,our grandkids,grandkids would never be able to pay the bills left by such a group.We need a stable goverment and at this time Haper is the only one who can give us that,he has proved he can get it done,come on Canada lets do what we have to for the sake of Canada.

  123. Its quite clear to me, iggy as dion before will lie and then do it if he can,iggy wants us to out him in office so he can spend us further into the red.We don't need more programs to take money from the people that earn it to give to thoughs that don't,we need to cut what we have,not create more.Canadian voters need to think long and hard what a coalition of losers would do to our country,our grandkids,grandkids would never be able to pay the bills left by such a group.We need a stable goverment and at this time Haper is the only one who can give us that,he has proved he can get it done,come on Canada lets do what we have to for the sake of Canada.

    • Are you claiming to be a psychic, or are you claiming to have a time machine?

    • Before: There will be no deficit.

      After:…… errr, oops

    • "Where do you think Harper came from?"

      The ACME Robot Corporation, Evil Division.

  124. I completely agree. Harper's likely response, though, will be to stop taking questions – and all his supporters will start screaming about the "leftist media".

    Could be fun!

  125. Too true. But a lot of people don't get that they are serious politician, with separatism just one plank of a real platform, and with a genuine interest in serving their constituents. They think they are all one-trick ponies.

  126. Because it's exactly what HE would do.

  127. I see that as a failure of both our press and our politicians outside of Quebec. The same goes for provincial/regional issues and the role of local MPs outside of Quebec. The coverage outside of QP is generally pretty dismal in general, but the coverage outside of Ottawa is basically non-existent.

    I remember reading something of Coyne's…a pretty good piece under the circumstances, although I didn't agree with it…during the potash thing in SK. and wondering if he understood Wall's history, the almost complete abdication of responsibility by SK MPs, and so on. Why was Coyne writing about the issue at all? When was he last in SK? Had he ever spent time in any of the towns near the potash mines?

    I see coverage of Quebec and its MPs in much the same way. I don't think the national (Ottawa) press gallery can cover it properly, and none of the national news agencies publish much news that might inform us , so the conversation starts out uninformed and goes downhill from there.

  128. Are you claiming to be a psychic, or are you claiming to have a time machine?

  129. How many softball hockey questions can Harper answer before people realize he's afraid of the press though?

  130. If it keeps going like this, it'll be a moot point…Harper is on his second bad day on the campaign trail. Ignatieff, Duceppe, and Layton all look pretty good. If campaigns really do matter (I'm not convinced) and Harper doesn't turn things around, he could be in trouble.

  131. "Where do you think Harper came from?"

    The ACME Robot Corporation, Evil Division.

  132. Regional coverage – and esp. any indepth understanding of regions' history, needs or aspirations – is often lacking in the national media. Only major centers receive any substantial coverage. For example, I have to go to the local paper's website to find out anything about my home province. The result is that it feeds the stereotypes and does nothing to promote cohesion or unity. I've been tackling niceguy71 over western separatism on another thread. I think it's a boneheaded solution, just as Ithink Quebec – or Nfld – separatism is. That doesn't mean they don't have legitimate grievances, and don't deserve a voice; I justdon't think separating is a well-conceived solution. But I'll fight for their right to speak up about it – or to elect MPs to argue their case for them in Parliament. I'll also fight for my right to call them boneheads if I think they've earned it! From: notifications@intensedebatemail.comTo: keith_osmond@msn.comSubject: Reverend_Blair replied to your comment on The clash over coalitions on the campaign's first day

  133. Yeah, Western Separatism is kind of goofy. Do they think Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and BC are going to be any happier being run out of Calgary instead of Ottawa? Do they understand that they could well end up with an NDP national government? Do they realize that they could end up with a federal Conservative government in Calgary facing off against three provincial NDP governments? Western separatism makes me laugh because it's really Alberta separatism, and they make the erroneous presumption they would somehow be supported by the other three western provinces and form a uniformly right-wing state.

  134. I think he has been living here for a wee bit now.

    So now you get to decide when a Canadian citizen can run and when they can't?

    As an immigrant who has attained citizenship I am now eligible to stand. Do the previous 35 years of my life disqualify me because you don't think that those who have worked elsewhere or come from elsewhere aren't Canadian enough?

    Nasty rhetoric there.

  135. I think he has been living here for a wee bit now.

    So now you get to decide when a Canadian citizen can run and when they can't?

    As an immigrant who has attained citizenship I am now eligible to stand. Do the previous 35 years of my life disqualify me because you don't think that those who have worked elsewhere or come from elsewhere aren't Canadian enough?

    Nasty rhetoric there.

    • Since when did I say I get to decide when a Canadian citizen can run and when they can't?

      Not ever did I say I could decided such a thing.

      I didn't suggest anybody who is a Canadian should be disqualified.

      Nasty rhetoric appears in the mind of the none reader……

      • But I heard that Harper was actually born in Kenya. Where's his birth certificate?

      • You were certainly casting aspersions about Iggy's previous location of residence. Oh you wrapped it up in an Obama question, but really do you think folk don't understand your exclusionist stance? Yup you may be a Canadian but where have you been for 15 years.. it doesn't take much to follow your line of reasoning. The last few years count for naught in your eyes, It's the 15 years outside the country that speaks volumes for you and your ilk. Canadian citizenship be damned, he is of a different political persuasion to you.
        At least the tea baggers in the US are honest about their double standards and hatreds, you try and appear all reasonable but underneath you are every much the bigot.

  136. Before: There will be no deficit.

    After:…… errr, oops

  137. Since when did I say I get to decide when a Canadian citizen can run and when they can't?

    Not ever did I say I could decided such a thing.

    I didn't suggest anybody who is a Canadian should be disqualified.

    Nasty rhetoric appears in the mind of the none reader……

  138. Does anyone remember why the proposed 2008 Dion coalition came about? They had no choice. Harper refused to acknowledge the serious financial situation in the country at the time, but more importantly, as part of his plan to "destroy" the liberal party, he was about to change the way political parties were funded to the enormous benefit of the CPC party. Not to mention taking away funding for important womans programs.

  139. Does anyone remember why the proposed 2008 Dion coalition came about? They had no choice. Harper refused to acknowledge the serious financial situation in the country at the time, but more importantly, as part of his plan to "destroy" the liberal party, he was about to change the way political parties were funded to the enormous benefit of the CPC party. Not to mention taking away funding for important womans programs.

  140. Here's more detail on the above "Catalyst for 2008 Coalition agreement: November 2008 fiscal update
    On November 27, 2008, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty provided the House of Commons with his fiscal update, within which were plans to cut government spending, suspend the ability of civil servants to strike until 2011, sell off some Crown assets to raise capital, and eliminate the existing political party subsidies of CAD$1.95 for each vote the party garners in an election.[8] Since all money bills are traditionally matters of confidence,[9] the opposition was forced to consider whether to accept the motion or bring down the government over it. Flaherty's update was ultimately rejected, purportedly on the grounds that it lacked any fiscal stimulus during the ongoing economic crisis,[10][11] for its suspension of federal civil servants' ability to strike, for suspending the right for women to seek recourse from the courts for pay equity issues, and for the change in election financing rules.[12]

  141. Here's more detail on the above "Catalyst for 2008 Coalition agreement: November 2008 fiscal update
    On November 27, 2008, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty provided the House of Commons with his fiscal update, within which were plans to cut government spending, suspend the ability of civil servants to strike until 2011, sell off some Crown assets to raise capital, and eliminate the existing political party subsidies of CAD$1.95 for each vote the party garners in an election.[8] Since all money bills are traditionally matters of confidence,[9] the opposition was forced to consider whether to accept the motion or bring down the government over it. Flaherty's update was ultimately rejected, purportedly on the grounds that it lacked any fiscal stimulus during the ongoing economic crisis,[10][11] for its suspension of federal civil servants' ability to strike, for suspending the right for women to seek recourse from the courts for pay equity issues, and for the change in election financing rules.[12]

  142. But I heard that Harper was actually born in Kenya. Where's his birth certificate?

  143. I'm still trying to figure out in which party's interest it is to bore us all to death with discussions about coalitions. Because I know I'm already bored sh*tless of all of this discussion, and it's only like the second day of this campaign.

  144. I'm still trying to figure out in which party's interest it is to bore us all to death with discussions about coalitions. Because I know I'm already bored sh*tless of all of this discussion, and it's only like the second day of this campaign.

  145. You were certainly casting aspersions about Iggy's previous location of residence. Oh you wrapped it up in an Obama question, but really do you think folk don't understand your exclusionist stance? Yup you may be a Canadian but where have you been for 15 years.. it doesn't take much to follow your line of reasoning. The last few years count for naught in your eyes, It's the 15 years outside the country that speaks volumes for you and your ilk. Canadian citizenship be damned, he is of a different political persuasion to you.
    At least the tea baggers in the US are honest about their double standards and hatreds, you try and appear all reasonable but underneath you are every much the bigot.

  146. Ultimately. The voters.

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