The Commons: And then it got worse



And then it got worse

The Scene. In a curious and startling display of brinksmanship, Stephane Dion opened Question Period with a pop quiz.

“Mr. Speaker,” he said, “let me read the following statement: ‘The whole principle of our democracy is the government is supposed to be able to face the House of Commons any day on a vote. This government now has the deliberate policy of avoiding a vote. This is a violation of the fundamental constitutional principles of our democracy.’ Can the Prime Minister inform the House who said these words?”

Stephen Harper could not. Or at least would not.

“Mr. Speaker, the highest principle of Canadian democracy is that if one wants to be Prime Minister one gets one’s mandate from the Canadian people and not from Quebec separatists,” he yelled.

Apparently having read his reviews, the Prime Minister was fevered this day. Apparently having noticed the press gallery noticing them, the Conservative caucus snapped immediately to attention, cheering loud.

“This deal that the leader of the Liberal Party has made with the separatists,” Mr. Harper continued, “is a betrayal of the voters of this country, a betrayal of the best interests of our economy, a betrayal of the best interests of our country and we will fight it with every means that we have.”

Back the government members sprang up. Watching from above, the Prime Minister’s aides cheered and pumped their fists. This earned a quick rebuke from Hill security, no such expressions of enthusiasm permitted in the galleries.

Without similar law enforcement, all was soon lost in the arena below. What followed was equally captivating, stunning, dispiriting and horrid. Democracy thrown to the hyenas.

“Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister did not answer my question,” Dion rightly noted. “Let me help him. He himself spoke these words on May 3, 2005, as leader of the opposition.”

Mr. Harper did not appear chastened, pointing furiously into the ground in front of him to punctuate his words.

“From Macdonald and Laurier to Diefenbaker and Trudeau, Liberals and Conservatives have often disagreed,” the Prime Minister shot back, “but there is one thing we should never disagree on and the Leader of the Liberal Party is betraying the best interests of the best traditions of his own party if he thinks he can make a deal to govern.”

The Conservative benches, up again, chanted “shame.”

“Mr. Speaker, every member of the House has received a mandate from the Canadian people to deliver a government that will face the economic crisis,” responded Mr. Dion, briefly outlining the basic parameters of our democratic system. “The Prime Minister has failed. The Prime Minister does not have the support of the House any more. Will he allow a vote to test if he has really the confidence of the House as it must be in a parliamentary democracy?”

Upping the ante, Mr. Dion offered the rare two-handed point.

“Mr. Speaker, not a single member of the House, not even a member of the Bloc, received a mandate to have a government in which the separatists would be part of the coalition,” Harper shot back, putting forward his own reading of the rules. “If the leader of the opposition thinks he has support for this, he should have the confidence to take this to the people of Canada who will reject it.”

“Mr. Speaker, it is too bad that the noise these Conservatives make is a whole lot more than the voting power they command in this House,” reprimanded Liberal John McCallum.

The government’s Vic Toews singled out members of the Liberal frontbench and called them out as “traitors.” Peter Van Loan, the man responsible for protecting us from Osama bin Laden, mugged for the press gallery and loudly deemed Dion a “new small man of Confederation.” During one of several dozen standing ovations, James Moore swaggered to the edge of the aisle, just enough to look good and mad without having to actually cross the aisle and engage the other side in fisticuffs.

“Honestly,” sighed Speaker Peter Miliken, “honourable members two weeks ago today were saying we needed more order in the House.”

Gilles Duceppe stood and reminded Mr. Harper of how the two had cooperated so nicely in the past. The Bloc leader sounded hurt.

Jack Layton tried once more to plead the case of the Parliamentary system. “Mr. Speaker, what I said during the election and have said for years and have put into practice is that I am ready to work with other parties in the House, and we have evidenced that with all parties here,” he reviewed. “It is clear that the Prime Minister does not understand that. He has been unwilling to work with other parties, and that is why he has lost the confidence of the House. That is what is happening here. He used to say that the Prime Minister had a moral obligation to respect the will of the House. He is refusing to allow a vote. He knows full well he has lost the confidence. When will he recognize that fact and turn over power.”

Mr. Harper was quick to his feet. “Mr. Speaker, yesterday, as part of the culmination of the machinations of the leader of the NDP, we had these three parties together forming this agreement, signing a document, and they would not even have the Canadian flag behind them. They had to be photographed without it. They had to be photographed without it because a member of their coalition does not even believe in the country.”

Unfortunately for the Prime Minister, this was untrue.

Yesterday, the three opposition leaders sat behind a table on a small riser and explained their intentions. Behind them stood the flags of each province and territory. On each side of that row of flags, a Canadian flag.

And so having wrapped himself tightly in the Maple Leaf, Stephen Harper had promptly soiled himself.

Four mesmerizing rounds between Messrs Dion and Harper followed, all pretence of questions and answers forgotten. Two men who loathe each other so deeply debating nothing less than the sanctity and purpose of this nation.

Some time later, the Speaker called an end to the day. It is now impossible to say who is winning.

The Stats. Government, 14 questions. The economy, 12 questions. Arts funding, three questions. Equity and Thailand, two questions each. The environment, one question.

Stephen Harper, 11 answers. Jim Flaherty, six answers. James Moore, three answers. Christian Paradis, Diane Finley, Denis Lebel, Lawrence Cannon and Lisa Raitt, two answers each. Vic Toews, Helena Guergis, Jim Prentice and Rona Ambrose, one answer each.


The Commons: And then it got worse

  1. It seems that Three Stooges cannot take a wait for a week as an answer. Taking about desperation I had no clue that banks would be so swift in trying to collect money back form bankrupted Liberals.

  2. He’s a bully, and he’s being outed. Hence the rage.

  3. Quebec accounts for 23% of the population of Canada. Any guesses as to what percentage of Dion’s “stimulus package” Quebec will receive? I can assure you all it will be significantly higher than 23%.

    Politics as usual in Canada.

  4. “He’s a bully, and he’s being outed. Hence the rage.”

    And Dion’s a thief.

  5. What a pathetic view with the bully ‘fighting back’, just like the with the uninvited party guest who got wasted and have to be told to leave.

  6. Great account! You really have to collect these at some point. On that note, I hope the Maclean’s team will all pull together and write the definitive, thrilling account of this month for posterity.

  7. What is it about this Prime Minister that, when he hits rock bottom, he feels the need to keep on digging.

    In his position, you would think that the right optics to win over Canadians would be to try to appear concessionary, act like you cared about Parliament, pretend you would try to work with the other parties, rather than raise the partisan stakes and petty digs even higher (or lower, I guess).

    I don’t know if the coalition is the right or the best alternative, but Harper at the very least has got to go. He has now shown us that:

    – he is willing to break the law and allow his underlings to break the law (NDP caucus taping, Cadman, In-and-out) for power

    – he is willing to lie to Canadians and to Parliament for power (no deficit, fixed elections, no income trust tax, this stupid flag lie, etc. etc. etc.)

    – he is willing to debase himself, his party and Parliament with straight-up petty insults (Liberals support the Taliban, Liberals support terrorists, calling Stronach a dog, the Navdeep Bains incident, “Coalition of the Separatists) for power

    – he is willing to flip flop on important points of principle and policy (obligation of government to consult with other parties, obligation of government to keep opposition days, no unelected senators, record breaking out of control spending that creates a deficit, etc. etc. etc.)

    Didn’t we toss Martin and the Liberals because of behaviour like this but not nearly as bad?

  8. Karol.

    Seriously. The Three Stooges thing is pretty weak. We could be calling Harper a douche but we don’t because we’re not ten-year olds. Grow the crap up.

  9. “I hope the Maclean’s team will all pull together and write the definitive, thrilling account of this month for posterity.”

    Umm, isn’t that what this blog is? Or does it only count when you print it on dead trees?

  10. The members of the opposition will vote the government down at the first opportunity. Weather the coalition stands or there is an election the commons will not be the way it is now. I like the idea of a coalition because I believe working together is better than one group having all the power.

    The Conservatives are trying to survive at any cost and this is impossible in their present form. I think the only way the Conservatives will survive in this parliament is if Harper resigns. Their government will fall to the coalition or there will be an election. How do you think Canadians will view Mr. Harper after his partisan actions?

  11. Ted:

    It was MacKay who reportedly called Stronach a dog.

    Besides that, though, you’re right on the money. I can’t understand why anyone would still consider Harper trustworthy.

    Oh, to add to the list: he keeps his MPs tightly leashed. And when one of his members of cabinet (Rona Ambrose) DID try to speak to the government’s policies, she got promptly demoted and replaced with John Baird.

    “Talkin’ out of turn . . . that’s a paddlin'”

  12. Three Stooges of Confederation fight for their political life. What a show?? Finally Dion the “federalist” found his right place in the whole scheme of things and Duceppe might actually regret it one day as Dion might decide to move from failed leader of Liberals to an instant leader of Bloc.

  13. I’m still interested in that oral sex allegation that disappeared from the comments. Salacious! Who says Ottawa is boring?

  14. Where are the individuals and groups who will benefit from the Coalition stimulus package? If these interests don’t get involved soon, the Conservatives are going to win the PR war easily with no opposition.
    The CAW for example should be putting everything they’ve got into this, and forestry workers as well.
    The EI changes,who speaks on that? Even the CBC, afraid of being sold I guess, is making no effort to be balanced. The first polls are going to brutal.

  15. Umm, isn’t that what this blog is? Or does it only count when you print it on dead trees?

    Paper stays put. Paul Wells blogged some superbloggy blogs back in 2005, that are linked to on other blogs. But his blogs have disappeared into the Rogers bit bucket. Pity.

  16. Baldygirl you just lost your own argument. Inane comment from someone with the intelligence of a twit.
    Regarding this bid for a takeover by the opposition leader and his lap dog Layton with his cohort the Separatiste, let’s take it to the people of Canada and watch what happens. Dion is going to be remembered as the weakest and moronic leader of a Party. Layton, well what can you say about a Socialist Traitor and same goes for Duceppe.
    Stephen Harper is one of the smartest men in Canadian Politics and will rebound with a Majority Govt.
    If this doesn’t happen and the Coalition wins their little Nazi Putsch then you can kiss the West goodbye because they will separate. And if they do Canada is done and that will be the result of The French Citizen, The Socialist and the Separatist. So who wins in this scenario?? Quebec!!!!

  17. It was good to hear Stephen Harper speak with such passion. He really srewed up last week when he tried to stick it to the opposition, but we must save Canada and say ” no” to the separatist coalition!

    A first sign of leadership from the presumptive Liberal leader in waiting. Senior Ignatieff insiders are tantalizingly whispering to Bourque that the Toronto MP is having grave doubts about supporting the shocking Dion coalition bid, now labelled by many as the “Separatist Coalition”. One longtime Ignatieff backer confided that “Michael is in a tenuous situation and he is feeling the heat from caucus colleagues and constituents alike”. It nets out to this, ordinary Liberals across the country, the card-carrying bbq-ing door-knocking kind who make up the backbone of the party and who would need to be counted on to support his leadership aspirations, are rejecting the Dion argument that a deal with the separatist Bloc Quebecois is in the interests of Canada. And they are right, of course. Ignatieff, in turn, would be right to heed their advice and to distance himself from this embarrassing marriage of expedience fueled by nothing more than the personal egos and ambitions of a relatively few desperate ‘inside-the-beltway’ political personalities, both elected and otherwise. Developing …

  19. hey Rick

    You havent proven how Baldygirl lost her own argument. Is this like Harper’s flag wrapping today?

    Man that is some of the most ridiculous partisan nonsense you follow up with.

  20. Kory/Karol is back with the same CPC talking points.

  21. Van Centre: “Umm, isn’t that [i.e. a definitive, thrilling account] what this blog is? Or does it only count when you print it on dead trees?”


  22. You want the moral authority to govern, you take your platform to the people. The people of canada did NOT vote in a coalition government. They voted the tories to govern with a strong robust opposition to keep them in check.

    THAT is what the citizens of Canada elected 6 weeks ago. Not a twisted toxic soup of illegitimate pretenders who are trying to overthrow the duly elected, LEGITIMATE government of canada.

    Pretending the election did not happen will not make the voters forget they soundly rejected the other parties plans in favor of the tory one.

    While I know it makes news organizations happy as they can feast on this like a lion decemating it’s prey, I am stunned that they cheerfully endorse an illegitimate cabal overthrowing our government and inserting their own unaccountable, unelected pawns in it’s place.

    Stunning….completely stunning. And I for one refuse to allow the country my family has fought and died for to be overthrown by ANY party (tory/lib/ndp/bloc) Sorry. If you are not elected with a majority of the seats, unless the current gov’t asks you to take over (as what happened in Ontario) then you have no legitimacy or moral authority to get anywhere near the reigns of power.

    You want it? Have an election. Can’t afford one? To friggen bad.

  23. Karol: I think it’s a little much to insinuate Mr. Dion would somehow ever become leader of the Bloc. This is a man who has spent much of his political (and pre-political) life fighting Quebec separatism.

    Mr. Wherry: People often say that politicians on opposing sides of the House can be friends outside, or at least respectful of each other. Based on what you see in the House, especially the exchange today between Mr. Dion and Mr. Harper, do you think their dislike of each other is personal and not just partisan?

  24. Few more days of this nonsense and there will be no need for another election as Three Stooges will find themselves all alone as all opposition parties disintegrate in front of our eyes.
    Funny that Ignatieff declined Dion’s offer to be named interim leader on Liberal Party and future Prime Minister of Three Stooges government.
    If things keep on moving in same direction Bob Rae might also come to conclusion that his decision to join Liberals was a mistake.

  25. Many of you seem to call Harper arrogant, rigid etc, all seemingly by rote. The people i know who have dealt with him, however, say that he is actually quite amenable to discussion, and flexible in is response. The Press calls him arrogant, but if he does listen and then change his stance, they then call him weak and willing go do anything to stay in power. The people that really are absolutely sure they are right, I am told, are Dion, May, Leyton and Duceppe, who are all far more rigid in their basic beliefs than Harper.
    Ah well, I guess we are all going to find out the hard way..

  26. Please Mme Jean, please come home are rid us of these Tories. Save Canada. Coalition now!

  27. It is now impossible to say who is winning.

    I disagree Aaron. Who looks the most irrational? Who has his facts wrong? Who is looking the least Prime Ministerial? Who is locked into survival mode now? Who is in utter denial and doesn’t realize his political career is over?

    That is the guy that is losing big time.

  28. They voted the tories to govern with a strong robust opposition to keep them in check.

    *sigh* No they didn’t.

  29. Today in Nova Scotia :-

    Gypsum mine closes, 46 lose jobs, branch plant of US wallboard firm hit by housing decline.

    Magna parts plant closes. Although Canadian car sales are relatively strong, the US market is down around 40%.

    Pulp and paper mill extends shut-down indefinitely.

    Lobster fisherman in southwest NS stay in port for two days to protest low prices.

    The Canadian minority government plans to crap all over pay equity and learn how to say socialist and separatist in the same sentence.

    We have much to be thankful for.

  30. I am amazed at those of you who see our PM as something so very evil when in fact, there aren’t a lot of “nice” qualities in any of the opposing leaders. Jack puffs his chest like a cocky rooster and in his arrogance seems to think everything he says is the way we as Canadians think. Mr. Dion has proven himself to be nothing more than a nasty, spoiled man who can be quite vindictive when pushed and Mr. Duceppe…well, don’t get me started. In fact, he doesn’t really count does he.. I suppose it’s because PMSH has a more serious look about him..nothing like a mouse, if you will…and more than anything I think it’s because together with the media, the opposition parties have done nothing but project him to be evil. After all…I suppose it is true that he isn’t only interested in Ontario. He must truly be evil to want the best for Canada as a whole.

    I for one don’t want a rooster, mouse or separatist representing my country. Spew your vile comments but you’re not about to change my mind. I believe in PMSH, and will continue to support him, but just know that if the 3 stooges manage to win this ridiculous proposition…… Western separation here I come!

  31. Hugh: Yeah Harper is just a big swell teddy bear in a sweater. Been there, done that got the sweater and FU.

  32. The fact is he isn’t a big swell teddy bear, thank you very much….which is just as well, I want a strong leader for my Canada…..you can have your mouse.

  33. Brenda: Western separation here I come!

    Perhaps Harper can recognize Alberta as a nation. And Saskatchewan. And BC. Not Manitoba.

  34. Acer:

    Anything on “Borque” is bought and paid for by the COns. War Room. It has as much credibility as does Small Dead Animals.

  35. Brenda: I wonder if you and people like you find it ironic at all when you decry the Progressive Coalition “getting into bed with the separatists” and then in the next instant turn around and advocate Western Separation. Doesnt that strike you as a tad inconsistent?

  36. Is that where you’re from Transcanada? Manitoba? Do you really see yourself counting in an Ontario/Quebec division? HA!

  37. Gilmore,
    Dion is from Quebec, has French citizenship, does not speak English very well, all these factors make him a suspect. Now he created a coalition that would ceed all its power to Bloc (Quebec separatists). It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that he is a separatist mole inside of Liberal Party of Canada. Once that is exposed his only chance to stay in Canadian Politics is as a member (leader) of Bloc who finished his undercover assignment.
    It all makes sense to me.

  38. SDA is a few rungs ABOVE Pierre Dourque on the credibility ladder.

  39. Not a twisted toxic soup of illegitimate pretenders who are trying to overthrow the duly elected, LEGITIMATE government of canada.

    Looks like someone didn’t take, or failed, Canadian politics 101.

  40. Scott: Not at all, I’d call it finally standing up for what we deserve. Standing up against Liberal governments that don’t see beyond the Ontario border. The fact is you’re now the “half not province” and it’s a tough pill to swallow it seems. Every PM we’ve ever had from the West has suffered much the same treatment as PMSH. I’ve got news for you…you’re not the be all and end all in Canada. In fact, we are booming, even in these times of economic turmoil. I’d love to see you bow to us for a change. Why you would think we’d continue to do that without some sort of fight is beyond me…

  41. t does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that he is a separatist mole inside of Liberal Party of Canada.

    I’m sure even Steven Harper would call you a retard for that brilliant insight. C’mon – is the CPC war room even trying anymore (or is everyone trying to find their way off the ship with skin intact)?

  42. No one serious believes/reads Bourque.

  43. I saw a guy on Don Newman’s show today say that Bay Street is in a dilemma – they don’t want the Coalition and they want Harper out.

    Solution: Tories, appoint a new leader, one who is mature, one who is not paranoid and one who doesn’t govern via hatred – oh and a new finance minister would also be appreciated.

    Interesting timing eh – the Nixon tapes have been released and are out today.

  44. “If this doesn’t happen and the Coalition wins their little Nazi Putsch then you can kiss the West goodbye because they will separate. And if they do Canada is done and that will be the result of The French Citizen, The Socialist and the Separatist. So who wins in this scenario?? Quebec!!!!”

    Wait, I’m confused. The libs and NDP are traitors for associating with separatists.

    Apparently, being a separatist traitors is evil, and any government propped up by separatists is evil – as evil as the Nazis, even!

    And if such a thing comes to pass – then the West will all become separatists! At which point, of course, being a separatist will be totally good, and on the side of the angels.


  45. I consider Dion, Layton and Duceppe to be true Canadian heroes. They are doing the right thing for Canada.

    People – don’t listen to the fear mongering. Canada will not only be fine when the Coalition takes over – it will be better – much better. You’ll see.

  46. The most likely scenario is that there will be a non-confidence vote followed by an election; if Mr. Ignatieff is concerned, he has good reason to be. What happens when this goes to the electorate – do the Liberals and the NDP go their separate ways and run candidates against each other as they did in the last election? They would have to, but how do they campaign? What do the leaders say about each other in the debates? How fascinating would that be? They’d simply be splitting the left-of-centre vote if they keep insisting they represent the same core ideals.

    This may be genius on the part of Mr. Harper.

    And if the result, as is likely, is another Conservative minority, what then? They go back in front of the Canadian people, and flip-flop on the notion that they are two different parties yet again?

  47. Wonderful writing. It’s actually better than being there. Thank goodness!

    Please, all Harper supporters: do try to moderate your language. If our PM is going to pull out all the stops and exacerbate separatism, anti-Quebec and and anti-democratic sentiments, it doesn’t mean that you should too.

  48. I love that people who claim to be from the west are saying that, if the coalition of Liberals and NDP MPs receives support from separatists … they’ll separate!

    The illogic of these mugs!

    Really, it’s almost as rich as a the supporters of a PM who came to power by toppling a minority government with the help of the NDP (socialists) and the Bloc (separatists) now claiming such actions are undemocratic, seditious, even treasonous … if they happen to turf him from power!

    I’ve met some very bright, interesting, hardworking folks who hail from the prairies and the west … I had no idea they left behind so many intellectually and ethically challenged siblings.

  49. In fact, we are booming, even in these times of economic turmoil. I’d love to see you bow to us for a change.

    Lady, you need a hobby.

  50. dougrogers,

    Do not call me paranoid. It was Ignatieff who pulled the plug on Three Stooges Rebellion. Read the latest news.

  51. Manchild.

    I hope your words will quell the paranoia obviously felt by many posters to this thread.

    Brenda, you appear to be quite resentful of the majority of Canadians. I’d like to remind you that Ontario and Quebec collectively make up 62% (that’s almost two thirds) of the population of Canada. If you feel that we have more representation, you’re right. Electoral districts are based on the approximate number of constituents rather than on geography. Why an electoral system that represents constituents in a (relatively) proportional way should anger you is beyond me. Granted, I haven’t lived the experience of being a Westerner, but I’m friends with quite a few and they seem just fine with how they’re represented in parliament (and that’s previous to the current and previous houses).

  52. Brenda

    “… I want a strong leader for my Canada…..you can have your mouse.”

    The smell of passed gas is strong. It doesn’t mean Canadians want a fart for PM.

  53. I write from a darkest, coldest part of the Conservative landscape in the far-flung AB. I have voted Conservative but never again. The half-truths and outright lies against Canadians and for the benefit of foreign investors and the ultra-rich have forced me to become a Coalition supporter.

    Sit and listen-up: Quebecers are still Canadians. The Bloc MPs have an equal and full democratic right to be in the House of Commons. It is outrageous that a PM of Canada will not treat all MPs from all parts of Canada fairly and equally.

    I would be outraged except for one happy thing. Every time Harper gives his stupid anti-separatist speech, he loses support in Quebec. Too bad for the Bully, eh?

  54. PS: Is the correct term for Karol “troll” or is it “sockpuppet” or “meatpuppet”?

    I’m not sure of the correct blogging nomenclature.

  55. Interesting question, Oh Boy, but as a matter of fact I think he’s sincere and his name really is Karol.

  56. Kephalos: I’m from Alberta too, and I’m proud to note that PM Harper was the one to call the Quebecois a distinct nation in a united Canada. It wasn’t the Liberals who did that. You know who the Liberals are, right? That great regional party that currently represents urban Toronto and Montreal?

    I still don’t see how strong leadership equates with being a bully, except perhaps among those who are frightened of having hand-outs taken away from them.

  57. Dion’s a thief? Who is trying to trammel democracy, certainly its not Dion. All you sourpusses need to get your acts together. If you want to fan your anger about what is happening, and, no one even saw this coming, please forward your lame attacks to one STEPHEN HARPER. Hey fouled bad, I mean spectacularly bad! This in youth speak is called “Fail” and Stephen Harper is now a “tool”.
    But the tool tried to rob Canada of its democracy and he failed and now he will be “owned” for his blustering ways.

    Grow younger or at lease be responsible adults.

  58. I still don’t see how strong leadership equates with being a bully, except perhaps among those who are frightened of having hand-outs taken away from them.

    This is dumb.

  59. Yy,

    OMG, k3w157 p057 3var!!! ROFL!


  60. It IS dumb, Ti-Guy.

    And yet, we can’t keep ourselves from reading it. Maybe there’s something wrong with us? ;)

  61. If I had any doubts before, today’s QP and the Tory radio ads have confirmed it for me: Harper is a very dangerous man. His ability to lie and to do so w/o being challenged is giving me the creeps. Here he is jabbing his finger at Dion, calling him a traitor, for doing the EXACT SAME THING he himself attempted to do back in 2004 with the Martin govt.

    What’s worse is that he seems to be able to get away with his lies over and over again.

  62. When someone expresses a dissenting opinion, they are trolls. Well call me a troll. In my mind this is Iggi’s John Turner moment. He can stand up and be counted as a leader, one prepared to take a principled stand, or he can meekly follow along and say “I had no choice.”

  63. “It is now impossible to say who is winning.”

    Not so. I’d say that the one who is not resorting to bald faced lies is the one winning. If Dion is a traitor for getting a separatist party to agree to prop up a federalist coalition, what does that make Harper who tried to do the same thing in 2004?

    The only difference between Dion and Harper is that Dion might pull it off. I’ve had about enough of Harper’s lies. The man lies like he breathes. What is most astonishing is that people let him get away with it.

  64. >What happens when this goes to the electorate – do the Liberals and the NDP go their separate ways and run candidates against each other as they did in the last election? They would have to, but how do they campaign?

    If they’re smart, they do exactly what King did – namely, bite the bullet and, in ridings where they finished 2-3 or 3-2, run only one candidate. That certainly knocks the Cons “out of office” (not that they de facto aren’t already, but we’ll go with their talking points for the moment), and may result in the NDP having more seats than the Cons (I didn’t run the numbers on that scenario, so I’ll freely admit to being wrong if that isn’t the case). Harper, being ironically in the same position of being ousted as King, doesn’t have a imperial figurehead to rail against and attacking Jean for going along with the idea presents all sorts of image problems for him outside his base.

    Heck, it may work well enough that they wouldn’t need the Bloc, since they’d essentially have restored Chretien’s electoral map – 50-60 seats for each of the Bloc (maybe less, in this scenario) and Cons, they take the rest.

  65. Don’t count Harper out.

    He is unrepentant and will bulldoze and bully his way through this- count on it.

    The man is all about intimidation and after he manages to scrape his way through this mess there will be NO stopping him.

    Decency and civility lie in ruins….. can you honestly tell me that we can’t do better than this?

  66. If the Conservatives call that public display democracy?

    The Alberta separatists should be removed from the house, i.e. the Reform party. After all they have the minority power don’t they?

  67. Democracy is government for the people, by the people and of the people. So why not send the boys an email and tell them how much you like their conspiracy plan. Could be a lot of positive emails here, which will boost the spirits of these fine lads.

    Gille Duceppe

    John McCallum

    Bob Rae

    Stephan Dion

    Jack Layton

    Thomas Mulcair

  68. As I think all your comments suggest, this is a matter of great importance to all Canadians. However, I can’t help but feel sad about how we are so quick to attack and become bickering children fighting over whose corner of the sandbox is best.

    Let the politicians debase themselves with their pettiness during sessions of parliament.

    As we speak, we have soldiers from EVERY great province fighting TOGETHER representing our country (be the reasons right or wrong) who would probably appreciate a little more respect between those back home.

  69. I have to say I am fed up with those for or against Harper or the coalition. I am fed up with the name calling. I am fed up with the vitriol that is spilling out on all blogs such as this. Let’s look at how this can be ended.
    Fact is Harper messed up and now he should do the right thing for everyone — resign, take the finance minister with him and everyone can start anew. I am with Sandi, it is the logical thing to do — but then again I don’t expect logic from Harper, he wants power as much as the coalition leaders. Too bad. Guess NONE of them care about the country.

  70. Many former Liberal supporters are going to be aghast at this coalition. I think the Liberals have done a great deal more damage to their brand than they presently realize. It will do Iggy a lot of good to put some distance between himself and this ill-considered arrangement. Any half-intelligent dimwit can clearly see and understand that this is a ploy of the opposition parties to maintain their spot at the public teat. They are not fooling anyone. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for Stephen Harper to keep them boxed into their self-serving corner.

  71. Wow,

    the rank liberal partisanship, and seemingly absence of any objectivity or ability to see the other side, on post after post of this author,

    is extreme, even for the ordinarily left leaning media.

    Shouldn’t this be more properly part of the Libbloggers,

    and not on a purported “neutral” mainstream media website?

  72. Aaron,

    and what of the fact that when Dion is immediately facing the voters, promises he would never form a coalition with the NDP,

    then when the electorate is safely away from the ballot boxes, does precisely that, and in order to defy the result imposed by those very voters no less.

    And what of Dion’s purported lifetime battle against seperatists?

    You may want to look past your rank anti-Harper, “the left must gain power at all costs” blinders and look at the other side.

  73. A new Conservative Leader would end this instantly, but will never happen.

  74. And yet kody, you add nothing to the debate either. Just the same old, tired lefty media blah, blah, blah. Why not broaden your horizons a bit and provide a meaningful rebutal of the Libbloggers or a defence of the Conservative point of view.

    Personally, this collection of politicians that lead the four parties currently comprising our legislature is an absolute embarrassment. Voting for any of them is like being held captive by a lunatic hostage taker and being forced to chose a loved one to kill first.

  75. Bottom line: we have created a disfunctional Parliament because of the record of ongoing and extreme partisanship by the Prime Minister and some of his associates. An early election is not going to resolve this problem because the Liberal Party needs to reorganize and complete its leadership renewal before it can truly be a viable alternative to the Conservatives. A Conservative minority or majority victory, if achieved only because of weakness of the other parties, will not improve either the working of Parliament or the governance of Canada. This would be a disservice to the Conservatives as well as the other parties and the country. Further, the country does not want another election so closely following the last one. It follows that any attempt, based on the current composition of the House, to either reconstitute the Conservative cabinet under a new leader (something that is not currently under practical consideration) or create a viable alternative from the opposition ranks is to be welcomed as a means to govern Canada while both the Liberals and Conservatives can each get their act together. It is in that context that the proposed coalition government is to be welcomed. Why should we assume that Dion and the others can not rise to the occasion or that the Bloc will have a sinister command of the governance of the country? Those involved know that much will be expected of them and that the people, including Bloc supporters, will be unforgiving if the economic wellbeing of the country is threatened by regional bickering within the new government. We need to move on from the current deadlock and a coalition, whether it lasts nine or thirty months, is a more viable step at this time (transitional though it may be) than either a premature election or the status quo. Our task as citizens is to support the best options actually available, not reject options because they are not perfect or problem free.

  76. >It will do Iggy a lot of good to put some distance between himself and this ill-considered arrangement.

    Which is what he’s already doing, and which is very smart of him to do.

    Of course, it’s very likely that he’s worked this play out with Dion in advance as a contingency – if this bombs and he was against it, he comes out of it smelling like a rose. If it works, no one will remember that he was against it. C’mon, people, don’t take everything at face value – this is politics, after all. You have to dig a bit deeper.

  77. How interesting that those on the left are so convinced of their position,

    yet so strident that their position not actually be put to the voting public.

    Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism” was one of the most prescient books of our day.

  78. kody: “Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism” was one of the most prescient books of our day.”

    Don’t go changing baby, you’re freakin’ classic.

    Hey jwl: kody agrees with you that Jonah Goldberg is a genius! Congratulations on the company you keep.

  79. There’s a reason why Dion promised the public that he would NOT make a coalition, during the last election.

    It’s the same reason the Liberals will fight to their political deaths to stop Canadians from deciding for themselves this time around.

    Canadians WILL have their say. It’s only a matter of time.

    Watch the rallies on Saturday (if the locker room discussion I was in today from otherwise apolitical “jock” types is any indication, the rallies will be impressive indeed. I’ve never seen such an angry discussion about politics.

  80. It seems to me there is a fairly good chance that Harper will succeed in getting the G-G to prorogue and will then spend the next month or more on attack ads and attempts to get persuadable Liberal MPs to bail out of the coalition before there is a nonconfidence vote.

  81. The socialist-separatist dion-bots know that if this coalition goes to a vote it will be shot down by the voters.

  82. Face it Con Trolls. Steve Harper is poison to democracy. This blind vicious partisan nastiness you freaks imported from down south has tainted the the political atmosphere. You are a minority in parliment. Talk about facism. Talkj a g-d look in the mirror.

    Pure poison.

  83. The word always used to be “brinkmanship”. these days I’m hearing “brinksmanship” everywhere, and that’s what it says in the phot caption that accompanies this post.

  84. I have a perspective here, but will hold it in abeyance for now. What I feel most moved to say is this: many of the people commenting here – on both sides of this political divide – seem to show that they are intelligent, but the level of discussion has really fallen.

    I don’t feel that responding to expressions of anger or insults by returning a volley of the same helps one’s argument whatsoever. Folks, if you have a point to make, try doing so using your intelligence and wit!

    I’ll take a wild guess and imagine that the reason Macleans opened a comments section on its site was to encourage development of a collective wisdom out of the varied viewpoints of its readers. If I’m one of the writers or editors here, I’m looking at this, shaking my head and telling myself that I’m not getting what I had hoped.

  85. The Govt House Leader should reschedule the Opposition Day until after the Christmas to allow all the MPs to hear from their constituents. I believe that the Liberal and ND MPs will have a big bucket of cold water thrown on their fiery lust for power.

    On 27 Jan, the Finance Minister will present a budget and if the Opposition want to vote against an actual policy direction and can present their alternative openly and honestly instead of just bombastic rhetoric, then they have the opportunity to vote against the budget during second reading.

    The Opposition’s antics and bringing of the separatist party into the actual Government will not go unpunished in the next election when ever it comes. Did you notice the drop in the stock market due to your actions?

  86. Hey anybody else up on the apparent violation of the conservatives inregards to SEC 184(1) of the Canadian criminal code. Recording conversations without someones knowledge or consent is illegal in Canada folks. Instead of rallying against the guy completely within his rights to do what he is doing (Dion and the coalition) let’s start rallying against the guy breaking Canada’s laws (Harper and the conservatives). I refuse to let this one just die like all of the other grossly immoral things Harper and his gang have done (bribing a dying man; election fraud).

  87. Thanks for bringing that back up Ian, very true!!

  88. The NDP have set out to pursue the matter. Presumably if something illegal was done, charges will be laid. Meanwhile, it’s very helpful to Canada’s interests to know what the parties are doing in their interests. The more we know, the better informed will be our votes in the next election.

  89. What baffles me, after watching Dion’s temper tantrums today (he doesn’t even try to hide them anymore) why anyone would support a coalition lead by that buffoon. And, if politics is indeed the only motivation, why the Conservatives would ever try to prevent such a coalition from taking power. I can’t think of a better campaign theme than “for the last 6 months, this country has been lead by these three gibbons” (move to a shot of Dion, Layton and Duceppe).


    Anyone want to stand up and accuse Elizabeth May of being too stupid to understand, of needing a basic civics lesson, of wanting to live in America, etc. She seems to be under the impression that she got a million votes. Of course, as we all know, that’s ridiculous–in Canada, we elect MPs not parties or leaders. Anyone? I promise to pass the message on to her.


    No? Okay…

  91. By Harper bieng “poison” to democracy, you mean being elected leader by the democratic process?

    I take it then that the leader who LOST the election becoming PM by backroom deals with a group that wants to destroy the country, (and avoid an election at all costs so that the public is denied an opportunity to have a say in this coalition) is somehow tonic for the otherwise poisonous display of democratic will?


  92. ConBots, you’re getting downright surly, churlish and ill-tempered.

    …It’s delicious.

    You’ve had more than three years to civilise the Harpy. It’s too late now. And screaming at the rest of us won’t help.

  93. ProgBot Ti-Guy: I take that as a no?

  94. Elected members can group to vote on any issue put before the House in any conformation they see fit. They now wish to vote on a motion of non-confidence in Stephen Harper’s government. Nowhere in that formulation is it necessary or required or even helpful that they put themselves before the public in an an election. They are elected. And conducting such a vote is their elected duty.


    Call it, Mr. Harper.

  95. Well thise does seem to have got a lot of us aggitated. Hope everyone now posting voted – i move anyone who didn’t should be banished into harperspase[sorry]
    I am happy to see that conservatives are starting to call for H head – i’m proud of you and i’m proud of the coaalition for standing up to H. However the fact remains the opp has no real legitimacy in the country. Yes they will have the confidence of the house but will they ever have the confidence of the country. H knows this and is cynically playing it for all he’s worth. I say again cons have to pull him dowm for the good of us all.

  96. ProgBot Ti-Guy: I take that as a no?

    No to what? I’m not reading any the ConBot’s shrieking histrionics and hysterical vitriol. Not for comprehension, anyway. As soon as I see ALL CAPS, and several exclamation points, my eyes glaze over.

  97. I hope i made myself clear – after this political boil [Harper] is lanced then cons shouid have an opportunity to retain the confidence of the house – they won the frigging election. For progressives the opject of the exercise isn’t to poke cons in the eye merely because they’ve been doing it to us for 3 years.

  98. Kody,
    Harper broke his election law, called a premature election. Then failed to work with the opposition for the good of Canadians. In fact, instead of working with them, he showed that he cannot, that he is incapable of putting aside partisan B-S for the good of the country. you folks don’t even understand parlimentary democracy.

    Besides the ugly despotic campaign you conservatives ran helped to turn nearly half of us of federal politics completely. The prime minister is ultimately to blame for that failure of democracy if thats the way you want to play it.

  99. Great. Libtards in bed with a communist and a separatist. Harper and the Conservatives will get a majority after this Coalition of the Swilling’s hare-brained coup was thrust upon an unsuspecting Canadian public. Seems as if we now know who had the secret agenda all along. And it was not PMSH.

  100. “By Harper bieng “poison” to democracy, you mean being elected leader by the democratic process”

    As I understand it, the democratic process only got him as far as being elected as the MP for Calgary Southwest. His party elected him as leader.

  101. Harper was elected Prime Minister through a process involving exchanging money for influence in a party leadership race. How supremely democratic!

  102. The Conservatives won the last election. By doing so, they were entitled to meet the House as a minority government. Is there anybody who doubts that they’ve lost the confidence of the House at this point? Conservative partisans can yell all they want, and I understand their anger at having come to the brink of losing power so soon after winning an election, but the facts are the facts. They can’t meet the House, and if they can’t meet the House, they have to resign.

    Similarly, if the Leader of the Opposition can, in fact, win the confidence of the House, it’s perfectly within the rights of the Crown to appoint him Prime Minister. The MPs who will give the coalition government confidence were also just elected, and unlike the Tories, they do in fact have a majority of seats in Parliament. The Tories had their shot. That Harper blew it so quickly is surprising, but now that he has, what’s undemocratic about giving the other guys a shot?

  103. People are pissed because none of them voted for this mess of a coalition. I swear, some coalition supporters on the internet sound like they’ve never actually voted in an election, only read about them in books. In real elections real people vote for parties to be the government, expecting that if that government fails then they, the electors, will get to pick a new one–not that the losing parties will get together and make one for themselves.

    “a total lack of understanding of how Parliament works”. Baloney. Here is how Parliament works in Canada: the party with the most seats is the government. If the government fails and the cabinet/PM requests a dissolution, they get one. It’s never been otherwise (ON85–Miller asks the GG to give the Libs/NDP a try). There is no precedent for the nonsense being proposed by this crew.

    Now, yes, in parliamentary democracy as a theoretical system, coalitions can be formed from among smaller parties and then take office. But in the systems where this is considered legitimate it is not hidden from, indeed denied to, the electorate during an election that took place just weeks before. If the coalition thinks this is the way Canada should go, run in a bloody election on that basis.

    When you vote in an election you are picking an MP, but you are also largely picking a party and a PM to govern the country. Not so many people picked Dion to PM, and nobody picked this “Coalition for Canada and Quebec” party to govern.

  104. “Here is how Parliament works in Canada: the party with the most seats is the government. ”

    Well, no. Almost always, but not always. They get the right to try and meet the House. The Conservatives can’t right now. And as we held an election all of five weeks ago, and there’s a prospective government with a majority of MPs in waiting, it’s crazy to say that the only option is to go immediately to an election. What exactly happens if the Tories win 143 seats again?

    All the parties are going to be judged by the electorate in the medium term, if not before. If you’re right that Canadians view this as an undemocratic usurpation of power, then the Conservatives will no doubt benefit.

  105. a little digression if i may : gg’s decision : proroguing parliament = unacceptable because a ploy to buy time and not face the music, as for an election no way because : (1) we just had one, (2) and if we did the end result would roughly be the same …. conclusion : an election would be a waste of time, energy and money, plus we would be right back to square one : another vote of non confidence, another coalition, in other words the same scenario would probably repeat itself….. the solution therefore : let the coalition give it a shot. where there’s a will there’s a way. just do it… make it happen. besides, with dion at the helm things have a better chance of working in my opinion, let’s not forget he has earned high praise for his mediator skills as chair of the climate change summit in montreal in 2005. He is a man of integrity, of conviction, intelligent … Should everything work smoothly during the first trimester of 2009 then the liberals could possibly postpone the leadership convention in may, keep dion at the helm indefinitely (if it ain’t broke don’t fix it). this is his chance of proving that he is capable of governing, capable of bringing people together (which is crucial in today’s world… look at obama), and as a result gain more overall support from all sources, in particular from those skeptics who have been preconditioned thanks to harper’s almighty propaganda machine.

  106. Europe countries have coalitions all the time, I do not see this as a bad thing. Perhaps this is to our advantage and some all-encompassing good can come from this?

    I don’t know why everyone hates Quebec. Its existence helps to make Canada an interesting place.

  107. It’s all fun and games until someone loses a confidence motion.

  108. Do not sit on your thumbs. Here is a sample letter which you can use. Be sure to cc it to as many outlets as possible. Yes, coalition governments exist all over Europe. But how many contain political parties who’s price for memebrship is 1,3 billion dollars and who’s objective is to break-up the country?

    Dear Governor General

    Canadian society is on the verge of another national unity crisis. As you know the democratic will of the people has been thwarted by a conspiracy, which is only able to exist with the support of the separatist Bloc Quebecois. It’s one thing for the Bloc to vote to defeat a government but quite another thing for the Block to be paid money and given power for their support. This is totally unacceptable.

    As the terms of the coalition are unfolding, we are learning that the price for Bloc support is quite high. For example, they are to receive 1.3 billion dollars for Quebec, without any strings attracted to the deal other than there support for the coalition in the House of Commons. We also are learning that they have a veto and are unofficial leaders in this unholy alliance.

    I would ask you to legitimize the coalition by getting a mandate from the people of Canada, who just weeks ago voted to increase the number of seats for the Conservative minority government. My fear is that if this doesn’t happen, a massive backlash from English Canada will most certainly occur.

    Yours sincerely


    Governor General of Canada

    CBC French Station

    Bloc Quebecois

    Parti Quebecois


    Le Vortex de Bagotville

    La presse


    Stephan Dion

    Justin Trudeau

    Dennis Coderre

    Martha Hall Findley

    Michael Ignatieff

    Bob Rae

    John McCallum

    Toronto Star-they support the coalition

    Thomas Wakom

    Chantal Hubert

    Linda McQuaig


    Mike Duffy

    Globe and Mail

    Jeffery Simpson

  109. >Here is how Parliament works in Canada: the party with the most seats is the government. <

    Psst: Check who formed the government after the 1925 federal election, and see who won the most seats in that election.

    Similarly, examine the results of the 1985 Ontario election.

    Universal truths are only good if the truths are, you know, universal.

  110. I cannot tell you how upset and offended I am at the comments from Canadians who believe that to have NDP values is considered being a “socialist traitor.”

    And, the fact that so many people believe that the seperatist party seems to be the reason the coalition should fall. 23% of Canadians live in Quebec. A great deal more of us – including myself – were born and raised in QC but left the province after university.

    I am NOT a seperatist. But I do believe in democracy and democracy means that even the seperatistis and the socialists have an equal voice to the liberals and the conservatives. The coalition would be much more representative of a wider base of Canadian values than having Harper remain in power. For goodness sake, Harper rules as a one man government. best representing only his own values.

    All of this insulting of party and voter’s values is hurtful. And it makes me very sad.

  111. Shame upon the Liberal Party of Canada and the NDP!

    We voted less than two months ago and the Conservatives got MORE seats and vote share than before. And then the weakened Liberals think they can form a government.

    Your stooges in Parliament may not have confidence in Harper’s Conservatives, but the people of Canada certainly do. Take this coalition to a vote if you want to give yourself a legitimate government instead of stealing power greedily through the back door.

    Oh, wait, you’re Liberal. You can’t help it. Sorry.

  112. legoaddict: Plurality does note equal majority.

    Harper had the best chance to form government as he only needed the support of one other party.
    He decided to ignore that Canadians voted that none of the parties should be able to form the government alone.

    As a result, soon, none of them will.

    Democracy in action.

  113. As a young mother of 2 living in Calgary, Alberta I am quite enjoying all of the conversations for and against a coalition government.
    With such high voter apathy in my generation it is wonderful to finally see people step up and get involved. Why even teenagers are now joining Conservative, Liberal, NDP and Bloc groups on Facebook.
    Personally, I leave the fate in the hands of the Governor General and leave it at that.

    And as a side note, as a born and bread Albertan we are not all separatists and do not all vote Blue. Also, you are hard pressed to find other people born and raised in this province (or at least in Calgary). The vast majority of people come from Ontario and Newfoundland to make $$$ and then leave when rich. Those of us who were born here have to contend with rising house prices because of the influx of people, and now have to move from our own cities!

  114. One boy is a boy.
    Two boys are half a boy.
    And three boys are not a boy at all.

  115. Agreed, AB Mama. I almost wish I could separate from my fellow Albertans, or at least those that want to separate from Canada so badly… if only we could send them off on a boat somewhere, so I can stay in the province I was born and raised in and love so much, and they could go do whatever it is they want to do – shoot each other? Breathe carbon monoxide? Hmmm… seems a bit suicidal.

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