The Commons: First, convince us you’ll do no harm -

The Commons: First, convince us you’ll do no harm

Would Michael Ignatieff, if given the opportunity, destroy this country?


The Scene. As his second summer as Liberal leader dawns, Michael Ignatieff’s challenges are many and varied. They are myriad and they are daunting. They are traditional—common to every opposition leader who has ever been unlucky enough to hold the job—and they are unique to his particular circumstance.

It would be silly to rank them, to attempt to even prioritize such complex and interconnected problems. But if there is one question that lingers most persistently, most dangerously and most dispiritingly, it is this: Would Michael Ignatieff, if given the opportunity, destroy this country?

This is, of course, the question that is raised by the government side whenever Mr. Ignatieff so much as opens his mouth. His every proposal portends doom. His every thought indicates dark intentions. His very nature suggests a sinister agenda—most of it apparently having to do with some plan to tax every Canadian into poverty, for what monstrous purpose we can only speculate.

Today, as he has of late, he pursued the government’s proposed corporate tax cuts, then wondered if the Prime Minister would make good on his commitment to eliminate subsidies for the oil industry. Noting that this was a question about the economy, Mr. Harper then stood to report that, according to the OECD, Canada was due to recover well from the recession he was quite sure would never happen in the first place. This was, he testified, because his government had cut taxes, unlike a Liberal government which would raise taxes.

Mr. Ignatieff returned to his feet to lecture the Prime Minister with his left hand. “I asked a clear question in the House which is will he or will he not keep his promise to eliminate the useless fossil fuel subsidies that the G20 meeting at Pittsburgh promised to eliminate?” he repeated. “Will he keep his promise in Toronto? Yes or no.”

He voice jumped on octave or two as he presented these options.

“Mr. Speaker, absolutely,” Mr. Harper shot back, now apparently compelled to match the Liberal leader’s volume. And he wouldn’t have to cut these subsidies, he continued, if a Liberal government hadn’t established them in the first place. At this, the cheerleaders on the government side—only a House ban on props preventing them from carrying pom-poms—leapt to their feet to applaud and whoop.

Mr. Ignatieff attempted with his third attempt to steady his rhetoric and explain his concerns, ignoring the heckles and noise that usually come whenever one so much as hesitates to scream their words in rapid succession. “The government needs to face the fact that Canadian families are among the most indebted in the world,” he shot back. “Over 50% of their income goes to housing. That is going to increase as interest rates rise. Instead of helping those families the government is giving another $6 billion gift to corporations and useless subsidies to oil corporations. When will it change course, freeze those taxes and start helping middle class families?”

So challenged on his middle class bonafides, Mr. Harper went into his Foghorn Leghorn routine, bobbing his head and lecturing the opposition leader opposite. “Mr. Speaker, while the leader of the opposition has been off on all kinds of other tangents for the past year this government has been focused on the economy,” he moaned. “That is one reason why the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said today the same thing the International Monetary Fund said that Canada will lead growth among the major developed economies this year and next. That is why the Canadian economy has created 300,000 net new jobs in the past six months. It is because we have a government that believes in getting taxes lower instead of the Liberal Party that wants to raise those taxes.”

The Conservatives jumped up to cheer at the suggestion that however bad off we are now, there’s no telling how much worse a shape we’d be in had Mr. Ignatieff been in charge.

Indeed, if this point was not thus made clear enough for the afternoon, there was what followed. After Mr. Ignatieff, it was Bob Rae the Liberals sent up, the shadow foreign minister wondering aloud if the government had not bungled its way into spending something like a billion dollars on security for this summer’s meetings of the G8 and G20. And so, perhaps predictably, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews stood and greeted this as evidence that the Liberals would happily endanger the lives of Canadians and the leaders of the free world for the sake of fiscal prudence.

“I understand that the Liberals do not believe in securing Canadians or the visitors here,” he huffed. “We are different.”

Point, apparently, made.

The Stats. The economy, six questions. The G8, securities regulation, abortion and Parliament, four questions each. Firearms, three questions. The oil industry, bilingualism, crime, foreign ownership and culture, two questions each. Public transit and the Internet, one question each.

Stephen Harper, 10 answers. Vic Toews, six answers. Rob Nicholson and Jay Hill, four answers each. Christian Paradis, Rona Ambrose and Mikle, three answers each. John Baird and Bev Oda, two answers each. James Moore, one answer.


The Commons: First, convince us you’ll do no harm

  1. There are a lot of unpleasant possibilities between "destroy this country" and "do no harm".

    • Alien invasion is definitely one of those unpleasant possibilities I'm afraid of. I will vote based on this.

      • Good luck with that.

        • Agreed, that's really all the PM of the day would have in such an unpleasant event. Or he could deny that it was ever going to happen even when everyone saw the ships in the sky, that would be fun too.

  2. Had Harper not spent the surplus, and then lowered the GST we wouldn't have a record deficit right now.

    And Harper doesn't see the debt crisis coming this way anymore than he saw the recession.

    • Emily…..of course you gave back the lower taxes you have enjoyed and the savings on the GST that you receive every day. I would remind you that surpluses are over taxation and when Harper came to power we had the highest personal tax rate among the G7.

      Look no further than the coalition of idiots as to why we have this humongous deficit. Harper's initial inclination was to ride out the storm. However, it became apparent that the economy and Canadians needed help. You will recall the opposition were demanding spending on infrastructure and of course threatened to bring down the government if they did not get it. Then they prattled on about how it was not being spent fast enough. Then they said it was too much. Now they hypcritically argue the deficit is too high. No wonder the opposition parties have no credibility.

      When you are prepared to tell me what stimiulus spending you would not have done then we can talk.

      • Alas, poor Stephen was led astray by the treachery of others…..

        If he was firmly against the stimulus, he could have stated his case and stood by his principles – he did neither

        • Harper agreed to the stimulus at the G20 meeting Bush hosted.

          • Ohhhh the Bush connection! Didn't take long eh?

          • Hard to miss with Harp's lips on Bush's ass like that.

          • Emily….I suspect you are no lady.

          • A lady is a woman who does no work – let's hope Emily is not one of those.

          • Do you have a problem with the truth?……Harper agreed to the stimulus at the G20 Bush hosted….

        • danby….and taking a principled stand would have landed him on the opposition benches because it is quite possible that the GG would have allowed the coalition to take power.

          As I said I think he initially felt no stimulus was necessary but as the world economy went into the tank and our unemployment started to skyrocket I am sure he thought the government had to do something. Are you suggesting he should have let the auto industry in Canada die or should not have done his best to stimulate the economy?

          Who knows what would have happened if he lost the confidence vote in the House. He made his decision and it turned out in the best interest of the country. He worked with the hand he was dealt and continues to do that well.

          This going back and forth is really redundant. He has done what he has done and the Canadian people support him. Maybe not by huge numbers but I suspect that a majority government is coming because Canadians are sick to death of Michael Ignatieff and his faux scandals and the political instability that minority government causes.

          • "As I said I think he initially felt no stimulus was necessary but as the world economy went into the tank and our unemployment started to skyrocket I am sure he thought the government had to do something."

            That is certainly a possible explanation. To those who watched, it looked like he bluffed on an unrelated matter, his bluff was called and the stimulous budget was the price paid to avoid losing his government. But maybe that's just me.

            "and taking a principled stand would have landed him on the opposition benches"

            A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. Dwight D. Eisnehower.

          • Then why: Look no further than the coalition of idiots as to why we have this humongous deficit??? You can't have it both ways. Mr Harper boldly trumps the Economic Action Plan as a government at work – remember the oversized cheques? The TV ads? The radio ads? The billboards? You can't have him take credit, but blame the opposition for the unpalatable deficit attached to the stimulus.
            I contend that a globally and politically aware PM like Mr Harper certainly knew an economic firestorm was coming – yet called an election under false pretenses to try and secure a majority before the recession really hit. He then foolishly tried to crush his opponents with the proposed withdrawl of the vote subsidy. It had nothing to do with good policy and everything to do with kicking sand in their faces. Very poor judgement- and the result was the coalition which begins this argument.
            Canadians may be sick of the "faux scandals", but there are some that are fed up with the obfuscation, gamesmanship and attempted rewriting of the rules by the government. We won't know the final answer until the next election, will we?
            I also don't buy that minority governments are politically unstable. What is unstable is the lack of cooperation and decorum shown by the parties when faced with a minority mandate – and the Conservatives surely are not interested in playing nice, are they?.

      • Unlike you I don't have a problem paying taxes. Either pennies on the GST, or income taxes

        Surpluses are NOT overtaxation…which you have now discovered by having a structural deficit.

        We did NOT have the highest rate in the G7. Martin lowered taxes.

        And the G20, hosted by Bush, brought in the stimulus spending….not the Liberals.

        You're drinking your own bathwater on finances.

        • The Conservatives have their own set of facts. I don't know who they think they're convincing by repeating falsehoods.

          • Well they've convinced themselves, and that's all that matters to Conbots.

          • Given the size of the deficit and the value of the GST cuts it's simply not true that we wouldn't have a large deficit if only we hadn't cut the GST. It would be slightly smaller but in the big picture sense the GST reductions haven't had a big impact on the government's fiscal position. The main driver was the recession which greatly reduced revenue while provoking a variety of stimulus spending.

          • I agree that even without the GST cut and the Liberal spending that the Conservatives undertook in 2006 and 2007, we'd still be in the hole. But it wouldn't be nearly as bad.

            Conservatism suggests that many aspects of individual life should be left to the private sector. Small government. Competition. All of this suggests that the government doesn't have to subsidize much in the way of programs a'tall. The GST cut, as an economic move, was intended to further this principle.

            If the cuts to the GST had been complemented by program cuts that were then supported (or placed in competition) by private-sector involvement, the planned Conservatism shift might have gone better. Unfortunately, those programs weren't cut. The ones that (in more recent past) have had to shift to the private sector are finding that the private sector has a stark unwillingness to absorb former government babies. So we have a dilemma, a deficit, and a debt. What do we do about it?

        • Emily…talk about drinking your own bath water.

          Surpluses are over taxation unless you believe in cradle to grave government. There is a role but government is way too big. Ask ordinary Canadians if they like paying higher taxes. You are out of sync with the majority.

          Yes we have a structural deficit. However, we are in much better shape than every other country. Look at the OECD and IMP reports on expected growth etc. The deficit will get covered as we see some of the cherished wasteful Liberal programs bite the dust and government starts focusing on their areas of responsibilites versus sticking their noses in the provinces jurisdiction.

          We did have the highest rates of personal tax and while Martin reduced taxes minimally he promptly raised premiums on EI and CPP so that Canadians didn't even notice it on their pay cheques.

          Yes the leaders of the world agreed to a 2% of GDP stimulus package. However, the Libs were at various times demanding spending, then more spending and then accusing the government of not spending fast enough and now they say the deficit is too high blah, blah. No wonder Canadians are shaking their heads at the opposition parties.

          • I love a good federalism debate, but it's late and I'm tired so I'll just poke at this:

            The deficit will get covered as we see some of the cherished wasteful Liberal programs bite the dust and government starts focusing on their areas of responsibilites versus sticking their noses in the provinces jurisdiction.

            Which cherished wasteful Liberal programs? The long-gun registry will save, what, a whopping 2 million a year?

            As for "sticking our nose into the provinces jurisdiction", Flaherty just moved to create a national securities regulator. I'd say that's a big nose, you've got there. Also: Outside Quebec, the provinces have a history for asking for the federal government's help. Are you saying that you'd like the federal government to screw provincial leaders over by forcing them to raise taxes while the federal Conservatives proclaim classical federalism victory? That'll go over well.

          • LynnTo……..Anyone of us who has the opportunity to look at the books could pick up programs/spending that the federal government should not be involved in. One that I would go after would be subsidies to industries. The auto bailout was unique but the rest no i.e. Bombardier.

            I do not believe that the long gun registry would just save $2 million. However, how about it is bad public policy. It does not stop crime. Any policeman who relys on the registry is in for a world of hurt.

            I would like to see the federal government stop the transfers to the provinces. Stick to their own knitting. Let the provinces tax their citizens for the education system of that province. The citizens can then hold the provincial government to account for the quality of education.

            Similarly for a daycare. If the provinces needs daycare spaces then tax their own citizens and set up sufficient spaces to handle the demand.

          • hollinm continued….LynnTo….

            We are the only country in the Western World who does not have a national security regulator. That is not good. Does the name Earl Jones mean anything. It is voluntary but we both know the holdouts will have to join at some point. Hence the objections of Quebec and Alberta. This is one where national leadership is required.

            I could go on but its getting late.

          • I'm rather in favour of givivng the Canadian Securities Administrators more teeth. Not going to argue that point.

          • Oh! Do we each get to pick what programs to abolish?

            I would like to stop giving rich people $100 a month to raise their kids. They don't need my money and I do not think the government should be paying people to have children.

            Let's get out of Afghanistan and stop spending so much on the military too.

          • "They don't need my money and I do not think the government should be paying people to have children."

            That's right! They should just be payed to ABORT THEM!

          • Any policeman who relys on the registry is in for a world of hurt.

            I don't believe that's true. Police who rely on the registry as a source of information either get that information, or they don't and they have to form their judgements another way. It may not have been the best example of public policy, but I'd rather see it reformed, streamlined, and made more effective than kaiboshed altogether. Gun ownership isn't an inalieable right in this country, after all.

          • I would like to see the federal government stop the transfers to the provinces. Stick to their own knitting. Let the provinces tax their citizens for the education system of that province.

            That's all well and good but if you don't like high personal income taxes, shifting a higher tax burden to the provinces is certainly not the way to go about lowering them. Also, given the mobility rights enshrined in the constitution, and the rights of children as outlined by the UN, education (to a certain point) is a right. Whereas it's a right, it follows that I should get the same quality of education in one part of Canada as another. Leaving education entirely up to the provinces will make for serious discrepancies in quality of education, in particular, between populations that are sparse, populations that are dense, and populations that are already lacking in infrastructure. There would also be problems with access to higher education, where one looks to go out of province for a program.

          • "Surpluses are over taxation" is a dangerous misnomer, used the world over by opposition parties of all political stripes, to criticise a government for running balanced books. In reality surpluses are used to pay back the overspending of the past.

            To believe that surpluses are over taxation you have to ignore the fact that past deficits were simply deferred taxation that eventually must be collected.

            If you lived in Alberta when it had zero debt I appologize. In cases like that surpluses are in fact over taxation in its most vile form.

          • Why is it that when families build up savings for difficult times they're lauded on their financial acumen, but when governments try to do the same they're lambasted for their rapaciousness?

            Taxation in its most vile form is that used to pay interest, as interest is purely a wealth transfer from the public to the private financial institutions. So if a government wants to build up savings, and as such *gain* interest from the private financial institutions to later spend on public goods — that's sound fiscal management, in my mind. The trick is doing it in such a way that it does the least harm to the citizenry.

        • really…………either they think we can't read or we are as st upid as the teabaggers from the U.S……..

  3. A pattern I am 'enjoying' is 1) introduce and promote 2) prorogue 3) repeat …

    An example would be "Fairness at the Pumps".
    Another would be "Fighting Spam".
    How about the opt-in "National Securities Regulator" ?
    and Tough! … tough! on crime … just never goes out of style.

    Honestly: has any of this government's legislation over the last 4 years EVER passed the TALKING PHASE?
    Every week, a new initiative is announced, and more earned media is provided by the 'desperate for easy news channels'.

    Also with similar regularity, like waves on a beach, every week there is usually a new nose-thumbing at Parliament.
    The opposition barks and enthusiastically follows the old wave back into the lake until it is all wet.
    It loses track of the old wave. Wait ! Another !
    Bark and chase. Bark and chase.

    Cycles, endless cycles.

    • On the plus side, this also has applied to their copyright legislation.

  4. Iffy probably would not intentionally do harm. However, he is so inept at politics and his lack of experience in the real world may cause him to stumble into a mess of his own making.

    There is no question that the Liberal party has tacked to the left and is trying to out politic the NDP and the Bloc. Given the size of the deficit the public is not interested in tax and spend Liberal policies.

    Trouble is Canadians are not interested in what this Liberal leader has to say on any subject and that is confimed with Iffy's leadership polling numbers and of course has been acknowledged by Wherry.

    Of course he fails to mention that profitable companies do create jobs and provide livelihoods for middle class Canadians. However, that is too obvious for for the Count and it wouldn't fit into his story line.

    Have at it Liberal supporters. I can take the name calling and the insults. You are pretty good at it but it won't stop me from offering my opinions.

    • "I can take the name calling and the insults."

      Are you trying to convince us that you're not a Conservative political staffer?

      • Zesty….I am a retired ordinary citizen of this country as if it is any of your business.

        • "I can take the name calling and the insults."

          … but can't take a joke.

          • Have some respect.

    • why do the Liberals have to respond to you and call you names…..not getting that when you are talking about someone called Iffy……who is that anyway? guy or girl? is this person IN Canadian politics (you do mention Liberal but you could be talking about another country)?

      • Stan L…..good for you. I think your lost. You usually are on the Globe comment board. You must have taken a left turn.

        • His definitely lost.

    • "Lack of experience in the real world'? You'll have to point me in the direction of Stephen Harper's "experience" in the real world…

      • Scoop….of course this is all about Stephen Harper. Right. Nice try at deflection. Talk about your leader and his inexperience. . Why are you not preaching his vast experience and his great leadership of the Liberal party. You can't so you try to turn the conversation to Harper. Harper has been an MP for a very long time and PM for 4 years leading a country through a massive recession. So lets get real. Talk about your leader and how wonderful he is. You can't because he ain't.

        • Before we go on, may I just confirm that your argument is that "real world experience" means "experience as an MP"?

          • LynnTo… but it is certainly better than somebody who is an intellectual who writes books.

            Now before you lose your mind. I am not saying that being an intellectual is a bad thing. I am just saying it does nothing to prove that an individual has leadership abilities, is capable of running a political party, understands the country and knows what the ordinary person lives like etc. etc. etc.

          • Fair enough. But lots of Prime Ministers have multiple degrees, and many were considered "intellectuals", not the least of whom was Trudeau.

            And I'm not convinced that any political party leader truly understands this country and how ordinary people live. They may try, they may run all over the country chasing whatever happens to be Canadian at the time, but at some point or another, May, Layton, Duceppe, Ignatieff, and Harper have all demonstrated that they just can't read all Canadians. I'm not even sure that I expect them to – more, that I expect that they will take the advice of people who are smarter than they are (possibly in different ways), listen to the people who are not, and make a considered decision that they can reasonably argue is in the best interests of the country.

          • LynnTO……I can't disagree. However, you still have to be able to lead your own party and that is how a leader of the opposition shows the public that he has leadership skills.

            Iffy has been a disaster since being appointed leader and I think you would agree. Canadians have seen his leadership and in poll after poll he runs behind Harper and even Layton. Nothing is going to change that reality. He no longer has credibility and unless Harper screws up badly he will never sit in the PM's chair.

            When I say screw up badly I don't mean focusing on process, strategies and tactics. Canadians don't pay much attention to that stuff. We political junkies do but not the masses.

          • I wish Trudeau never happened.

          • Take comfort in the fact he is now worm food!

        • My 'leader'? Interesting that you automatically presume I'm a Liberal. Or maybe it's just easier to slap me with that label; nice try at deflection…
          I'm not sure how a life spent in politics is "real world experience," unless you count his time at the NCC. Or maybe those heady days when he worked in the mailroom at Imperial Oil…

          • "nice try at deflection… "

            Speaking of deflection, it was YOU who turned the channel with your……"hey look over there, something shiney" post.
            Nice try Scoop!

    • How about appearing before a committee? The yobs we pay are refusing to.

      • The Real Jan….I thought you wanted accountability. Who is responsible but the cabinet minister. It is the cabinet minister who is responsible to Parliament.

        Short of the PM you can't get higher. Taking a young kid and manhandling him/her at committee accomplishes little. The alleged problem is still there. So the committee "interviews" a young politico, not a civil servant not a cabinet minister and the person admits that he delayed access to information what then.? Nothing is solved. The committee can't fire the politico. Only his minister can. So it is a lot of sound and fury over nothing.

        However, the committees are acting like kangaroo courts and really are not interested in getting the truth or the bottom of a situation. They are simply trying to get at Harper.

        • sorry hollinm
          you are so relentlessly "on message" you must be Baird's uncle or someone
          if you ain't gettin' paid you need a better agent ;-)

          • NorthernPoV….thank you.

        • Yes, we can't have the "young kids" that make over $100,000 as political staffers being asked questions about their jobs, now, can we?

          The age of the employees that you highlighted is a succulent red herring (and verbatim to a talking point raised by Jason Kenny last night on CTV's Power Play). If the Harper government chooses to line its bed with the bodies of employees too young to handle a grilling from our elected representives, you should have no trouble with said government taking a nap in it.

          • I'm not even 25. If I were making that kind of money off of taxpayers, you'd see a daily account of the work I was doing on a daily basis. Mostly because I'd be trying to figure out just how I could possibly be earning that much money.

          • This entire message string is in relation to the following story:

            Mr. Soudas was born in 1979, making him 31. Mr. Baird is appearing in his place, railing about the Committee ganging up on 25 year old staffers. My original point still stands… these staffers that are being called to testify are not that "young", make a lot of money, and have a lot of power. Their information is quite relevant. Jasmine MacDougall, Minister Raitt's former director, was making $120,000+ per year, and was 26 at the time she had to resign because of some errors on her part.

            So if you were making that kind of money, don't you think that you would be eligible for testimony at that point, regardless of your age?

          • Precisely. If you're old enough to work, you're old enough to account for the work that you do.

    • "Iffy probably would not intentionally do harm."

      Probably? You mean you are suggesting that it is possible Ignatieff would intentionally harm Canadians?

      Get real.

    • In you first sentance you call Mr. Ignatief…iffy……….In your last sentance you tell US that WE are good at insults…

      …I am not a Lberal supporter…nor a NDPer..I am a citizen trying to decide who to vote for and the PC supporters remind me a great deal of the Republican supporters in the U.S…….this is NOT an attractive attribute to an undecieded voter!

      • DDS, if I may pick your brain, what's on your "must have" list for a party to get your vote?

  5. Harper raises money from tithes. Why should he need taxes?

    • rodcros……nice try. I don't go to church but I do believe in the Conservative party and I put my money where my mouth is. I like many thousands of others donate to the party I believe in whether you like it or not. Obviously you are intolerant of others beliefs. You should be ashamed of yourself.

      • A common trait of many "progressives" is that they believe so strongly that they are the only ones with god on their side that they are intolerant of others. It is why I find it so ironic that they get upset with evangelical Christians. I am not a Christian, but I do at least respect their right to their beliefs.

      • I BELIEVE … that one day our children will be judged not by the colour of their partisan flag but by the content of their character (and their actual comments)

        Somdeone has been listening to Glen Beck again …

      • you don't go to church but apparently you have a "god"…….and you "Believe in him" a lot….Stephen harper the prophet huh…..

    • bringing in the sheaves….

  6. "Ignatieff will destroy the country" says the Conservative
    "Harper is destroying the country" says the Liberal
    "Why don't they have an intelligent debate" bemoan the journalists as they report, repeat, and broadcast all the insults.

  7. The oil and gas industry isn't subsidized. It provides massive amount of net revenue to governments across the country. unlike the top soil destroying biofuel industry, or the country bankrupting (i.e. Spain) solar and wind energy. Unlike conventional oil, the oilsands has provides jobs and economic spinoffs across the entire breath of the country.

    McGuinty's subsidies for alternative energies in Ontario will make Ontario another Spain…who treasury was gutted by subsidies for solar and wind energy. The North American natural gas glut means that natural gas will be the fuel to bridge the gap till alternative energies are actually economic without subisidies. Natural gas is the least carbon emitting and cleanest burning of the fossil fuels, and replacing gasoline in trucking and corporate fleets and coal in electricity generation would also meet most short term carbon reduction targets.

    Dalton, unfortunately, has listened to his lunatic brother, and has doomed Ontario to be the next Spain.

    • I disagree. I actually find Spain to be a desirable vacation spot.

    • My province (Manitoba) provides direct grants for oil exploration as well as flow through shares (tax write offs) for the puny pump jack oil industry in the western part of our province. We are encouraging nothing that wouldnt occur anyway, just pissing away tax revenue

  8. Mr. Harper went into his Foghorn Leghorn routine, bobbing his head and lecturing….

    Thanks for the chuckle Mr Wherry.
    It sure did conjure up an amusing image for this old Looney Tunes fan [youtube hKnUQ0508H4&feature=related… youtube]

    • danby…..It must be tough supporting a leader and a party that simply can't shoot straight. The coalition debate is going to happen in the next election and Iffy is going to have to address it head on. If he doesn't he will not have much time to talk about anything else. The media will want to know and Harper will keep challenging him on it. There is too much talk between Libs and NDP about the possibility of the coalition resurrecting its ugly head to refuse to address it.

      Trouble is the Libs would have to win 60 seats from the Conservatives to form a coalition with the NDP. That means they must include the Bloc and we know how that went last time.

      Feel free to keep showing the cartoons. It is a pleasant distraction from the problems facing the Liberals and their supporters on this board as they deny, defend and deflect the problems of the Liberal party and its feckless leader. That way don't have to talk about the elephant in the room.

      • hollinm – I can throw that argument right back at you. It must be tough supporting a party that shrouds their activities in secrecy and obfuscation, while loudly proclaiming a new era of accountability. All parties have their issues and I am not espousing that the Liberals do not. Are the Conservatives issue free in your estimation?
        The coalition answer is simple. The other parties must concede that they are all trying to win an election, and if they cannot, then they are open to whatever it takes to (in their estimation) better govern the country. Put another way: if they don't like the Conservative policies and a coalition is feasible, then it remains an alternative to yet another election. A coalition exists in the UK, and as of yet, the sky has not fallen.
        As for a coalition with the Bloc, must I dig out that letter from SH to the GG advising that such an alternative existed should the Martin Liberals fall? The Stephen Harper of yesteryear viewed such an alternative as an option reflecting the majority will of Parliament – now it's a treasonous, separatists trick… etc.
        I am not a member of any party, but my distaste for the way Stephen Harper does business is such that I have actually donated to the LPC. Yes, I dislike him that much.
        Do I think Mr Ignatieff is a great politician? No. He is every inch an under performing greenhorn, on the road to Pariahville. The rush to sweep him into the leadership role was ill advised. I have no illusions about him winning anything but a bus ticket out of town. But until there is a credible alternative, I'm content that Mr Harper remains in a minority position and will use my vote accordingly – and I'm pretty certain I'm not alone.
        Mr Wherry made a joke. I chuckled and posted a video. Mr Harper is hardly Foghorn Leghorn, but I'm sure that to those who observe him regularly, his schtick takes on elements of it at times – so yes I'll feel free to post the occasional cartoon. No harm done.
        By the same token, feel free to continue your use of cartoon names like "Iffy" to undermine your otherwise interesting and credible insights.

        • "By the same token, feel free to continue your use of cartoon names like "Iffy" to undermine your otherwise interesting and credible insights. "

          Does the victim feel the stilletto as it pierces the heart?

          • I've queried H in the past about his use of "Iffy"; IIRC, H feels that it is OK on the basis that these folks volunteer to become public figures, that when they sign up they are aware of the potential for namecalling and implicitly accept it as a part of the job.

            Still not convinced that that explanation makes it right; what would be lost if we all chose to raise our standards?

  9. Notwithstanding the leftist hyperpartisans who inhabit these comment boards,

    most everyday Canadians appreciate that Harper has led Canada to the top of the world's economies.

    Most understand that Harper never "spent the surplus" but rather managed our economy in turbulent economic times better that perhaps any leader in the world.

    To hand the reigns over to a pie in the sky out of touch untested leftist academic with zero real world experience, in times such as these would be foolhardy indeed.

    This, my friends, is why Iggy is avoiding an election like the plague. He knows what the voters will do, and he doesn't like it.

    • Harper is going nowhere in the polls….after 4 years, and easy shots.

      Canadians obviously don't appreciate him.

      He did indeed spend the surplus…in fact he blew it like the proverbial drunken sailor.

      Again…list Harpers 'real world' experience.

      • Emily….unlike his predecessors in government he did not steal taxpayers money. He gave it back to them. There is quite a difference which Liberals have trouble understanding.

        Regardless of what the polls say about Harper the Liberals and their feckless leader are not going to win the next election no matter how you people on these boards cry foul. Where will Iffy win 60 seats from the Conservatives. Maybe downtown Toronto will support the Libs but not many in the rest of the country.

        • Vancouver Centre will also go Liberal.

          • Good ol' M-T-V – surprisingly, represents a third of Canadians and the majority of economic output.

      • Actually, I agree with Danby. PM Harper should have stood up to the coalition of separatists and leftists and refused to cave into their demands to spend wildly like a drunken sailor on unnecessary stimulus . However, once having their deamnds agreed to, it is a bit rich of Ignatieff and friends to complain about the deficit. Their policy prescription was to spend more, faster.

        • Did the Dastardly Coalition force Harper to increase his cabinet and PMO/PCO spending to new heights?

          The record shows the Conservatives were flirting with a deficit well before the recession hit. And, by ratcheting up expenses in good times, the Harper regime ensured the size of those deficits would be a lot larger when things went bad.
          By last January, the fiscal cupboard was nearly bare. Even before this year's economic rescue package, Ottawa was poised to overspend its budget by $15.7 billion, according to Finance Canada documents. So the federal government would have run a hefty deficit in the current 2009-10 fiscal year even without the stimulus spending.
          –Toronto Star, Oct. 12, 2009.

          • Don't cloud the issue with facts.

    • Harper didn't "lead" Canada to the top of anything. He sat there and rode a fast train to mediocrity, denying that the recession would require major government intervention, then unhinging the caboose after realizing he was wrong. Your fearless leader called this country a second-tier socialist nation of the worst sort. He's engaged in fear-mongering, declaring that everyone is out to harm Canada, except for him and those who agree with him. He's had his posse write an entire book on how to obfuscate and subvert the legitimate work of committees, and he's killed his own legislation – twice – and blamed it on the Liberals.

      Take your blue-tinted sunglasses off and take a good hard look at what your beloved is actually doing for this country. Your talking points are laughable and misguided. If you want to have a policy discussion, cut the rhetoric and let's talk.

      • What is he doing to this country? You make it sound like Argentina circa 1976

        • Are you trying to goad me, or genuinely asking?

          I used to be proud of what this country stood for. Democracy, level-headedness. Peacekeeping. Progressive policy that preserved the quality of life and rights of Canadians. Et cetera. Those things weren't all brought about by Liberals, or Conservatives, or Progressive Conservatives, or the Social Credit, Reform, or NDP parties individually. It was a collective effort of leaders building – not tearing down – the efforts of leaders past.

          Just about every single thing that I have seen from this current government indicates that this country no longer stands for any of those things, least of all the collective effort required to move this country forward. And I'm repulsed. Absolutely, unabashedly, repulsed.

          We wouldn't have come to this point, were it not for our poor political leadership, on both sides of the aisle.

          • LynnTo…….you sound like a socialist who believes in cradle to grave government. You cannot believe the stuff you spouted in the above posting.

            You are focusing on strategies, tactics and process. Canadians ignore that stuff as white noise. You lose all credibility when you suggest democracy is at stake. I don't know about you but my rights have not been impinged at all.

            We Conservatives are also repulsed, unabashedly repulsed with the thought that Iffy could sit in the PM's chair. You see there are always to sides to the argument.

          • if believing in collaborative effort, structural and functional democracy, and respect for the achievements and policies of governments past makes me a socialist, then I guess I'm a socialist.

            …But wait! I actually like the idea of a national securities regulator. I'm staunchly anti-drug. I think abortion should be regulated (not banned!), and I think that military service – even if only a year in the reserve forces – would do a lot of good for the collective good. Am I still a socialist?

            My rights are dependent upon Canadians like myself standing up and defending them, and the government understanding that they are my rights, not my privileges to be granted or taken away on a whim of political convenience. And no, I don't hate the troops.

          • "We Conservatives are also repulsed, unabashedly repulsed with the thought that Iffy could sit in the PM's chair."

            But why? He's the closest thing to a Conservative the liberals have ever had. Much closer to Harper's views than to either Stephane Dion, who your side hounded out of the position, and Bob Rae, who seems to cause involuntary frothing at the mouth in your camp.

            Do you resent that the Conservatives are being propped up by Ignatieff? After all the guy you call Iffy is basically a partner with the Conservatives. But for him there might have been a coalition. If not for Iffy, there might have been a vote to end the mission in Afghanistan sooner, or press the privilege case to the max, or vote down the omnibus budget bill. What about letting your guy have his way don't you like?

          • You need a history lesson about Social Credit. Although I used to actively campaign against him (I supported the Liberals), WAC Bennett actually led a pretty good government in hindsight. But it certainly can never be described as "progressive" in the weird way that word is currently used by leftists.

            If anything Stephen Harper is far to the left of Social Credit. Ernest Manning and Wackie Bennett would roll over in their graves if they saw the reckless spending by the current government.

          • I put Social Credit on the bucket list (I missed a few parties, notably) not as an indicator of progressive government in and of themselves, but as a contributor to the whole that came to be a progressive way of governance. Without views from all parts of the spectrum, something something.

            (Wackie Bennett…that's a good one :P)

          • Wackie was the name commonly used to refer to Mr Bennett. I recall using this name when speaking to him. He didn't seem to mind. I think he considered it a badge of honour.

      • LynnTo…….no matter how much you whine nobody is listening to the Liberal party and its incompetent leader.

        So keep with the talking points yourself but it is falling on deaf ears in the country. Your friends on this board of course will agree but the fact remains most Canadians give Harper credit for leading the country through a recession while in a minority government.

        Why don't you instead of attacking Harper give evidence on how and why Iffy would make a better PM. Harper already has the job. Iffy wants it and has to convince us that he is deserving. Thus far he is failing badly.

        • So, when you can't actually respond to my arguments, you try to discredit me by falsely associating me with the Liberal Party.

          Stay classy, hollinm.

    • Indeed, Harper did spend the surplus. Spending has risen at least double inflation (compounded), in EVERY year of his government, and obviously much more since the recession. But you're right that he has been good at keeping people from understanding that. That recession helped too – a deficit was likely on the way regardless.

    • chet……good comments.

      You will note that they refuse to discuss Iffy at all and how good he is. They simply want to talk about Harper.

      • That's mostly because I don't have much to say on Ignatieff. When you don't put forward any substantive policy, it's hard to try to argue on any kind of substance.

  10. "Harper's going nowhere in the polls" after four years.


    With each successive election he's increased his seat totals, while just prior to each we've been told he's going nowhere.

    Given the track record, I'm encouraged by those here saying he's going nowhere.

  11. Jeez Aaron at least try to pretend you are non-partisan or at least even handed. Admit it now, doesn't Iggy remind you of some portentious voice of doom or your friendly neighbourhood undertaker everytime he rises to his feet? C'mon, you know he does.

  12. As for Harper's real world experience that is being questioned above.

    Applicant: Hello, I'm here for the job interview of Prime Minister of Canada.

    Intervewer: What's your experience?

    Harper: Well, I've been the Prime Minister of Canada for several years now.

    Leftist commenter at Macleans: You call that relevant experience? Sorry, but we're looking more for the nuanced applicant, like say, a leftist tenured academic.

    • Real world experience like being a philosophy professor or a talk show host.

    • Sir John A Macdonald was a lawyer before becoming an MP
      Alexander Mackenzie was a mason and general contractor before becoming an MP
      Sir John Thompson was, in addition to his various government roles, also a Supreme Court Justice and Law Professor at Dalhousie.
      Sir Charles Tupper was a practising Physician and first head of the CMA, in addition to being the Premier who brought NS into confederation.
      Sir Robert Borden was a teacher and a lawyer before becoming an MP.
      Arthur Meighen was a teacher, lawyer, and businessman before becoming an MP.
      William Lyon Mackenzie King studied at at least three different universities before becoming a civil servant, and later, an MP.
      Louis St. Laurent was a lawyer and law professor before becoming an MP. He entered politics at age 60.
      Diefenbaker served in WWI before becoming a lawyer, and later, an MP.
      Pearson volunteered for the Medical Corps in WWI, studied at Oxford, taught at the University of Toronto, performed in a senior capacity in WWII, served as a diplomat, and helped to found the UN.
      …Shall I continue?

      You want to piss on MPs who've worked in other fields before becoming politicians? You go right ahead.

      • LynnTo……I doubt any of the other leaders experienced the problems that Iffy has experienced since becoming leader.

        If you are honest you will agree that Iffy has the political acumen of a knat. In this day and age that is simply not good enough.

        However, thanks for the history lesson. And they accuse me of working for the Conservatives.

        • *gnat*

          (and you're trying, poorly I might add, to deflect)

      • ahem mr. chet, I do believe this would be a fantastic example of what the kids call "getting pwned"


    • "but we're looking more for the nuanced applicant, like say, a leftist tenured academic."

      The fact that you believe Michael freaking Ignatieff to be a "leftist" is, quite frankly, hilarious. And is all the proof we need of your mental frailty

    • “Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.” — Robert Louis Stevenson

  13. No one wants to piss on you, or any of the dead guys mentioned above, Lynn. Take a breath, look for some of the 'level- headedness' that you are so fond of.

  14. Honestly, Ignatieff is right. Harper should cut the subsidies to the oil industry. He should also cut the subsidies that go out to just about every other corporation in this country (seriously, take a gander at some of the listings that Coyne posted a while back on how much government monies go into various corporate outfits), and the subsidies that go to individuals in the form of useless "tax credits". You could easily free up billions of economy-distorting dollars from these sorts of things, and funnel the whole lot back into income tax cuts (eliminate the deficit first if you like), and, simultaneously simplify the income tax system by orders of magnitude.

    • Hear, hear, and also get rid of the 1 billion dollar subsidy to the CBC

      • Also, the AECL needs to go.(which it is)

      • and the one billion for the G8…..and the one billion for new prisons we don't need……and 500million for political mailouts………….and …….

  15. not to mention Canada Post

  16. and The Senate and GG

  17. Tony, if you organize your thoughts you wouldn't need to send off each random one with a separate post. Or are you getting paid per post?

  18. Just thinking off the top of my head ;)

  19. But seriously, look at what the subsidies to Oil Companies have provided: much more wealth to fund Quebec Universities, Toronto-Based Banks, Ontario-based auto workers, Teacher's Pension Funds, previously unemployed fisherman, Alberta welders, carpenters, waitresses , truckers nationally, a ton of engineers, and union scaffolders (do you know what a scaffolding is, lol), etc.

    What has 50 years of subsidies to nuclear power given us? – a nuclear-armed South Asia? a failed isotope reactor? a token target for the glib left?

    I am not a lefty, I would prefer no subsidies, but if I was a lefty, I would at least want effective subsidies – that's what you want no?

    • Er, it's also given us nuclear engineers, construction & transmission jobs, 50 years of medical isotopes, & ghg-free electricity.

  20. "“I understand that the Liberals do not believe in securing Canadians or the visitors here,” he huffed. “We are different.”"

    Dear Mr. Toews,

    Go f*ck yourself.


    • Ditto.

      • Thirded.

  21. After reading this piece I am even more convinced that simply calling dishonest fraudsters liars and moving on is a valid and in fact proper technique. Why should one indulge every stupid, dishonest vapid canard their opponent wishes to bring up, at the expense of actual debate and discussion.

    • Where is this "actual debate and discussion" taking place?

  22. When the Conservatives said "he's only in it for himself" and he didn't respond, and nobody responded and it was repeated over and over without response, and it just sat there, well it was pretty much all over for Ignatieff from then on, and he has to taker some responsibility for that. He was being charged with absolute total corruption, and did not fight back.

    • I think the problems began when, even from within the Liberal Party itself, there were serious concerns about Ignatieff being parachuted in to replace a moderately popular local candidate.


    Thank you.

  24. I have only commented on here a couple of times…… I have had everything I wrote get scrubbed…….is this a comman occurance here??

    • There are a bunch of folks here who are regulars who've come to think of the "Canada" boards on the blogs as more of an online community. We debate – and I use the term loosely – more than most other comment boards.

      Genuinely, though, I am curious as to what's on your "must have for my vote" list. It's so rare we see undecided voters on here…

      • I have always voted PC……but the PC's are gone and the weird neo-con government has replaced it…..I have spent a great amount of time in the U.S.(family there) and see the road Harper is going down….it isn't pretty…. and after the billion on the G8 and billion on the new prisons….and half a billion to advertise the Stimulus I don't think we can afford them anymore!….I am stumped actually but feel it is our resposibility to vote………so I am trying to make a decision………….wish me luck!

        • Don't decide now. If you decide now you'll be deciding based on the party, not the candidate, and at the end of the day, it's the elected candidate you'll be relying on.

          Instead, question each of the candidates come the campaign. Find out which ones have *your* interests at heart.. not the party interests, yours. See if you can find out if push comes to shove and the MP has to decide between voting for what is right for your riding, and what the party wants, what will the candidate do? Consider going so far as to attend a local debate. Yeah, it's work, but it's the only way we'll end up getting the government we want, rather than the government we deserve.

          If a candidate can't give you answers that satisfy you – tell them that. Be respectful, but let them know that your opinion is different, and you'll likely be voting elsewhere.

          And most importantly, don't be afraid to "waste" your vote on a party that has no chance of winning if they have the best candidate/policies. Your vote isn't just to declare the winner, it's to send a message to *all* the parties of where they need their policies to go to get your vote.

    • Intense Debate can have some problems at times. They'll usually resolve themselves in a couple of hours. Your comments will probably show up later today or something.

  25. It seems like a mass email was sent to a bunch of Liberals to make an appearance here today!