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The first step is admitting the possibility


 

Rob Silver lays out the conditions for a coalition.

Do not rule out a coalition prior to or during an election campaign – if you rule it out, you deligitimize it as an option regardless of “what is allowed” under our system of government. In other words, if it is something you are considering, be honest and clear with the voters. It is ultimately their country and they get to choose the government they want.


 

The first step is admitting the possibility

  1. Not only that, you may as well say you'd consider it, because the Conservatives are going to say you're going to do it regardless of what your response is.

    • Of course the Conservatives are going to say that the opposition will do it because they've already shamelessly done it before. Still amazes me how so many on the left just don't realize how badly the coalition efforts last time spoiled any efforts for the foreseeable future. They made a huge gamble, and they lost. It's something they'll have to wear.

      So, even genuinely principled approaches espoused during upcoming election campaigns are probably not going to carry a lot of weight. C'est la vie.

      • Everyone poisoned the well, including the Conservatives who prattled on about it being illegitimate.

        • It might be a comforting thought, but Harper was clearly expressing voter sentiment in denouncing the coalition. He may well have goofed with how the entire crisis started, but it hardly justified perhaps the greatest overreach and attempted power grab in Canadian political history: the coalition.

          • Okay, and what does this have to do with it being legitimate. They all scorched the earth on future coalitions, and they should be ashamed of themselves for it.

          • I'm not sure what legitimacy now has to do with it, or why Harper should be blamed for the opposition overreaching with a power-grabbing coalition attempt. Again, they could have stuffed his public financing move down his throat without trying to grab power. But I guess they couldn't help themselves. In fact, evidence suggests that Layton was planning it all along. Don't see why others are to blame for their actions. But I guess personal responsibility isn't a left-of-centre strong suit, is it.

          • How would they have done that? Their options were to defeat the government to trigger a second election in a handful of months, or defeat the government and attempt to govern. Harper was only going to back down if they attempted to form government. The opposition succeeded to making Harper change tacks to be more in tune with the will of the electorate.

          • Now THIS is when that 2004 letter you all keep senselessly bringing up that proves my point for me. It was the THREAT of a united opposition front that forced Paul Martin to change his tune. The same would have done it in 2009. Harper was clearly taken aback when he realized just how organized the opposition strategy was. Yet they went too far. It was power they were after, and not a resolution to the actual problem at hand. Once Harper took public financing of campaigns off the table, they should have backed off. They didn't, and the rest was history.

          • I think the threat needs to be credible. If they had not intended to form government, Harper would have called their bluff. Harper also didn't completely back down until Parliament resumed. There was a lot of jockeying over the prorogation, and had the coalition completely fallen apart before the budget, I suspect we would have seen another strategy from the PMO.

        • And it took Iffy 6 months to come to the same conclusion.

          • Enlightened as always wilson.

        • This helps to keep it all in perspective, though

          At a time of global economic instability, Canada's Government must stand unequivocally for keeping the country together. At a time like this, a coalition with the separatists cannot help Canada. And the Opposition does not have the democratic right to impose a coalition with the separatists they promised voters would never happen.
          The Opposition is attempting to impose this deal without your say, without your consent, and without your vote. This is no time for backroom deals with the separatists

          Are these the same separatists that were once one of the "opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House"

          Weasel words, indeed, clearly expressed

        • So is, yet again, trying to pass of that 2004 letter as some kind of evidence of a coalition.

          It's as though leftists truly throw whatever lick of sense they have in their brains out the window whenever they talk about the 2009 coalition. I've never seen anything like it.

          • There really is not difference, except in how close they were to realization. It could have meant nothing but a proposal for the GG to entertain a formal or informal coalition of the three opposition parties at the time.

          • There is no difference to people who swear by the coalition as though it were the second coming of Sir Arthur's Round Table. I know.

            One carefully worded small letter is supposed to be the same thing as a formal agreement where all three party leaders raise their fists in the air in a clear attempt to seize power.

            Seriously, I don't know where some of this thinking comes from. It's cult-like in its nature.

          • That is exactly what I said. The 2008 coalition was further along, but Harper's proposal was essentially a MOU saying that they were open to various forms of formal or informal coalition.

          • Know, it's not what you said. You said they were the same thing. It's like telling someone you might go out with them, vs. getting married. How in the world is that the same thing? Geez.

          • Dennis, I understand that you feel the need to protect your hypocritical, partisan views with such dismissive ferocity, but it's all about spirit and intent – and in that the two cases are more alike than they are different.
            I like how you call it a cult though. It's like you're trying to start a cult-ure war.
            I'm not sure who would be more proud, Mr Ignatieff or Mr Baird

          • Oh please. All I have done is state arguments using logic and reason, and here YOU are attacking me in a personal and partisan fashion.

            Anyone who uses the 2004 letter as an example of what happened in 2009 is not capable of sober thought on the matter. I truly believe this to be the case.

            Not one person has been able to prove the equivalency of the two to me. Not one. But so many of you swear by the comparison. It's quite remarkable.

          • Spirit and intent Dennis, spirit and intent

            In 2004 the Bloc is part of the House majority
            In 2009 they're (gasp) separatists

            What could the difference be? Oh right! When Stephen needs them, they're part of a majority, when they don't side with him, they're (gasp) separatists

            I can see your point

          • Did he or did he not form a coalition with them? (for crying out loud)

          • Correction: Did he or did he not form a coalition agreement involving Bloc support? (for crying out loud)

          • "All I have done is state arguments using logic and reason"

            "I truly believe"

            So with your particular brand of logic and reason you draw conclusions that fit in nicely with your particular political prejudices.

            Fine if you want to criticize from a partisan political standpoint , at least that is being honest. Cloaking it in the guise of 'logic and reason' is just dishonest.

          • There is, of course, a difference between a letter and an agreement. The difference is mostly timing, but it is a clear difference.

            There is also a difference between separatists and "opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House". But that difference is in spelling, and the number of letters used–not to whom is being referred.

            Besides, I didn't read anything in Danby's post that suggested he viewed the coalition as the second coming of Sir Arthur's Round Table. Rather, he was specifically referring to words used in the two examples from Mr. Harper.

  2. In otherwords do exactly the opposite of what Iggy did and it might work!

  3. Wait a minute…

    Wasn't it Silver who, not too long ago, had advised Iggy to denounce coalitions and vow that he would never enter into one?

    Am I confusing my pundits or something?

  4. And another thing…

    Pundits don't get to determine the conditions under which a coalition is acceptable. Our constitution does that for us, thank you very much.

    I understand that a great many "experts" who decried the last coalition attempt as a "coup" are now sitting with eggs of their face because of what took place in the UK.

    Thing is, you still don't get to decide what is a legitimate coalition. Our laws are crystal clear on the subject.

    You were wrong then and are still wrong today. Deal with it.

    • Never ceases to amaze me how prone people are to use bad analogies to justify the coalition fiasco here. Harper's previous letter. UK coalition. European coalitions. None of that applies to what happened here in 2009, which was that — out of the blue — the opposition parties used the pretext of Harper's campaign finance move to outright take power only weeks after an election; an election in which the leader of the coalition promised not to form a coalition. Canadians hated the idea so much that Harper's poll numbers were well past majority territory, yet you still have the usual suspects yearning for coalition glory. It's quite amazing.

      Now, could coalitions be a good idea here in Canada? It's hard to say. We've only had one in our history, and that was during a world war. Parties generally denounce them during election campaigns. For example, Paul Martin once said that the first place party should govern, etc. And, of course, there was the 2009 fiasco itself.

      But I guess coalitions are seen by some as the only way to replace this country's currently most popular party – the Conservatives. Go figure.

      • I guess I'm confused about the precise difference between coalitions on the one hand, and minority governments where at least one party has formally, to some extent, agreed to support another party, on the other hand. I had always understood that in 1972, for instance, the NDP explicitly agreed to support Trudeau's Liberals, who did not win a majority in the 1972 federal election. I understood that there were explicit conditions that NDP leader David Lewis demanded in order to give his support to Trudeau. Is the difference between that and a coalition that Lewis didn't get a seat at the cabinet table?

        • A coalition is a formal governing arrangement in which ministers from more than one party form cabinet. What you're talking about is more of an alliance, which I believe was also formed in the 80's in Ontario between the Liberals and the NDP. But even those circumstances were very different.

          I just don't get this coalition fetish on the left these days. It truly takes me aback. It's as though they throw all logic out the window when discussing the topic. They cannot bring themselves to admit that it was a terrible mistake.

          • By your definition, then, there was no coalition with the Bloc? The Bloc only promised confidence and supply, and received no cabinet positions.

      • Moreover, only a few hours before the coaltion grab, the "loyal opposition" had voted in favour of the Throne Speech thereby effectively legitimizing the election results….

        • Ummm, I'm not sure that follows. The government needs to have the confidence of the House each and every day. Giving confidence one day does not mean confidence must be given the next.

          I'll note that the policies laid out in the EFU were not in the Throne Speech. I'll also note that the CPC did not campaign on any of those policies. So if we're talking about legitimacy, the EFU had none to stand on.

      • Dennis, do you really believe it was "out of the blue" because I think you've acknowledged the cause before. So were you just using poetic license? I totally agree that one ought not to promise to do or not to do something on the campaign trail, then go ahead and not do or do something after the election. Like, income trusts, improved accountability, forming a coalition, and I'm sure there are many other examples. I am mad about them all. In two cases, I am mad at the promise during the campaign, not the after election action. In every case, it is dishonest and/or shortsighted.

        Yet you seem to be mad only when Liberals make a promise they don't keep. I guess I'm asking you to acknowledge the other side of the coin as well.

    • I understand that a great many "experts" who decried the last coalition attempt as a "coup" are now sitting with eggs of their face because of what took place in the UK.

      Your understanding is curiously removed from reality, but if you're having fun, go for it, I guess?

      Perceived popular legitimacy ≠ technical legitimacy. There was never a question of whether a coalition was completely impossible in Canada, only that it would have no credibility to govern. Conversely, the first-place party in Britain, before the dust had settled from the election itself, publicly negotiated a deal with the third-place – and the equivalent of the Liberal-NDP-Bloc proposal, a potential Lab-Lib coalition, was roundly scorned as a "coalition of losers," without any claim to popular legitimacy.

      At some point you're going to have to face the fact that the entire country doesn't share your visceral loathing for Harper, and consequently has no incentive to game out elaborate technical shenanigans just to Get Him.

      • "Perceived popular legitimacy ≠ technical legitimacy."

        This whole technical vs popular legitimaticy nonsense exists only in your head. In a democracy, we go by the law and the law of this land spells out what is allowed. If it is allowed under Canadian Law, it is legitimate, FULL STOP. Had Brown struck a deal with the Lib-Dem and held it together, it would have been legitimate.

        How many ways do we need to say this? According to the Westminster parliamentary rules, the people elect a Parliament and it is the Parliament that decides who gets to govern. That is the LAW! Anything else is just total spin and therefore complete fabrication.

        • …there's an old axiom that goes something like "posession is nine-tenths of the law."

          In public affairs (including politics) there's a similar one: "perception is nine-tenths of reality."

          Much though I might like to agree with you, Pol, perception does matter, and has to be considered.

          • Perception most certainly does matter and should be considered. That's not the debate here. The debate is over the legitimacy of the attempted Lib/NDP coalition. It was roundly denounced as undemocratic and illegitimate because Dion, the would-be coalition leader, had not mustered enough votes to win the election.

            You now have the same pundits trying to suggest that the UK coalition is legitimate because one of the partners had the most seats in the House.

            That is patently untrue. Don't take my word for it. Look it up.

            Again, it is Parliament who decides who gets to govern. We the people decide who sits in Parliament, period.

            avr and the other pundits' line of defense intentionally muddies the water, you see. They have to do that. How else can they then recognize the UK's new government all the while decrying the same coalition attempt on our side of the border?

          • Logically, it's ridiculous, and I agree. All other things being equal, it's boggling to argue that a coalition is legitimate in one arena and not another.

            Thing is, when something is perceived as illegitimate, (in terms of voting and vote intent) it doesn't really matter whether it – in legal fact – is or not, because the cost of being perceived poorly is as bad, electorally, as the cost of actually acting so. Our formal democracy is in such funky shape that what should be irrelevant is almost more relevant than what should actually be relevant. (Gee, think I could use the word "relevant" more in a single sentence?)

            This is the part where I duck for cover because people start throwing rotten tomatoes and knives at me.

          • Perception is the people talking.
            You should listen to LTO when she talks about perception. The people did not want a coalition in 2008 and I don`t think the coalitionaries interpretation of what is legitimate will change their mind.

  5. So don't say you're not going to do something during an election and then do it after the election? I can't imagine that a political party would ever consider pulling a stunt like that on any issue.

    • I {fixed election dates} can't {unelected senators} imagine {income trusts} that {public hearings on Supreme Court nominees} any {free votes on everything but budgets} political {reneging on transfer payment deals} party {250,000 day care spaces} would {independent Budget Office} ever {Public Appointments Commissioner} consider {accountability} pulling {no deficit spending} a {no recession} stunt {wait time guarantees} like {lobbying rules for former staffers} that {"made in Canada" environmental plan} on {reduce spending on polling} any {softwood lumber} issue {publishing all government polls} either {independent/stronger Ethics Commissioner}, Dan.

    • Yah, but this time Dan, Canadians won't be deceived.

      • So, it's okay to renege on promises, as long as we're expecting them to lie? Duly noted.

  6. The voice of cynicism in my head tells me that Conservative supporters only objected to the proposed Liberal/NDP coalition because their Conservatives would have been dumped out of power.

    These people would probably applaud a Conservative/whoever coalition if such an entity were ever to come into existence. (Recall that Harper proposed a Conservative/NDP/Bloc coalition while the Martin Liberals were in office with a minority government.)

    • The only potential partner for a formal coalition, in the current state of party standings, is the NDP. You're positing they'd actively cheer such an arrangement? As opposed to, say, being disgusted and repulsed?

      You don't know many Conservative supporters in real life, do you.

      • They might as well have the NDP as coalition partners, considering how they've governed. The last four years would have been less of a psychodrama.

      • Hard-core Conservative supporters have nowhere else to go, I would venture (unless they start the federal equivalent of the Wild Rose Party).

  7. I think a Conservative/NDP coalition would be the most appealing since that may be the only way both Jack Layton and his wife, Olivia Chow, gets into cabinet. With the Liberals, at most one of them would get the nod given the surplus of Liberal MPs from Toronto.

    • It won't work because in Canada we can't play like grownups. Conservatives and Dippers both think the other are pure evil, as opposed to just having different opinions.

  8. Why are we even discussing a coalition?

    • Don't give me any thumbs down, answer the question.

      We've had coalition govts before, there is nothing unusual about them. Many countries have them in fact.

      However, Iggy ruled one out. We will continue with a minority govt.

      So now that Mother England has a coalition, suddenly it's an issue here??

      • We are having this discussion because the media is plowing the field, softening the ground, for their Liberals to seize power without having to win an election.

        We wouldn't be having this discussion if there was any hope on the horizon of Iffy actually winning an election.

        • Con wishful thinking and paranoia is what THAT is.

  9. If everyone wanted a coalition between the Liberals and NDP (I'll leave out the Bloc, because that's a different issue), then they should run as one party. Isn't it kinda disingenuous to run as separate parties, and then if you lose, to say, "screw it, we're forming government anyway"? I know the constitution allows that, and I'm sure I don't fully understand the workings of it, but there would be something really troubling about a party who won the most seats being relegated to Opposition status.

    I really think that if the Liberals could move to the right, they could get the majority they need. Current Conservative voters in Ontario would only be too happy to flock back to them, they could pick up some more seats in BC, Sask and Man (I figure AB won't play that game anyway), Atlantic Canada would do whatever it is they do (I don't know anything about them), and Quebec is such a crapshoot anyway, what's the point in trying to guess. There's my plan for the Liberals. Oh, and this plan doesn't involve Ignatieff. Find someone new. Where are Brian Tobin and Allan Rock these days?

    • Then most of the parliamentary democracies in the world are pretty disingenuous.

    • I think Mark`s theory on how the Liberals can regain power is the closest I`ve seen to how the boys in the Liberal backroom are actually strategizing. The coalition with the NDP while moving to the right is especially brilliant and such a Liberal idea, I`m surprised nobody thought of it before.
      The resurrecting of has-beens like Tobin and Rock can only be compared to the annual plans for the Leafs to take back the Cup.

      • If the Liberals moved any further right, they'd be outflanking Conservatives, at least fiscally. I suppose the Libs can cede to socon field to the CPC. Honestly, I was always happiest with the Liberals when they were centre-right fiscally (but not ideologically 'small government') and essentially libertarian socially. I suspect that's the winning formula going forward. It needs to be done credibly, though.

        • I wasn`t really serious about the Liberals moving to the right…….I just found it somewhat ironic that Mark would propose that the Liberals should campaign on the right but govern on the left with the NDP.

  10. I think the best approach is "it would be up to Harper if he wins another election. If he goes after women and working Canadians like he tried to, then we will defend them by any means necessary."

  11. ''…be honest and clear with the voters. It is ultimately their country and they get to choose the government they want…''

    Really?
    So if Canadians choose a Harper minority,
    the Liberals are advised to work with the government the people chose!

    Nah, he didn't mean that.
    He meant, if Harper doesn't get a majority,
    get your 'arrangements' lined up in advance of election night.

    In a Democracy, Liberal style,
    yah don't have to win the election to govern,
    yah just line up your 'arrangements' and steal power.

    So don't you Liberals worry your selves into a frenzy about Canadians thinking Iffy is the worst leader in Canada,
    it just doesn't matter
    as long as he get's his 'arrangements' all figured out.

    • I didn't see "Harper Minority" on my ballot

  12. I personally think that Harper would try to make a deal with either the NDP or the Bloc if he doesn't get a majority after the next election.

    He knows he's toast if he doesn't deliver a majority this time around. And we all know how Harper has mastered the art of doing 360s on a good number of his positions/promises. His caucus is so docile that they will stand by him even if it means getting in bed with the "separatists."

    I also think that the press gallery would praise him for doing what Iggy doesn't seem to have the stomach to do.

    • I was saying that last election. I was wrong.

      You seem to be neglecting the almost palpable hatred/fear the CPC base has toward "them socialists" and their satisfaction with Harper that he seems to be preventing them from doing any better, even if he's not doing anything himself.

      They would far rather have power and do what the opposition would have done anyway, than let the opposition in power to do the exact same thing.

      This is the kicker. It's not about policy. It's not about governance. It's not even about power — it's about keeping them from having power. It's pure fear.

      • "You seem to be neglecting the almost palpable hatred/fear the CPC base has toward "them socialists" and their satisfaction with Harper that he seems to be preventing them from doing any better, even if he's not doing anything himself."

        Yeah? And somehow Harper was able to get over the undeniable hatred/fear that the CPC base has for separatists and declared Quebec to be a nation, did he not?

        If there is one thing that Harper has demonstrated to all during his tenure as PM it is that he will stop at nothing, NOTHING to retain/expand his power. He'll prorogue Parliament on New Year's eve if he needs to. He'll defy the will of the House if he has to.

        I don't know about you but I sure don't think that a few concessions to the Bloc is going to stop him from latching on to power if he's faced with yet another minority result at the next ballot.

      • Wow, you have my number all right. I've often said I'd rather give chimps with matches the right to sit in our parliament than the NDP. I am personally distressed that the Liberals are moving to the left and not leaving me any alternative parties, and for the purge of the Green Party of anyone who isn't a flaky lefty.

        Now what are you going to do to change my mind? This is a representative democracy after all.

        • I'm not even going to try. If you're taking the attitude that party affiliation matters more than performance, I might as well try to change the mind of a brick wall..

          ..hell, at least the wall doesn't talk back.

          • It really isn't that hard you know. After all, the place where I was born and raised gave the rest of the country the NDP. Maybe you should consider what changed that.

    • I don't think you've comprehended the extent of the Harper pathology. He's willing to bring down the house in order to get his way. If presented with Solomons' choice to give up the baby or cut it in half, he'd attempt to start negotiations at an 80-20 split.

  13. You don't get it, Wilson. Your 'winning conservative minority' going it alone is weakened by the undecided and non-voters. Much as I get it that you blame liberals for everything, I think I'm among that growing group of ABC voters, soured by that last prorogation. Your guy mucked up, big time.

    • Well he's your Prime Minister too auntie.

      It is sad to see the once mighty Liberals genuinely thinking that the only way back into power is thru 'arrangements' with other parties, instead of winning.

  14. I find it entertaining that the CONBOTs are chatting away to one another – since sensible folk who use facts to support their positions have long since abstained from Feeding the Trolls.
    The facts simply are these:-
    1) we are – whether we like it or not – in a Westminster First Past the Post system.
    2) The general custom is for the governor General to invite the largest party to form the government. IF that party has an absolute majority – they can do what they want.
    3) When the largest party doesn't have an absolute majority – the ONLY way it can remain in power is to propose policies that are not too abhorrent to the other parties who collectively form the majority. Mr. Harper is congenitally unable to do this for more than the blonk of an eye.

    • 4) That being the case – the opposition parties can align and defeat the largest party. This does not necessarily mean an election – but – if an election is decided upon – it would be prudent and statesmanlike for the leaders of the opposition parties to meet and agree on what their positions would be if we had another hung parliament – with (possibly) Mr. Harper's team having yet again the largest number of seats – and to make the public aware of this BEFORE they vote. The Canadian public has already – in two elections – made it clear by strategic voting they do not trust Mr. Harper with a majority. It would be very interesting to see what the voters would do with a menu of options like this…

      • I've never understood why people are insisting that parties declare their potential coalition partners before an election. It also seems like a bad tactical move: a party that announces a potential coalition has pretty much explicitly stated that they don't think they can win an election outright.

        I think this sort of thing is self-correcting: if a party gains power by entering into an unpopular coalition, they will be punished by the voters when the next election rolls around.

        One thing that is unusual in Canadian politics is the idea of second and third place parties joining forces to uproot the first-place party. Many people believe, rightly or wrongly, that the party that finished first should automatically form the government, or else there should be another election. Since so much of the Westminster system of government is based on convention rather than explicit rules, there is no way of objectively determining whether this should be the case.

        • Well, in my fairyland world where politicians want to govern for the good of the country and are decent honest people (… ooh look unicorns …) they would tell us because they want to inform the electorate of their intentions so that we can make informed decisions when we vote.

          As a voter I want to know if the Liberals (or Conservatives) would consider forming a coalition with the NDP or the Bloc. If for some reason a party doesn't want to discuss coalitions during the election then just say so.

          What they shouldn't do, and what contributed (IMHO) to the ill-feeling towards the Liberal – NDP – (Bloc) coalition, is explicitly deny that they will consider a coalition and then go ahead and try to make one as soon as the results are in.

      • Well that was a very nice wrap up.
        Either Harper WINS a majority
        or Iffy ARRANGES a majority.
        I agree.

        So let's have the media not dress it up and over analysis it.

  15. The prospect of a LIberal/NDP/Bloc coaltion will result in many middle-of-the-road voters switching to the only centrist party left in Canada – the Conservatives.

    If the Liberals wish to regain power, they need to stop talking about a leftwing coalition and start talking about moving back to the centre. As much as I thought Iggy's speech yesterday was a pile of crap, at least he had a few lines of his speech to make that point….Now, if he only adopted policies that gave substance to that concept, his numbers would turn around immediately. Unfortunately (for the Liberals) he isn't doing so.

    • I don't think anyone's seriously talking about including the Bloc in a coalition.

      • OK. If that's the case, then the Liberal/NDP coalition was on very weak ground since the Conservtives had a significantly larger number of seats than those two parties together.

        • My sense is that a coalition would a) have to be Lib-NDP, and b) hold a majority of house seats, to have a hope of working (both practically, and as a matter of perceived public legitimacy).

          • Sure, if the Libs/NDP actually do hold a majority of seats and agree to a coalition, then I can't see how anyone could object. But this was not the case in 2008. That's why there was such a visceral public reaction and why the PM was right to suggest that the Bloc was part of the coalition. Without the Bloc, the so-called coalition had no legitimacy since it had fewer seats than the Conservatives, who had just won a vote of confidence hours before.

          • Agreed. And under the current electoral map, that's a lot less likely to occur than, say, back in Trudeau's day (see 1972 deal with NDP), when the BQ didn't exist and the Liberals could count on harvesting 60-70+ seats from Quebec. I think the Libs would really have to steamroll over Ontario in order to make that math work.

  16. "Thing is, when something is perceived as illegitimate, (in terms of voting and vote intent) it doesn't really matter whether it – in legal fact – is or not, because the cost of being perceived poorly is as bad, electorally, as the cost of actually acting so."

    And whose fault is that? I fully expect Harper to go to such extremes like using words like "coup" or "sedition." He screwed up and, had the coalition succeeded, he would have gone down in history as the dumbest PM ever to walk the land of Canada. He was fighting for his life and said what he had to say to survive. Reviving separatism in Quebec was a small price to pay for Harper. He could care less and this isn't a man who is known for putting the good of the country ahead of his own interests.

    My issue is with the 4th estate who supported his lies. To suggest that a coalition leader must have the greater number of seats in the House of Commons to be considered a legitimate Prime Minister is an outright lie. Shame on those reporters who continue to spread this lie.

    • I think there are 20 million people in Canada who share an ounce of responsibility for the form and function of our government, but that's another debate entirely.

      Harper, being the Prime Minister, has credibility inherent in the position, so when he says something, however crazy, it carries weight. That's not an entirely bad thing, is it? I think we also have to remember that he's turned the press box into more of a bully pulpit than it's ever been, which limits the ability of journalists to do the awesome critical thinking stuff that we so want (and need) them to do.

      Yes, media are opinion leaders and perhaps they've been remiss in reporting the ins and outs of parliamentary convention. But is it their job to educate the public on those ins and outs? Or to reporton what happens in that regard, with as little editorialization as possible?

      • "I think we also have to remember that he's turned the press box into more of a bully pulpit than it's ever been, which limits the ability of journalists to do the awesome critical thinking stuff that we so want (and need) them to do. "

        Has it limited your ability to do critical thinking? Because it hasn't affected mine. One plus One still equals Two as far as I'm concerned.

        "But is it their job to educate the public on those ins and outs? Or to reporton what happens in that regard, with as little editorialization as possible?"

        It is their job to report the truth. Suggesting that a coalition leader cannot be a legitimate PM if he/she doesn't hold the most seats is a lie.

  17. When, during the last campaign, did either the Conservatives or the Liberals mention that they were going to form an unruly, permanently angry and dysfunctional coalition?

    They slag each other, but when it comes down to it they are essentially operating under a Confidence and Supply pact, with the Liberal caucus either supporting or abstaining to prop up the minority.
    The Liberals are even willing to hold their noses and allow this provocative omnibus budget bill to go forward wtih all kinds of back door legislative implications.

    When did we have that discussion? Is it even ~gasp~ legal?

    • Good point about the omnibus bill…I read about that one this morning. Do I read right that the Senate may try to stop it from going through, if the opposition can't? Or at least, that certain members of the Senate would do so?

      Strikes me that someone's just trying to push everything through before the *cough* annual prorogation, or something.

      • Can't even remember where I read it, but PC Senator Lowell Murray wants it broken up and a Liberal Senator, can't remember her name, wrote to the Liberal caucus beseeching them not to let it through committee without breaking it up. NDP/Bloc tried to move that at committee but Liberals sent one less rep so it would pass.

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