The Liberal-Conservative-Bloc coalition


The Liberals and Conservatives voted last night to repeal the faint hope clause.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives and Bloc are negotiating reforms to the parole system.


The Liberal-Conservative-Bloc coalition

  1. And…cue the "this isn't a coalition" talking points in 3, 2, 1…

  2. This inter-party co-operation makes me want to puke. I like my House of Commons good and deadlocked. Our MPs need to stop putting the country's interests ahead of party interests. We didn't send you there to make nice and (spit) compromise.

  3. We are moving backwards at a great rate.

  4. And the sky is falling

  5. Obviously it did on your planet.

  6. Weird. Repealing the faint hope clause? Rather a slap in the face to our judiciary. After all, it doesn't say a murderer instantly gets parole, it's a clause that says after 15 years, a criminal can apply to a judge to see if he can THEN apply for early parole.

    So even if the judge grants it, there's still the whole parole process to go through. If the purpose of our prisons is truly the safety of society, getting reformed criminals out of the violence training schools that are our jails as soon as possible should be a priority. Yeah, have lots of safeguards so that the unreformed ones don't slip through.. but eliminating the ability entirely? Isn't that essentially telling judges, "You guys have no clue what you're doing.."

    As for the Bloc's negotiations, I have to say I'm disappointed. Why the hell do we want non-violent people behind bars? We have the technology to keep track of them, we certainly have no shortage of scut work that needs to be done.. roadkill collected, old people's sidewalks shoveled, there's a lot of ways that we can make the punishments for non-violent offenders work to pay back what they've cost us, rather than having it cost society even more to teach them how to be more violent criminals.

  7. Sigh…….they are finally seeing the writing on the wall that their own support base is getting tired of the "hug-a-thug" mentality.

    The faint hope clause forced the victims and/or their family to attend parole hearings to defend the reason why the criminal should not be released early.

    White collar crime is just as devastating – some Earl Jones' victims were in their 80 – 90's and had all their savings wiped out = no money to pay for their Long Term Care Home.

  8. Do you or Aaron understand the ordinary meaning of the word coalition? How does working with different parties on different issues in order to secure majority support come close to qualifying?

    I will comfortably assume Aaron understands the distinction. Which just makes his title deliberately misleading, rather than ignorant. Not that either label should be worn with pride by a journalist…

  9. FAmilies were in absolutely no way required to attend such hearings. And your equation of serious financial loss with the serious crimes like murder.

    The sad thing is, even if you knew better you probably wouldn't change your opinion.

  10. Which of the definitions of coalition are you referring to?

    1.An alliance, especially a temporary one, of people, factions, parties, or nations.

    2.A combination into one body; a union.

    3.A group of usually two to six male lions that drive off and replace the male lions in a pride in order to mate with the females and protect the resulting offspring.

  11. The definition is subject to approval by the CPC and may change without notice.

  12. OK. Let's go with definition number 1. Where do we see a "Liberal-Conservative-Bloc coalition" in the description therebeneath? We don't.

    If he wants to, Aaron can now invent something about how this was not an attempt to mock the CPC for decrying the evils of coalition when that's what they are doing themselves. But it most certainly was such a misleading attempt.

  13. Agreed, for the most part.

    Two buts, though, and they may not amount to anything…

    (Half-)But#1: Can anyone show us evidence where there was an egregious judicial error in granting faint hope? Preferably more than one, that would have (or maybe did) offend our society of civilized persons? If we are going to tell judges they don't know what they are doing, it would be nice to have evidence.

    But#2: To what extent are victims required to re-live the crimes of these perps when judges receive the application?

  14. I think the referring to any "working with different parties on different issues in order to secure majority support" stems from the fact that anytime any combination of the NDP, the Liberals or the Bloc work together on something, Harper and Baird jump up and down about a "see, coalition" and Finlay or Grafstein sends out a donation solicitation saying "see, coalition".

  15. You can blame Quebec's most hated white-collar criminal, Vincent Lacroix, for all this. It's wonderfully ironic to see the Bloc pulling a 180 and accusing the Conservatives of being soft on criminals.

    Turns out that Quebecers are outraged that someone who stole over $100,000,000 from more than 9,000 investors (mostly pensioners) could get off so lightly, and only serve a fraction of his sentence.

  16. He was just having a little fun!

  17. I think this creative use of coalition is in part a response to a) the CPC's modification to include the Bloc as members of the proposed Dion coalition and more recently b) to describe as a coalition the possibility that the NDP (and Bloc for that matter) might have confidence in a Liberal government rather than a Conservative one even in the absence of any power sharing. (i.e. no coalition)

  18. I agree. 1) Lets bring those benches closer together (or arm our MP's with longer swords) and 2) the odd cage match would spice things up quite a bit.

  19. The Bloc is a step ahead of you. They want to ban the kirpan, remember…

  20. Am I the only one amazed at the fact that a Maclean's "journalist" doesn't know what a coalition is, despite the fact that they obsess on the topic routinely? Wow.

  21. Like MYL above, I think we can safely assume that Wherry does know what a coalition is. Thus, Wherry is not ignorant, but I also don't think he is intentionally trying to be misleading. On this point I agree with tedbetts above who basically said that Wherry is simply doing what the Conservatives do any time the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc work together. When this happens, the Cons jump up and scream, "See! Coalition!".

    So, the thing that I am amazed about is how easily Wherry and other Harper haters jump from accusing Harper of not understanding what a coalition is (and they are right!) to then doing the exact same thing that he does and accusing him of being in some sort of coalition. Now, they may be trying to be ironic, no doubt. To my mind, its a missed opportunity to take the high road, whatever that might be.

    But even as I write that I'm not sure that I believe it.

  22. One problem with your analysis: those three parties did actually form a coalition to topple the government of this country, and people like Wherry very much supported the idea, too.

  23. Apparently, Wherry is starting his own No Context Zone!

  24. which just makes his title deliberately misleading

    I thought it makes his title deliberately humorous. Surely I can't be the only one who thinks Wherry's tongue is planted firmly in cheek with his "Coalition" titles, just like his "Maverick Watch" titles.

  25. "its a missed opportunity to take the high road"

    Well, sure…but see how well that's worked for them on any other issue?

    And yeah, it's irony. It's more of a "look, when we do it, we're evil. So, when you do it, you're evil too. See how dumb this all is?"

  26. I'm not sure I like the whole "The Tories misused the word 'coalition' first" line of argument (two wrongs don't make a right!) but that said, it's nonetheless important to keep in mind that the Tories misused the term "coalition" first.

    All that said, there is a certain logic to the notion that if the Conservatives are going to try to define anything that's not a Tory majority as a "coalition", then they probably shouldn't complain too much when something that doesn't involve a Tory majority is referred to as a "coalition".

  27. Weak sauce again Aaron….

    I must have missed the press conference where the Conservatives and Bloc sat at a table and signed said coalition.

  28. If by "taking the high road" you mean refrain from commenting so that more of the field may be filled with CPC bafflegab, then I agree!

  29. " those three parties did actually form a coalition to topple the government"

    Look, 2004 was a long time ago. let it go.
    September 9, 2004
    …We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority.

    Your attention to this matter is appreciated.
    Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P. Leader of the Opposition
    Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada
    Gilles Duceppe, M.P. Leader of the Bloc Quebecois
    Jack Layton, M.P. Leader of the New Democratic Party

  30. "No kirpans" is actually not a step "ahead" of longer swords and cage matches. In fact, banning the kirpan is arguably pretty literally a step in the opposite direction from arming our MPs with bigger swords.

  31. They didn't hold a press conference, but here are the highlights…

    September 9, 2004
    As leaders of the opposition parties, we are well aware that, given the Liberal minority government, you could be asked by the Prime Minister to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government's program.
    We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority.

    Your attention to this matter is appreciated.
    Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P. Leader of the Opposition
    Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada
    Gilles Duceppe, M.P. Leader of the Bloc Quebecois
    Jack Layton, M.P. Leader of the New Democratic Party

  32. Harper never formed a coalition. People who use that letter as proof of such are literally engaging in an ignorant claim. Over and over again. Repeating a lie doesn't make it true. Or do some of you just don't get it?

  33. Not quite as fun as the Dion, Layton, and Duceppe press conference signing of the Coalition agreement. I love that it was captured on camera for the public to enjoy over, and over, and over….

  34. See my above comment to this same post.

    A picture says a thousand words!

  35. I vote for the closer benches. Can you imagine?

    Harper: "Once again, the Liberal leader and his coalition parters are trying…"

    Iggy: "I'll give you a coalition! My fist and your nose!"

    (Melee ensues)

    Democracy in action.

  36. I agree completely. I was attempted to identify a reason, not provide a justification. That said "coalition" is a fuzzy word in the English language and has no precise legal meaning within the Canadian framework of governance. Indeed all coalition agreements are irrelevant within the parliamentary system i.e. they are not legal documents and they cannot be enforced. Moreover, by no means is the GG required to ask only the party with the most seats to form the government.

  37. One problem with your analysis: those three parties did actually form a coalition

    And, of course, there's only one problem with that statement. NO THEY DIDN'T. In fact, no three parties even came to an AGREEMENT to form a coalition in a hypothetical future.

    And this is why we go around and around on this, because every time someone misuses the word coalition to incorrectly suggest that the Tories have formed a coalition with another party, someone else counters that argument with the incorrect statement that the Bloc were part of the proposed Liberal-NDP coalition. Two wrongs don't make a right, but as long as Tories misuse the term coalition to insert the BQ into the Liberal-NDP coalition proposal I'm not sure how upset I can get about somebody else inserting the Tories into some other theoretical "coalition" which also doesn't really exist.

  38. "Step ahead" as in opposing the weaponization of our political chambers.

  39. Well, my understanding is that the typical kirpan is too short for my taste so I am with the Bloc on this one.

  40. Good luck with the education of Dennis.

  41. I could have sworn I saw Duceppe at the table with Dion and Layton signing some sort of…. I guess you could call it a special arrangement if that phrasing doesn't hurt your feelings.

    To most people who watched it, it sure looked like the three of them were forming a coalition though.

  42. Does this really amount to a "repeal" of the faint hope clause, or more accurately an amendment to the faint hope clause? (I realize that they may technically be repealing one statute and wholly substituting another, but isn't the thing their substituting in just an amendment of the original law?)

    From the first link above:

    "The new legislation, Bill S-6, would ensure those serving a life sentence for first-degree murder will not be eligible to apply for parole until they have served at least 25 years…."

    So, doesn't the faint hope clause still exist, it's just that now you're not eligible to apply for parole until after 25 years instead of 15? That's arguably an improvement of course, but it doesn't ELIMINATE the faint hope clause. Truly eliminating (repealing) the faint hope clause would mean that people sentenced to life in prison would become eligible for parole NEVER, wouldn't it?

    Have I missed something? This interpretation (amendment vs. repeal) makes more sense to me as well given that my understanding was that the faint hope clause actually came about in response to a Supreme Court decision, so if one were to simply repeal it outright, presumably the law would then once again have run afoul of the Supreme Court.

  43. If I'm reading that Gazette article right, this legislation will change the earliest someone convicted of 1st or 2nd degree murder can apply for parole from 15 years to 25 years?

    I find it very hard to feel one way or the other on this one. It seems like a fairly innocuous motion, certainly not "a big step forward in reducing victimization in this country" as Rob Nicholson characterized it.

  44. Coalition AGREEMENT. Excuse me. The best you have are these weaselly little technical arguments.Thank you.

  45. In other words, you don't have anything else but this knee-jerk nonsense. lol.

    You guys were thrilled with the coalition. Why hide from that now? Or falsely accuse others of endorsing your own views on the matter?

  46. No, those three parties agreed that they were going to put a motion of non-confidence in the government to the House of Commons, as per the rules of our democratic system. They informed the GG of their intention to do so and advised her that should she invite the leader of the official opposition to try to form a government the Liberals were willing to work in a cabinet with the NPD, essentially forming a coalition government. The Bloc indicated that it would support this for a period. This was meant to assure political stability.

    Mr. Harper has declared recently that if he doesn't obtain a majority of the seats in the House, the others will topple him 'at the first opportunity'. He dismisses the possibility of working constructively with his equals in our parliament for national interest. The message is clear: Mr. Harper would rather throw Canada into a political crisis than put aside party differences and bring in members from other parties into his cabinet to work hard for the common good and for the national interest.

  47. If I'm remembering my high school law class right, those sentenced to life in Canada are eligible for parole after 25 years. So this legislation would repeal the clause that one could apply for early parole after 15 years.

    (wow, that took some dredging from the deepest recess of the ol' melon!)

  48. So this wasn't a coalition because?….

    Usually a simple agreement to support another party doesn't require a press conference and a signing ceremony. Typically a handshake works.

    I can post the you tube link if you'd like to watch the whole thing again, it's great fun.

  49. If either of these were a coalition, then they both were.

    If either wasn't, than neither were.

    Reality does not change based on what side of the house you're sitting on.

  50. Wherry, we get it. You don't like the Conservatives. You like to point out any time they contradict themselves. But for the love of God, that horse is dead. Stop beating it.

    I'm not even sure if you publish real articles that discuss actual issues, or if you just troll around looking to stir s**t up. If it's the latter, whatever, that's cool, but can it at least be moved to the LPC website instead of Macleans?


  51. Isn't someone only a step ahead of you if they're going in the same direction as you?

    The BQ opposes the weaponization of political chambers. Stewart wants longer swords and cage matches (btw, I realize that Stewart probably doesn't REALLY want to arm our MPs with longer swords…).

    It's just semantics, but I still don't get how the BQ is a step ahead of Stewart. They're not even walking in the same direction.

  52. I think Wherry was taking a relatively gentle poke at the Conservatives' past demonization of not just the coalition, but of inter-party co-operation in general, IMHO.

    I, for one, am happy to see the Conservatives working with other parties on various issues, although it does run counter to some of the rhetoric they have used. Big deal. Parties working together in a minority parliament is good.

  53. Fair enough, but banning the kirpan is going to be a bit tougher after the first time a couple dozen MPs walk into the House wielding three foot long swords.

  54. Nail on the head!

  55. I like my political chambers like I like my space: weaponized.

  56. they are finally seeing the writing on the wall that their own support base is getting tired of the "hug-a-thug" mentality

    I'm trying to remember, have the Liberals stopped, or even TRIED to stop, a single piece of crime legislation put forward by the Harper government? Ever?

  57. Why do coalition supporters keep doing this? In 2008, they certainly did sign an agreement to form a coalition. In 2004, they did not. Do you not get this, or do you just want to keep lying about it? And why?

  58. Duceppe never signed the Coalition agreement between the Liberals and the NDP. I know because it was on T.V., and the PDF of the document is online. Duceppe signed an entirely separate agreement pledging to vote with the Liberal-NDP Coalition on confidence motions for two years (and yes, he could have gone back on that pledge, of course, but I do believe it's the first time a separatist leader has agreed, in advance, in writing, on live T.V., to support the agenda of a federalist government).

  59. What would it take for Conservatives to stop whining? A miracle I guess.

  60. Repeating a lie doesn't make it true.

    How many times have you said that the Bloc was a part of the proposed Liberal-NDP Coalition?

    Hey, you're right, it's still not true!

  61. So..it was the signing that makes the difference? Not the actual drafting, and the talks and negotiations?

    Nice how you managed to call me a "coalition supporter" though. Way to keep up the meme.

  62. Duceppe signed an entirely separate document committing him to support the Liberal-NDP Coalition.

    I'll find you a link, because the coalition agreement is online, and there are only two signatures at the bottom of it.

  63. No there's two points here, and you've only commented on one of them. First, there was only a coalition agreement, not a coalition (and I agree, on that score, in this context, that's a minor point). Second, and more importantly, the BQ was NOT PART OF THAT COALITION AGREEMENT.

    I'll find you a link as well, but the PDF of the coalition agreement is online, and there are only two signatures at the bottom of it. Ducceppe signed an entirely SEPARATE document agreeing to vote with the Liberal-NDP Coalition for a period of two years.

  64. http://communities.canada.com/vancouversun/blogs/

    Not everyone thinks repealing the Faint hope clause was a good idea.

    This is a sad day for the once great liberal party. It's a triumph of populism over evidenced based jurisprudence.

    The comments are a revealing read too – pro and con. It should pointed out that Chretien toughened up the provisions even further sometime in the 90s.

  65. Faint hope allows them to apply for application to early parole after 15.
    Standard parole is after 25.

    Without parole is a different matter entirely.

    So they're not amending faint hope, they're getting rid of it, thus reverting to standard.

  66. Maybe this is too fast for you. Maybe you don't care. But here it goes:

    One is a coalition agreement. One is not.

    Why is this so hard?

    If you can't get even these basic truths down, just what is your agenda about?


  67. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faint_hope_clause

    Some background on Faint hope. WTF is wrong with this country, we're systematically turning it over to a bunch of clownbots who think feelings and instincts should trump evidenced based research, whenever it fails to serve their preformed "conclusions."

  68. "One is a coalition agreement. One is not. "

    …and, your own words, earlier today.

    "Repeating a lie doesn't make it true"

    You can't actually explain, in simple terms for one like me, why one is and one isn't., can you?

  69. "I'll give you a coalition! My fist and your nose!"

    You owe me a keyboard for that one. The tea was hot, too…

  70. I've been over this a million times with Coalition supporter zombies. You're the ones who keeps claiming the 2004 letter is a coalition agreement. For the nth time, finally show it. Hint: it's not. Next.

  71. The Bloc was part of a formal arrangement with the coalition, wasn't it? Without the Bloc, there was no coalition, right? I can understand why you now want to run away from this history, but you can't run away from the truth, can you.

  72. Thanks for that MT. I wondered if the families had to attend, understandably many of them would feel compelled to – not the same thing at all.

  73. I've got no problem with criticism of the government – they certainly deserve it for a number of things. My chief complaint is that Wherry just comes off as a dick while doing it. There's a way to write thoughtful, useful criticism, then there's being an internet troll.

    Take this posting, for instance. How does this help foster intelligent conversation? It just turns into petty arguments and counter-arguments from all sides as to what does/doesn't constitute a 'coalition'. What have we learned at the end of it? That each side dis-trusts each other, and no one like the other side? That's about it.

    I'm just so sick of this sort of crap, and I realize it's my fault for getting sucked into it, but reading these sorts of posts – from either side of the political spectrum and points in between – and subsequent comments don't do anything to enhance political discourse. It's just, as Jon Stewart pointed out on Cross Fire so many years ago, 'political hackery'.

  74. Probably not – thus their utter failure to do the job of official opposition – at least in this area. I'm quite ashamed to be a liberal today – sure it wont be for thelast time either.

  75. Here is the Liberal-NDP Coalition agreement.

    Two things to note:

    The Bloc is mentioned precisely ONCE in the document – "…upon its formation, the (Liberal-NDP) government will put in place a permanent consultation mechanism with the Bloc Québécois"

    Secondly, this being an agreement between the Liberals and the NDP to form a Liberal-NDP coalition government, the document is signed by the then leaders of the Liberal Party and the NDP and NO ONE ELSE.

  76. Most people don't have the inclination to educate themselves by doing research. They want to use their gut. It's faster and easier.

    Mass populism is just easier. Hell, it's even got a better, more fun sounding name than 'fact-based conclusions'.

  77. Here is the Liberal-NDP Coalition agreement.

    Note how it is an agreement between the Liberals and the NDP to form a Liberal-NDP coalition government. Note also that, as an agreement between the Liberals and the NDP to form a Liberal-NDP coalition, it is signed by the leaders of the Liberals and the NDP, and no one else.

  78. The part about the anti-coalition mongering that gets me most is the inference that it's somehow unholy to make an agreement (with or without power sharing) with the Bloc Quebecois. Like it or not, most of Quebec is represented by Bloc MPs' and we just can't move forward by constantly discounting anything they might say or do.

    Confederation would never have occurred with that attitude.

  79. It's a coalition, it's just not a Liberal-NDP-Bloc Coalition. I know this because the document in which the Liberals and the NDP agree to form a coalition is signed by the leaders of the Liberals and the NDP and no one else (and given that it's an agreement to form a Liberal-NDP coalition, why WOULD anyone else sign it?).

    I don't mind people waving the coalition agreement document in my face, as long as said people acknowledge that it's a Liberal-NDP coalition document, and that Duceppe's signature is NOWHERE TO BE FOUND ON IT.

  80. Just for the record, NO ONE has ever held a press conference and sat at a table and signed up for a coalition with the Bloc.

    Here's the LIBERAL-NDP coalition agreement.

    Notice the total absence of Gilles Duceppe's signature?

  81. As far as I can recall the Liberals, all the way back to Trudeau, have been against repealling it. My point is that more of their base are having a change of heart, or rather having a heart for what the victims go through.

  82. I guess I just figured that "faint hope" meant that you had to be given the possibility (the "faint hope") of some day getting parole. If lifers were ALREADY eligible to apply for parole after 25 years before the "faint hope" changes were enacted, then didn't they already have a faint hope of getting parole? If so, why the change to 15 years in the first place?

    I could be wrong, but I feel like I'm still missing something…

  83. In both the sun post and the wiki, they state that the FHC makes prison less dangerous. Neither offered any evidence to support that assertion. Do you have any evidence to support the theory that the FHC increases the safety of prisons or is that just an an example of feelings and instincts being used as arguements on the part of the Left?

  84. Not to worry – I feel the same way.


  85. See my reply to Richard above.

    I must be missing something, but if the standard was that lifers can apply for parole after 25 years, didn't they already have a "faint hope" of getting parole? If people sentenced to life were already allowed to apply for parole under the old system, why did we need to amend the law to give them a hope of getting parole?

  86. Of course families are not required to attend but they must if they want their say to stop the criminal from recieving early parole.

    So you think Earl Jones should be free to pick up where he left off after a couple of years instead of the 11 he was sentenced to? These elderly women who lost their life savings are now wards of the province.

  87. Okay, so if the Bloc signed a document stating they'd support the government in confidence motions for the next 2 years, in exchange for…. oh I dunno… $5B for Quebec in the next budget, you wouldn't call that a coalition?

  88. Where is the word coalition mentioned? Where do they ask to form a government?

  89. Confederation would never have occured if people refused to work with people opposed to Confederation?!!?!?

  90. The part about the anti-coalition mongering that gets me most is the constant (false) assertion that the Bloc was a part of the proposed coalition government.

  91. You've insulted me, called me a liar, accused me of being stupid and now a zombie.

    But you still can't tell me why one is a coalition, and one isn't.

  92. "We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority. "

  93. "Duceppe signed an entirely separate agreement pledging to vote with the Liberal-NDP Coalition on confidence motions for two years."

    So this doesn't count as a coalition because?…

    Is it the fact he only pledged to join the wonder team for 2 years instead of 4?

  94. I may need a linguist's help, but I have often used (and heard, and read) the use of this phrase when describing someone having a leg up on his or her opponent. I am pretty sure I have not angered the gods of the English language here. If I get abducted to be suitably punished by a rioting mob of outraged high school English teachers, I will be sure to let you know.

  95. Ah…I guess to qualify for the coalition you had to have your party mentioned at least twice.

    I guess all the hand shaking, signing of papers, and posing for cameras between the three of them was just my imagination.

  96. So I guess the agreement the Bloc signed wasn't a Coalition agreement then right?

    What do you call it?

    A friendship pledge?

    A promise note?

    Why did Duceppe have to sign anything at all if he had no involvement?

    So strange…I wish there was some sort of video record of what happened…

  97. The Bloc may come to a formal arrangement with the Conservative government on pardon reforms. It's possible that without the Bloc, the Conservative government could cease to exist. Neither of these facts mean that the Tories and the Bloc are in a coalition.

    I'll certainly agree that the coalition couldn't have governed without support from a third party. I'll even stipulate that the Tories would have been so intransigent and unwilling to work with a Liberal-NDP coalition that the only party they could reasonably have expected to pass legislation with would have been the Bloc (though that's often the case for the Tories when the Liberals and NDP don't want to cooperate with them and are similarly intransigent).

    What I won't accept is the notion that the Bloc was part of the coalition because the coalition likely would have fallen without the support of the Bloc. If it's not a "coalition with the Bloc" when the Tory government relies on the Bloc to pass legislation, it's not a "coalition with the Bloc" when a Liberal-NDP government relies on the Bloc to pass legislation. The fact that the Tories negotiate with the Bloc for support behind closed doors one issue at a time (perfectly appropriate), whereas the Liberal-NDP coalition asked the Bloc to agree to certain broad priorities publicly first, in advance of introducing actual Liberal-NDP legislation to be voted on is neither here nor there in this context.

  98. You're the one falsely and continuously claiming that the 2004 letter is a coalition agreement. Isn't it up to you to tell us just how in the world it is? I've been through this a thousand times with you zombies. You don't care about the truth. Why?

  99. If politicians refused to work with the elected leaders from Quebec there never would have been a Canada. I don't understand why people could build a nation by working toward common goals in the 1800's but in the 2000's we can't even be civil, let alone work toward some mutually beneficial arrangement that your grandpa couldn't imagine.

  100. Stop fearmongering Leo. You cant even receive consideration for parole until 15 years have elapsed, you make it sound like someone is applying for parole every other week. Yes, i'm sure it's a horrendous experience to go through for a family, but it is not manditory as you earlier implied. What's more only a very small percentage of convicted ist or second degree murderers even come up for parole – Olsen for instance will never recieve it.

  101. Well this is starting to make me dizzy, lol!! Believe you are getting to the bottom of this LKO. The NDP and the Liberals had a marriage but the Bloc got common-law. Either way, we were all getting scr_wed!!! :-D

    "The deal between the NDP and Liberals will expire on June 30, 2011.

    The Bloc Quebecois has agreed to vote with the coalition on any matters of confidence but only for the next 18 months." http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=10

  102. The FH clause was instituted as a trade off when the death penalty was repealed. Trudeau actually increased the life sentence at that time and argued the FH clause was a humantitarian measure in compensation. The only real issue has been concern for the families who have to relive their suffering. So, now they wont suffer – good. But a few lifers who might have had a faint hope of joining the human race again will no longer have that hope. I guess your fine with that?

  103. Isn't this how you lefties think that a minority parliament is suppose to work. The government agrees with individual parties on certain legislation. Lets not try to be too hypocritical.

  104. Don't you think he's making a point (which you just proved beautifully) about Harper's Coalition talking points?

    If this isn't a coalition, the opposition parties aren't a coalition. You can't have the very same evidence lead to two different conclusions.

  105. You would be lying. We have the press conference video footage to prove it. There is nothing that would have come forward by the coalition government that Duceppe did not agree with. He would be complaining in Question Period and negotiating behind the scenes. If legislation was not in the interest of Quebec Duceppe would not support it and given the seat count if the Conservatives did not agree the legislation would be defeated. Duceppe agreed to support confidence votes but nothing would come before parliament that Duceppe did not support.

  106. Sure it is easy to spout off. However, have one of your family members slaughtered by these deranged people and I am sure your position would be different.

  107. Well, first, it doesn't matter WHAT I'd call that since that didn't happen. Even if I thought that such a hypothetical document would comprise a coalition, that might have no effect on whether or not I thought the documents that actually exist in reality comprise a coalition.

    All that said, no I would not call that hypothetical a coalition. As you know, such a document exists (in terms of the Bloc demands). What if (of course it won't happen, but I get to use hypotheticals too!) the Tories took a look at that list of demands and said, "These seem reasonable, we probably would have done most of this anyway. Call up Duceppe and tell him he'd better get used to voting with the Tories on confidence matters for a while!"? Would it then be true in that scenario that the Tories are "in a coalition with the Bloc"? What if the Tories negotiated such an agreement with the Bloc and just didn't get it in writing? (What if, wait for it, they ALREADY HAVE!!! Mwahhahahah! j/k)

    The Tory government comes to the exact same kinds of agreements with the Bloc as the proposed Liberal-NDP government did ALL THE TIME. The only real difference is that the proposed Liberal-NDP government got Ducceppe to agree to the broad strokes of what the coalition wanted to do in writing, and made a big show of it (dumb) whereas the Tories make agreements with the Bloc on a more ad hoc basis, and are willing to accept a handshake instead of a signature (or, potentially, they do get Duceppe's signature first, we've just never seen the documents).

    Anyway, this is the policy understanding that the Liberal-NDP coalition asked Ducceppe to agree to. Not only is there no mention of anything for Quebec, the word Quebec does not appear in it at all (Quebecois does, though only once, when the reference is made to the Bloc Quebecois agreeing that the party "will neither move nor will it support any motions of nonconfidence in the Government during the term of its support for this agreement, and will vote in favour of the Government's position with respect to all matters referred to in the immediately preceding paragraph"). For it's part, the Liberal-NDP government simply agrees to "not request a dissolution of Parliament during the term of this agreement, except following defeat on an explicitly-framed motion of nonconfidence presented by the Opposition; or any vote pertaining to the speech from the throne; or on a budget vote at on any stage in the House; or on any bill to implement a budget at any stage in the House; or on any motion in the House to concur in, restore or reinstate any Estimates; or on any supply bill at any stage in the House."

    So, the Bloc agreed to not defeat a proposed federalist coalition government for two years, and the proposed federalist government agreed not to prorogue Parliament in order to avoid accountability.

    Scary stuff indeed!

  108. It leaves one to wonder. If Harper goes it alone than he's an authoritative bully but when he co-operates in the pursuit of progress he's a demon loving coalition monger.
    That said, the coalition finger pointing likely fuelled this.

  109. So I guess the agreement the Bloc signed wasn't a Coalition agreement then right?

    Now you're getting it (see above for a link to the second document btw, I don't have the url in my clipboard anymore…) ETA: LINK.

    Why did Duceppe have to sign anything at all if he had no involvement?

    Technically, I don't think Duceppe had to sign anything, just like he doesn't have to sign anything when he comes to agreements with the Tories to support their government on various initiatives. Clearly the Liberals and NDP felt that getting Duceppe's commitment to support their agenda in writing first would be more palatable to Canadians than the more traditional handshake agreement, and frankly, I'm kinda surprised they were wrong.

  110. No its called being disingenuous. The only thing the anti Harper crowd has is to accuse him of being uncooperative. So when he cooperates the opposition supporters are crying fowl.
    The fact remains we all know what a coalition means and is. History is a great teacher and usually repeats itself. So the threat of a real coalition in the face of another minority Conservative government is a reasonable expectation by a lot of Canadians.

  111. Search Results[PDF] JHSO submission on Bill S-6 (Elimination of – Submission to the … File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – Quick View
    payer dollars on amendments that will not make them safer and will …. The mechanisms of review in the faint hope clause process are stringent for ….. prison. Keeping these prisoners incarcerated for long terms without any … on parole costs less than $25000 a year to supervise and maintain in the community … <a href="http://www.johnhoward.on.ca/pdfs/S-6%20Brief.pdf” target=”_blank”>www.johnhoward.on.ca/pdfs/S-6%20Brief.pdf

    Can't get the link for some reason. Sure you can figure it out – enjoy.

  112. Even when shown the hard evidence you prefer to rely on your "feeling" of what might happen. Maybe you might want to be a little more careful how you throw the L word around, particular when all you've got is supposition and the other guy's got the documentation.

  113. The press conference video shows Layton and Dion signing a document to form a Liberal-NDP coalition. Duceppe signed a separate document agreeing not to defeat that proposed Liberal-NDP government for two years.

    Vis a vis the Bloc Quebecois, the proposed Liberal-NDP coalition didn't interact any differently with the Bloc than the Tory government does ALL THE TIME accept for getting Duceppe's support in writing before any votes. Duceppe's signature on that page really seems to bug Tory supporters. However, I still fail to see how getting a separatist leader to agree to support a federalist coalition for two years by signing a document that not only doesn't promise Quebec anything, but DOESN'T EVEN CONTAIN THE WORD QUEBEC is somehow objectionable.

    I really think sometimes that what drives Tory supporters nuts is that they're insulted, on behalf of Duceppe, that the Liberal-NDP coalition had the temerity to ask Duceppe for a commitment to support the broad strokes of their policies in writing, whereas the Tory government is willing to negotiate Bloc support for their policies based on a handshake.

  114. Bbbbut…Mr Harper said it was coalition or majority…no other choices…i heard him on CBC…so it must be true.


    Oh, and history rarely repeats itself.

  115. No sane person would read that to mean "We have come to an agreement to defeat the current government and form a coalition government". At best, it might mean "if you think it's in the best interests of Canada, we might be able to talk about forming a coalition government, but whatever you thinks best".

  116. The NDP and the Liberals had a marriage but the Bloc got common-law.

    I'd actually say that the NDP and Liberals had a marriage, and the Bloc agreed not to try to get the newlyweds kicked out of their house for the first two years after the wedding.

  117. Faint hope was enacted after the death sentence of repealed. It was a trade off for higher sentences for 1&2 degree murder. There was no parole after 25 years preceeding – it was a lesser sentence [13years??] or the big D.

  118. No, it's the fact that all he agreed to was to not defeat the coalition, and he got nothing in return for that agreement (accept the defeat of the Tories of course). Agreeing to not defeat a Liberal-NDP government doesn't make the Bloc part of a Liberal-NDP government any more than agreeing not to defeat a Tory government makes the Bloc a part of the Tory government.

    The Tory government comes to the exact same type of government-preserving agreements with the Bloc frequently. The fact that the Tory government doesn't get Duceppe's agreement on paper, but the proposed Liberal-NDP government did is neither here nor there in this context.

  119. After the initial 15 years, if turned down, they can keep applying every two years – never meant to fearmonger – just thought posters here were aware of this.

    Same with 'forced' as in forced to face the criminal if fighting their early parole application. The stats are something like 6 a year apply for FH.

  120. I saw Harper pose for the cameras shaking hands with Chad Kroeger once. Are the Tories in a coalition with Nickelback?

  121. Guess it is pretty obvious my feelings go out to the victims as they are the innocent. It isn't meant to be a heartless choice, but a choice. I also know people can change – had a roomate 30 years ago who did 7 years max and 3 years min. for drug dealing. Turned their life around completely.

  122. Good one!

    Watching the three signing the document makes this detail confusing – picture really was worth a thousand words. Bet you have used more than that just trying to get your point across on this one blog, lol!!!

  123. QED

  124. True, being a step ahead would be an example of having a leg up on one's opponent, but I'd always presumed it was meant in the sense of being ahead of someone who's trying to get to the same place as you. Your latest comment does make me think that you're right though, in the sense that the Bloc is, arguably, a step closer to their goal than Stewart is to his.

    It still feels kind of weird that someone could be "a step ahead" of someone else who was on a totally different (even antithetical) path, but you've definitely convinced me that I was being too pedantic.

  125. Duceppe signed on to support the coalition on confidence votes for two years. However, I am sure if it didn't go his way he would have withdrawn his support. You did not address nor can you the fact that Duceppe would have been standing in QP "chastizing" the coalition for this, that or the other thing but in behind the scenes would be forcing the coalition into doing what he wanted in order to retain his support. Remember the coalition in order to get anything done would need the support of the Bloc on virtually anything they tried to do.
    You keep talking about issues that were in the public domain. You have no idea what was agreed to behind the scenes to get Duceppe's agreement i..e Senate seats, more equalization, more autonomy for Quebec etc etc.
    Once again you seem to have no problem with a party who is determined to break up the country and who wants to demonstrate to Quebecers that the federation does not work.

  126. hollinm continued…..
    It is one thing to deal with the Bloc on an issue by issue basis but its another thing all together allowing the party to control the coalition. I say that because in order to survive the Libs/Dems needed his support on virtually anything they tried to do. This is not a benign party who has the interests of Canada as part of its reason for being.

  127. So history rarely repeats itself. That would be news to a lot of people. That WILL be the choice in the next election. You can deny it, you can poo poo it but that will be the case that Harper puts before the Canadian people. Canadians were told by the Libs/NDP last time that there was no intention of forming a coalition. Guess what within 6 weeks we had the earmarks of a coalition trying to undo the results of an election where the party that received the most votes and in fact more votes than the previous election is shunted to the side. This is not Canada's history. If it had worked then a minority parliament would no longer be a viable option because if the opposition parties didn't like what was happening they would simply get together, vote non confidence and form a coalition government.

  128. These are all arguments as to why you think the Coalition government would have been defeated, they're not arguments that establish the Bloc as a part of the Coalition. Besides which, what do you care if Duceppe was likely to break his word and defeat the coalition government. Wouldn't you WANT the coalition government defeated?

    The Bloc couldn't do anything to the Coalition that they can't do to the Tories, the only difference is that while apparently the Liberals and NDP are willing to consider sometimes supporting a Tory government rather than forcing them to only deal with the Bloc all the time, it would appear that the Tory's would never consider working with a Liberal-NDP government, even if it meant passing legislation against the wishes of the Bloc.

  129. There was no parole after 25 years preceding – – it was a lesser sentence [13years??] or the big D.

    Right, but doesn't that make the 25 years the "faint hope" part? The idea was, I thought, that it would be cruel (and potentially counterproductive) to actually imprison someone for life without even the theoretical hope that they might one day go free, and so you give them a "faint hope" of one day going free by allowing them to APPLY for parole after a certain amount of time. Isn't the latest change simply that your "faint hope" of getting out is now the ability to apply for parole after 25 years instead of after 15? I would have thought that eliminating the faint hope clause would mean eliminating the faint hope of the convict that he or she is ever getting parole (i.e. if you're sentenced to life you get no parole… no chance to apply to be freed EVER).

  130. I'm still confused. If the idea behind the "faint hope" clause is that lifers get at least a theoretical chance of going free someday (a "faint hope" of parole), and the effect of this legislation is to make the wait before a lifer can apply for parole 25 years instead of 15, doesn't someone sentenced to life in prison still have a "faint hope" of getting out of prison? Does it count as "repealing" the faint hope clause if the faint hope is still there?

    I always thought that repealing the faint hope clause would mean that life in prison means LIFE in PRISON (i.e. the elimination of the "faint hope" of eventual release). It's all well and good to make murderers sentenced to life in prison wait longer before they can make a parole application, but I always thought that the idea behind getting rid of the faint hope clause was to make murderers who are sentenced to life in prison wait FOREVER before they're eligible for parole (i.e., make it impossible for them to spend less than the rest of their life in prison).

    That's where I am, I think, philosophically. I think if you're sentenced to life in prison you should spend your life in prison. I realize that the practical effect of doing this would probably be fewer life sentences, but I could accept fewer life sentences if I knew that the people who really deserved (and thus got) life in prison were all going to come out of prison in a box.

  131. Trudeau actually increased the life sentence at that time

    Do you mean that he increased the maximum sentence, to life? 'Cause I don't think one can "increase" a life sentence. Life is pretty much as long as you can imprison someone (though I suppose one could force the prisoner's body to stay incarcerated for some time after their death, lol).

  132. I thought you righties thought that an opposition party agreeing to support certain legislation of a government was a coalition. Lets try not to be too hypocritical.

    If the Bloc agreeing to support a Tory government on certain pieces of legislation isn't, by definition, a coalition, then the Bloc agreeing to support a Liberal-NDP government on certain pieces of legislation isn't a coalition. Whether the agreement is piece by piece or multiple pieces of legislation at once, a gentleman's agreement or a written document, is totally irrelevant to that point.

  133. How about the 15 year threshhold was termed 'faint hope', while the 25 year threshhold was unofficially known as 'fainter hope'?

  134. Wherry would have a point, if getting particular votes on particular motions and legislation were the same as forming a coalition government together.

    But they are world's apart. And Wherry knows this.

    So instead of making a point, he simply looks churlish and disingenuous.

    His highly partisan leftist audience will surely defend it (as they'll defend anything….anything…that amounts to an attack on Harper) but the inherent dishonesty in the comparison remains.

    Gotta love that "progressive" political analysis.

  135. That pathetic sentence was a travesty.

  136. I think Wherry knows what a coalition is, he just likes to be misleading, deceptive and partisan. It's his modus operandi.

  137. Yet there are cries of foul play when Harper dares to suggest that Iggy may be in favour of a coalition because he….

    in fact, signed his name in a formal, solomn public declaration supporting the very last attempt at a coalition government, and thereafter specifically and publicly left open the possibility of forming a coalition.

    How very…."progressive".

  138. …the Conservatives' law-and-order agenda, propped up by the separatists…for shame…

    …the Conservatives' budget, soon to be propped up by the socialists… for shame…

    Actually, I'm happy to see the Tories working with other parties. That's the way minority governments are supposed to work. And of course it's not a coalition. But, it is kinda cute to see the Conservatives working with people they have gone to great lengths to demonize in the past.

  139. That's the worst talking point. You can't have a coalition of two parties that would be outvoted in the house by a single party.

  140. How?

    Ask Stephen Harper. He seems to know.

  141. "However, on September 22, 2010, the Liberal-NDP-Bloc Quebecois coalition voted to strike down C-391 just before it came to a final vote in the House of Commons."

  142. But when the opposition parties agree with one another on certain legislation, it's a coalition. A COALITION!

    Yes, sir, hollinm, let's not try to be too hypocritical…

  143. And when the oppositions cooperate, the Conservative supporters are crying fowl.


    Let's work on that not being hypocritical thing together, OK?

  144. Absolutely, chet, they are worlds apart.

    Except when the three parties on the opposition benches vote together.

    That's a coalition, and totally not churlish, disingenuous, or inherently dishonest of anyone when they point it out, either.

  145. Sentencing travesties happen every day in Canada. The only difference is that this particular travesty had a lot of publicity and media attention.

  146. I agree. But I also think that the damage of white-collar crime is minimized by the courts. I would say that this crime is worst than first degree murder, considering the amount stolen and the number of people whose lives have been harmed. An 8 year sentence is just 3 days in jail for each investor defrauded, or 1 day per $35,000 stolen! They say crime doesn't pay, but in this case, serving 1 day per $35,000 is a bargain!

    Or another way of looking at it, on average it takes a year to earn $35,000, but you need only serve a day in jail for stealing $35,000.

  147. Crackheads who hold up a gas station for $200 sometimes get harsher sentences than embezzlers who steal $200,000, so I agree with you that the damage of white-collar crime is minimized. That said, both Canadian armed robbers and Canadian embezzlers only serve a fraction of the time that Americans would serve for the same crimes.

  148. What's cuter, by a country mile, is watching Iggy lash out at the eeevil conservative agenda, over, and over and over again, in ever greater threatening tones.

    Only tuck tail and dutifully follown the agenda of that same demonic party, over, and over and over again.

  149. You honestly don't see the difference between a signed medium-to-long-term governing coalition agreement between two parties and a single governing party advancing legislation by negotiating one project at a time with whichever opposition party might be most likely to support the said project? Really?

  150. I can buy into your contention that there is a difference between those two scenarios.

    But I'm much less sure why the difference is important. In both cases legislation will only pass if it gets support from a majority of the house. In both cases the government will fall if it loses the confidence of the house. And so on…

  151. Thanks. I didn't know they could reapply every two years after the fifteen. As you say only 6 to 8 apply per year and i'm not sure how many of them get to see the parole board – i think around half, and they aren't necessarily accepted.

  152. Shush…i think justice minister missed that point. However, i doubt the extra ten years will do much to sustain anyones hope.

  153. Well, this all started when Aaron called it something it was not: a three-party coalition. And it's not hard to figure out his misleading juxtaposito-motives. So I thought I would answer MostlyCivil's cue call. And here we are.

  154. Twaddle. They had a signed commitment that required the bloc to support the coalition in every NC vote for 18 months – what's so hard to understand about that?

  155. You don't see any public good or otherwise of reintroducing those few individuals who have shown they are now fit to live in society again? I couldn't agree with you less. I can vaguely remember Trudeau aguing at the time, if the choice was only life and no parole he thought it less repugnant to put a man to death – have to say i still agree with that sentiment.

  156. Climb down off your sanctimonious high horse. Your positon might be different too if say your son spent 25 years locked up with his own pisspot, particularly if you felt he had taken steps to reform his life.

  157. Well, I agree that sentences are too light across the board. I'm also not fond of those repeat offenders who are in and out of prison dozens of times, yet continue to receive light sentences.

  158. well, sure I do, MYL. What I don't see a difference in is a fantasy agreement between three parties, which is what we have now, and a governing party making deals with 'evil' parties, also what we have now.

    Time does move on, and what we had yesterday isn't what we have today. There is absolutely nothing wrong–in fact its a good thing–for a governing party in a minority to make deals with an opposition party for support on individual issues. But then again, there is nothing wrong with opposition parties leaving the door open to come to some kind of agreement in the future if circumstances warrant it. In fact I'd say that's part of their job in a minority. But it doesn't mean we have an agreement now, yet Harper and his merry band seem to insert the existence into every non-response they give on any question. If you make stuff up, you can't complain when the tables are turned. Well, you can, but don't expect anyone to care.

  159. The fact remains, whether you like it or not, Canada has laws and if you do the crime you should do the time. Of course it is easy to change you life once locked up but the fact is if you are doing time for committing a horrific act i.e. murder then you are not entitled to your freedom. This has been the problem with our judicial system and why Canadians support changes being proposed. Too often the system is seen as favouring the criminal versus the victim.
    Perhaps you should think about the people who have had their lives ruined and are living in their own "prisons" because of the acts committed upon them or their families. By the way why do you think that Canadians who commit crimes in other countries want to come back to serve their time in Canada? We both know why.

  160. Let's try it again. The Bloc signed an agreement separate or otherwise. That means the Lib/NDP coalition needed them to survive. The three amigos appeared at a televised news conference which gave Canadians the distinct impression that the Bloc was part of the deal. Without the Bloc the coalition would not have worked. The Conservatives were only short 12 seats from a majority government. How would the Lib/NDP coalition get anything passed if the Bloc did not support a piece of legislation that was confidence or otherwise. Obviously if the Conservatives didn't support whatever it was it was dead. To argue that the Bloc was not part of the coalition in my judgement is ludicrous. Why are you so determined to show that the Bloc was not part of the coalition. Its history. However, the Conservatives have every right to remind Canadians that there could be another attempted coalition with or without the Bloc after the next election.

  161. I will repeat what I said to LdKitchener above for your benefit……

    Let's try it again. The Bloc signed an agreement separate or otherwise. That means the Lib/NDP coalition needed them to survive. The three amigos appeared at a televised news conference which gave Canadians the distinct impression that the Bloc was part of the deal. Without the Bloc the coalition would not have worked. The Conservatives were only short 12 seats from a majority government. How would the Lib/NDP coalition get anything passed if the Bloc did not support a piece of legislation that was confidence or otherwise. Obviously if the Conservatives didn't support whatever it was it was dead. To argue that the Bloc was not part of the coalition in my judgement is ludicrous. Why are you so determined to show that the Bloc was not part of the coalition. Its history. However, the Conservatives have every right to remind Canadians that there could be another attempted coalition with or without the Bloc after the next election.

  162. I assume you are talking about the coalition. Been there, done that, bought the T Shirt. Refer to my comments to LdKitchener and Timesarrow.
    Of course the opposition should cooperate if they don't want the country to work and they are only looking for partisan advantage. They have been doing a pretty good job of it for the last five years.
    The fact remains there is only one party who is considered the Canadian government and therefore who speaks for Canada. It would appear the opposition parties believe that this is not the case and that four parties are entitled to run the country. There is no hypocrisy on my part. If the opposition parties want to have the courage to bring down the government I am all for it. That's the real test in my opinion.

  163. A few years back I had the opportunity to meet Correctional Officers at a Max Security federal penn (for work!), and they described the importance of the Faint Hope clause for helping them to manage the offenders serving life sentences, because (surprise, surprise) it offers exactly what the name would suggest, the faint hope that if an offender makes a rehabilitation program and follows it, eventually s/he may be able to apply for parole. These were hard-working, hard-nosed, frontline law enforcement workers, who, despite their PSAC membership cards, were not what I would describe as particularly "lefty."

  164. I have never said it is a coalition. Try not to put words in my mouth. As I said if the opposition parties believe the government is not entitled to govern then they should put forward a vote of non confidence and defeat the government. It is not the job of the opposition parties to try and run the govenment when they have no mandate to do so. Only the Canadian people have the right to decide who they want to govern them.

  165. You are really stretching the line of credibility here. Like Ignatieff you are trying to turn yourself into a pretzel to avoid acknowledging that the Bloc was part of the coalition whether formal or otherwise.
    Once again agreeing to support a specific piece of legislation is called a minority government.
    Trying to overturn an election that was held 6 weeks before which required all of the losers of the election to participate is called a losing strategy and an affront to democracy.

  166. Life expectancy in a max security penn is a fair bit shorter than in the outside world (both due to environmental conditions in the penn and due to the profile of the population in question — health, lifestyle, etc), so offenders of a certain age might not have much "faint hope" of lasting 25, where they might of lasting 15. The faint hope clause then gets (was) used as a carrot to encourage offenders to follow a rehabilitation program even if they were sentenced to life. Otherwise they may have no incentive not to make trouble.

  167. McC_'s response is the best one for that. That said, I think you're letting the name get in the way of seeing what's happening here. Had they called it the "Early rehabilitation encouragement" clause, would it then make more sense?

    As a comparator.. please look at the "Accountability Act" for evidence that names generally have little to do with the legislation in question.

  168. Your argument turns around against the Conservatives at this point. To get legislation or budget passed they need the support of one of the opposition parties. Thus they must be in coalition with one of the parties each time.

    Basically, you don't have an understanding of what the word coalition means, and you're basing your conclusions of what the Bloc would do not on any sort of evidence or precedence, but on your typically ignorant, half-assed opinion that has little to no connection with anything in reality.

  169. No, it's called Harper being a hypocrite. If Harper comes out and says, "Working with the Bloc to support your legislative agenda is not a coalition, and never was" then all of these guffaws at him working with the bloc to support his legislative agenda will go away.

  170. You're finally getting it! The Bloc agreeing to support the specific pieces of legislation (specifically, those that cause a confidence vote) brought forth by the Liberal/NDP coalition is called a minority government!

    From your own mouth even, finally!

  171. "The literature on release outcomes of prisoners who are sentenced to long-term sentences (i.e. more than 10 years), such as those who serve sentences for first- and second- degree murder, indicates that these individuals have lower rates of reconviction than prisoners who serve shorter sentences."

    Maybe you didn't read the JohnHoward report. It does not provide any evidence at all to suppor t the arguement that faint hoope makes prisons safer and the report tries to dismiss the above passage which clearly states that people who serve LONGER sentences are less likely to re-offend.
    So, no evidence to support FHC but evidence to support keeping criminals locked up longer.

  172. This brings it to the fundamental argument. What is the primary purpose for a prison?

    Hollinm obviously believes it should be for punishment, vengeance, and perhaps fairness. So arguing about prisons not on those grounds is simply going to go over his head.

    Myself, I believe the primary purpose for a prison is for society's safety. So making arguments revolving around punishment, or fairness, or a lack thereof don't sway me one iota.

  173. I don't get you. Prisons are for punishment and of course the protection of society and yes if a prisoner is serious he can have a change of heart in prison. However, that does not mitigate his crime. There is such a thing as personal responsibility. No matter how terrible your upbringing people make choices and if they choose crime then they know there will be a punishment set by society. It has nothing to do with vengence.
    You lefties believe that building more basketball courts will solve crime. The argument goes if only they had more understanding, loving, nurturing parents etc. etc they would not have chosen crime. I say balderdash. Its called personal responsibility. We all make choices in this life. Most make the right choice. Others not so much.

  174. Fair enough. And more than 'taking issue' with your comment I was just using your comment as a spot to attach my query, trying to move the discussion away from semantics to practical outcomes.

    And I don't mind discussions about semantics – words are important, words have real meanings and so on – but it has got to be at least as important to talk about how different ideas will play out.

    And in this case I have just not been convinced that any of these possible governing arrangements (ad hoc agreements that the CPC tends to use, or go it alone and hope someone agrees or abstains, or informal coalition or formal two party coalition, etc, etc) are in and of themselves bad.

    Specifically the BQ, with less than 50 MPs, can't get anything done, especially something that would be "Good for Quebec AND bad for Canada" without the support of 100 MPs from the rest of Canada. While I'm sure that some MPs aren't exactly the "sharpest tool in the shed", I am very confident that the BQ would not be able to hoodwink 100 of them into something that was fundamentally fatal for Canada.

  175. Call it what you will. It is obvious that you want the Conservatives to back off the coalition talk because you know it will have resonance with the population during the election campaign.

    Once again the government working with individual opposition parties on particular pieces of legislation at different times is hardly a coalition in the terms you want to define it.

    So according to your logic Harper has been in a coalition with each of the opposition parties at some point during the past five years. As I said you are turning yourself into a pretzel trying to justify your position. It is not logical and only the anti Harper crowd would try to stuff this kind of thinking down the throats of their fellow citizens.

  176. You have lost the argument so now you resort to name calling. Its too bad. We are talking about one type of coalition and you know it. Lets not get into the Clinton speak where it depends on what the meaning of "is" is.

  177. To me, this is how I think I square the circle of the "exceptional" cases, i.e. the cases where, even though I'm opposed to the death penalty, I'd probably not argue too hard to save the convict (your Bernardos, and Olsens etc…).

    I understand the argument that death might be considered less repugnant by some than life without the possibility of parole, but I still just see DEATH as the big line not to cross, and as long as the prisoner is treated humanely, and some effort is made to address the psychological consequences of having no hope of release, I say throw away the key. As I said, I do think that under this scenario a life sentence might become comparatively rare, as we'd be using it basically for those times where, today, we have the majority of people saying "but couldn't we make an exception and just execute HIM?". I'm enough of an opponent of the death penalty that I don't want Bernardo killed by the state (though, admittedly, I might not lift a finger to stop it if it were coming). However, while I believe in rehabilitation, I'll never believe that Paul Bernardo is "fit to live in society again". Never. He's forfeited that right imho, and I have no problem keeping him and his ilk segregated from the rest of society until his heart stops beating. I just don't want the state to make his heart stop beating.

  178. If you actually believed that prisons are for the protection of society, you'd acknowledge that getting reformed prisoners out of prison and into society where they can be productive would take priority over having them sit and rot in jail while society pays for them.

    It doesn't protect anybody having a harmless person trapped in jail where they can't maintain the skills or social contacts that have a strong chance of keeping them from re-offending. It doesn't protect anybody when said person is in a violent environment and in order to survive must continually resort to either violence or submitting to violence — that gives them a mindset that's not easy to change once they get out.

    As such, you believe prison is for punishment. I don't. Not much more we can say to each other on this subject.

    As for your final shot, I actually believe that building better mental health support structures, and a better economic support system will solve crime. We all make choices, yes, but they all have reasons. So perhaps if we concentrated on addressing the reasons before the crime, rather than having to simply react after it, we might find ourselves in a better place.

  179. As I said if the opposition parties believe the government is not entitled to govern then they should put forward a vote of non confidence and defeat the government.

    I'm pretty sure that was actually the plan.

    Then Parliament got prorogued.

  180. Why are you so determined to show that the Bloc was not part of the coalition.

    For my part, mostly just because THE BLOC WAS NOT PART OF THE COALITION.

  181. You are probably right. However, the government also has options as well. Harper used his and the GG agreed. End of story.
    Having said that there were plenty of opportunities since 008 for the opposition to put their money were their mouths are. However, none of them have the guts.

  182. That is b.s. and you know it.

  183. FYI

    "Is that all my son's life was worth – 15 years – for protecting the public? Why do I have to be victimized again and again. Dorothy Malette [the convicted murderer] wants to visit her children. I have to go to the cemetery to visit my son."
    (Quote from Mrs. Rose Onofrey, whose son Dennis was murdered)

  184. I don't entirely disagree with what you said. However, go back to my point. We all have to take responsbility for our actions in this life. So prisoners are harmless are they? We are not talking about kids who steal cars. We are talking about people who have had multiple offences and perform heinous crimes. You want to minimize the nature of the crimes and the criminals. I don't.
    Once again, you fall into the old socialist trap of having law abiding Canadians forced to pay for the sins of the criminals i.e. better economic support system. What does that mean? Mental health facilities. I agree we could do a lot better on this one.

  185. In case you forgot, we're talking specifically about prisoners who apply for the faint-hope clause.. ie, prisoners that have both a judge and a parole board examine them and conclude that they are a minimal threat. We're not talking about people who still pose a significant risk of re-offending. I realize lumping them all together like that makes it sound like you have an argument, but that's not what we're talking about.

    What I want to do is minimize the destructive attitude of remaining focused on what was rather than what is. And ideally I'd like to minimize focusing on what is for what will be, but that's pretty much a pipe dream right now.

    A better economic support system means one where people don't feel so desperate that they see committing a violent crime as their best option. A system that not only gives people enough to live on reasonable, but gives them support to better their economic situation by opening up training and education opportunities as well.

  186. Oo! I like that last one! Can we have that governing us? Please?

    It's gotta be better than the crap we've got on offer now.

  187. As I've said before, I think the Parliamentary Mace should see more use.

  188. Lower rates of reconviction because they've got less life left. Not necessarily because they're more rehabilitated.. hell, they may be more LIKELY to reoffend if they get the chance, but simply die too soon.

    What you're forgetting to consider here is how productive those lives are. I mean sure, we can keep somebody locked up for 25, 50, even 100 years, and odds are pretty low that there'll be a lot of reconvictions after they're released. But every year they're in increases not only the cost to society we've paid for them, but lessens the amount that society can get back.

    I think ideally we should be balancing that productivity balance with the chance of re-offending.

  189. If this was a measure of maintaining a balance of accounts for citizen productivity, we shouldn't even send the murderer to jail because he will owe us the lose of productivity to society forgone by the person they murdered.
    I think it is troubling to measure people based on their potential contribution to society. We did not form states and nations to extract the most benifit out of our labour. I don't support the death penalty but I don't support parole for 1st degree murder. If the Corrections Canada releases a 'rehabilitated' car thief who re-offends, my insurance takes a small hit and my car is replaced. If a 'rehabilitated' murderer re-offends your life can't be replaced. Heck, upon release the truly rehabed car thief could make amends but for the families of murder vics there is no recourse, ever. No recourse, no release.
    For every other crime the sentence is an abitrary number that reflects the current mood of a society towards balancing revenge and rehab, costs of incareration and benifits of reintegration. But for the intentional murder, a life sentence isn't aribtrary, it is just.

  190. OK. I'll try one last time. How many cabinet ministers were the Bloc getting? What role were they promised in formulating legislation? What were they even promised at all?

    The answers are "none", "none", and "nothing more than being 'consulted' by the Liberal-NDP government, and a promise that the Liberal-NDP government wouldn't prorogue Parliament to avoid accountability" (I wonder why they needed to put that last bit in?).

    Other than voting with the government in the House on certain pieces of legislation (like they do with the Tories all the time) in what possible sense was the Bloc a part of the proposed Liberal-NDP government?

    If the Bloc were a part of the Liberal-NDP coalition agreement then the Liberal-NDP coalition agreement would include Gilles Duceppe's signature (and probably also the word "Quebec"). Go re-read the coalition agreement and the broad policy framework agreement and tell me what part of the Bloc's connection to either document suggests that they're part of the proposed government, or even just what part that you object to.

  191. Hey! Can you remember which party it was that – literally – wrote the book on how to prevent its own legislation from getting through committee?

    I think it was the Conservatives. You remember?

  192. I think that's also according to Harper's own logic, isn't it?

  193. Let's use your own words: "The government agrees with individual parties on certain legislation."

    It's one of those irregular verbs, like what they got in French.

    The Conservatives "agree with individual parties on certain legislation."

    But it's a Liberal coalition with the Socialists and Separatists when everyone else agrees with each other, but not the Conservatives, on certain legislation.

  194. i agree with your economics arguement. However there are instances where the jobs are there and still problems persist. In fact it is often the case that crime and social deviance are inter-generational. This is a real tragedy and will take morethen improved economic circumstances to change it. Which of course brings us in part at least back to prison and what it is for – Hollinm is basically saying it's a trash heap for societies rejects and failures. The truth is so much more complex and consequently vastly more difficult to pin down. I'm with you – an ounce of prevention. Others would rather have their pound of flesh.

  195. As I said, I do think that under this scenario a life sentence might become comparatively rare, as we'd be using it basically for those times where, today, we have the majority of people saying "but couldn't we make an exception and just execute HIM?".

    Would that really be the case though? Hasn't this govt taken such options out of the hands of judges and prosecutors by introducing manditory minimums? I actually don't have much of a clue about this myself.
    As regards Bernado and company i completely concur – they've burned their bridges in my mind – but i don't think those cases were the ones we ought to be concerned about; they'll never get past a parole board in any case because of public opinion.

  196. But Leo was this individual guaranteed to receive parole? A little more context would help. Again, this would be a comparatively rare event. Shouldn't it be on a case by case basis. Do you feel the victims rights should always trump the perpetrators? Perhaps a truly just scenario would call for such cases to only go forward if the victim's families gave their consent? As happens in native healing circles.

  197. Tell me what was agreed to that was not in the agreemnt. Was Duceppe offered more equalization money? Was Duceppe offered Senate seats? Was Quebec offered more autonomy in managing its own affairs.

  198. Sounds like wealth redistribution on a huge scale. Is this your idea of a guaranteed income. So anybody he feels desperate is justified in breaking the law. Really.

  199. Please. That's like saying if a person points out a shelf is weak, they're fine if it breaks.

  200. Dennis… you never fail!

  201. At what? Please feel free to engage any issue or point raised, if you can. Thank you.

  202. The Bloc was not a member of the Dion proposed coalition. Response?

  203. The Bloc was the nonparticipating third party on which the coalition was depending for survival. Dion & Layton had a piece of paper with a signature on it: Peace For Our Time!

    Sorry… I should have warned all readers with a lick of common sense not to be partaking of beverage as they read that passage.

  204. I'm in favour of cooperation, of which this is a suitable example.

  205. Gilles Duceppe is Hitler? Who knew. ;-)

  206. Your words, donkey sans tail… Your words…


  207. Yup, they are my words…..but in the form of a question…..put to you!

    How far do the similarities extend?

  208. Their formal support was necessary to its existence, wasn't it? Without the Bloc, there is no coalition. Right?

    Don't understand why coalition supporters are running away from this after the fact. Oh wait, of course I understand.

  209. Ahhhh. So you want me to defend the agreement against the mystery provisions found only in your head!

    OK then. Now see why I wasn't getting anywhere.

  210. Of course you couldn't answer the question. However, you would have found out the answer once the coalition was firmly ensconced as government. Alas that was not to be thanks to the good sense of the GG.

  211. I can answer the questions, of course, the answers are no, no and no.

    However, given that you're now asking me about what non-existent agreements were secretly made about secret provisions in secret meetings that never actually happened outside of your head, I'm not sure you'd ever be satisfied with those answers, true as they are.

    Has Harper secretly offered the Bloc more equalization money, Senate seats or more autonomy in managing their own affairs in order to garner their support on the pardon legislation? No. However, if one is willing to believe that he's secretly giving away things to the Bloc behind the scenes that he'd never give away publicly, one can never be convinced of that, can one?

    My inability to talk you out of your own paranoia about what people are doing in secret behind closed curtains isn't necessarily a reflection of my lack of argumentative skills. I know this might be hard to accept, but it's possible that the things you are assuming are happening in secret simply AREN'T ACTUALLY HAPPENING AT ALL.

    All that said, I'm willing to leave the field and accept all of your points if you promise never to ever claim again that the Harper government doesn't have a secret hidden agenda. If you can say that the proposed Liberal-NDP government had a secret agenda that they were hiding from the public, I can say the Tory government has one too.

  212. Now you are beginning to rant. Read your post again. You do look silly you know.

Sign in to comment.