The market has spoken

by Aaron Wherry

Catching a point our Andrew Coyne missed, Stephen Harper explains the trouble with this democracy of ours.

“The games begin when Parliament returns,” he explained. “The government can take our time now to do the important work to prepare the economic agenda ahead. That said, as soon as Parliament comes back . . . the first thing that happens is a vote of confidence and there’ll be votes of confidence and election speculation for every single week after that for the rest of the year. That’s the kind of instability markets are actually worried about.”




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The market has spoken

  1. Ah, so shorter Stephen Harper: minority government itself is now a rationale for proroguing Parliament; we cant get any work done when those other pesky non-Conservative elected MP's are around to annoy us.

    • Man we only have ourselves to blame for not giving this guy a majority…Canadian's are really such selfish bast***s.

      • Why do we need elections? Let's just accept Dictator Steve for life.

        • You can fix that, in March…..

          • Maybe – but as others have said – not every disagreement with the government needs to result in non-confidence votes. If this was a regular normal type of government, there would be no issue.. but Mr Harper and his bunch seem to have the George Bush/Dick Cheney streak in them, where rules are made to be broken.

      • According to Tony Clement, you are also an elitist just for commenting sarcastically.

        • I prefer to think I'm a chatterer.

        • We can't all be reg'lar folk like Tony Clement and Sarah Palin.

    • Yes, he apparently has no interest in leading a minority government. Until the people who vote recognize that he won't give up until we grant him his birthright, Harper will remain a petulant, truthiness-challenged, self-absorbed chess master with a narcissistic complex.

      • I can't imagine those characteristics ever changing. A majority would probably make him worse.

  2. Tom Flanagan's retort to that on Evan Solomon's P&P is must-see TV.

    After all, the markets have risen close to 30% in 2009, the year of minority parls and election threats.

    • Yeah, that was pretty surprising eh?

      • Was it ever? When even your mentor thinks you're an idiot, I guess the game's up :-)

      • Interesting…although i see Flanagan is pushing the absurd notion that since the libs created the Afghan mission and the problematic first detainee agreement they have no right to comment on it…in case you weren't paying attention Tom it was the duty and the responsibility of the new govt to fix any problems in the original agreement, not wait until it becomes an embarassment ; and it is the duty of the opposition to hold them accountable, no matter if it appears hypocritical or not.

  3. The Liberals are talking about arcane points of Parliamentary procedure involving pushing back the return of Parliament a few days and the plight of Taliban detainees circa 2006.

    Meanwhile Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have their eyes on the ball: the economy, which is Canadian's major concern.

    • So it's confirmed then…Harper can't walk and chew gum at the same time…economy trumps democratic accountability…What a guy!

      • He said "markets", not "stock market"; there's a critical semantic difference there. Markets, more or less, are the economy.

        Why the hell am I defending the PMO on this one? I don't know. I certainly don't mean to. But it's an assumption that I think other people might make so I feel the urge to speak.

        • Lots of room for debate … but not the time or place. But given that Tom Flanagan makes
          the same assumption (CBC) and that PMSH has a penchant for offering unsolicited financial
          advice, confusion could easily ensue.

    • Jarrid is your idol so incompetent that he can't participate in Parliament and keep and eye on the economy at the same time? Weaksauce.

    • I think I'll opt for the Jean Chrétien-Paul Martin economy, thanks. Seems to me we were doing a little better off back then.

  4. It's as if they've installed a big Jeopardy-style wheel in the PMO. Each morning Dimitri spins (no pun intended) it and the big wheel delivers the excuse of the day.

    Which, come to think of it, makes the "recalibrate" line sorta true.

    • You're probably thinking "Wheel of Fortune." If Harper lands on "Bankrupt," he can always prorogue the game and start a-fresh.

      • Thanks Skinny. If I could just get myself prorogued, I'd have more time to keep those darn game shows straight!

    • OK, who blabbed about the wheel? (It was originally going to be installed in the shoe store.)

  5. IMO, the market instability line gets trotted out as a means to leverage fear, much like Dubya's orange alert National Threat Level.
    While the PM's concerns could be legitimate, I find his original assertion that we would sidestep a recession, and the government's subsequent deficit denials and fantasy forecasts have destroyed their credibility on "the economy".

  6. Love has its reasons, that reasons know not.

    Stephen Harper loves this Parliament too much to limit his motives and feelings in anything which can be conveyed by mere words. Search not, then for reasons: look for love!

    • "All you need is love"

      I sense an encore…

  7. I knew it was democracy's fault.

    • lol…cute…blame Canada.

  8. The 104 previous prorogues…not a single issue.

    The 105th prorogue – scandal of the century!!!!

    The difference?

    The conservatives are in power, and more importantly,

    the Liberals are devoid of any substantive reasons for gaining back power, and more desperate that any opposition party in a generation.

    • Question to you Biff: Do you think that Harper shutting down Parliament was a good thing or a bad thing? Do you think that a PM shutting down Parliament when serious accountability questions are being faced and the polls are going south is a good thing or a bad thing?

      • Not sure acutally. I do know that I think my wife mixing up my socks is a "bad" thing.

        The question of the importance as an issue, seems to be escaping most here.

        Like my mixed up socks, if I'm forced to think about it, I guess I'd say it's not good, but it's not something to sway my position, in the slightest.

        Here try this: do you think that Canada have the most sucessful economy out of almost all other Western nations….is a good thing or a bad thing?

        I'm guessing the economic well being is a thousand fold more important as an issue.

        • Here, try this. Do you think Harper had anything to do with the economy? Before you answer.. please remember how the economic policies he undertook were "forced" on him by the opposition.

          So the choice is either "No, Harper's actions had no effect on the economy" or "No, Harper was over-ruled by the opposition so is not at all responsible for the economy."

          Credit for our current bubble goes to Mark Carney… you may want to remember that for when it pops.

    • The difference? The government is under order from Parliament to produce documents that members of the government say would cast a pall over visitors to the Olympics.

      Apparantly, whatever is in the documents is bad enough that it would overshadow the Olympics, so Mr. Harper felt he had to shut Parliament down rather than let that get out.

      • The other difference is that dozens of those 104 prorogations were in the 19th century. There was a bar under the House of Commons then, too.

        • I'm sure Biff knows who should receive any for our economy being in a better position to weather the economic downturn storm. A clue: it isn't the government that spent the rainy-day fund like a drunken sailor on his first weekend on land…

  9. And after a wonderful Olympics,

    and the delivery of a Budget by the most successful government of any Western nation facing this worlwide recession,

    there will be an election call.

    I wonder how the most successful government, facing an oppostion who's offered nothing more than following headlines on this issue or that, will fair?

    • They'll fair poorly and Harper will win another minority government. At which point I guess he can prorogue…

    • Don't forget to mention the pooping puffin, kody.

    • How will there be an election call? I thought Harper wanted Parliament to work? I thought Canadians didn't want another election?

      Course I suppose it's a distinct possibility that Harper only wants Parliament to work for him and doesn't give a s**t what Canadians want as long as he hangs on to his 40%.

    • "The Liberals are devoid of any substantive reasons for gaining back power, and more desperate that any opposition party in a generation.ow will there be an election call? I thought Harper wanted Parliament to work? I thought Canadians didn't want another election?"

      ——————-

      Actually Ignatieff has been announcing policy directions since the summer, in the level of detail that is appropriate between election campaigns, it's just the media has been ignoring it and mindlessly repeating the Con talking point that the Liberals have no policy platform. There will be clear policy differences between the Liberals and the Conservatives next election. Just don't complain when you get what you ask for.

      Also you sound like the one who is increasingly desperate in recent days Biff. I think I smell the distinct odor of scared Neo-Con. Ahhhhh, how sweet it is ;)

  10. Harper forgets that he's governing a country not a market.

    And he's beyond arrogant to think he can call a timeout whenever he likes to concentrate solely on the economy (which he manages ineptly anyway). Do your effin' job Harper. That means try managing the economy while answering questions in the House of Commons and in committees AT THE SAME TIME. You have an entire cabinet and civil service to help you do that. Shouldn't be too hard to do seeing as how every other Prime Minister in Canadian history has managed to pull it off.

    His description of Parliament as "games" and his reduction of it only to confidence votes demonstrates his contempt for it. This is a very stupid attitude for a person to take towards people who have just as much democratic legitimacy as he does.

  11. As long as Harper maintains this attitude I think the opposition parties would be crazy not to vote non-confidence in him. In fact, I'm starting to suspect this Harper is deliberately encouraging them to do so. I guess he thinks he can get away with it because he must have internal polling showing that the prorogation (and his exceedingly lame excuses for it) aren't denting his base support and that the electorate aren't mobilizing around any one alternative party that could defeat him but I think he's making a potentially lethal miscalculation. Voters don't like hubris and they will find ways to punish leaders who indulge it. That's a lesson Harper should have learned by now but he keeps making the same stupid mistake. I hope he fully pays for it this time.

    • Nothing will dent his base support.

      The marginal supporters… the ones who gave him a minority, a stronger minority, and who he needs to win a slender majority… they are the ones at play.

      • True, but I'd dare say his base support is south of 30% (even less of eligible voters); as noted he cares not one whit for the Canadian costs of an election, otherwise we would never have had that illegal (from his own law) and unwanted election 15 months ago. However, if its a game of attrition he's waging, a possible minority win with an exhausted opponent and another Liberal leadership campaign draining his main competitors' funds — tied with getting through some heavily-slanted-in-CON favour election funding changes — he's moving in the right direction.
        I'd agree however that its a risky and diabolical plan that could implode all over his psychic-selected suit.

    • 'I'm starting to suspect this Harper is deliberately encouraging them to do so.'

      You don't think Harper made a mistake with prorogation, it was a calculated decision?
      I think you are right. Jack figured it out and now won't Play House with the Libs. rats.

      • Everything he does is calculated. I just think he may have miscalculated. For one thing he is betting that Canadians are stupid.

  12. There's a reason why Iggy has announced that he's not interested in an election.

    For the one and only reason any opposition leader: they'll lose, and lose badly.

    Harper's seat totals have increased in each of the past three elections. Each time his detractors have claimed he could only go down.

    Post Olympics, and post successful budget? The rational conclusion is his seat totals will increase once again…

    which likely means a majority government.

    • "There's a reason why Iggy has announced that he's not interested in an election."

      Yeah because Canadians made it very clear last fall that they don't want an election so soon after the ast one. Ignatieff got the message. Did Harper? Or is he arrogant enough to think that message only applied to Igantieff

      ———————-

      "Harper's seat totals have increased in each of the past three elections. Each time his detractors have claimed he could only go down. Post Olympics, and post successful budget? The rational conclusion is his seat totals will increase once again…"

      There are at least three three potentially fatal assumptions in your arguments:

      1. You assume that a trend that you have observed in three straight elections will continue indefinitely.

      2a. You assume the Olympics will be successful 2b. You assume that if they are successful Harper will get the credit for that.

      3. You assume the budget will be a success *(based on Flaherty's outstanding track record I imagine).

      I'm glad you're feeling so cocky though. Kim Campbell was cocky once. So was Paul Martin. So were Mike Harris and Ernie Eves. So were lots of politicians who got their butts kicked by an voters who reminded them who was really in charge.

      • Oh, Harper has had his share of butt kicking.

        What ever we all think is motivating Harper, is not.
        The guy just isn't that transparent.
        Something is brewing.

        • No, he's completely transparent. It's a naked lust for power and the ability to force his will and views upon others.

          Harper's actions in that light make perfect sense, every time.

    • Dear Robert Bourassa's Ghost:

      Back when you were the incumbent Premier of Quebec, with the landslidiest landslide in the province's history, and you called an election after just three years, how did the Olympics help your campaign? We could use some tips.

      Dmitri S. in Ottawa

      • "Landslidiest". That neologism reminds me of of Kady.

        Did Trudeau suffer any fallout from the 1976 Olympics boondoggle? Even in a worst-case scenario, Gordon Campbell would wear most of the blame.

        • That's true…the voters in BC are just pissed enough with Campbell to toss him even if the medal count is low…if we lose the men's hockey we just might have a revolution.

    • Each time his detractors have claimed he could only go down.
      As opposed to all the detractors who'd normally claim his seat totals would go up?

      Care to look up what "detractors" means?

      Incidentally, how many billions in deficit is a "successful" budget these days, biff?

  13. Including Alberta.

    • It seems most of you guys have your head so far up each other`s a—- that you`re blind to anything that may have more to do with the well-being of the country rather than just the Liberal Party.

      Responsible criticism is good; the type of never-ending, smearing, mud-throwing you guys persist with that paints the country as anti-democratic, a war criminal, an environmental criminal, headed by a Stalin, a Hitler, a Castro might tend to hurt our market economy . Fortunately, Liberals have cried " wolf " so many times, the only people that takes themselves seriously are those directly attached to them.

      • Alright common man, here's your chance – explain to me how opting for proroguation instead of complying with Parliament is good for the well-being of the country.

  14. the first thing that happens is a vote of confidence and there'll be votes of confidence and election speculation for every single week after that for the rest of the year. That's the kind of instability markets are actually worried about.

    If the markets are worried about such things, perhaps it was a bad idea to prorogue parliament and create that exact situation instead of returning on schedule without any nasty confidence votes pending.

    • I think that was a veiled warning about the instability of a coalition government.
      But this week proved that Dippers and Libs can even stage a protest together,
      so how would they run a country together?

      • Err, no. There's no mention of a coalition anywhere there. He's trying to claim all the confidence votes make minority parliaments unstable and frazzle markets.

        All while ignoring the reality that he's gone and forced a mandatory one in the Throne Speech and announced a second in the Budget he intends to announce the next day.

        Perhaps if such things are bad, he should have avoided at least one of those by simply returning on time.

    • An appropriate response to that sort of statement by the govt might be…"smarten up and make parliament work opposition parties"…er…perhaps not…"so i just had no choice you see ; i had to shut down Parliament". Personally i much preferred we shutting down to enjoy the olympics…this excuse is pathetic and the remedy disproportionate.

  15. I never realized that large purchases between Parliaments was so counter-culture.

  16. For jarrid, wilson and their friends in the PMO…
    please note – refusing to answer the QUESTION that was posed – and following with a non-sequitur – is SO Van Loan…and surely you have noticed Harper doesn't trot him out much these days (even though Security has been big on the scene for the last couple of weeks. Peter in the Dog House – is he? inquiring minds and all that…
    Anon Liberal – time to get with the program. The ONLY way that THIS Liberal party is going to vote non-confidence on March 5th is if the NDP or Bloc decide to vote WITH Harper i.e. as an empty gesture (which is what I rate the photo Op. on January 25th).
    The best thing that Mr Ignatieff can do for the future of Canadians and the Centre / Left is to sit down with Messrs. Layton, Duceppe and Ms. May – and figure out 1) an election strategy and 2) a governing strategy to make voting Mr. Harper down a worthwhile action!

    • "The best thing that Mr Ignatieff can do for the future of Canadians and the Centre / Left is to sit down with Messrs. Layton, Duceppe and Ms. May – and figure out 1) an election strategy and 2) a governing strategy to make voting Mr. Harper down a worthwhile action!"
      ————————

      That won't happen until after at least one more LPC defeat…if then.

    • Why would the right-wing Liberal party sit down with centre-left parties? And vice versa?

  17. So if repeated confidence votes cause market instability, then wouldn't Stephen Harper himself be guilty of causing massive market instability in 2007/08 by making damn near every vote a confidence one?

    (of course 2007/08 was a period of near record highs on the TSX, which would appear to punch a transport truck sized hole in his argument)

    • or by introducing more forthcoming confidence votes by interjecting an unnecessary SFT in March?

  18. I thought the Games begin on February 12th. But if they are so bad for the markets and the economy, they should be canceled.

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