'The only course of action that remains' - Macleans.ca

‘The only course of action that remains’


The Prime Minister’s statement to reporters after his government was defeated in the House.

Good afternoon.  I’ll be brief.  The global economy is still fragile.  Canada’s recovery has been strong but it needs to remain our focus. That’s why the economy has been and will continue to be the number one priority for me as Prime Minister and for all the members of our Conservative government.  This is what Canadians expect of us in Parliament, all of us.

The budget tabled this week by the Minister of Finance, the next phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, is critically important to complete Canada’s economic recovery.  It seeks to support growth, create jobs and help those in need with affordable measures and to do all of these things without raising taxes.  Its contents not only reflected the wide input of Canadians, including the input of other political parties, it has the strong support of Canadians.  Indeed, there was nothing, absolutely nothing in the budget that the opposition could not or should not have supported.

Unfortunately, Mr. Ignatieff and his coalition partners in the NDP and Bloc Québécois made abundantly clear that they had already decided they wanted to force an election instead—Canada’s fourth election in seven years, an election Canadians had told them clearly that they do not want. Thus the vote today which obviously disappoints me, will I suspect disappoint most Canadians. As a consequence, I will have to meet with the Governor General tomorrow to advise him of the situation and to take the only course of action that remains.

Let me assure you that our priority will remain to ensure stability and security for Canadians in what remain extremely challenging global circumstances. After I have met with Governor General Johnston tomorrow, I will be in a position to take your questions. Thank you.


‘The only course of action that remains’

  1. You mean we aren't going to have to take to the streets with pitchforks and rakes (I much prefer the latter, myself) in order to overthrow this dictator?

  2. He's probably going to skidaddle over to the GG's digs early, to prevent the "coalition" beating him there and petitioning to form the next gov't, sans election. Wonder why he didn't mention that.

  3. The first question the journalists have to ask after he visits the GG, who reminded us all that coalitions are perfectly legitimate, should be about coalition governments. Would you, Mr. Harper in order to "ensure stability and security" seek to form a coalition with another party in the event that no party gains a majority of seats.

    Harper is the incumbent after all, the first one in line to seek this kind of arrangement, even if he were to come in second place. He should be the first one to answer this question.

    Let's hope the journalists bombard him until we get a clear message from Mr. Harper.

  4. So just to recap, in 2008, in the middle of the worst year of economic growth Canada had experienced in 16 years, Stephen Harper broke his own fixed election date law and declared an election was necessary because, "After 2 1/2 years of minority government, that's probably the inevitable result."

    2 1/2 years into this minority parliament however, and with relatively strong economic growth, now is not the time for an election because of economic uncertainty.

  5. Harper can never resist the urge to slip in a commercial. LOL

  6. Another tolerant progressive lefty. Careful, what you're saying could be construed by some maniac to go on a shooting spree.

  7. The media pounding Ignatieff on coalition scenarios as if he is the only leader who has something to answer for, while Harper who tried to form one in 2004 gets a free pass from Ottawa Press as usual. They won't ask your question even if they get the chance; too disrespectful and they're afraid of being frozen out. But you are right; the question applies equally to all leaders.

  8. Actually, the question applies firstly to Harper, because he is the incumbent. He remains prime minister, even if his party comes in second, with the power to seek and recommend members of cabinet to the GG, wherever he can find them in the house. It all depends on the results, on the math.

    But it does not equally apply to all leaders: it applies to Harper first, and then to all leaders.

  9. Now your catching on Kyle.

  10. That's it. I'm blaming you for any hoedowns that might ensue.

  11. Uh, Mr. Harper, your government didn't fall because of the budget. It fell because it was in contempt of parliament.

  12. I'm a huge fan of having at least two strong parties vying for government, so colour me disappointed that Ignatieff managed to swing and miss on his first campaign question regarding the potential for a coalition. How could he not have knocked that one out of the park? He must have known that every single news broadcast is going to show that abomination of an answer.

  13. Lefties don't own guns. Birkenstocks, yes, guns no.

    Mind you, those puppies could HURT on the side of the head.

  14. Oh my goodness I am a lefty!

  15. Good luck to the Liberals in shearing a few points of those poll leads.

  16. Now that there's technically no parliament unti the formation of the 41st, does this mean no Wherry for the interim?

  17. His response is perfectly valid because even if Ignatieff were to come in first, but fail to gain the majority, Harper in second place still has the authority to seek a coalition to stay in power. This was attempted recently by Gordon Brown and successfully by Mackenzie-King. Harper has to be the first one to respond on this.

    Once Harper has responded, and let's imagine that he says his government would rather resign than seek a coalition partner in the house of commons, then Ignatieff should in my opinion say the same : that he would not seek a coalition.

    We would have another minority government under Harper or Ignatieff – that's all.

    I am surprised that all journalists are buying into this Conservative spin about coalition governments, although they bought happily the spin about the greatness of Mr. Carson.

  18. Especially if they keep hedging about the coalition. If Ignatieff keeps spreading manure instead of providing a straightforward answer to this question, he'll end up reaping what he sows.

  19. Get your predictions in folks

    My call:

    Harper majority (plus 11 seats). Eleven seats more than needed for a majority.

  20. So. Did he take questions?

  21. You're not listening to me; I'm in the bubble in Ottawa, I know that his answer was perfectly valid and that a coalition is completely legal and sometimes necessary in a Parliamentary democracy.

    That does not change the fact that he completely bungled the answer and made it look like he had something to hide. And every single individual who does not live in the Ottawa bubble is going to see that answer on television and think to themselves "Ignatieff is planning a coalition".

  22. I winced when I saw it. It's stunning that he wasn't better prepared to answer this inevitable question. Considering the eyes of the nation were on him, surely he could have figured out some way to avoid looking like he had something to hide.

  23. I yield. You're mulch better at this than me.

  24. According to Kady's posts: no questions.

  25. I wasn't aware that that was even a possibility…..Doesn't the GG have to follow the advice of the PM unless it is a newly formed Government?

  26. How do you shoot with a bamboo rake? Little edgy aren't we?

  27. My prediction is that this is not the last time we'll be treated to your predictions.

  28. I think the chances of the press demanding answers from him on anything is slim to none. They're collectively intimidated by him.

  29. This was always going to be Harper's election to lose, but Ignatieff tripped right out of the starting blocks.

  30. My money's on Noob on this one.

  31. Read his statement. Turned around and walked out. How does this behavior get him a majority?

  32. It isn't a possibility. It's too late for a coalition.

    If we'd had an election last week and this was the result, then the GG could go for a coalition rather than calling another election so soon.

    The GG listens to the PM, but isn't required to follow his advice.

  33. No. That was the point of Harper's coalition letter with the NDP and the Bloc. The GG has options.

    The not taking of the PM's advice requires the PM to resign.

  34. After watching Ignatieff respond to his question on the coalition, I'd say "by default".

  35. <mown>

  36. Let me assure you that our priority will remain to ensure stability and security for Canadians in what remain extremely challenging global circumstances.

    Indeed. One would expect that if he were so concerned about how fragile our economic recovery is, and the current geopolitical situation, he would do the manly, honourable and just thing and simply concede and request that the GG consider letting the opposition form government before allowing an election to proceed.

    You know…to avoid that unnecessary election and all that…LOL!

  37. He had answer it before when the UK formed their coalition and his answer it's funny, he said a coalition is formed by winners, I know to Charlie Sheen but that's what he said and he si right!

    "Winners are the ones who form governments. In the end, the coalition in Britain, and I think it's important to point out, was formed by the party that won the election"

  38. I was talking about Harper. Iggy can speak without notes.

  39. I completely agree with you that Iggy is normally more comfortable off-the-cuff. However, I'm saying that–until Iggy finds a better answer to the coalition question–Harper just has to sit back and read his prepared notes for the entire campaign and he'll win by default.

    I really want Ignatieff to surprise me, but not in the horribly unpleasant way he did today.

  40. Harper said he would answer questions after he talks to the GG tomorrow.

  41. Except that wasn't a coalition letter. Not even close.

  42. In his defence, I believe I saw on the CBC liveblog today that during the interval between the confidence vote and the visit to Rideau Hall, it is convention for the Prime Minister to not answer questions.

    I believe this would explain the tone of his final comment, "After I have met with Governor General Johnston tomorrow, I will be in a position to take your questions. Thank you."

  43. That's kind of like predicting the sun will rise tomorrow.

  44. I agree his actual response was poor.

    That said, I think the media is being retarded in asking the question in the first place. It'd be akin to asking a hockey player outside the locker room during the second intermission,

    "So, what will you do if you lose the game?"

    It's a stupid question to ask.

    Ignatieff's goal is to win the election and form a Liberal government. I personally don't see why he should have to entertain scenarios in where he comes in second place prior to the outcome being known.

  45. It's not a stupid question to ask. It's a very important and fundamental question for the media to ask. This is a democracy. Canadians need all the information they can get about potential governing arrangements after the election.

  46. "Not even close." Really?

    When I was a teenager, another teenager tried to pick a fight with me at a party. I wouldn't fight him, which apparently frustrated him enough that, in front of a lot of people, he threatened to kill me.

    I went to the police with that. After a couple of days, the officer I spoke with got back to me to explain that he hadn't actually said he was going to kill me, he was just saying that he could kill me.

    That made me feel so much better, as you might imagine.

    (The ironic postscript anecdote, equally applicable to my analogy: turns out the officer I spoke to was this guy's hockey coach.)

  47. That would have been a good response for him to make. Of course his position is difficult because he did agree to the last coalition proposal, before he decided against it (one of the biggest political mistakes ever). He can't say the issue is simply theoretical – since he's already agreed to the concept once. He also can't, with a straight face, claim he won't need to consider it – given the run of the polls over the last six years or so.
    So it is a legitimate question to put to him, and he should have been better prepared to answer it.

  48. A formal coalition? Probably not. Though Harper and Layton referred to an "agreement" back then.

    But "not even close"? Sure looked like a coalition to me when they sat up there together suggesting the GG should make Harper PM.

    Bigger point is that back then Harper was quite content to suggest that a party with less seats – a "loser" in his 2011 view – would be welcome and free to govern with the support of the socialists and separatists.

  49. especially since the Liberals under Dion have a record of lying about it

  50. How many? Pre-screened? That's how he rolls.

  51. Uh, Bill, the government fell today because not one opposition party could stand waiting any longer, DESPITE this move being against their own interests / better judgment. The Let's Get This Over With Tour is now underway.

  52. MYL's prediction:

    ELECTION: Stronger Harper minority, but not a real majority, leaving EVERYBODY disappointed. He misses his majority by even less than he's missing it now. Missed it by that much. LPC-led coalition cannot work without BQ, so Ignatieff will decline to pull that trigger.

    LEADERS: Duceppe dabbles into PQ, and stays there this next time. Layton retires, hopefully not because of failing health, but rather to rest and to focus on staying well. Ignatieff stays on ("I'm just getting started!" or some such), barely surviving a leadership review vote. Harper stays on despite failing to get another majority (see any Wells column about Harper's incrementalism), and the CPC is only too pleased to keep him there. That hockey book will have to wait a bit longer.

  53. Great! Of all the possible outcomes, that prediction has got to be the WORST possible outcome.

    And worse, I think you're right. ;-)

  54. Has the economy collapsed yet, or is it waiting for the writ?

  55. It was extremely close – so close the differences are negligible. Also note that Harper left the door wide open for Bloc demands while the proposed coalition shut them down for two years – an unprecedented feat that could have given Canadians 24 months of policy building.

  56. How about make the first question why shouldn't Canadians have the information necessary to know whether Harper is spending their money wisely? I think Iggy should given an answer about the coalition, but there's different stuff Harper needs to own up to.

  57. WORST outcome? Wow, you really have high hopes for that book…

  58. Harper uses parliamentary convention when it suits him.

  59. LKO (or was it Danby? Those military types look so similar in their dashing-ness. How could one not love the troops?) provided a stunningly succinct and common-sense response to the 'C' question the other day (too lazy to look, go to his avatar). It's really too bad that there are no liberal operatives reading this, or they would've taken notice. Right?

    Either that or they believe their framing of an answer is adequate. Which, as you pointed out, is likely not the case.

  60. "In the end" indeed, but firstly the prime minister, even if his party comes in second, has that first shot. In the UK and here as well. Harper must make it clear that he would not seek a coalition.

    I must add that I think he must address this because if he's the winner but still in a minority a strong leader may feel, given difficult circumstances as the case in Britain, that seeking a coalition partner is the best option to provide the country with a strong, stable government/

  61. Nice!

  62. And Harper's 'not a coalition' appears to make the Bloc an equal partner. Not the case in the 2008 coalition.

  63. I completely understand why you were upset by the teenager who threatened you, and rightfully so. Telling someone you could kill them, in a threatening manner, is tantamount to a criminal threat.

    That said, I respectfully disagree that your analogy is applicable to the so-called "coalition" letter from 2004. At the time, the BQ and NDP strongly denied that a coalition was being contemplated. In fact, both leaders even ruled out the theoretical possibility of a coalition with the CPC, citing irreconcilable differences.

  64. The differences were anything but "negligible". The possibility of a coaliton was firmly ruled out at the time, in the strongest possible language.

  65. They guy who spent like an additional $26 million two weeks ago on advertising for the stimulus (NOT the stimulus, and Not the complete budget for advertising, just a little top up with six zeros) and howled that banks should be deregulated wants to talk about the economy?

  66. Sure looked like a coalition to me when they sat up there together suggesting the GG should make Harper PM.

    Um… so why did the leaders firmly rule out a coalition at the time, if that was the case?

  67. That was a clever move by Harper to pin any economic burp in the middle of the election on the opposition parties.

    Not that it would matter if the stock market or commodity markets did have a correction of course, as incumbent parties almost always get punished in that scenario. You can almost perfectly correlate Harper's polling numbers against the TSX in the 2008 election.

  68. So, if we take this rather silly hair-splitting seriously, if we put aside all reason and simply pretend that Harper was ^NOT suggesting a coalition in 2004, then what "options" do you think he was urging the GG to consider? New drapes?

  69. So you're suggesting that Harper's plan – nebulous as hell, but a plan nonetheless – was to skip over the election option, transcend the coalition option, and simply have himself installed as Prime Minister without any formal coalition structure in place?

    That would have been one hell of a trick.

  70. Nope. Bill is being accurate and myl is being inventively partisan.

  71. Well, until the media starts persistently asking what will Stephen Harper do if he fails to get a majority (since he's posed the ballot choice as between a coalition or a CPC majority), I stand by my objection that it's a stupid question.

  72. I would have to be partisan to be inventively partisan, now, wouldn't I?

    The government fell because it lost a confidence vote. The PURPORTED REASON was the contempt of Parliament business, but governments need not fall because of this — other sanctions are possible.

    The REAL REASON: As badly as this is going to turn out for the Liberals, and as clearly as they know this, they could not help themselves any longer.

  73. Well, I think we are coming to the same conclusion from different directions.

    But the fact remains; the government could not retain the confidence of the parliament and the proximate cause of that non-confidence was the finding that the government was in contempt of parliament. Contempt has a way of being reciprocated.

    And Mr. Layton, just for a counter-example, was offering the government a chance to find a compromise solution and he was making that offer publicly right up to, and including, in question period today. So it's a little silly to say that "not one opposition party could stand waiting any longer." The Conservatives choose this course just as the Liberals and the Bloc did.

  74. I'm saying there was no plan at all. It's one vaguely worded, symbolic letter that was intended to remind Paul Martin that things would be different now that he led a minority government. That's why the leaders firmly and immediately ruled out a coalition, on the record.

  75. If it was a genuine coalition suggestion, rather than a purely symbolic gesture, then the leaders of the respective parties wouldn't have immediately ruled out a coalition in the strongest terms.

  76. Of course the CPC chose this course, too. But if you will try to have us believe the words in the motion of non-confidence are true, you will have to logically eat your words about the Tories, since, on a recorded vote, they all voted against the non-confidence motion.

    Me? Notwithstanding the CPC vote in the HoC today, I believe they are cool with an election now. And notwithstanding the wording in the non-confidence motion, I believe the opposition parties are really sighing to themselves "We've got no better ideas than this stinker." And so begins the Let's Get This Over With Tour.

  77. Let's analyze that a little more closely, Crit. (Yes, I know it was a long time ago and it doesn't matter now, but we need to understand our own form of democracy, and I think this whole coalition thing is a real stumbling block for most of us.)

    In our form of parliamentary democracy, what is a symbolic gesture? We use wonderful flowery language on bills, we have doors slammed in the face of someone called the Usher of the Black Rod–these, to me are symbolic gestures.

    When you remind a Governor General to look at all options, those aren't "symbolic" options, they are options available to a Governor General. Sure, some are rarely used, but the option is just as legitimate. So what 'symbolic' option were you thinking the opposition members referred to?

  78. I hope you and Crit have mighty red faces after these comments. An important and fundamental question? Like, how much will all this cost, for example? You didn't seem to be all hot and bothered when that answer was not forthcoming–which leads us to where we are today.

    And the Liberals under Dion lied only because Harper lied (first) in his campaign that didn't mention the plan to hide from reality while attacking women and other political parties. If Harper had acted like a PM when winning in 2008, Dion wouldn't have NEEDED to break a promise he made in good faith. Dion is an honourable man, and like me, just can't imagine dishonourable tactics. I think Ignatieff, while honourable, can at least contemplate sneaky, dishonourable moves others could possibly make.

  79. I think he's right, too, sadly.

  80. But if you will try to have us believe the words in the motion of non-confidence are true, you will have to logically eat your words about the Tories, since, on a recorded vote, they all voted against the non-confidence motion.

    Hunh?? I've read that passage about 12 times now (even held my head 20 degrees off the vertical as suggested to me by my dog) and I'm still not sure I follow it. I think you're suggesting that the Tories – by virtue of voting confidence in themselves – were trying to avoid an election today. If that's what you're saying, I think you are being a little disingenuous. The offer that Layton was making today, only a couple of hours prior to the vote, was a lifeline to the Conservatives. Agree to make some concessions on the budget and I'll vote with you against the Liberal motion. The Conservatives declined his offer.

    So, presuming I am understanding your point, I think you're missing my point which is that the Cons didn't really want to fall on that particular non-confidence motion, but their choice to fall was indeed their own.

  81. I just heard the same!

  82. Today, when Duceppe referred to the 2004 agreement in front of reporters, Duceppe did not use the word coalition. He actually was very careful not to use the word coalition. He said something like the the agreement or suggestion we would propose to the GG, like suggestions for her to consider.

  83. It was never suggested that Harper should be PM within that letter.

  84. The Canadian voter will understand. It's no use debating with these guys. They do not want to face the truth Canadians are telling them. Canadians were telling them in 2008 that they did NOT want a coalition. I went to rallies myself at the time, and the crowd was very determined.

    If the Liberals and NDP form a coalition with the BQ, they will be run out of town by the general public. I am convinced of that.

    Now, they could form a coalition between the two of them, NDP and LIbs, if they have enough numbers between them. Harper would not object to such democratic practices. It's the participation of the BQ which is the insult to Canadians, and so it very well should be.

    But most posters on this board really are out of touch with the average voter.

  85. Except if there's no coalition, it will be because Harper doesn't poison pill the first budget, not because the Bloc said no.

  86. What was the letter suggesting then?

    What "options" were the three leaders talking about?

  87. The Bloc. The Bloc. The Bloc. What part do you not understand??

  88. <DIV id=idc-comment-msg-div-137627244 class=idc-message><A class=idc-close title="Click to Close Message" href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(137627244)"><SPAN>Close Message</SPAN>
    Comment posted.
    Harper had never said that he is AGAINST coalitions; he has always said – if you care to listen to what the man actually has to say for himself rather than being constantly interpreted by the media and that way being bounced over to you – that a coalition with the BLOC is wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

    And the fact that you are wondering why it would be wrong to form a coalition with the BLOC shows me that you have been suckered in already to not understanding the Canadian federation, nor are you facing the truth of what the BQ stands for by its own party constitution. Ask Duceppe, and he will answer you every time you will ask him, so ask him what he stands for.

  89. Oh, I think you misinterpreted that. Ignatieff won't form a coalition with the BQ, is I think the correct intepretation. I'm also not sure Harper will have a larger minority government, but that may be my hope overcoming my otherwise objective thoughts.

  90. Not true. If Harper would have 75 seats elected and Ignatieff 145, it would not be Harper who would get the first option to do anything.

  91. So they were making an empty threat of a coalition and immediately denied the meaning of that threat when asked about it.

    Unless you can come up with an alternative explanation of what "options" they were alluding to, I'm left to conclude that they were sending a "symbolic, vaguely worded letter" to give notice that they were willing to form a coalition, and asking that the GG consult with them prior to granting an election to Mr. Martin.

    It's odd that we've all been united in urging Mr. Ignatieff to provide a clear, unambiguous answer on his coalition plans but any discussion of Harper's previous coalition plans are trapped in the fuzzy gauze of distant memory and unclear intentions. "Who knows what "options" might mean? It might have been a candy bar, or a TV show or one of those blender drinks that were popular at the time."

  92. No, Kyle is not catching on.

    When the fixed election dates were introduced, it was to get the advantage of the ruling party taken away, to that it was not them who could pick an election date selected at their convenience.

    However, such fixed election dates were not supposed to give advantage to the opposition either, but it had done exactly that. The government date of election calls had to be fixed, but the opposition could play cat and mouse and call an election by motion of none confidence at any time. The unfair advantage had been shifted from the ruling government to the opposition. In a majority setting, fixed election dates are another matter.

  93. Layton has played it wrong. He should not have reacted to the budget the day of. He should have waited and see how the tone of the government would have played itself out. Jack did get some of his suggestions included within the budget. Jack does not have enough seats (popular support from across this country) to demand everything he wishes for to be included in a Conservative budget. The Conservatives had 140 some seats after all, and that, democratically speaking, must stand for something as well. If the Conservative vote is not allowed to stand for anything when proposing the budget, then parties might as well campaign to get the least votes so most of their demands will make up the budget. Get a grip on how real democracies work!

  94. You do not understand why Ignatieff does not want to answer the coalition question?

    You gotta be kidding me! You don't understand the bind he has put himself into.

    Today he said that he's been a Liberal since the age of 17. He has always been a Liberal, he said, and he is campaigning to put the Liberal party in government. He said he could not be clearer….

    ……except , of course, that only two years ago, he DID sign a formal coalition agreement with the BQ. Not too many Liberals are all that proud of it. Oh, the Lib MP's signed on, to get their bodies over into government, but a significant part of the Liberal membership will not want to be drawn into another coalition attempt with the Bloc or the NDP, but specially not with the Bloc.

  95. You think the CPC is "cool with an election"?

    Harper did everything but skip to the podium after the house was adjourned. It was all he could do to keep from breaking out in uncontrollable smiles and giggles. I'm pretty sure he ducked out of the House a few minutes early simply to give himself five minutes to laugh hysterically in a back room.

    Make no mistake, the fall of the house and resulting election was absolutely engineered by Harper. Forcing the opposition to do exactly what he wants is the only thing he's really good at.

  96. Get a grip on how real democracies work!

    Maybe you could run a seminar.

  97. I predict higher for the Conservatives. The Canadians want this over and done with. They are sick and tired of having elections every two years. And for what? To try and vote in another Liberal government , a party which does not really stand for anything other than being an indicator of how the wind blows?

    Ignatieff has a very theoretical understanding of what democracy means and needs to be, by the letter sort of thing. But the average voter, who is not tuned in to this technical arm twisting, regards democracy much differently than the professor does. Iggy doesn't get it. And now it is no longer shamefull to vote for Harper. One no longer has to vote for him in secret. One is now allowed to talk normally about Harper. That's a huge shift taking place.

  98. How about we let the CPC engineer their own responses to difficult questions about accountability, parliamentary contempt, and fighter-jet costs, and leave the focus of this thread where it started: How in the hell could the LPC not engineer an adequate response to the question of a Coalition?

    I mean, it's not like the question came out of the blue or anything. That response should have been smooth as silk, and should have forced every reporter in the room to turn to each other and say "OMG, that was so good I need a cigarette."

    Instead Ignatieff managed to get the entire parliamentary press corp to cackle in unison like a pack of rabid hyenas. That's an impressive feat for the VERY FIRST QUESTION on the campaign trail.

  99. I was being too clever with words, maybe. So here I try again:

    The line about "it's because of the contempt!!" from Ignatieff (that you are willing to believe just because that's the record in the House) is as equally unbelievable as the Tories desperately not wanting an election (because they voted against the non-confidence).

  100. Now see, this is exactly how naive I am…

    I can't – for the life of me – figure out why Iggy doesn't just say:

    Number 1 – we are running to win government first & foremost.
    Number 2 – should we fall short of that, we would consider participating in any legitimate parliamentary configuration EXCEPT
    Number 3 – we would not participate in a coalition with the Bloc Quebecois.

    Nothing there is controversial (or should be) nothing there is "too complicated" and nothing there would limit your options any further than they are already limited by the political realities of this country.

    I can not understand what gives political leaders so much trouble with simply TELLING THE TRUTH.

  101. This is what the established Canadian media won't write about:

    When the established media (at least a lot of them) kept repeating Chretien's mode of painting the Reform as "scary" "evil" "redneck' (to keep it civil enough, I mean Hitler was referred to in subtle ways often enough!), the BQ separatist/provincial party silently laughed each and every time they would read such hatred against Harper. The more the established media would manage to slip in the referrals to "evil man" and "hidden agenda kinda man" the BQ could make inroads as to become dominant within Canadian federal power plays. But the BQ was not being looked at. Heck no, they have managed to slip into position as wished for.

    We now have a majority here on this webpage, blogwriters included, who see nothing wrong any longer that a separatist/provincial party will be allowed to hold the balance of power in the Federal House, a House they actively are against!

    Doesn't anyone think we need to shift our focus of attention? I believe most passionate Canadians are starting to see it Harper;'s way and are no longer afraid to speak up about the fact that the BQ is the stumbling bloc bar none within the proper workings of our federal democracy.

  102. Yes, I am fully aware that this is Aaron Wherry's blogsite and I hope he will forgive me for hogging the space tonight (or other night…), but:

    Not too long ago, Peter Mansbridge interviewed the PM, which the CBC does with any sitiing PM, and the question of abortion came up, again, as it always does when interviewing Harper. And Harper said that the solution to the abortion problem could not be legislated but that it was a matter of the heart to find solutions to that issue. It was not picked up on by the established media either.

    But it is clear: Harper, or any other political leader in Canada, will never, ever be able to abolish abortion in this country. Such would never, ever be accepted by the vast majority of the general popultion. The Harper haters have tried to hang the abortion issue around Harper's neck for ever, but if anyone would care to listen to what Harper has to say for himself – not in your face, but in subtle ways – you would actually come to understand the man. Within the same interview, he said that politicians must be able to be practical as well as being theoretically inclined. He further said that some theoretical ideas (such as abortion or strict conservative monetary politcies), cannot be looked at in theoretical form only. Realtiy demands otherwise.

  103. Now, why would we do that, when every other thread that started as a criticism of the government was highjacked by attacks on the opposition?

  104. I agree, and see your point. But you're highlighting the entire LPC problem in a nutshell: the "they're doing it, so we should too" argument.

    Isn't there some sort of saying about wrestling with pigs?

  105. Martin to GG: I want a snap election!
    GG: No. Get back to work or resign as PM and i'll choose another Liberal to be PM.

    (How's that for an option ?)


  106. Thanks, that was fun! It's always good to play the opposing team's game for perspective. I should have responded to Crit alone and you alone–I'll get the hang of it on my next try, perhaps.

    However, my original response to your comment stands in any case since you can't take a point in history as standing alone while ignoring everything that led to that point. For example, we didn't send our planes into Libya for no reason at all, although we did send our planes into Libya.

  107. It was a proposal for the GG to consider the status of current events at the time. Times had changed in 2004. The coalition aspect is complicated in Canada because of the Bloc's participation within federal politics. We may try and wish it away, by pretending that the Bloc is something else than it actually stands for – by its very own admission, I must add, it claims to be a separatist/provincial party only – but that doesn't make it so. "We" have blocked out the Bloc's real intent so that we don't have to deal with the real issues facing this country. The separatists have wanted to be as one of of two for decades now, and cannot get such an agreement by means of separation agreement. And so, they, by means of the BQ,, have managed to secure a position of one out of two anyway they see fit, for instance by being able to hold the balance of power in Ottawa. That is why the GG needs to be very careful when deciding on coalition agreements. Most federal leaders would be aware of such complications, one would think.

  108. You've got it, Igarvin!

    The truth is: Talking about democracies in a theoretical sense, as Ignatieff tends to do, is one thing. But it won't bring any leader very far. You see, a democracy is all about finding balance. A leader is there for finding the balance together with the citizens.

    And democracies as complicated such as Canada's seek a particular sort of balance.

    I think Ignatieff is not clear himself of how to express the balance he's seeking, because, imho, he does not understand politics yet in any practical way. But I can understand the confusion on his part. When one has been a professor for so long (and I don't mean this in a negative way) one does tend to forget that there is a practical world out there we call reality. In other words: Ignatieff may have his particular vision of what a Canadian democracy ought to look like, or any other democracy for that matter, but others have questions likewise of importance.

  109. "Will people please stop claiming the Tories have 'won'. In our system, you win when you get a majority of the House of Commons. Let them just ask themselves what they would do and say if Gordon Brown had won the same number of seats and was claiming to have 'won' the election, and then calm down." Peter Hitchens. http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2010/05/to

    The incumbent gets first shot at forming the government, Labour negotiated with the Lib-Dems for a few days after the election to try and form a coalition which ended when Clegg wanted Brown out immediately. Cameron did not need to form a government with Clegg but chose to which is actually an interesting thing to watch; their are many arguments in the British cabinet and many decisions are made through compromise.

  110. This answer also applies:

    any party leader must deal with its core membership and the 'other' parts needed to form government. That too is all about finding balance.

    You think only Harper has to deal with finding balance between his core support and other votes which are needed for forming goverment? I will tell you outright here nad now, because it is so true: Ignatieff needs to find such balance too in order to form government. Some within his party do not want a coalition. Others do. Perhaps his base of support will grow if he sets out his vision for a coalition up front; perhaps his support will drop. Who knows? That is politics at its finest, and Ignatieff is getting a taste of it.

  111. Technically no, the incumbent party gets first shot at forming the government no matter where they placed in the election. After the last British election, Labour negotiated with the Lib-Dems to try to form a coalition. By our conventions, the incumbent, even if finishing second, can try to form a government by forming either a coalition or making deals to gain a majority support in the House. If they are not able to gain majority support, the party with the most seats won in the election who can than decide to govern as a minority or form a coalition with another party just like David Cameron's Conservatives did in the last election.

  112. Actually, Loraine Lamontagne is completely correct. So long as nobody else has a clear majority, Harper as the incumbent PM always has the right to test the will of the House first, if he wants to. Martin could have tried to form a government in 2006, too, but decided he didn't have the right or ability. His choice, not law and not the GG. Gordon Brown tried and failed to build a coalition, so then he resigned, clearing the way for the Queen to invite Cameron to try to form a government.

    The GG could intervene against Harper trying to form a government (like when Sir Wilfrid won his first election) if it's clear that another party has won a majority, but not in a hung Parliament. In your scenario, the GG won't invite Ignatieff to form a government until Harper advises him that he can't gain the confidence of the House and then resigns.

  113. Don't think I'm giving the CPC a pass on any of their abhorrent actions during the past parliamentary session. Far from it.

    I'm just trying to have discrete conversations about separate topics.

  114. So few Liberal supporters willing to make a prediction.

    It says much, no?

  115. Well. liberal or not, everyone's drowned out by this 'Verhoeven', who seems to be in conversation with herself. Sigh.

  116. This is a very good point. I remain somewhat sceptical it'll get asked of Harper though? Unless he does an interview with either Coyne or Wells. Worst luck he'll get Whyte.

  117. (How's that for an option ?)

    I'm wavering between "idiotic" and "just massively ignorant." Mr. Harper is neither of those things…. even though some of his supporters are both.

  118. Nope….Kyle is right

  119. perhaps you could tell us how fake Democracies work….