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The UnCanadian Activities Committee (II)


 

It is perhaps counter-productive to go round parsing the rhetoric of Pierre Poilievre, but counter-productive seems to be a bit of theme here. And there is probably greater harm in not taking seriously the things our elected leaders say. They get away with far too much as it is.

So. Whatever the merits of the coalition, its members and leadership—and these are infinitely debatable—let us deal specifically with Mr. Poilievre’s primary concerns.

“Undemocratic.” Canadians vote for members of parliaments. We do not vote for the Prime Minister. We do not, in the directest sense, vote for a government. We vote for MPs, who are thus dispatched to Ottawa to organize themselves as they see fit and run the country. They often leave or are removed from the parties they ran for. They are, in theory, free to vote as they see fit, unencumbered by party affiliation.

What, then, is undemocratic about a majority of those MPs agreeing to cooperate for the purposes of forming government? Was the Romanow coalition in Saskatchewan undemocratic? Was the Peterson-Rae accord in Ontario undemocratic? What about coalition governments that exist or have existed in Germany, Italy, Israel, Switzerland and New Zealand? What, by the strictest reading of our electoral and parliamentary laws, outlaws a coalition government?

“UnCanadian.” One assumes this is a reference to the Bloc Quebecois. To be clear, the Liberals and NDP have an agreement to form a coalition government. The Bloc has agreed, based on the policy agenda put forward by the Liberals and NDP, to support the coalition government in all matters of confidence for a period of 18 months.

What, then, has the Bloc agreed to do that it has not already done over the last four years in working with Liberal and Conservative minority governments? What influence will it have that it has not already had in its two previous decades on Parliament Hill? Is there any specific policy in the agenda so far proposed by the coalition government that weakens the national foundation? And if the mere presence of the Bloc Quebecois in the vague proximity of power is too dangerous to be considered, should there be legislation that specifically sets out which parties are allowed to wield which amounts of influence? Or would that be rather, er, undemocratic?

If the matter before us is serious, let us be serious. If the Prime Minister truly believes this to be a plot meant to “destroy this country,” let us understand exactly how that is.


 

The UnCanadian Activities Committee (II)

  1. That should be more or less the thought process of any Canadian who listens to Mr. Poilievre. He’s banking on the fact we won’t bother to look past the rhetoric.

  2. You can cite literal interpretations of the constittion that have only once in our history into come practice (and in far different circumstances at that — i.e. closer House numbers; no separatist party involved) until you’re blue in the face. But that’s not going to change reality. The reality is that not one single Canadian voted for this coalition government. And now, not one single Canadian voted for Michael Ignatieff as Prime Minister. So yes, that is indeed undemocratic.

  3. Furthermore — funny how none of the three parties involved in the coalition want to take it to the people first.

  4. Patrick. Aside from supporters in his own riding, no one voted for Stephen Harper.

  5. Aaron, Canadians elected a Conservative government. 38% of the population cast their ballots knowing full-well said ballot would help elect a Conservative government. 0% of Canadians cast their ballots knowing said ballot would lead to a coalition government.

  6. Not one single Canadian voted for Harper as Prime Minister either, Patrick.

    The point is not whether this is a good idea for the country or not, but whether it can legitimately be called undemocratic.

    I would say it is far more democratic that:
    – secretly taping private conversations of your opponents (NDP caucus meeting, Grewal)
    – offering “financial considerations” in exchange for a vote (Cadman)
    – gaming the election finance laws (in-and-out scandal)
    – breaking your own fixed election date law to avoid votes in Parliament
    – cancelling opposition days to avoid votes in Parliament
    – cancelling Parliament altogether to avoid votes in Parliament

    Canadians don’t need to take any lessons on what is or is not democratic from the Conservative Party.

  7. “What, by the strictest reading of our electoral and parliamentary laws, outlaws a coalition government?”

    This question interests me. I think the Coalition is allowed by written laws but is questionable if you look at precedent/convention. There is not one example, in all of the countries which have Westminster style Parliaments, of a Coalition like this. Ordinarily, second place party is within 15/20 seats of the largest party and when the coalition is formed with third place party they have more seats than the party they are trumping. So the proposed Coalition might not be breaking any laws but they are breaking convention/precedent.

    I would also say this Coalition is undemocratic because they are not representing their constituents wishes. There is no widespread support for the Coalition but it survives regardless. Only apparatchiks think it’s more important to focus on institutions and their laws than it is on having legitimacy with the public. The Coalition lacks legitimacy with the people and that will be very bad for Parliament if they ever take over.

    UnCanadian – This can be argued, I don’t like it when parties/people decide what Canadian is, but the Coalition certainly can’t be described as pro-Canadian when it contains a separatist party. And I think it’s sophistry to claim the BQ isn’t part of the Coalition – of course it is – how else can the NDP/Lib govern if they have 30 less seats than the Cons.

  8. But Ted, clearly some Canadians need to take lessons on how to accept that their party got far less support (double digits accross the board) than the party that won the election. More Canadians wanted the Conservatives to form the government than any other alternative put before them. That’s how elections, and who governs in our country has always been decided.

  9. I totally agree with you that it is not necessarily undemocratic that that rhetoric is overblown (the unCanadian line’s ridiculousness goes beyond saying) as the system is such that people only elect MPs.
    But that is just the technical nature of the system. When people physically go to the ballot box and mark that X they consider more than their local MP and those considerations include Party and Party Leader. So though there is nothing technically “undemocratic” there is still something… I don’t know… unseemly? about it. I can’t put my finger on it and though the rhetoric is overblown and incorrect it does address an inherent problem with the formation of a coalition in this manner so soon after an election.
    That being said, Poilievre is a still a total tool.

  10. But Patrick, clearly some Canadians need to take lessons on how to accept that their party got far less support (double digits accross the board) than the other parties put together. More Canadians did not want the Conservatives to form the government them.

  11. Aaron Wherry is justified in posing the question.

    It seems all Conservatives oppose the coalition (obviously). So do some Liberals, NDP and Bloc. That does not make the coalition undemocratic. Unpopular maybe, undemocratic, no.

    People who value democracy ought to stop this insincere (and dishonest) labeling of their opponents as unCanadian. It demeans them.

  12. “If the Prime Minister truly believes this to be a plot meant to “destroy this country,” let us understand exactly how that is.”

    Maybe he knows something we don’t. After all, it takes one to know one.

  13. The random use of the term “undemocratic” has rendered it largely meaningless. Whenever people start talking about the “will of the people”, they are usually bemoaning their own lack popularity. Popular people don;t have to worry about being democratic, since it generally just follows.

    The term “uncanadian” is deeply offensive and anyone using it should be publicly pilloried.

  14. @Patrick: “You can cite literal interpretations of the constittion that have only once in our history into come practice”

    …if they’ve ‘come into practice’ that’s enough to set a precedent. And I get very worried when people start trash talking ‘literal interpretations of the constitution.’ You mean… like… actually read the document and imagining that it means what it says? How long I wonder before you start trashing ‘literal interpretations’ of the law.

  15. Patrick, if Harper wishes to introduce reforms that will allow for a directly elected Prime Minister, he is of course free to do so. Israel experimented with this approach for a time.

    What I find troubling is that both sides are completely full of self-serving arguments. On the one hand, I don’t think Harper (or anyone) should get to make arbitrary distinctions about which elected representatives are “legitimate”. On the other hand, the coalition clearly lacks a mandate from the people in a way that it wouldn’t if people had voted knowing that such an arrangement might be the outcome (such as for example, after our next election).

    It seems to me that Ignatieff is wisely keeping his powder dry for the moment. The coalition, at the moment, is best used as a deterrent. But if we have another election in the next, say, 12 months (not that unlikely) and it results in yet *another* minority Parliament, I really don’t see why a coalition government shouldn’t be enacted.

  16. Patrick, don’t you feel a little embarrassed by letting other people tell you how to think?

    None of you rank-and-file types would ever have come up with this the Conservative line of horse manure that “no one voted for the Coaltion” or that no one voted for a different PM (a role that isn’t even mentionned in the Constitution) on your own. Admit it. A judicious examination of the facts could not support those conclusions.

    Anyway, repeating the line that this is all somehow undemocratic should be considered sedition, as far I’m concerned.

  17. Ted, that doesn’t matter. That’s not how our electoral system works. We elect governments by plurality. That you don’t know — or can’t seem to accept this — shows just how futile this discussion is.

  18. That’s not how our electoral system works. We elect governments by plurality.

    Where is that defined in law? Every reference is to the aggregate of parliamentarians that command the confidence of the House.

    Enough of this sophistry.

  19. As nd said, the coalition lacks a mandate from the people. Again, 0% of the population voted for this. 38% voted for a Conservative government.

    The coalition should seek a mandate from the people. Defeat the government on the budget and head to the polls. Of course, none of the three parties want this because they know full-well what Canadians’ verdict would be. And really, this whole conversation is moot. The coalition is dead. It will never take power.

  20. Patrick, what would you say if the country went to the polls in February, and produced a result identical to the current one?

  21. Am I gonna have to say it?

    OK. Well then.

    Pierre Poilievre is a douche.

  22. All you people talking about individual MPs having an obligation to act as individual MPs without regard for what in reality Canadians voted for should ask themselves the following question: if Harper calls a press conference on Jan. 25 to announce that 12 MPs have crossed the floor to give him his majority, how would you react?

  23. Ti-Guy — you’re the one using “sophistry”!! I’m operating in the realm of common sense — Canadians went to the polls on Oct. 14 without any concept whatsoever of a coalition government in their heads. Everyone knows this! The coalition simply has NO mandate from Canadians. Period. More Canadians wanted the Conservatives to govern than any other party, thus they form government with a mandate from the 38% of voters who voted for them. This is the same way things have worked for the entire existence of our country! What is so hard to understand about that?

    Really, all we’re seeing on these coalition comments boards now are sore losers — people who can’t stand Harper; can’t stand that he won the election; can’t stand that the coalition is dead; and can’t stand that he’ll be PM for at least the next year.

  24. Patrick, why don’t you just admit that you don’t understand parliamentary democracy and move on?

  25. Patrick that’s quite a scoop. Do you have a list of names?

  26. nd: if the coalition parties campaigned on the premise that they would indeed form a coalition if they had the numbers to do so, then I would have to accept that that’s what Canadians voted for.

  27. Picking on Polievre – didn’t you have any harder targets to get crazy soundbites from, like Rob Anders?

  28. Canadians went to the polls on Oct. 14 without any concept whatsoever of a coalition government in their heads.

    Many (most in fact) didn’t go to the polls with concept of a Conservative government either.

    Anyway, what special powers do you have that permit you to know what Canadians think?

    Oh, well…that’s what the Conservatives bank on…the unteachability of their rank-and-file. I’m just always surprised by the fact they even bother arguing at all. It’s not like their baseless assertions are going to persuade sensible people to change their minds.

  29. Ok so i think you and I are in agreement, Patrick, except that I would say that the electoral promise need not be explicit. I think that parliamentary democracies carry this possibility implicitly anyway, except of course in Canada they don’t, by tradition. But I suppose they will in the future.

  30. Looking out for his own party? Is that what Harper’s doing, WOW instead of working towards stabilizing the government(working with the other political parties) and working towards keeping Canada United he’s going to hurry up and stack the senate. yet another shot at the other political parties the his intentions are for him and his conservatives to have as much power as they can. Instead of our economy.
    I cannot believe how shallow the thought process is in the PC ideology like it or not the only way Canada can survive is to be United. The PC’s have no desire to have a united Canada shameful.

  31. Patrick:

    The three coalition parties just took the vote to the people. Between them they won a majority of the seats in the House of Commons. Its what is called a minority Parliament and it provides the party with the most seats a mandate to co-operate and find common ground with the others in order to reach a consensus of the majority. Failing to do that, the governing party loses the confidence of the House and a majority may be formed by any combination of MPs. That is the way our system of government works.

    You say that “more Canadians wanted the Conservatives to form the government than any other alternative put before them”. Putting aside the fact that not a single Canadian voted for anyone to form government, your statement is patently wrong. Its the whole point of this discussion, which may be why you don’t seem to be getting it. In fact, more Canadians voted for representatives of parties other than the Conservatives and more non-Conservative MPs were elected than Conservatives. Had more Conservative MPs been elected than not, Canada would have a majority Parliament and they would, in essence, have a mandate to do whatever they want. If anything is unCanadian, it is running away from Parliament in order to avoid a vote of non-confidence.

    Perhaps it is you and your party who needs to take a lesson in accepting the results of the election…

  32. Patrick:

    The three coalition parties just took the vote to the people. Between them they won a majority of the seats in the House of Commons. Its what is called a minority Parliament and it provides the party with the most seats a mandate to co-operate and find common ground with the others in order to reach a consensus of the majority. Failing to do that, the governing party loses the confidence of the House and a majority may be formed by any combination of MPs. That is the way our system of government works.

    You say that “more Canadians wanted the Conservatives to form the government than any other alternative put before them”. Putting aside the fact that not a single Canadian voted for anyone to form government, your statement is patently wrong. Its the whole point of this discussion, which may be why you don’t seem to be getting it. In fact, more Canadians voted for representatives of parties other than the Conservatives and more non-Conservative MPs were elected than Conservatives. Had more Conservative MPs been elected than not, Canada would have a majority Parliament and they would, in essence, have a mandate to do whatever they want. If anything is unCanadian, it is running away from Parliament in order to avoid a vote of non-confidence.

    Perhaps it is you and your party who needs to take a lesson in accepting the results of the election…

  33. Ti-Guy: Where is that defined in law? Every reference is to the aggregate of parliamentarians that command the confidence of the House.

    It’s not defined in law, (and Patrick is wrong) because that’s not the way it works. Having a plurality doesn’t guarantee you will form the government. In fact, it doesn’t even guarantee you will the first shot at forming the government.

    To summon the spectre of King once again: Meighen’s Conservatives won 15 more seats than King’s Liberals in 1925, yet King still formed the government.

  34. Ti-Guy: when all else fails, start insulting people who don’t agree with you:

    “Oh, well…that’s what the Conservatives bank on…the unteachability of their rank-and-file. I’m just always surprised by the fact they even bother arguing at all. It’s not like their baseless assertions are going to persuade sensible people to change their minds.”

    Conservatives’ vote share has increased in the last three elections, and they’ve won the last two elections. The most recent by twice as much as the one before. Meanwhile, the Lib vote has been in freefall for three straight elections. Seems to me the Conservatives are persuading some people to change their minds.

  35. “Democratic” is a word that can be interpreted or defined in many different ways.

    Yes, we vote for our MPs but for many of us it is because in the system we have, our MP vote is nothing more than a proxy vote for who we want to be the Prime Minister. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that forming a coalition that the participants denied would happen during the campaign, for the purposes of installing a Prime Minister that was so thoroughly rejected by the general population satisfies some definition of undemocratic. It may be “Constitutional”, but I believe that for many Canadians just because the Constitution allows it to happen doesn’t by definition make it “democratic”. It just makes it legal.

    As to unCanadian…well I don’t like being told by anybody, Liberal or Conservative, what is “Canadian” and what isn’t. It’s stupid to pretend that in a country that claims to pride itself on diversity and multiculturalism that you can define anything as universally “Canadian”. I believe in lower taxes and a government that doesn’t take the default position that a government program is the answer to every problem in society. I don’t see why that position is any more or less “Canadian” than one which believes the government should be intimately involved in our day to day lives. I didn’t like when the Liberals did it, and I don’t like when the Conservatives do it. Unfortunately I don’t think either of them are going to stop telling us what “Canadians” think anytime soon.

    What, then, has the Bloc agreed to do that it has not already done over the last four years in working with Liberal and Conservative minority governments? What influence will it have that it has not already had in its two previous decades on Parliament Hill?

    Are you serious? Aaron, is it your position that we are to believe that Duceppe just offered to prop up the Liberal NDP coalition for 18 months out of the goodness of his heart, or out of pure hatred for Harper? You don’t think he asked for any special consideration for Quebec interests over the next 18 months? And if so, don’t you care what that might be? Even if they involve directly or indirectly supporting the cause of separation?

    Seeing as how we are not being told the conditions under which Duceppe is offering his support to this coalition, doesn’t this strike you as a “backroom deal”? Is it “unCanadian” to find a backroom deal used to justify the taking of power “undemocratic”?

  36. You know what sounds undemocratic to me?

    A Prime Minister who governs without the confidence of the House. This has never, ever happened. I guess it’s OK as long as he doesn’t do anything like, oh I don’t know, appoint a fifth of the Senate.

  37. Ok Charles and Devin and others so stuck on how Canadians elect individual MPs and said MPs can do whatever they want: if Harper annonces on Jan. 25 that 12 MPs have crossed the floor to give him his majority, you’ll all accept and support that. That’s what your position holds you to.

  38. And a note for Patrick:

    I, and thousands of others who voted strategically thanks to sites like voteforenvironment.com, went to the polls with PRECISELY the idea of a Lib/NDP coalition in our heads.

  39. you’ll all accept and support that.

    I’d accept it, because I’d have no other choice. But I wouldn’t like it. And I certainly wouldn’t spend a lot of energy fabricating evidence to argue against it.

  40. zamprelli: actually that site had not a word about coalition government during the campaign. And even if it did, the parties themselves disavowed the idea during the campaign.

  41. Undemocratic. The poll here indicates most think the Conservative leader’s ‘prorogue strategy’ is undemocratic. If being UnCanadian equates to being UnConservative then 62% who voted anything but Conservative disagree.

  42. John G. Everything that has been agreed to is in the publicly available documents signed by the three leaders. From my understand of events (see “The first draft”), the deal is exactly as it has been printed and agreed upon. We’ve made every effort here to understand the negotiations of that weekend and have reported what we learned. I suppose we could assume all sorts of things, but then the discussion gets a bit unwieldy.

  43. Patrick, if he can do that, then damn right I’ll support him. If he can convince 12 opposition MPs, under these conditions, to cross the floor? Then he’s definitely proven himself as someone who can effectively lead.

    I’m not saying I’ll be happy about the situation or the direction it’ll mean we’re headed in, but I’ll absolutely defend the legitimacy of it. (And incidentally, I’d suggest it’s not conservative positions that are getting people to change their minds.. after all, did you see the conservative platform last election? Neither did anybody else. Rather I’d suggest it’s the Liberal positions that have gotten people to change their minds. Harper just happens to have had the good luck to be leader after the Liberals attempt to recover from Chretien’s last laugh at Martin)

    John g: Booga-booga! Boogie man is going to get you. Right now you’re simply exhibiting signs of paranoia. Concessions for Quebec? I’d imagine the Bloc is looking for them, absolutely, but so is every other province out there, and that won’t change whether they’re the lynch-pin that lets the conservatives survive non-confidence votes and get policy passed or whether they’re the lynch-pin that lets the coalition do the same. It’s funny, but you never even considered that what Duceppe might be looking for is a period of political stability for Canada because he recognizes as well as any of us that if Canada goes down, no matter how much an independant nation within the federation Quebec is, it’ll be hurt big time as well.

  44. I strongly encourage anyone even thinking of taking Transcanada’s poll seriously to first visit the link he provides. Give me a break Transcanada.

  45. Some Canadians voted for the coalition and Ignatieff. Just not very many.

    I didn’t.

    But then, I didn’t expect to. Or to be more exact, I’m not silly enough to say I expect to.

  46. john g,

    “Are you serious? Aaron, is it your position that we are to believe that Duceppe just offered to prop up the Liberal NDP coalition for 18 months out of the goodness of his heart, or out of pure hatred for Harper?”

    You grossly underestimate the degree of profound distaste many, many Canadians have for Stephen Harper.

  47. Patrick:

    I would have no choice to accept a majority government consisting of MPs who crossed the floor to the Conservatives. They would have majority support of the House. Just like I would have to accept it if Stephen Harper joined forces with the NDP or Bloc to form a coalition or just pass some legislation (what a novel idea in a minority government).

    I will say, however, that a block of 12 MPs crossing the floor so close to election time would, unlike the coalition itself, be undemocratic. Whie Canadians don’t vote for a Prime Minister or a government, they do vote for MPs and their vote is often based on the party the MP represents. For one of them to switch allegiance, especially so soon after an election, would arguably be undemocratic and contrary to the will of the electorate.

  48. “we are to believe that Duceppe just offered to prop up the Liberal NDP coalition for 18 months out of the goodness of his heart, or out of pure hatred for Harper?”

    I agree with john g in questioning this. Everything I have read says that BQ are taking a serious hit with their die-hard supporters for getting into bed with federalist parties. Why would they do that without expecting some quid pro quo for propping up the two other parties?

  49. Devin: I have to disagree with you there. I don’t think it would be undemocratic at all. The MPs would presumably still be representing their constituents, just doing it from a different position. One hopes that they’d still have the stones to stand up to any particular pieces of legislation that they knew their constituents would not like.

  50. Devin the hyprocricy in your second paragraph is breathtaking. So much so that you’ve proven my point. I’m out.

  51. JohnG:

    I am not sure I agree with your proposition that democracy has many definitions. It doesn’t. Nor do your comments have anything to do with democracy. They have to do with public opinion and populism more than anything else…

    But for the sake of argument, lets your definition of democracy is the right one (or even one that makes sense). If so, then less than half of Canadians voted for a Conservative government. What is democratic, by your definition, about a party with a minority of the popular vote and seats in the House of Commons that governs as if it had a majority of the popular vote and seats in the House of Commons?

  52. It is a sad and unfortunate thing that these points are even being argued, as opposed to being the accepted baseline from which discussion should begin.

  53. T Thwim:

    I kind of agree with that. Its why I said that it was arguably undemocratic…

  54. If you want to speculate on motive, it’s probably best to at least consider all rational possibilities. So. Why would Gilles Duceppe choose to support the NDP and Liberals?

    1. Because revoking the political subsidy threatened the Bloc as much as any party.
    2. Because, in terms of policy, the Bloc has more in common with the NDP and Liberals.
    3. Because the Bloc’s primary rival in Quebec is now the Conservative party.

    Or, you know, maybe he duped Stephane Dion into agreeing to annihilate the country.

  55. What is democratic, by your definition, about a party with a minority of the popular vote and seats in the House of Commons that governs as if it had a majority of the popular vote and seats in the House of Commons?

    Devin lets pretend they had a majority. Would they have pulled the party financing changes (which polls appeared to suggest had broad public support) and the right to strike restrictions off the table? Or given what you think you know about Harper, would they have rammed it through with their majority?

  56. This is what happens when one lives next to the United States. If Canada was in Europe, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. It is rather clear to me that many people here are confusing parliamentary system with that of the Americans.

    This is what you get for allowing the West Wing to be broadcasted in Canada.

  57. A point about this whole “unCanadian” nonsense that Poilievre is peddling. It was very common in Australia in the recent years when John Howard was PM to throw the term “unAustralian” around. Most Aussies didn’t know or couldn’t explain what this exactly meant. Harper was an admirer of the old Howard regime (which has now been thankfully replaced). Coincidence? Maybe.

    But, as I commented in part I of this thread, I would love it if some intrepid reporter out there went to the bother of asking Poilievre what he exactly means by “unCanadian”. You may not get any kind of reasonable answer but hey, it’s worth a try…

  58. I am amazed by the coalition supporters here. Their commitment to the legality and constitutionality of their ideas is to be commended.

    Their certainty in thought reminds me of evangelical Christians’ literal belief in the Bible.

    Rejoice! The Coalitionists and the Christians are as one. Peace in our time!

    Update. PM Harper to appoint 18 Senators. The FAITH of the Coalitionists is about to be tested. Are they going to be happy? I mean, come on, 18 new Conservative Senators. Didn’t Steve say he wanted elected Senators. Just because he’s PM and he has the constitutional and legal authority to appoint them doesn’t mean…oh, yeah.

    I’m glad that these blogs are going to be silent in the coming days.

  59. The Prime Minister does have the constitutional and legal authority to appoint Senators, so I’m not squawking about this. As a non-Conservative, I don’t like it much, but he has the right to do it.

    However, I find it troubling that he is focusing on this instead of on, well, the economy and stuff.

  60. DougRogers:

    No populism is not the same as democracy.

  61. ChristSig:

    Personally, I have no problem with the PM appointing 18 Senators. As you say, its his constitutional right to do so. But, at the same time, I don’t ever want to hear him criticize the ‘unelected, unaccountable Senate’ or to even talk about reform for that matter.

    The difference here is that Liberals never promised not to form a coalition. Harper did promise not to appoint Senators and to reform the Senate. I am glad you are okay with it…

  62. ChrisSig – Yeah I’m with Devin Maxwell here (hey Devin). I could care less that Harper has appointed Senators. It’s just funny because it’s such rank hypocrisy on his part.

  63. Hey, I know that. The point is, what do the Conservative mean?

  64. If the statements in this discussion to the effect that we don’t vote for prime ministers, parties or governments mean anything, then why would one be concerned about the doings of any MP apart from the person elected in one’s riding, including the PM?

    Pierre Poilievre, the youngest MP, is quite popular in his Ottawa riding of Nepean-Carleton. In the election last fall the riding had a turnout of 70 percent, much better than the national average. In fact, he won the second highest number of votes in the country bettering all the party leaders including his own.
    Pierre garnered almost 40,000 votes, (56%) and thrashed his closest opponent, the Liberal, by a margin of 23,100 votes. From his first victory in 2004 in which he bested the Defence minister by 3,800 votes, he just gets better; 39,500 votes (55%) in 2006 and the improvement this year.

    Whatever others might think of Poilievre’s comments, it matters only to the electors of Nepean-Carleton. Most of those are pleased with his work and support his point of view.

  65. BillD:

    I am concerned about the things that all of the MPs in Ottawa, individually or as a group, are doing — especially those who, by virtue of their majority and confidence of the House of Commons, form the government. Just because we don’t vote for the PM doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be ‘worried about the doings’ of other MPs.

    And good for you if you are pleased with the work of Pierre Poilievere. Its your prerogative to support the antics of one of Ottawa’s most partisan and infantile members of Parliament. Myself, I prefer politicians who show an interest in working for Canadians…

  66. DougR:

    I am not sure that conservatives know the difference between democracy and populism. Certainly the conservative masses don’t…and the Conservative Party of Canada likes it that way.

  67. Devin Maxwell:

    Actually I was taking a sarcastic poke at the notion that voters don’t vote for parties, policy slates, PMs-to-be and incumbent governments; that we only vote for a candidate to be our local MP. The notion is nonsense, of course.

    Through electing a local candidate we are usually voting for a number of other outcomes as well. That being the case, it matters very much who else gets elected besides your own hero or beastie, and, like you, I do care a lot about who else gets elected along with my goat. Hey! It matters to me who all parties elect.

    As for Pierre, I certainly don’t agree with everything he says and does, but hat’s been the case for every MP that has represented me wherever I’ve been, and I’m a palindrome.

    In Pierre’s place I’d have a very different style and M.O., and my margins might be a lot narrower for that. While I won’t compromise on matters of principle, everything else is on the table even if, at the end, no compromise is reached.
    And no, … the MPs of parties other than the one I’m supporting are not enemies. They are honourable opponents entitled to be treated as ladies and gentlemen even when one disagrees with their proposals for our governance.

    But that’s all hypothetical. I’m not in Pierre’s place and remind myself occasionally of his electoral achievements. Second-highest vote count in the country? Sixth-highest in 2006? There’s a lesson in there somewhere, but please, no cheap shots at the voters in Nepean-Carleton.

    Merry Christmas to all of you,

    Bill D

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