Who won? Who cares?

COYNE: We’re not picking the best debater. We’re picking a prime minister.

1. I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, but that set was the most hideous thing I have ever seen. And I’ve been in Communist-era East European hotel lobbies. Orange, yellow and brown? With the corrugated carboard thing? And the… and the… Wha? Who designed this? Union Carbide?

2. On the other hand, I quite liked the format. There were some good exchanges, where you really saw them arguing with something resembling conviction. I thought the Ignatieff-Layton exchange on Afghanistan, for example, was riveting. Another standout moment: Layton on the plight of aboriginal youth. Not even Jack can fake that level of sincerity.

3. Let’s say it: these are four outstandingly talented individuals, who had obviously worked hard and prepared themselves deeply: none of us in the commentariat would last five minutes with these guys. It wasn’t Shakespeare, but I was proud of my democracy last night.

4. Who won? Who cares? That is, if by winning you mean who was the best debater. On points, I’d say it was Ignatieff, but so what? We’re not picking the best debater. We’re picking a prime minister. (Actually, we’re electing a Parliament, who then chooses a PM, but you know what I mean.)

The “winner,” then, is not who had the best lines or scored the most points in the arguments between the candidates, but who most advanced his case with the voters. Or rather, with some of the voters: the undecided, the switchers, the voters not already fer him or agin’ him.

An example. I thought Ignatieff was outstanding on the attack, or rather in defense of Parliament against the abuses it has suffered under this prime minister. He cut to the point, he counterpunched well (“It’s not bickering, Mr. Harper, it’s democracy”), he spoke passionately and persuasively. I’m just not sure he made the case that he should be prime minister, to the voters who most needed to hear that case.

The voters who are most likely to be upset about this issue probably already are: it’s not as if it has not been in the news for months on end. Of those voters, some are either already in the opposition camp, or if they are still with the Tories, have some other reason that trumps their concern about Harper’s autocratic tendencies— or in other words, need some other reason to switch. Which Ignatieff signally failed to give them, as he has throughout this campaign.

Pollsters consistently report majorities in support of two propositions: one, that the country is on the right track, and two, that the government is on the wrong track. Depending on how they answered those two questions, voters can be divided into four different combinations. Those who believe both country and government are on the right track are presumably with the Tories. Those who believe both the country and the government are on the wrong track are presumably in the opposition camp, but split between the Liberals, NDP, Bloc and Greens. (Those who think the country’s on the wrong track but the government’s on the right track I’m guessing are just confused.)

But the largest group, and the ones most available to the Liberals, are those who side with the majority on both counts: they’re comfortable with the direction of the country, especially in economic terms, but they’re not at all keen on how the Harper government has been conducting itself. They don’t want a change of course, but they do want a change of captains. If that group could be persuaded they could have a different government while keeping the country essentially on the same track — that is, with broadly the same economic policies as the Tories, but less of the autocratic tendencies and general obnoxiousness — they might well switch. Moreover, the Liberals would not have to share that group with the other opposition parties. A voter who likes the general direction of policy under the Tories is unlikely to be found among the ranks of the NDP, Bloc or Greens.

So the failure of the Liberals to reach out to this group is a puzzle. Sure, there are some soft-NDP voters to be had: the Family Pack would be appealing to them. But there are many more, what shall we call them, disconcerted Tories, who would like to live in a country that is both prosperous and democratic. And for them the Liberals have had nothing: lots of talk about redistributing wealth, not a lot about how to create it. And, frankly, not a lot about how they’d fix our democracy, either.

The whole Liberal campaign has been odd, strategically. It is as if they knew they could not win, and decided to play for a close second: to hold Harper to a minority, that is, rather than try to win outright. If after all, you entered a campaign 14 points down, would you not be inclined to take a few chances? Swing for the fences? And yet the campaign has seemed strangely cautious, aimed more at locking down the base than expanding it, reaching out to the left but not the right —which is to say the centre.

But if that’s his game — hold the Tories to a minority, then defeat them in Parliament and take over the government then — he’s got a problem. It may be perfectly constitutional, legal and legitimate, but it doesn’t sit right with a lot of voters. I don’t have a poll to show that, and I don’t need one: I only have to look at what the Liberals have been saying, or not saying, about it. They went for months avoiding the coalition question, even attempt to skate through the campaign without answering it. And when, two disastrous days later, it became apparent that they could not, they gave a carefully worded answer that talked a lot about what would happen, under a minority Parliament, if the Liberals got the most seats, but said nothing at all about what would happen if the Tories did. Even when they clarified that they would not form a coalition in either event, Ignatieff has never ruled out “governing from second-place” in some other way.

Nor should he: it’s perfectly legitimate. It just happens to be unpopular. That’s the conundrum he faces: to be in a position to form a minority government, he has to avoid talking about it. That’s doable, as long as nobody else talks about it. But it’s hard to do, in a debate.

Which brings me, at long last, to that moment in last night’s debate: when he was asked whether the leader of the party that won the most seats had the right to form a government — the exclusive right, as Stephen Harper insists, dishonestly, brazenly, and, as we know from his own intriguing about as opposition leader in 2004, hypocritically.

I’m sure we’ll see this clip again. Because you can see Ignatieff start to say it, then catch himself, mid-sentence, realizing the danger, but too late to stop. If you get more seats, “you get to try …first … to gain the confidence of the House.” His voice seemed to trail off. But by then the Tory war room was already cranking out the press releases.

I feel uncomfortable discussing it in these terms, as if it were some sort of a gaffe. Let me say it a third time: it is perfectly legitimate, on the defeat of a government in the House, for the Governor General to call upon another party to govern. The Prime Minister is whoever commands the confidence of the House, period.

And indeed, to a great many Canadians, the idea of the Liberals taking power, despite having been defeated in the election, with the explicit support of the NDP and the tacit support of the Bloc, is an entirely untroubling, even welcome prospect. But not all Canadians. Indeed, I’m guessing not even all Liberals.

Some will blanch at how far left such a government would be pulled. Others will be concerned that it would be unstable. And for others, it just looks sneaky, whatever the constitutional experts may say — especially because he won’t talk about it.

He’s caught, in other words, in a strategic box. He wants to appeal to NDP-leaning voters, without being seen to “get into bed with” the NDP. But he can’t form a government without getting into bed with them. And so far as centrist voters become aware of this, he may never get the chance to get into bed with them. So he has to try to keep centrist voters from thinking of this. But the Tories keep reminding them of it at every opportunity.

The Tories have a couple of things working for them. One, a good number of voters are weary of minority government, and yearn for the stability of a majority. Two, the Liberals, it would seem, cannot deliver that majority: they are too far back in the polls. All they can offer is — more of the same? No, something worse, the Tories can argue. Needing the the support of only one of the three opposition parties to govern, the Tories have not been beholden to any of them. But the Liberals, with fewer seats, would very likely need the support of both the NDP and the Bloc. Either this would be unstable, or it would lean rather too far to the left, at least for centrist voters’ liking.

There is a way, of course, for Ignatieff to break out of this box: to gather enough support as to seem likely to win the most seats, at a minimum, ideally to be in a position govern as the Tories have, with the support of different parties at different times (a Liberal majority being quite out of reach). But to do that he has to reach out to that big block voters to his right, rather than the smaller block to his left. That he has not is the key strategic failing of the Liberal campaign.




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Who won? Who cares?

  1. I don%E2%80%99t want to hurt anybody%E2%80%99s feelings, but that set was the most hideous thing I have ever seen.

    Thank. You.

    he has to reach out to that big block voters to his right, rather than the smaller block to his left. That he has not is the key strategic failing of the Liberal campaign.

    Excellent analysis as always. You hit the mark with this line. The libs have been slowly drifting left for years, allowing Harper to poach more and more from their right flank. That they have not moved to shore up this flank by adding a few solid conservative planks to their platform is head scratching to say the least.

  2. I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings, but that set was the most hideous thing I have ever seen.

    Thank. You.

    he has to reach out to that big block voters to his right, rather than the smaller block to his left. That he has not is the key strategic failing of the Liberal campaign.

    Excellent analysis as always. You hit the mark with this line. The libs have been slowly drifting left for years, allowing Harper to poach more and more from their right flank. That they have not moved to shore up this flank by adding a few solid conservative planks to their platform is head scratching to say the least.

    • It's a byproduct of the leaders. None of Ignatieff, Dion or Rae have any solid economic or fiscal credentials. None have ever run a business, none have ever engaged themselves in economic issues. It seems there are not many such people in the Liberal party anymore. As the party was pulled leftwards, anyone with conservative tendencies left the party. I feel the same way about the party myself, there was a time when I might have voted Liberal, but that was a long time ago now. The current incarnation of the party I could never vote for.

      Ignatieff even had some conservative tendencies, such as his support for human rights in the traditional sense (not the new-fangled leftist idea that protection from discrimination or even offense is a human right), and his support for the Iraq war. But those ideas have been drummed out of him by the rest of the party.

      • Harper has never run a business (the NCC is not a business). He's also led the largest expansion in uncontrolled federal spending in Canadian history, run up massive deficits and missed every economic, deficit and spending estimate his government has made.

        Now he contends that, having taken 4 years to find $1.6 billion in "savings" (to be booked in 2013-2014, mostly by slowing spending on the military, not finding cost savings), he can find another $11 billion in just one more year.

        When it comes to numbers, he's a buffoon.

        • A good reason for going on the offensive on Harpernomics. I thought what you described would've been the centrepiece of the Liberal capmaign. I thought wrong.

          • The unemployment numbers are dubious at best, part-time and temp workers, while falling within the margin of being 'employed' do a lot more for graphs and statistics than they do for Canada and Canadians. The full-time employment numbers are still quite unimpressive.

            And Canada's recovery also has much to do with the fact that the country is more and more depedant on exporting its natural resources to countries that actually build and create things. With resource prices- oil for instance – skyrocketting the Canadian economy is given the impression of greater performance.

            As to the deficit, that is not surprising at all. Canada's financials were stronger than any other country and was actually generating surpluses. The deficit we saw was not created by the recession, but was in fact due predominantly to the misguided reduction in the GST (sales taxes being the very worst of taxes to cut.)

            Not that im blaming anyone in particular, none of the parties have any real sense on the economy. But the budgets the minority government was able to produce, through comprimise and cooperation, were some of the best Canada has seen… The truth is the only way Canada stands to lose this election is if a majority is voted in.

          • Our unemployment numbers are largely shored up by part-timers and temp workers and while these qualify as 'employed' they do more for stats and graphs than they do for Canada and Canadians. Full time employment is still doing poorly.

            Our GDP numbers are shored up by very high market values for natural resources, which Canada's economy increasingly relies on. Selling off our future so that we can buy it back from countries that actually work is not impressive.

            Our deficit numbers are good because we went into the recession with the strongest financials. Our banks were solid and until the Conservative minority government wiped them out with an ill-advised GST cut we were actually the only country running surpluses… The deficit we are running was not created by the recession. (and I have no issue with tax cuts, but cutting GST was the worst tax to cut.)

          • I apologize for double posting, when it didn't come up I assumed id run over the limit, or it didnt go through.

          • Yes, let's see the Liberals start to preach spending restraint (actual public service and social spending restraint, not just cancelling the jets) and I just might vote for them myself. Something tells me I won't have to make that consideration for at least another four years.

    • I loved the set. It was my favourite thing about the broadcast.

  3. I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings, but that set was the most hideous thing I have ever seen.

    Thank. You.

    he has to reach out to that big block voters to his right, rather than the smaller block to his left. That he has not is the key strategic failing of the Liberal campaign.

    Excellent analysis as always. You hit the mark with this line. The libs have been slowly drifting left for years, allowing Harper to poach more and more from their right flank. That they have not moved to shore up this flank by adding a few solid conservative planks to their platform is head scratching to say the least.

  4. The question should be asked: if the Tories come up short and wind up with a minority, would the Liberals (or the Tories) form a coalition with each other? We are a very strange nation – we tend to ignore the elephant in the room every time. For Ignatieff, it is as AC suggests – a Liberal shot at taking power is perfectly legitimate in a minority situation but we just can't talk about it. Sort of how our national media and our national leaders can't talk about why that funny little french guy who wants to break up Canada is in the English debates when English Canada can't vote for him instead of the funny little environmentalist chick who most Canadians can support but can't participate.

    We are a funny little nation, aren't we? So much denial of the blatantly obvious.

    • "that funny little french guy" is from Québec, considers himself Québécois and his passport is currently (and I hope will remain) Canadian.

      There are people within Québec who have the opportunity to vote for a Bloc candidate who are anglophone and they have a right to hear what he has to say. As well, what M. Duceppe (that's his name, by the way) has to say is important for the the entire country. We can't confront him if we don't know what he is saying.

      I believe "the funny little environmentalist chick" should have been allowed to be in the debate but until we can have a real set of rules laid out and not the whims of "The Consortium" who don't want to give up their American Idol time slot then she risks being shut out.

    • Not with Stephen Harper running that party; for sure. If the Tories dumped him for a different leader? Sure, anything is possible….

    • If the Tories win a minority, I could see some sort of policy accord where the Libs agree to provide supply and confidence to the CPC in exchange for some reforms to how the HoC is operated, including some of the suggestions we've see like a NZ-style Cabinet Manual, reforms to MP nominations process, committees, how the government can prorogue parliament, what kinds of confidence motions are allowed, whether omnibus legislation attached to confidence votes be allowed etc. While this might handicap future Liberal governments, it can help the Libs look like the better men/women by making parliament work. It also has the result of weakening Harper by empowering the rest of the CPC caucus. This might help to make him vulnerable in time for the next election.

      They might also be able to get movement on some of the things in their platform that the conservatives don't find overly objectionable.

      • I would love to say you are right,but I think that the liberals won't do it,because they plan to be in power some day.
        Interesting point though; If the liberals don't push through some of these measures, are they hypocrites? Willing to slam the CPC for them, but not willing to go to bat to have them changed?

        • It's probably not a horrible idea for them to do this. It gives them a face-saving way of supporting the government for a few years. I'm not convinced the Liberals are keen on forming a weak minority government. It probably helps the NDP more than it helps them.

    • I'm pretty sure both the Cons and Libs poisoned that well far beyond potability years ago.

  5. The question should be asked: if the Tories come up short and wind up with a minority, would the Liberals (or the Tories) form a coalition with each other? We are a very strange nation – we tend to ignore the elephant in the room every time. For Ignatieff, it is as AC suggests – a Liberal shot at taking power is perfectly legitimate in a minority situation but we just can't talk about it. Sort of how our national media and our national leaders can't talk about why that funny little french guy who wants to break up Canada is in the English debates when English Canada can't vote for him instead of the funny little environmentalist chick who most Canadians can support but can't participate.

    We are a funny little nation, aren't we? So much denial of the blatantly obvious.

  6. Nailed the conundrum facing Liberals perfectly. The remaining weeks should be fascinating.

    • Fascinating like a car accident. Don't want to see it, but can't look away.

      • We don't suffer from stupidity, we enjoy every minute of it : )

  7. Nailed the conundrum facing Liberals perfectly. The remaining weeks should be fascinating.

  8. Excellent commentary. The key question voters have to ask is can we afford a Liberal government propped up by Layton and maybe the Bloc. We have seen what each of them want and it will cost us big time, at a time when we have huge deficits. NDP plans will also hurt the economy and our growth – making the pain even worse. The ONLY way to avoid that is a Conservative majority.

    • I'd be interested in seeing a Liberal/Tory coalition. They are essentially both parties of the mushy middle.

      • In a way, that's what we've had for the last few years.

        • Perhaps in an extremely reluctant manner.

    • Because the CPC wouldn't be pulling to the right at all?

      Why do people keep forgetting that even IF the CPC loses confidence and the Liberals take over, the CPC can *still* offer support on key issues?

      Oh yeah, because Harper refuses to support anybody but himself.

      • That's probably why he kept talking to the camera – because he could see himself reflected there.

    • Not really, the Liberals have a few spending plans but they’re actually pretty modest and roughly similar in size and shape to the Harper promises, if not a little smaller because the Conservatives are keep making promises that aren’t in their platform. So either they don’t intend to keep them (and shouldn’t be making the promises) or they do (and their platform has serious financial issues).

      Let us not forget that the reason Canada did so well during the recession was the groundwork done by Paul Martin. The Liberal surpluses allowed us to pay down some of our debt and the minority governments forced Harper to keep his hands off of the bank regulations. We need to remember that before the economic collapse, Harper wanted our banking system to be as unregulated as the American system. He couldn’t do anything about it because he had neither the unregulated power of a Majority nor the time to implement his policies.

      On the whole the Conservatives have done little to earn their reputation for being sound fiscal managers. Do you know when the last time a Conservative Prime Minister turned a deficit into a surplus? Here’s a hint: that Prime Minister was Sir John A. MacDonald.

      • It's Macdonald. But a good comment.

    • A Harper PArty minority brought us the largest inceases in: the size of government, the cost of government, the size of the debt and the number of economic flip flops, ever in Canada's history. And to top it off this same government brought us the most undemocractic, secretive and deceitful government in Canada's history. Imagine what they could accomplish with a majority.

  9. Excellent commentary. The key question voters have to ask is can we afford a Liberal government propped up by Layton and maybe the Bloc. We have seen what each of them want and it will cost us big time, at a time when we have huge deficits. NDP plans will also hurt the economy and our growth – making the pain even worse. The ONLY way to avoid that is a Conservative majority.

  10. I'd be interested in seeing a Liberal/Tory coalition. They are essentially both parties of the mushy middle.

  11. I find it fascinating the way you always manage to talk yourself around…by the next day… no matter the misgivings and outrage of the previous night.

  12. I find it fascinating the way you always manage to talk yourself around…by the next day… no matter the misgivings and outrage of the previous night.

    • Yes, OriginalEmily1, you are right. I have to admit, however, that Andrew always takes time to give a detailed analysis whether I agree with it or not.

    • I agree; typical Andrew Cwhine.

      • Simple solution, if you don't like him don't read it!

  13. It is remarkable just how much Mr. Ignatieff has floundered without really floundering. It seems as though the Liberals were completely unprepared for this campaign, and, clearly, that should not be the case.

    I'm actually a little miffed at Mr. Ignatieff for not doing better at crafting a message that might, in some way, make me inclined to vote Liberal. I want that message (hell, I want that sort of message from any party).

    Sadly, I am left wanting.

  14. It is remarkable just how much Mr. Ignatieff has floundered without really floundering. It seems as though the Liberals were completely unprepared for this campaign, and, clearly, that should not be the case.

    I'm actually a little miffed at Mr. Ignatieff for not doing better at crafting a message that might, in some way, make me inclined to vote Liberal. I want that message (hell, I want that sort of message from any party).

    Sadly, I am left wanting.

    • You are *right* to feel that way.

      • He was "right" all along;he's just a concern troll!

  15. You did not mention where Iffy was going to find bidders against the best aircraft in the world and how he could fit the cost of aircraft into his budget projections when they do not require a dime fro years and he already is trying to convince us that he has it available now. And will all you brilliant journalists ask Jack Layton where he is going to find the 5000 doctors he is promising us immediately

  16. You did not mention where Iffy was going to find bidders against the best aircraft in the world and how he could fit the cost of aircraft into his budget projections when they do not require a dime fro years and he already is trying to convince us that he has it available now. And will all you brilliant journalists ask Jack Layton where he is going to find the 5000 doctors he is promising us immediately

    • Nor did he mention ignorant partisans such as yourself who must always return to using personal slurs such as "Iffy", I hardly think that makes for a bad article, however.

      • In fact, it's generally considered a strength, to be able to use the names of the people you are speaking of.

      • Childish name calling, I believe I have called it elsewhere.

      • Pardon! What is it when one asserts that someone is ignorant and partisan or that they go together in this instance.

    • Best aircraft? Not according to the Pentagon! Check Reuters and Business Week and the Globe & Mail mentioned it too.LOTS of bugs. Only one engine (nice when it won't start or stalls at minus 30 in the Arctic).

    • How can the F35 be the best would you like to fly one to Libya they are not completed yet no one except Harper has any idea if they will ever fly nor how much they will cost a blank check.

    • Thanks. You have some really good points.

  17. How can he possibly reach out now? The platform is released, there are no pawns to move in this regard. Does he swallow himself whole and decide corp tax are good now?
    Are you talking about he next election?
    Good analysis but leaves out the how.

  18. How can he possibly reach out now? The platform is released, there are no pawns to move in this regard. Does he swallow himself whole and decide corp tax are good now?
    Are you talking about he next election?
    Good analysis but leaves out the how.

    • Well, I suppose I should have said "there was a way." I agree: I'm not sure there's much he can do about it now.

    • Agreed – that was more of a campaign/platform criticism than a debate criticism, but a good one nonetheless.

  19. We might very well see Ignatieff making the same sort of plea to the electorate a la SH. 'Give me a minority and I'll show you how parliament can work. With co-operation with all parties and protection of our institutions.'

  20. We might very well see Ignatieff making the same sort of plea to the electorate a la SH. 'Give me a minority and I'll show you how parliament can work. With co-operation with all parties and protection of our institutions.'

  21. Because the CPC wouldn't be pulling to the right at all?

    Why do people keep forgetting that even IF the CPC loses confidence and the Liberals take over, the CPC can *still* offer support on key issues?

    Oh yeah, because Harper refuses to support anybody but himself.

  22. Nor did he mention ignorant partisans such as yourself who must always return to using personal slurs such as "Iffy", I hardly think that makes for a bad article, however.

  23. This is one of the best reviews I've read about the debate. Very well articulated, Andrew.

  24. “you get to try …first … to gain the confidence of the House.” – the cat is getting out of the bag, lol!!!

    I am sure we can count on Gilles the provoquer to bring up the 2004 coalition/agreement again tonight which will lead into post election possibilities.

  25. This is one of the best reviews I've read about the debate. Very well articulated, Andrew.

  26. “you get to try …first … to gain the confidence of the House.” – the cat is getting out of the bag, lol!!!

    I am sure we can count on Gilles the provoquer to bring up the 2004 coalition/agreement again tonight which will lead into post election possibilities.

    • "the cat is getting out of the bag, lol!!! "

      Before you know it everyone will understand how our parliament works!

    • That particular cat has never been bagged.

  27. "There is a way, of course, for Ignatieff to break out of this box: to gather enough support as to seem likely to win the most seats"

    This is really important, particularly in the final week. If the race narrows, or a Harper majority looks a decided stretch, then Ignatieff can make a credible case that HE can win a minority, the coalition fear is largely removed. Harper has made this majority or bust, if the prospect looks remote, Ignatieff can then appeal to the soft center to give him a mandate, pledging to work with others, end the Parliament stalemate. As a Liberal, the most frustrating thing in this campaign so far, the way Harper has turned his failure to lead into arguing for a majority. Ignatieff needs to say, we've had 4 in 7, and there is one common demoninator- Stephen Harper. That doesn't deserve another mandate, that deserves a pink slip, you want a stable Ottawa, remove the chief irritant. Harper has turned this issue all around into a rationale, when really it's an indictment. Ignatieff needs to make that case, he started last night, but he needs much more on this front.

  28. "There is a way, of course, for Ignatieff to break out of this box: to gather enough support as to seem likely to win the most seats"

    This is really important, particularly in the final week. If the race narrows, or a Harper majority looks a decided stretch, then Ignatieff can make a credible case that HE can win a minority, the coalition fear is largely removed. Harper has made this majority or bust, if the prospect looks remote, Ignatieff can then appeal to the soft center to give him a mandate, pledging to work with others, end the Parliament stalemate. As a Liberal, the most frustrating thing in this campaign so far, the way Harper has turned his failure to lead into arguing for a majority. Ignatieff needs to say, we've had 4 in 7, and there is one common demoninator- Stephen Harper. That doesn't deserve another mandate, that deserves a pink slip, you want a stable Ottawa, remove the chief irritant. Harper has turned this issue all around into a rationale, when really it's an indictment. Ignatieff needs to make that case, he started last night, but he needs much more on this front.

    • Hmmmm….so we toss the fact Harper has the longest running minority government out the window???

    • So he does't have to release any new policy initiatives. I don't think that would work otherwise. Liberals don't have enough of the right policy mix to reach enough people to form even a minority government.

    • Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have an infuriating ability to turn their shortcomings into positives and their opponents' strength into weaknesses. Remember when we had an election in 2008 because "we have a dysfunctional Parliament," even though it was the Conservatives who were doing everything they could to make it so? And remember when the Liberals chose as leader an internationally renowned intellectual with lots of name recognition on the world stage? No, he's "just visiting" and he "didn't come back for you!"

      • Did Liberals choose Ignatieff? I mean all Liberals or a few Liberal elites.

        • Did your conservative overlords pick your talking points? Were you paid for that comment?

        • No, he moved into the vacuum left by Stephane Dion's humiliation. He was brought up from Harvard by the Rainmaker.

      • Yes! I can't make a minority work so give me a majority.

        Like a kid who keeps trashing the family car saying "It's because they have to share it – give me my own and I'll treasure it. Trust me."

        Some things you have to earn – trust for instance.

        • Com'on. I suppose his position in the NANOS poll is because most polled people are misled? Despite the criticism of Harper he is still miles ahead of the alternatives.

  29. In a way, that's what we've had for the last few years.

  30. "the 5000 doctors he is promising us immediately "

    Ouch! Your back-passage must be pretty tender after pulling that out of it.

  31. Hmmmm….so we toss the fact Harper has the longest running minority government out the window???

  32. Dear Andrew;

    The confused box in your matrix could easily be where the right wing of the Conservative party fits. If the Harper Government doesn't start moving there he may well find a lot of this cohort sitting on their hands.

    As to Ignatieff''s view of democracy? Well, I think Ignatieff made Harpers point about bickering when he shouted his response out. It sure looked like bickering to me and then Jack put the nail in the coffin of Ignatieff's democracy argument when he quipped something like "someone looking for a promotion should show up for work".

    Harper trumped ignatieff and Layton trumped Ignatieff — how then did Ignatieff win?

    Harper sure outperformed the MSM's caricature of him. He didn't appear cold, mean or controlling. He looked warm, courteous and patient. Ignatieff on the other hand outperformed the MSM's caricature of himself. He looked shrill, arrogant and out of touch. Maybe closer to the narrative of the Conservative portrayal of him. The MSM did Ignatieff a disservice by building him up too much and trying to tear Harper down. Harper also had the benefit of being to himself on the audience's left. He did well looking into the camera and talking to us and the other's looked like members of a Coalition trying to gang up on him.

    Sincerely,

    Biaced

  33. Dear Andrew;

    The confused box in your matrix could easily be where the right wing of the Conservative party fits. If the Harper Government doesn't start moving there he may well find a lot of this cohort sitting on their hands.

    As to Ignatieff''s view of democracy? Well, I think Ignatieff made Harpers point about bickering when he shouted his response out. It sure looked like bickering to me and then Jack put the nail in the coffin of Ignatieff's democracy argument when he quipped something like "someone looking for a promotion should show up for work".

    Harper trumped ignatieff and Layton trumped Ignatieff — how then did Ignatieff win?

    Harper sure outperformed the MSM's caricature of him. He didn't appear cold, mean or controlling. He looked warm, courteous and patient. Ignatieff on the other hand outperformed the MSM's caricature of himself. He looked shrill, arrogant and out of touch. Maybe closer to the narrative of the Conservative portrayal of him. The MSM did Ignatieff a disservice by building him up too much and trying to tear Harper down. Harper also had the benefit of being to himself on the audience's left. He did well looking into the camera and talking to us and the other's looked like members of a Coalition trying to gang up on him.

    Sincerely,

    Biaced

    • Isn't it funny how people's perceptions can differ so radically. You are obviously a Harper fan and saw good things. I am not a Harper fan and saw bad things. I saw stiffness, awkwardness, dead eyes which would not look at the others in the eye, and a Tremclad head. I don't trust this fellow. My gut feeling just is not comfortable with him. He seems to lack humanity and all those wonderful things that make up a warm and good-hearted human being.

      Of course, all these politicos lie. That is part of their make-up, but with Harper, even given a choice, I think he would still choose to lie as he is more comfortable lying and can lie with such sincerity. He has bought his own press and is so tightly controlling that when he blows, it will be ugly for our country.

    • Harper looked like a robot -couldn't even look anyone in the eye.

    • In some ways, CPC supporters remind me of Linus, looking for their Great Pumpkin in Harper. No matter how many times it doesn't happen, they're more than willing to just shake their fist and cry out, "Just wait til next year!"

    • I guess it depends on your perspective. To me Harper appeared cold, manipulative, and effectively evading all questions simply by saying " We don't agree with that". Mind you, the Liberals had many strong cards they didn't play: We kept a balanced budget for ten years, We resisted Mr. Harper's wish to de-regulate the banks, so that Canada's healthy recovery from the Global recession is down to us. As well as countering Mr Harper's claim to keeping a minority government going by very specifically citing the two prorogations when the Opposition actually grew a pair and tried to shut it down. And yes, Harper played to the audience – I say played, not spoke, and he did not engage in a true debate.

      • The problem is that the Liberal government that maintained a balanced budget had policies much more similar to the current Conservative policies than what the current Liberals are proposing.

      • We? If so, you also trashed much of Canada's social infrastructure, pushing expense off to the provinces who in turn had to cut health care etc. Most of Harper's spending was stimulus spending, which as an economist he kew dopes not always work. Only when the rest of the world got together and did the same was it feasible.

        Harper played the debates quite well, I thought – and my opinion agrees with the majority of the expert commentators. Let's face it, you have a a guy in charge who was totally ineffective and tried to win the debates by attack measures, waving his arms. He never once said what he offered. Actually, Layton was pretty good but he blew it for me when he didn't even read the budget – obviously there was a deal in the works somewhere i.e what and how many cabinet positions was he promised by the Libs?i

    • Harper is the best Prime Minister that we have had since Pearson in my lietime and perhaps before. He is trustworthy and honourable.

    • Jack put the nail in the coffin of Ignatieff's democracy argument when he quipped something like "someone looking for a promotion should show up for work".

      Ignatieff looked too stunned to respond coherently – bad prep. But the point should be made that Jack sucker punched him. Ignatieff's attendance was only bad this last year while out on the road. Why on earth MI didn't say that is odd. It was a good shot – but actually a cheap one.

  34. Well, I suppose I should have said "there was a way." I agree: I'm not sure there's much he can do about it now.

  35. Excellent analysis, as usual.

    As a sometimes-NDP voter and sometimes-Green voter, it's actually kind of frustrating seeing the Liberal campaign veer to the left because it just assures Harper gets all the centrist and right-wing votes. If Ignatieff ran with more red meat for fiscal conservatives, they could vote for his party and let NDP and Green supporters vote for their first choice without having to worry too much about strategic voting. Like Coyne said, surely there are people who want their country to be prosperous and democratic; Ignatieff is instead leaving all those unhappy voters no choice but to vote Conservative and ruining it for the rest of us on the left while he's at it.

  36. So he does't have to release any new policy initiatives. I don't think that would work otherwise. Liberals don't have enough of the right policy mix to reach enough people to form even a minority government.

  37. Excellent analysis, as usual.

    As a sometimes-NDP voter and sometimes-Green voter, it's actually kind of frustrating seeing the Liberal campaign veer to the left because it just assures Harper gets all the centrist and right-wing votes. If Ignatieff ran with more red meat for fiscal conservatives, they could vote for his party and let NDP and Green supporters vote for their first choice without having to worry too much about strategic voting. Like Coyne said, surely there are people who want their country to be prosperous and democratic; Ignatieff is instead leaving all those unhappy voters no choice but to vote Conservative and ruining it for the rest of us on the left while he's at it.

    • If only there were a voting system that let you vote for the party you prefer, rather than the party you detest, to keep out the party you fear. Oh, wait a minute…

      • nicely said. :)

  38. "Actually, we%E2%80%99re electing a Parliament, who then chooses a PM, but you know what I mean."

    We knwo what your mean, but unfortunately the current prime minister, QMI News and about 30% of the population don't.

  39. "Actually, we're electing a Parliament, who then chooses a PM, but you know what I mean."

    We knwo what your mean, but unfortunately the current prime minister, QMI News and about 30% of the population don't.

  40. "Actually, we're electing a Parliament, who then chooses a PM, but you know what I mean."

    We knwo what your mean, but unfortunately the current prime minister, QMI News and about 30% of the population don't.

    • Yeah, that`s right—-everyone I`ve talked to about the election say they can`t wait until May 2 to elect a Parliament.

      Those who are hoping for a Conservative Parliamentary Member in their riding are unsure who that MP will choose as their Prime Minister but some of the more astute citizens actually believe that when they elect a Conservative MP, then that MP will choose a Conservative PM.

      Jeez, this whole voting and electing thing is not all that complicated.

      • That's just it. You have a fundamental misunderstanding of what a parliamentary system is supposed to do. it's simple to you, because you've reduced democratic representation to a scorekeeping exercise.

        Those Conservative MPs are supposed to represent all the people in their constituency, not just the ones that voted for them, and they are supposed to call the prime minister to account on behalf of their constituents, not just elect him and leave him there no matter what he says or does. Elected representatives aren't some kind of talking poker chip for deciding who wins the pot, they are the voice of their constitutents in parliament.

        • And you have a fundamental misunderstanding of human nature and common sense.
          The parliamentary system may be the vehicle that we use to govern ourselves, but the political party system is the means we use to elect our Prime Minister, and I don`t care how many journos and scholars—heck, I don`t care if you bring back LKO to lecture to me– I am convinced that when the voter decides to vote in a Conservative MP, that voter has decided he wants Stephen Harper as his PM. The voting public makes his-her decision at the voting booth and beware the persons that decide they can overturn that decision with their interpretation of a parliamentary system.

          By the way, I do not recall any desire on any of you good folk to interpret the parliamentary system so literally when Chretien was winning majority with 38- 44% of the electorate.
          Now, what could have changed in the political landscape for this new approach to become so popular in Liberal circles. Remember, you now say " Mp`s are supposed to represent all the people in their constituency ".

        • Those Conservative MPs are supposed to represent all the people in their constituency, not just the ones that voted for them, and they are supposed to call the prime minister to account on behalf of their constituents, not just elect him and leave him there no matter what he says or does.

          That was… beautiful (wipes eye). Now, have you seen the real world lately?

          • Time to change your world, myl… bad direction for Canada, that bully minority.

  41. "that funny little french guy" is from Québec, considers himself Québécois and his passport is currently (and I hope will remain) Canadian.

    There are people within Québec who have the opportunity to vote for a Bloc candidate who are anglophone and they have a right to hear what he has to say. As well, what M. Duceppe (that's his name, by the way) has to say is important for the the entire country. We can't confront him if we don't know what he is saying.

    I believe "the funny little environmentalist chick" should have been allowed to be in the debate but until we can have a real set of rules laid out and not the whims of "The Consortium" who don't want to give up their American Idol time slot then she risks being shut out.

  42. .
    Canadians will vote according to the model of leader they've been conditioned to accept:

    CEO of Canada, Incorporated
    or
    Prime Minister of Canada, Democracy.

    They have been conditioned to find the former acceptable: our political zeitgeist is conditioned by corporations, entrepreneurs, businesses, including the businesses of MacLeans, Nik (the fixer, turned political scientist and pundit) Nanos, Ipsos-Reid, CTV, CBC (increasingly), Globe and Mail, (increasingly) universities as corporate adjuncts, Mom and Pop stores, Banks, RIM, Apple.

    The CEO of the Government of Harper does not fit the image, visually or by demeanor, of a Mubarak or a Putin. He has nibbled away at the edges of the democracy cookie slowly enough that nobody notices. He looks as dangerous as the Pillsbury Dough-Boy. His style is leading-edge efficient management: even emails have been templated into corporate ant-colony chemical/antennae communicative handshakes. He can play the piano, have a bit of fun with the now twice-exploited Lady Gaga cover, first by Gaga, now by a leader of a nation democratic increasingly by constitution only.

    The (de facto only) alternative is the Harvard Shape-shifter apologist for American exceptionalism, impressive only for being taller than Harper. I can't think of any other reason why the Liberals haven't send him back to the U.S. (Or England, his alternate vote-casting grounds, or Russia, or wherever the hell he belongs).

    Except that Coyne has labelled him a phony, rather than someone who has fielded awkward questions in the toughest proving-grounds on earth: labourers, and university classroom to the extent that every gram of insincerity has been burned out of him long ago, there is no particular reason not to vote for Jack.

    But if you want a corporation, go for it. Democracy? You're not getting both. Whatever. 'Pass the peas. When's the Hockey game?…' etc.
    .

  43. .
    Canadians will vote according to the model of leader they've been conditioned to accept:

    CEO of Canada, Incorporated
    or
    Prime Minister of Canada, Democracy.

    They have been conditioned to find the former acceptable: our political zeitgeist is conditioned by corporations, entrepreneurs, businesses, including the businesses of MacLeans, Nik (the fixer, turned political scientist and pundit) Nanos, Ipsos-Reid, CTV, CBC (increasingly), Globe and Mail, (increasingly) universities as corporate adjuncts, Mom and Pop stores, Banks, RIM, Apple.

    The CEO of the Government of Harper does not fit the image, visually or by demeanor, of a Mubarak or a Putin. He has nibbled away at the edges of the democracy cookie slowly enough that nobody notices. He looks as dangerous as the Pillsbury Dough-Boy. His style is leading-edge efficient management: even emails have been templated into corporate ant-colony chemical/antennae communicative handshakes. He can play the piano, have a bit of fun with the now twice-exploited Lady Gaga cover, first by Gaga, now by a leader of a nation democratic increasingly by constitution only.

    The (de facto only) alternative is the Harvard Shape-shifter apologist for American exceptionalism, impressive only for being taller than Harper. I can't think of any other reason why the Liberals haven't send him back to the U.S. (Or England, his alternate vote-casting grounds, or Russia, or wherever the hell he belongs).

    Except that Coyne has labelled him a phony, rather than someone who has fielded awkward questions in the toughest proving-grounds on earth: labourers, and university classroom to the extent that every gram of insincerity has been burned out of him long ago, there is no particular reason not to vote for Jack.

    But if you want a corporation, go for it. Democracy? You're not getting both. Whatever. 'Pass the peas. When's the Hockey game?…' etc.
    .

  44. Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have an infuriating ability to turn their shortcomings into positives and their opponents' strength into weaknesses. Remember when we had an election in 2008 because "we have a dysfunctional Parliament," even though it was the Conservatives who were doing everything they could to make it so? And remember when the Liberals chose as leader an internationally renowned intellectual with lots of name recognition on the world stage? No, he's "just visiting" and he "didn't come back for you!"

  45. Not with Stephen Harper running that party; for sure. If the Tories dumped him for a different leader? Sure, anything is possible….

  46. '…labelled him (the following, that is) a phony…'

  47. '…labelled him (the following, that is) a phony…'

  48. Did Liberals choose Ignatieff? I mean all Liberals or a few Liberal elites.

  49. Not really, the Liberals have a few spending plans but they’re actually pretty modest and roughly similar in size and shape to the Harper promises, if not a little smaller because the Conservatives are keep making promises that aren’t in their platform. So either they don’t intend to keep them (and shouldn’t be making the promises) or they do (and their platform has serious financial issues).

    Let us not forget that the reason Canada did so well during the recession was the groundwork done by Paul Martin. The Liberal surpluses allowed us to pay down some of our debt and the minority governments forced Harper to keep his hands off of the bank regulations. We need to remember that before the economic collapse, Harper wanted our banking system to be as unregulated as the American system. He couldn’t do anything about it because he had neither the unregulated power of a Majority nor the time to implement his policies.

    On the whole the Conservatives have done little to earn their reputation for being sound fiscal managers. Do you know when the last time a Conservative Prime Minister turned a deficit into a surplus? Here’s a hint: that Prime Minister was Sir John A. MacDonald.

  50. I didn't think Ignatieff was the winner…by a long shot. I gave Layton that title. Not only did he promote his platform but he had the most memorable lines, got in some important pokes and showed his personality more than anyone else. I declare Layton the big winner amongst those debating.

    The biggest winners, however, are the voters. It was made clear in these debates that we have very different choices.

    But still, no talk about the Liberal cap and trade plank. Is that as scary as the coalition word?

  51. I didn't think Ignatieff was the winner…by a long shot. I gave Layton that title. Not only did he promote his platform but he had the most memorable lines, got in some important pokes and showed his personality more than anyone else. I declare Layton the big winner amongst those debating.

    The biggest winners, however, are the voters. It was made clear in these debates that we have very different choices.

    But still, no talk about the Liberal cap and trade plank. Is that as scary as the coalition word?

  52. Thanks for this, Andrew.

    On the format: Much better than last year, but why is almost all of the time boxed into debating specific questions? Why not leave a section wide open for leaders to bring up their own questions and comment on their own priorities? This debate format forces them to choose between going off topic and leaving their own priorities out of the debate.

    And thanks for deflecting the "winner" question. The sports metaphors can be fun, but they can also be very inappropriate and dangerous.

    And finally: we'd better start distributing constitution primers, because if the Conservatives do get another minority, the mass confusion that lies ahead could be a circus. Exciting, I'll admit, but also dangerous.

  53. Thanks for this, Andrew.

    On the format: Much better than last year, but why is almost all of the time boxed into debating specific questions? Why not leave a section wide open for leaders to bring up their own questions and comment on their own priorities? This debate format forces them to choose between going off topic and leaving their own priorities out of the debate.

    And thanks for deflecting the "winner" question. The sports metaphors can be fun, but they can also be very inappropriate and dangerous.

    And finally: we'd better start distributing constitution primers, because if the Conservatives do get another minority, the mass confusion that lies ahead could be a circus. Exciting, I'll admit, but also dangerous.

  54. "the cat is getting out of the bag, lol!!! "

    Before you know it everyone will understand how our parliament works!

  55. Why Conservatives Will Always Vote Conservative.

    Authoritarianism
    “Authoritarianism…happens when the followers submit too much to the leaders, trust them too much, and give them too much leeway to do whatever they want–which often is something undemocratic, tyrannical and brutal.” (Altemeyer, 2006, p. 2)

    The Authoritarian Personality
    An Authoritarian is “someone who, because of his personality, submits by leaps and bows to his authorities.” (p. 8)
    “Authoritarian followers usually support the established authorities in their society, such as government officials and traditional religious leaders. Such people have historically been the “proper” authorities in life, the time-honored, entitled, customary leaders, and that means a lot to most authoritarians.” (p. 9)

    Authoritarianism
    Psychologically these followers have personalities featuring:
    1.a high degree of submission to the established, legitimate authorities in their society;
    2.high levels of aggression in the name of their authorities; and
    3.a high level of conventionalism (believing that everybody should have to follow the norms and customs that your authorities have decreed ).(Altemeyer, 1981, 1988, 2006)

    High authoritarians are extremely self-righteous individuals who maintain a strong acceptance of traditional (i.e. Religious) values and norms, possess a general willingness to submit to legitimate authority, and display a general tendency to aggress against others (especially those who threaten their conventional values and norms). They see their own aggressive behaviour as righteous rather than hurtful. (Haddock, Zanna, & Esses, 1993)

    Authoritarians believe in traditional gender roles, racial prejudice, negative attitudes toward homosexuals, conservative (fundamental or orthodox) religious values, and are low on openness to experience.

    They Are Also Extra-Punitive Toward Law Breakers

    *Assign longer jail times for any law breaker (no matter how small the crime)

    *They think the crimes are more serious than most people do, and they find “common criminals”
    to be highly disgusting and repulsive – it makes them feel glad to be able to punish a perpetrator

    *But they go easy on authorities who commit crimes

  56. Why Conservatives Will Always Vote Conservative.

    Authoritarianism
    “Authoritarianism…happens when the followers submit too much to the leaders, trust them too much, and give them too much leeway to do whatever they want–which often is something undemocratic, tyrannical and brutal.” (Altemeyer, 2006, p. 2)

    The Authoritarian Personality
    An Authoritarian is “someone who, because of his personality, submits by leaps and bows to his authorities.” (p. 8)
    “Authoritarian followers usually support the established authorities in their society, such as government officials and traditional religious leaders. Such people have historically been the “proper” authorities in life, the time-honored, entitled, customary leaders, and that means a lot to most authoritarians.” (p. 9)

    Authoritarianism
    Psychologically these followers have personalities featuring:
    1.a high degree of submission to the established, legitimate authorities in their society;
    2.high levels of aggression in the name of their authorities; and
    3.a high level of conventionalism (believing that everybody should have to follow the norms and customs that your authorities have decreed ).(Altemeyer, 1981, 1988, 2006)

    High authoritarians are extremely self-righteous individuals who maintain a strong acceptance of traditional (i.e. Religious) values and norms, possess a general willingness to submit to legitimate authority, and display a general tendency to aggress against others (especially those who threaten their conventional values and norms). They see their own aggressive behaviour as righteous rather than hurtful. (Haddock, Zanna, & Esses, 1993)

    Authoritarians believe in traditional gender roles, racial prejudice, negative attitudes toward homosexuals, conservative (fundamental or orthodox) religious values, and are low on openness to experience.

    They Are Also Extra-Punitive Toward Law Breakers

    *Assign longer jail times for any law breaker (no matter how small the crime)

    *They think the crimes are more serious than most people do, and they find “common criminals”
    to be highly disgusting and repulsive – it makes them feel glad to be able to punish a perpetrator

    *But they go easy on authorities who commit crimes

    • A good take. It scares me that these re my country-men!

      • I see paranoia is alive and well.

        • Yes: "coalition coalition coalition. Boogah boogah boogah!!" [Sudden smell of overfull Depends.]

    • or, as a more logical alternative, they have conservative values. Hmmm, which idea makes more sense. . .

    • That's about right, sounds like a good citizen of a democratic society, who is willing to pull his own weight. Opposed to someone who thinks the elites should have entitlement. Try again kid, you will be alright when you grow up, after the fires of time burns a little of that self-righteousness out of you.

    • Kind of bizarre argument, given that the number of authoritarian leftist governments (Cuba, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, North Korea, China, Russia, Belarus, etc.)

      • Not bizarre if you know the truth, leftist regimes have murdered more people in the 20th century than all wars combined through the entire history of humanity. The left are experts at propaganda (tell more lies, this election cycle is a good example), the truth has never been their strong point when their entitlements are at stake.

        • Yes, I have to agree with you. When it comes to sucking money from their countrymen in the name of taxes, the truth takes a back seat.

          • Nothing more elitist than spending billions and refusing to identify how it will be paid for.
            Let's face it there is only one way that the debt will be covered and that is by us the taxpayer. Harper, an elitist if ever there was one, blew the cash, excused his friends from their share and will let some one else deal with the problem.

      • Not really
        the so called "leftist" governments you list are in fact very conservative organisations. Rules is rules and you don't go changing things. In fact they are very resistant to change, hence conservative. This is hardly surprising because they were/are based on the way that religions work and there is nothing more conservative than religious organisations. Stalin and Mao were hugely influence by organised religion (Seminary and the Taiping Rebellion) and as these organisations held great power in their day it is hardly surprising. Authoritarian and conservatism go hand in hand and at the root of it all is a charismatic leader and an unyielding dogma.

    • Sounds exactly like the authoritarian cult of Trudeauvia. Try again lefty.

  57. That particular cat has never been bagged.

  58. I personally find it funny that when Bill Clinton was voted impeached, the first thing every news source noted was it was along party lines. However when conservative government is found 'in contempt', no one mentions that decision was entirely made along party lines. (Eg the Speaker was a liberal MP for 20+ years)

    Clinton lied under oath in a dubious criminal investigation… someone else who did similar thing (Libby) ended up in jail for years.

    Conservatives were slow in providing the financial numbers to back up their estimates, with some debate on whether those numbers were required to be provided. CBC gets billion dollars a year and refuses almost all information requests on possible wasteful spending and the same opposition parties never care.

    Obama recently basically went to war for regime change in Libya, but did not get congress approval first. By a similar broad interpretation of "contempt", as congress is one that should approve a war, Obama could be claimed in contempt. (See Carl Sagon's balony detector kit, one of the points fits almost identical to how a "no fly zone" is alternative word for a war where attempt is made to destroy all enemy tanks, etc by air power.)

  59. Who cares is right.
    According to the Canadian Press an analysis of user messages on Twitter suggests that the most popular topic of the evening was the prime minister's habit of gazing past his opponents, towards the camera.

    As of 9:30 p.m., about a half-hour after the debate's conclusion, Harper's stare had generated at least 1,474 messages — including original messages and retweets.

    I find that very depressing.

  60. I personally find it funny that when Bill Clinton was voted impeached, the first thing every news source noted was it was along party lines. However when conservative government is found 'in contempt', no one mentions that decision was entirely made along party lines. (Eg the Speaker was a liberal MP for 20+ years)

    Clinton lied under oath in a dubious criminal investigation… someone else who did similar thing (Libby) ended up in jail for years.

    Conservatives were slow in providing the financial numbers to back up their estimates, with some debate on whether those numbers were required to be provided. CBC gets billion dollars a year and refuses almost all information requests on possible wasteful spending and the same opposition parties never care.

    Obama recently basically went to war for regime change in Libya, but did not get congress approval first. By a similar broad interpretation of "contempt", as congress is one that should approve a war, Obama could be claimed in contempt. (See Carl Sagon's balony detector kit, one of the points fits almost identical to how a "no fly zone" is alternative word for a war where attempt is made to destroy all enemy tanks, etc by air power.)

    • Give me back my tinfoil David! Im bbquing tonight!

    • David, is the contempt issue really getting any traction? I think it really is a non issue, I saw it as a measure the other three parties could try on as a way to hang something else on the CPC, but I don't think it really got any groundswell of support

      • It's not getting any traction at all. Harper shoots it down rather easily.

        • You mean he lies convincingly about it, and the Cons and the brain dead swallow it whole…

    • Totally irrelevant rubbish this is about Canada's elections no one cares about Clinton denying his blow job under oath!.
      Obama isn't standing in Canada.
      What happens in the USA is not any business of the Canadian legal system.
      Filing your pockets with brown envelopes of cash for yourself or your constituency and getting a blow job from an adult consenting woman are to different things.

    • David: I don't think anyone believes for a second that a single Conservative voted to hold the Government in contempt.

      Hell, it would have been news if one of them had the balls to actually do it.

    • Liberals, Media , Separatists and Commies, needed an excuse for forcing an election, so manufacturing a contempt charge was their co-ordinated preference. The coalition and their media whores are bullies and thought they could bully the elected Government out of power, lose an election and then seize power through the back door with the compliance of their media comrades.

  61. Who cares is right.
    According to the Canadian Press an analysis of user messages on Twitter suggests that the most popular topic of the evening was the prime minister's habit of gazing past his opponents, towards the camera.

    As of 9:30 p.m., about a half-hour after the debate's conclusion, Harper's stare had generated at least 1,474 messages — including original messages and retweets.

    I find that very depressing.

    • I find that very interesting; where can I find the analysis?

      We used to have the "chattering classes" now we have the "twittering classes." But if they noticed that lack of eye contact and commented on it — I guess they see it as a negative?

      Wait, were all the tweeters media members, or actual voters?

      • "lack of eye contact"? or "talking to the Canadian pubic" (the camera)?

        Perception is everything.

  62. In fact, it's generally considered a strength, to be able to use the names of the people you are speaking of.

  63. Yeah, that`s right—-everyone I`ve talked to about the election say they can`t wait until May 2 to elect a Parliament.

    Those who are hoping for a Conservative Parliamentary Member in their riding are unsure who that MP will choose as their Prime Minister but some of the more astute citizens actually believe that when they elect a Conservative MP, then that MP will choose a Conservative PM.

    Jeez, this whole voting and electing thing is not all that complicated.

  64. If the Tories win a minority, I could see some sort of policy accord where the Libs agree to provide supply and confidence to the CPC in exchange for some reforms to how the HoC is operated, including some of the suggestions we've see like a NZ-style Cabinet Manual, reforms to MP nominations process, committees, how the government can prorogue parliament, what kinds of confidence motions are allowed, whether omnibus legislation attached to confidence votes be allowed etc. While this might handicap future Liberal governments, it can help the Libs look like the better men/women by making parliament work. It also has the result of weakening Harper by empowering the rest of the CPC caucus. This might help to make him vulnerable in time for the next election.

    They might also be able to get movement on some of the things in their platform that the conservatives don't find overly objectionable.

  65. Perhaps in an extremely reluctant manner.

  66. One thing that was not addressed is the ROC is being steered by the Bloc into having minority governments. Perhaps the conservatives will attract votes to enable the ROC to have its say for a change. Mr. Duceppe made it clear that his role is to get what he can for Quebec, the ROC be damned. Taxpayers subsidize the Bloc but this brought up in the debates. Harper, Layton, Ignatieff are all to chicken to address this for fear of offending Quebec.

  67. One thing that was not addressed is the ROC is being steered by the Bloc into having minority governments. Perhaps the conservatives will attract votes to enable the ROC to have its say for a change. Mr. Duceppe made it clear that his role is to get what he can for Quebec, the ROC be damned. Taxpayers subsidize the Bloc but this brought up in the debates. Harper, Layton, Ignatieff are all to chicken to address this for fear of offending Quebec.

    • Sinn Fein refuses to sit in Parliament out of protest; their empty seats represent their contempt for an institution that they do not accept. If the Bloc has any integrity they should do the same.

  68. Did your conservative overlords pick your talking points? Were you paid for that comment?

  69. Give me back my tinfoil David! Im bbquing tonight!

  70. Isn't it funny how people's perceptions can differ so radically. You are obviously a Harper fan and saw good things. I am not a Harper fan and saw bad things. I saw stiffness, awkwardness, dead eyes which would not look at the others in the eye, and a Tremclad head. I don't trust this fellow. My gut feeling just is not comfortable with him. He seems to lack humanity and all those wonderful things that make up a warm and good-hearted human being.

    Of course, all these politicos lie. That is part of their make-up, but with Harper, even given a choice, I think he would still choose to lie as he is more comfortable lying and can lie with such sincerity. He has bought his own press and is so tightly controlling that when he blows, it will be ugly for our country.

  71. It's a byproduct of the leaders. None of Ignatieff, Dion or Rae have any solid economic or fiscal credentials. None have ever run a business, none have ever engaged themselves in economic issues. It seems there are not many such people in the Liberal party anymore. As the party was pulled leftwards, anyone with conservative tendencies left the party. I feel the same way about the party myself, there was a time when I might have voted Liberal, but that was a long time ago now. The current incarnation of the party I could never vote for.

    Ignatieff even had some conservative tendencies, such as his support for human rights in the traditional sense (not the new-fangled leftist idea that protection from discrimination or even offense is a human right), and his support for the Iraq war. But those ideas have been drummed out of him by the rest of the party.

  72. You are *right* to feel that way.

  73. Childish name calling, I believe I have called it elsewhere.

  74. The lines of unemployed Doctors in Canada will be so excited with Jack's promise

  75. Now i know why i don't subscribe to Mcleans, with writers like this.This writer must have been to the fridge too many times and missed what was going on . Harper completely won the debate and the rest sounded like kindergarten children. Anyone who would vote more anyone else but harper is a complete idiot.

  76. Now i know why i don't subscribe to Mcleans, with writers like this.This writer must have been to the fridge too many times and missed what was going on . Harper completely won the debate and the rest sounded like kindergarten children. Anyone who would vote more anyone else but harper is a complete idiot.

    • In other words, unless you live in Calgary Southwest, folks, paul here thinks you're a complete idiot.

      And obviously.. he'd know.

    • What's important to note here is that paul did not discount the possibility that anyone who votes for Harper would also be considered an idiot.

      • Anyone who would vote more anyone else but harper is a complete idiot.
        He didn't actually say anything that made sense when you actually read it. Perhaps he was being deliberately idiotic and going for extremely subtle irony.

  77. The lines of unemployed Doctors in Canada will be so excited with Jack's promise

    • Yes, I'm sure fictional doctors will be excited by gar's fictional account of the NDP's platform.

      • OMG!
        we have no foot soldiers we cannot go to war.

        They can train more you UNIMAGINATIVE PERSON.
        They can make Government funding repayable immediately if a Doctor woks outside Canada keep their passport until they take a job in Canada for at least Five years then write off half their tuition fees..

        • what does this mean:

          They can make Government funding repayable immediately if a Doctor woks outside Canada keep their passport until they take a job in Canada for at least Five years then write off half their tuition fees

        • Are you talking to me?

  78. Harper has never run a business (the NCC is not a business). He's also led the largest expansion in uncontrolled federal spending in Canadian history, run up massive deficits and missed every economic, deficit and spending estimate his government has made.

    Now he contends that, having taken 4 years to find $1.6 billion in "savings" (to be booked in 2013-2014, mostly by slowing spending on the military, not finding cost savings), he can find another $11 billion in just one more year.

    When it comes to numbers, he's a buffoon.

  79. I don't see twitter as a format that allows for a great depth of discussion. I am not sure why that CP analysis is so depressing to you. At least it demonstrates people were watching the debate. 140 character limits are good for short, often funny, observations, but not so great for deeper thoughts, that's all.

  80. David, is the contempt issue really getting any traction? I think it really is a non issue, I saw it as a measure the other three parties could try on as a way to hang something else on the CPC, but I don't think it really got any groundswell of support

  81. That means nothing. So what?

  82. Ignatieff now has only one hope to form government. Attack, attack, attack, attack. In a sad way, it has to be of Karl Rove methodology. He got off to a few good starts in the debate, but when he opened the wound a little he being the nice considerate Canadian he is did not do what a good boxer does and continue to batter the wound and cause it to grow.

    In the beginning of the debate, you could very easily see that Harper was getting angry, his tight grip of that podium told tales that it was solidly built. Unfortunately for Mr. Ignatieff, his debating skills were learned as a professor, not a pit boxing politician, because he obviously did not see the cut and continue hammering it.

  83. Ignatieff now has only one hope to form government. Attack, attack, attack, attack. In a sad way, it has to be of Karl Rove methodology. He got off to a few good starts in the debate, but when he opened the wound a little he being the nice considerate Canadian he is did not do what a good boxer does and continue to batter the wound and cause it to grow.

    In the beginning of the debate, you could very easily see that Harper was getting angry, his tight grip of that podium told tales that it was solidly built. Unfortunately for Mr. Ignatieff, his debating skills were learned as a professor, not a pit boxing politician, because he obviously did not see the cut and continue hammering it.

    • "In the beginning of the debate, you could very easily see that Harper was getting angry, his tight grip of that podium told tales that it was solidly built".

      At least Harper didn't put his hand on his hips and wave his finger about like a ninny.

      • I kind of thought that looked quite comfortable and confident.

    • I guess it's easier to impress 18 yr. old kids than their parents. Iggy's going have to do much better than he is doing. We are just not buying his brand any longer.

      • Clearly, you never did, you concern troll, you! ;0)

      • Bit of projection going on here
        Back to the nursery with you

  84. Ignatieff's best bet would have been to follow Duceppe's lead on the "congratulations on answering the first question from a voter in this whole campaign", and just hammer it and hammer it and hammer it. The issues are important, but making Harper look like a chicken and a fool unfortunately would have been more effective.

    He could have delivered one head shot after another but rather instead chose to persue lofty topics such as democracy and Parliament, things that the Tim Hortons crowd could care less about. If he had left the Prime Minister battered, bruised, and caused him to get angry enough for one of his classic behind closed-doors outbursts, Tory voters even in Alberta may have switched; seeing the underlying current of discontent there where they are feeling slighted by cash being shovelled off of the back of pickup trucks in Ontario while they are taken for granted.

  85. The lines should have been along the, "Caged up media, refusing to answer questions, stop talking to the camera you fool and look me in the eyes, get out of your bubble and realize you are not here to talk to yourself, can the rehearsed lines, you are the most unaccountable prime minister".

    Unfortunately Layton took the quick jabs that Ignatieff should have with is, "You say your tough on crime but your obviously soft on crime in your own office". Again Ignatieff could have used that as a launch pad to continue hammering.

    The leaders at these events are given far too much leeway by eachother to stick to the script becaues they are each trying too hard to stick to their own script. We need some leaders who are less inclined to listen to their handlers and who will ditch the fake smiles and pound their opposition into fools.

  86. Ignatieff's best bet would have been to follow Duceppe's lead on the "congratulations on answering the first question from a voter in this whole campaign", and just hammer it and hammer it and hammer it. The issues are important, but making Harper look like a chicken and a fool unfortunately would have been more effective.

    He could have delivered one head shot after another but rather instead chose to persue lofty topics such as democracy and Parliament, things that the Tim Hortons crowd could care less about. If he had left the Prime Minister battered, bruised, and caused him to get angry enough for one of his classic behind closed-doors outbursts, Tory voters even in Alberta may have switched; seeing the underlying current of discontent there where they are feeling slighted by cash being shovelled off of the back of pickup trucks in Ontario while they are taken for granted.

    • You speak like your leader, "Tim Hortons crowd". Which is the majority in Canada. And you are outoftouch like him, elitist.

      • "Tim Hortons crowd" comment aside, I think Kris makes a valid point. The majority of Canadians do not understand how democracy and parliament works. I pay relatively close attention, and I'm not even certain I understand it. Iggy really needed to hammer down on things that people can relate to, of which the secrecy thing is a good example.

        • I disagree. Trying hard to leave my bias at the door, if I were PM in a minority parliament and had to deal with the crap thrown around, I'd probably hunker down, too. Wouldn't you? Honestly?

  87. The lines should have been along the, "Caged up media, refusing to answer questions, stop talking to the camera you fool and look me in the eyes, get out of your bubble and realize you are not here to talk to yourself, can the rehearsed lines, you are the most unaccountable prime minister".

    Unfortunately Layton took the quick jabs that Ignatieff should have with is, "You say your tough on crime but your obviously soft on crime in your own office". Again Ignatieff could have used that as a launch pad to continue hammering.

    The leaders at these events are given far too much leeway by eachother to stick to the script becaues they are each trying too hard to stick to their own script. We need some leaders who are less inclined to listen to their handlers and who will ditch the fake smiles and pound their opposition into fools.

    • Teflon Steve he should be called. They never even made him break a sweat. The other three spent more time stumbling over one anothers half-truths to get anything real done.

  88. That's probably why he kept talking to the camera – because he could see himself reflected there.

  89. Andrew, WE are not electing a Prime Minister – neither of our votes matter due to our geographical location, and our ideology. Bob and Sheila Smith, a middle class parents of 1.4 kids (or whatever the average is) from the Bramptoncouver suburbs are electing the Prime Minister. On that count, I find it very difficult to call Ignatieff the winner. He made a hyperbolic case that Harper is an affront to Canadian democracy. I know that you already buy that argument, but I'm not sure Bob and Sheila did (actually, I know they didn't, because Ignatieff did poorly in both the Leger and Ipsos "who won" poll, and his issue – ethics and accountability – declined in significance).

    Here are the things Ignatieff failed to do:
    1. He barely talked about the economy, which is, you know, kind of a big issue. We've just been through the biggest global economic crisis since the Depression after all. Ignatieff may never lead on that issue, but he at least needs an argument.
    2. Harper was fairly effective at framing the corporate tax issue as a high/low tax question. Ignatieff let him get away with that.
    3. The G-8 issue wasn't given the mileage it could have. If the initial draft out there is correct, it isn't just a matter of some mismanaged money – its a matter of Harper's government breaking the law.
    4. Ignatieff didn't present much of a compelling alternative platform to Harper, or much of an argument against Harper's reign on the issues (the 11 billion dollar hole should have made an appearance). The only concrete policy he threw out there consistently was the learning passport.
    5. When Harper said "that's simply not true" or changed the subject, Ignatieff generally let it slide. If he was prepped better, he could at least cite his accusations more effectively (sort of like Duceppe, in his chapter and verse attacks on the Liberals over adscam, way back).

    Ignatieff was auditioning to be leader of the opposition – and solely based on this audition, I'd give the job to Jack.

  90. I also find it ironic that the Conservatives while the house sits are such venemous speakers; yet the voters during an election campaign see them all full of smiles and condolences. Dont people pay attention to this stuff at all? IMO, the media is very much at fault for not pointing this out. Baird acts like a teddy bear on the campaign, but he's well known as the attack dog in Parliament; the media sleeps through these contradictions and doesnt even bother to note the obvious.

    * Sorry for the multi-comments. My comment was too long and the software wanted me to break it up into multiples.

  91. Andrew, WE are not electing a Prime Minister – neither of our votes matter due to our geographical location, and our ideology. Bob and Sheila Smith, a middle class parents of 1.4 kids (or whatever the average is) from the Bramptoncouver suburbs are electing the Prime Minister. On that count, I find it very difficult to call Ignatieff the winner. He made a hyperbolic case that Harper is an affront to Canadian democracy. I know that you already buy that argument, but I'm not sure Bob and Sheila did (actually, I know they didn't, because Ignatieff did poorly in both the Leger and Ipsos "who won" poll, and his issue – ethics and accountability – declined in significance).

    Here are the things Ignatieff failed to do:
    1. He barely talked about the economy, which is, you know, kind of a big issue. We've just been through the biggest global economic crisis since the Depression after all. Ignatieff may never lead on that issue, but he at least needs an argument.
    2. Harper was fairly effective at framing the corporate tax issue as a high/low tax question. Ignatieff let him get away with that.
    3. The G-8 issue wasn't given the mileage it could have. If the initial draft out there is correct, it isn't just a matter of some mismanaged money – its a matter of Harper's government breaking the law.
    4. Ignatieff didn't present much of a compelling alternative platform to Harper, or much of an argument against Harper's reign on the issues (the 11 billion dollar hole should have made an appearance). The only concrete policy he threw out there consistently was the learning passport.
    5. When Harper said "that's simply not true" or changed the subject, Ignatieff generally let it slide. If he was prepped better, he could at least cite his accusations more effectively (sort of like Duceppe, in his chapter and verse attacks on the Liberals over adscam, way back).

    Ignatieff was auditioning to be leader of the opposition – and solely based on this audition, I'd give the job to Jack.

      • Andrew, you had me at hello. Lets form our own country together.

        • Awkward.

    • "When Harper said "that's simply not true" or changed the subject, Ignatieff generally let it slide"

      Alternatively, maybe it simply wasn't true?

      Just sayin'

  92. I also find it ironic that the Conservatives while the house sits are such venemous speakers; yet the voters during an election campaign see them all full of smiles and condolences. Dont people pay attention to this stuff at all? IMO, the media is very much at fault for not pointing this out. Baird acts like a teddy bear on the campaign, but he's well known as the attack dog in Parliament; the media sleeps through these contradictions and doesnt even bother to note the obvious.

    * Sorry for the multi-comments. My comment was too long and the software wanted me to break it up into multiples.

    • Mark Holland.
      Pat Martin.

      Every party has them. (If I spoke French, I could probably name a Bloc MP or two)

  93. It's Macdonald. But a good comment.

  94. A good reason for going on the offensive on Harpernomics. I thought what you described would've been the centrepiece of the Liberal capmaign. I thought wrong.

  95. Best aircraft? Not according to the Pentagon! Check Reuters and Business Week and the Globe & Mail mentioned it too.LOTS of bugs. Only one engine (nice when it won't start or stalls at minus 30 in the Arctic).

  96. I find that very interesting; where can I find the analysis?

    We used to have the "chattering classes" now we have the "twittering classes." But if they noticed that lack of eye contact and commented on it — I guess they see it as a negative?

    Wait, were all the tweeters media members, or actual voters?

  97. Agreed – that was more of a campaign/platform criticism than a debate criticism, but a good one nonetheless.

  98. If only there were a voting system that let you vote for the party you prefer, rather than the party you detest, to keep out the party you fear. Oh, wait a minute…

  99. "Why Conservatives Will Always Vote Conservative. Authoritarianism"

    Same logic can be used for both sides, Ig and friends have whipped the vote on many measures such as long gun registry.

    Obama fired a popular general who disagreed with him in rolling stone mag.

    The National Socialist German Workers Party implemented "progressive" tax changes and welfare (help poor), followed "scientific"/"liberal" popular with the intellectual elite "social darwinism", survival of the fittest. Nazi writings are heavy with a twisted version of darwin to justify their "final solution" which at first was to ship "undesirables" to africa. By todays political measures they could be called *either* conservative or liberal.

    IMO the scary authoritarians aren't the politicians as they act similar to each other, it is the one sided propoganda that is popular with the masses. Eg if Micheal Moore mentioned Clinton bombing Iraq for WMD in 1998 he would have sold less movie tickets. We get the left wing and right wing absurd bias because that is what the people demand.

    Afganistan, drone attacks in pakistan (double attacks and deaths under Obama), military tribunals, Guantanamo bay no longer matter when Obama is in charge.

    I don't see the big difference between any of them, Ig's writings on Iraq and terrorism seem "further right" than Harper, Obama does not that different than Bush. On social policies, No Child Left Behind/Bush is similar to Medicare/Obama. Nuke reduction: Bush/Putin deal is bigger % reduction than the later Obama nuke treaty. Taxes: Ig also felt that reduction of corporate taxes stimulated business, the main argument in on small shade of difference of how much.

    CF-35 jets… 5 years down the road they all probably will buy something. Liberals spent millions to fund research on same jets. "Liberal government would cancel the contract and hold a competitive"… will that reduce costs?

    Why not discuss the actual choices of jets, rather than a vague statements? There aren't many choices and each has big flaws.

  100. "Why Conservatives Will Always Vote Conservative. Authoritarianism"

    Same logic can be used for both sides, Ig and friends have whipped the vote on many measures such as long gun registry.

    Obama fired a popular general who disagreed with him in rolling stone mag.

    The National Socialist German Workers Party implemented "progressive" tax changes and welfare (help poor), followed "scientific"/"liberal" popular with the intellectual elite "social darwinism", survival of the fittest. Nazi writings are heavy with a twisted version of darwin to justify their "final solution" which at first was to ship "undesirables" to africa. By todays political measures they could be called *either* conservative or liberal.

    IMO the scary authoritarians aren't the politicians as they act similar to each other, it is the one sided propoganda that is popular with the masses. Eg if Micheal Moore mentioned Clinton bombing Iraq for WMD in 1998 he would have sold less movie tickets. We get the left wing and right wing absurd bias because that is what the people demand.

    Afganistan, drone attacks in pakistan (double attacks and deaths under Obama), military tribunals, Guantanamo bay no longer matter when Obama is in charge.

    I don't see the big difference between any of them, Ig's writings on Iraq and terrorism seem "further right" than Harper, Obama does not that different than Bush. On social policies, No Child Left Behind/Bush is similar to Medicare/Obama. Nuke reduction: Bush/Putin deal is bigger % reduction than the later Obama nuke treaty. Taxes: Ig also felt that reduction of corporate taxes stimulated business, the main argument in on small shade of difference of how much.

    CF-35 jets… 5 years down the road they all probably will buy something. Liberals spent millions to fund research on same jets. "Liberal government would cancel the contract and hold a competitive"… will that reduce costs?

    Why not discuss the actual choices of jets, rather than a vague statements? There aren't many choices and each has big flaws.

  101. The "Best Aircraft in the World"? The F35 isn't even built yet. I is just as likely to be a piece of junk (or canceled by the US government). There are alternatives, so don't be baffled by bullsh-t.

  102. I see this angle but really the difference would be spendeing on health care and social programs vs planes and prisons.(re: NDP win)
    The Tories are already spending lots with a minority -imagine as majority. Last year deficit hit a record 56billion even before Martin/Chretien cuts, the deficit averaged 30bill(1986-1996). Granted this was a stimulas package year -we just watched a conservative spending spree- I think with a majhority Harper would throw everything he could expecially our money at making Canda in his oiwn conservative image. Harper is blindly idealogue even with a minority leash. Look at his crime bill- Crime goes down and the tories still want more prisons and cops. Then the cons try to lie about the stats. By cons I mean conseratives but in many cases I guess the cons are cons.

  103. The Conservatives have been on record of supporting Cap & Trade. It's a bit like Afghanistan…because everyone is basically on the same side of the issue, it gets under-reported.

  104. I think Canadians are missing the mark – ALL of the parties are throwing out candy with no explanation on where the candy is going to come from or better yet how to pay for the candy. Our economy is fundamentally week (strong only because of other countries weakness –this will change and Canada will be hit hard) – strong dollar but our goods and services are priced like we live with the peso – wages have not moved in 15 years – an antiquated judicial system that costs the Canadian tax payer huge – now minimum sentencing????? . A health care system that is killing our people – an education system that cannot hold water internationally – Canada is weak and I have heard nothing concrete from any party – Stupid people are easily misled. Every single party has a hand in the slow destruction of Canada.

    • You might try actually looking at their respective platforms to know that what you're talking about simply isn't true.

      • Actually you might try get outside of Canada a little bit – most Canadians are clueless about the world at large – Canadians have a tendency to believe the limited Canadian news bubble – As for platforms -most are hot air. Canadians should know better – then again the level of apathy and low voter turnout tells it all – a failure that rests on all political parties, a failure of our so called pseudo – democracy – we as Canadians do not even have the freedom to vote for our leader.

  105. I loved the set. It was my favourite thing about the broadcast.

  106. Harper looked like a robot -couldn't even look anyone in the eye.

  107. I think Canadians are missing the mark – ALL of the parties are throwing out candy with no explanation on where the candy is going to come from or better yet how to pay for the candy. Our economy is fundamentally week (strong only because of other countries weakness –this will change and Canada will be hit hard) – strong dollar but our goods and services are priced like we live with the peso – wages have not moved in 15 years – an antiquated judicial system that costs the Canadian tax payer huge – now minimum sentencing????? . A health care system that is killing our people – an education system that cannot hold water internationally – Canada is weak and I have heard nothing concrete from any party – Stupid people are easily misled. Every single party has a hand in the slow destruction of Canada.

  108. In some ways, CPC supporters remind me of Linus, looking for their Great Pumpkin in Harper. No matter how many times it doesn't happen, they're more than willing to just shake their fist and cry out, "Just wait til next year!"

  109. Everyone skirts around the problem the country is happy with minority Government but not Coalition.
    The Coalition could have happened no need for an Election.

    Harper is really the issue if Harper fails to get a Majority he is no longer the Prime Minister he will not be able to try to run the same of government.
    He will be either forced out as Tory leader and they will form either a supported minority government under a new leader or they will fail to force another election.

    Then the Liberals with Ignatieff or the NDP will form a Government with Jack as PM he wins the polls hands down.

    Would the Tories join to keep the Bloc out this is the really interesting Question.

    This is why the Tories seem not to be bothering to campaign. Harper is merrily running the" Elect ME as President, campaign there is really no other option." the Tory party is a one horse race.

  110. "In the beginning of the debate, you could very easily see that Harper was getting angry, his tight grip of that podium told tales that it was solidly built".

    At least Harper didn't put his hand on his hips and wave his finger about like a ninny.

  111. Everyone skirts around the problem the country is happy with minority Government but not Coalition.
    The Coalition could have happened no need for an Election.

    Harper is really the issue if Harper fails to get a Majority he is no longer the Prime Minister he will not be able to try to run the same of government.
    He will be either forced out as Tory leader and they will form either a supported minority government under a new leader or they will fail to force another election.

    Then the Liberals with Ignatieff or the NDP will form a Government with Jack as PM he wins the polls hands down.

    Would the Tories join to keep the Bloc out this is the really interesting Question.

    This is why the Tories seem not to be bothering to campaign. Harper is merrily running the" Elect ME as President, campaign there is really no other option." the Tory party is a one horse race.

  112. “It's not bickering, Mr. Harper, it's democracy”

    No Mr. Ignatieff, it's bickering. You can call it democratic process if you want, but its still bickering. The democracy bit happens at the polls.

    You try to score cheap points on insisting the Conservatives are 'undemocratic'. It's not true, and you know it. Use of procedure and bureaucracy to further the party goals is a tried and true Liberal tactic. You find yourself aggravated that another party has mastered the tactic as well. Your assessment that the cheap shot you threw at Harper is anything less than bickering demonstrates your hypocrisy. I forgive you for it, since all parties are guilty of it.

    Remember democracy when democracy repudiates your party, again.

    • What has Democracy really got to do with it. Harper's coalition of parties have never had more than 20% of the electorate vote for them, while he has been leader..

    • I insist, the Conservatives are undemocratic.

      • No I insist. I think it is incredibly repugnant that those Cons have the loop on those regular working Joes.

  113. "But to do that he has to reach out to that big block voters to his right, rather than the smaller block to his left. That he has not is the key strategic failing of the Liberal campaign."

    Iggy damned do/damned don't – left wing voters very clique and they would die of embarrasment, and vote for someone else, if Iggy started to campaign for right wing votes. Good luck keeping left wing votes while trying to attract right wing ones.
    ——-
    " (Those who think the country's on the wrong track but the government's on the right track I'm guessing are just confused.)"

    Why? This is my neighbour, four doors down. Country going to hell in handcart and Harper/Cons just starting to make things right.
    —–
    " It may be perfectly constitutional, legal and legitimate ….. "

    Right now, Libs are as likely to lose seats as they are to gain them. Can Libs really have a legitimate claim to power if they lose a handful of seats but still have enough with two other oppos to form coaltion? I don't think so. Surely elections are meant to reflect popular will.

    • If they have enough with the other opposition to maintain confidence of the house, that DOES reflect popular will.

  114. “It%E2%80%99s not bickering, Mr. Harper, it%E2%80%99s democracy”

    No Mr. Ignatieff, it's bickering. You can call it democratic process if you want, but its still bickering. The democracy bit happens at the polls.

    You try to score cheap points on insisting the Conservatives are 'undemocratic'. It's not true, and you know it. Use of procedure and bureaucracy to further the party goals is a tried and true Liberal tactic. You find yourself aggravated that another party has mastered the tactic as well. Your assessment that the cheap shot you threw at Harper is anything less than bickering demonstrates your hypocrisy. I forgive you for it, since all parties are guilty of it.

    Remember democracy when democracy repudiates your party, again.

  115. "But to do that he has to reach out to that big block voters to his right, rather than the smaller block to his left. That he has not is the key strategic failing of the Liberal campaign."

    Iggy damned do/damned don't – left wing voters very clique and they would die of embarrasment, and vote for someone else, if Iggy started to campaign for right wing votes. Good luck keeping left wing votes while trying to attract right wing ones.
    ——-
    " (Those who think the country%E2%80%99s on the wrong track but the government%E2%80%99s on the right track I%E2%80%99m guessing are just confused.)"

    Why? This is my neighbour, four doors down. Country going to hell in handcart and Harper/Cons just starting to make things right.
    —–
    " It may be perfectly constitutional, legal and legitimate ….. "

    Right now, Libs are as likely to lose seats as they are to gain them. Can Libs really have a legitimate claim to power if they lose a handful of seats but still have enough with two other oppos to form coaltion? I don't think so. Surely elections are meant to reflect popular will.

  116. Yes, I'm sure fictional doctors will be excited by gar's fictional account of the NDP's platform.

  117. I guess it depends on your perspective. To me Harper appeared cold, manipulative, and effectively evading all questions simply by saying " We don't agree with that". Mind you, the Liberals had many strong cards they didn't play: We kept a balanced budget for ten years, We resisted Mr. Harper's wish to de-regulate the banks, so that Canada's healthy recovery from the Global recession is down to us. As well as countering Mr Harper's claim to keeping a minority government going by very specifically citing the two prorogations when the Opposition actually grew a pair and tried to shut it down. And yes, Harper played to the audience – I say played, not spoke, and he did not engage in a true debate.

  118. “It's not bickering, Mr. Harper, it's democracy”

    No Mr. Ignatieff, it's bickering. You can call it democratic process if you want, but its still bickering. The democracy bit happens at the polls.

    You try to score cheap points on insisting the Conservatives are 'undemocratic'. It's not true, and you know it. Use of procedure and bureaucracy to further the party goals is a tried and true Liberal tactic. You find yourself aggravated that another party has mastered the tactic as well. Your assessment that the cheap shot you threw at Harper is anything less than bickering demonstrates your hypocrisy. I forgive you for it, since all parties are guilty of it.

    Remember democracy when democracy repudiates your party, again.

  119. "But to do that he has to reach out to that big block voters to his right, rather than the smaller block to his left. That he has not is the key strategic failing of the Liberal campaign."

    Iggy damned do/damned don't – left wing voters very clique and they would die of embarrasment, and vote for someone else, if Iggy started to campaign for right wing votes. Good luck keeping left wing votes while trying to attract right wing ones.
    ——-
    " (Those who think the country's on the wrong track but the government's on the right track I'm guessing are just confused.)"

    Why? This is my neighbour, four doors down. Country going to hell in handcart and Harper/Cons just starting to make things right.
    —–
    " It may be perfectly constitutional, legal and legitimate ….. "

    Right now, Libs are as likely to lose seats as they are to gain them. Can Libs really have a legitimate claim to power if they lose a handful of seats but still have enough with two other oppos to form coaltion? I don't think so. Surely elections are meant to reflect popular will.

  120. In other words, unless you live in Calgary Southwest, folks, paul here thinks you're a complete idiot.

    And obviously.. he'd know.

  121. I kind of thought that looked quite comfortable and confident.

  122. A good take. It scares me that these re my country-men!

  123. Not sure what debate you were taking in Mr.Coyne. The one I watched was won "Hands Down" by Jack Layton.Promoted his platfom well and made Michael Ignatiaff look like an incorrigiable student who misses class as well as the meaningof the evening.
    Sadly my side (Stephen Harper and the Conservatives) came second last night which is hopefully enough to prevail on May 2.t

  124. I would love to say you are right,but I think that the liberals won't do it,because they plan to be in power some day.
    Interesting point though; If the liberals don't push through some of these measures, are they hypocrites? Willing to slam the CPC for them, but not willing to go to bat to have them changed?

  125. Not sure what debate you were taking in Mr.Coyne. The one I watched was won "Hands Down" by Jack Layton.Promoted his platfom well and made Michael Ignatiaff look like an incorrigiable student who misses class as well as the meaningof the evening.
    Sadly my side (Stephen Harper and the Conservatives) came second last night which is hopefully enough to prevail on May 2.t

  126. Totally irrelevant rubbish this is about Canada's elections no one cares about Clinton denying his blow job under oath!.
    Obama isn't standing in Canada.
    What happens in the USA is not any business of the Canadian legal system.
    Filing your pockets with brown envelopes of cash for yourself or your constituency and getting a blow job from an adult consenting woman are to different things.

  127. David: I don't think anyone believes for a second that a single Conservative voted to hold the Government in contempt.

    Hell, it would have been news if one of them had the balls to actually do it.

  128. I could change my mind but it is fairly firmed into the Conservative camp. I was thinking about what would have to happen and I realized that the problem in Canada, right now (oops), is that there is no longer a party situated in the right. the Liberals have moved left of the NDP. That is somewhat of a surprise but what do you expect when you allow the likes of Justin, Bob, and Gerard on the same ticket. how left can you go and still be able to call yourselves Liberal. The Conservatives have taken over the middle and most represent Canadian views despite all the hype pushed by the media. We are not duped into believing the contempt charge is anything less than a ganging up on the minority by the balance of left bent parties. Poor old Peter was a good speaker but he will have this ruling in his footnotes to remember (haunt) him.

    So what would it take to make me vote Liberal? They would have to jump to the right of the Conservatives as a start. Believe me there is lots of room. Instead of bashing the military, the Liberals should embrace the military. They have been underfunded for years. Leave the jets alone, it will only cause the Liberals pain. Instead seek better plans to expand the armed forces into protecting our Arctic sovereignty. Build an Arctic naval port, build ice breakers, build ships for the navy, build an air force base in the Arctic. get ready for global warming and the loss of polar ice. The Arctic will be open to international travel and exploration. Get ready for 30 or 40 years hence and start these projects today. It will take that long to set these big projects into reality. Canada will be respected and others will not easily or willfully steal our resources in that area. Diplomacy during periods of resource demands will only be respected when you have a big stick. Hmm, heard that somewhere??

    • Very good points….and the Liberal Party cannot go there because to win past elections, with majority, they stole the policies of other parties – mainly from the left and to try and appease the voters in La Belle Province. So they are hung out on the left to dry – especially now for Mr Iggnatief. They are also a party of the status quo and take no risks – thus being proactive and developing the north will not be on their radar.

  129. You might try actually looking at their respective platforms to know that what you're talking about simply isn't true.

  130. I could change my mind but it is fairly firmed into the Conservative camp. I was thinking about what would have to happen and I realized that the problem in Canada, right now (oops), is that there is no longer a party situated in the right. the Liberals have moved left of the NDP. That is somewhat of a surprise but what do you expect when you allow the likes of Justin, Bob, and Gerard on the same ticket. how left can you go and still be able to call yourselves Liberal. The Conservatives have taken over the middle and most represent Canadian views despite all the hype pushed by the media. We are not duped into believing the contempt charge is anything less than a ganging up on the minority by the balance of left bent parties. Poor old Peter was a good speaker but he will have this ruling in his footnotes to remember (haunt) him.

    So what would it take to make me vote Liberal? They would have to jump to the right of the Conservatives as a start. Believe me there is lots of room. Instead of bashing the military, the Liberals should embrace the military. They have been underfunded for years. Leave the jets alone, it will only cause the Liberals pain. Instead seek better plans to expand the armed forces into protecting our Arctic sovereignty. Build an Arctic naval port, build ice breakers, build ships for the navy, build an air force base in the Arctic. get ready for global warming and the loss of polar ice. The Arctic will be open to international travel and exploration. Get ready for 30 or 40 years hence and start these projects today. It will take that long to set these big projects into reality. Canada will be respected and others will not easily or willfully steal our resources in that area. Diplomacy during periods of resource demands will only be respected when you have a big stick. Hmm, heard that somewhere??

  131. If they have enough with the other opposition to maintain confidence of the house, that DOES reflect popular will.

  132. I Think Mr Ignatieff raised good points, and his beliefs as to how things should be done are spot on, but he ruins any credibility he had by saying immediately after that The "Harper Government" did not act on these issues; when in reality, the incumbent government has been addressing attention to all of the issues it can; slowly, but surely. Both the Liberals and the NDP seem to highlight all of their attention on only healthcare, (The NDP more than the Liberals,) and then engage in heavy mudslinging to give the illusion that they are somehow superior to Mr Harper.

    One of the worst examples of such "below the belt" tactics is when Mr. Layton commented on how new prisons were not necessary as the criminals seemed to be happy enough serving in Mr Harpers cabinet. (Referring to the Oda case.) He soon after proceeded to say that immigrant families live with 3 or 4 other families in the same house and "did not have clean drinking water." This comment is incredibly biased and false; I have never heard anything about Immigrants being forced into crowded living conditions in all the 15 years of my life! Even if some families do live in such conditions, perhaps Mr. Layton could look at how maybe a family fresh off the boat might not have as much financial power as someone born here.

    To add insult to injury, he claimed before this statement that families were "unable to unite in Canada." That is true, families of immigrants do not usually come altogether; but maybe their family members do not want to leave their home country, or the relative that does leave wants to set things up or "test the water" to ensure his/her family will be happy there! On the issue of clean drinking water, I believe you will agree with me when I say that if any area or part of Canada did not have it, investigations and inquiries from the UN would begin, and we would have heard about it by now. Mr Layton's comments were highly inaccurate and untruthful.

    In conclusion, the most important thing to know is that we Canadians love our democracy; we all acknowledge and honor the sacrifices that were made to ensure this nation was free to vote; but we also need to acknowledge that if Mr. Layton and Mr.Ignatieff say they stand for Canada, they would not have started this election in the first place. (Mr.Layton's comments on the budget seemed to act as a major catalyst, and Mr. Ignatieff's constant attack ads against virtually every action the incumbent government made contributed as well.) Mr. Harper has not completed a single full term since he became our Prime Minister in 2006; at this point, the electoral system has been abused for the sole purpose of power acquisition. While I agree the Harper Government is not perfect, we need to agree that any government that claims to be or tries to be will surely either enslave us all, or not act on our behalf.

    During the entire course of the debate, Mr. Harper remained calm, collected, and to the point; making sure that any false information or biased comments were answered to with fact, and truth. I congratulate Mr. Harper on a great job participating in the debate, and I hope that we will see him as our leader again when the dust settles.

  133. James

    Mr. Coyne must have been looking at a different debate than the one I viewed. Mr. Harper kept his cool through the whole debate and addressed all of the issues put to him. Not so for Layton who hedged when confronted by Ducepe. In my opinion the three leaders attacking Harper looked like the three stooges, Curly, Larry and Moe. Heaven help us if Iggy to over the helm of Canada. The $4000 he is going to provide every high school student is but just one example of how they will financially put this country in trouble. He will problably miss most of the parliamentary sessions anyway if he wins. Harper was clearly the winner.

  134. James

    Mr. Coyne must have been looking at a different debate than the one I viewed. Mr. Harper kept his cool through the whole debate and addressed all of the issues put to him. Not so for Layton who hedged when confronted by Ducepe. In my opinion the three leaders attacking Harper looked like the three stooges, Curly, Larry and Moe. Heaven help us if Iggy to over the helm of Canada. The $4000 he is going to provide every high school student is but just one example of how they will financially put this country in trouble. He will problably miss most of the parliamentary sessions anyway if he wins. Harper was clearly the winner.

  135. A Harper PArty minority brought us the largest inceases in: the size of government, the cost of government, the size of the debt and the number of economic flip flops, ever in Canada's history. And to top it off this same government brought us the most undemocractic, secretive and deceitful government in Canada's history. Imagine what they could accomplish with a majority.

  136. OMG!
    we have no foot soldiers we cannot go to war.

    They can train more you UNIMAGINATIVE PERSON.
    They can make Government funding repayable immediately if a Doctor woks outside Canada keep their passport until they take a job in Canada for at least Five years then write off half their tuition fees..

  137. That really didn't make much sense

  138. " it doesn't sit right with a lot of voters. I don't have a poll to show that, and I don't need one:" Translation: I don't have the facts and I don't need them.

  139. Yes, OriginalEmily1, you are right. I have to admit, however, that Andrew always takes time to give a detailed analysis whether I agree with it or not.

  140. " it doesn%E2%80%99t sit right with a lot of voters. I don%E2%80%99t have a poll to show that, and I don%E2%80%99t need one:" Translation: I don't have the facts and I don't need them.

  141. " it doesn't sit right with a lot of voters. I don't have a poll to show that, and I don't need one:" Translation: I don't have the facts and I don't need them.

  142. I agree; typical Andrew Cwhine.

  143. How can the F35 be the best would you like to fly one to Libya they are not completed yet no one except Harper has any idea if they will ever fly nor how much they will cost a blank check.

  144. Thanks. You have some really good points.

  145. or, as a more logical alternative, they have conservative values. Hmmm, which idea makes more sense. . .

  146. He was "right" all along;he's just a concern troll!

  147. Sinn Fein refuses to sit in Parliament out of protest; their empty seats represent their contempt for an institution that they do not accept. If the Bloc has any integrity they should do the same.

  148. Pardon! What is it when one asserts that someone is ignorant and partisan or that they go together in this instance.

  149. What has Democracy really got to do with it. Harper's coalition of parties have never had more than 20% of the electorate vote for them, while he has been leader..

  150. Layton did not say immigrant families were living 3 or 4 families in the same house! He said native people were living in such conditions.

  151. Layton did not say immigrant families were living 3 or 4 families in the same house! He said native people were living in such conditions.

  152. I had a really great class with Bob Altemeyer. Other than the drinking and the sex, it was definitely the highlight of my time at U of M.

  153. Thank you for your stunningly insightful and utterly unbiased analysis.

  154. I insist, the Conservatives are undemocratic.

  155. "Oh yeah, because Harper refuses to support anybody but himself."

    Which is why he's the longest serving PM with a minority government in Canadian history.

  156. I agree ,Kris. Every Canadian voter should be forced to listen to a few minutes of Pierre Polievre and John Baird in QP before casting a vote. :0)

  157. Milliken was elected by members of all parties.

    He is the best respected Speaker in history.

    Nice try but no cigar.

  158. That's just it. You have a fundamental misunderstanding of what a parliamentary system is supposed to do. it's simple to you, because you've reduced democratic representation to a scorekeeping exercise.

    Those Conservative MPs are supposed to represent all the people in their constituency, not just the ones that voted for them, and they are supposed to call the prime minister to account on behalf of their constituents, not just elect him and leave him there no matter what he says or does. Elected representatives aren't some kind of talking poker chip for deciding who wins the pot, they are the voice of their constitutents in parliament.

  159. Andrew,

    This was a very well written piece. I didn't have the chance to watch the debate, so I have a question for you. How do you explain that most other pundits say that Layton performed the best, Harper held his own, and Ignatieff did quite poorly. I doubt it is bias on either side (yours or other pundits), so wanted to know what your best guess is.

  160. The problem is that the Liberal government that maintained a balanced budget had policies much more similar to the current Conservative policies than what the current Liberals are proposing.

  161. Andrew,

    This was a very well written piece. I didn't have the chance to watch the debate, so I have a question for you. How do you explain that most other pundits say that Layton performed the best, Harper held his own, and Ignatieff did quite poorly. I doubt it is bias on either side (yours or other pundits), so wanted to know what your best guess is.

  162. No, he's the longest serving minority PM because he's unafraid of using all the powers (and beyond) of an unrestricted PMO to play real-politik against his opponents, including violating the spirit of his own fixed election date laws, proroguing parliament to prevent opposition motions, hiding documents from the house of commons, lying to committees, lying about what the AG said, lying about what the independant PBO said, using government of Canada resources for campaigning purposes, and lets not forget about the alleged bribes and attempting to steal money in the form of election expense reimbursements.

  163. No, he's the longest serving minority PM because he's unafraid of using all the powers (and beyond) of an unrestricted PMO to play real-politik against his opponents, including violating the spirit of his own fixed election date laws, proroguing parliament to prevent opposition motions, hiding documents from the house of commons, lying to committees, lying about what the AG said, lying about what the independant PBO said, using government of Canada resources for campaigning purposes, and lets not forget about the alleged bribes and attempting to steal money in the form of election expense reimbursements.

    • If he did one tenth of the things in your list – which he didn't – the real scandal would be that the opposition parties let him get away with it for five years. Since I don't believe (although it appears you do) the opposition parties are stupid enough to have let him get away with it for five years, your premise is demonstrably false.

      • Learn what "real-politik" means.

        Then when that's done, kindly point out which of the things on my list this CPC government has not done.

        • I know it's hard, given what your poli-sci degree cost you, to resist the urge to explain everything by resorting to the theory you wrote your second year major paper about, but you have to try if you want others to take you seriously.

          "Real-politik" is as reasonable an explanation for Harper's staying power as suggesting it's attributable to his daily consumption of tiger blood. "Real politik" doesn't work without opponents who are either prepared to be complicit with you as you strive to achieve your nefarious objectives or are too stupid/naive to appreciate that they're being manipulated in support of such achievement. So which applies to Layton, Ignatieff and Duceppe?

          No, Thwin, it isn't "real-politik" that explains Harper's tenure – it's the voodoo mind tricks that Harper is an acknowledged master of. He can make Ignatieff bark like a dog and Layton dance like Fred Astaire – bad hip and all – at the drop of his hat and is just waiting for the right opportunity to demonstrate his fearsome powers!

          • wow somebody has a crush on somebody.
            Still waiting for which item on thwim's list Harper didn't do. You seemed adamant that he didn't do at least some of them. I would add a few more examples of his duplicity – taxation on income trusts, elected Senators, lieing about how a parliamentary democracy works.
            Or does your crush blind you to his obvious faults?

          • Why stop there, harebell? He also failed to floss after every meal and makes Laureen take the garbage out.

            Let's try a different tack – I hereby concede Harper did every last thing you and Thwim accuse him of and more. He is far and away the most evil, diabolical and just plain nasty man ever to occupy the office of PM. So how is it he's lasted longer, in the precarious position of presiding over a minority government, than any PM in Canadian history? If he's been as bad as we all agree he's been, why have Iggy et al let him carry on longer than any minority PM in Canadian history? Or do you subscribe to Thwim's goofy "real politik" explanation for his longevity?

          • How old are you? Not the most evil and diabolical I can think of a few more that will deserve that accolade. However he is certainly far from being the best or most efficient.
            Some of the reasons why he has held on are:

            He prorogued parliament twice taking a good chunk out Parliamentary business time. The first time because of a terrible back-stabbing blunder, the second because he feared he would not be able to watch the olympics if a campaign was on. So he just excused himself from work at these points.
            He then set in motion a slick propaganda campaign that lied to a poorly informed electorate about the workings of a Parliamentary system. This allowed him to paint his opposition as a kind of fifth column meaning that calling an election was out of the question. It wouldn't solve the problem.
            He had changed the rules via the election law that effectively made calling an election the decision of the leader of the opposition not the Prime Minister. Then he made most votes a vote of confidence. This means he could blame the opposition for any loss of confidence and forcing the country into an unnecessary election. He did this in the full knowledge that the country would not care why an election had been called they would have blamed the opposition.
            The opposition was in no position to fight an election resource wise.

            Those are some of the reasons that he has been the longest serving minority leader in Canadian history. Absence, lieing, enacting a law he ignored but used to control the opposition and having a poorly equipped opposition. There are more but these spring immediately to mind. He opportunistically worked the system and preyed on fear and ignorance.

  164. Andrew supposes that the Liberals need to get typical Conservatives to consider to switch. However, the current Conservative support presumably includes a large number of former Liberal voters. After all, somebody was voting to give Chrétien those majorities. Eventually the population got fed up with Chrétien and was ready to throw him out but because of ethics not economics. Indeed at the end of his tenure, Canadians were thrilled with the direction of the Canadian economy. Debt was being paid down, taxes were being lowered and investments were being made. It is worth noting, those investments were large, ambitious and at least in some areas very effective.

    Like Trudeau & Mulroney before him, Chrétien saw the end coming and ducked. Paul Martin like Turner & Campbell before him, stepped in to take the blow. Funny thing though, Martin was so popular as a Finance Minister that the population was divided on whether to take out its vengeance on him. He was like a fan-favorite star player who becomes a bumbling coach. The fans could forgive a lot, at least until an RCMP investigation tarred him (unjustly it turns out) with Chrétien-like ethics.

    As much as I (and others) complain about stupid economic decisions the Conservatives have made, the fact is they are small, stupid economic decisions. In broad strokes, a watered down legacy of Martin persists in the affairs of the Canadian government. As many have noted, even with the current record deficit, we have an enviable debt-GDP ratio and still collectively remember that at the end of Mulroney's term, Canada was worse off than the US, Greece or Portugal. (I am not sure that this is true for the last two, but figured someone would straighten me out)

    Seen through that light, Ignatieff call out to former Liberals who washed their hands of the party makes some sense. They left, knowing that fiscally the Liberals were doing good things because they could not stomach the unethical behaviour in other areas. In a very real sense, those former Liberals liked the direction the country was going, and still wanted to throw the bums out.

    The current Conservatives are a pale apparition of Chrétien's government in both positive and negative attributes.
    They lack the economic vision of that government and are saved from being completely incompetent simply by being unambitious. On the plus side, we only know they are unethical, although increasing numbers suspect it is only a matter of time before definitive proof of criminal behavior emerges. ( I note that even Harper's supporter have switched from labeling the government as squeaky clean, to instead parsing chains of evidence… they sound like defenders of OJ Simpson) With that combination, those same former Liberals are still fairly pleased with where the country is, but perhaps losing patience with Harper's government. The question is: are they ready to go back to the Liberals?

  165. It's probably not a horrible idea for them to do this. It gives them a face-saving way of supporting the government for a few years. I'm not convinced the Liberals are keen on forming a weak minority government. It probably helps the NDP more than it helps them.

  166. That's about right, sounds like a good citizen of a democratic society, who is willing to pull his own weight. Opposed to someone who thinks the elites should have entitlement. Try again kid, you will be alright when you grow up, after the fires of time burns a little of that self-righteousness out of you.

  167. "They can train more you UNIMAGINATIVE PERSON."

    Or, given the cost in time and resource in educating even one medical doctor through the 6 to 8 years it takes to earn an MD and bearing in mind 5,000 physicians is two to three times the current level of medical doctor graduations in Canada, Jack can waive his magic wand and conjure them up out of the sand and dust (or, better yet, the tarsands, killing two birds (though not ducks of course) with one stone.

    Or we can cherry pick doctors as immigrants from other places, most of which are in far more dire need of physicians than we are, relatively speaking, which will do wonders for our "international reputation" that Jack is so concerned about.

  168. what does this mean:

    They can make Government funding repayable immediately if a Doctor woks outside Canada keep their passport until they take a job in Canada for at least Five years then write off half their tuition fees

  169. Kind of bizarre argument, given that the number of authoritarian leftist governments (Cuba, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, North Korea, China, Russia, Belarus, etc.)

  170. Only to you, Holly – to more rationale observers, it means all of the spouting off about Harper not being willing to work with the other parties in governing is baseless. What's YOUR explanation as to how Harper has survived five years as PM of a minority government despite his alleged autocracy?

    • Years of bullying, intimidation, brinkmanship and manipulation doesn't qualify as "willing to work with".

      • "Years of bullying, intimidation, brinkmanship and manipulation doesn't qualify as "willing to work with"

        Perhaps you're a better judge of character than I, but I've never thought of Jack Layton or Gilles Duceppe or Michael Ignatieff as being particularly susceptible to bullying or intimidation or manipulation. Any other explanations? Take your time – cogency is important!

        • It takes a while to figure out how best to deal with a narcissistic sociopath.

          • I though Iggy had a 200 IQ – doesn't that kinda help to figure things out?

  171. Only to you, Holly – to more rationale observers, it means all of the spouting off about Harper not being willing to work with the other parties in governing is baseless. What's YOUR explanation as to how Harper has survived five years as PM of a minority government despite his alleged autocracy?

  172. Pierre has been my MP for 7 years, Baird was my MPP for ten; you should see the nonsense I've been exposed to by these idiots outside of parliament.

  173. Pierre has been my MP for 7 years, Baird was my MPP for ten; you should see the nonsense I've been exposed to by these idiots outside of parliament.

  174. Not bizarre if you know the truth, leftist regimes have murdered more people in the 20th century than all wars combined through the entire history of humanity. The left are experts at propaganda (tell more lies, this election cycle is a good example), the truth has never been their strong point when their entitlements are at stake.

  175. Years of bullying, intimidation, brinkmanship and manipulation doesn't qualify as "willing to work with".

  176. I guess it's easier to impress 18 yr. old kids than their parents. Iggy's going have to do much better than he is doing. We are just not buying his brand any longer.

  177. And you have a fundamental misunderstanding of human nature and common sense.
    The parliamentary system may be the vehicle that we use to govern ourselves, but the political party system is the means we use to elect our Prime Minister, and I don`t care how many journos and scholars—heck, I don`t care if you bring back LKO to lecture to me– I am convinced that when the voter decides to vote in a Conservative MP, that voter has decided he wants Stephen Harper as his PM. The voting public makes his-her decision at the voting booth and beware the persons that decide they can overturn that decision with their interpretation of a parliamentary system.

    By the way, I do not recall any desire on any of you good folk to interpret the parliamentary system so literally when Chretien was winning majority with 38- 44% of the electorate.
    Now, what could have changed in the political landscape for this new approach to become so popular in Liberal circles. Remember, you now say " Mp`s are supposed to represent all the people in their constituency ".

  178. I see paranoia is alive and well.

  179. Yes, I have to agree with you. When it comes to sucking money from their countrymen in the name of taxes, the truth takes a back seat.

  180. It's not getting any traction at all. Harper shoots it down rather easily.

  181. Harper is the best Prime Minister that we have had since Pearson in my lietime and perhaps before. He is trustworthy and honourable.

  182. Common Sense encourages me to vote Conservative.

  183. Harper does have a degree in economics and that has been a focus of his throughout his career. It's the centerpiece of his platform.

    None of Dion, Ignatieff or Rae have ever spent any time dwellling on economic issues, all three of them spend most of their time dwelling on social issues. Two of them are professors in the humanities.

  184. Great post and obviously not yet, certainly not to Ignatieff. The Liberals have chosen two leaders not up to the job, although a Canada that would have elected Dion would have made me most proud.

  185. Great post and obviously not yet, certainly not to Ignatieff. The Liberals have chosen two leaders not up to the job, although a Canada that would have elected Dion would have made me most proud.

  186. don't worry it never does, but don't tell him. Jack = Iggy

    • .
      It does make sense, but it was too long-winded, and the critical pronoun reference ruined it.

      In short: Vote Harper and you vote for Canada as a corporation/autocracy. If that sounds sensible, go for it. But it won't be a country with a soul anymore.
      .

  187. don't worry it never does, but don't tell him. Jack = Iggy

  188. How right you are! My blood boils whenever I hear Peirre Polievre speak as parl. sec. to the Prime Minister. I would love to just clock that guy. The arrogant tone of his voice is only overshadowed by the bald faced lies he tells and how he repeats the same talking points over and over. Even Baird with his foaming mouth can be comical and witty in his aggressive attacks, but Pollievre comes off as annoying and infuriating to the nth degree.

    Awesome comment

  189. Logic gives you no other choice but vote Conservative. I am starting to think that Harper may pull off a majority with these elitists, the longer they keep talking the better Harper starts to look, the half-truths of the left can only get them so far.

  190. Agreed Andrew. The libs have missed a golden opportunity to appeal to the soft lefties and the centre, center right by at least offering a comprehensive democratic reform package. Their strategy completely escapes me – yelling undemocratic at Harper only gets your foot in the door. If you want it opened you have to put up or shut up. Can't they see it's in their intersts and the countries – it's so damn simple. A cynic might well conclude the party has so far deteriorated as a political force, that it is unable to see where its fortunes and ours might intersect. Or is it that the left fringe of the party really is in control and they simply can't offer more?

    Is there any chance they might still go this way, if only as a kind of hail mary? After all Mr H seems to be getting to throw one or two of those himself this election.

    I wonder how Obama might handle this? Well obviously our message wasn't strong enough. Sorry bout that. So saying we are proposing these additional democracy enhancing measures.
    If Ignatieff can't come up with anything original,maybe he should ask himself what SH would do in this situation? Come out with an enhanced democratic reform package – in a heartbeat.

  191. "Jack can waive his magic wand…"

    You mean the fictional Jack can wave his magic wand…"
    I'm not sure why you folks are so concerned with a platform that is purely the product of gar's imagination.
    Not to be presumptuous, but wouldn't your time be better spent addressing the NDP's actual platform?

  192. Are you talking to me?

  193. Agreed Andrew. The libs have missed a golden opportunity to appeal to the soft lefties and the centre, center right by at least offering a comprehensive democratic reform package. Their strategy completely escapes me – yelling undemocratic at Harper only gets your foot in the door. If you want it opened you have to put up or shut up. Can't they see it's in their intersts and the countries – it's so damn simple. A cynic might well conclude the party has so far deteriorated as a political force, that it is unable to see where its fortunes and ours might intersect. Or is it that the left fringe of the party really is in control and they simply can't offer more?

    Is there any chance they might still go this way, if only as a kind of hail mary? After all Mr H seems to be getting to throw one or two of those himself this election.

    I wonder how Obama might handle this? Well obviously our message wasn't strong enough. Sorry bout that. So saying we are proposing these additional democracy enhancing measures.
    If Ignatieff can't come up with anything original,maybe he should ask himself what SH would do in this situation? Come out with an enhanced democratic reform package – in a heartbeat.

  194. You speak like your leader, "Tim Hortons crowd". Which is the majority in Canada. And you are outoftouch like him, elitist.

  195. Teflon Steve he should be called. They never even made him break a sweat. The other three spent more time stumbling over one anothers half-truths to get anything real done.

  196. What's important to note here is that paul did not discount the possibility that anyone who votes for Harper would also be considered an idiot.

  197. No I insist. I think it is incredibly repugnant that those Cons have the loop on those regular working Joes.

  198. Jack put the nail in the coffin of Ignatieff's democracy argument when he quipped something like "someone looking for a promotion should show up for work".

    Ignatieff looked too stunned to respond coherently – bad prep. But the point should be made that Jack sucker punched him. Ignatieff's attendance was only bad this last year while out on the road. Why on earth MI didn't say that is odd. It was a good shot – but actually a cheap one.

  199. The Conservatives have taken over the center, and the Libs have gone out into left field. We are not going to come back.

  200. The Conservatives have taken over the center, and the Libs have gone out into left field. We are not going to come back.

  201. If he did one tenth of the things in your list – which he didn't – the real scandal would be that the opposition parties let him get away with it for five years. Since I don't believe (although it appears you do) the opposition parties are stupid enough to have let him get away with it for five years, your premise is demonstrably false.

  202. "They lack the economic vision of that government and are saved from being completely incompetent simply by being unambitious."

    Isn't that true? Great post.

  203. "They lack the economic vision of that government and are saved from being completely incompetent simply by being unambitious."

    Isn't that true? Great post.

  204. Sorry, did the media consortium expunge all of Layton's comments about sending new doctors hither and yon just like Northern Exposure. Not sure he mentioned a number in last night's debate, but Layton definitely went on at length about "new doctors" as part of the solution to the ills (pardon the pun) of Canadian health care.

  205. Sorry, did the media consortium expunge all of Layton's comments about sending new doctors hither and yon just like Northern Exposure. Not sure he mentioned a number in last night's debate, but Layton definitely went on at length about "new doctors" as part of the solution to the ills (pardon the pun) of Canadian health care.

    • Shorter GWOF:

      I haven't a clue what the NDP's platform is, and here's what's wrong with it.

  206. "Years of bullying, intimidation, brinkmanship and manipulation doesn't qualify as "willing to work with"

    Perhaps you're a better judge of character than I, but I've never thought of Jack Layton or Gilles Duceppe or Michael Ignatieff as being particularly susceptible to bullying or intimidation or manipulation. Any other explanations? Take your time – cogency is important!

  207. I find Coyne increasingly parroting CPC talking points. I don't follow his logic on right of centre swing voters (neither last night nor here).

    It appears he's given up. Frankly, if Harper is returned with a minority 9or better still a reduced minority) – the better formula to get rid of him. If you are a right-of-centre swing voter who is tired of his autocratic anti-democratic tenure.

    So, what happens if he prevails and wins a majority? Someone to replace him with such Machiaveliian skills? Not in 2011 within the up and comers in the CPC- this is not 1492. The house of cards will quickly collapse.

  208. I find Coyne increasingly parroting CPC talking points. I don't follow his logic on right of centre swing voters (neither last night nor here).

    It appears he's given up. Frankly, if Harper is returned with a minority 9or better still a reduced minority) – the better formula to get rid of him. If you are a right-of-centre swing voter who is tired of his autocratic anti-democratic tenure.

    So, what happens if he prevails and wins a majority? Someone to replace him with such Machiaveliian skills? Not in 2011 within the up and comers in the CPC- this is not 1492. The house of cards will quickly collapse.

  209. The unemployment numbers are dubious at best, part-time and temp workers, while falling within the margin of being 'employed' do a lot more for graphs and statistics than they do for Canada and Canadians. The full-time employment numbers are still quite unimpressive.

    And Canada's recovery also has much to do with the fact that the country is more and more depedant on exporting its natural resources to countries that actually build and create things. With resource prices- oil for instance – skyrocketting the Canadian economy is given the impression of greater performance.

    As to the deficit, that is not surprising at all. Canada's financials were stronger than any other country and was actually generating surpluses. The deficit we saw was not created by the recession, but was in fact due predominantly to the misguided reduction in the GST (sales taxes being the very worst of taxes to cut.)

    Not that im blaming anyone in particular, none of the parties have any real sense on the economy. But the budgets the minority government was able to produce, through comprimise and cooperation, were some of the best Canada has seen… The truth is the only way Canada stands to lose this election is if a majority is voted in.

  210. Those Conservative MPs are supposed to represent all the people in their constituency, not just the ones that voted for them, and they are supposed to call the prime minister to account on behalf of their constituents, not just elect him and leave him there no matter what he says or does.

    That was… beautiful (wipes eye). Now, have you seen the real world lately?

  211. I would expect Mr "Parliament Will Fight!" to award the debate to Mr Ignatieff, but I think Mr Harper must be gratified that pundits are still talking about the Coalition – this is a huge victory for Harper and I'm sure there are people in the Conservative campaign who have lost serious money in bets about how long it would be talked about (we are 2 1/2 weeks in).

    Mr Coyne is right. Coalitions are perfectly legitimate. The problem with the2008 Coalition with Canadians is:

    (a) that Dion broke the promise he made beforehand; and
    (b) that Duceppe had a major role in it (ie a veto).

    Mr Harper didn't have to bring it up. Duceppe did with his attacks about the 2004 "contract". This was a gift for Harper. He has never said cooperation or even coalitions are bad. It's only when its with the Bloc that it's bad. Duceppe made Harper's point for him. All Mr Ignatieff could say was "Coalition is out for me" and wave his hand. Layton, who was definitely double-crossed by Ignatieff on the Coalition, had no hesitation is attacking Ignatieff. Even when Ignatieff was lecturing Layton on the importance of staying engaged in Afghanistan, Layton shot back "those are the same arguments Mr Harper uses." Ouch.

    This left Harper to attack Duceppe, calling the Bloc for what it is, the party dedicated to the break up of the Greatest Country in the World. I enjoyed Harper's smackdown of Duceppe on his "multiculturalism is not a Quebec value" tripe. I also noted that in the post-debate scrums, Mr Harper was the only Leader who repeated his answers in the other Official Language. He is speaking to the whole country, all the time.

    In fact the moment of the debate for me was when, after lecturing Mr Harper about respect of democracy, Ignatieff shoots back at Layton for daring to question Ignatieff's own commitment to practical democracy; "Don't lecture me about respect for democracy!" Layton obviously touched a nerve.

    Mr Ignatieff tried to avoid use of the upright pronoun, but couldn't help himself. When lecturing the pupil Harper on Parliamentary Democracy 101, he said "I ask the questions. I hold you to account." Harper was probably thinking Ignatieff is interviewing for the job of Opposition Leader, not Prime Minister, which is fine by Harper.

    The French language debate will be fun to watch to see if Duceppe (who is now the front-runner) feels any need to pay any attention to Ignatieff. Ignatieff's biggest failure has been to force an election without a plan to win back Quebec. Instead he has wasted his time mewling about fake lakes or jets or producing documents when the election has always been about who is the one to be Prime Minister who will keep Canada strong and united. Calling the election now was a huge blunder, now Ignatieff has to pay.

  212. Harper has never earned a living by practicing economics. Just a dilettante; nothing but a policy wonk who canot work well with other people. Not a practicing economist and also worse than useless on social issues. Dion, Ignatieff and Rae all have better education and beter real world experience than the mailroom boy.

  213. Our unemployment numbers are largely shored up by part-timers and temp workers and while these qualify as 'employed' they do more for stats and graphs than they do for Canada and Canadians. Full time employment is still doing poorly.

    Our GDP numbers are shored up by very high market values for natural resources, which Canada's economy increasingly relies on. Selling off our future so that we can buy it back from countries that actually work is not impressive.

    Our deficit numbers are good because we went into the recession with the strongest financials. Our banks were solid and until the Conservative minority government wiped them out with an ill-advised GST cut we were actually the only country running surpluses… The deficit we are running was not created by the recession. (and I have no issue with tax cuts, but cutting GST was the worst tax to cut.)

  214. Harper has never earned a living by practicing economics. Just a dilettante; nothing but a policy wonk who canot work well with other people. Not a practicing economist and also worse than useless on social issues. Dion, Ignatieff and Rae all have better education and beter real world experience than the mailroom boy.

    • Holly Stick once again spewing her vitriol. This has become the dominant theme of this campaign; blowing minor minor negatives into huge balloons that do not impress the voters as far as I can see, Holly stick never seems to be FOR anything but always carping and criticizing with venom.

  215. It takes a while to figure out how best to deal with a narcissistic sociopath.

  216. Time to change your world, myl… bad direction for Canada, that bully minority.

  217. Clearly, you never did, you concern troll, you! ;0)

  218. I apologize for double posting, when it didn't come up I assumed id run over the limit, or it didnt go through.

  219. I'll give you bonus points if you can identify the thesis he wrote for his degree….

  220. I'll give you bonus points if you can identify the thesis he wrote for his degree….

    • Why don't you just say it? I don't need points.

      • Sure, you don't NEED points but secretly, you know you want them.

  221. Sounds exactly like the authoritarian cult of Trudeauvia. Try again lefty.

  222. Liberals, Media , Separatists and Commies, needed an excuse for forcing an election, so manufacturing a contempt charge was their co-ordinated preference. The coalition and their media whores are bullies and thought they could bully the elected Government out of power, lose an election and then seize power through the back door with the compliance of their media comrades.

  223. "Tim Hortons crowd" comment aside, I think Kris makes a valid point. The majority of Canadians do not understand how democracy and parliament works. I pay relatively close attention, and I'm not even certain I understand it. Iggy really needed to hammer down on things that people can relate to, of which the secrecy thing is a good example.

  224. OMG!

    Not, THE HUMANITIES!!!

    Oh, the humanity!

  225. OMG!

    Not, THE HUMANITIES!!!

    Oh, the humanity!

    • Yep. It's true. The horror… the horror…

  226. Great points, but methinks you make Martin far too heroic and noble, when he (and the people who kept pushing him forward to take over much faster) is largely responsible for the Conservative rise to power. Years of ruling made then soft and arrogant, to the point where they did not keep focus on common enemies, and instead created internal ones. Imagine how different things would be if Martin did not opt to pull a Macbeth? This division has resonated since – we saw the division with Dion, and the same can be said with Iggy (For those that believe that Rae will be the messiah). It is this lack of loyalty and solidarity that makes the Liberal party weak, and this is why Canadians have a hard time backing them.

  227. Great points, but methinks you make Martin far too heroic and noble, when he (and the people who kept pushing him forward to take over much faster) is largely responsible for the Conservative rise to power. Years of ruling made then soft and arrogant, to the point where they did not keep focus on common enemies, and instead created internal ones. Imagine how different things would be if Martin did not opt to pull a Macbeth? This division has resonated since – we saw the division with Dion, and the same can be said with Iggy (For those that believe that Rae will be the messiah). It is this lack of loyalty and solidarity that makes the Liberal party weak, and this is why Canadians have a hard time backing them.

    • As PM Martin was a buffoon, indeed I personally give more of the credit for the positive economic performance to Chretien.

      That said, Martin is an impressive individual… not alway enough to be a great PM.

  228. Nobody in their right mind would think that Iggo did a great job in the debates. He was awful!! The media shilling for Iggo and fluffing his pillows, giving Iggo a complete free ride are not helping the American candidate. Clearly the media will do and say anything to insert Igg into the PMO, but the molly coddling of Iggo by the media is not helping their American candidate at all. The media are simply giving American Igg a false sense of reality, and a false sense of his own worth. Pm Harper held his own and did a admirable job of deflecting the screeching and whining from the left. Jack Layton was comic relief, but did take Iggo down a few pegs. Duceppe was an incoherent nit wit who seemed desperate and frustrated at the prospect of the Liberals not winning enough seats in the election to seize power after losing. Iggo stuck to the scripted talking points he spews on the campaign trail, and looked arrogant, angry and out of his league. The media trying to get American Iggo elected, or continuing to sell the "legitimacy" of a Liberal/Separatist coalition are not helping their candidate, or the Liberal/Separatists, they are just creating a bubble for Iggo that makes him feel secure and sheltered, just like Dijon, but it hurts them more then it helps. American Iggo couldn't win the leaders role for the Liberals, and was then inserted as leader instead, and traveling around the country with his media buddies has given him the delusional sense that he would be inserted into the PMO too. The Canadian media do not speak for Canadians and only represent the Trudeauvian ideology just like Iggo, failing to realize that it's not the 1970's anymore, and the Trudeauvian cult is a dying sacred cow.

  229. Nobody in their right mind would think that Iggo did a great job in the debates. He was awful!! The media shilling for Iggo and fluffing his pillows, giving Iggo a complete free ride are not helping the American candidate. Clearly the media will do and say anything to insert Igg into the PMO, but the molly coddling of Iggo by the media is not helping their American candidate at all. The media are simply giving American Igg a false sense of reality, and a false sense of his own worth. Pm Harper held his own and did a admirable job of deflecting the screeching and whining from the left. Jack Layton was comic relief, but did take Iggo down a few pegs. Duceppe was an incoherent nit wit who seemed desperate and frustrated at the prospect of the Liberals not winning enough seats in the election to seize power after losing. Iggo stuck to the scripted talking points he spews on the campaign trail, and looked arrogant, angry and out of his league. The media trying to get American Iggo elected, or continuing to sell the "legitimacy" of a Liberal/Separatist coalition are not helping their candidate, or the Liberal/Separatists, they are just creating a bubble for Iggo that makes him feel secure and sheltered, just like Dijon, but it hurts them more then it helps. American Iggo couldn't win the leaders role for the Liberals, and was then inserted as leader instead, and traveling around the country with his media buddies has given him the delusional sense that he would be inserted into the PMO too. The Canadian media do not speak for Canadians and only represent the Trudeauvian ideology just like Iggo, failing to realize that it's not the 1970's anymore, and the Trudeauvian cult is a dying sacred cow.

  230. Shorter GWOF:

    I haven't a clue what the NDP's platform is, and here's what's wrong with it.

  231. Yes, let's see the Liberals start to preach spending restraint (actual public service and social spending restraint, not just cancelling the jets) and I just might vote for them myself. Something tells me I won't have to make that consideration for at least another four years.

  232. I'm pretty sure both the Cons and Libs poisoned that well far beyond potability years ago.

  233. Fascinating like a car accident. Don't want to see it, but can't look away.

  234. Yes, and much of the Liberals success in battling the deficit was due to reforms brought in by Mulroney. (Wait for gales of laughter to subside.) The GST in particular was one tax reform that HAD to happen. And no way would the Liberals have done that. In fact, they won the 1993 election on a pledge to replace it. However, credit must be given to them for reversing what was a really stupid and irresponsible campaign promise. Harper should have done the same and cut income taxes instead.

  235. Actually you might try get outside of Canada a little bit – most Canadians are clueless about the world at large – Canadians have a tendency to believe the limited Canadian news bubble – As for platforms -most are hot air. Canadians should know better – then again the level of apathy and low voter turnout tells it all – a failure that rests on all political parties, a failure of our so called pseudo – democracy – we as Canadians do not even have the freedom to vote for our leader.

  236. Andrew, you had me at hello. Lets form our own country together.

  237. We don't suffer from stupidity, we enjoy every minute of it : )

  238. Simple solution, if you don't like him don't read it!

  239. As PM Martin was a buffoon, indeed I personally give more of the credit for the positive economic performance to Chretien.

    That said, Martin is an impressive individual… not alway enough to be a great PM.

  240. Yes: "coalition coalition coalition. Boogah boogah boogah!!" [Sudden smell of overfull Depends.]

  241. Just watched the French language debate. It was appalling. Citizens' questions were totally biased and hostile to Harper. Harper stayed cool but was looking and sounding a little exasperated. Ignatieff made a good defence of a strong military in Afghanistan and Libya, but undercut his case by arguing that it was a choice between health care or new fighter jets. Ignatieff twice brought up the failed bid for a UN Security Council seat (so what?).He skirted the coalition issue, saying coalitions are legitimate but a Liberal Government is only alternative to Harper. Harper made a good point about Duceppe wanting both to cancel the F-35s and to have Quebec get 55% of all jobs related to the F-35s. I don't see the point of Duceppe bringing up the 2004 discussion. Harper shot back that Duceppe is re-writing history because he has made his choice to support Liberals in actual honest-to-goodness "cow-a-lishun." Apparently George W Bush is still President because Duceppe brought him up twice. Ignatieff talked twice for no apparent reason about people being excluded from Conservatives rallies. Duceppe seemed to think that Quebec doesn't have a seat at UNESCO.

    Best (if it can be called that) was Layton versus Duceppe dialogue. You could see Layton was getting nervous, looking at his podium to prepare himself. Started well for Layton talking about being born and raised in Quebec and wanting to create winning conditions for Canada within Quebec and how Thomas Mulcair is a great defender of Quebec and Quebec interests. Duceppe starting talking about language rights and the National Assembly. Layton tried to change the subject to aboriginals and talked about a BQ candidate who said some insulting things about aborginals. Duceppe batted this one away easily. Then Layton came back to his speaking point about winning conditions and noted NDP and BQ share many things but the NDP can form a government and actually change things, unlike the Bloc. Duceppe looked at him like he had just sprouted another head.

    The two hours spent watching this debate was a "gaspillage de temps". If one thinks the press in English Canada is hostile to Conservatives, you should see the French language TV. The moderator wanted to know if the leaders supported building a new Champlain bridge (they all support having a bridge). What an utter waste.

    Layton was good but sounded more sanctimonious than he does in English. Duceppe seems to say whatever pops in his head, his bizarre fixation on 2004 notwithstanding. Ignatieff was good when he was talking about human rights and democracy and the need for a strong military to prevent massacres and genocide. The old Ignatieff who wrote "Blood and Belonging" "Virtual War" and "The Warrior's Code." It was good to have the old Harvard professor back (I mean this sincerely). But then he went back to the Liberal talking points and Harper-bashing. He thinks the Learning Passport is the solution to youth gangs. Harper was the PM again, saying everything the others were complaining about was in the budget so why are we having an election.

    I would rate Harper the winner on points for getting through it without blowing a gasket at the unfairness of it. Ignatieff and Layton tied for close second and Duceppe as Did Not Compete.

    Now back to Period 2 of Canucks game. This election campaign is now going dark.

  242. You mean he lies convincingly about it, and the Cons and the brain dead swallow it whole…

  243. +1 internet.

  244. +1 internet.

  245. Awkward.

  246. I think your premise is wrong. Chretien got those majorities not because more people were voting Liberal, but because the right was split between PC and CA.

  247. I think your premise is wrong. Chretien got those majorities not because more people were voting Liberal, but because the right was split between PC and CA.

    • While Chretien benefited from a divided right, there has definitely been some bleeding of Liberal support elsewhere. In 2000 Chretien won 39% of the vote, in 2008 Dion won 26%. That is 13% of the electorate that has moved away from the Liberals.

  248. While Chretien benefited from a divided right, there has definitely been some bleeding of Liberal support elsewhere. In 2000 Chretien won 39% of the vote, in 2008 Dion won 26%. That is 13% of the electorate that has moved away from the Liberals.

  249. "Layton was good but sounded more sanctimonious than he does in English. "

    Wow, I didn't even know that was possible. That's really REALLY sanctimonious then.

  250. "Layton was good but sounded more sanctimonious than he does in English. "

    Wow, I didn't even know that was possible. That's really REALLY sanctimonious then.

  251. Coyne, thanks for a very good article. I think you've caught the essence of this rather odd campaign as well as anyone I've read.

  252. Coyne, thanks for a very good article. I think you've caught the essence of this rather odd campaign as well as anyone I've read.

  253. Why don't you just say it? I don't need points.

  254. Yep. It's true. The horror… the horror…

  255. The Conservatives – on the record – support a cap & trade in tandem with a US cap & trade system, since we only emit 2% of the world's GHG and live next to either the biggest, or one of the biggest, emitters. Alone we can do diddly squat even if we shut down every car, furnace, factory or refinery.

    Since the Republicans in Senate & Congress don't like cap & trade… zip

    You may want to research provincial olicies, but that, of course, might not match your preconceived notions.

  256. The Conservatives – on the record – support a cap & trade in tandem with a US cap & trade system, since we only emit 2% of the world's GHG and live next to either the biggest, or one of the biggest, emitters. Alone we can do diddly squat even if we shut down every car, furnace, factory or refinery.

    Since the Republicans in Senate & Congress don't like cap & trade… zip

    You may want to research provincial olicies, but that, of course, might not match your preconceived notions.

  257. "lack of eye contact"? or "talking to the Canadian pubic" (the camera)?

    Perception is everything.

  258. I disagree. Trying hard to leave my bias at the door, if I were PM in a minority parliament and had to deal with the crap thrown around, I'd probably hunker down, too. Wouldn't you? Honestly?

  259. "When Harper said "that's simply not true" or changed the subject, Ignatieff generally let it slide"

    Alternatively, maybe it simply wasn't true?

    Just sayin'

  260. Mark Holland.
    Pat Martin.

    Every party has them. (If I spoke French, I could probably name a Bloc MP or two)

  261. Fear of a return of the death penalty

    The Gazette April 14, 2011 12:00 AM

    The media, including The Gazette, missed the most important point raised during the first debate, that of Stephen Harper's stated support for the death penalty. This was brought up by Gilles Duceppe as a probable issue in a Conservative majority government, yet the point bypassed Ignatieff and Layton.

    In fact, it is inconceivable that bringing back the death penalty will not be considered by a Conservative majority in its efforts to remake Canada in its own image, even though this is an issue it dares not bring up at the moment.

    Praemonitus praemunitus – forewarned is forearmed.

    Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Fear+return+death+

  262. Fear of a return of the death penalty

    The Gazette April 14, 2011 12:00 AM

    The media, including The Gazette, missed the most important point raised during the first debate, that of Stephen Harper's stated support for the death penalty. This was brought up by Gilles Duceppe as a probable issue in a Conservative majority government, yet the point bypassed Ignatieff and Layton.

    In fact, it is inconceivable that bringing back the death penalty will not be considered by a Conservative majority in its efforts to remake Canada in its own image, even though this is an issue it dares not bring up at the moment.

    Praemonitus praemunitus – forewarned is forearmed.

    Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Fear+return+death+

  263. First of all, you're absolutely correct.. the set was hideous.

    Secondly, if the moderator acted as a fact checker maybe these debates would be more beneficial. Whenever the opposition parties pointed out things that Harper has done he just has to answer "That is simply not true." How are the people at home suppose to know if it is or not?

    Thirdly, if the Liberals would attack the Tories on the economy for the rest of the election they would greatly improve their prospects. They need TV ads that:

    1. Show the clips of Harper in the last election claiming there was going to be no recession.
    2. Show the clips of Harper in the last election claiming the other parties would run deficits and he wouldn't.
    3. Point out the banking regulations set by previous governments are primarily what saved us.
    4. Show Flaherty's defecit projections which are way off.
    5. Compare Flaherty's numbers to Kevin Page's numbers. Show who was right and Flaherty's reaction to Page.

    Either the Tories are incompetent or they purposely lie.

    Gilles Ducette was the only one to bring any of these things up (briefly) in the English debate. It doesn't take a genius to know that the economy is the issue. They need to take on the Tories head on on this issue and show the public that the Tories being the best for the economy is a myth. If they can get this message out successfully they may get some center-right voters without having to change their platform.

  264. First of all, you're absolutely correct.. the set was hideous.

    Secondly, if the moderator acted as a fact checker maybe these debates would be more beneficial. Whenever the opposition parties pointed out things that Harper has done he just has to answer "That is simply not true." How are the people at home suppose to know if it is or not?

    Thirdly, if the Liberals would attack the Tories on the economy for the rest of the election they would greatly improve their prospects. They need TV ads that:

    1. Show the clips of Harper in the last election claiming there was going to be no recession.
    2. Show the clips of Harper in the last election claiming the other parties would run deficits and he wouldn't.
    3. Point out the banking regulations set by previous governments are primarily what saved us.
    4. Show Flaherty's defecit projections which are way off.
    5. Compare Flaherty's numbers to Kevin Page's numbers. Show who was right and Flaherty's reaction to Page.

    Either the Tories are incompetent or they purposely lie.

    Gilles Ducette was the only one to bring any of these things up (briefly) in the English debate. It doesn't take a genius to know that the economy is the issue. They need to take on the Tories head on on this issue and show the public that the Tories being the best for the economy is a myth. If they can get this message out successfully they may get some center-right voters without having to change their platform.

  265. Coynes articles should include a disclaimer outlining his love for and efforts towards getting his beloved Lieberals back in POWER. The whole piece of what Iggy et all have done wrong and what they can do to win. Objective reporting is a distant memory. At least he is only speaking to his audience of lefties who, for the most part are the readers of the red rag. Thank gawd those who don't get this get out and vote.

  266. Coynes articles should include a disclaimer outlining his love for and efforts towards getting his beloved Lieberals back in POWER. The whole piece of what Iggy et all have done wrong and what they can do to win. Objective reporting is a distant memory. At least he is only speaking to his audience of lefties who, for the most part are the readers of the red rag. Thank gawd those who don't get this get out and vote.

  267. "Actually, we%E2%80%99re electing a Parliament, who then chooses a PM, but you know what I mean"

    Absolutely, 100% not true.

    Parliament does not choose the PM.

    The Prime Minister, and his Government, either continue or will be resign after the election. If they cannot command the "Confidence of the House", they must resign. But Parliament does not make this choice.

    If the Conservatives win the election, Stephen Harper will continue as Prime Minister. He doesn't "start a new term" as Prime Minister (in the way that a President in the US starts a new term of office).

    The question, of course, is whether the Opposition will respect the voters. So far, they have promised to vote against the budget which the Conservatives are presenting. Whether they will even support the Throne Speech is a question without an answer at the present time.

    But that doesn't leave us with a clearly legitimate choice: despite Coyne's attempts to deceive readers, it is NOT legitimate for a Party to attempt to "govern from second" when they were nowhere near placing first. It would be akin to one Party running nationally, but three other Parties running regionally on mutually contradictory platforms, and those three regional Parties claiming that together they win. That's not how it works, and adults such as Coyne know better.

    Sure, if the second-place Party were within a few seats of the first-place Party, and within a couple points in popular vote, there is legitimacy in their forming government with formal or informal support from other Parties. But that's never been the context of the discussion in the current election, as Coyne knows full well. His continued efforts to bury these facts do Canadians a tremendous disservice.

    Because if the Liberals get their way, and defeat a newly-elected Conservative Government on the Throne Speech, and try to claim power, the Liberals will form Government. And they would remain in Government through a new election, regardless of whether they can EVER command the support of the House of Commons. Should they win that election, good for them. Should they lose that election there would be a Constitutional Crisis magnitudes larger than anything we have seen in Canada's history – King-Byng would be minor by comparison.

    But, as bad, we would have a Constitutional Crisis of epic proportions should the Conservatives win this election and their Government fall early into their mandate – calling yet another new election so quickly would anger millions of Canadians who Coyne has convinced should have the "second place" team run the show (according to Coyne's Constitutional argument, even if the Bloc were the Official Opposition – tho he usually creates some special artificial rule to prevent that). Not calling a new election would anger millions more Canadians – who would rightly feel that Runnymede has been overturned.

    I expect better from Coyne.

  268. "Actually, we're electing a Parliament, who then chooses a PM, but you know what I mean"

    Absolutely, 100% not true.

    Parliament does not choose the PM.

    The Prime Minister, and his Government, either continue or will be resign after the election. If they cannot command the "Confidence of the House", they must resign. But Parliament does not make this choice.

    If the Conservatives win the election, Stephen Harper will continue as Prime Minister. He doesn't "start a new term" as Prime Minister (in the way that a President in the US starts a new term of office).

    The question, of course, is whether the Opposition will respect the voters. So far, they have promised to vote against the budget which the Conservatives are presenting. Whether they will even support the Throne Speech is a question without an answer at the present time.

    But that doesn't leave us with a clearly legitimate choice: despite Coyne's attempts to deceive readers, it is NOT legitimate for a Party to attempt to "govern from second" when they were nowhere near placing first. It would be akin to one Party running nationally, but three other Parties running regionally on mutually contradictory platforms, and those three regional Parties claiming that together they win. That's not how it works, and adults such as Coyne know better.

    Sure, if the second-place Party were within a few seats of the first-place Party, and within a couple points in popular vote, there is legitimacy in their forming government with formal or informal support from other Parties. But that's never been the context of the discussion in the current election, as Coyne knows full well. His continued efforts to bury these facts do Canadians a tremendous disservice.

    Because if the Liberals get their way, and defeat a newly-elected Conservative Government on the Throne Speech, and try to claim power, the Liberals will form Government. And they would remain in Government through a new election, regardless of whether they can EVER command the support of the House of Commons. Should they win that election, good for them. Should they lose that election there would be a Constitutional Crisis magnitudes larger than anything we have seen in Canada's history – King-Byng would be minor by comparison.

    But, as bad, we would have a Constitutional Crisis of epic proportions should the Conservatives win this election and their Government fall early into their mandate – calling yet another new election so quickly would anger millions of Canadians who Coyne has convinced should have the "second place" team run the show (according to Coyne's Constitutional argument, even if the Bloc were the Official Opposition – tho he usually creates some special artificial rule to prevent that). Not calling a new election would anger millions more Canadians – who would rightly feel that Runnymede has been overturned.

    I expect better from Coyne.

  269. Sure, you don't NEED points but secretly, you know you want them.

  270. Learn what "real-politik" means.

    Then when that's done, kindly point out which of the things on my list this CPC government has not done.

  271. I know it's hard, given what your poli-sci degree cost you, to resist the urge to explain everything by resorting to the theory you wrote your second year major paper about, but you have to try if you want others to take you seriously.

    "Real-politik" is as reasonable an explanation for Harper's staying power as suggesting it's attributable to his daily consumption of tiger blood. "Real politik" doesn't work without opponents who are either prepared to be complicit with you as you strive to achieve your nefarious objectives or are too stupid/naive to appreciate that they're being manipulated in support of such achievement. So which applies to Layton, Ignatieff and Duceppe?

    No, Thwin, it isn't "real-politik" that explains Harper's tenure – it's the voodoo mind tricks that Harper is an acknowledged master of. He can make Ignatieff bark like a dog and Layton dance like Fred Astaire – bad hip and all – at the drop of his hat and is just waiting for the right opportunity to demonstrate his fearsome powers!

  272. Shorter Lenny:

    I watched American Idol instead of the debate and am therefore ignorant about anything Layton said.

  273. I though Iggy had a 200 IQ – doesn't that kinda help to figure things out?

  274. Yes! I can't make a minority work so give me a majority.

    Like a kid who keeps trashing the family car saying "It's because they have to share it – give me my own and I'll treasure it. Trust me."

    Some things you have to earn – trust for instance.

  275. Anyone who would vote more anyone else but harper is a complete idiot.
    He didn't actually say anything that made sense when you actually read it. Perhaps he was being deliberately idiotic and going for extremely subtle irony.

  276. I've worked in TV and Film, and I must say both these debates were shot very poorly — even community TV from Rogers was better. The director or switcher or both frequently mistimed switches from one participant to the other, and the camera angles for the most part were appalling. Whatever substance was there — or is that whatever spin? — was severely mitigated by this disturbing visual mediation. Picture delivery is not innocent. The French debate was worse than the English.

    Actually the only interesting shot for me was the back of Harper's hair. I've told John Doyle about it: thoroughly frozen, he'll be glad to learn..

  277. Robert Fife – Twitter
    Ignatieff refuses to say what Tory crime laws he will repeal to send fewer people to prison. #elxn41 #cdnpoli
    22 hours ago Favorite Undo Retweet Reply

    Should Ignatieff be held in contempt of the intelligence of Canadians by refusing to provide them with answers. If Ignatieff told Canadians, and brought on this 300 million dollar election, that Conservatives were in contempt of parliament because they didn't provide satisfactory answers to the opposition, then why is Ignatieff not held in contempt now?
    What gives Liberals the right NOT to answer questions to the Canadian taxpayer? Canadians are still waiting for the return of millions of dollars from the Liberals and their cohorts in the Adscam fraud – a few served time in prison after being found guilty by the courts but what about the return of the millions of dollars to Canadian taxpayers?

  278. I am so tired of us waiting for quebec to decide what they want.Its seems like they have their hand out, and yet they say no to Canada. I saw a little of the debate, it was cool hearing Jack with a Scot accent.

  279. i found the moderators in the French debate to be very rude.Allowing Duceppe to ramble, and cut in on anyone he wanted. He's losing his touch though, he didnt come across that strongly.Time to move on Duceppe. I see the conservatives are making ground on my home turf. Atalanta canada thats good!

  280. i found the moderators in the French debate to be very rude.Allowing Duceppe to ramble, and cut in on anyone he wanted. He's losing his touch though, he didnt come across that strongly.Time to move on Duceppe. I see the conservatives are making ground on my home turf. Atalanta canada thats good!

  281. Meh. Nobody knows what's going to happen, not even Coyne.

  282. Meh. Nobody knows what's going to happen, not even Coyne.

  283. wow somebody has a crush on somebody.
    Still waiting for which item on thwim's list Harper didn't do. You seemed adamant that he didn't do at least some of them. I would add a few more examples of his duplicity – taxation on income trusts, elected Senators, lieing about how a parliamentary democracy works.
    Or does your crush blind you to his obvious faults?

  284. Nothing more elitist than spending billions and refusing to identify how it will be paid for.
    Let's face it there is only one way that the debt will be covered and that is by us the taxpayer. Harper, an elitist if ever there was one, blew the cash, excused his friends from their share and will let some one else deal with the problem.

  285. Not really
    the so called "leftist" governments you list are in fact very conservative organisations. Rules is rules and you don't go changing things. In fact they are very resistant to change, hence conservative. This is hardly surprising because they were/are based on the way that religions work and there is nothing more conservative than religious organisations. Stalin and Mao were hugely influence by organised religion (Seminary and the Taiping Rebellion) and as these organisations held great power in their day it is hardly surprising. Authoritarian and conservatism go hand in hand and at the root of it all is a charismatic leader and an unyielding dogma.

  286. careful talking about half-truths, that's closer to the truth than Harper has been recently

  287. careful talking about half-truths, that's closer to the truth than Harper has been recently

  288. Bit of projection going on here
    Back to the nursery with you

  289. Why stop there, harebell? He also failed to floss after every meal and makes Laureen take the garbage out.

    Let's try a different tack – I hereby concede Harper did every last thing you and Thwim accuse him of and more. He is far and away the most evil, diabolical and just plain nasty man ever to occupy the office of PM. So how is it he's lasted longer, in the precarious position of presiding over a minority government, than any PM in Canadian history? If he's been as bad as we all agree he's been, why have Iggy et al let him carry on longer than any minority PM in Canadian history? Or do you subscribe to Thwim's goofy "real politik" explanation for his longevity?

  290. .
    It does make sense, but it was too long-winded, and the critical pronoun reference ruined it.

    In short: Vote Harper and you vote for Canada as a corporation/autocracy. If that sounds sensible, go for it. But it won't be a country with a soul anymore.
    .

  291. Iggy wants UN approval for military missions, except when he can't get it

    Asked whether he really wanted to give Beijing and Moscow that kind of power over Canadian policy, Ignatieff chuckled.

    Then he dialed back his debate rhetoric and admitted there could be exceptions.

    “Canada has always believed as a matter of international law, since the creation of the UN in 1945, that the use of force in international affairs should be authorized by the Security Council of the United Nations,” he said. “And when you can't get authorization from the Security Council of the United Nations, you'd better have an extremely good case in which you can use force. There have been cases. Let's be perfectly honest, in Kosovo, where international authorization for the use of force was not granted.”

    Another example is Iraq, an intervention Ignatieff once supported.

    But the Liberal leader hasn't always been enthusiastic about the UN.

    “Well, the UN screwed up in Rwanda, it screwed up in Bosnia — it screws up most of the time,” Ignatieff is quoted as saying in a Maclean's magazine article in June, 2003. “The United Nations is a messy, wasteful, log-rolling organization.”

    • no one wants to hear the past, if it conflicts with what the choose to believe. . .

    • The Liberals are all over the map on these issues.

      I have been saying for years now that Ignatieff's theoretical thinking and writing may sound interesting, but the practice of things is often much more difficult to describe.

      Harper understands the difference between the theoretical and the practical. Ignatieff has not learned,yet, to understand the difference.

  292. Iggy wants UN approval for military missions, except when he can't get it

    Asked whether he really wanted to give Beijing and Moscow that kind of power over Canadian policy, Ignatieff chuckled.

    Then he dialed back his debate rhetoric and admitted there could be exceptions.

    “Canada has always believed as a matter of international law, since the creation of the UN in 1945, that the use of force in international affairs should be authorized by the Security Council of the United Nations,” he said. “And when you can%E2%80%99t get authorization from the Security Council of the United Nations, you%E2%80%99d better have an extremely good case in which you can use force. There have been cases. Let%E2%80%99s be perfectly honest, in Kosovo, where international authorization for the use of force was not granted.”

    Another example is Iraq, an intervention Ignatieff once supported.

    But the Liberal leader hasn%E2%80%99t always been enthusiastic about the UN.

    “Well, the UN screwed up in Rwanda, it screwed up in Bosnia — it screws up most of the time,” Ignatieff is quoted as saying in a Maclean%E2%80%99s magazine article in June, 2003. “The United Nations is a messy, wasteful, log-rolling organization.”

  293. Iggy wants UN approval for military missions, except when he can't get it

    Asked whether he really wanted to give Beijing and Moscow that kind of power over Canadian policy, Ignatieff chuckled.

    Then he dialed back his debate rhetoric and admitted there could be exceptions.

    “Canada has always believed as a matter of international law, since the creation of the UN in 1945, that the use of force in international affairs should be authorized by the Security Council of the United Nations,” he said. “And when you can't get authorization from the Security Council of the United Nations, you'd better have an extremely good case in which you can use force. There have been cases. Let's be perfectly honest, in Kosovo, where international authorization for the use of force was not granted.”

    Another example is Iraq, an intervention Ignatieff once supported.

    But the Liberal leader hasn't always been enthusiastic about the UN.

    “Well, the UN screwed up in Rwanda, it screwed up in Bosnia — it screws up most of the time,” Ignatieff is quoted as saying in a Maclean's magazine article in June, 2003. “The United Nations is a messy, wasteful, log-rolling organization.”

  294. Sadly, there are also many issues that percolate below the surface that no one will explicitly talk about but are a reason why the Liberals struggle and languish in the 20's. Their social policies are alientating and far to the left of the average Canadian. That is why NDP'ers have adopted them.

    Catholics used to be part of the bedrock base of the Liberal Party of Canada. Not so any more as everything from the Liberal support of SSM, full time daycare, Human Rights Kangaroo Courts to their support of the transgendered bill have done a lot to alienate people who are not bigots, but do have religious views. Many are fiscally liberal but are tired of having every left wing social practice paraded in front of their kids in the name of "tolerance".

    Throw into that their views on crime and the strong neo-Marxist streak in their youth and left flank (thanks for the Mao reference, Michael) and you have a party that has alienated a lot of centrist voters.

  295. Sadly, there are also many issues that percolate below the surface that no one will explicitly talk about but are a reason why the Liberals struggle and languish in the 20's. Their social policies are alientating and far to the left of the average Canadian. That is why NDP'ers have adopted them.

    Catholics used to be part of the bedrock base of the Liberal Party of Canada. Not so any more as everything from the Liberal support of SSM, full time daycare, Human Rights Kangaroo Courts to their support of the transgendered bill have done a lot to alienate people who are not bigots, but do have religious views. Many are fiscally liberal but are tired of having every left wing social practice paraded in front of their kids in the name of "tolerance".

    Throw into that their views on crime and the strong neo-Marxist streak in their youth and left flank (thanks for the Mao reference, Michael) and you have a party that has alienated a lot of centrist voters.

  296. It is through social issues as much as fiscal that the Conservatives have been able to make great inroads into ethnic communities. Most immigrants into Canada have a religious value system. Most of these are morally conservative. Who do you think a practicing Sikh has more in common with in terms of values…a practicing Catholic like Jason Kenney, or Justin Trudeau frollicking with drag queens?

    I know the vast majority here will disagree but Liberals can continue to negate (and belittle) people with religious beliefs at thier own peril in the polls.

    • The immigrants who come here don't easily fit in with the liberals, but they will not see that until too late. . .

  297. As someone who was raised as a Liberal Catholic, I can tell you that the party does not have to negate its progressive views on social policy, but when in power it persues them with a pure scorched earth policy that leaves little wiggle room for those who would agree if they were just left alone.

    People who think Mayor Ford got in over Mayor Smitherman simply because of the "Gravy Train" are naive in the extreme. There is a reason why Obama has to even tread lightly on these issues. Throw in the judge with the relativist view on sexual assault and the Big Red Tent gets very small indeed.

    The media en masse does the Liberal Party no favours by not acknowledging this.

  298. It is through social issues as much as fiscal that the Conservatives have been able to make great inroads into ethnic communities. Most immigrants into Canada have a religious value system. Most of these are morally conservative. Who do you think a practicing Sikh has more in common with in terms of values…a practicing Catholic like Jason Kenney, or Justin Trudeau frollicking with drag queens?

    I know the vast majority here will disagree but Liberals can continue to negate (and belittle) people with religious beliefs at thier own peril in the polls.

  299. As someone who was raised as a Liberal Catholic, I can tell you that the party does not have to negate its progressive views on social policy, but when in power it persues them with a pure scorched earth policy that leaves little wiggle room for those who would agree if they were just left alone.

    People who think Mayor Ford got in over Mayor Smitherman simply because of the "Gravy Train" are naive in the extreme. There is a reason why Obama has to even tread lightly on these issues. Throw in the judge with the relativist view on sexual assault and the Big Red Tent gets very small indeed.

    The media en masse does the Liberal Party no favours by not acknowledging this.

  300. Very good points….and the Liberal Party cannot go there because to win past elections, with majority, they stole the policies of other parties – mainly from the left and to try and appease the voters in La Belle Province. So they are hung out on the left to dry – especially now for Mr Iggnatief. They are also a party of the status quo and take no risks – thus being proactive and developing the north will not be on their radar.

  301. How old are you? Not the most evil and diabolical I can think of a few more that will deserve that accolade. However he is certainly far from being the best or most efficient.
    Some of the reasons why he has held on are:

    He prorogued parliament twice taking a good chunk out Parliamentary business time. The first time because of a terrible back-stabbing blunder, the second because he feared he would not be able to watch the olympics if a campaign was on. So he just excused himself from work at these points.
    He then set in motion a slick propaganda campaign that lied to a poorly informed electorate about the workings of a Parliamentary system. This allowed him to paint his opposition as a kind of fifth column meaning that calling an election was out of the question. It wouldn't solve the problem.
    He had changed the rules via the election law that effectively made calling an election the decision of the leader of the opposition not the Prime Minister. Then he made most votes a vote of confidence. This means he could blame the opposition for any loss of confidence and forcing the country into an unnecessary election. He did this in the full knowledge that the country would not care why an election had been called they would have blamed the opposition.
    The opposition was in no position to fight an election resource wise.

    Those are some of the reasons that he has been the longest serving minority leader in Canadian history. Absence, lieing, enacting a law he ignored but used to control the opposition and having a poorly equipped opposition. There are more but these spring immediately to mind. He opportunistically worked the system and preyed on fear and ignorance.

  302. This contempt of parliament is a nebulous excuse to get an election called because "coalition gov" is ready to go by Next Defeating the BUDGET after Mr Harper – according to Iggantief "tries" to form a government. I believe the current 2008 signing by the Libs/NDP/ and the Bloc is in effect until June 2011?
    And to add insult – to – injury;
    – how can a party, that is dedicated to the break up of CANADA, be allowed to find our elected party, now governing CANADA, to be in "contempt" – this is rediculous when they should not even be in the HOC….
    - the Adscam monies the liberals have not refunded to taxpayer coffers; they should also be found in contempt of parliament and should not be allowed to stand for election until they do.
    - the Bloc payroll and pensions should be paid into a canadian/overseas "poverty and health fund"