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Turns out Khan and Emerson are the only Liberals who take orders from a Conservative prime minister


 

Most of you will already have read, before you read this, that Stéphane Dion is refusing to speak to Stephen Harper, including by phone, until after the Sept. 8 by-elections. Kory Teneycke at the PMO is telling our Globe friends, more or less, that this is the very proof of an obstreperous opposition that Harper needed. I believe things will move very quickly now. The crisis Harper manufactured, to get himself out of a “fixed”-election-date law he campaigned on, wrote and passed but never believed in, is upon him, even more quickly than he had hoped. This afternoon the temperature in the press gallery was somewhere around Sept 10 or 14 for a writ drop. Tonight CTV is reporting it could be Sept 2. You need to remember that I’m the guy who wrote on one of our comment boards only 10 days ago that Harper would never ignore his own election law, so what do I know. But tonight I believe the prime minister may move even more quickly than that. He does not like to be crossed. I am no longer sure he can conceive of an interest more elevated than making everyone understand he does not like to be crossed. A week ago I’d have said: since he has planned this week’s Tuesday-to-Thursday Arctic trip for months, nothing can happen at Rideau Hall before he returns to Ottawa on Friday. Now I’ll just say, We’ll see soon enough.

The comment boards here will soon fill up with Harper partisans lauding the big guy’s cleverness in trapping Dion, and Harperphobes lauding Dion’s prowess in trapping Harper. I know neither camp will let a contrary opinion slow them down. My own hunch is that there isn’t one voter in 50 whose vote will change because the debate dove into the tall grass of who-triggered-the-dissolution.

But there are habits of mind here too. The prime minister is watching parliamentary committees degrade the Conservative brand by asking perfectly valid questions, and the only answer he can contrive is to clog the committees with absurdist performance art. He passed a “fixed”-election-date law with a loophole of exquisite tailoring, and he is passing through that loophole as planned. The confidence vote he could use to launch his campaign is not four weeks away, but he is done waiting. So he came up with a fancy plan to seize control, and it’s not working because They are Trying to Screw Him Again, and by God, he will Show Them All. He is ending his first government in the same way he ended his 2004 and 2006 campaigns: hunkered down, sprinting for the exit.

It has worked so many times the safe bet is that it will work a couple more times. This campaign, whenever it begins, won’t only be a referendum on Harper, after all. But one day, near or distant, his familiar manner will stop working. When it does, it will be because the habits of mind on display this week finally tell.


 

Turns out Khan and Emerson are the only Liberals who take orders from a Conservative prime minister

  1. One voter in 50 is still 2% of voters. And if they all switch from Conservative to Liberal (or vice versa) that’s a 4% swing. I, for one, am all for having the entire campaign become a big civic lesson on how a prime minister not getting exactly what he wants is not the same as a failure of parliamentary democracy.

  2. Paul:

    Partisan stuff aside, what’s your take on Dion’s “what’s the rush to meet” stance that he took?

  3. The Tories scuttled C-484 today as well. Shedding the dreaded abortion baggage is a sure sign of an imminent election call.

    Being a conservative, but not pinned to the partisan collective, I am free to make a few observations.

    Harper can certainly use economic fears to warn Canadians off of Dion’s $15 billion carbon tax shift.

    The Liberals have made a mistake not hitting the Conservatives on issues where it matters, fiscal conservatism and the genuine fear they could mismanage the financial side worse than their own reign.

    Harper has broken more than a few promises, and while nowhere near epic proportions of a Dalton McGuinty, traction may be gained there.

    And finally, the military may not be automatically on board. True the Cons have increased spending, barely, but they just scuttled the recent purchase of upgraded coast guard ships. Talking about Arctic sovereignty when we can’t replace our aging fleet in the harbours of our major cities?

  4. Johah Goldberg wrote a fascinating book about the connection between fascism and modern day liberals.

    It’s interesting how choosing to face the electorate in a democratic vote – having the voters decide whether the Conservatives deserve to be in power, their policies right or wrong, is viewed by many on the left (and some left leaning “journalists”) as an act of illegitimacy,

    to be shunned in favor of matters being kept in control by a small committee of partisan liberals.

    As an aside, after seeing the liberals crying “wolf”/scandal so many times over the past two or so years, to no effect, one can’t help but pity the Liberals and their leader as they neuter themselves in this public display of running away from an election yet again (after repeated abstentions on confidence matters),

    in the hopes that they’re “this close” to finally finding the magic scandal bullet that will overcome their policy free, relatively leaderless, reactionary weaknesses that beset this once great party.

  5. As a further aside, reading Mr. Wells here, encapsulating this small cabal of Liberals monopolizing a working committee for the obviously partisan purpose of digging up dirt to use against one’s political opponents, as an excercise in asking “perfectly valid questions”,

    one can’t help but envision Mr. Wells being included among those at the edge of their chairs waiting with baited breath for that silver bullet to finally surface, as we read his words of disappointment in this post.

  6. I won’t feed the trolls.

  7. Johah Goldberg wrote a fascinating book about the connection between fascism and modern day liberals.

    ?!

    Puahahahahahah~!

    The irony is priceless…message control what? propaganda machine who?

    Anyways…Harper just stuck his finger a bit to far up his nether regions…why should Dion “talk” to Harper? Harper has benefited from the Liberals abstention in the passing of his many vacuous pieces of legislation, has he not? How is that “dysfunctional” exactly?

    And if Harper wishes parliament to function, why can’t he just CO-OPERATE with it? You know, let people testify to committee, throw away the procedure book, etc…

    No…it is all about Harper trying to claim the “I-can-choose-to-call the-election-when-I please” mantle that Dion has dangled in front of him.

    It is about the perception of “leadership”…but of course manufactured “leadership” (Harper the chess-master, the super-hilarious comedian, the foil to “not-a-leader” Dion) eventually reveals its facade…

    Austin

    Austin

  8. Austin, Jody doesn’t want to feed you, maybe you should scout out an all-night fast-food joint somewhere.

  9. Funny how all these rightwing trolls gravitate to these non-partisan, temperate Maclean’s blogs, whereas you don’t see any “Troops out NOW!” lefties here.

    I must say it’s rather pathetic that anyone unpaid by a political party can make partisan hay out of something as obscure as this f**ked-up minority parliament. How can anyone possibly care, from a partisan POV, when or where Harper & Dion eventually tango? (Interesting constitutional questions are a different story.)

    I’m just saying, it’s weird. Sort of the Canadian version of “Fight Club.”

    On-topic: Looks like we’re going to have another election! This should be fun!

  10. I’ve used on another topic, but I’ll use it again. Burt Reynolds said it best:

    “You can only hold your stomach in for so many years.”

    Good luck fearless political leaders and partisans of Canada.

  11. I’d like to add that I think the Cons will win, and even increase their minority lead, but not by much. And in the process we may see an even uglier and more “dysfunctional” parliament when it’s all said and done. Dysfunction may be an understatement here. I think it may have to get a restraining order against itself.

  12. Well, Raphael, it’s not exactly like they can go down much and still retain the lead, after all, so if you’re willing to go out on a limb and say they’ll win in the first place, saying they’ll increase their lead really isn’t saying much.

    Myself, I think differently. Remember that this smallest ever minority government became that way running an excellent campaign, against a government mired in Gomery and scandal, that didn’t even start it’s own campaigning until half-way through the period, and then got a body-blow from the NDP instigated investigation of Ralphe Goodale which turned up nothing — after the election — and topped it off with the bonehead “soldiers in the streets” negative campaign.

    In addition, it was an unknown Conservative party, having not been in power since it’s merge/formation, so with absolutely no baggage to carry forward.

    This time? Harper has saddled the Conservative party with a lot of baggage. The Cadman tapes, the RCMP raid, the income trusts reversal, the softwood lumber reversal, the unelected senators reversal, the protecting arctic sovereignty reversal, and now, presumably, the fixed-election date reversal. These aren’t just promises that didn’t get done.. I think Canadians are sadly used to politicians not living up to their promises. I think it’s another thing entirely when the politicians take action that goes directly against their promises as this government has done.

    In addition to all of that baggage, I doubt we’ll see a Liberal campaign as lackluster as the last one. Dion has already said he’s planning a positive campaign which hopefully means he’s taken a lesson from the Conservatives and has a bunch of policies ready to start bringing forward as soon as the writ is dropped. If he can make this an issues based election, the conservatives will be hurting deeply, because any solution they propose to an issue can be met with a reference to the fixed-election bill.

  13. Paul, I will see your “not 1 voter in 50” and wishful-thinkingly raise it far higher(the 50, which I guess really means lower, but how do you raise something lower — man oh man is it bedtime…).

    Voting on policy, hotly debated and vigorously defended during the campaign? Cool. Voting based on who’s smarter than whom at tricking the other into losing the smug “I control things” grin? Not cool.

  14. I hope, I really, really hope, that this is campaign on policy. M. Dion has vowed to make it so. You don’t have to support him to approve of his goal.

  15. My suspicion (even though I hope it to not be true) is another Conservative minority as well.

    My long-term predection would be that, following the election there’d be a year of major scandal for the Conservatives. The major difference between this and the Paul Martin years is that the opposition may not be in a financial position to contest the election at that time, leaving us in just as weird a position as we were in this spring.

    Scary to think that one of our most financially viable parties may have destroyed itself with the electoral finance reforms it introduced.

  16. Harper can always govern with Jack Layton who is the only leader agreeable to a meeting with Harper on his timetable. Could another Better Balanced Budget be on the horizon?

  17. My mind on how much the public cares about scandals, and inside baseball things like who called an election, forever changed after 2004 election results.

    Canadians are apathetic as can be if they are willing to give a political party, after it’s revealed they laundered tens of millions of dollars, another shot at governing.

    My guess is that people will view Harper, if he does decide to go against the spirit of his own law, as just another politician and won’t hold it against him.

  18. Man, I can’t believe I’m missing this delicious pre-election Kabuki dance. That’ll teach me to go OTQ during the alleged August slowdown (which has never, in my memory, actually turned out to be all that slow). Here’s hoping I’m back in time to liveblog the walk to Rideau Hall.

  19. I know that Conservatives are taking Harper seriously and are already preparing election readiness as we speak.

    Does anyone have any inside information as to how the Liberals are preparing right now? It sounds like they don’t think the PM is serious?

  20. Also, what is with this speculation that Harper is so worried about a Barack Obama win that he wants to force an election now?

    That argument just feeds into the giant Canadian inferiority complex with the US. Who cares who they elect? What does it have to do with our electoral map? If John McCain wins does that mean Harper will? What if Nader shoots up the middle (HA!). Would that mean big Jack Layton will be our next PM?

  21. Harper isn’t a people person…

    We’ll see.

    I like elections. Let’s have an election!

  22. Riley

    I, too, have been wondering about this worried about Obama meme. For the second time, Rosemary Thompson was speculating on Question Period that Obama win will bamboozle us Canadians and we’ll all vote Liberal.

    Is there any evidence at all that American elections have any influence on Canadian ones? I don’t believe there is but I could be wrong. I think it just goes to show who our chattering classes support and how star struck they are.

  23. Hasn’t Dion been taking orders from Harper for the last two years? (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

  24. I’m going to bet that Harper will go to the governor-general and announce that he and his cabinet are resigning from her government for the duration of this parliament. This way, he will avoid violating his (meaningless) fixed election date by not formally asking her to dissolve parliament. Theoretically, the GG can ask Dion to form a coalition with his Liberals and the Bloc and NDP. Or she can call an election. Informally, she will seek the advice of Harper and select an election date of his choosing.

  25. Let’s have an election.

  26. Mr Wells has it right about Harper’s personality defects. Perhaps the most annoying thing about Dion to Harper is that Dion declines to be upset by Harper’s taunts. Now he’ll show him!

    But underneath all that, there is clearly something concrete that Harper seeks to get out of all of this, and since no-one expects any particular change to the landscape in Parliament, what is it?

    I have not seen any credible explanation on why it has to be now.

  27. News item: Chretien calls an unnecessary election in the fall of 2000 after governing a mere 3 years and 3 months even although he has a strong majority government(for purely tactical reasons);

    Media analysis: what a brilliant tactician and savvy leader.

    News item: Harper calls an election in the fall of 2008 after governing 2 years and 7 months with a small minority with the opposition threatening to bring the government down for the past year and a half.

    Media analysis: Harper’s an angry control freak.

  28. Can we put in a law that states only during an actual, you know, election period shall there be electioneering?

    I just got a telephone call from The Conservative Party of Canada (but they wanted to speak to someone else in my house). Since she and I are not members of said party, I’d say they were trying to get a jump on things.

  29. Think back to fall 2005. Conservatives accused Liberals of making a mockery of parliament and democracy, earlier than that they accused the Liberals of calling an election so that potentially damaging committee hearings would come to an end. Now we have Conservatives making a mockery of committee hearings and even their own laws, enacted because they campaigned on things like fixed election dates to spare Canadians situations just like this one. It’s embarrassing. I voted Conservative in 2006. I expected more.

  30. Rosemary Thompson isn’t the only one crowing about how the U.S. election will affect ours. National Post has a story about how it could boost Dion too.

    What I don’t get is what Dion has to do with Obama, or vice versa what Harper has to do with McCain. I’m not trying to make a partisan shot here, I’m just asking where the parallels are?

    The notion that suddenly Canadians will see Americans voting for Obama or McCain and will base their voting intentions in Canada on the American results is absurd.

  31. Wow – Kody, what a stretch.

    “having the voters decide whether the Conservatives deserve to be in power…is viewed by many on the left …as an act of illegitimacy”

    Conservatives spent 12 years complaining about elections. And to this day Harper trumpets the clarion call of right-wingers from the taxpayers’ coalition, referring to elections as a waste of taxpayer dollars.

  32. Martin didn’t want to go to the polls last election, he was scared to face the electorate and as it turned out, his instincts were right. Dion has avoided going to the polls for the last year and a half because he’s been scared to face the electorate. The Liberal reluctance to go to the polls these last number of years is not cowardice per se, it’s based on the fact that there electoral prospects aren’t very good. That is a political fact on the ground.

    At least Martin pretended that he was ready for an election at any time. Dion just looks like he’s running away from it. I doubt that will inpress Canadians or inspire the Liberal troops. Why did this guy ever want to become leader in the first place?

  33. I have had an interest in the political scene for a number of years and I conclude PMSH is the only PM who carries a big chip on his shoulder…. for whatever reason I can’t tell. He appears to be mad at everything and at everybody. O/K so he feels “they are trying to screw him again and Christ Almighty, I will show them”. Fair enough! But things have been known to go off rails with this attitude.

  34. Media analysis: what a brilliant tactician and savvy leader.

    Jarrid, mind posting some links to these ‘media analyses?’

  35. Jack Mitchell Wrote: “Funny how all these rightwing trolls gravitate to these non-partisan, temperate Maclean’s blogs, whereas you don’t see any “Troops out NOW!” lefties here.”

    I presume that the CPC is organizing its kiddy-corp to take over open discussion fora here and everywhere elese.

    My assumption is that once the write drops, all online forums will become unreadable as they are taken over by partisans of all stripes cutting and pasting talking points.

    So its likely that none of these forums will be worth reading until after the election, when normal non-partisan folks interested in politics will return.

    – JV

  36. To be clear — I’ve wanted an election since around spring ’07. I like elections — it isn’t the partisan in me, it’s the sports fan in me.

    I’d have them every year, if I could.

    That Harper may (or mayn’t — we’re still not sure) finally want one is irrelevant.

  37. A lot will, of course, depend on the campaign. Can Harper and his legion of end-timers pull off another well-run campaign while the Liberals blunder along and play catch up? I say “no” for a few reasons.

    First, the Cons will be playing defense this time. Sure, they’re good at deflecting and burying the most recent scandal, lie or hypocrisy in an avalanche of further arrogance a la Bush. But dealing with demonstrable incompetence and dishonesty during a campaign is much more difficult.

    Second, the last campaign was an anomaly in terms of how well the fundamentalist wack job candidates were kept in check. The hubris and self-righteousness have been stoked by three years of being in power. Three years in which the biggest lunatics were kept muzzled. The odds are a few will blow a gasket, especially if they sense that their discipline has beeen in vain and Harper is letting things slip away.

    A polictal cliche that has been proven numerous times over the years will come into play as well. Expectations are so low for Dion that even exceeding them moderately will translate into increased popularity.

    The first week of the campaign will be a write-off for the Cons as they deal with the fact that Harper disregarded his own law and didn’t have the guts to face the litany of scandals that he and his party have created.

    So many other factors could come into play as well. How do the Liberals broach the vote-splitting issue (this time on the left) without alienating NDP and Green supporters?

    The obvious fact that remaining true to your first party choice instead of strategic voting results in a government further from your core beliefs doesn’t seem to sway most people. If the Liberals can frame that issue in an intelligent way without blaming NDPers and Greens for a perceived outcome, it could make a big difference.

  38. Media analysis: what a brilliant tactician and savvy leader.

    I don’t remember that to have been the media analysis, at all… any more than it was after 3.5 years in 1997.

  39. Karen,
    I expect that you are not alone in your disappointment. Harper’s ability or inability to restrain himself may turn out to be the biggest factor in this campaign. His dickness seems to be showing more and more, and this may be more significant than all the policy issues, of which the Green Shift seems to be about the only one on the table right now.

  40. You can’t use JC’s early elections as an excuse: he didn’t promise fixed elections. PMSH can try to dance out of this one, but I think it will stick. Whether voters will care is another matter (depending on how it is spun).

  41. I think Karen is the voter that the Conservatives need to watch out for. The ones who were (rightly) tired of Liberal shenanigans and willing to give these new, untested conservatives a run — after all, they were saying a lot of good things during the campaign. Certainly enough for me to reconsider my vote — I briefly entertained the idea of voting conservative myself last election, eventually changing my mind after meeting the conservative candidate in my riding and hearing his views on “protecting the sanctity of marriage” (meaning “none of them icky gays”) and voting green instead. Of course, I’m in Calgary, so it didn’t make any difference, but back to point — except this time the conservatives have shown themselves to be no better than the Liberals when it comes to shenanigans, and our economic outlook has gotten significantly worse since they showed up.

    Tie those two things together and I think a lot of the people who gave the conservatives their minority last time are going to be switching their vote elsewhere this time.

    Incidentally, just heard Paul Well’s question at the Prime Ministers conference.. man.. that was rather going for the jugular, wasn’t it? I think the question was valid, but sadly I expect it’ll be seen as further confirmation of the tin-foil hatters idea of a liberal MSM bias.

  42. “Scary to think that one of our most financially viable parties may have destroyed itself with the electoral finance reforms it introduced”
    The fact that Liberals are unable to raise money is a significant point. If people were really enthused about the party there wouldn’t be a financial crisis.
    Harper may have a lot of personality faults, but I still trust him more than I do Dionne.

  43. T.Thwim,
    What was Paul Well’s question? I didn’t see this.

  44. Sorry, I don’t remember the wording exactly, but he basically pointed out, in very direct terms, how the conservatives campaigned on fixed elections precisely on the idea that the Prime Minister shouldn’t have the type of power that the PM may be exerting.

    Harper’s response was along the lines of, no we didn’t. We said the point was to bring certainty to when elections happening, and with a minority government there’s no certainty, so I’m going to give us some.

    I’m paraphrasing, probably badly, and hopefully Mr. Wells will correct me when he gets in.

    Of course, that’s really not what they said at all.

  45. I’ll vote for Harper because I have no choice. I disagree with everything the Libs stand for. But if even a dyed in the wool conservative like me has to hold his nose to vote for Harper, I can’t see him pulling the rabbit out of his hat this time.
    Harper is a sharp dude though, who has repeatedly shown he sees further ahead in the game than his competitors. But he doesn’t see past his personal agenda. I have a grave feeling that when Harper finally fails, he will leave the party in absolute tatters, and the country will move further to the left because conservatives will be seen in such a poor light.

  46. Mr. Sachs, I agree with your hypothesis on Harper’s demise. Nothing convinces me more of the damage he will do to this country than the deafening silence of his “base” here in Alberta. He goes about governing like a Liberal and nobody says a thing here (I live in Calgary). Of course, when it does go boom and the Conservatives are in shambles and the Liberals/NDP are running the show for the foreseeable future and the country is disintegrating…..I’m sure the pundits out here will find a way to blame Trudeau and/or the NEP for it all!

  47. Geez, I keep coming up with the same question: How can Parliament be dysfunctional in August if it rose in June and doesn’t resume until mid-September? That’s something that the average voter (who doesn’t pay attention to politics) should be wondering. Ask your apathetic friends what they think of this baloney.

  48. I’ll post a transcript when one becomes available. Thanks for noticing, Thwim; it had been a very long time since I put a hard question to a prime minister and I wondered whether I’d lost the knack. I had actually planned to ask a question about geo-mapping, but by the time they got to me I felt like improvising.

  49. David: Might I suggest you examine the Greens? Their fiscal and social policies really aren’t as left-wing as some people would have you believe.

    Yes, they do have a focus on the environment, but beyond that they seem to believe primarily in personal responsibility and in government working by providing incentives (tax-based, primarily) for people and companies to operate in a sustainable manner.

    Of course, I’m speaking from memory from a few years ago. I’ve been disgusted with May, so haven’t looked there for quite a while.

  50. Riley Hennessy doesn’t see any connection between Dion and Obama and McCain and Harper. Hello!!!
    The common ground between Obama and Dion is–integrity, , social consciousness, academia and intellectual ability For McCain and Harper it is opportunism and singleminded (in Harper’s case especially) determination to dictate and control. McCain does show some indicators of social conscience, Harper is as close to a fascist leader as we have ever come. The large problem for Canadians is that those who are old enough to remember, associate fascism with an era long gone. Believe me, it is alive and well under the present government
    Harper has a mental facility to revise and justify all statements and positions that he has taken to achieve his main goal of autocratic rule rather than democratic and socially conscious governance.His attempts to justify destabilising the economic base of the country, to change a military renowned for peacekeeping into a fighting machine unable to deal with insurgency. The deaths of nearly 100 young men have not, in the majority of cases, been the result of armed combat but of explosive devices hidden by men disguised as Afghanistanis.
    Only Obama can restore the United States of America to its status of respected world leader afer the total disaster of George W.Bush. Stephane Dion will restore the respect of the leaders of the Western world, embarrassingly eroded because the lack of experience and bumbling of ministers such as Bernier and the Prime Minister, (who know so little that they don’t know what they don’t know!!) attempting to follow in the footsteps of Trudeau and Chretien.
    We are tired of those playing at politics like Bernier. Canada needs mature and experienced leaders like those in the Liberal Party, both in the country and in the world.

  51. I too, am delighted with the question by Paul Wells to the Prime Minister about his request for an election which he can not make because of the law passed which says that an election can only be held at a specific time unless there is a no-confidence motion passed in a (sitting?) parliament.
    To Steph.C, the dysfunction is at the committee level, Committies do sit in the summer. The Conservatives have refused to obey the sub-poenas issued for their attendance, have pulled tantrums and disrupted the function of the committees. It is the Conservative members who have created the dysfunction. In fact they, have given every conservative member an instruction manual as to the most effective ways of disrupting committees.
    Committees are the basis of a democratic parliament and are where the real work is done. They are made up of members from the elected parties. In a minority government like this, the members from the three opposition parties are likely to outnumber the Conservatives. Debate on issues takes place in the committees and should, ideally, compensate for the difference in numbers. The Conservatives have clearly demonstrated in Parliament and in committee their total inability to conduct debate and to make decisions on factual information presented to the committeee. Like school yard bullies with poor language skills, they have consistently resorted to a level of verbose pejorative invective which, in Parliament, many of us believe should have been addressed by the Speaker.
    it is likely that more tax-payers money has gone into the research made into the historic short-comings of previous parties and ministers to provide grist for the insult mill of the deputy house leader Peter Van Loan and other cabinet ministers like James Moore than has been spent in research to enable improved governance for the Canadian people.
    Stephen Harper’s government has not operated in the best interests of Canada but in the best interests of the Reform (whoops) conservative party

  52. Geez, half way to steak knives and I just got here!

    Silly season must really be on the horizon!

  53. Does anyone actually think it is an effective ‘insult’ to call the Conservatives the Reform Party? It’s as silly as LIEberal and not even remotely accurate. The Conservatives are not Reformers, or Progressive Conservatives, or Republicans. They are Harperites and have no more depth than that.

  54. T.Twhim: your suggestion to David to vote Green might be something we’ll see a lot if we have an election this fall.

    The Greens have become the preferred destination of the protest vote, and May has been able to considerably increase the profile of the party. The Green party rocketed to 8% of the vote in the Ontario election last year, largely on the back of cumulative dissatisfaction of major party voters. I would not at all be surprised if the federal Green party gets to 10% of the vote, even if they capture no seats.

    This might throw off the results in a number of close ridings, but, assuming the BQ vote doesn’t crater, it will only reinforce the impossibility of any one party obtaining a majority. Which is why Harper’s sudden eagerness to go to the polls is puzzling to me – I can’t see what he hopes to gain, and he has much to lose. But then again, out of respect for him as a tactician, I’m going to assume there is something about this picture that I’m missing and he’s not.

  55. I’d like to propose a new rule: Anybody who compares a conservative to a fascist, unless brownshirts are actually roaming the streets, automatically loses their right to criticize any conservative who compares a geopolitical situation to Europe in 1938.

  56. And vice versa.

  57. You know who would have liked a rule like that, Andrew E? Goebbels. Goebbels would have thought your rule was just swell. Think about that before you goose-step back in here with your bright ideas, Mr. Obergruppenfuhrer.

  58. Exactly the response I would have expected from a Trotskyite wrecker such as yourself.

  59. Fear Stephen Harper’s wrath Stephane Dion! FEAR HIM! Behold the day of Harper comes, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the Liberals thereof out of it…And he will punish press gallery for their evil, and the NDP for their iniquity; and he will cause the arrogance of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the Gilles Duceppe and the Bloc because they’re haughty.

  60. After reading the entrails of the sacred poltical chicken and having discovered several discolorations in the liver the oracle exits the cave and proclaims : The Left is divided and after chumming the waters the sharks display their anger feeding in a frenzy though no more tender morcels are left so they turn on one another shark shall eat shark until only the the biggest remain circling one and another they turn their baleful eyes onto each other – Just when you thought it was safe to go into the water!

  61. From Dion’s brief opening remarks at his press conference last week (about his fishing competition), I got the impression he was telling us a non-religious parable that reinforced his message about “timing being everything”.

    Fair enough. Dion presented himself as a cocky, adept, winning fisherman, who used his many skills to catch the biggest fish at just the right time. Supposedly he was in the process of doing the same in catching “big fish” Harper at just the right time for an election.

    Recent events show that Harper is having none of that, and has started his own election-timing narrative. I see it as something like this:

    Harper the shark has rammed and sunk Dion’s boat, catching him off-guard, fumbling for the right bait, without his life vest on, forcing him to swim and fight for his life NOW.

    Pass the beer and popcorn, this is going to be fun to watch.

  62. I’m guessing… Vodka.

  63. I wonder who’s got more nervous nellies in their camp ? Harper or Dion.

  64. “For over two years, the Green Party has drawn attention to the Harper government’s disastrous regime and his regressive agenda. When an election is called, we must be included in the televised leadership debates. Canadians demand nothing less.”

    LESS

  65. Look, it’s going to be painful watching our media do their unbiased best to elect their man, but I refuse to believe that a sizeable number of Canadians will vote for a Parisian sociology professor, somewhat effete, selling a tax increase and social engineering, who is at times incomprehensible, eats hotdogs with a fork and has as much in common with average Canadians as Madonna and chastity belts.

  66. I disagree with Kim Campbell.

    I want to discuss serious issues(not the Star’s usual take on Harper’s satanic plans for ethnic babies) like the Green Shaft, Sidewinder and why no Liberal has been fingered for “an illegal kickback operation to the Liberal Party”.

    And how the Liberal Party could determine their own punishment.

    And where is the rest of the money.

  67. Well said Bud : Madonna and chastity belts ROFL LMAO – now that is funny you … should apply for a job with Macleans as a committee blogger so Kady can have a holiday!

  68. Bud, it be hard to discuss seriou issue when teh her Majesty’s Official Opposition leader is a Parisian sociology professor who eats hotdogs with a fork! Dion is not a leader! OMG! Harper 4EVER!

  69. We definitely need an election.

    The Conservatives checked off their boxes a long time ago and have had little in the way of new priorities to engage Canadians with for well over a year.

    A truly healthy Parliament would have defeated this government a long time ago when the drift set in.

    Our economy is is heading south, we have Putin in our arctic, Ontario needs a complete overhaul, there’s Afghanistan, and of course, we all want to know how raising taxes in our vast arctic country is going to clean up the pollution in China.

    It is definitely time to clear the air. There’s lots of work to do.

  70. I think with his Green Shift Mr Dion will pick up a lot of Greens. That could run to 8%. It’s not great, but it’s at least a step in the right direction, and if we don’t elect the Glibs we’ll get nothing at all. Liz May all but said it herself. It could be more than eight percent because it really comes down to how many electorate believe global warming is serious. Harper already has all the the GW deniers. The pool available for convincing is quite large and probably includes a lot of Conservatives. And with their economic record of having saved us from one Con fiscal meltdown, they could even offer themselves as the most credible gang to manage to save us from another one.

  71. If they can allow an eye-liner wearing oaf who worships an invisible sky daddy, surrounds himself with incompetents, prostrates himself in front of yanks and begs forgiveness for not being part of the collosal screw up in Iraq, has never held a real job in his life and has utter contempt for the country he governs, I’m guessing they just might give Dion a chance.

  72. Don’t forget Joe Comuzzi in your headline. :)

  73. Ya, Wells,

    You forgot the Cuzz.

    And I am very dissapointed this post had no

    “KHAN”!!!

    PS:I have been itching all day to post “KHAN”!!!

  74. The comment boards here will soon fill up with Harper partisans lauding the big guy’s cleverness…

    Commenters lauding Harper’s cleverness? Um, isn’t that the media’s job?

    It seems to have been the media’s job since the day Harper was elected PM.

  75. Mike514 says, “Commenters lauding Harper’s cleverness?”

    Yeah, where did this urban myth that Harper’s a bright guy come from?

    Has anyone enquired of Mr. Wells, Mr. Wherry, Mr. Coyne or even Kady – Ms. O’Malley may actually know the answer though apparently she isn’t immediately available – under what basis Harper will contest this election? What happens with his suit against Elections Canada? He’s going to play this game under protest?

    He’s going to disregard whatever result Elections Canada comes up with if it doesn’t suit him? [Jayus it’s hard to type a sentence without an unintended pun here?]

    And I haven’t really kept track of all the other suits he has ongoing nor all the parties to, potential witnesses, interested parties etc but it seems to me there is a quagmire here could easily put this election off for another couple of years . . . maybe a decade?

  76. Geez, Neil:
    “I have had an interest in the political scene for a number of years and I conclude PMSH is the only PM who carries a big chip on his shoulder….” — I myself have had an interest in the political scene for many years and I think you observation is totally out to lunch. I think that people who think politics is important should try to be a bit more analytical, rather than resorting to knee-jerk personal attacks, based on — I would content — little factual information. Harper’s attacks others in a partisan context, but he is no worse than any other politician in this regard, and he has show n great caring and dignity in many contexts.

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