Vive la coalitionne. At least for now.


Various observers, including our Andrews, have been giving the coalition a good kicking over the last few days. That’s fair.

But just to be clear, at least as the situation has been presented to me by various sources, the coalition is not dead. It may be destined to die. It may be dying. But it is not dead. Nor does it seem necessarily likely that it will expire, at least so far as those involved are concerned.

Now, Ignatieff is due to come out of Liberal caucus anytime now. And he will speak later this afternoon at the National Press Theatre. He may say something at one or both of those opportunities to cast doubt on the coalition’s life expectancy. And, either way, his actions over the next few weeks will go a long way towards determining the coalition’s chances.

But the coalition, at this moment, lives. Everything else is speculative.

Just saying.


Vive la coalitionne. At least for now.

  1. “Coalitionne?” Come on…

  2. I think the Coalition will last as long as its a useful stick with which to beat the Cons with. When it’s no longer effective, Iggy will say something that’s equivalent in vacuousness to his quote about decision making that I’ve read dozens of times over the past few days and Coalition will disappear.

  3. The criticism against the Coalition by hmmmmmm Conservatives? probably means the Coalition is useful.

  4. Even if Ignatieff says something that gives the coalition new life, it is clear that the “moral purpose” of the coalition – i.e., removing Harper and halting the Conservative agenda – has changed. Now, it’s about power.

    This will change the dynamics completely.

  5. And the criticism of the bloc veto coalition in all the polls (2-1 against). More proof of its usefulness.

  6. “removing Harper and halting the Conservative agenda – has changed. Now, it’s about power”

    you seem to think one happens without the other

    this is Ottawa we’re talking about. its what they’re PAID to do.

  7. “Bloc veto.” More Conservative propaganda…

  8. If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies!

  9. If it walks like a veto and quacks like a veto it ain’t a tractor.

  10. Your “Andrew” is bought and paid for by the conservatives and should resign – he’s an embarrasment to your publication.

  11. Macleans really should require commenters to register. I’d be willing to do it, and I’m a troll.

  12. This coalition will likely not get into power, but at least next time around people will (hopefully) be aware that such things are not only legal and constitutional, but democratic as well. The biggest travesty in this whole fiasco, as avoidable as it was, is the piles of sh!t spouted by Conservatives about this being illegal, illegitimate, a party to treason and even imploring gun owners to resist this illegitimate power grab by an unholy alliance in the most certain of terms.

    All this episode has shown is that Conservatives and many of their supporters are more than happy to put their minority interests before that of the majority of Canadians; silencing two votes for their vote to rein supreme. The Conservatives can now be more brazen in trying to eliminate the opposition to attain power, rather than doing a good job governing and earning the trust of Canadians.

    Interesting days lay ahead. We have entered the days of minority governments running the country without the support of Parliament and the majority of MPs.

    Sadly, if we have an election, I suspect the Conservatives will win a majority government. Then, when the minority wants to dictate to the majority what we should do, all the options will be at the Prime Minister’s disposal.

    The same Prime Minister that would accuse his opposition of treason for having the gull to oppose him.

  13. “If it walks like a veto and quacks like a veto it ain’t a tractor.”

    It DOESN’T walk like a veto and quack like a veto. Read the agreement.

    When the Liberals and the NDP both vow non-confidence what does that give the Bloc? Your problem isn’t with what the Bloc stands for, its who.

  14. “It DOESN’T walk like a veto and quack like a veto.”

    In fact, if you cared to actually read the agreement you’d realize that what Duceppe signed on to is a LOSS of power.

  15. Troll away Ti-Guy!
    YOUR talking points at least have a ring of truth to them – which is more than can be said for Jarrid / JWL (and what happened to bub – did they forget to nail HIS feet to the Troll perch?)

  16. New catch phrase Aaron (grab it before Kady does).

    Crickets chirping…trolls trilling!

  17. “Your “Andrew” is bought and paid for by the conservatives and should resign – he’s an embarrasment to your publication.”

    Coyne? Never mind him. His job is just easier when the opposition isn’t organized.

  18. Wherry, you mean the Coalition was alive until Ignatieff came out and said that he didn’t really need any NDP members in cabinet to form a government. Right? Nothing like a good double cross to ruin a partnership.

  19. Aaron, it is dead. There is simply no way that Iggy will agree to have Dippers in his cabinet. Iggy’s not even a centrist, let alone a lefty. It ain’t happening.

  20. The coalition, a week ago, received the unanimous support of the Liberal Caucus.
    The new leader, today, will likewise receive the unanimous support of the Liberal Caucus.

    Which begs the question – what the heck does the unanimous support of the Liberal Caucus mean?

    Unanimity – or unity – is highly, highly overrated.

    Lack of unity has never been the Liberals’ problem. Lack of discipline has. The party was “disunited” throughout the 1990s, yet it was disciplined. And it won.

    Ignatieff’s challenge lies not in being willing or able to bring unity to this party, but in being willing or able to bring discipline to it. Therein lies the battle.

  21. It ain’t happening.

    It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings. So let’s put that in our pipe and smoke it.

    And dat’s de name o’ dat tune, folks!

  22. Ti-Guy, you have way more faith in Iggy than I do.

  23. Besides, right now it more closely resembles a cotillion.

  24. Iggy’s not even a centrist, let alone a lefty. It ain’t happening.

    What he (she?) said. Iggy would have to prove to the NDP that they aren’t going to be propping up a conservative-in-all-but-name government, as his “move to the center” (read: right) rhetoric would seem to suggest.

    If he can pull Obama’s trick of bringing both progressives and soft conservatives onside, great. But he isn’t Obama, Harper isn’t McCain, and America does not have the NDP, Greens, or Bloc.

  25. Ti-Guy, you have way more faith in Iggy than I do.

    Since that’s none at all, I wonder how you measure your faith in Iggy?

    The thing that does keep me holding on to some faith is remembering that all the anti-Iggy’s are still in Parliament.

  26. jwl,

    This is not vacuous. Who said it?

    “And I think the real problem that we’re facing already is that the government doesn’t accept that it got a minority.”

    But I think this is:

    “I don’t get into that second guessing of myself publicly.”

  27. I think the opposition coalition should proceed with the original plan and vote non-confidence in Harper and form an alternative govt. They can then invite Conservatives to collaborate on budget discussions in a truly non-partisan and collaborative fashion. After all the Conservatives did win a significant number of seats and percentage of the popular vote and so their ideas should be taken seriously.

    There are 3 main reasons to remove the Conservatives from power and form a coalition govt sooner rather than later:

    (1) Because of their inaction/incompetence on the economy (prior to the panicked realization that they might lose power)

    (2) Because of the poor way they have managed public finances (i.e. reducing what was once a substantial surplus into a deficit through poor public policy choices like cutting the GST instead of cutting income taxes or making needed investments in things like infrastructure)

    (3) Because Mr. Harper demonstrated very clearly the past 2 weeks that he is unworthy of being a Prime Minister for all Canadians

    It is possible that you might get action on items (1) and (2) without a coalition, but (3) can only be addressed by voting non-confidence in Harper. I suppose if the Conservatives got rid of Harper themselves and replaced with with a radically different person than that might make a difference.

    In addition to the above there are some other very compelling reasons to go with the coalition idea:

    (a) The logic of a first-past-the-post system means that you cannot really have 5 major parties. This will produce perpetually unstable minority govts. Adding to the problem is that with 4 parties to their left, and with the fact that they have such a strong regional concentration of seats in Western Canada, the Cons are likely to be the main beneficiaries of vote splitting as long as this situation persists.

    The Liberals, NDP and, yes, the Greens, should at least try cooperating now and see if it sticks. If so, it might make sense to consider forming one big centre-left-greenish party. You cannot really include hardcore Quebec sovereigntists in such a coalition (no federal party could) but you COULD include Quebec nationalists who are willing to vote for a progressive federal party and who are willing to consider that such a party might do a better job of “defending Quebec’s interests” than a perpetually marginalized Bloc Québecois.

    Furthermore merging the centre-left should reduce partisanship (at least it will be a straight ahead left-right fight instead of an all-out battle royale. It will likely have a moderating effect on the far right and the far left) and will “normalize” Canadian politics somewhat.

    (b) Harper has been throwing sand in the face of Liberals for years now (it started with Paul Martin and got much much worse under Dion). The Liberal base is craving for its leaders to fight back hard and get revenge and they need to be thrown a bone after the Ignatieff coronation (which, frankly, revealed the fix was in for him in May regardless)

    There are of course arguments to be made against the coalition, but I just thought I would make the case for it.

  28. Jean: I think the opposition coalition should proceed with the original plan and vote non-confidence in Harper and form an alternative govt.

    What makes you think they would be invited to form an alternative government if the current government fails a confidence vote? Seems that most people would expect another election to be called.

  29. Steve Wart – Well most people would be mistaken if they thought that. The GG has a signed agreement from the opposition parties on a coalition govt. We just had a friggin’ election in October (the third since 2004). The responsible thing for her to do would be to give the coalition a chance to govern. If it cannot do so effectively then, yes, at that point we have yet another election. There is a precedent for her to do this, and I’m pretty sure that’s what she told Harper to expect during their prorogation chat. That’s why Harper is trying to be so sweet and accommodating to Ignatieff now.

  30. to Jean Proulx: “Hear, hear!”

  31. Seems that most people would expect another election to be called.

    It’s more that most people would want another election to be called — about a 2-1 margin wants another election over government by this coalition.

    But that isn’t to say that the GG will do that — she might feel a responsibility to let the opposition have at it during the 40th Parliament’s first six months.

  32. “I told the caucus this morning very clearly I am prepared to vote non-confidence in this government and I am prepared to enter into a coalition with our partners if that is what the Governor General asks me to do,” Ignatieff said. Canadian Press

    Sound like the coalition is here for awhile

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