83

What has just transpired


 

More on this later, but today’s Question Period in a word: gruesome.

The day that the Prime Minister accused Stephane Dion of siding with the Taliban was my personal previous precedent. This surely exceeded that.


 

What has just transpired

  1. Take it to the people. Run as a coalition and let’s see who Canadians want to govern this country.

  2. I thought this parliament was going to be more civilized?

  3. Aaron – got a few choice quotes for those of us away from our TV’s?

  4. It’s been a gruesome 3 years of Question Period with Harper leading with ‘prime ministerial’ bearing. Not.

  5. Details Aaron. Details. Please! I can’t wait to read a transcript.

    Or if anyone else knows what has so rocked Aaron’s world in Question Period today, please post.

  6. If the Coalition feels they have a majority of the people with them, let’s take it to a vote: Coalition vs. the Conservatives chickenshits.

  7. Aaron,

    Your Liberal partisanship is tiresome. Can’t you ever see the big picture?

  8. “Coalition of the Separatists” is what the brain trust has settled on.

    Our government thinks we’re idiots.

  9. The coalition won’t just have questionable democratic legitimacy.

    It’ll be downright radioactive.

  10. Aaron makes it sound interesting but you have to keep in mind he gets the vapours at the slightest provocation hurled at his beloved Libs.

  11. Tory caucus is irate. At the CPC xmas party last night, I had three caucus members tell me that they will leave the CPC and become independents if Harper prorogues. They think the voters will punish them harshly.

  12. I don’t quite understand why people question he legitimacy of the Coalition (unless they are conbots). As nobody is proposing anything unconstitutional or illegal, they will be perfectly legitimate.

    I also like them being “dared” to go to an election. Umm.. excuse me? I would hope that anybody wanting to be leader of our country would not respond to a taunt like that.

  13. ““Coalition of the Separatists” is what the brain trust has settled on. Our government thinks we’re idiots.”

    Is this what you and Aaron are complaining about? Again, I say: if that’s so bad, how can the coalition include that “wise man” Paul Martin who used just the same kind of rhetoric against the Tories back when he was trying to cling to power? Or maybe Aaron can let us know where all his columns criticizing Martin for just that kind of rhetoric were published at the time.

  14. The Govenor General has decided to return to Canada. Speaking to a Radio-Canada journalist, she said this of her role:

    “de s’assurer qu’il y ait continuité, de s’assurer que la gouvernance soit vraiment établie sur de bonnes bases”

    “To ensure that there is continuity, to ensure that governance is truly established on a strong basis.”

    It’s over. Resign, Mr. Harper.

  15. Nice try, Bob. Five standing ovations and an impromptu Oh Canada while the PM spoke yesterday and promised to use every legal means. By the weekend, the CPC will have framed this successfully as “give us an election or force us to prorogue to protect democracy”. No CPC/Reform democrat will want to be on the wrong side of that.

  16. This post takes the prize for least informative, most tantalising bloggery during this crisis.

  17. It seems that Three Stooges got way ahead of themselves. As far as I remember only very small percentage of Canadians voted for the three stooges in last federal elections.

    In Canadian parliamentary system Canadian voters vote for the candidate whose party affiliation is not even mentioned on the election ballot. Elected Members of Parliament are accoutable to their constituents and not to leaders of their respective parties.

    There was no vote held so far in House of Commons that would indicate that current government does not have support of the majority of elected Members of the House of Commons.

    Quite to the contrary House of Commons recently voted on the Throne Speech and majority of MPs supported it, therefore there is no factual basis to any of the nonsense that Three Stooges wrote in the letter addressed to Governor General and signed on “behalf” of their respective parties.

    It just blows one’s mind that people so detached from reality could get elected and go to become leaders of their “parties”.

  18. Millhouse. You’ll note elsewhere that I’ve been in Ottawa for a year. In another thread that fact has been cited as too long a stay. Fair enough. But I cannot then, at the same time, be criticized for not criticizing Paul Martin’s government. Sorry.

    Full column shortly. Patience.

  19. The coalition won’t just have questionable democratic legitimacy.

    Are you mental, do you have any idea how our government works, or what legitimacy means? The outrage coming from the CPCers is desperate and verging on insanity. There hasn’t been one good argument made from the party itself or any of its supporters as to why the opposition parties approach to this situation is in anyway illegitimate … because it’s not. Clearly we see the approach Harper and co. are going to take (demonize the separatists, stir up a public outcry, and divide citizens, all in the hope of being able to get an election rather than a coalition government). Harper has clearly lost the confidence of the house and is desperate, but if the opposition parties keep their focus I really don’t see Harper remaining PM for much longer.

    I look forward to actually seeing some good progressive legislation passed under a coalition government. I especially like the the “no surprises” clause written into the accord. That will be refreshing, a government that doesn’t think a noble lie is a good thing.

  20. Millhouse—Don’t worry, the columns are coming right after the columns about how awful, undemocratic, new-low-bar, etc., it was when Martin ignored a confidence vote in the House. And about how the GG should have refused Chretien an election after 3 years. Etc. Etc.

  21. A crisis of commentary?

  22. Paul’s on vacation. Where is Kady and Coyne? Dead-line looming? Must be tough when any column will be out of date by print time.

  23. Where was O’Malley in this whole fiasco? Shouldn’t she have been liveblogging this for those of us so unlucky to be at a desk?

  24. Karol – if only a very small percentage of canadians voted for Layton/Dion/Duceppe then a MUCH smaller percentage voted for Harper. What does your post prove?

  25. I watched some of the highlights at CTV. It was disgusting and infuriating. Anytime I get nervous of the idea of this Coalition, all I have to do is what Harper and Co. in action. Unfit for office our dear Leader is indeed.

    Step down you maniac.

  26. And Erin – I think there is a difference between 3 years and 6 weeks

  27. Well, one thing that Mr Decorum, Mr Harper said today in QP was since there was no Canadian flag at yesterday’s press conference , he used that as “proof” that the Liberals have sold out the country.

    While that is a deplorable comment anyhow.. problem is, if he looked at some photos in the background. there WAS a Canadian flag.

    So, at the moment, Harper is neither thinking straight, nor can he see very well.

  28. I’d rather spend $30 million on an election (which would have the benefit of being stimulative for hurting parts of the economy such as the travel sector) than $30 billion on a misguided stimulus package.

  29. I think its about time we form a new government in canada. The conservatives are the most arrogant and misguided government we have ever seen in this country. Women, children, minorities need to be respected they will not get it from the conservatives. If the left wasnt so split we would never elect a red neck bunch of idiots like the conservatives. I’m not really a liberal fan but at least they knew how to manage our economy. I was a conservative voter but after watching question period today I will never vote for them again. Playing region against region and talking about unity when its not even a real issue makes me sick to my stomach. Wheres the honesty and transparency they talked about. Good luck to the new prime minister.

  30. I can’t believe the fantasy world commentators on this blog live in. Oh, right, of course it’s perfectly normal that the party receiving a historically low share of the vote can legitimately form the government, because they are joining a coalition with two parties they guaranteed they would never form a coalition with. I mean, we vote for MPs, not parties or prime ministers. That’s why an MP would never put her party affiliation on a lawn sign. And that’s why there is never a national campaign, and leaders would never encourage people to vote for an MP because “you will never have as green a prime minister as me”.

    This disconnected pedantry explains why the Macleans.ca comments are all for this idiotic power grab, while the CBC couldn’t even find one man-on-the-street to support it this morning. Go on guys, live in this fantasy land. The PM will win in the real world.

  31. Chris B: NOBODY voted for this coalition. Zero% is a much lower number than the 38% that voted for Harper.

    KOL: Why on Earth do you use today’s quote from the GG to infer that “it’s over” for Harper. If anything, her Excellency’s comments on governance needing to be established on a “strong basis” infer that she may very well refuse the coalition’s request.

  32. Two Cents,

    Not that it really changes your point, but the cost of an election runs closer to $300 million these days.

  33. It seems that Three Stooges got way ahead of themselves. As far as I remember only very small percentage of Canadians voted for the three stooges in last federal elections.

    >60% = “very small.” I see.

    In Canadian parliamentary system Canadian voters vote for the candidate whose party affiliation is not even mentioned on the election ballot.
    Incorrect. If you bothered to even vote last time, you’d know it’s on there, centred and bilingual, in a smaller font underneath the name.

    Elected Members of Parliament are accoutable to their constituents and not to leaders of their respective parties.
    This is correct. Funny how the conbots didn’t say this when Belinda crossed the floor.

    There was no vote held so far in House of Commons that would indicate that current government does not have support of the majority of elected Members of the House of Commons.
    Because the government used procedural mechanisms–legal ones, to be fair–to delay a non-confidence vote that was on the order paper.

    Quite to the contrary House of Commons recently voted on the Throne Speech and majority of MPs supported it, therefore there is no factual basis to any of the nonsense that Three Stooges wrote in the letter addressed to Governor General and signed on “behalf” of their respective parties.
    In which case, there’s no crisis, and Harper should drop the talk of proroguing and try to go on governing. Monday’s vote will come. I wonder what will happen.

    By the way Karol, try as you might, the Three Stooges line isn’t funny and isn’t getting any traction. You might want to try something else.

  34. All this to save face for Dion and placate Jack’s urge for power. None of them care about what will happen to the country. Yesterdays stock market a good indicator about what would happen if Larry, Moe and Curly took over.
    Sorry I missed todays session.

  35. Don’t tell fibs sandy.

  36. “NOBODY voted for this coalition. Zero% is a much lower number than the 38% that voted for Harper”

    Only the good folks in Harper’s riding voted for him. We have a parliamentary democracy in Canada, and we do not vote for governments, or Prime Ministers. We vote for MPs, who are then responsible for assembling a government, led by a Prime Minister, who holds the confidence of the house.

    Is this really so hard for people to keep in mind?

  37. … and in fact we have one territory where nobody votes for any party at all. They just vote for people who go and assemble a government amongst themselves. Is their government illegitimate?

    Or, to look at a Conservative example, nobody voted for David Emerson the Conservative. yet there he was a Tory Cabinet Minister.

  38. There is no two ways about this: Harper’s government is no longer legitimate and should not continue governing. The ball is in the GG’s court.

  39. Sean, Canadians voted for a Conservative government led by Harper as PM. Period.

  40. NOBODY voted for this coalition. Zero% is a much lower number than the 38% that voted for Harper.

    No one voted for Harper, either. Well, except for the people of Calgary West.

    Too bad Big Daddy hadn’t invested all those party donations into funding a campaign to explain to his constituents how Parliament works, instead of wasting them on his retarded attack ads.

    But then, that was the plan. There’s nothing a dictator likes more than unthinking followers.

  41. Patrick – saying “period” at the end of your sentence doesn’t make it any less wrong.

    You’re thinking of the American system. Sean is absolutely correct.

  42. Patrick – did we participate in the same election where Canada elected a Conservative MINORITY government? In a minority situation, the govrnment does not get to pass its agenda without making concessons to at least one other party. Or else they get defeated. As is about to happen.

  43. NOBODY voted for this coalition. Zero% is a much lower number than the 38% that voted for Harper.

    Actually, Harper received a 73% of the vote in his Calgary riding.

    Sure, 38% may have voted for the CPC nationally, but in a first past the post system Westminster parliament that number is largely meaningless. The most important number is what half of the number of seats in the house is – and that is a number Harper did not receive, and likely won’t ever given his propensity for insulting Quebec (which gets worse by the day).

  44. OMG – this is our Prime Minister??? And he has to face and meet with other world leaders??? Oh My G**

  45. Patrick,

    Your ballot must have looked a lot different than mine. I’m sorry the rules and logic of parliamentary democracy don’t seem to resonate with Conservative supporters lately, but they are clear. In fact, they were just as clear to Harper when he proposed a potential coalition-style government to replace Martin’s with a few years back.

  46. “The day that the Prime Minister accused Stephane Dion of siding with the Taliban was my personal previous precedent. This surely exceeded that.”

    OMG OMG OMG

  47. “Our government thinks we’re idiots.”

    they’re our government. connect the dots.

  48. Sean, TJ— If I said that a Bill is not passed when the elected MPs and the unelected SEnators approve it, but when the GG gives her assent, that would be “correct”. But if I used that sentence to make the point that the GG should refuse to sign a bill because accurate public opinion polling (e.g.) demonstrate the public didn’t like the bill–if I did that, it would be a stupid argument (even though there is some decades old provincial precedent in Alberta for it). No Canadian, thinking in real-life terms, thinks that the GG really has the power to appoint as PM a guy that was rejected resoundingly in the most recent election and is in the process of being rejected by his party. Similarly, no Canadian, thinking in real-life terms, thinks the GG really has the power to reject a Bill. So you can continue to ignore what is really happening when people go to vote, but you’ll continue to look foolish. If you want to change the way politics works, then get your parties to campaign openly on the notion of a non-plurality coalition. Why are they afraid to do that?

  49. Tom,
    Try as hard as you like. We just had an election and there was no vote held that would indicate that government lost confidence of the House of Commons and until that happens it look like Three Stooges are way ahead of themselves.
    Instead of backing down and waiting for such vote before they try to push it any further they just keep on going.
    I actually find it funny. If you run one step in front of an orchestra you are leading it. If you run two steps in front of an orchestra you are a clown (court chester).

  50. Erin Weary, what part of “this coalition represents the majority of Canadians” do you not understand?

  51. The part where nobody voting for Michael Ignatieff in Etobicoke Lakeshore could possibly have imagined that meant voting for Foreign Affairs Minister Libby Davies.

    Our system has rules that yeild certain results, and people condition their votes on those rules. What part of someone who voted for John McCallum didn’t think they would get Jack Layton as Minister of Industry do you not understand?

  52. Erin Weary: “No Canadian, thinking in real-life terms, thinks that the GG really has the power to appoint as PM a guy that was…”

    Nobody except every Canadian who understands how parliamentary democracy works in the event that the government loses confidence. This is what happens in real-life terms – it even has a precedent in your lifetime.

    Also, she’s not being asked to “appoint a PM”, that’s the role of the government after forming within Parliament.

  53. Karol, by that logic we could just suspend Parliament indefinitely, King Charles-style, and Harper could govern without every consulting the House. That really is the logical conclusion behind the “We Won” Tory talking point, isn’t it? Because once the Nation has endorsed you, to whatever degree, you have carte blanche.

    The only catch is that, historically speaking, people who try to keep Parliament shut indefinitely get their heads cut off.

  54. Actually, in your idiotically pedantic terms, the Queen/GG really does appoint the PM (see Sir Alec Douglas-Home). But that just proves the point–just because it is theoretically true of a Westminster system, or because it has happened before, doesn’t make it the right move or even a legitimate move in any meaningful sense. But fine–you rely on 1985 Ontario, I’ll rely on every other election that everyone in Canada today has ever voted in, and we’ll see what the public has to say about which is a sounder basis on which to form a government.

  55. Erin Weary, you are arguing against the supremacy of Parliament.

  56. No, I am arguing against the ability of a leader with half the seats of the plurality party becoming PM as part of a coalition that was explicitly put out of play in the last election. If they don’t have confidence in the government they should damn well defeat it, and then they should demonstrate that the people really had lost confidence by winning an election. There is nothing there incompatible with Parliamentary supremacy.

    Anyways, this conversation is not advanced by me presenting real questions about legitimacy and then someone stating irrelevant trite points about the Westminster system. If nobody is going to respond to any of the arguments actually presented, then I guess all we can do is wait and see what the public thinks, now or in 2011.

  57. @EW doesn’t make it the right move or even a legitimate move in any meaningful sense

    How so?

    I take it you are saying it is wrong or illegitimate because Canadians believe, wrongly, that when they vote they are voting for a PM and a government, and that if their party of choice gets more seats than anyone else, even if it is only a minority of the seats, then should that government lose the confidence of the house – and if the opposition parties put themselves forward as a viable alternative – we should have an election because … Canadians are dumb who should pay more attention to how they’re democracy works?

  58. Of course we’ll see what the public thinks. We have seen what the public thought: they elected the House as currently constituted! The House represents the people! That is not a technical point, it is the very basis of our representative democracy. You have no right to question the legitimacy of the House as such.

  59. I’m sure it’s just me, but I have no idea where people come up with motivation to go out there and promote Stephen Harper like he’s paying them. This is the same Stephen Harper who thought same-sex marriage was an affront to justice. Stephen Harper.

    Not only that, the dude is mean. Let’s be real: that economic update was a jerk of a thing to do. It was cold. You know that. I know that. You’re not even arguing about that. You may not like the coalition, but you really want to go to bat for Stephen Harper? O this blog? Man, that is cold.

    I want to be the first (on this blog) to declare that my political support is not jerk-proof. That is to say: I will vote, sure. But if the leader of the party I voted for goes out there, acting like a jerk all around town, I’m out. I just can’t do it. I can’t bring myself to go to bat for this guy.

    Besides, it’s Stephen Harper. Seriously.

  60. @1777— what’s to “pay more attention” to? IT DOESN’T WORK THIS WAY IN CANADA, and the experience of 30,000,000 Canadians in dozens of elections attests to that (and see Potter today). Again, if the GG denied a Bill and Canadians complained, nobody would say “yeah, well, that’s their own fault–this is how our Westminster system work”.

  61. Jack Mitchell
    You keep on twisting every argument out of proportion. Posponing a vote for a week is a prudent thing to do. I would say postponing a vote for a month would be a prudent thing as it would allow cool heads to prevail. It seems that Three Stooges are so preoccupied with keeping the momentum (ball rolling) that they got so much in front of the orchestra that they lost even a sight of it.
    It all make it very funny as Harper’s deception that he is weak worked wonders on these clowns and they completly forgot that Harper carries a baseball bat behind his back.

  62. and again @1777– the substantive reason we should have an election is that we want the ability to elect platforms as well as personalities. We may not like our MPs views on lots of things, but we might like the platform they are running on.

    Think about it—your argument implies that nobody could ever have a legitimacy complaint if their MP crossed the floor without running in a re-election, because we don’t elect parties or PMs but just MPs and they would be the same MP. What a dumb, unrealistic argument.

  63. “Again, if the GG denied a Bill and Canadians complained, nobody would say “yeah, well, that’s their own fault–this is how our Westminster system work”.”

    Because that would be a case of the GG opposing the will of the house. If the government falls and Dion becomes PM, this would be a case of respecting the will of the house.

  64. Erin Weary writes: “Again, if the GG denied a Bill and Canadians complained, nobody would say “yeah, well, that’s their own fault–this is how our Westminster system work”

    The Governor General does not have the power to refuse assent to a bill.

  65. Karol, if delaying the confidence motion is good, and the longer the better, I expect you’re in favour of Harper suspending Parliament until government grinds to a halt because the government can’t spend any more money.

  66. @CC—Wrong. What about Alberta 1936 (or 1937?). But again, like I explained to TJ at 16:33, this is precisely the point: the GG can in theory do all sorts of things the GG shouldn’t in practice do. It is not legitimate to give a bunch of guys who lost an election during which they claimed they would never form a coalition government the right to form a coalition government.

    I repeat, why is everyone so afraid to go to an election over this? Maybe because you know exactly how the public will see it?

  67. So Karol you are saying that they should delay the vote for a week to allow cooler heads to prevail, yet you are also suggesting that if the opposition DON’T take this chance to form government, Harper will clobber them with a (hopefully metaphoric) baseball bat?
    Gee that is some incentive you are laying out to the opposition there.

  68. @CC—Wrong. What about Alberta 1936 (or 1937?). But again, like I explained to TJ at 16:33, this is precisely the point: the GG can in theory do all sorts of things the GG shouldn’t in practice do. It is not legitimate to give a bunch of guys who lost an election during which they claimed they would never form a coalition government the right to form a coalition government.

    I repeat, why is everyone so afraid to go to an election over this? Maybe because you know exactly how the public will see it?

  69. We may not like our MPs views on lots of things, but we might like the platform they are running on.

    Better still, what if they actually governed according to their platform, instead of making things up on the fly. I want to live in that fantasy world. What a treat that would be!

  70. “I repeat, why is everyone so afraid to go to an election over this? Maybe because you know exactly how the public will see it?”

    Why are you so afraid to let a majority of MPs, who were elected a few weeks ago, attempt to form a government? (I don’t mind a new election at all, but it seems fair to let the dynamics of the last one settle themselves out first.)

    And I REALLY don’t think you Conservatives want to start playing the platform consistency game. Do you? (Hint: Harper comes out looking even worse, if you decide to play).

  71. Sean,

    And I REALLY don’t think you Conservatives want to start playing the platform consistency game. Do you?

    Not sure if you’re referring to me, but yes I do want to play that game! The platform consistency game is a Sunday night staple at the Olaf residence.

    Anyways, I was implying the Conservatives, and their fiscal stimulus, none of which was included in their platform.

  72. Oh, so they know they’ve lost and they are foaming up their base.

  73. Olaf,

    No, I was jabbing at Erin’s logic.

    Platform Consistency is a great game, I agree! We used to play Parliamentary Prorogue, but had too much trouble pronouncing it after a few glasses of wine…

  74. And keep at it, Stephen, a couple more days of this and Dion will get a friggin’ majority.

  75. Erin, I’ve heard a few so-called Constitutional Experts speak in the past day or so. It was clear in their POV that the prime task of the GG is to see if a group can form a government and have the confidence of the House. It is also acknowledged that an election is possible. One theoretical abuse of dissolving government is that a PM can repeatably go to the polls if they get a result that they don’t like. I’m not sure, but perhaps this is why it is preferred to have the current elected house form a government.

    I’m pretty easy on whether we have a coalition or election. I have to wonder though. If Harper is still the leader of the CPC and there is another election, then what? Another minority government with the same distrust in the PM? Surely that would lead to another vote of non-confidence. The PM tried to screw over the other parties the first chance he got. That is the core of the problem. The CPC hasn’t fixed that, and quite rightly the opposition shouldn’t have to stand there and get kicked in the head with a steel-toed boot.

    And if you are worried about broken election promises, deceitful statements and declarations, then please don’t stop at the Liberals, NDP and Bloc. The CPC has a pretty good record of it too.

    I simply wish that Harper had immediately owned up last week and possibly avoided this path. Obviously things have a life of their own now. Two things I’m completely convinced of is that the cause of this whole thing is Harper, and that it is a democratic process. The one thing I’m almost sure of is that no matter what happens, it will be bad for Canada.

  76. I don’t know who this Erin person is, but they stopped being worth reading about halfway up this thread. I’ve completely tuned them out.

    To read comments from arguing against how our parliamentary process was set up and how it works, makes me mourn the idea that Canadians will ever understand our government system. Citizens are apparently prime for manipulating and lying to, which incidently would support how Harper got to power in the first place. Only idiots would knowingly elect someone like him. Apparently, we have more than our share of idiots in our voting public. God help us all.

  77. The long, tiring, unproductive era of greater decorum and civility is over.

    Did it last a week?

  78. Erin Weary writes: “Wrong. What about Alberta 1936 (or 1937?). But again, like I explained to TJ at 16:33, this is precisely the point: the GG can in theory do all sorts of things the GG shouldn’t in practice do.”

    The Governor General has never in the history of Canada refused the assent of a bill passed by Parliament. In Britain, Royal Assent has not been withheld since 1707. Quoting from Forsey: “Assent has never been refused to a federal bill, and our first Prime Minister declared roundly that refusal was obsolete and had become unconstitutional.

    Emphasis mine. If it’s good enough for Sir John A., it’s good enough for me.

  79. Oh my. Unclosed HTML tags are embarassing.

  80. Almost as embarrassing as spelling mistakes!

  81. This isn’t refusal of assent – this is inviting the opposition to form a government in the face of the “sitting” government being unable to maintain control of the house, which has clearly happened on at least one occasion (1926) and likely happened on one other occasion (1979, although I’ll concede there hasn’t been enough written about Trudeau’s apparent refusal to form a coalition in that scenario).

    Sir John A. probably had it right in that scenario, but the table was overturned long after The Old Leader passed on. If he managed to comment on King / Byng, though, then he really should have been voted Greatest Canadian in that poll of a couple of years ago. THAT would have been mighty impressive.

  82. Stephen: pay attention before you comment. I know what this is about. I was responding to Erin’s erroneous claims that Royal Assent can be withheld.

Sign in to comment.