Wisemenocracy - Macleans.ca
 

Wisemenocracy


 

More news to gladden the heart…

Coalition would be guided by all-star economic council

A high-profile, four-person economic council would guide a Liberal-NDP coalition government on finance matters, CTV News has learned.

CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife reported Monday that the council would comprise Frank McKenna, Paul Martin, John Manley and Roy Romanow.

“This is a way to assure Canadians the economy would be managed properly,” Fife told CTV Newsnet.

The panel of “wise men” would help the new government navigate the current global economic turbulence, he said.

The list includes three Liberals and one New Democrat, though none currently hold elected office.

Oh, that… And the product of all this wiseness?

Fife also reported that the coalition government would introduce a $30-billion economic stimulus package and roll back $50 billion in planned corporate tax cuts.

Now, I never did have much of a head for figgerin’, but … lessee… carry the three, cipher the one … danged if that don’t come out to negative 20!

IN OTHER WORDS: They’re going to raise taxes into a recession. That’s why we’re going through all this: so they can raise taxes into a recession.


 

Wisemenocracy

  1. Wow – that’s four more wise men than our current gov’t has access to.

  2. And Robert Fife has the inside pipeline to the NDP?

  3. Who doesn’t these days, Toby? :)

  4. Yes, how stupid can they be to seek the adivce of experienced and tested talent. Much better to operate on pure ideology and guesswork. Why is seeking advice from (cue ominous music) unelected folks a bad thing? The government would still be comprised of elected MPs who are accountable to the voters in their individual ridings. Why, Mr. Coyne, do you keep trying to spin this as some illegitmate coup?

  5. C’mon, Mr. Coyne, you know perfectly well that is not why we are going through all this. One expects such disingenuousness from a pundit half your age.

  6. Coyne: “The list includes three Liberals and one New Democrat, though none currently hold elected office.”

    Is that an issue? thye perfectly legitimate mchanism for that would be within the PMO. What, you think Harper relies on his Cabinet for advice?

  7. TJ’s right, and I don’t see how Andrew’s flipped so far off the deep end on this one. He’s been ripping the Conservatives for ignoring what he thinks are good economic policies for, like, ever, and now that somebody wants to govern with some good advice (not decisions, but advice) that comes from unelected officials (not elected, like, say Giorno, or Lynch, or Fortier) it’s a huge deal?

  8. Ways Canada Isn’t Like the U.S.

    Obama has an economic team filled with some of the most brilliant economists of our generation – Larry Summers, Austan Goolsbee, Christina Romer, etc.

    Canada gets a bunch of politicians. POLITICIANS?!?

  9. This is starting to look more and more like a democratic junta. We have parties that lost an election 6 weeks ago usurping power from the party that has the most votes/seats and now those losing parties are proposing to put economic questions into the hands of 4 ex-pols who are responsible to no one.

    I am sure it’s going to bamboozle this team of Cons but I would think there are one or two arguments to made that raising corporate taxes is not the greatest plan when heading into a recession. And the optics of having a cabal controlling economic policies from afar is ripe for ridicule but I am certain the Cons will manage to end up with egg on their faces once again.

  10. I don’t quite understand the controversy here. Experienced politicians advising the government! Whither democracy?

    I hope the NDP doesn’t manage to roll back all those tax cuts. I do have to agree with Coyne that that would be unwise.

  11. “We have parties that lost an election 6 weeks ago”

    So did the Conservatives.

  12. If the coalition were concerned with more than just optics and political back-scratching, there are lots of talented people they could call on – Jim Davies, Robin Boadway, Mick Devereux, etc. etc.

  13. Can any of the takers on the left actually defend the rollback in corporate tax cuts, or is this simply going to continue to be a rabble rousing event of attacking any journalist that questions the coalition of separatists and socialists.

    By the way, not a single man builds an economy from an office in Ottawa. They can certainly prolong an economic disaster, but usually I think John James Coperthwaite had the right idea when he described central planning:

    “In the long run, the aggregate of decisions of individual businessmen, exercising individual judgment in a free economy, even if often mistaken, is less likely to do harm than the centralized decisions of a government, and certainly the harm is likely to be counteracted faster.”
    – John James Coperthwaite

    As well it seems to me that the LPC in the 90’s was more supportive of free market initiatives, unfortunately for us Paul Martin did a volte-face upon becoming PM in order to placate the left.

  14. jwl: leaders are supposed to consult experts – nowhere does it say that those experts are to be given any actual power. “Junta”, honestly.

    As for Fife’s reporting of coalition “plans”, I’d like to hear that second-sourced before I assign it any credit. Coyne should do the same.

  15. And we are to believe that these 4 heavy hitters, obviously very busy men, have been pulled together in the span of 72 hours in response to the economic update?

    Frank McKenna refused to run for the Liberal leadership. He wanted out of public life. Or so he claims.
    John Manley refused to run for the Liberal leadership. He wanted out of public life. The fire needed to commit to a return to politics just wasn’t there. Or so he claims.

    But why expose yourself to running for the leadership, when you can skip all that nastiness and just run the country from the backrooms?

    Harper had one unelected senator in his cabinet portfolio and you all flipped. Now you Liberals here are happy to turn the whole country over to an unelected backroom?

  16. However if this coalition were to move in the same direction as Roger Douglas and the NZ Labor Party in the 80’s, then I’d be supportive.

    Unfortunately it isn’t, and the fact this entire crisis was caused because the opposition is too reliant on taxpayer welfare isn’t a good sign.

  17. Mike M is exactly right. If the coalition needs help with economics, why not choose economists. Instead we get pols worried about sinecure positions for their colleagues instead of actually being concerned about the economy.

  18. Usurp? Hey jwl, perhaps you didn’t notice, we don’t actually vote for parties.

    Crazy eh? No, seriously, up here in this Canada place, we vote for individual MPs, and it’s up to them to decide who they feel as the confidence of the group to come up with the agenda and make up the cabinet.

    Anyway, so it seems this Harper guy, rather than trying to inspire the confidence of the majority of these MPs, decided he’d attempt to knee-cap them for the future. Surprisingly, this didn’t really inspire confidence, and now they’re looking for someone else to set the agenda and make up plans.

    And believe it or not, it turns out that sometimes our government and leaders actually ask for advice from beyond their own brains at times (well, used to, at any rate, I realize it hasn’t happened much for the last 2 years or so..) Bizarre, huh?

  19. “IN OTHER WORDS: They’re going to raise taxes into a recession. That’s why we’re going through all this: so they can raise taxes into a recession.”

    Not ‘IN OTHER WORDS’ Andrew, only IN YOUR WORDS. Do you know something about the state of federal finances that no one else does…yet?

    And…Fyfe’s sources for his story?

  20. Here it is…..the opposion parties trying to figure out how to better govern Canada and Canadians and the Conservative minority government trying to oppose the opposition from helping govern Canadians!

    Maybe Harper should stick to his forte of economics (or lack their of!).

  21. “Harper had one unelected senator in his cabinet portfolio and you all flipped. ”

    Two comments: first, nobody’s talking about these dudes being installed in cabinet, so your example is not comparable. There’s a big difference between taking advice and appointing to cabinet, wouldn’t you say? Second, Harper had explicitly railed against unelected cabinet members, so much of the criticism had to do with his duplicity in that respect.

  22. oooooooohhhhhhhh the government would have external advisors….. scary!

    SRS ….. who stole smart, measured and analytical Coyne and replaced him with this dude.

  23. jwl: Is the CPC backroom elected these days?

    There are plenty of shadowy figures influencing CPC policy (especially since Harper gave the grassroots the finger a few weeks ago).

    Advising is a sight bit different the setting policy.

  24. I don’t care about the four wise men. In fact, I think thats a fine idea, including Paul Martin especially. I just hope they have enough influence to make sure that the corporate tax cuts aren’t reduced. Low corporate taxes are not a bad thing for social justice and I wish the NDP would open their eyes and look to how successful socially democratic countries tax their corporations before going on their silly anti corporate tirades.

  25. Oh, and McCallum is an economist. And the MoF is packed with them. It probably is a good idea to make use of the expertise the government has on staff.

  26. Well why not throw in Jean Chretien? or Allan MacEachen, maybe they can re-introduce the NEP to pay for the stimulus.
    The Conservatives have backed down. There is no no reason for this madness to endure, madness it is as it is totally out of proportion to the task. The government wisely waits to see what Washington and the economy will do, and adds a paper cut to the gluttonous opposition finances. For these window dressings the opposition would burn down the house, even after the tailor is sent home. It is high treason.

  27. If the coalition needs help with economics, why not choose economists.

    Economists are far too often locked in a world of economic theorizing. I’d rather have someone who knows how to craft a successful business model advising our government on the correct course of action. Paul Martin’s credentials are impeccable in this regard.

  28. I look forward to hearing the results of the polls that are now in field.

    I think they will be very surprising.

  29. There’s a big difference between taking advice and appointing to cabinet, wouldn’t you say?

    Right. And do you honestly believe that a group consisting of a bunch of politicians, including: a former Prime Minister and one of the most ambitious, power hungry politicians Canada has ever seen; a former Premier; and a former Deputy Prime Minister; are going to be satisfied with being reduced to the role of advisor?

  30. “Harper had one unelected senator in his cabinet portfolio and you all flipped. ”

    I think the problem with it was that HE PROMISED HE WOULD NOT DO THAT! Quite explicitly. As a moral issue. And then he did it.

  31. Good: asking for advice from experienced politicians and businessmen who don’t have to worry about their seats, and who I believe care about the country, not just the moment. Remember that time and distance can greatly alter one’s perspective, so specific sins are less indicative of what might happen.

    Bad: raising taxes quickly. Though we have no proof whatsoever that this is a confirmed decision, or even a plan, or even a high-up idea, and we don’t know who would actually be making these decisions, and we don’t know when this might happen, and we don’t know IF it will happen. This is fascinating to me as an amateur student of politics, but it’s all just tilting at windmills for the moment.

    Worse: only thinking about the first four words of my second paragraph. Far too common.

  32. “Low corporate taxes are not a bad thing for social justice and I wish the NDP would open their eyes and look to how successful socially democratic countries tax their corporations before going on their silly anti corporate tirades.”

    They also steeply tax incomes, no thanks. I prefer a free market economy not a corporatist one.

    “Oh, and McCallum is an economist. And the MoF is packed with them. It probably is a good idea to make use of the expertise the government has on staff.”

    It seems to me that this country is doing better than you’d expect considering the shrillness of the left in the past days. Ironically enough the best stimulus has actually been cuts in taxes that made Canada an attractive place to invest, unfortunately since people have a case of Harper rage syndrome they’d be willing to put Canada into a recession.

  33. Andrew–how is it you were totally against Jean allowing the election, and now you’re totally against her giving one?

  34. Great.. About time. This is exactly what Obama’s doing..

    Get experts, (not Flaherty), reach out to opposition and former opponents (Hillary, Folker, Gates etc)

    We can only hope the same national interest strategies come to Canada.

  35. “do you honestly believe that a group consisting of a bunch of politicians, including: a former Prime Minister and one of the most ambitious, power hungry politicians Canada has ever seen; a former Premier; and a former Deputy Prime Minister; are going to be satisfied with being reduced to the role of advisor?”

    Yes. First, because they aren’t being “reduced” – you’ll notice their positions are all “former”. Second, because I stop and give my head a shake periodically. It helps me avoid hyperbolic and unfounded speculation.

  36. “This is exactly what Obama’s doing“

    Except for having no economists in his 4 wise-person panel.

  37. I think the problem with it was that HE PROMISED HE WOULD NOT DO THAT! Quite explicitly. As a moral issue. And then he did it.

    Well, you’re right. You’ve got me dead to rights there. I guess the Liberals never actually promised NOT to install an unelected backroom cabal of former, defeated politicians to run the country. They never denied that they would do that in their platform. How silly of me to assume that it wasn’t part of their plans.

  38. I see Mike Moffatt made my point earlier.

    But Andrew, this has to be the most ridiculous post you’ve ever made. Reaching out is GOOD. If Flaherty had asked somebody, he might not have put out the figures that were laughed at by all the economists in country.

  39. It looks like three stooges are desperately seeking support for their power grab.
    It was a grave mistake that they buried old Trudeau years ago. They could have embalmed him and put him on display in glass coffin in a PET Mausoleum right next to Parliament.
    Just think of the potential benefits; they could have claimed that PET supports them as well. Wait, wait , wait a minute they have PET’s son Justin who just got elected to the House of Commons and he can vouch for his dead father and speak on his behalf.
    Here you have it folks; Pierre Elliot Trudeau also supports the coalition, so who is there to say that this is some illegitimate attempt to overthrow the government.

  40. “Paul Martin’s credentials are impeccable in this regard.”

    You mean having ships wave flags of convenience so you pay fewer taxes.

  41. These four don’t know anything about economics?
    I’m stunned. I’m speechless.

  42. Sane Liberals can’t be going along with this. I understand the NDP wanting this. It is their only hope of getting power. Over 80% of Canadians said no to the NDP.

    But the Liberals? This is a mistake. They will forever be branded a left-wing party. They will give the separatists a veto over every piece of legislation affecting all of Canada. Not just economic policy. Everything. There are just so many things wrong with this.

    I don’t care how much they hate Harper. They should act like grownups. State their price for support and let Harper decide if he can step up.

  43. Sean said,

    ““We have parties that lost an election 6 weeks ago”

    So did the Conservatives”

    So then lets have another one….why the aversion?

    300 million to ensure 30 BILLION …(a 15%! immeadiate increase in spending, although is it spending when its redistribution, I am so confused with the lingo the kids are using these days)….. is a 1% insurance premium on ensuring the legitimacy of the Bloc Demorals.

  44. In other breaking news….the economy GREW by 1.3% last quarter…..not much but ulm, not a quarter that counts against recession yet. Means tax revenues grew as well.

    Hmmm, maybe some of the things Flaherty said were true….maybe we dont need 30 effin Billion in new spending or robin hood stuff right now.

    Just sayin

  45. the economy GREW by 1.3% last quarter

    The key word is “last”.

  46. Oh well, there is nothing quite like the CDN dollar plunging to 55 cents, once a coalition government is inserted, to bring everybody back down to reality.

  47. Stephen,

    No problem here with another election, if that’s the way the cards fall. But we need to stop characterizing the potential coalition as somehow less democratic than the existing minority government. It’s as though Canadians are just discovering that we are governed by parliamentary democracy. We elect MPs who belong to parties. If a majority of MPs – from whatever parties – can assemble a working majority in the house, then they get to form the government. It seems to me that the objections to this potential arrangement have, so far, leaned more toward visceral and ideological distaste than any substantive reason to characterize a Liberal-NDP (+Bloc) arrangement as any less legitimate than the existing Conservative minority one.

  48. Oh well, there is nothing quite like the CDN dollar plunging to 55 cents

    A cheap dollar is a fantastic economic stimulus. It makes our exports very affordable to Americans who are feeling the pain in their wallets.

  49. Well Robert given that the opposition have been braying that things were worse than painted apparently they arent

    The government has been pretty accurate on its forecasts, and have said we may dip into recession, the much derided technical word. So tell me again how anemic growth, or even if it was negative 1/2% justifies this spending over and above what the government has already put in motion? This is the question that you havent answered. what is the problem, are we solving domestic demand….what is the problem we are trying to solve…emphasis on the problem we are solving not a list of problems please.

    30 Billion is a phenomenal amount of money…..it is approximately 15% of the total tax revenue we take in. So either we are increasing taxes by 30 billion to pay for it, thus removing them from private use….and the point of that is what exactly….or we are going to be increasing government spending even further than we already have. If they dont tax this is 1974 all over again. We didnt go into surplus again for 20 years and we raised taxes to catch up.

    Your a smart man Robert…..think about this one a little clearer.

    I still say worst case/best case deending on what side you sit on is Government produces budget on Jan 27. If the Bloc Demorals defeat then we can have an election and the people can decide in a short one, 4 weeks, or is minimum 5? and then the legitimacy of turning on the firehose or not will be settled, Harper will be gone or not.

    There are no “tanks in Poland” to justify the exercise of the GG’s reserve powers. Maintaining legitimacy is one of the main functions of the GG. Elections are the only generally agreed method to do that….why are people so afraid of them?

  50. Why are you so afraid of our parliamentary system working like it was designed, Stephen? The election will come eventually. We’ll all have our say then.

  51. Sean, that should have been signalled at the time after the election….given that all parties rejected the concept of a coaltion in the election…hey what you say shoudl count for something……

    I didnt say it was undemocratic….I am saying you threaten legitimacy by going the GG route. You can have a democratic result that is perceived as illegitimate. For example, look at all the attempts the Liberals made in the past to paint the Cons as haveing no support in Cities or Conservativbe attempts to say the Liberals have no support out west.

    You cannot say using GG reserve powers is an example of democracy, it is a constitutional measure that exists within the democracy. Its use is sibject to a huge IT Depends clause. The safest manner is to call an election….why is that such a problem? If you get the smae result then the GG is justified in granting the new coalition the right, based on the fact the choice was before the people.

    Nobody answers the question of why an election is wrong…all you get is well there are other ways to do it. If the PM requests an election, then grant it, in this circumstance what is the problem? These options werent in front of the electorate. If it is such a winner of an idea then there shoudlnt be a problem here.

  52. Great news for all those guys that work for a corporation. There will be no new investments and no expansion since the government intends to take away the the profits to spend on short term projects. Perfect for a recession. Are we trying to relive the 30s or what?

    Is it just me, or did we just have an election? Because the opposition seems to have forgotten. Anyway, the kookier this gets, the more likely the governor general will toss it our the window.

  53. Well, Stephen, as I sure you’re aware, the problem is that the other three parties are in trouble financially. Banks are leery of giving credit and with the voter subsidy on the block they would be even more worried about providing that credit to the other parties, meaning they wouldn’t even have the money to run effectively.

    While money alone won’t win you an election, a lack of money can certainly lose one.

    Having our leadership decided by who can afford to run isn’t an acceptable solution to me.
    So, let the parliamentary system do its work, our elected representatives can decide their policies and gain some time to even out the financial situation between the groups, and then when an election does eventually come, we decide on their performance.

  54. The way is is supposed to…..HUH?????

    If it functioned the way it was supposed to then the government would be allowed to present a budget. Find me the rule written down that says an election must never be called if the last one was less than 6 months ago……it doens exist. And convention, there is no convention, this is parlor talk. The answer is it all depends.

    If the parliament functioned the way it was supposed to then the acceptance of the throne speech would mean something rather than just words, apparently not anymore. Which side of the tracks do want to argue. More importantly answer the question….why is an election NOT justified, when you have a significant political changes, and significant new proposed spending changes. When is asking the people a bad thing when there is a significant change in circumstances and parties. I am flabbergasted at the elitism that the people shoudlnt be bothered. I think the Canadian people deserve to be asked not later but before the barn door gets opened.

    The GG reserve is up to her, it is constitutional, it may happen, I am not questioning the constitutionality of it. I am saying it will lead to questions legitimacy, a higher order concept, especially given the support of the Bloc. The way to avoid that question is an election. Everybody gets their say and even if the result is the same the GG now gets the cover to grant the Bloc Demorals their government…..fair fight and all.

    The back door nature is what caused Meech to fail, the subsequent loss of faith in “the elites” did Charlottetown in. This smells the same….you may not have liked either of those in content, but the ramifications of those failures resonated for awhile.

    IF the PM requests, the safest move for the country is to call an election. The result gets respected. GG reserve will NOT be respected by significant portions of the country because of process not content.

    So why are we afraid elections again?

  55. What’s the problem with four very business-friendly politicians pretending they’re “wise men” behind the scenes ?

    Whatever it is that they’re doing now, they’re doing it because they’ve been successful business-friendly politicians …. well, except for Mr. Dithers.

    Maybe their presence will calm the jitters of the bold risk-takers in the markets.

    Well, …….. maybe tomorrow ??

  56. Stephen: “IF the PM requests, the safest move for the country is to call an election. The result gets respected. GG reserve will NOT be respected by significant portions of the country because of process not content. So why are we afraid elections again?”

    Yeah, the public’s colossal ignorance of our constitution is really catching up to us, as you say. Still, I think the constitution should be respected and we should try to educate the public about it.

    The reason we have this mechanism is that we could well end up, $300 million dollars later, with exactly the same make-up in the House of Commons and exactly the same dilemma we’re now facing. Two weeks later, we’d be into another election and pretty soon you’re talking real money. Besides the fact that Canadians generally loathe election campaigns.

    There’s also the whole 350 years of tradition thing, but that’s the practical answer.

  57. Because the election won’t be respected either. An election is no guarantee of respectability. I refer to you to the 2000 elections in America. An election held now, when it’s known by the majority of the public that the other three parties simply can’t run due to finances will have the supporters of those three parties screaming foul. It was bad enough in America.. how much worse would it be here when those supporters actually form a majority of the voting public?

    And if you want every change of course to be subject to an election, then presumably you were also screaming for one when Harper got in in 06, appointed a senator directly over his statements of what he would not do, made a deal to kneecap our lumber industry directly over his own statements of what he would not do, and began taxing income trusts directly over his own statements of what he would not do.

    What’s that? You weren’t calling for an election then? Huh.. wonder why.

  58. The stability of this proposed junta, sorry cabal, sorry coalition, depends entirely on the benevolence and goodwill of a separatist party. For the better good of us all. For the whole of Canada. Yes, of course, I see it now – the new Altruistic Commonwealth Party of Québec. Hell, they are still partying amid uncontrolled laughter in the Elysée Palace in Paris. That there will be tears before bedtime does not even begin to describe this bizarre absurdity. Or is it just plain blockheadedness?

  59. T thwim,

    So what you are saying is that due to the exhaustion of some parties in the course of events that nuclear weapons should be used. Ulm, back to the way Parlaimentary Democracy works, is that this would normally means that the opposition parties recognize that an election probably isnt a wise thing for their own reasons and trim their sails accordingly.

    This is the equivalent of going to momy because your brother is beating at candyland. Come on, all this means is an undisiplined opposition, who exhibted themselves last time. Dion was the one who kept musing about bringing the government down, was quoted as saying the fixed election date law gave him the power to decide…..all that led to were the opposition parties thinking they should set the agenda, pass legislation etc etc. (global warming bill anyone) That isnt how Westminister model is “supposed to work”…..

    Anyway, glad to see you admit that this is just about lack of resources, and the fact the opposition has found an apparently costless way to contiunue the battle that they individually lost in the election…..remember there was no collective, since all forswore a coalition. So hence you see why legitimacy is questioned and why there are arguments that this isnt really “democratic” (an overused epithet.

    Back to, changed politicial circumstances, changed choice set political and economic usually justifies obtaining new mandate. Replacing that with GG “judgement” is extreme.

    Maybe the threat of an election would chasten all of them into some compromise…Hmmmm…..the electoral bath creates uncertainty and all parties would avoid that. ANd once again, if the coalition is such an obviously fanstatsic idea, then it shoudl sell itself……

    Election please, or negotiate a compromise.

  60. James Wolfe – I’m sure you used words like “junta” and “cabal” in 2004 when Harper signed a letter with Layton and Gilles Duceppe to the Governor General proposing a coalition between their three parties.

    Or is it only “blockheadedness” when it hurts the Cons?

  61. They are negotiating a compromise. A compromise involving a plurality of the house. Sorry it doesn’t include you.

    And Jack’s point is perfectly appropriate. When would you have us stop having elections? Do we need to bankrupt the country so that you’re satisfied?

  62. The reason we have this mechanism is that we could well end up, $300 million dollars later, with exactly the same make-up in the House of Commons and exactly the same dilemma we’re now facing.

    Not quite. This time, the Libs NDP and BQ would be running as a coalition, and the electorate would get to vote for it on that basis. If Harper gets anything less than a majority in that election, the coalition takes power. Legitimately.

  63. Except, john, that the three groups are different. They are not the same group, they are several groups working together, and that, my friend, is what parliament is really about. Not these silly Harperite games of “It’s us or them!” but about our elected representatives all working together when and where they can, despite their separate goals and viewpoints.

  64. john g: Just because the three parties are forming a coalition within this parliament does *not* mean they would run as a coalition. They’re forming a temporary agreement, not merging their parties.

  65. Thwim: “they are several groups working together, and that, my friend, is what parliament is really about.”

    That was beautifully expressed.

  66. 2000 election in US is different in type. It was an anomoly created in what was a two party race, which usually produces a clear winner. In this case you got the electoral college issue. But guess what, it was respected ultiamtely and they had another according to their system and the “illegitimate winner” in 2000 won in 2004.

    In fact lets go back to 2000, and why GWB wasnt seen as legtimate….because it was said he got a thumb on the scale from the Supreme Court….hmmm sounds like getting one from the GG….there will be questions, serious serious undermining questions.

    As for changing circumstances….I dont think you can compare some of the smaller policy changes to the tectonic shift that a coalition represents, including major shifts in policy by many of the parties. So it has to pass some line, I cant tell you where the line is other than this is over it and forestry policy, most of the time isnt.

    All I am saying is elections are the method by which decision of this type, size and class of significance are decided. I cant see how it would ever be wrong to put a decision this large before the electorate. If they win they win, if they lose they lose. Compromise or election that keeps everybody in line, including the government. Thats how the system has worked in the past. The GG should aoid the trap.

    I dont know what the result of an election would be…..but I do know it will resolve this situation, find me a scenario that doesnt reasonable doesnt resolve. Once again, why is a such a momentous change wrong to put before the people? And if the oppsoition doesnt want to do that then maybe they should rethink what they are doing.

    It is a bad precedent, meaning serious warfare will continue after every election that produces a minority, because they can at anytime go the GG for costless change, and how does the GG justify that this time its different when the BLOC back the tories next time. Remember they dont care!

  67. The NDP has backed of their demands that the corporate tax cuts be repealed.

  68. It isnt about the compromise…..wish they would have signalled that they were negotiating after the election, that would have been different.

    Parlaiment is about creating legislation and airing debate. It is an adversial system by design, not the bi partisan cooperation that the US system set up.

    Government and Opposition. I am happy they have are coming to an agreement, I like clear choices, ones that arent run through the psychic voter intention network, oh they voted AGINST harper not for anything else.

    On one level the argument is this is how it works, but when faced with the question of GG acceeding to PM request for dissolution, the way it HAS worked, then life changes because of lack of resources.

    Look, if there was some imminent existential crisis, like say in 95 when the referendum was almost lost. Well there you would have had pretty good justification for seeing if there was a quick reordering of the house since the existing government would have been totally deligimitized and there would have been a need for a true untiy government to negotiate till an election was deemed appropriate….once again probably not long.

    In this case, the imminent crisis isnt there. You have an opposition that will have formal partners from less a majority, and relying on a party that seeks disolution of the country…..thats the reality….I know when I put it that way it sounds like a bad thing. I dont think this meets the test for GG reserve powers, you still havent justified why a such a major change over what issue exactly requires use of extreme constitutional powers? Ask the people….whats wrong with that?

  69. Stephen – this isn’t Calvinball, it’s a parliamentary democracy. What’s happening now is how the system works.

    You don’t get to apply all these tests, conditions and hurdles when your preferred party faces a loss of power. If he could have pulled it off in 2004, Harper would have done exactly the same thing and you’d have been trumpeting his strategic brilliance.

  70. So we are now into a coalition that is potentially asking for a 15% increase in spending, this year,?? over 5 years?? etc…..and creating a large deficit for what reason we arent sure yet, cause nobody states what the money is for and what the core problem is. This is over and above the signifcant spending and Tax rediuction in place or projects starting in the next couple of months.

    30 Billion! Borrowed form who? While everyone else is borrowing, can you say 1974, and we arent really sure where it is going and when? So I guess we’ll be in surplus again in 2028. Thats a big wad people, representing the amount we currently pay on our debt…..now thats going up and rates will go up as everyone is now borrowing.

    In other breaking news the TSX is down almost 8% on the day, double the US and many multiples over other markets. Yup this talk of coalition is really inspiring confidence, but markets are fickle that way. All those retirees shoudl be happy with this turn of events.

  71. Stephen, please don’t lie about the market numbers. Furthermore, please don’t make false equivalences. Remember that the TSX spiked Friday as news of a coalition broke. It isn’t correct to say that either move in the market were caused in whole or in part by the coalition talks without substantially more analysis.

  72. Lets go over this one more time.

    IF the GG gets to exercise judegment, then these tests most certainly apply. If it is only a mechanical process, then quite honestly the advice of the PM is accepted and an election would be called. She has to exercise judgement, IMHO, she could choose the Bloc Demoral…but to change government without an election is an extrodinary measure…this should not be a controversial statement.

    The time for the colation to get in would have been right after the election. The have accepted the Thrones Speech for crying out loud. So which is it, thing proceed according hoyle or this extraordinary.

    Calling an election is the safest route to ensuring a legitimate government in THIS circumstance. GG reserve is for only a very very extraordinary circumstance…..lets pick another example, the notwithstanding clause, totally constitutional, so is it a mechanical thing when it gets invoked, or the LG, acting on behalf of the federal government reserving provincial legislation. That is constitutional, it aint the norm…youa re saying there arent tests for these things.

    I am not the one changing the rules…the opposition is trying to do something, totally constitutional, but threatening governemntal legitimacy for only one reason, lack of resources to fight an election.

    The GG may exercise her judgement otherwise but it is her judgement and it is an exttreme process, like fire alrams they are to be pulled only when required. Why do the extreme when there are other options that have smaller potential negative consequences. Doesnt make sense but the GG may do it anyway. Not worth it. Defeat the government in an election thats the way its done. If that means waiting till the throne speech in September so that fundraising is complete so be it.

    Beat Harper in an election, you likely can. Trust me the country and the problems will still be here after 4 weeks. Then you can change the financing rules and top yourself up. Whats not to get here.

  73. Andrew. the numbers were there at the moment it was posted…….now maybe they have changed since, I did say that markets are fickle…..
    Lets see 1:43 TSX down 7.82% and the S and P down 5.05% gap has closed a little.

    So anyway, like psychic voter intent we can read whatever we want into psychic market intent…….

  74. TJC, re your 12.25

    To be quite honest, I did not know about it at the time, as I was out of the country and not following what was going on very closely. I might very well have used those words, though.

    It’s not that I’m carrying a torch for the Cons or Mr Harper, it is simply that I see disaster looming. If and when Mr Dion has an audience with Mme Jean a week tomorrow, she will ask him about the support he expects to enjoy in the House. He can point to 114 (?) MPs in coalition but only the conditional support of the BQ. M Duceppe has made no bones about what that entails, at least in general terms. He will not be showing his hand with regard to specifics until it suits him.

    As anything the BQ is really interested in involves money and Québec, the first test of the coalition will likely come when it presents its first budget. A deal may very well be made with the BQ before that takes place. Will that happen with the full involvement and consent of the 114?

    Alternatively, the budget will be presented and M Duceppe may say something to the effect that he cannot support it unless it provides x, y and z for Québec. Then where are we? That does not seem to me to be providing stable government with the support and confidence it requires from the Canadian people.

    I sincerely hope they will not but, should my worst fears materialise, the one upside will be that the words “Proportional Representation” will not be uttered again in polite circles. Otherwise, the worry won’t be so much Nouvelle France as Nuovo Italia.

  75. “What’s not to get here?”

    Stephen, whether you like it or not this coalition plan is a perfectly legal, constitutional and fair way for the opposition parties to respond to the government’s actions.

    They’ll face the voters sooner or later and their accountability will come at that time.

    My god, I’ve never heard such caterwauling.

  76. James, this move is risky for the opposition parties – the coalition is unlikely to last long and if it’s a disaster (or if the outcome is merely unpopular) they’ll all be punished at the ballot box.

    This remains constitutional in all ways – Harper would have done this in a heartbeat in 2004. Hyperbole like “junta” feeds into misleading CPoC spin.

  77. Personally, I’m most outraged that an “All-Star Economic Council” can have anybody who self-identifies as a New Democrat. Can someone explain to me how raising corporate taxes (the markets are going to love that by the way) qualifies as all-star economics?

  78. My gut reaction when this whole issue came to light was that THE DEATH KNELL of the Liberal Party has just sounded.
    Nothing that has been said in the print, visual and blog media has changed my mind.
    I don’t think Canadians will see this idiocy for what it is and vote accordingly in the inevitible election.
    Meanwhile, our economy, which was struggling to tread water, has drowned.

  79. TJC,

    I agree with you that it is entirely constitutional. Mr Harper was wasting his breath when he said M Dion had no “right” to pursue this course of action. As you say, he may likely have gone down that road himself. I would not have supported that, as I will not support the present proposals (not that I have much say in it, you understand).

    Perhaps I should withdraw the word “junta”. It is a bit emotive.

    For sure it is a risky business. It is fraught with danger, and not just for the principals involved. It has the potential to cost us all dear before we are very much older.

  80. Whoops. Should edit more carefully on prev. post

    I DO think Canadains will see this idoecy for what it is and vote accordingly in the inevitible election.

  81. “Ways Canada Isn’t Like the U.S.

    Obama has an economic team filled with some of the most brilliant economists of our generation – Larry Summers, Austan Goolsbee, Christina Romer, etc.

    Canada gets a bunch of politicians. POLITICIANS?!?”

    I was thinking the same thing. Couldn’t get Mintz or something?

  82. boudica, Mintz’s advice was in the G&M on Saturday. It amounted basically to saying that Harper is taking the right approach, so I doubt he’d be high on the list of people to ask for advice.

  83. TJ,

    I dont question whether it is constitutional or legal. I question why and whether it is correct….why use extreme means when there is no need for them. The point is you cannot argue for the extraordinary when there isnt an extrodinary circumstance, and if you say this, GG reserve power, is run of the mill I am calling Bulls**t because run of the mill is GG accepts PM advice. Reserve power exists but is final option kind of stuff.

    What is being attempted is legal and constitutional, but that doesnt make it right, es[ecially when put up against the alternatives.. Look this isnt about losing, if it was I would be for imposing martial law and locking em up. This is about maitianing legitimacy of the entire system over the long run….I can accept my non choice party in power, I just dont accept it when it is not done in a manner that justifies it, whether its a constituitonal trick or not.

    So what have I been saying. GG is within her right to do this, it would be outside the norm to ignore or decline the PM’s advice for dissolution. To do this, ignore PM advice, the GG had better have solid justification to maintain legitimacy of HER Choice. IMHO there isnt a situation extremis to justify overriding “the way it works” and we should do what we normally do, call an election.

    But the the Bloc Demeral is intent on pushing this to the wall to involve GG. We will see whehter she wants to wear this and its consequences or get the cover of the governed.

  84. john g, thanks for the Mintz link. I hope everyone here has a read.

  85. Stephen – so your preferred solution is to for the GG to ignore standard procedure (refuse to ask the opposition if they can credibly propose a coalition government) and simply dissolve parliament?

    Seems pretty damned extraordinary for me, especially given the obvious truth that only the Cons could sustain another election campaign at this time. Maybe the GG should drop the charade altogether and bar the opposition parties from the Hill.

    Look, all of Harper’s talk about a New Spirit of Cooperation was exposed as a lie almost immediately after Parliament formed. Harper lost the confidence of the house through a bunch of stupid manouvering and *this is what happens to a minority government that loses confidence in the house*.

    Whether you like it or not, what you’re proposing would be a slap in the face to parliamentary tradition and would diminish the legitimacy of parliament in the long run.

  86. Mintz was also 100% behind the Green Shift.
    Take that as you will.

  87. James: that also requires the Bloc to feel strongly about its electoral chances, even having triggered an election.

  88. “boudica, Mintz’s advice was in the G&M on Saturday. It amounted basically to saying that Harper is taking the right approach, so I doubt he’d be high on the list of people to ask for advice.”

    john g, first off, it might be more honest on your part to say that what Mintz agrees on (and I do too) is that we need to wait on the stimulus package. He certainly didn’t agree that Canada will have five consecutive surpluses or with any of the idiotic stuff (subsidy cut, strike vote removed, etc.).

    Also, just because the man doesn’t agree shouldn’t disqualify him from sitting on a panel that would provide economic guidance. If Bob Fife’s report is true (big IF there), that panel is way too heavy on politics and too light on economics.

  89. Andrew (….),

    Ah! The Bloc. I believe, given the Conservative rhetoric pointed in that direction of late, that the Bloc may be feeling that it is swirling around cloud 9, if not exactly sitting atop it yet.

  90. “James: that also requires the Bloc to feel strongly about its electoral chances, even having triggered an election.”

    Have you seen today’s CROP poll in Quebec?

    The Bloc québécois now is at 36%, the Liberals at 28% (an increase of 5 points since the election) 15% support the NDP and 15% the Conservatives (a drop of 7 points)

  91. I think it would take more strength than that.

  92. Liberals are utterly corrupt and should be disbanded. They have lost all legitimacy. I, for one, will not recognize this criminal coalition government, and I will refuse to pay any more taxes if this coalition comes together somehow.

    Time for Western Canada to separate. The east is nothing but rubbish.

  93. So rolling back corporate tax cuts will be good for the economy. So they can tax profitable companies more heavily, and hand that money over to struggling, money-losing companies to keep them afloat. Even Dion stressed the need for corporate tax cuts, stating he would reduce the corporate tax rate to 14%, within four years, as opposed to the Conservatives’ 15% rate. Now he can completely reverse himself on something he said was “vital” to the economy. All in the name of “reaching out and working with the other parties”? The virtue of compromise doesn’t appear to be such a virtue in this case.

  94. And how much will these guys cost us, a Billion each?

  95. Werner: “Liberals are utterly corrupt and should be disbanded.”

    Disbanded? By what mechanism? Who decides which political parties get to stay and which ones get “disbanded”?

    ” I will refuse to pay any more taxes if this coalition comes together somehow.”

    Well, there are mechanisms to deal with THAT and you might not like the outcome.

    “Time for Western Canada to separate. The east is nothing but rubbish.”

    Careful now, you’re going to tear your little dress. And stop stomping your foot, it’s unbecoming. Honestly, what a tantrum.

  96. Ranter: corporate tax cuts will be decreased as promised by the coalition, today.

  97. john g, first off, it might be more honest on your part to say that what Mintz agrees on (and I do too) is that we need to wait on the stimulus package.

    Exactly the point I was making. He agrees with Harper’s approach; no stimulus until January. However, the opposition is defeating the government because they claim that Harper didn’t provide a stimulus NOW. Having Mintz advise them to take the same approach as the party they just overthrew would be…shall we say…politically inconvenient.

    Also, just because the man doesn’t agree shouldn’t disqualify him from sitting on a panel that would provide economic guidance. If Bob Fife’s report is true (big IF there), that panel is way too heavy on politics and too light on economics.

    You’ll get no argument from me on that one. Maybe this should be a clue to all of you Liberals out there that stacking the advisory panel with politicians instead of economists like Mintz or Don Drummond suggests that what is transpiring now has much more to do with political brinksmanship than better economic policy.;

  98. The Liberals will destroy this country (as if Trudeau hadn’t already damaged it enough). I call this high treason, and we know how Americans deal with high treason ….

  99. Werner, that’s just hyperbole. You’re not helping your party’s cause by shrieking like a frightened child.

  100. Harper never had a chance. Not from day one. Any leader who speaks his mind on issues he deems important to this country must be stopped.

    Harper and his finance minister might be right on many things, only time will tell (or depending on how large a crisis we manage to talk ourselves into) but none of that matters.

    “people have a case of Harper rage syndrome” and they have had one for three years ongoing.

    Everyone wants Harper to be perfect, whereas the rest of the leaders might be forgiven for their weaknesses. I think the Canadian public needs to look into the mirror and ask themselves what Harper has really done so wrong that warrants a collective blessing of this coup.

    Is proposing to do away with party funding such a taboo topic? I had always thought that Quebec’s separation was the taboo topic number one. Oh, it still is. Wait untill the markets start reacting to that one, over and over and over and over again. Canada will never, ever see it’s potential because of it. But let’s not talk about it. All together now: Let’s pretend BQ is all in it for the good of the country.

    We’ll sleep on that.

    Goodnight.

  101. Francien: when has Harper been forthright and honest about anything? He has been portraying a character the entire time since he has returned to Ottawa. And each audience receives a different act. Then, we are told by people like Spector that the real Harper is a nice, bang-up guy. Too bad that Harper isn’t Prime Minister.

  102. Werner, that’s just hyperbole. You’re not helping your party’s cause by shrieking like a frightened child.

    Werner’s been a Conservative, A Dipper and a Liberal in the last three years, I believe.

    He’s also mad a hatter.

  103. Still a hundred times smarter than you, Ti-Guy.

  104. Well, yes…geniuses are often burdened with insanity.

  105. Wener Patels is “one of Canada’s leading pundits”. It says so right on his blog.

    I disagreed with him in his comments once, with data to counter his wild-assed assertions. Suddenly I was flagged for moderation, which never happened. Then the blog post disappeared entirely.

    Nothing to be gained by engaging with him, as his primal scream here makes unmistakable.

  106. uuuuh. yea, thanks Andy for this. I hadn’t realized FIFE was the official spokesperson for the new coalition.

    You know what? you might retain a shred of integrity if you stop trying to find problems in every step the opposition parties take at the moment and try to actually make a valuable contribution. Those four wise men have alot of credibility and are quite well respected in many circles, and you’d have to be dishonest (oh, that’s right, you are) to spin their selection as negative/futile.