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Do as I say, not as I do


 

Aug. 27, 2008Prime Minister Stephen Harper is sending his clearest signal yet that Canadians will be heading to the polls this fall, saying that “fundamental differences” with the opposition parties make it impossible for his government to tackle looming economic woes. “The country must have a government that can function during a time of economic uncertainty. If it’s not this … Parliament, the public will have an opportunity to decide whom,” Harper told a news conference yesterday.

Aug. 21, 2009With the bipartisan employment insurance panel apparently foundering and with NDP and Bloc Quebecois politicians suggesting a fall election would be best to re-set the federal government’s agenda, some Conservative MPs have spent the summer talking up the merits of a Conservative majority government. But at a press conference in Whitehorse, Harper refused to fan the flames of election speculation.”I travel constantly, have always travelled constantly across the country,” Harper said. “Our focus is on governing this country, on getting this country successfully through the recession. We think we’re going to come out of this recession well. I think the emphasis of all parties in the House of Commons should be working to ensure that we’re working on the economy in the fall and that’s our focus. I have said over and over again I have not met a single real person out there who’s telling me we should be fighting an election right now.”


 

Do as I say, not as I do

  1. "We don't need an election right now, but if we end up having one because the Opposition are weenies, give us a majority mandate." I'm not really seeing the contradiction?

  2. On Aug. 27, 2008, the most recent federal election was 31 months in the past. On Aug. 21, 2009, the most recent federal election was 10 months in the past.

    • Exactly. The PM drives me up the wall, but he's not being contradictory here.

      • And we weren't in a recession nor about to battle Swine Flu II, the sequel in 2008.
        We can't keep having elections because the Liberals don't like the results of the last one, and the one before that.

        • Well, technically the Liberals haven't precipitated an election in more than five years. They were in government, and got defeated in late 2005 and watch the PM call one on his own last fall.

          • Apparently you may be inclined to believe that Harper, who wasn't overly happy with the last election results, didn't try to force an election upon the public nine months ago — just two months after the public gave their lukewarm thumbs up to him (first by tossing a grenade into the newly elected parliament with an item that no one campaigned on, which led to the creation of the unsettling but perfectly legal coalition)? Politics is politics, but its not just one party that gets to decide when an election comes. Of course, Conbots tend to differ with the idea of democracy — do as i say, not as i do. Pure do-do for everyone else.

    • True, but this current parliament is even more disfunctional than that of 2008.

      At least at that point, we had a conservative party (pretending) to push a conservative agenda and trying hard to be seen as representing all Canadians (outreach to Quebec, outreach to native people, non-partisan committee to look into Afghanistan.)

      Now, we have a conservative government pushing public investment in infrastructure as its largest initiative. Remember most of the members of the conservative caucus have argued all of their careers that user-pay to private concerns or private-public partnerships is the most effective way to fund infrastructure. As a result, it is not a surprise that although they are committing the money, they have not spent it quickly enough to have an impact in the short term, nor wisely enough to have maximum impact in the long term. Moreover to compensate for caving to the Liberal fiscal agenda, they feel compelled to make periodic, ill-considered gestures to placate their base. Some of these have been harmless, some humorous but some have been damaging to Canada.

      • How exactly is the current minority government "dysfunctional", if all of the major bills have passed with the support of both the Conservatives and Liberals?

        • The biggest job currently facing parliament is the economy. To address the recession, parliament passes a massive stimulus spending package. The Conservatives have been very slow to get that money out the door. In some cases, progress towards spending the money have been stalled so that someone could turn up with a big cheque first. It is worth noting that committing the money does not do a lot for the economy, the impact comes when someone is hired to do the work.

          So in my opinion, this government has not functioned well. (I could also point out Canadians abroad and other issues) Finally, I think we both agree that parliament has functioned better (if not well) and that legislation has been passed. Harper deserves some of the credit for that in that since the "days of madness", the legislation introduced has been less provocative but also largely without vision. Indeed some might say that in itself is part of the problem. Harper is governing like he wants to be a PM for a long time. He should perhaps be more concerned about his legacy when he is done, rather than the length of his tenure.

          • The Conservatives have been very slow to get that money out the door.

            I've heard this before, as a Liberal talking point that was popular this spring, but I haven't seen much evidence that money was "getting out the door" more slowly than it would have under a Liberal government.

            So in my opinion, this government has not functioned well

            When parliament is described as "dysfunctional", it usually refers to the inability of the governing party to implement their programs because they only hold a minority of seats. In the situation we have now, all the major spending bills have passed with the support of the OLO. So I wouldn't describe this Parliament as "dysfunctional" (you seem to be using the word as a synonym for "ineffective" or "incompetent").

          • The Conservatives have been very slow to get that money out the door.

            I've heard this before, as a Liberal talking point that was popular this spring, but I haven't seen much evidence that money was "getting out the door" more slowly than it would have under a Liberal government.

            So in my opinion, this government has not functioned well

            When parliament is described as "dysfunctional", it usually refers to the inability of the governing party to implement its programs because it only holds a minority of seats. In the situation we have now, all the major spending bills have passed with the support of the OLO. So I wouldn't describe this Parliament as "dysfunctional" (you seem to be using the word as a synonym for "ineffective" or "incompetent").

          • Smith was talking about the government being dysfunctional not the parliament!
            If you can't be bothered to read a post… don't reply!

          • Smith was talking about the government being dysfunctional not the parliament!

            I'll let Stewey answer this one with his own words: "True, but this current parliament is even more disfunctional than that of 2008.'

            Reading comprehension… it's a wonderful thing.

  3. Given Harper's bizarre behaviour shortly after the election, which resulting in him closing Parliament, an election in the not too distant future was to be expected. Prior to that Harper had said he could not make Parliament work and called an election, but soon after showed just how much less he could make Parliament work than before.

    Nanos latest poll found that more than half of Canadians want a change in government. I am one of those and am ready to have an election any time. Yes, it was only 10 months ago when Harper, with all the government resources and financial data at his disposal, promised not to run a deficit and denied allegations that he was already heading for one. A lot has changed in those 10 months.

    • Completely agree. Harper believes he can spin anything and come up with candyfloss. Some of the spinners here seem to be already well-stuck on his principled 'do as i say, not as i do' philosophy.

    • What was bizzare was the opps reaction to an 'economic update'.
      The budget was to follow 4 months later, which is standard proceedure in our system.

      What was bizzare was the Dippers and BLOC having negotiated a coalition LONG BEFORE the economic update.
      What was bizzare is the Liberals campaigning on 'no coalition'
      then forming a coalition to seize power,
      every MP from all opps signing on,
      then 10 days later turfing out Dion to stop the coalition.
      Very bizzare.

  4. " have said over and over again I have not met a single real person out there who's telling me we should be fighting an election right now.”

    Stephen Harper meets real people? When? And who are these "real" people? And when have Canadians — presumably a superset of these real people — ever wanted to "fight" an election?

    Finally, I guess Harper's internal polls are not quite as giddy-up as Ekos and Donolo's spin-a-poll outfit.

    • "Left foot, blue," "Right hand, yellow"

  5. '' A lot has changed in those 10 months''

    Yes, alot happened in 10 days, from Dion leading the coalition to MI and his bloodless coup.

    MI dragged the Liberals back from the cliffs edge,
    said the 'coalition' was unstable, illegitimate and extreamly divisive….in other words, the opposition made a mistake trying to seize power.

    And Liberals gave Harper their approval to each and every change for the last 7 months.

    • I see this a lot. Such a sneering attitude when the Liberals support the Conservatives. Why? This whole thread is about how we really don't want to keep having elections every year. Yet instead of being happy when the Liberals support the government's actions, you (and by that I mean many Conservatives) act like they are weak or ineffective or unworthy in some way. The alternative would be for the Liberals to block the Conservatives at every turn–and I can't help but feel you'd be happier that way, perhaps so we can have an election?

      Do you want an election or not?

      • Quite confusing them. The CONbots are too single-track to juggle the ironic concepts you are shining back at them.

      • 'Do you want an election or not? '
        Not.
        Liberals approved the Jan 2009 budget (without amendment), and Liberals should support that approval they gave until the next budget in March 2010.

        Canada is in a recession with a serious flu epidemic on the horizon,
        what good would come of a Liberal minority government held in place ONLY by appeasing Dippers and separatists?
        Spell out the up-side for Canada in this senario Jenn.

        Even from the Liberal point of view, if they take the coalition with Dippers to form a majority,
        there is no turning back. Put Dippers in cabinet…..the Liberal 'brand' is no more.
        Yah, Libs could get back in power, but how do you fight the NEXT election without sharing the platform with Dippers????

        The media wants and election,
        Harper-haters want an election,
        but at what cost?

        • It's time for a change wilson.

          "A majority of Canadians believe that it is time for a change in the country's leadership with only one in three Canadians believing Stephen Harper has done a good enough job to deserve re-election."
          – Nik Nanos
          Saturday, August 22, 2009

  6. This is not the time to have an election if there is that much extra money laying around I'm sure a better place could be found for it, just because the party that can't decide what they want their name to be is all wound up like always… got the best plans etc… no reason to talk election..cool down and give it some time..this country can't afford it right now

    • Then why am i getting one government 10-percenter a week campaigning against the guy who has either a) tried to ursurp them and force an unwanted election, or b) kept them in power by supporting them when he should be grateful that Harper didn't have him locked up in some embassy? If we can't afford an election, then we shouldn't also be having the gov't campaigning like there is one on our dime…

      • ALL parties are sending out 10%ers.
        The Government of Canada is not sending out 10%er, the CPC is.

        • 10 percenters are not sent by political parties, but by MPs. They are paid for by tax money because they are meant to allow MPs to keep Canadians informed of things going on in Parliament.

          It is not surprising you are confused, since Conservative MPs have included the CPC Ignatieff attack ad lines in their 10 percenters. This is an achievement of Harper – vastly increasing spending on ten percenters and turning them into something that indistinquishable from political party attack ads. Although other parties rallied against these tactics, it does appear that they have given up and joined Harper, at least to some extent.

  7. NO ELECTION!!!

  8. Those internal Harper polls must be downright awful. Even Bourque has the "no election" banner prominently displayed on his site.

    • We just had an election a few months ago. Only Liberal partisans such a yourself want an election.

      The irony is that the Liberals keep talking about precipitating an election but like WDM said above, they actually haven't forced an election since they Chretien called one barely 3 years into his mandate in 2000 which he did for purely strategic reasons since he had a safe majority at the time. The Liberals never have been shy about appearing opportunistic and unprincipled. They've always been rather proud of it.

  9. The Liberals should just be patient and bide their time. Trying to seize power on the heels of the election with the coalition hijinks has left people with a bad taste in their mouths. It looked opportunistic and unprincipled.

    The Liberals should wait until the next budget IMHO.

  10. Agree with jarrid here,
    If Canadians are going to continue to elect minority governments,
    Parliament should narrow the scope of confidence votes.

    It is irresponsible for Parliament to pass a budget and then pass the ways and means,
    and then not allow the budget to be implemented.

    • I think your boy Harper is to blame for insisting that every vote is a vote of confidence. I agree that Parliament should be able to vote down bad policy without the minority government petulantly accusing them of 'causing an election'. The government causes the election in this case, since the declare non-money bills confidence motions.

  11. Just to note: When Harper got elected in 2006, he had pointed to Fall 2009 as being a target election date. Whining about the possibility of that very election now is, to put it charitably, bizarre even by Harperian logic.

    He called the 2008 election because he thought he could get a majority. He has blown millions of dollars on those stupid actionplan.ca ads.

    I don't think Canadians can afford this guy anymore.

    • In an age of $50 billion dollar deficits, it's hard to get excited about a paltry few million dollars being spent on advertising for actionplan.ca (or whatever other government programs you happen disagree with). Really, it's just pocket change.

    • In an age of $50,000,000,000 deficits, it's hard to get excited about a paltry few million dollars being spent on advertising for actionplan.ca (or whatever other government programs you happen disagree with). Really, it's just pocket change.

      • Have you actually visited actionplan.gc.ca? Besides being a photo-homage to Stephen Harper, can you tell me why taxpayer money is being blown on it?

        • I just visited actionplan.ca – I'd never been there before. Two things I noticed (besides that there are a whole lot of pictures of Stephen Harper on it):

          – The entire site is in various shades of blue, even though it is an official Government of Canada site. As usual, the Conservatives don't want to use red anywhere, as they associate it with the Liberals, even though red is one of the colours on the Canadian flag. (The Conservatives should just vote to change the Canadian flag colours to Tory blue and white and get it over with.)

          – One of the lead items on the site is the Home Renovation Tax Credit, which still isn't officially in place yet (the expanded description of the credit includes the disclaimer "The Home Renovation Tax Credit is subject to Parliamentary approval" in smaller type at the bottom of the page). Why are the Conservatives urging Canadian homeowners to claim a tax credit that doesn't exist yet? What are they up to here?

          • Why are the Conservatives urging Canadian homeowners to claim a tax credit that doesn't exist yet? What are they up to here?

            Trying to stimulate the Canadian economy?

          • Why aren't they implementing the Home Renovation Tax Credit right away, then? Why are they waiting?

            I assume that they want to use this as a stick to beat the Liberals with, but I'm not sure how.

  12. Why aren't they implementing the Home Renovation Tax Credit right away, then? Why are they waiting? Why are they spending money advertising a credit that doesn't officially exist yet?

    I assume that they want to use this as a stick to beat the Liberals with, but I'm not sure how.

    • I have no idea why it wasn't voted on in the spring. For now, they are all just waiting until Parliament reopens. Ignatieff supports the tax credit, so I'm sure the bill will pass.

      • I'm sure that the Home Renovation Tax Credit will become law – to oppose it would be political suicide. I've just never seen an advertising blitz for something that isn't official policy yet.

        I suppose that the Conservatives could take the credit away or downsize it before it becomes law (though, again, that would be political suicide).

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