44

From the archives


 

Alison Crawford finds Michael Ignatieff in her basement.

Ignatieff is quoted as having scoffed at the idea. Martin wrote, “Seeing Trudeau up close, seeing how he wielded power, convinced Ignatieff that he ‘lacked the necessary ruthlessness’ to be a successful politician. His friend Bob Rae has provided another object lesson as Rae has stumbled through the economic minefield of Ontario politics … ‘I am a lone wolf,’ he says. ‘I am not an organization man.'”


 

From the archives

  1. That actually seems like an accurate assessment. What made him change his mind, I wonder?

    • Ian Davey and Daniel Brock persuaded him to come back to Canada in late 2004. According to legend, they traveled down to Iggy's Cambridge, Mass. home, and made one heck of a sales pitch to the reluctant Harvard prof.

  2. Trudeau wasn't an organization man either, nor was Harper. At first. They grew into the role, both remarkably quickly.

    Dief certainly wasn't and paid for it after he won a majority and the "organization" thought they could control him.

  3. When I saw "From the archives", I thought you were going to show us the letter that Harper, Duceppe, and Layton signed in 2004 to form a coalition in the event Paul Martin didn't have the numbers to win.

    • That can't be possible, since such a letter doesn't exist.

    • You mean this one?

      September 9, 2004

      Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson,
      C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.
      Governor General
      Rideau Hall
      1 Sussex Drive
      Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A1

      Excellency,

      As leaders of the opposition parties, we are well aware that, given the Liberal minority government, you could be asked by the Prime Minister to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government's program.

      We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice
      has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority.

      Your attention to this matter is appreciated.

      Sincerely,

      Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
      Leader of the Opposition
      Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

      Gilles Duceppe, M.P.
      Leader of the Bloc Quebecois

      Jack Layton, M.P.
      Leader of the New Democratic Party

      • Please show me where the letter states the formation of a coalition?

        All it does is suggest to the GG that she consult with the opposition and consider her options before calling an election.

        Never could figure out how even so-called journalists could take this letter as something even resembling a formation of a coalition.

        In fact, it was pretty much a show of force to humble Martin, which is where the opposition should have stopped after the last election instead of going for broke and power.

        • Probably the same place so-called journalists got the idea that the NDP and Liberals had entered into a coalition agreement with the Bloc.

          • They did enter into a coalition agreement with the Bloc. The bloc formally agreed to support the coalition.

            I think what you meant to say is "entered into a government coalition" or simply a "coalition".

          • Where did they sign a coalition agreement? The Bloc never signed a coalition agreement. You are making stuff up Dennis. And since you regard the Harper "pre-arrangements" with the NDP and the Bloc as not a "coalition" because there was no signed coalition agreement, then it stands to reason that you would argue there was no coalition agreement with the Bloc.

            Of course, as a conservative, you may feel entitled to claim that your principles don't apply to you, but consistency and hypocrisy do matter to the rest of us.

          • They signed an agreement to support the coalition. I consider that a coalition agreement. I don't consider it the makeup of the coalition government, of course, if it were to be formed.

            You can impugn my integrity all you want because I happen to state facts you don't like to consider. But I thought you guys keep promising a better kind of politics, not a worse kind. Thanks.

          • "Of course, as a conservative, you may feel entitled to claim that your principles don't apply to you, but consistency and hypocrisy do matter to the rest of us."

            You are, of course, about to provide an example of some noted conservative claiming that his principles don't apply to him, right?

            It's true that it's easier for the Left not to be hypocrites. Having few moral principles makes it easy to live up one's code.

          • "Of course, as a conservative, you may feel entitled to claim that your principles don't apply to you, but consistency and hypocrisy do matter to the rest of us."

            You are, of course, about to provide an example of some noted conservative claiming that his principles don't apply to him, right?

            It's true that it's easier for the Left not to be hypocrites. Having few moral principles makes it easy to live up to one's code.

  4. That was meant as a reply to Dennis' inanity up above.

  5. I'm sorry, I didn't realize that opposition to your unsustainable positions wasn't allowed. Then again, I'll keep at it anyhow, since I seem to have the facts on my side.

    "A coalition government is a cabinet of a parliamentary government in which several parties cooperate."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coalition_government

    Please point to where that rather tame leather suggests anything resembling the formation of a coalition government. Thank you. Next.

    • Please point to where that rather tame letter suggests anything resembling the formation of a coalition government.

      Um, the second paragraph?

      "We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice
      has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority."

      It does not mention a coalition, but the implication is either (and equally) that one of the Opposition parties should be asked to try and form a government, or two of them should together, or all three of them should. I suspect the first, i.e. Tories in government with NDP and Bloc support.

      You can't mouth this line about a "Coalition with the separatists" and maintain that Harper in 2004 was not contempating such an arrangement himself. This letter is the exact, precise equivalent to the press conference held by Dion, Layton, and Duceppe in December. Either Dion in 2008 was not going into Coalition with the separatists, or Harper was in 2004.

      • Look, I know you leftists have convinced yourselves that the coalition was a great idea, in part because Harper proposed one (and the irony is tempting, too), but it's simply not true.

        In fact, your response clearly lays it out for me: "It does not mention a coalition." Thank you!

        You mention an implication. No, it's an inference – on your part. Nothing more. In fact, you use the words: "I suspect."

        This is the basis upon which you base your claims about a coalition government? Suspicion? Implication?

        How about trying the letter itself? lol

        • That's disingenuous. The suggestion is clearly that the GG should consider placing some/all of the opposition in government – this is the only alternative to an election (or refusing the dissolution request…which would be an odd thing for the Opposition to want after voting down the government). The reference to their "close consultation" is there to show that they could support each other. In other words it was a coalition, if perhaps an informal one.

        • That's disingenuous. The suggestion is clearly that the GG should consider placing some/all of the opposition in government – this is the only alternative to an election (or refusing the dissolution request…which would be an odd thing for the Opposition to want after voting down the government). The reference to their "close consultation" is there to show that they could support each other. In other words it was a coalition, if perhaps an informal one.

          You don't help your case by defending the Conservatives while acting like a leftist.

          • It's disingenuous because you disagree with it, or because it's true?

            There you guys go again using a word like "suggestion".

            In fact, all the letter asks the GG to do is ask the opposition what they've got before an election is called. It never got that far, and "what they got" never amounted to any negotiated agreement among the opposition parties. The letter itself does not constitute such an agreement, as many of you have falsely claimed for a year now.

          • "It's disingenuous because you disagree with it, or because it's true? "
            Or perhaps because of unmentioned option C: it's obviously untrue.

            If you're saying they never formally announced a Coalition, then no one will disagree.
            But you seem to be saying that the letter in no way "suggests anything resembling the formation of a coalition government." It does suggest something very much resembling a coalition government: namely, an alternative to the minority in which the Opposition parties support each other.

          • "It's disingenuous because you disagree with it, or because it's true? "
            Or perhaps because of unmentioned option C: it's obviously untrue.

            If you're saying they never formally announced a Coalition, then no one will disagree.

            But you seem to be saying that the letter in no way "suggests anything resembling the formation of a coalition government." (your wording here)

            It does suggest something very much resembling a coalition government: namely, an alternative to the minority in which the Opposition parties support each other.

          • No, the letter tells the GG to hold her horses. In other words, it was nothing more than a combined show of strength meant more for Paul Martin's eyes than the GG's. And it worked. It also would have worked in 2008 if the coalition didn't get so greedy.

          • And in this video he says the Constitution requires the GG to ask the opposition parties if they can form a government and, if they agree on "some measures", to put them into government.[youtube MG-4htheexU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG-4htheexU youtube]

          • "It also would have worked in 2008 if the coalition didn't get so greedy. "

            So Harper actually wasn't in bed with the separatists, he was only pretending to be while he used the GG as a stick to beat Paul Martin with. Wow, that's even more patriotic!!

          • "It's disingenuous because you disagree with it, or because it's true? "
            Or perhaps because of unmentioned option C: it's obviously untrue.

            If you're saying they never formally announced a Coalition, then no one will disagree.

            But you seem to be saying that the letter in no way "suggests anything resembling the formation of a coalition government." It does suggest something very much resembling a coalition government: namely, an alternative to the minority in which the Opposition parties support each other.

    • I think asking the GG to leave open all options, including giving the opposition parties the chance to form government (read: coalition government as per your definition) would suggest something resembling a coalition government.

      • Leaving all options open isn't even close to a suggestion of a formal governing coalition.

        The letter doesn't mention anything about giving the chance for the opposition to form government.

        It says "consult" and "consider all options" without suggesting what those options would be. In fact, just as likely as all the scenarios suggested is that any talks between the opposition parties would have broken down, if that's not what actually happened.

        This isn't even in the same ballpark as: a) formally signing a coalition agreement; b) using such agreement to force a vote of non-confidence; c) using such an agreement to state specifically to the GG that the current government has in fact lost the confidence of the very parties willing to form a governing coalition.

        In other words, the letter is nothing more than the first possible small step in what the opposition actually did in 2008. Yet this is constantly used by Harper critics as a direct analogy. Hardly.

        • lol, i'm sorry but you are making no sense.

          You just told me that "considering all options" some how doesn't include the option of forming a coalition government. That doesn't make any sense and seems to defy logic.

          • You might not like it, but of course it makes sense. "Considering all options" means just that. And those options would be put to her if she ever actually "consulted" the opposition, and it never got that far, nor were one of those options actually negotiated by the opposition.

            For proof that anything even resembling a coalition agreement existed, you need evidence of such an agreement.

            For example, the letter could have been a bluff. Maybe the opposition was working something out, maybe they weren't. The GG should find out if it got to to that, is all the letter says.

            Heck, the bluff worked on Martin, and it appears to have worked on many of you, too.

            But it won't stop you from continuing to make assertions about that letter that aren't true, I'm sure.

          • But clearly, Harper thought at the time that it would be legitimate for a coalition government to be put in place. That is the point.

            Now that it would mean him losing power, he thinks differently, obviously. Just like with most of his views before government, he has abandoned this one when it was no longer convenient for him.

          • "But clearly, Harper thought at the time that it would be legitimate for a coalition government to be put in place."

            If it's so clear, why don't you tell us how? Then again, you've all been at it for hours, and have yet to produce anything.

            But, by all means, keep making assertions that can't be proven, and keep using them as talking points for future reference. It might not be the truth, but I'm sure it must feel good.

          • Because he said, expressly, that it is ok for the GG to put in place a minority government without an election after the government fails, where those parties agree on certain measures or, to use your definition of coalition, they "cooperate".

            The important point is that Harper has expressly said it is the GG's Constitutional obligation to ask the opposition parties if they can form a government without an election. Now he says that is undemocratic.

            No attempt at re-writing history by Harper, the Tories or Dennis will change those facts.

        • So you're essentially saying, "because they didn't get the chance to show what they were going to do instead of an election, we can't assume that the only alternative to an election is what they were considering"

          Truly dizzying logic. How you don't vomit from the spin I don't understand.

          • Actually, it's your dizzying logic, not mine. Maybe you can explain it to the rest of us. I like to think that I write in clear prose, and I prefer it not get jumbled up by you. Thank you.

        • "The letter doesn't mention anything about giving the chance for the opposition to form government."

          Perhaps, perhaps not. But in this video, Harper most certainly does: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG-4htheexU

  6. One thing is clear from watching Ted's YouTube and from reading the letter: The Conservatives have much better lawyers.

  7. I realize it is important for the Conservatives to attempt to seize control of the term coalition. Indeed one fact beyond dispute is that the Liberals and NDP signed a written agreement to share power and that certainly is a coalition. Lets call that a "shared power coalition" or perhaps "legal coalition". The Bloc also signed a document agreeing to support that coalition for a fixed period without any seats at the cabinet. I have seen some places where the definition of coalition is vague enough to have included that… but I think we have to defer to Dennis and that wikipedia site he unearthed. Not in cabinet not in coalition.

    • There is no mention in the letter what the opposition has planned or if they'll ever come to an agreement on anything, including the loosest possible definition of coalition. Although coalitions with respect to governments usually involve some sort of formal power sharing arrangement with the dividing up of cabinet positions, which is precisely what the Liberals and NDP arranged in 2008.

      The letter is nothing more than a unified show of strength from the opposition. A coalition agreement, which is how most of you have treated it, it is not – in the slightest.

      I know you leftists love trying to thump Harper with this, but it doesn't hit the mark. Don't know why you can't defend the idea of a coalition on its own merits.

      • Dennis,
        Given that you have strayed from the standard Conservative position that the Bloc was a member of the coalition, I will grant you that the letter signed by Harper was not a coalition document.

        So now that we have defined terms… indeed I have accepted your terms, lets discuss possible outcomes. Lets say Ignatieff categorically says that he will not form a coalition during the campaign. Then following the election, Harper has the most seats but a substantially reduced minority position. You would be fine with Ignatieff and Layton sending a letter along the lines of the 2004 letter to the GG, yes?

        • What's to say Stephen Harper won't try form a coalition? Plenty of examples of him saying one thing, doing another. (Income Trusts, Senate appointments, Fixed Election Dates, Transparency, Patronage appointments, No recession, and so on)

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