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Highlights from the Globe’s continuing coverage of the national chess championships


 

December 31For anyone who believes that our governments should be honest, open and accountable, this is a travesty. But it’s devilishly clever.

January 13A word that many had not heard of and few could spell has suddenly become the latest tactically clever move by the Conservatives that turned out to be too clever by half.

January 22. Twice in a year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has demonstrated that Canada’s head of government can act unilaterally, although lawfully, to suspend a legislature. He did it once to avoid a vote of confidence in the House of Commons, and more cunningly, this time, for purposes of political convenience and to escape accountability.

TodayAfter weeks of being pilloried for shuttering the Commons, Stephen Harper is trying to win back disaffected Canadians by adding extra House sittings in March and April to recoup some lost time. The proposal sets a trap for opposition parties, which must consent to the move or undermine their complaints about Mr. Harper’s Dec. 30 decision to prorogue Parliament until March 3.


 

Highlights from the Globe’s continuing coverage of the national chess championships

  1. Ah yes, the desperately "left/lib" Globe! This is exactly the pattern of cynicism in the face of immorality that gives our journalism its not-so-world-wide reputation for nihilism.

    But it's devilishly clever.

    • They will likely endorse him again in the next election too.

      • Because he's obviously the best choise of the bunch.

  2. Aren't even the Liberal smart enough to see the trap this time? Won't they just say 'Of course we'll stay in Ottawa those weeks?"

    • Yeah, it doesn't even seem like much of a "trap" to me. Of course the Liberals will agree to stay in Ottawa during that time. Why wouldn't they?

      • The fiendishly clever "trap," so-called, is that they supposedly can't agree to stay in Ottawa in the Spring without allowing the CPC to come back and say, "It's not that we weren't working, we just shifted the dates!" Of course, this assumes that the average Canadian voter has an IQ of 85 — but that is one of the principles of Canadian journalism that lets our editorial writers get away with their cynicism.

        • "It's not that we weren't working, we just shifted the dates!"

          As you say, I'm pretty sure that line won't fly. The damage from prorogation has already been inflicted. If anything, this latest move seems more like a long-overdue attempt at damage control than a "trap". The Globe journalists should really back down from their cynical "chess game"-style coverage, as Wherry suggests.

          • I think many observers are indeed giving the public far too much credit in this debate. Based on casual comments I have overheard my sense is that the reason this issue got such traction is that many Canadians actually bought into the line that the government went on an extended winter holiday while they had to work. That being the case, this attempt at damage control won't hurt and could even benefit the government should the Liberals refuse to play along.

            By the way, I think the government won't get unanimous consent because I predict the Bloc will refuse to play along. The Bloc has little to lose and many Bloc MPs may prefer the time in their ridings.

        • "Of course, this assumes that the average Canadian voter has an IQ of 85 — but that is one of the principles of Canadian journalism that lets our editorial writers get away with their cynicism."

          Indeed. That Harper et al. thinks that Canadian voters are a bunch of imbeciles that can easily be manipulated is a well known fact. What gets me, though, is the media punditry who apparently feel the same way. This is why they never saw the public's reaction to the prorogation coming.

          • "That Harper et al. thinks that Canadian voters are a bunch of imbeciles that can easily be manipulated is a well known fact."
            Great, now Canadian voters can be Cabinet ministers too.

          • I think it is probably just as accurate if not more accurate to say:

            Harper et al. thinks that Canadian journalists are a bunch of imbeciles that can easily be manipulated is a well known fact. What gets me, though, is how easy it is.

  3. "The proposal sets a trap for opposition parties …. "

    It is only a trap if Libs/NDP aren't sincere in their democracy denied strategy they launched a few weeks ago. If oppo parties are serious than it should take all of a few seconds to agree to Con proposal.

    • That is, if they haven't declared non-confidence, first. Wouldn't the Throne Speech and the Budget have to go to vote before the house would rise for its first "break" anyhow?

    • I can't imagine even the most delusional partisan saying "What a clever trap".

      Ok, maybe biff. And Common Man. Other than that, no. Um, maybe wilson.

      • Actually the only people talking about " clever trap " are folks like you. I don`t know, maybe your delusional partisanship has you so paronoid that you think even the most routine move is somehow out to trick you.

        Wherry and O`Malley are just trying to stir up the faithful. But you should remember, Sometimes a banana is just a banana.

        • " ….. Sometimes a banana is just a banana."

          "An Argentinian artist name Caesar Saëz who lived in Quebec applied to the Canada Arts Council and to the Quebec counterpart (le Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec) to create a 300-metre long flying banana made of bamboo and a type of synthetic paper (resembling Tyvex?) in order to denounce George Bush. The banana was to fly over the state of Texas.

          Saëz left the country. And no one knows of the whereabouts of this work of art."

          http://bluewavecanada.blogspot.com/2010/02/giant-

          • And I bet there is a 1000 other stories out there like this one about foolish gov`t spending. In the meantime everyone be on the lookout for a long flying banana.

        • "I don`t know, maybe your delusional partisanship has you so paronoid that you think even the most routine move is somehow out to trick you."

          There's your view. And there is this view:

          http://harperbizarro.blogspot.com/2010/02/quiet-t

          • But when you use a partisan blog as the source to prove your point it only reinforces your delusion.

          • I don't know, fella, but it seemed like there was lotsa elite and edumacated chatter-y speakin' about Standing Orders and whatnot in that partisan blog. You may not agree with the assessment, but you could at least make even a feeble attempt to refute it.

          • I don`t mean to slag your Lib Blog buddy, but when you preface your Standing Order links with phrases like " conniving Harper " and " trampling Parliament " then It` s safe to assume what the end point of the blog is.

            Having said that, if it is necessary that some of the opp. need to be absent in the Spring session for Spring Break activities or constitutency work, then I`m sure the House leaders can work out the appropriate arrangements.

          • Actually, first time I've ever seen the thing. But it is a 'partisan blog'., no? So there's partisan language. I mean, the guy declares in the *sidebar * he likes 'Grits'.

            But the substance, man! The Standing Orders! Partisan or not, the blogg(her?) raised valid 'points of procedure', doncha think? And, if not…well?

            And, yes, I'm sure a hearty and collegial bi-partisan spirit will prevail.

          • Right and that`s why there has to be unanimous support for the PM`s suggestion but if some opp.MP`s can`t make it…………read my second paragraph above……………this is no big deal.

      • "I can't imagine even the most delusional partisan saying "What a clever trap". "

        That's what I was wondering about. What 'trap'? There is no trap here. Cons are trying to repair the damage they have caused – from people I know, they are not overly bothered about proroguing Parliament because of Afghan committee but they are angry about MPs and how idle they are.

        Also, I think it is only viewed as a 'trap' by liberal partisans and msm who seem only to discuss politics from the perspective of how it will help/hinder Lib party.

  4. Can't wait to see the media dance when the govt makes the motion of censure a confidence motion….surely they see that coming?
    Or did the excitement of the thought of jailing PMSH cloud their vision?

    • While the politicians play checkers and chess, wilson plays Pick Up Stix…

    • Why would the PM want to put the GG in that sort of invidious position…choosing between an order of parliament and a request for either an election…or should he lose the CV, another prorgation?

    • Maybe my procedure-fu is off here, but as far as I understand they would have to introduce such a motion on an opposition day, and the government wouldn't have the discretion to declare it a confidence motion. That would be up to the opposition parties, wouldn't it?

    • Doing that would be pretty despicable. Preston Manning must be rolling over in his grave at the thought (I'm presuming that the actions of the Harper government have killed Preston Manning at this point).

  5. I agree. Is the trap that … what… the Libs and NDP are so stupid that they will say that they need those two weeks off?

    I mean, if I was those parties, I would say that this shows the continuing disrespect of Stephen Harper for Parliament as an institution, thinking that he has the right to change the calendar anytime the mood strikes him, but of course they will be there with their sleeves rolled up ready to help put Canadians back to work too.

  6. The other parties can not agree to sit those weeks and still make Harper eat it.

    • Of course they can. They can make him eat it on the extra cost it takes to resume all that legislation. They can make him eat it on the extra cost it takes to restrike committees and get them back up to speed. They can make him eat it on closing the doors to Parliament while we are in the nascent stages of this "recovery" and while things bear the closest watching. They can make him eat it on unilaterally changing the calendar so that his MPs can go to the Olympics while governance sits undone.

      And then, when those weeks roll around, they can make him eat it all *again*. "It is a shame that we are unable to consult our constituencies at all this spring like we did during our normal winter break — Canadians have gone too long without being able to properly consult with their MPs because that party felt that they only deserve one opportunity a year to speak to their MPs."

      • I am curious as to what they do with the non-necessary photo-ops during the Olympics (like MP's at parties etc.)….

  7. On the CBC site I recently read that Opposition Days are prorated in a shortened session.

    I'd use the extra Opposition Day they will now get during the Winter seesion to debate and vote on a censure motion for ignoring the Afghan detainee document request.

    I don't really think this is a good idea… but I do love good theater!

  8. Proroguing = 100 % bad news
    Proroguing – sitting two extra weeks = 95 % bad news

    It is unsubtle damage control that really can't backfire, and gives them a single talking point to pound into our heads. It won't stick with most, but will stick with some, which is better than it sticking with none.

    The bishop has been checkered, and that check piece taken out.

    On a side note, I am going to develop and checkers vs. chess game this weekend. It is going to totally suck.

    • I've been having literalist daydreams too and I'm thinking that checkers will win because the checkers can hop over any piece in front and keep on going.

  9. Trap? Are they kidding. It's Harper bowing to the pressure of the anger of Canadians.

    C'mon, even the righties won't fall for this garbage.

    Geez……trap?

    • Well, you know how it is. The pundits can't point out the obvious since that just demonstrates that they're pretty much just like the rest of us when it comes to understanding the World around us. So they offer a more complicated, mystifying or quite usually irrational interpretation that leaves the rest of us confused and hopefully, in awe of their perspicacity.

      You'll notice very few of them revisit the opinions they spewed earlier on to gauge just how insightful.they were. Because it's usually hideously embarrassing. The entire journalism "profession" pretty much colludes in that, by the way.

  10. Overheard at a Liberal strategy meeting: "Um, so let me get this straight. The Conservatives said that prorogation was routine and didn't cost the government any time. The Conservatives poll numbers go down whenever Parliament is in session and they can't completely avoid the public. And their "trap" is to flip flip and to give us more time to beat them to a pulp? Well, duh, yes we're all for that."

    Or, more to the point and in public: "This is truly a sad and pathetic scramble by the Conservatives to save face after the backlash against them for shutting down Parliament. Their demand for more time in the House now directly contradicts their argument for prorogation. Liberals are here in Ottawa, today – just as we have been every day since January 25th – doing what Canadians elected us to do. It's the Conservatives who have been taking an extended holiday. Liberals will always be ready to work, including in March and April. The flip flop by the Conservatives will not camouflage their illegitimate padlocking of parliament since December."

    • But you can't get all that one a button.

      • How about:" But you're still behind guys"!…bit lame?

  11. It would have been more of a trap if he announced this plan at the same time he announced the prorogation.
    This trap is Conservative wishful thinking mixed with journalistic monkeyshine

  12. What would Admiral Ackbar say?

    When were the Libs planning on having that conference thingy – wasn't it March?
    Was it timed to take place during this canceled break?
    My memory is jello……

    • Uh Sam? At this rate, we might be in a writ period during March so….

      • So either way, the thinkers' convention is not going to happen?

        • No idea – hence why I was asking….

          • Perhaps they're having the real thinker's conference right now?

  13. Why not?

  14. "We cancelled the break for THIS?"

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