Semi-rhetorical question of the day


 

Is it now the government’s official position that democracy is dangerous for the country?


 

Semi-rhetorical question of the day

  1. Frivolous elections are indeed a danger to the country. 52 weeks pogey for 9 weeks work is as good an excuse as any. Iggy is getting impatient. With the country emerging from the recession citizens may figure Harper is doing a great job. He may get his majority this time as voters are tired on the games the opposition parties are playing.

    • HAHAHAHAAHAHAHA! That's a good one!

      Wait, you were joking right?

      • And the Liberals want an election because?……….
        be specific.

        Give us one good reason why the Liberals passed the budget and now want to stop it from being implimented…one good reason please.

        • Because they are in Opposition.

    • The con talking points on EI reform are so lousy, so incredibly disingenuous, that they now run the risk of confirming the idea that they cannot be trusted to engage honestly in policy debate. If the conservative rejection of the liberal proposals is so well-informed, so well-founded, why do they bother to muddy the waters by systematically misrepresenting their opponents' positions? Why not argue honestly and address the substance of the proposal? Are the conservatives for or against the establishment of a single national standard of eligibility? It seems they are indeed more interested in playing politics, and it is perhaps the cummulative effect of all the various instances where this tendency has been on display that has soured the Canadian electorate most to their style of government.

    • The con talking points on EI reform are so lousy, so incredibly disingenuous, that they now run the risk of confirming the idea that they cannot be trusted to engage honestly in policy debate. If the conservative rejection of the liberal proposals is so well-informed, so well-founded, why do they bother to muddy the waters by systematically misrepresenting their opponents' positions? Why not argue honestly and address the substance of the proposal? Are the conservatives for or against the establishment of a single national standard of eligibility for EI? It seems they are indeed more interested in playing politics than engaging in good faith, and it is perhaps the cummulative effect of all the various instances where this tendency has been on display that has soured the Canadian electorate most to their style of government.

    • Only Serious Elections allowed.

    • The con talking points on EI reform are so lousy, so incredibly disingenuous, that they now run the risk of confirming the perception that they cannot be trusted to engage honestly in policy debate. If the conservative rejection of the liberal proposals is so well-informed, so well-founded, why do they bother to muddy the waters by systematically misrepresenting their opponents' positions? Why not argue honestly and address the substance of the proposal? Are the conservatives for or against the establishment of a single national standard of eligibility for EI? It seems they are indeed more interested in playing politics than engaging honestly and in good faith in a discussion of policy. It is perhaps the cumulative effect of all the various instances where this tendency has been on display that has soured the Canadian electorate most to their style of politics and government.

      • Ok how's this:

        Over the short term, the number of people this would help is extremely small. Basically, it would apply only to those who had not held jobs previously, and are then terminated after 9 weeks, because resignation disqualifies you. How many people do you know that are in this situation that actually qualify? (FYI, summer students are ineligible.) This will affect so few people that it's almost laughable. And if it is even implemented, the recession will long be over, but we will have the added benefit of the financial liabilities of a few extra claims from people who couldn't hack it for 80% of a calendar year.

        So when Ignatieff says this is good for Canada, and good for Canadians, I can't help but get the impression he's speaking to a very small audience.

  2. Yes, we have not had enough elections lately. Good point Wherry. Harper talks about election timing and you twist his words, when we've had more democracy in the last few years than at any point in Canada's history.

      • Let's have elections every day! As much democracy as possible! Yay!

        • some people that support government by referendum actually support something akin to that Gaunilon. but you might (i doubt it) not that I did not endorse daily elections. i just want to know if you can have too much democracy and if so how how much is too much and who chooses when we should have some more and when we shouldn't

          • You should probably read a book about the evolution of democracy, parliamentary and other forms. You can't be changing the government every day because nothing would ever get done. And not all decisions can afford to wait for referendums. Most countries tend to settle on elective terms of 4 or 5 years, as far as I can tell.

          • your right i def need to read a book on the evolution of democracy. never tried that before. in turn, you might try to read my comment before you mouth off and demonstrating what a lout you are.

            if you did you would note that i said "some people" support the idea of referenda/plebiscite as a mean of 'increasing democracy' (I actually do not). you might also want to consider that "democracy, parliamentary and other forms" have evolved from earlier forms of direct democracy that proponents of plebiscites would argue they are trying to replicate.

            and while many direct democracies such as the Greek Polis gave way to representative forms for a host of reasons (e.g., military invasion, structural deficiencies, growth), not the least of these were the difficulty/impossibility of having everyone lay around all day to be ready in case they needed to vote (even when the slaves were taking care of all the work), you might have noticed we have made a tech advancement or two since ancient Greece that would actually let us register our opinions from virtually wherever we are whenever we would want.

          • your right i def need to read a book on the evolution of democracy. never tried that before. in turn, you might try to read my comment before you mouth off and demonstrating what a lout you are.

            if you did you would note that i said "some people" support the idea of referenda/plebiscite as a mean of 'increasing democracy' (I actually do not). you might also want to consider that "democracy, parliamentary and other forms" have evolved from earlier forms of direct democracy that proponents of plebiscites would argue they are trying to replicate.

            and while many direct democracies such as the Greek Polis gave way to representative forms for a host of reasons (e.g., military invasion, structural deficiencies, growth), not the least of these were the difficulty/impossibility of having everyone lay around all day to be ready in case they needed to vote (even when the slaves were taking care of all the work), you might have noticed we have made a tech advancement or two since ancient Greece that would actually let us register our opinions from virtually wherever we are whenever we would want.

            ps you also didn't bother to answer any of the questions i laid out. have a go.

          • your right i def need to read a book on the evolution of democracy. never tried that before. in turn, you might try to read my comment before you mouth off and clarify what a lout you are.

            if you did you would note that i said "some people" support the idea of referenda/plebiscite as a mean of 'increasing democracy' (I actually do not). you might also want to consider that "democracy, parliamentary and other forms" have evolved from earlier forms of direct democracy that proponents of plebiscites would argue they are trying to replicate.

            and while many direct democracies such as the Greek Polis gave way to representative forms for a host of reasons (e.g., military invasion, structural deficiencies, growth), not the least of these were the difficulty/impossibility of having everyone lay around all day to be ready in case they needed to vote (even when the slaves were taking care of all the work), you might have noticed we have made a tech advancement or two since ancient Greece that would actually let us register our opinions from virtually wherever we are whenever we would want.

            ps you also didn't bother to actually answer any of the questions i laid out. have a go.

          • Frankly, I'll remember not to comment on anything you say again, considering I'm a lout for saying something very simple and harmless.
            Your questions are ridiculous. Nobody chooses how often elections are held, it is a complex process. Get a history book. There is no all-powerful person of group of people. Similarly, your question about having too much democracy is idiotic because you need to be more specific for it to make sense.
            There. Now, you moron, if you want to call me a lout, go right ahead, or call me anything else that exits your pea-sized brain.

          • "Your questions are ridiculous. Nobody chooses how often elections are held"

            are they random acts of god?

            also, you charge that i am ignorant and are this offended when i call you a lout? tad sensitive no?

          • Also, find yourself a book about grammar, too.

        • Until the Liberals get back into power……then we have reached democracy's limit…right!

    • Is there not more to democracy than simply voting?

  3. So I trust then that you and Mr. Harper will let us know when we're allowed to have some democracy again, and we're no longer overloaded on democracy?

    And this coming period where we'll be taking a break from democracy, what will we be calling that? What's the opposite of democracy again?

    Hippopotamus?

    No, that's not it…

    • Liberals passing the budget and then trying to stop it's implimentation,
      got a name for that BCer?

      How democratic is it for the leader of a national party to be 'assigned' the job without contest? without grassroots members voting?

      I for one would love to have an election, watch PMSH make minced meat out of an acedemic in fantasyland…but just the thought of a Dipper backed Liberal minority will send the markets into a downward spiral.

  4. So I trust then that you and Mr. Harper will let us know when we're allowed to have some democracy again, and we're no longer overloaded on democracy?

    And this coming period where we'll be taking a break from democracy, what will we be calling that? What's the opposite of democracy again?

    Hippopotamus?

  5. Folks, folks – calm down. The Prime Minister only said that an election would be harmful to the country. Reading between the lines, I'm pretty sure that means he'd approach the GG about giving Mr. Ignatieff a chance to form a government, should the Conservatives lose the confidence of the house. That's really very decent of him.

    • lol

  6. Right – when nearly everyone was calling a recession, Harper thought the disfunctional parliament was time to break his 'no-frivolous election-law' and prothletize how if Canada "was going to have a recession, it would have happened by now."
    Harper didn't seem to think a few months after one election — where the public again said here's the keys but we're not signing over the cottage — he had no trouble rattling Jacob Marley's chains in some Lou Ferrigno impersonation, while at the time saying "no deficits here." So why are we even listening to his silly self-serving games again? Besides the drunk-to-a-stuppor koolaid drinkers…

  7. Here's my semi-rhetorical question:
    What has happened to us?
    When did we lose our faith in our public officials, but, more importantly: when did our elected officials lose faith in the public?
    When did we decide that voting was not a right and a privilege, but a drag and, apparently"dangerous"
    Oh, Canada, stop crushing my starry-eyed idealism and youthful optimism.

    • "When did we lose our faith in our public officials?"

      When did we have it? And why?

      Starry-eyed idealism and youthful optimism are barriers to successful democracy.

    • OK, Since your questions's are semi-rhetorical, I'll answer them in order.
      1. What happened was that citizens became disengaged from the actual input process of politics and now criticize only the outputs through protests and message boards (neither of which do a whole lot of good anyway.) We stopped telling them what we think when they develop policy, so they're left to guess what they think we want.
      2. We lost faith in them when they decided our money looked like their money several times. They lost faith in us a long, long time ago, because a lot of voters are far too stupid for their own good.
      3. While it's still a right, we let someone else tell us when, why, and who we're allowed to vote for. We do this in exchange for peace, order and good government.

      If you disagree, please keep this in mind: my vote cancels out y'alls.

    • Speak for yourself. I haven't lost faith any neither has lots of people (unfortunately I have no poll available).

  8. I think that the PM is probably correct when he says that another inconclusive election would be disruptive to efforts to focus on economic recovery.

    Canadian voters may not object to another election if it were to end the political uncertainty. However, polls suggest that an election at this time would likely have a similar result to the last one less than 12 months ago, namely a Conservative minority. Sure the Liberals will likely pick up a few more seats in Quebec and elswhere, but the Liberals are not yet poised to take over government without a coalition with the NDP. The Liberals need to be more patient and let parliament focus on things that matter to Canadians rather than playing political games.

    • "another inconclusive election would be disruptive to efforts to focus on economic recovery."

      In all seriousness, Two Yen, why would that be? Do you think the "stimulus" spending has had an important effect on the economy? Would the home renovation tax credit be endangered by an election? What else has the government done, or could it do? I can't imagine that foreign investors, say, would be freaked out by another election, or that the dollar would drop, or that internal commerce would be slowed. The more inconclusive elections there are, the less anybody pays attention.

      • Unless Harper is the one who smuggled all that gold out of the Canadian Mint, and will give it to our enemies if deposed.

    • How would it be disruptive? Legislation is passed and plans – whatever they are – are apparently "over 80% implemented", so where would the disruption be? By Harper's own admission, as his bromance partner Bush would say, "Mission Accomplished".

      Time for another election, folks!

      • No, the 'ways and means' passed, Parliament has yet to pass the initiatives, like the Reno Tax Credit.
        So yes, depending on the opps campaign platforms, the implimentation of inititives could be easily stopped or reversed or replaced.

        • you mean like they could be i the absence of an election right?

          lets unravel the logic here. the threat is supposed to be that if we have an election one of those dreaded (Liberals) opposition parties could take over and drop the ball on rolling out the stimulus?

          well, given that 1) the Dippers and the Bloc already pretty much vote against anything the CPC touches, and 2) the Liberals round out an opposition that already controls the House, than how pray tell does empowering the opposition via an election offer a greater risk.

          unless you are suggesting that Libs will pass this if they are forced to stay in opposition (they will by the way) but would drop once they crossed the aisle after an election (they won't).

    • A drop in the dollar may actually help our economy, not hinder it.

      • Good point. Bring on the chaos!!

    • Another minority government would not be inconclusive. It would be another, apparently necessary, step to the realization that politics as winner takes all no longer meets the reality of Canada. The political landscape of Canada has evolved. Unfortunately – except for a brief period when a coalition form of governing was contemplated – the current political players have remained anchored in the past.

  9. Harper has triggered the last couple elections at times of his own choosing. He's whining about someone else picking the timing this time.

    • After winning in 2006, the Harper government stayed in power long long long passed the norm for a minority, setting a record, if I remember correctly.
      Jan 2006 – Oct 2008, then won a stronger mandate, only 12 seats shy of a majority.
      Harper earned the right to govern, from the people.

      • Yeah well unfortunately he only gets the right to govern at the consent of our democratically elected parliament, and Harper has failed to gain control of that – twice.
        The first-past-the-post system of electing members is seriously flawed, and I don't see a simialr arrangement for our parliament (winner of plurality of seats takes all) would be an improvement on anything.

      • You're forgetting all the moments, about five or six to my recollection, where Harper used the threat of an election on the opposition, as though it was a mechanism to knock people across the noggin with. Just as he used the ploy of forming a coalition partnership with the NDP and Bloc before going on about the evils of coalitions, he's spun his core beliefs until they look like some weird black comedy sketch. Wilson continually denies that after winning his 12-seats shy of a majority mandate, he snubbed his nose at the Canadian voters and attempted to run roughshod over the elected house.
        He will get his comeuppance, twice, three times over. I'm anxious to see it.

      • in our system, whether you or Harpie like it or not, you only have the right to govern as along as you have the confidence of the people's representatives. that confidence can be pulled at any time. winning an election does not give you carte blanche until you decide it is convenient to have an election.

    • Don't blame Harper for Dion being so inept.

  10. I don't see how an election could harm the economy.

    On the other hand, sending three national airborne campaigns out to crisscross the country daily, to meet people at large gatherings, to shake hands and kiss babies could be bad for public health amidst the influenza outbreak expected for the fall.

  11. Another semi-rhetorical question: If we had not had an election in 2008, we would be going to the polls this October 19.

    Would Harper break his fixed-elections date law in order to avoid harming the economy?

    Should prime ministers be forced by law to call in an election, even when they believe an election would harm the economy?

    • Good questions. I think the answers are no and yes, respectively. The first is just a guess though.

  12. Elections are always bad news for someone.
    I suspect, in this case, the Prime Minister is more concerned with the "Three Miniorities and you're out" rule than he is with the fate of this country…

  13. Let's have another election campaign so the Liberals can try yet another cynical gimmick to try to get back to power, which to be sure, for the Liberal Party of Canada, is what it's all about.

    When I put it to Liberal partisan commenter Loraine Lamontagne yesterday on Kady's blog that implementing Liberal policies like the Kyoto protocol and the Green Shift would have tanked our economy, she replied thusly:

    "Dion would not have implemented the Kyoto Protocol and the Green Shift no more than Chrétien axed the GST."

    And I suppose one could add campaigning against wage and price controls and the excise tax on gasoline like the LIberals did in the1970's and 1980's and then once in power doing the precise opposite.

    Such cynicism, the moral bankruptcy of the Liberal party on full display. We want an election so we can bamboozle Canadians! We'll campaign on promises we don't intend to keep! Canadian democray deserves a more principled Liberal Party. When will that overdue reform come? Mr. Ignatieff are you listening?

    • I'm sure this time they will really, really mean it when they promise to create a national daycare program.

      • I'm sure the Cons really, really meant it when they wanted fixed election dates, no taxes on income trusts, no deficit & no recession, greater accountability, etc…

        Cut your self-righteous BS.

        • Did the Conservatives win three consecutive majority governments that would allow them to implement their campaign promises at will? I'm willing to forgive broken promises from changeover of government (I don't think the GST broken promise is that bad) but the Liberals had absolute power over the federal government for over a decade and the fiscal capacity to implement a national daycare program if they so chose. That is in an entirely different league of promise-breaking than lying in a campaign over an issue that is a political hot potato.

    • Because the comments of a blog reader are representative of the official position of the party.

      • She's a Liberal partisan and her comment confirms what we all pretty well know, the Liberals will say and do just about anything to be elected, including making promises they never had any intention of keeping. Apparently the Green Shift was all hot air. As gimmicky as naming your dog Kyoto and waving those silly little green scarves.

    • How about: Let me be perfectly clear: this government will never tax income trusts?

      Or how about – I will not appoint Senators? (I am paraphrasing – not direct quotes!)

      Policitians once in power should make the best decisions based on their understanding of a situation. Nothing cynical about it. You are free to believe the political discourse that pleases you most and vote accordingly. I choose to vote for the person who I believe is most able and trained to make the right decisions.

    • While I think about it, jarrid, observe the other approach, and I quote from Ian Brodie:

      "Despite economic evidence to the contrary, in my view the GST cut worked. It worked in the sense that by the end of the '05-'06 campaign, voters identified the Conservative party as the party of lower taxes. It worked in the sense that it helped us to win.”

      You prefer a government that ignores economic evidence in order to gain more votes. I don't blame you for that.

      • Is that not what democracy inevitably becomes?

        • Doesn't have to be so, although that seems to be where we are right now.

  14. "A recession is no time for an election!"

    "But sir…the recession's been going on for 25 years now…"

    • Good point. With that argument, Latin american and african countries would never have elections. You need an election to end the recession sometimes (eg Reagan replacing Carter).

  15. Well, I would certainly want Aaron Wherry leading us if there was ever a need to fight for democracy. Most journalists would just assume that a PM who mentions in a speech that maybe a 4th federal election in 5 years might be unnecessary, is being practical, but not Wherry—-he knows anarchy when he sees it.

    And it`s great to see that you`ve bounced back from that little episode concerning the fabrication about the communion host—–even as you were posting for the 86th time on that subject we all knew that you were just protecting democracy.

    • Isn't there anything that the CPC could do to minimize the incentive to force an election?

  16. When is Harper ever *not* in campaign mode? It's his party that has the war room open and running, plowing out negative adds 12 months of the year, writ down or not. Once again, Harper's just being disingenuious.

    • When will the Liberals quit threatening an election….?
      Dion threatened one the minute he won the Lib leadership contest, Harper gave him one and the Libs went down to the lowest seats in 100 years.
      Now the new lib rookie is doing the same thing…….whats the count, 37 election threats in 7 months!

      • Really? I seem to recall Harper threatening to rain down confidence measures on Dion. That was when Harper *wanted the election, so it was okay to threaten them then, was it? And when the election finally came about, it was Harper's call – 100%. Dion only said that the timing of an election was up to him (Dion), and that he woudl decide to have it when the time was right. (Dion figured he could take Harper at his word, you know, with the fixed election date and all. Lesson: never take Harper at his word, even when he's written it in law).
        No need trying to revise how it all went down – our memories aren't that short.

      • You mean when Harper made blowing his nose a confidence matter?

  17. Harper's comments are all about pre-election positioning. He is simply articulating the obvious and reasonable spin, that ANY sitting PM would put on the necessity of another election right now. It's quite a leap to think Harper is issuing some kind of veiled threat to democracy.

    And meanwhile, Iggy is piecing together his preferred narrative–something like "we can no longer work with these incompetent guys", as best as I can tell.

    • I agree with your comments. Here are my edits, in order, which give my take on the comments to which Harper was responding:
      1- Change "Harper's comments…." to "Ignatieff's comments….."
      2- Change "..ANY sitting PM…" to "….ANY sitting Opposition Leader…."
      3- Change "…necessity of another election right now." to …."possibility of another election right now."
      4- Change "It's quite quite a leap to think Harper is issuing some kind of veiled threat to democracy." to "It's quite a leap to think Ignatieff is issuing some kind of threat to the Canadian economy."
      5- Put a stamp on it and mail to the Harpercrites.

  18. Oh that Maclean's, it hires such witty, tongue in cheek writers.

  19. Memo to bloggers and interested commentariat:

    All of the reasons Iggy and the Lib party have cited not to force an election:

    DEMOCRATIC

    Reason provided by CPC not to force an election:

    UNDEMOCRATIC

    Thanking you in advance for your anticipated cooperation with the above noted messaging,

    Sincerely,

    The progressive media establishment

  20. I think Harper is talking through his hat when he opines that holding an election will hurt the economy (although if Ignatieff wins, that might hurt the economy), but questioning the need for an election is a far cry from taking the "official position that democracy is dangerous for the country".

    Pretty lame rhetorical question of the day.

  21. It would definitely not be a good thing to be voted out of office on the eve of recovery (if that is really what is happening) and have someone else take credit. Maybe that is what Harp-er is referring to.

  22. Being that the leading trumpeter on the recovery train is a Harper-spawn (altho also of note, a main naysayer of economic good-stewardshipness from the harper cronies is also a page from the Con appointment book – but don't worry, he'll be written out as soon as they find some veiled inuendo to muzzle him with!) I'm not so sure that 'economic recovery=credit' is nearly the equation Harper's most worried about. Me thinks, just as he wanted to avoid a spring election without all those jumbo cheques for photo ops, he's hoping now to forestall an election so he can be photographed beside some Olympic medal winner, Canadian if necessary, but not necessarily Canadian. He's only about the here and now; his psychic dresser isn't able to see beyond six degrees of bacon, apparently.