That's a no - Macleans.ca
 

That’s a no


 

Michael Ignatieff gets unequivocal.

Liberal party Leader Michael Ignatieff vowed on Friday that his party would never enter into a governing coalition. “In January, we did not support a coalition and we do not support a coalition today or tomorrow,” Ignatieff told reporters.


 

That’s a no

  1. And December?

    • I'm sure there are enough ConBots lurking around here to provide the counter-narrative. Don't worry…your future place in the Senate is guaranteed.

      • I guess the ConBots would have a valid question then…

        • A valid question is usually one that seeks clarification or additional information. A question that implies something is indicative of bad faith.

          We all know the history of the coalition. We also know Harper's history with respect to coalitions. He proposed one with the separatists and the socialists himself (the obliqueness of his language is only 'genius' to the punditocracy and people who let them do their thinking for them).

          At this point, expecting consistency from our political leaders seems rather a quaint distraction.

          • Regardless of the thousands of documented instances of Harper's hypocrisy, the question was specifically about Iggy's unfiltered quote and Paul's question alludes to a well documented fact that all but nullifies Iggy's quote.

            Hardly bad faith…

    • It's the month between November and January. Why do you ask?

    • So he was for it before he was against it?

  2. Back to the drawing board at the Con-servative War Room…or maybe not. Because the scary coalition is all they got going so far, other than the 'Iggy is just visiting' thing which wasn't effective in the spring either,

    • Well, by some measures, the "just visiting" campaign was successful: Iggy's favourable-unfavourable ratings went, per EKOS, from 50-21 (+29) in April to 32-37 (-5) in June and 29-33 (4) in August.

    • "It doesn't need to be true. It only needs to be plausible. "

  3. Big mistake. This is a promise he’ll either have to break (if Harper wins minority and can’t gain confidence), or weasle out of (have an accord, but no coalition, ie. no shared cabinet).

    I’m disappointed.

    • Same here. What I find most disturbing is that Harper (with the help of Iggy) has pretty much succeeded in delegitimizing coalition governments in Canada. I don't think that this outright rejection of a coalition was the best way to respond to Harper's accusations. Seems to me that a better course of action would have been to point to Harper's hypocrisy in that he also attempted to do the same when he was in Opposition.

      Coalition governments are not only legitimate but probably the best way to achieve political stability in Canada. Thanks to Harper and Iggy, we may be stuck with minority governments and yearly elections for a very long time.

      • "If you're explaining, you're losing."

      • PolJUnkie says "Thanks to Harper and Iggy, we may be stuck with minority governments and yearly elections for a very long time."

        Maybe this is Ignatieff's stragey? He's trying to convince NDP voters to vote Liberal rather than depend on a coalition solution.

        • Just like Dion tried before the last election.

          Iggy just had to rule out a coalition with the Bloc, thats all.

      • No. A better course of action would not be to point to Harper's hypocrisy. That's been evident for years. Anybody who doesn't know about it by now is that way because they don't want to. Having it proclaimed from yet another source won't change that.

        Instead, a better course of action would be to point out that Canadians believe in co-operation, and if co-operation is required to govern for the good of Canada, he's quite happy to do that, and how unfortunate it is that Harper has indicated he's not willing to cooperate with anybody.

    • I suspect their thinking is that in the event of a weakened Conservative minority the GG will ask him if he can govern…thus freeing him from any charges of "backroom" scheming* He'd be able to say something to the effect of "Hey, who am I to turn down the request of the Head of State?"

      I actually think this is a good thing, it at least shows that for once the Liberals show that understand the need to get out in front of the story in order to kill it (something Obama was brilliant at doing during his campaign).

      *the term "backroom" is quickly becoming a major irritant in my life, much like "parse" became during the US election ;)

      • The incumbents legally get first kick at the can. The GG can’t give Iggy a shot unless Harper yields. Harper will only yield if he wins less seats than the LPC, which isn’t likely.

        • What he said!

        • You're absolutely right, I shoulda been clearer (obviously I need that 2nd coffee ;) What I meant was in the event of a quick vote of non-confidence the GG could (and probably would) ask Ignatieff if he could maintain the confidence of the House, which of course would mean that he'd have the support of the NDP but does not necessarily mean they are acting as a "coalition", but rather how parties are supposed to act in a minority situation.

          Hey, remember when people used to say how much they preferred minority governments because it forced the parties to make concessions and co-operate in order to govern? What ever happened to that? ;)

          • "What I meant was in the event of a quick vote of non-confidence the GG could (and probably would) ask Ignatieff if he could maintain the confidence of the House, which of course would mean that he'd have the support of the NDP but does not necessarily mean they are acting as a "coalition", but rather how parties are supposed to act in a minority situation. "

            Ok but why would the NDP would agree to this? What would they stand to gain from this arrangement? If I'm Layton, I demand a formal coalition which gives me and my people a seat at the table. Nothing less. What could Iggy offer the NDP that would allow Layton to save face in agreeing to such an arrangement?

          • "What I meant was in the event of a quick vote of non-confidence the GG could (and probably would) ask Ignatieff if he could maintain the confidence of the House, which of course would mean that he'd have the support of the NDP but does not necessarily mean they are acting as a "coalition", but rather how parties are supposed to act in a minority situation. "

            Ok but why would the NDP agree to this? What would they stand to gain from this arrangement? If I'm Layton, I demand a formal coalition which gives me and my people a seat at the table. Nothing less. What could Iggy offer the NDP that would allow Layton to save face in agreeing to such an arrangement?

          • I would think that NDP would agree to this because they really cannot afford another election and that this has kinda been the goal of the federal NDP for as long as I can remember – providing the balance of power. By not forming a formal coalition Layton can say he's "keeping Ignatieff's feet to the fire" and will withdraw support whenever Ignatieff strays.

            One could argue that by formalizing a coalition the NDP would actually be losing influence.

          • "One could argue that by formalizing a coalition the NDP would actually be losing influence."

            I don't think you understand how badly Layton and his crew wanted in. The NDP will likely never gain power in Canada so a formal coalition is the only chance they will ever have in having any real power and legitimacy in the eyes of voters. It gives them the credibility that they lack. The arrangement you speak of gives them nothing. They had such a deal with Martin regarding corporate tax cuts. Do voters even remember this?

            I think Layton would have to be a fool not to attempt to force Iggy to formalize a coalition with him, especially if the Bloc isn't needed.

          • They'd stand to gain being the power brokers vs. being seen as the ones that forced a second election immediately after the first.

          • There are two rather large caveats to your theory Richard (not that I'm saying you're wrong).

            1. If the Cons were to fall, it would have to be right out of the gate. If they were to pass one or two confidence votes before Iggy dropped the axe, Harper could rightly claim to have had the confidence of the House, and could ask for another election. (He may not get it, but he could certainly ask for it.) The UK had two elections in 1974, so there's actually no convention on how long a minority must last before the PM can ask for another vote.

            2. If the Grits and NDP combined didn't have enough members to command a majority, the GG would be well within her right to dissolve Parliament a second time. If she determined that an Iggy-led gov't would be a two-legged stool which needed propping up by a third party (aka Smiling Gilles) she might decide that to be even more unstable than letting Harper have another trip to the polls.

          • They found out that it was a two-way street and meant that parties they liked would also have to make concessions with parties they didn't like, as opposed to just the other way around?

            Pesky reality interferes once again! :-P

    • I disagree, as all Ignatieff has to do is to withhold or provide the Liberals' confidence in the government. If things line up such that the government does not have the House's confidience, then it's up to the GG to decide what to do.
      You can still be the second place party in a minority and govern just as well as the first place party – provided that you maintain the confidence of a majority of MPs (no different from what the Cons have been doing since January '06).
      But you can imagine the howls of outrage from the Conbots in such a circumstance.
      Civics needs a whole new priority of place in Canadian society these days.

  4. Iggy = Desperate

    • Your comment = desperate. And stupid.

  5. If Harper wins the most seats in the next election but not a majority, he will need to have the confidence of the house. I'd dare say he'd have a tough time acchieving that with his current rhetoric/propoganda war. Then the GG would be called upon by the leader of the 2nd largest party in the house and he could either be asked to govern (most likely) or at the most show that he would have the aggreement of other opposition parties to govern for at least some period. There is no definite requirement for a 'coalition', whether you define it the way Harper pursued it in 2004 or Dion did it in 2008.
    It's called Canadian political history and procedure people, besides Wells' cheering from the sidelines, read up on it!

  6. Iggy & unequivocal positions on important matters of State. So in character. Someone should research just how in character it is. Some Iggy-friendly journalist perhaps, who could demonstrate to the world what fine judgment he's demonstrated on the most important matters of State, esp. in his field(s?) of expertise, and how he's stuck to his positions, through and through, or only changed them after giving a clear coherent rationale as to why, which none could deride.

    • Well, in the UK he was a Labour supporter who wound up becoming a Thatcherite. But I guess that not really exceptional, so did half the country.

  7. Can you please update the post when Jason Kenny issues a statement retracting his comments from yesterday. All he wanted was for Iggy to say no to a coalition, now that he did, I'm sure a follow up statement is forthcoming.

  8. I hate to say it, but that's not nearly as unequivocal as it should be if Igatieff is, in fact, trying to b unequivocal.

    "In January, we did not support a coalition and we do not support a coalition today or tomorrow." … but the day after tomorrow…

    He's promising not to support a coalition now, or in the immediate future. He's not promising to never support a coalition, particularly if the situation changes – like say, if he comes up 3 MP's short of the Torys in the nxt election.

    I don't have any particular problem with a coalition – those socialists are Canadian MP's too and it's ridiculous that ignoring most of Qubec on the grounds of "not working with the seperatists" is a viable political viewpoint, but I think it is important not to read a definitie promise into a less than definitive statement.

  9. Canada's few experiences with minority governments have not required coalitions, so in that sense this stance doesn't change history, it does limit the future however. Clark, Trudeau, Pearson, Diefenbaker all governed with no formal coalition.
    I don't see what the big deal is either way, but while I think Ignatieff is too on the defensive here, he is also clearing the table. He needs to go on the offensive now and lead off that he's in it to bring good governance back for ALL canadians.

    • Forgot one, Dan. There's a more recent example of being able to govern with no formal coalition.

      Oh, and Clark? Bad example.

  10. Why as a potential prime minister would you handcuff your future decisions this way? What if the Liberals win a small minority and need the other parties to prop them up? Will that be called a coalition, too?

    This is a reflexively stupid promise that joins the Conservatives in undermining centuries of parliamentary tradition and potential.

    If we're going to be a republic can we at least avoid being the banana kind where there are no checks and balances against the Executive branch?

    • Actually Toby, in your example, that's not a coalition, its a minority. The question is, what happens if the Liberals wind up 15 or 20 seats behind the Tories. Would he let Harper carry on as a minority PM, or would he a few phone calls? If its the latter, then we're talking about a coalition, no matter how Mikey tries to dress it up.

    • "What if the Liberals win a small minority and need the other parties to prop them up? Will that be called a coalition, too?"

      Propping up and having a coalition government would be different things. One agreeing to a variety of shared policy and legislative objectives, the other sharing government decisions including caucus and cabinet.

  11. Stupid, stupid, stupid thing to say.

    The possibility of a coalition is a hard reality of the parliamentary system. You can't dismiss it outright any more than you can dismiss the possibility of a minority Parliament.

  12. Stupid, stupid, stupid thing to say.

    The possibility of a collation is a hard reality of the parliamentary system. You can't dismiss it outright any more than you can dismiss the possibility of a minority Parliament.

    • So stupid because of all of the many coalition governments we've had in our 142 history?

      • 1917 Conservative Prime Minister Robert Borden asked Wilfrid Laurier, leader of the Liberal party, to join forces to create a Union Government for the duration of the war…Laurier turned down his … Borden's proposal was attractive to some Liberals, however. This began the slow trickle of Liberals who supported conscription to the Conservative side of government….

        PMSH needs 12 more seats for a majority, a slow trickle.
        MI needs 78 more seats for a majority, a coalition with socialists and separatists.

        • wilson, if the CPC will indeed use the coalition bogeyman as a strategy for this election, you will need to readjust your math because the Tories are likely to lose all of their seats in Quebec (except maybe for Bernier).

          • As things stand now Harper would likely have to gain around 20 seats to form a majority (his beach head in Quebec really is ruined). I'm not a professional at this or anything but it seems like he's tapped out in the West and in the rural ridings, and they've never managed to break into the urban centres.

            The question becomes, do you think he'd be able to pull an extra 20 seats from suburban Ontario/The Maritimes? With an opposition leader who, for all his faults, really is far more popular than Dion ever was (both inside and outside the Party), and an NDP which is almost certain to lose seats to the Liberals?

            I think any way you slice it it's at best a weakened minority.

            Which then begs the question, would another minority government be enough to expose the chinks in the armour of the Reform/PC alliance?

            (of course Ignatieff could be found with a kilo of coke in his trunk…that might be enough to change things ;)

          • "One could argue that by formalizing a coalition the NDP would actually be losing influence."

            Absolutely and with Kenney leading the charge…

      • But how many of those 142 years have involved four parties always being competitive for at least 10 % of the seats in the House?

      • Stupid because he is ruling out an option that is perfectly sane and legal, just on the off chance that Harper will be nicer to him. Fat chance. Weak leader.

  13. Does the term "governing coalition" rule out an informal agreement with either or both of the other opposition parties to support the Liberals that may or may not include cabinet positions?

    • That's how I read it too. He doesn't need to be in a governing coalition (ie NDP with cabinet positions) to hold the confidence of the house. He would just need a handful of MP's to back him. Party line don't nessesarily have anything to do with it.

  14. He say NO, I hear MAYBE.

    Or was that IT DEPENDS (…who the leader is…)?

  15. So I guess this will put an end to all those Liberals who keep arguing for the merits of a coalition, right? At least I hope so!

    • I'm not a Liberal but I think any constitutional arrangement that reflects the majority of the population is legitimate.

      Democracy by any other name…

  16. of course its "…make a few phone calls…."

    I guess its true, beer and blogging don't mix.

  17. An old story from the US: Lydon Johnson asked his campaign manager to start a story about his opponent doing… um… dirty things to farm animals. The campaign manger thought it was insane, and nobody would believe him. LBJ responded with "I know that, but I want to hear him DENY it". I think thats exactly what Harper is up to here, have Iggy deny his intentions of a coalition until thats all that the public thinks of when they see him.

    • Campaign manger? Paging Dr. Freud!

  18. Call it a coalition, an 'arrangement' or a union…..the question is
    '''would the LPC join with the NDP to seize government, should PMSH win another minority?''

    The answer is,
    yes, IF Liberals and Dippers combined form a majority, and can come to an arrangement the majority in the House will support.

    And that is the only situation in which the GG should consider
    an elected government losing power to a 2 party losing opposition government, a stable majority coalition. (experts say)
    Libs and Dippers know that, thats why the BLOC 'had to be written into' the coalition agreement last Dec.

    And that is also the only situation in which the ROC would accept a 'coalition' government as legitimate…..no BLOC support. period.

    • Yeah, you can claim that til the moon turns blue and it doesn't give it any stronger basis in fact.

  19. "And that is also the only situation in which the ROC would accept a 'coalition' government as legitimate…..no BLOC support. period."

    Thank you Madame Jean. You could also prorogue Parliament to prevent anything from happening at all, like you did the last time.

    • The December coalition of losers wiped out the West's voice and replaced it with separatists.
      PMSH polled over 50% at that point……it's just reality anon.
      Doesn't matter what our ancient parliamentary system allows,
      or that a one province separatist party sits in our federal parliament,
      the majority of Canadians still have to approve it, and they didn't.
      The GG obviously made the right decision to prorogue, it met with Canadians approval……and MI proceeded with his bloodless coup to kill ' that' coalition.

      • Really.. wiped out the West's voice? Ignoring the fact that half of BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba did not elect Harper's party, you seem to be under the delusion that not being in government means there is no power.

        Then again, considering how long Harper has been preaching "My way or highway" even within his own party I suppose it seems a reasonable possibility.

        I'm actually starting to pity conservatives. It must be terrible living a life so full of fear.

    • That's "Thank you, Your Excellency," Anon…

  20. Why is Iggy trying to reinvent history? I should think the right answer would be something like:

    "Look, last December we were faced with a crisis, of Conserative creation, and we saw a coalition as the only viable way to move forward. As we learned, this runs against the desires of many Canadians. We listened, and continue to listen to the voters. So let me be clear: I will not enter into a coalition arrangement after this election."

    • In reading the CBC website story about this, I think he was more nuanced than the 'In January…" line quoted above would suggest.

  21. Why is Iggy trying to reinvent history? I should think the right answer would include something like:

    "Look, last December we were faced with a crisis, of Conserative creation, and we saw a coalition as the only viable way to move forward. As we learned, this runs against the desires of many Canadians. We listened, and continue to listen to the voters. So let me be clear: I will not enter into a coalition arrangement after this election."

  22. "In January, we did not support a coalition and we do not support a coalition today or tomorrow.

    'We do not support a coalition' is not the same as saying 'we will never enter into a coaltion'. Somebody needs reading comprehension lessons.

  23. "In January, we did not support a coalition and we do not support a coalition today or tomorrow,"

    …but of course the day after tomorrow is a whole new ball game.

    • You could drive a truck through that gaping hole in Iggy's sentence. "Today or tomorrow" seems like a calculated attempt at creating wiggle room for a future reversal of this position.

      • Yup. He's carefully avoiding the word "never" and the phrase "not under my leadersip". It's pretty clearly anything but unequivocal.

        I love how the CBC frames it though: "we do not support a coalition today or tomorrow" gets written up as a "vowed Friday thatt his party would never enter into a governing coalition".

        They're a funny bunch, those CBC writers.

      • Yup. He's carefully avoiding the word "never" and the phrase "not under my leadersip". It's pretty clearly anything but unequivocal.

        I love how the CBC frames it though: "we do not support a coalition today or tomorrow" gets written up as a "vowed Friday thatt his party would never enter into a governing coalition".

        They're a funny bunch, those CBC "news" writers.

      • Yup. He's carefully avoiding the word "never" and the phrase "not under my leadersip". It's pretty clearly anything but unequivocal.

        I love how the CBC frames it though: "we do not support a coalition today or tomorrow" gets written up as "vowed Friday thatt his party would never enter into a governing coalition".

        They're a funny bunch, those CBC "news" writers.

      • Yup. He's carefully avoiding the word "never" and the phrase "not under my leadersip". It's pretty clearly anything but unequivocal.

        I love how the CBC frames it though: "we do not support a coalition today or tomorrow" gets written up as "vowed Friday that his party would never enter into a governing coalition".

        They're a funny bunch, those CBC "news" writers.

      • He's never goping to be able to satisfy the Harperites, so why waster= too m uch time trying. All the man can do is say that he has no plans to do and can't foresee plausible circumstances under which it would happen.
        This is the worst – asking a politician to foreswear any potential future act.
        How about Harper – why not ask him what he would do if he were to end up second place in a minority parliament? As the sitting PM, it's HIS decision whether he thinks he can still govern, and to explain to the GG how so. Why not ask Harper whether he would try to cobble together an coalition himself to maintain power in such a circumstance, or would he bow out gracefully?

  24. In response to an earlier, uncharacteristically lackluster entry by Wells

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/09/06/coalition-is-n

    one asute reader commented

    "Anyway, my guess is that the Liberal response to the coalition will be to describe Harper as an incompetent PM. In a minority parliament, perhaps the most basic duty of the PM is to maintain the confidence of the house. Ignatieff can claim that Harper has poisoned the atmosphere to the point where no other party can work with him. …

    Before he vows not to participate in a coalition, he should sharpen the definition i.e. no formal sharing of powers. He can then go on to say that he respects all Canadians and therefore as PM he would respect all of their representatives. Therefore if he were PM he would have regular meetings with all the other leaders and seek common goals.

    Ignatieff can probably leave it to others to point out that in a minority situation, the GG is free to ask any leader to attempt to form a government. So bottom line: no coalition, minority government that works, PM that respects all Canadians and their representatives."

  25. I feel bad for Iggy on this one. He was trapped. He had to nip this in the bud or risk having it become a ballot question that would be unfavourable to the Liberals.

    Harper is an evil genius. But lucky for Iggy, if he breaks this promise post-election, it is unlikely anyone will care, since no one seems to have cared about the promises Harper has broken.

  26. Also, this coming election campaign is going to be the most vicious, dispiriting, pointless campaign yet – and after 04 06 and 08 that's really saying something. And in spite of my great disappointment, I hope Harper gets his majority, for the sole reason that if we do not break this cycle of minority governments, we are going to be stuck on perpetual campaign footing forever, and the Tories are the only party anywhere close to being able to form a majority.

    I think we can safely discard all the theoretical notions about how great minority governments are. They are terrible. They lead to less co-operation, not more, and more partisanship, not less, because everyone's always got one eye on the next, possibly imminent, campaign.

    I want a majority government. Which party forms it is almost irrelevant at this point. So if it's gotta be Harper, fine. Either he does a good job and it will have been a wise choice, or he screws up badly and (hopefully) the Grits actually get their act together, and we throw the bums out in 2013.

    • Actually, that's full of crap. Simply because Harper's party is dysfunctional doesn't mean that minority governments are. In many countries they function just fine. And they'd function just fine in Canada as well if our politicians weren't so bloody spineless with so little faith in the intelligence of Canadians.

      That said, I would rather this continual cycle than provide Harper majority power. I don't want doomsday evangelists who believe government should be run into the ground running our government. Call me crazy.

      (and for those conservatives who might take offense at that characterization, please know that I'm not referring to most of you. But do some research into what Glorious Leader really believes and follows, and know that there's a difference between principled conservatives, and Harper's party.)

      • Thwim, you're not thinking long term. There is nothing – absolutely nothing – that a Harper majority could do that couldn't be undone in 2013 if it so became Canadian's fancy. I don't care much for Stephen Harper but this hidden agenda nonsense has been put to bed three times already, so I will indeed call you crazy.

        Harper may have been the catalyst for the current dysfunctionality, but he's infected all the parties with it. Harper's been intransigent and petty in refusing to cooperate with the opposition, but the opposition parties have all been just as bad (after all, it's not an equal partnership).

        What happens "in many countries" will not necessarily happen in Canada, because as Coyne once pointed out, politics here is uniquely stupid, and I see no prospect of that changing anytime soon. So, better to not have to go through this stupid charade on an annual basis, and instead only subject the population to it every four years.

        • You believe that? That there's nothing that could be done that couldn't be undone in 4 years? You've heard of judges, perhaps? Examine Harper's senate appointments to see the mischief that could be achieved with an unbridled majority.

          Here's another one: Elimination of welfare for seasonal employment. On the face of it, a good thing. If implemented poorly, or too rapidly, and it results in the mass foreclosure of various regions of our country, followed by mass emigration and long term depression in the region. Have you seen anything of the Harper party that indicates such a plan would be implemented well?

          Here's another one: Sale of government owned assets with the subsequent rental of those assets back under long term lease contracts. We're talking government lease contracts, so a decade isn't an unreasonable estimate.

          And another: Shutting down insite in BC. How many people die? How many turn to desparate crime and possibly injure others or at very least get themselves thrown in the prisons? How do we undo that come 2013?

          And that's just three off the top of my head. Don't even get me started into how environmental standards might slip under a majority conservative government and how the hell do we fix that four years later? How do you rewind environmental damage?

          • Good grief, Thwin, are you drinking Liberal kool-aid? There's plenty of things to criticize Stephen Harper about without having to fantasize about insane things he might do.

            Explain to me why I should care if Tories stack out the Senate with partisan hacks…when that's all the Liberals have ever done before them?

            Explain to me why *all* the policy decisions you refer do can't simply be reversed?

            You sound essentially like a Liberal who doesn't like Conservative policies. Big deal. I don't like the policies of any of the major parties at all. But I'm not stupid enough to believe that the election of any one of them to a majority will permanently damage Canada.

          • Good grief. How dense are you? Sure, we can reverse the policy decisions, but you see, these things have effects. And the effects can be extremely long-term to permanent.

            For instance, if closing insite results in desparate people turning to crime and injuring or killing others, we can't make that have not happened by re-opening insite. Believe it or not, we really don't know how to bring people back from the dead yet.

            If we allow companies to run roughshod over the environment for four years, that's not reversed simply by turning around and saying, "Uh, yeah.. you can't dump those PCBs into the ground water supply on your property anymore."

            Policies have consequence. Try thinking things through to conclusion.

          • Good grief. How dense are you? Sure, we can reverse the policy decisions, but you see, these things have effects. And the effects can be extremely long-term to permanent.

            For instance, if closing insite results in desparate people turning to crime and injuring or killing others, we can't make that have not happened by re-opening insite. Believe it or not, we really don't know how to bring people back from the dead yet.

            If we allow companies to run roughshod over the environment for four years, that's not reversed simply by turning around and saying, "Uh, yeah.. you can't dump those PCBs into the ground water supply on your property anymore."

            Policies have consequence. Try thinking things through to conclusion.

            And no, I'm no fan of the Liberals either. That you would think that just goes to show how badly you've been blinded by the "My way or highway" rhetoric that Harper continually spews.

            Use your brain, there's more than black or white out there. Opposition to Harper does not equate to support of Liberals.

  27. Why doesn't anyone demand that Harper unequivocally state that he will NEVER, EVER cooperate with any other party under any circumstances? We know he was on the verge of creating an alliance with BQ in 2004, so if there is a minority government, there should be just as much of a chance of Harper cooking up a deal with another party as there is with Ignatieff.

    BTW: Its quite amusing to hear Harper go on about the perils of a coalition with "socialists" just two short weeks after he appointed one of those "socialists" to be his ambassador to Washington!

  28. "I think we can safely discard all the theoretical notions about how great minority governments are. They are terrible. They lead to less co-operation, not more, and more partisanship, not less, because everyone's always got one eye on the next, possibly imminent, campaign."

    I don't think the problem lies with minority govts. I think the problem is with Harper's leadership style. A minority govt with a PM who holds a pathological hatred for his Opposition makes for an impossible situation.

  29. Ya know, I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with a different conclusion than the one you just drew and it's just not there. The Republican-style "total war" form of governance that Harper has adopted doesn't seem to wear well in Parliamentary Democracy.

    • I'm sometimes mistaken as a Liberal partisan for my anti-Conservative stance. I'm not, particularly. Cynicism and contempt remain the underlying theme to Harper's political life, and for many of the Harris-Conservatives who surround him. Cynicism and contempt for the instiutions of our nation, for their opponents, and even their own base, seem to be the only consistent theme. And it's not a great place from which to work collaboratively.

  30. BTW if, apropos of the Dion-Layton deal, a combined Grit/Dipper "non-coalition coaltion" had fewer seats than the Conservatives, I really doubt that Her Excellency would have Iggy over for tea. (Unless Gilles was a part of the coalition himself.) In that case it's quite possible that Mdme Jean would ask another member of the government to see if s/he could get a budget passed. Her duty, after all, is to see that Canada has a government that can pass bills of supply, not to be concerned about who's turn it is.

    • I agree with all your points. The major point that I left unsaid was that the Liberals and NDP would have to have the combined number of seats to form a majority. Otherwise the GG would have no other option but to call another election (and then I think the people of Canada would probably punish the Liberals and give Harper his majority)

  31. Frankly I wish we would all stop the madness….

    You either trust what Harper says or you trust what Ignatieff says……or the third option is that you see this entire argument as angels dancing on the proverbial pin……in other words it is a straw man and not worth the distraction. (maybe in Harper's case it is worth the distraction….after all if I had to defend those financial numbers…..I would be looking to change the message too)