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‘The choice is yours’

Jack Layton passes the baked potato back to the PM


 

Jack Layton passes the baked potato back to Mr. Harper.

“Within minority Parliaments, the Prime Minister must understand that he cannot govern alone. Canadians did not give the Conservatives a majority. They elected a minority parliament, which calls on parties to find common ground and work together where possible … The choice is yours, Mr. Harper. You can choose to work with other parties, or you can choose an election. In either case, New Democrats are ready.”


 

‘The choice is yours’

    • half baked makes more sense.

  1. Jack Layton is walking a tightrope here in terms of managing the optics. He's been fairly vague about what the Prime Minister would need to do in order to "work with" the NDP. It seems clear that Jack wants to avoid a fall election.

    • IMprving access to EI/eligibility and pension security are vague? If the PM wants more information, he could look at one of the NDP private member bills, or ask Layton what he means. Have to be willing to listen in the first place though.

      • I'd say pension security is pretty vague.

        • Not really. You just take whatever Jack Mintz recommends and do the opposite.

        • It is HIGHLY vague and deliciously complicated. I hope it goes away as a political issue so that the feds acutally do the right thing.

        • The only pension Jack Layton wants "secured" from the Tories is his own. He was elected in May of 2004 and therefore need to get his six years in…

          • Whereas the Harper Conservatives will all refuse theirs.

        • Complaining a sound bite is vague is ridiculous. I can't think of a faster way of getting the TV cameras shut off than for one of the leaders to start reading from a Private Members bill. In any case the detail is available to Stephen Harper, the media, and you.

    • He's been fairly vague about what the Prime Minister would need to do in order to "work with" the NDP.

      Indeed. However, whatever it is, it's apparently going to be good for my credit card balance.

  2. I see lots of tough talk from Jack and Ignatieff, but we'll have to wait and see who actually has the nerve to back it up.

    What I know for sure is, if Ignatieff backs down from his threats this time he will be a bigger laughing stock then Dion was.

    No matter what happens, it should make for some good entertainment.

  3. Actually, in any confidence vote, the choice lies with opposition parties.

    • It is the lead-up to the confidence vote where the choice lies with the government. At least, according to Stephen Harper in 2005 it is:

      " It's the government's obligation to look really to the third parties to get the support to govern … Well there are lots of things that could bring the government down, but my opposition can not bring the government down. The government can only be brought down because it alienates several parties in the House. And the first obligation in this Parliament, if the government wants to govern, it has to come to Parliament and it has to show that it can get the support of the majority of members … our primary responsibility is not to prop up the government, our responsibility is to provide an opposition and an alternative government for Parliament and for Canadians. What the government has to do, if it wants to govern for any length of time, is it must appeal primarily to the third parties in the House of Commons to get them to support it."

      • As usual, Harper as Opposition Leader has nothing to do with Harper as Prime Minister. Notice Harper said "for any length of time".

        Of course it is a shared responsibility, but the PM has added responsibility bestowed by his power. Harper is incapable of working with the Liberals because he would rather attack them, wherever he is. I guess we will see if he can work with the NDP or Bloc.

    • It lies with the party that introduced the confidence vote. It's their responsibility to make it palatable to the majority.

  4. Technically, Conservative MPs could withdraw confidence from government too!

    • especially since Harper followed through on his promise to free up his MPs to vote more freely…..i mean, er,….ah…. never mind….

      • Outsider political parties (Like Reform) always remind me a bit of young adults explaining how they'll raise kids before they get around to having them. In both cases, you end up eating a lot words.

      • Outsider political parties (Like Reform) always remind me a bit of young adults explaining how they'll raise kids before they get around to having them. In both cases, you end up eating a lot of words.

        • agreed Sean, though I think it can even get to 'insider' opposition parties in various knee-jerk reactions (e.g., Chretien GST cut; Iggy on EI) and even opposing factions within a party (e.g., Martin's Gomery commission).

          But to be clear, your original point was spot on. More extreme government MPs also have the option of defection around confidence votes.

  5. LOL. Maybe he needs to invite Harper to a Beer Summit.

  6. Well then it's settled. The prime minister simply has to announce that all his money bills are palatable to the opposition.

    • Iggy claims he won't go for that any longer so Harper may actually have to make it palatable rather just declare it this time.

      • That's exactly right. Harper's free ride is over. He will have to actually make it palatable to the other parties rather than forcing bad policy (poison pills) in with generally accepted policy.

  7. It's a common campaign slogan that probably dates back a century or more.

  8. And this is supposed to deflect the criticism of unoriginality?

      • I think that's why the LPC is still using Redbook promises.

        • … and the CONs are trotting out their Marvel comics promises/arguments…

    • If you want original politics, vote Rhino.

  9. Let me get this straight. The guy who announced he was voting against the Economic Update WITHOUT EVEN READING IT wants the other guy to "make parliament work".

    Jack Layton. A voice of reason.

    • Until there's evidence that Harper will fulfill more than the simplest of promises in any sort of meaningful way, whether that be for income trusts, softwood lumber, elected senators, fixed election dates, accountability, health care wait times, arctic ice-breakers.. err.. breaker.. er.. patrol ship(s?).. then that strikes as a pretty reasonable way to go. Why waste your time reading something he has no intention of actually doing?

  10. It seems fairly clear that Layton has made his choice… given that he really only had one it is surprising it took so long. He has read the signals from Harper (or the screaming and yelling from the Pierre and Diane show) that "backroom deals" have been declared off limits…. shocking given that scaring the public with the coalition will be a major upcoming Conservative theme.

    Layton will support the government on a vote by vote basis. So the NDP will presumably pass any W&M measure that shows up. They will have a harder time opposing a Liberal non-confidence vote, they could not show up… but given his scorching treatment when the Liberals did this it probably does not fly. So Jack gets to delay things a bit and see if the offerings get any better before crunch time.

  11. Translation: "We're really not ready for an election, but since you pulled the plug on the backroom deal we were trying to work out, I guess I'll try to salvage what I can by at least blaming you for the election."

  12. Translation: "We're really not ready for this, but since you vetoed the backroom deal we were attempting I'll try to salvage what I can by blaming you for the election."

  13. Translation: "We're really not ready for an election, but since you vetoed the backroom deal we were attempting, I'll try to salvage what I can by blaming you for the election."

    • They're very sorry about that, and they're going to throw out Change You Believe In for something fresher. Right now it's a toss-up between Yes We Can, We Are The Ones We've Been Waiting For and Jack Layton Is Ready To Be America's First African-American President.

      • What remains to be seen is Layton's position on Hope.

        • Oh, I think Layton believes in hope!

          What's the NDP without hope?

      • For Layton, surely "I am the one I've been waiting for."

        • +1

          You owe me a new keyboard

          • Thanks! I'd cover it, but no doubt you'll be ruining mine in turn. : )

      • i think he can jsut move to 'The NDP: We are the World', and the beauty is they already have an awesome theme song they can purchase the rights to!

      • i think he can jsut move to 'The NDP: We are the World', and the beauty of it is they already have an awesome theme song they can purchase the rights to!

      • " Change Only We Can Believe In" should be in the hat as well.

      • OMG, that is funny! Jack Layton, the first black prime minister! Just like Bill Clinton!

    • Here is my immediate Election 2009 donation to Canada's New Democrats. Let's be ready to match the corporate-backed Conservatives right from day one.

      The corporate-backed Conservatives?

      • All parties are backed by incorporated entities.

        Conservatives by oil, Liberals by banks, Dippers by unions.

        • Given the context, I suspect they are trying to trick credulous supporters into thinking that the Conservatives are funded by eeevil corporations, but the NDP is funded by hard-working Canadians sitting around their kitchen tables.

      • He really seems to believe people have a general hatred for corporations (seems as though we all know someone who works for one or who owns shares in one of those damn things). Damn that MacDonald's and damn that Walmart!

    • It's a common campaign slogan that probably dates back a century or more.

      • Now, Robert. Let the dogs chase the cats. It's harmless fun … and they never catch them.

    • Spare change you can believe in.

  14. Sightly off topic, but it feels to me as though we've gotten the whole concept of minority governance backwards. As though, somehow, it's the responsibility of the opposition parties to keep the government in power, rather than the government's responsibility to figure out how to work with the opposition.

    Now, it's largely a moot issue, imho, because for all the "Canadians don't want an election" talk, I don't think any party has ever been punished for the fact that we all have to spend ten minutes voting (and really, what kind of citizens would we be if we punished politicians for making us vote!) but to the extent that it's an issue that's discussed, I find it fascinating that we would ever think of blaming an opposition party for failing to prop up a government, rather than the government for failing to work with the other parties. Particularly in a Parliament in which the government will only fall if EVERY SINGLE OTHER PARTY votes against them.

    • Oh.. and you were so close!

      I mean, you caught on to the role reversal ploy that's been handily passed off to the uncritical media to repeat, but you missed that the point of the "Canadian's don't want an election" talk is specifically to keep people focused on the very small instance issue of "who pulled the plug" rather than the larger issue of "How have our governing parties been working for us?"

      Because the answer to that last question is that they haven't been. They've all been too damned busy campaigning.

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