'We think there's lots of work to do even if the government doesn't' - Macleans.ca

‘We think there’s lots of work to do even if the government doesn’t’


Liberal MPs are expected to be in Ottawa on January 25.


‘We think there’s lots of work to do even if the government doesn’t’

  1. Glad to see that some folks don't believe in taking an extended 2 month vacation for no good reason other then to cover Harper's backside.

  2. Nothing says "I'm in touch with average Canadians" than obviously staged political theatre in Ottawa.

  3. Nothing says "I'm in touch with average Canadians" like a 3 month paid Harper Holiday away from their jobs.

  4. I'd rather a political theatre than no theatre at all.

    • After all, we’re still paying their salaries. We might as well get some theatre.

  5. Whatever. At the moment, I'm amused by the schizoid messaging: clearly (some of) the adults in the OLO realize that a full-on Harper-bashing sideshow has the capacity to backfire on them, but they're going to go ahead with kangaroo courts and such anyway.

  6. Really trying to push that one, eh?

    Let me ask you something. How much of an impact do you think the late Western Standard's invention of "Libranos" had, pray tell? Do you believe it ever caught on outside of people who already loathed the Liberals? Do you think your cute neologism is different in some way?

    • Actually, a lot of regular Canadians are picking up on this. If one leaves the basement for a few minutes and actually speaks to real people, the topic tends to come up. And the result is generally a lot of frustration with the government for doing this.

      What hasn't caught on?

      -"It had to be done to appoint senators." That's generally met with "Why? Senators can get appointed without a big break."

      -"It had to be done for the economic recovery. We have to recalibrate" That's generally met with "how does not working help the economy? Shouldn't they have had this planned out already?"

      -"We can't have all this partisan nonsense during the Olympics… it will embarass Canada on the international stage!" That's generally met with "Oh come on! Most Canadians don't follow Canadian politics. Why would any other country? That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard! You mean they are taking a huge break so they can go to the Olympics!?! <various rants about losing/barely keeping jobs while the stupid politicians go play in the snow>"

  7. Political theatre after a decadent leisurely stay at his luxury European villa no less.

    I can just picture Iggy rolling up those imported cashmere sleeves, wiping away the bit of pate du froie gras from the corner of his mouth, and really "getting down to work"…

    a real working man's working man.

    • You'll eat your Timbits and you'll like them Michael Igantieff. And you'll go to Disneyland on your vacation like a REAL CANADIAN!!!

  8. 2 months holiday? It's 15 sitting days…..

  9. Good on the Liberals for doing this. Harper is banking on shutting down Parliament to rob the voice of the opposition parties but this may give them a stage to continue doing an important aspect of their jobs: criticizing the government and holding them accountable.

    If you caught Harper's interview with Peter Mansbridge tonight you can see that he seems to think we're living in a pollocracy. He's determined that it's not important for the Afghanistan Committee to continue looking into the detainee issue because polls indicate it's not an important issue for Canadians. Guess what you arrogant jerk, we're governed by parliamentarians, our elected representatives, not by pollsters. Your legitimacy as Prime Minister is directly related to the confidence placed in you by those parliamentarians so you may want to reconsider treating them as an inconvenience to be dismissed whenever you feel like it.

  10. If the Opps join them……the Coalition of Losers rises from the ashes

  11. But Scott said it was 2 months….anyone want to make 15 DAYS into 4 months!

  12. Don't yah think that the Opps and their media beating up an issue for 3 years, is a wee bit of a yawner?

    A real government in waiting would be having meetings about the future of the Afghan mission,
    not trying to score points cuz an Afghan was beaten with a shoe, by another Afghan in an Afghan government jail.

  13. Over the course of two months.

    Besides, can't committees meet on non-sitting days? I know they can't while Parliament is prorogued (hence the 2 month holiday), but I am pretty sure they can meet otherwise.

    • note to the LPC: there's more to an MP's job description than asking stupid questions in the house, and trying to come up with the scandal-du-jour. Maybe you should spend the time coming up with what you stand for.

  14. Guess what you arrogant jerk, we're governed by parliamentarians, our elected representatives, not by pollsters

    Those parliamentarians ignore public opinion to fulfill your revenge fantasy at their political peril.

  15. Yes wilson. It's a "yawner".

    So boring Harper risked all his bills to prorogue parliament in order to be held accountable for it.

    Man, I'm falling asleep even as I type.

  16. Has anyone ever seen biff and Karl Marx in the same room at the same time?

  17. I wonder when Canadians will awaken from their collective slumber. Not soon, if some of the comments above are any indication. Unless you forgot, this now makes TWO years running our intrepid PM has prorogued parliament. He'll do pretty much anything to avoid controversy, debate, the issues.. you know… uh.. the hard work of democracy.

    To recap: Harper has dodged torture allegations, he failed spectacularly on the world stage in Copenhagen on one of the most pressing issues of our time, the economy is not out of the woods; in fact, I'd say we're due for more serious economic hardship in 5-10 years if Canada does not seriously work on a plan to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and its exports to the USA.

    No one is stepping up with leadership. Ignatieff is a fumbling clown. The Liberals of… uh.. even 2008 might have come up with something thanks to Dion's principled leadership. Now they're empty, clueless, apologists for the somnolent stupidity that is the Ottawa Consensus: which is, in a nutshell, "don't worry, we're in the kitchen burning your future."

    • Actually Dakota, I think we have more of a dyed-in-the-wool Marxist if Laurence's blog is any indication. Although there is some overlap in those two constituencies, to be sure.

      Welcome aboard Laurence, there's always room here for a literate commenter, even if his world view reduces reality to economics.

  18. Wow. Another one liner blog posting from Wherry about his fave team.

    • Wow. Another ad hominen attack on a blog.

  19. Maybe the Liberals can start to do their job once parliament resumes, you know, official opposition. Although I doubt they will be opposing anything when the budget is tabled.

    I'm looking forward to seeing Canada win gold in February and watching Ignatief tuck tail and once again vote with the Conservatives.

    What a wonderful year this is going to be.

    • They oppose government, government obfuscates, distracts and ultimately nullifies all legitimate concerns so we can enjoy the hippodome races and join Dionysus in willful bliss.

      Shame on some Canadians for not giving up all their cares for the spectacles!

  20. So you think the job of the official opposition is to vote non-confidence in the government?

  21. It's job is to oppose the government, hence the name. I know it's hard to put it together, but if you try really hard you'll see it. Look closely.

    Offical Opposition.

    See it yet?

    • Your literalim amuses me and leads me to think you have very little understanding of what it takes to have a functioning parliament.

  22. So you think it is their job to vote non-confidence then? It is the only measure of opposing that you have mentioned, so I have to assume that is what you think.

  23. You don't believe in the supremacy of Parliament…what a surprise!

  24. Well Well, Mr Ignatieff i'd just about given up on you…perhaps you are listening after all…more importantly have you learned to act? Good move – at last.

  25. Liberals are also open to continuing unofficial hearings into the treatment of Afghan detainees, provided all opposition parties work together to ensure the hearings don't devolve into "an overtly partisan event."

    Derisive snicker.

  26. Quick, a warmer! Hide the decline!

    • It’s funny how deniers don’t even understand what the email meant by ‘hide the decline’. They saw the comment out of context on Fox News and had it ‘explained’ to them by a talking head.

  27. If – as seems likely – Harper has prorogued Parliament to avoid facing tough questions on the Afghan detainee issue, it is the opposition's responsibility to ensure that these questions are answered when Parliament resumes.

    If they do not assume this responsibility, Parliament becomes a hollow shell.

  28. " ‘We think there's lots of work to do even if the government doesn't'…to show Liberal MPs and senators busy constructively addressing the issues that matter most to Canadians."

    This is probably the best line of attack: Show the Tories as unwilling to return to work, while the opposition works.

    But is it effective? Harper's been working all week, John Baird announced new airport scanners yesterday, and I heard Jean-Pierre Blackburn on the radio yesterday. Meanwhile, ironically, Ignatieff is still away on vacation.

    I doubt the Tories will be sitting down for the next two months, waiting for parliament to resume. I imagine they will be very active. The suggestion that the Tories won't be doing any work until March might not sell as well as the Liberals expect.

    (And anyone else wonder what this does to Ignatieff's university tour? Has it been cancelled?)

  29. Interesting that the usual suspects are essentially ignoring the issue at hand to take some more pot shots at Ignatieff. Anyways, if the Liberals do avoid the gimmicky stuff, this does have the potential to be a pretty good story for them.

  30. "Rather, they'll do things like hold roundtable discussions with experts on a variety of issues in a bid to show Liberal MPs and senators busy constructively addressing the issues that matter most to Canadians.

    Liberal Party of Canada press release? Close, but no cigar: Toronto Star journalist's report.

    Kibitzing "with experts on a variety of issues".

    At least they'll look busy.

  31. I fear that it's already become gimmicky. I expect to see both parties (Libs and Tories) fight for news coverage, in an effort to make it look like they're working hard.

    The suggestion from the Liberals is that the Tories want an extended vacation, to essentially do nothing.

    To not appear hypocritical, the Liberals will work hard to… appear to work hard. And the Tories will fight back by working hard to… appear to be working hard, to counter the Liberals' attack.

    The past few days alone, Harper, Baird and Blackburn have been in the news. Expect many other government announcements, even trivial ones, just to give the impression the Tories are working. Ditto with the Liberals – lots of round table discussions, cross-country campus tours, criticising, etc etc… all in an effort to dispel the "just vacationing" theme.

    Or maybe I'm just disillusioned, and the Tories and Libs genuinely want to work hard?

  32. Finally, the right answer to this Harper nonsense. Would have been better, though, to say this as soon as prorogation rumors began in mid-December.

  33. The main problem for the Liberals is that it is pretty easy for the government to look like they are actually working while, without parliament open, it is pretty hard for the opposition to look the same. It's another battle the Liberals are destined to lose.

  34. " Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff informed his caucus during a conference call Tuesday that he expects them to report for work on Jan 25 ……. "We think there's lots of work to do even if the government doesn't," said one Liberal involved in the call."

    I wish Bryden would have taken a moment to explain why they were on a conference call, Canadian democracy is burning but Iggy's still in Europe!, but I am not convinced this stunt will do much good.

    By the time Lib MPs report back to work, they have had a 6/7 week (???) vacation already, so I am not convinced that Lib message will be all that great – We deserve six week vacations after we have worked a month or two but 10 week vacations are outrageous!

    MPs are worse than teachers now for how much time off they need because they are supposedly working so hard. And Iggy wintering in Europe, while Harper is currently in Canada working, is not how you want to set up your 'there is work to do' message but Libs know they can rely on msm to carry their water.

  35. No reason why he can't do both…i'm just happy[?] to see Ignatieff working…the man has an amazing facility for looking lazy and elitist, even when he doesn't intend it.

  36. “We think there’s lots of work to do even if the government doesn’t”

    This kind of messaging actually contributes to the debasement of the role of MPs and the purpose of parliament. The problem isn’t that the Harper Government is trying to take a holiday from governing, the problem is that they are trying to take a vacation from accountability (or at least the last vestiges of it).
    I don’t know if the problem is that Liberals think we’re too dumb to get that, or that they have, in dumbing down the message for so long, become that dumb themselves.

    • They're following Wells advice to keep the messaging stupid enough that ordinary, non-jazz loving Canadians can follow.

    • tobyornotoby · 35 minutes ago
      "We think there's lots of work to do even if the government doesn't"

      This kind of messaging actually contributes to the debasement of the role of MPs and the purpose of parliament. The problem isn't that the Harper Government is trying to take a holiday from governing, the problem is that they are trying to take a vacation from accountability …,

      Exactly, and a point that isn't made often enough.

      Another point often missed is that without prorogration, Parliament would have been recessed until January 25th, with the dates having been agreed upon by all parties.

      " …don't know if the problem is that Liberals think we're too dumb to get that, or that they have, in dumbing down the message for so long, become that dumb themselves."

      Don't let the Conservatives off the hook here. Their talking points about the reasons for prorogation were every bit as much an insult to my intelligence.

    • They're following Wells' advice to keep it stupid for the dumb non-jazz loving commoners.

  37. Agreed Harper and Layton pissing off on vacation almost before the floors swept sends a real mixed message…democracy is n crisis…could you please send the sunblock[ is iggy somewhere hot]?

    Lay off the teachers. You've obviously never worked as one. I'm married to one, good teachers work their asses off…9 out of 10 people i know couldn't keep up the pace or stress of working in any school…it's one of the oldest and most unfair myths out there. And i know. I sub from tme to time…not even half the work and it's often exhausting. If they didn't get decent time off the burn out rate would soar…fact!

  38. Why does this seem likely to you? He's been facing these questions for weeks. It's made not a single dent in his armour despite a full court media press on the topic, and it's not going to; nobody cares. Even though the topic has completely dominated media coverage, didn't a poll indicate that almost 50% of people had never even heard of the issue?

    Why would he prorogue to escape questioning that is basically the opposition and media on their own pet wild goose chase that nobody cares about? If I were Harper, I'd be absolutely thrilled that the opposition and media are focusing so much time and energy on a topic that has pretty much zero potential to cause any lasting political damage.

  39. I'm beginning to think that the Opposition parties couldn't organize a p*ss-up in a brewery!
    The anti-proroguing rallies (which I consider to be an effete howling at Harper's virtual moon) are being planned for January 23rd. The Opposition members will be back in Ottawa Janbuary 25th.
    I just hope someone points out to them the chance for getting these folks organized – since they are taking the trouble to come out and protest.
    It would be even better if ALL those Opposition leaders stood with the protesters and said – we hear you – and we are going to stand together in something called an Umbrella party – or Coalition or whatever – to beat Mr. Harper and his machinations – once and for all!
    But right now – I'm not holding my breath!

  40. It's an ugly catch-22 for the Liberals, honestly. If all three opposition parties don't show up, they don't even have a majority of MPs (which doesn't make a difference either way, except in terms of public perception); if they all do show up, it looks like we're back to the 2008 coalition, which I think it's pretty clear nobody really wants.

    I think it is, in theory, a good move, although it'll be difficult to portray the Liberals as "working hard" and not being gimmicky or, worse, coalition-y.

    Ignatieff will be at UBC next Friday–one of the only outposts of Liberal strength in Vancouver (Vancouver-Quadra and Vancouver-South)–so I look forward to hearing what he has to say about all this…

  41. So.. why DID he prorogue then, john g?

  42. I liked it better when Iggy et al were circling the country looking for policy ideas and speaking with ordinary Canadians (whatever constitutes ordinary, these days…)

    Now, the Liberals have painted themselves into the political corner that is Ottawa, and the Tories have an opportunity to say "look, while those fools were in Ottawa holding kangaroo courts, we were actually out here listening to you."

    Way to play into their hands, Iggy.

  43. I was a teacher for four years so the only 'obvious' thing about my comment is my contempt for teachers who think they work hard. The poor dears, working 9-3, four days a week for 9 months of the year must be killer. However do they manage?

    "9 out of 10 people i know couldn't keep up the pace or stress of working in any school"

    You must know some pretty idle people if they can't keep up with 'pace or stress' of working in a school. Why do union people always think they work really hard when, in fact, they are the most coddled group of workers known to man.

  44. Yes! Good for them!