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What he said (II)


 

This is excerpted from a Sept. 10, 2004 story in the National Post,  a frontpage dispatch on the letter sent by Messrs. Harper, Layton and Duceppe to the Governor General. Make of it what you will.

The letter to Mme. Clarkson, which was signed by all three opposition party leaders, states that in a minority Parliament “you could be asked by the Prime Minister to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government’s program.

“We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise, this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority,” it states.

Further, the leaders said they intend to introduce a narrow definition of confidence votes into the Commons rules as part of a larger parliamentary reform package to be implemented jointly by the three parties. Other reforms announced yesterday include allowing votes on all opposition motions, as well as votes on international treaties and government decisions to send Canadian troops to war. Two new committees were also proposed, one on women’s issues and another on access to information, privacy and ethics. Tighter rules will be advocated for committees to review and vote on government appointments.

“What we want to make sure is that the patronage factory that has been the Liberal party for the past 11 years is put out of operation,” Mr. Harper said. “It is the Parliament that’s supposed to run the country, not just the largest party and the single leader of that party. That’s a criticism I’ve had and that we’ve had and that most Canadians have had for a long, long time now so this is an opportunity to start to change that.”

In spite of the request that the Governor-General consult them if the Liberals are defeated in the House, the three leaders denied they are preparing to operate as a coalition government or usurp the government’s main powers. “This is not a coalition,” Mr. Harper said. “My staff asked me what we should call this arrangement and I said it’s the opposition parties co-operating. Maybe it’s a ‘co-opposition.’ “


 

What he said (II)

  1. " narrow definition of confidence votes "

    Line of the year given what happened in their first term.

  2. Phantom coalition – 9; Harper's fiscal update – 0.

  3. "Make of it what you will"

    Translation: attempt to compare opposition parties voting out a government (which is not unusual) to formally agreeing to govern and give the respective parties veto rights/power ect., after gaining power and more specifically a seperatist party: the first time its happened in the history of our nation.

    • biff the only reason the Opposition parties were not able to vote out the government last autumn with the FU was that Steve ran to the GG and got her to shut the doors of Parliament.

      The coalition, much like Steve's letter in 2004, was offering alternative to the GG in the event that the government fell on quetion of confidence rather than call another election.

    • The two situations are not obviously one and the same. The issue is the over the top hyperbole being used by the Conservatives decrying both the BQ and NDP. I think there was a more intelligent (and since its Canadian politics it was never going to happen) way of opposing the coalition, namely contrasting what may have been Constitutionally legitimate, with what is contextually legitimate (that's the best way I can describe the situation of last Dec). But using the socialist and the separatist rhetoric as some sort of sign that Canada would implode under itself rings a bit hollow when the Conservatives, led by Stephen Harper, once had no problem playing footsie with them. Obviously the 2004 situation never came to pass, but if it did, how would expect PMSH to keep power? A minority by its very nature means relying on others to get legislation through. (which by the way he's done with both the NDP and BQ since taking power himself in 2006)

  4. I liveblogged the speech, Geddes crunched the numbers and Coyne — was classically Coyneish. Why don't those posts count in your tally as well?

    • I'm talking about today. Yesterday was a good reporting day.

      Today, it's Friday and I think no one wants to work too hard.

      I am just struck by how blaze we've become about deficits and the incredible interest costs that will be associated with that and the clear absurdity and lack of credibility in numbers the government has.

      The PMO couldn't have asked for a better a news day after such a fiscal update.

  5. “It is the Parliament that's supposed to run the country, not just the largest party and the single leader of that party."

    Dear Liberals and NDP: take that quote, bold it, large font, slap in on every poster, repeat it in every speech, and hammer that hypocrite over the head with it til he begs for mercy.

  6. “It is the Parliament that's supposed to run the country, not just the largest party and the single leader of that party."

    Advice to the Liberals and NDP: take that quote, bold it, large font, slap in on every poster, repeat it in every speech, and hammer that hypocrite over the head with it til he begs for mercy.

    • Ideally, pay for a 5 second spot to run after any Conservative party advert, and simply have that quote on the screen and someone who sounds like Harper read it.

    • Is anyone over at Liberal HQ actually alive to the possibilities of that quote. It should be the campaign theme of the opposition parties from day one.

  7. Somehow, I doubt there were many smiling faces over at Langevin when they went through the clippings from this morning, but remember — this was a fiscal update, so presumably, it'll come up in the House next week. I suspect you'll see more coverage of it then. Think of it as a timed-release capsule of a story, and not a gelcap. berried, bien sur. From: IntenseDebate Notifications

    • Ah, Kady, you're just tryin' to play nice as we head into the weekend. ;-)

      We'll see.

      I don't think there is anything Harper wants less than for Canadians to focus on him and his handling of our finances and that he will do absolutely whatever he can to get us all talking about whatever smoke and shiny thing he brings into the room.

  8. '…the three leaders denied they are preparing to operate as a coalition government or usurp the government's main powers…'

    I guess that is why neither Jack nor Gilles has produced a signed agreement,
    it was all talk.

    • So we have your word then that should any of them say, "We will be co-operating, just not as a coalition" you won't be screaming about how it actually is a coalition?

    • Are you debating people here or just the voices underneath the tinfoil? NO ONE has suggested there was a signed coalition agreement, and have always cited the letter to the GG. The point in all of this that way back when one Stephen Harper was willing to work with the BQ and NDP, whether it be in a formal coalition or not.

  9. The point that I see here is that Layton Duceppe and Harper were asking the GG not to act on the advice of the prime minister. I don't remember Dion and the others doing this.

    In 2004 Harper wanted to form a government without having to go to the electorate. This is what Harper and his troupe later labelled "treason" (my MP's words). when Dion attempted to form a coalition.

    A signed coalition is a formal arrangement which provides an assurance of political stability.

    What Harper negotiated with the Block at the Delta Hotel in Montreal in August 2004 remains secret but one thing is for sure in my mind, Duceppe did not sign that letter to Clarkson in exchange for a bag of chips.

    Harper has led us into chaos.

  10. By the way, I dare Harper to repeat his words now and his 'principles' that the prime minister should not rely on the advice of the prime minister without first consulting with the opposition.

  11. I meant to dare Harper to repeat his position and his understanding of how the system works – that the governor general should not rely on the advice of the prime minister without first consulting with the opposition.

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