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Why Harper can’t let the coalition die

Nine months ago, Ignatieff stood with coalition partners Duceppe and Layton


 

090910_wells_tmbThe Liberals won’t be able to say they didn’t see it coming.

In the first week of January—eight months ago—Stephen Harper sat for an interview with my boss, Ken Whyte. As he discussed the year he’d just finished, and the one just ahead, Harper kept returning, again and again, to that nastiness last December in which the opposition parties responded to Harper’s fall economic update by proposing a Liberal-NDP coalition government with Bloc Québécois support.

You might think that business was all behind us. Harper didn’t.

“Obviously, if we had an election today somebody will have a majority because it will be either Canada’s Conservative government or the coalition,” the Prime Minister said.

The boss’s ears perked up. “So you think the coalition’s going to stick together?”

Harper elaborated. “Well, I’m saying if we had an election, if they were to defeat us—and you know my view—if they defeat us the only constitutional, political and moral option is to ask the people to choose who should govern. And then there will be two choices. And somebody will win a majority if those are the choices.”

By now the boss was realizing this was a big part of Harper’s message for the day. “So you think they’d actually run as a coalition?”

“I don’t think they have any choice,” Harper replied. Oh-ho. “If they defeat us as a coalition they have to run as a coalition, and I think those will be the real choices before the electorate. The electorate will know that if you’re not electing the Conservative government you’re going to be electing a coalition that will include the NDP and the separatists.”

I reprint this exchange at some length because I have found that Stephen Harper usually tells you what he’s up to. Oh, sure, he throws it in with a bunch of distraction, misdirection, and outright flip-flopping. But usually at least in hindsight you can find a neon-bright thread of intent. I have also found that his opponents almost always ignore such threads, preferring to believe Harper is up to something else that would make him easier to beat.

He couldn’t possibly be clearer here. And he and his surrogates have reprised every element of this argument in recent weeks, as the possibility of a fall election becomes less hypothetical and, thanks to Michael Ignatieff, moves closer to an inevitability.

On Aug. 25—fully a week before Ignatieff’s Sudbury speech in which he announced the Liberals will no longer vote with the government in the Commons—Harper spokesman Dimitri Soudas had these curious comments after Harper met privately with Jack Layton. “It was also clear to us that the NDP prefers and wants to work with the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois,” Soudas said. “Mr. Layton probably asked for this meeting so that he can pretend he’s not working with his coalition partners. But the reality is that he is.”

That same day, a page went up on the Conservative party website with the title, “Ignatieff Will Bring Back Coalition.”

The Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc do not appear to have given any of this a second’s thought.

It’s easy to understand why they prefer to snooze. The whole notion of an anti-Conservative coalition had more or less vanished from the public discussion. Ignatieff had completed his staged retreat from the scheme. Nine months ago he publicly supported, vocally and with his signature on a petition to the Governor General, Stéphane Dion’s attempt to wrest power from Harper with the support of all opposition MPs. By the new year Ignatieff’s formula was “coalition if necessary, but not necessarily coalition.” Since the January budget it has more or less been common knowledge in Ottawa that Ignatieff wanted no part of a joint government with the NDP.

Yet he said what he said last December. And, whatever he says now, the unfortunate example of his predecessor stands. Dion, too, was categorical about refusing to contemplate a joint government with the NDP—until it became his only route to power. “We cannot have a coalition,” Dion said during last year’s campaign, “with a party that has a platform that would be damaging for the economy. Period.” That period didn’t take long to turn into a comma.

By now I can hear the bellowing from certain quarters: but what’s wrong with a coalition government? The answer is: often, nothing. It’s actually true that in our system of government, any grouping of MPs that enjoys the support of a majority of their peers can form the government. But the details matter. Last year the details included the Liberal leader’s previous refusal (“Period.”) to consider such a thing. And the fact that he could not govern without the explicit support of almost the entire Bloc Québécois caucus. And his previous acceptance, for more than a month after the 2008 election, of his party’s defeat.

As a result the coalition experiment was a searing shock to Canada’s politics, one that divided the electorate deeply—and not to Harper’s disadvantage. He noticed. He will proceed according to what he learned. He seems to be the only one.


 

Why Harper can’t let the coalition die

  1. I understand what you're saying, Paul and I agree with you that the opposition parties consistently fail to prepare themselves for Harper's attacks. But what can one do when those attacks are aimed at our democracy itself. You can't play the same game because it only further undermines the system to Harper's advantage. Layton, Duceppe and Ignatieff could call a press conference, drop the coalition agreement on the ground and take turns crapping on it in order to end Harper's nonsense. But doing so would be an admission that coalitions are essentially undemocratic just as Harper is trying to portray them.

    So what's the answer, because I sure as hell don't know how you fight back against someone who is working to undermine our very democracy while the supposed guardians of that democracy whistle past the graveyard.

    • The answer Robert is that some coalitions are better than others.

      The conditions under which the opposition attempted their coalition could not have been worse. It would have made Stephane Dion Prime Minister, a concept which had been pretty much thoroughly rejected by the electorate, it required negoating a formal agreement with the Bloq for 18 months, and it happened mere weeks after an election which gave the Conservatives an increased minority. Frankly, the opposition should have known that this particular coalition would simply not fly in the court of public opinion, and should never have tried. And because they did try, and almost succeed, they've allowed Harper to demonize the entire concept of coalition, even more legitimate ones that might fall out of this election.

      You can' t really blame Harper for exploiting this. No politician would be able to resist campaigning on a mistake this large. How do you fix it? At this point, probably only time. People were really furious, but they forget everything in the course of time.

      Personally

    • The answer Robert is that some coalitions are better than others.

      The conditions under which the opposition attempted their coalition could not have been worse. It would have made Stephane Dion Prime Minister, a concept which had been pretty much thoroughly rejected by the electorate, it required negoating a formal agreement with the Bloq for 18 months, and it happened mere weeks after an election which gave the Conservatives an increased minority. Frankly, the opposition should have known that this particular coalition would simply not fly in the court of public opinion, and should never have tried. And because they did try, and almost succeed, they've allowed Harper to demonize the entire concept of coalition, even more legitimate ones that might fall out of this election.

      You can' t really blame Harper for exploiting this. No politician would be able to resist campaigning on a mistake this large. How do you fix it? At this point, probably only time. People were really furious, but they forget everything in the course of time.

      • "and should never have tried"

        Conveniently forgetting that infamous FU.

        • I'm not forgetting it. It was stupid, but there were other avenues to oppose it. Worst case, bite the bullet and go to the polls again. But they didn't do any of it. The coalition was the first thing they tried.

          • I wouldn't say it was stupid… one conservative commentatory called it a "declaration of war". Liberals and NDP were broke, after the last election as I recall it. I'm not sure what their "other avenues" could of been.

      • The answer Robert is that some coalitions are better than others.

        Surely you meant to say: All coalitions are equal, but some coalitions are more equal than others.

    • It wasn't Harper who made the coalition "undemocratic". It was Dion (and now Ignatieff) by their outright refusal to form one after the election. If you want to keep the option of a coalition open and have people accept it, then you actually have to make a case for it so people are prepared for it. Of course, that's a dangerous route for the Liberals to take. It weakens the incentive of left-leaning voters to vote for them (instead of the NDP) and makes right-leaning Liberal voters who have their hesitations of working with the NDP more likely to vote Conservative. It's a wedge issue Harper would be stupid not to exploit.

  2. If you don't vote for a Conservative majority, you are voting for a soft on crime coalition of the left. Case closed, whether yo think it's democratic or not.

      • It's spam. This rube has been posting this exact same message all over the two internets today.

    • If you don't vote for a Conservative majority you are voting against an incompetent government that fires civil servants who disagree with their mistaken, ideologically driven policies.

  3. what he eans is that if they're going to govern it'll have to be as a coalition because there's no way they'll win as many seats in the next election as the conservatives. conservative voters dont flip flop between parties like liberals npd green and bloc they can pretty much be counted on unlike say those who ght switch back rom npd to liberal. thats just how it is

  4. I think this whole coalition business is today's equivilant of Meech Lake back in 1990 i.e. do you support the participation of the Bloc in government(today) do you think quebec is a separate and distinct society(back then).

    I also think it is good to look the careers of those politicians afterwards who did and did not support Meech Lake.

    Did not Support: Jean Chretien, Stephen Harper, Guilles Duceppe

    Supported: Brian Mulroney, John Turner, Ed Broadbent, Paul Martin, Kim Campbell, Daniel Johnson, David Peterson, Robert Bourassa, Ed Getty, Bill Vander Zalm, (Jean Charest).

    Other than Jean Charest success at the provincial level which shows Meech Lake is not as much of an albatross in Quebec as the rest of Canada the second is basically a bunch of long dead political road kill.

  5. The whole country needs a civics lesson; especially the anti-coalition crowd.
    Stephen Harper was willing to give it back when he wanted to form one with Duceppe and Layton to overturn the Liberal minority in 2004, maybe he could give it.
    http://liberalvideodepot.blogspot.com/2009/09/ste
    (Sorry for the partisan link – cannot find any of this on youtube)

    • There is a big difference between a coalition that is formed to bring down a government then goes forward to present their concept of a coalition to the voters as a way to legitimize its actions and the way that the December 08 coalition was formed. The 2004 coalition was formed to bring down a government not REPLACE a government. Heck, it would have even been better if the December 08 coalition went to the GG the day after the election and presented themselves as an alternative to Harper (I don't think that Canadians would have liked it better, but it would have been part of the give and take of a minority situation) – but the December 08 coalition was nothing more than losers seeking power. Canadians had rejected Dion as PM (and rejected him in a BIG WAY) and were repulsed at The Bloc being given any powers of government.

  6. Harper never said the Coalition was undemocratic or unparliamentary in and of itself. It was the Coalition taking power without first being elected that was undemocratic. This is why the House was prorogued, because Dion et al wanted to take office without new elections being called (BTW if Chretien was in the same position as Harper he would have done the exact same thing).
    The only way we go for an election now is for the Coalition (Libs, NDP, Bloc) to defeat the Government by voting together in a non-confidence vote. Ipso facto, the Coalition exists. The only way to prove it doesn't exist is for one of the Coalition parties to break it by voting with the Government and keeping it in office. This is what Layton meant by the "Conservative-Liberal" coalition.

    Any election now will represent what should have happened in December. The Coalition will get its wish (if we have an election). It will be the Conservatives versus the Coalition.There is nothing Ignatieff can do to stop it. If I was Harper I would insist on having only a Harper-Ignatieff debate(s), or no debates at all. No point in including the subordinate parties of the Coalition in a anti-Conservative free-for-all.

    • "The only way we go for an election now is for the Coalition (Libs, NDP, Bloc) to defeat the Government by voting together in a non-confidence vote. Ipso facto, the Coalition exists. The only way to prove it doesn't exist is for one of the Coalition parties to break it by voting with the Government and keeping it in office."

      So what you're saying is that there was a Conservative-NDP-Bloc coalition back during Martin's government? (Since the only way he could have been defeated would be for all three of those parties to vote against him, which by your logic implies that there was a coalition.)

    • "The only way we go for an election now is for the Coalition (Libs, NDP, Bloc) to defeat the Government by voting together in a non-confidence vote. Ipso facto, the Coalition exists. The only way to prove it doesn't exist is for one of the Coalition parties to break it by voting with the Government and keeping it in office."

      So what you're saying is that there was a Conservative-NDP-Bloc coalition back during Martin's government? (Since the only way he could have been defeated would be for all three of those parties to vote against him, which is what happened and by your logic shows that there was a coalition.)

      • No. The difference was the Conservatives, NDP and BQ did not form a coalition beforehand (sign an agreement, announce its existence and try to take power without an election). Harper never promised Layton that he would be in his cabinet.

        They cooperated in the House to bring down the Martin Government in Nov 2005 to cause the 2006 election. They did not run in the election as a coalition.

        The December 2008 agreement makes this sui generis. You can't compare the situations. This is why Ignatieff have to live with the consequences no matter what he say, because the opposition parties acted to make something real that before was only theoretical.

    • You do realize it is theoretically possible for Harper's party to actually want to cooperate to create legislation?

      Oh, I realize that such cooperation would go against Kim Jong-IlsHarper's plans. but theoretically it's a possibility form him to attempt.

    • You do realize it is theoretically possible for Harper's party to actually want to cooperate to create legislation?

      Oh, I realize that such cooperation would go against Kim Jong-IlsHarper's plans. but theoretically it's a possibility for him to attempt.

      • So how have they got anything passed if they havent been able to do as you said? They have done these things, maybe not to the extent that you would like, but as someone pointed out, how the heck has been a minority PM for all this time, got budgets passed and legislation through, unless he was able to compromise and co-operate.

        Once again, there is room for more…but it just isnt the picture you paint.

        • Or unless the Liberal party felt itself too weak to survive another election so soon after being hamstrung by the Chretien Martin feud and an expensive leadership campaign, and the PM made everything a confidence vote.

          Here's a hint: When you hold a knife against some guys throat and they agree to give you some money, you have not achieved a compromise view.

          • (sarc on) That would be a matter of perspective….an inducement by any other name….(sarc off)

        • Or unless the Liberal party felt itself too weak to survive another election so soon after being hamstrung by the Chretien Martin feud and an expensive leadership campaign.

          Here's a hint: When you hold a knife against some guys throat and they agree to give you some money, you have not achieved a compromise view.

    • what I don't understand is why people think that MPs who come together to govern after declaring a non confidence in the existing government are not considered "elected" when asked to form that government.

      WE DO NOT VOTE FOR PRIME MINISTER IN CANADA…we only vote for our representatives.

  7. I am intrigued by the Conservatives' psychological obsession with the concept of a coalition. It seems to be the sum of all their fears. I think they may have a persecution complex which leads them to believe that at any given moment, everybody is going to gang up on them. Do you think Harper was the geeky kid at school that everybody picked on ? No doubt their obsession is reinforced by the amount of money they have been able to haul in when they wave the red coalition cape in front of their donors.

    Conservatives should remember one thing : there would have been no coaltion without Stephen Harper. His direct attack on the opposition parties last December led directly to the formation of the coalition and Dion changing his mind. Harper is responsible for the coalition. If you fear coalition, Harper has to go.

    • Wasn't it was the lack of a stimulus package that forced the coalition to come together and it had absolutely nothing to do the financing of political parties. At least that was the rationale given by the opposition at the time, IIRC. Has the rationale now changed since we're all appalled by the size of the deficit?

      • What you say it true, and that is also a very important reason. I should have included that. But it does not change the logic of what I have stated. The Harper Conservatives would have been the only government in the world to have introduced a deflationary budget at a time when it looked like a massive deflation was a serious possibility (despite the promises made to our economic partners at the G20 very shortly earlier). That is criminal insanity. It had to be stopped. It's such a pity that nobody really understands what was going on and the risks the government was taking with our economy at that time.

        • I agree (with slightly less rhetorical flourish) that they needed to bring in a stimulus package after promising to do so at the G20. It does slightly change the logic of what you said though because if it's about the stimulus package and not the public subsidy, then the coalition wasn't really about an attack on the opposition but about economic policy. That will come into play in the debate about the deficit since it's pretty rich for the opposition to complain about the size of the deficit on one hand while talk about how reckless Harper actually was in not implementing it in the fall. To be fair, it will be equally rich when Harper tries to simultaneous take credit for a recovery based on the stimulus package while also pretending he was dragged kicking and screaming to do it while blaming the large deficit on the coalition. I have a feeling it will be a nauseating campaign.

          • "I have a feeling it will be a nauseating campaign."

            Yes, I can't wait.

            Harper and his little drunken sailer friend Deficit Jim pee'd away the surplus even before the economy turned sour. Nobody put a gun to their heads over that one. The Opposition didn't tell them how much to spend or where to spend it either, that was the Harper government's decision. The Opposition just wanted to make sure that Harper didn't cut spending going into a possible worldwide deflation and depression. The proof that the Opposition didn't direct the spending is the amount of money going into pork-barreling in Conservative marginal ridings. So don't try to blame the massive deficit on the Opposition. It's all Harper's doing. And now that we have a huge deficit again, Harper and Deficit Jim have no plans for getting us out of it.

            If Harper was a truly principled politician, he would have stepped down rather than implement something he doesn't believe in, like massive 'stimulus' spending. But he didn't, he clung to power. He doesn't have any principles, he only has an unnatural lust for power. And a desire to crush everybody who stands in his way, as that video of him speaking at a local Conservative Party meeting shows.

          • "Harper and his little drunken sailer friend Deficit Jim pee'd away the surplus even before the economy turned sour."

            Yes, on tax cuts, money for parents with young children, and solving the mythical fiscal imbalance. Which of these do the Liberals plan on reversing? (please let it be fiscal imbalance)

            "So don't try to blame the massive deficit on the Opposition."

            Where exactly did I blame the massive deficit on the opposition? I said the opposition shouldn't try to blame the massive deficit on the government since they wanted the stimulus package as well and didn't object to the auto bailouts. Both of which contribute a sizeable protion to the deficit.

            "The Opposition just wanted to make sure that Harper didn't cut spending going into a possible worldwide deflation and depression."

            No, they actually wanted him to increase spending. That's what makes their outrage over the size of the deficit and sky-high spending kind of silly, no?

          • The proof that the Opposition didn't direct the spending is the amount of money going into pork-barreling in Conservative marginal ridings.

            And what amount is that, Mulletaur?

            It should be easy for you to answer this question, since I'm sure there's no way you'd make a claim like that unless you'd already done/read a detailed analysis of how the per capita stimulus spending in all "Conservative marginal ridings" compares to the amount spent in safe Conservative ridings, and ones that they have no chance of winning.

            I await your response.

          • Hey, I'm just going by what Stephen Taylor says. Ask him for facts and figures.

          • There's absolutely nothing at that link about which ridings the stimulus money is being spent. Try again.

          • To quote from the Facebook group : "There's too much spending and too much pork coming out of the government in Ottawa."

            Are you calling Stephen Taylor a liar ?

          • To quote from Gerard Kennedy's report of 5 February 2009 :

            "A review of the first billion dollars of project-specific announcements made under the Building Canada Fund since 2007 shows that more than three-quarters of projects were in Conservative-held ridings, Liberal Infrastructure Critic Gerard Kennedy said today.

            “Given this government's history of partisan tactics, this latest revelation can hardly be seen as mere coincidence,” said Mr. Kennedy. “Mr. Harper continues to erode his credibility – particularly in his approach to infrastructure funding – with these kinds of practices.”

            Of specific infrastructure projects announced across Canada in 2007 and 2008, 77.8 per cent of them were in Conservative ridings (see attached backgrounder). In contrast, the Conservatives represent only 46.4 per cent of the ridings in Canada."

            The backgrounder gives details of the specific projects. After last night's story on CTV News I am thinking that an update to these figures will be coming out before the end of the week.

            Smells like pork to me. You were saying ?

  8. So is this the end of Harper's attempt to reunite the "three sisters"?

    "True nationalists don't want to destroy, they want to build. We [the Conservatives] are the true nationalists."
    Prime Minister Stephen Harper

  9. Ignatieff knows that what made the Coalition so disliked was the fact it depended for its existence on the BQ. Harper used this to his advantage in the lead-up to prorogation

    But the Coalition episode has put Harper in a sweet spot. To win (or to make gains) the Liberals have to bounce back in Quebec. To do that, Ignatieff has to attack Duceppe, not Harper. Duceppe will fight back, and, because he is fighting for regional interests, not for power or office, he has the advantage over Ignatieff.

    As to Harper, if he can't win more seats in Quebec, then it is in his political interest that the Bloc win seats, not the Liberals (because Ignatieff has ruled out Lib-Bloc coalition knowing it's deeply unpopular in ROC). It is in the interest of both Harper and Duceppe that Ignatieff makes no gains in Quebec. Ignatieff will be fighting a two front war. He will be fighting Duceppe in Quebec, and Harper in ROC. Harper is unlikely to win much more in Quebec than he has already, but with a little effort he can still split the federalist vote which will allow more BQ gains (or least prevent any Liberal gains). If the Conservatives are going to lose seats in Quebec, better it be to the Bloc and not to the Liberals.

    Harper already has a majority in ROC. His focus in the campaign will be on making inroads in urban areas and GTA, without having to worry too much about Quebec.

    The Liberals can only win again like Harper won in 2006 – when a massive corruption scandal comes along and brings down the Government. No sign of any such scandal yet. So the Liberals have to be patient. It appears Ignatieff is too impatient.

  10. Michael Ignatieff has taught all of us about the necessity to accept "lesser evils" like enhanced interrogation to protect a free and democratic society.

    The average Canadian voter has three choices:
    1) The status quo, a conservative minority
    2) An election and a conservative majority
    3) An election and a Liberal-NDP-BQ coalitioin government.

    Ignatieff has taken the prefeered option #1, the status quo, off the table.

    So the average Canadian will be left with the choice of lesser evils, a conservative majority or a Liberal-NDP-BQ coalition, and from the perspective of the average Canadian, the lesser evil is probably a Conservative majority.

    Thank you, Iggy, for your teachings on lesser evils.

    • None of those are on the ballot. You need to co-ordinate with 15 million other Canadians.

      The only result you might have some reasonable assurance of is the same as last time, if everyone behaves the same way,including those who didnt vote.

      If this election happens then I there is a high degree of uncertainty, more than usual. I think people will really be trying to figure out where to go. If the election happens those last dyas before the elction will be the time when people make up their minds, any poll before the last week wont mean much. And I would pay good money to see the polls conducted the last couple of days…..IF the election happens.

  11. Dan Cook has just posted the ultimate attack ad:

    December 10, 2008: "I am prepared to vote non-confidence in this government. And I am prepared to enter into a coalition government with our partners if that is what the Governor-General asks me to do." — Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff

    September 11, 2009: "The Liberal Party would not agree to a coalition. In January, we did not support a coalition. And we do not support a coalition today or tomorrow." — Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff

    Ignatieff has taken Harper's bait and is hooked. If he supported it in December but not in January, what's to say that he doesn't support it in Sept (before election) but does support it in November (after the election)?

    To expunge the Coalition, he'll have to go further, much further. He'll have to confess his own culpability and bad judgment while purging those from the party who were gung-ho about it at the time. This could ignite an Ignatieff-Rae civil war (which didn't happen because there was no leadership contest). He'll also has to say bad things about Layton and Duceppe, which reduces the chances they will support any Liberal non-confidence motions.

  12. This is interesting. In an election campaign, as someone mentioned above, it will be presented by as Conservatives vs. Coalition. If it sticks, and I think it will, certain interesting reactions may come about.

    The left commentariat will welcome such a thing with open arms. Open discussion of Elizabeth May, Layton in cabinet, with the various portfolios distributed among the respective activists. There is somewhere around 55% of the vote last time. How would the electorate respond? Would that number hold up, or would right leaning liberals move to conservatives? Or stay home?

    The individual parties would respond by attacking each other. Liberals need two things; people to show up, and people to not vote Green or Bloc or NDP. This would force them to campaign to the left, fighting over the same ground held by the other parties. I don't think that is where Ignatieff is, and he is a horrible liar.

    Jack would support a coalition if offered, so he would present himself as part of the future government of Canada. To the detriment of the Liberals, not to the benefit of NDP.

    I don't see the Bloc winning or losing here. The only way the Bloc will lose is if they are part of a government and it becomes unpopular. I think they know that, and will play the game as they have.

    I really don't know which way it will go. We see a leftish government south of the border borrowing vast sums of money and throwing it around. I suspect that Canadians like a more moderate approach, and we are not going to see a resurgence of revenues to government for a number of years. A left leaning canadian coalition will spend more, borrow more and tax more. The conservatives will make sure that the electorate knows that.

    Interesting times.

    Derek

  13. I think Iggy is outfoxing Harper.

    The big problem for the Libs has been the vote split on the left. It is this split which gives us a Harper govt with 37% of the popular vote. How to fix this?

    You cannot form a coalition as Harper has worked hard to make that option radioactive despite Harper being quite happy to work with the "socialists" and the "separatists" when it was to his advantage to do so.

    So Iggy threatens an election when the NDP is dropping in the polls. The NDP are unwilling to face the electorate and will support the government. The Libs will stand apart from this process and finally commence acting like an opposition instead of Harper lapdogs. The public becomes clearly aware of the NDP/Harper "marriage of convenience" and this moves voters toward the Libs. What response can Harper make to the Iggy gambit? He might decide to dissolve and force an election but given recent polls, and his attacks on Iggy, I think this is unlikely. Harper ends up being hoist on his own petard.

    The result is a realignment of voter support in Iggy's favour with the Libs breaking themselves out of the pack. Of course this makes it difficult for him to topple the government but I predict growing public support for the Libs as the public becomes increasingly disenchanted with Harper Twoface and Laydown Layton. I also predict a return to a Lib ratpack strategy in the house. Not sure who will play the role of Sheila Tequila. Does Rae look good in drag?

    Cheers!

  14. this is similar to ganging up on someone and has to do with numbers and forcing an issue, for reasons of insecurity, knowledge of minority issue and inability to perform a job or given task.
    this government is all the above….and the reason against a fall election is simply laziness and the media is promoting apathy or quite possibly motivating the public to perform their democratic right to vote and get involved and stop making excuses for such…usually for fear of losing among other fears in a way quite immature…remember the cookie jar story!

  15. it is a dilemma..to lose or not to vote that is the question said jonnie public …you are all insecure voters expecting someone to do it for you when all the nominees want is basically the opportunity assigned to them to play follow the leader meanwhile enjoying the frivolity of enjoying privileged treatment for three years and if you play the game well you last longer and make more money and retirement goodies based on who you assisted while in office…said jane public

  16. That's a really good summary of today's political reality. Like it or not, the Liberals are facing suspicion that they'll form another coalition if they lose the next election. As long as the coalition is unpopular they'll want to quash the idea, if they can.

    The interesting thing is that Ignatieff seems to have decided not to run on the basis of a coalition. He could have embraced it, saying something like "If the CPC win another minority we'll form a coalition in the interests of the country." Yet he hasn't done this, presumably because he saw the backlash last December.

    So is he really not going to form one, or would he try it despite the outcry on the assumption that voters would get over it by the subsequent election? We will only know the answer to this if the last election result repeats itself, but from his unwillingness to completely rule it out I'd guess the former.

  17. That's a really good summary of today's political reality. Like it or not, the Liberals are facing suspicion that they'll form another coalition if they lose the next election. As long as the coalition is unpopular they'll want to quash the idea, if they can.

    The interesting thing is that Ignatieff seems to have decided not to run on the basis of a coalition. He could have embraced it, saying something like "If the CPC win another minority we'll form a coalition in the interests of the country. We're declaring this up front so that voters know what to expect." Yet he hasn't done this, presumably because he saw the backlash last December.

    So is he really not going to form one, or would he try it despite the outcry on the assumption that voters would get over it by the subsequent election? We will only know the answer to this if the last election result repeats itself, but from his unwillingness to completely rule it out I'd guess the latter.

  18. Magazines sit around for a long time and I just looked at this article in my print edition.
    Didn't Ignatieff blunt some of the Cons strategy by forcing NDP and Bloc into bed with, if not a coalition, with Harper?
    The Cons anti coalition/Ignatieff ads are already looking a bit dated.
    Iggy made the no support announcement quite a while ago now, but I guess somebody in the Lib team knew Layton would have to cave, taking some of the steam out of the anti coalition argument and still no unpopular election right now.

  19. Count Iggy must de-thrown Bad King Stephen for the good of the Kingdom.Otherwise we get soldiers -with guns- marching in Canadian cities.The Liberal platform seems to consist of :Welcome Back Khadr, Canadian Values, Harper scarry,+Chalk River fiasco. Tory poicies on Khadr and Chalk River were inherited from the Liberals. So far Harper has been Liberal Lite i.e. Liberal policies minus the scandals.

  20. It's not only Ignatieff and the Liberals who will sell their souls to regain power. When push comes to shove, Jack Layton's holier than thou attempts to paint Conservatives and Liberals as unprincipled doesn't stand up. Former NDP leader, Ed Broadbent is openly promoting the idea of an anti Conservative coalition. So much for principles. The NDP under Layton will do just about anything to gain a voice in the governing party/coalition. Gilles Duceppe must find it hard to stop laughing. His party, which garners less than 10 % of the popular vote, all of it from a single party, is not only in a position to deny the country a majority government (the conservatives "have" a majority in the ROC) but it is being offered another opportunity to destabilize the country by two supposedly federal parties. Shame.

    As for the Harper government; it has made some mistakes, but certainly no more so than previous governing parties. Overall, it seems to me that Harper has been an excellent prime minister, even with a minority government. In the face of a number of major issues, not the least of which is a recession, he has provided stability and effective leadership. I don't even want to think about how things might have been handled by a triumvirate made up of Ignatieff, Layton and Duceppe. In their desperate attempts to have a voice they would be tripping all over each others vested interests and the country would suffer.

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