54

You think it’s easy making rebel alliances?


 

A note of caution regarding reports that this evil devil’s pact among separatists, socialists and compromisers is a done deal. I am given to understand, from plural anonymous sources, that Dominic Leblanc, Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae are meeting at this very instant in Toronto, at Rae’s behest. The tiny perfect ex-Premier is urging his colleagues to “get behind this deal and get behind Stéphane Dion.” You can assume the main target of this pitch is Michael Ignatieff, who — here the picture gets fuzzy — is said to be (a) leery on the idea of Dion leading this thing; or (b) leery on the whole idea of an evil devil’s pact; or (c) floating in a stew of mixed messages and conflicted helpers. Or (d) artfully seeming to be floating in a stew of mixed messages and etc., etc., the better to catch the weak off guard.

“If it falls apart, that’s where it will happen,” one of my nameless informants said about the Toronto meeting among the Liberal hopefuls.

Rae’s pitch is that the Liberals have a process for selecting a leader and that until that process reaches its conclusion at the May Vancouver convention, Stéphane Dion is the leader and should enjoy the prerogatives of leadership, such as presiding over evil devil’s pacts, should any arise.

By tomorrow you’ll know how it all ended, but I just wanted to say that some confusion remains as of this hour.


 

You think it’s easy making rebel alliances?

  1. No political party that got 27% of the popular vote should have this much power. By this standard the CAnadian Alliance circa day in 2000 should have been titans.

  2. 1,) Leaking this tonight is a panicked attempt to fight off a news cycle of that Layton tape.

    2.) Leaking this tonight before showing it to Ignatieff, Rae, and Leblanc is a dirty pool way to prevent them from vetoing it. Dion really is a turd sandwich, isn’t he?

  3. Thank you Paul, Andrew, Kady and the rest of the Blog that Never Sleeps.

  4. I still say Prime Minister Prentice will find a way to stop this!

    (I know, I’ve been making that joke everywhere. But it’s kinda funny, no?)

  5. Hear, hear, Shawn, though this blog makes it hard to get work done.

    Question: wouldn’t it be hard for Ignatieff to campaign as The Guy Who Kept Our Party From Governing?

  6. I don’t get JFD’s point 1.

    Why would the opposition NOT want to talk about the fact that the government is surreptitiously (and possibly criminally) recording the caucus meetings of their political rivals and then distributing the recordings to the media (again, possibly criminally)?.

  7. LKO

    Some folks don’t find your joke so funny. I like it though.

  8. There’s nothing criminal about it, as a CP article explains, if the person was invited to the caucus meeting. And it is fatal to the coalition of ballot box rejects if its widely known because it makes liars of them all – everything they have been saying since Wednesday is basically null and void.

    Or do you need it in picture form?

  9. Presumably, if it’s b) above, he’d campaign as the guy who kept the party from making unacceptable compromises on principle just for the sake of returning to power.

    Which would be an unusual premise for any Liberal to argue, I’ll grant.

  10. Jack, if you’re working at this hour on a Sunday night you’re a Better Man than I — though that’s not saying much.

    As for Ignatieff, he’s the guy I very much want to lead the Liberals and I’m sure he’s right to be leery about all this stuff. And I can’t shake the feeling that Dion will try to use this as a way to stick around.

    That said, I still think this is cool, dammit.

  11. Iggy, close your eyes and think of Canada.

  12. ‘Evil devil’s pacts’

    TOO FUNNY!

  13. Dion will never leave if he gets this coalition off the ground. Ever. Ignatieff can’t blow his opportunity for power.

  14. All of this makes King-Byng so 1926.

  15. No political party that got 27% of the popular vote should have this much power.

    Tell that to Tzipi Livni’s Kadima Party that heads up a coalition government in Israel despite getting only 22% of the vote.

  16. That’s the rub Jack Mitchell. They Libs may be governing but not entirely. They will be totally beholden to separatists and the NDP.
    I don’t know how severly normal Canadians are going to take this coalition crazyness and who they aregoing to take their wrath out on…fun times.
    I forsee PM Harper making his first address to the Nation next week.

  17. Oh, right, King-Byng. Forget about that.

    Ours won’t have as nice a ring to it, alas.

  18. Oh, Robert showed up, yay! /sarcasm.

    Tell me Robert, was there another party in Israel that got 33% of the vote (I’m -5) and not forming the government?

  19. All of this makes King-Byng so 1926.

    Not really. Harper-Jean just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  20. JFD: “Dion will never leave if he gets this coalition off the ground. Ever. Ignatieff can’t blow his opportunity for power.”

    I dunno. Even the most optimistic Liberal can’t suppose this coalition will last more than a year. Then it’s election time, either a Tory minority or a Liberal minority, and Dion presumably gets tossed overboard. That might be a more opportune time for Iggymania.

  21. “If it falls apart, that’s where it will happen,” one of my nameless informants said about the Toronto meeting among the Liberal hopefuls.

    Oh Gawd, it’s frosh week at Western, circa 1987, all over again.

  22. I never thought I’d say this, but JFD raises an interesting point.

    What’s a good recent parallel to this proposed coalition, say, In Europe: where the party with the most votes and seats gets frozen out by an opposition coalition?

  23. Even if the coalition comes together now it’s still going to be a tenuous day-to-day operation.

    Even if the respective parties are not individually strong there are going to be a lot of very strong personalities around the table. Unlike Our Leader’s cabinet of Two and a Half Men.

    So it’s always going to be an iffy situation. But it beats the hell out of the alternative.

    A political reporter/bloggers dream, yes ?

  24. The best precedent lasted two years, as scheduled….

  25. Damn, I just read the above post. I cannot believe Paul is pissing off again.

    I’m actually genuinely seriously peeved at this. Why does he keep doing this? Dang.

  26. Paul Wells has left the room, folks.

  27. Jody, that should be:

    Iggy, close your eyes and hold your nose and think of Canada.

  28. @JFD:

    “No political party that got 27% of the popular vote should have this much power.”

    Er, aaah… so how exactly is a coalition of the popular vote obtained by the Liberals and NDP in the last election (44.44%) less legitimate than the 37.65% of votes obtained by the Conservatives?

    Keep at it, JFD. You haven’t covered all the Conservative war-room talking points yet…

  29. @D:

    Because if there was an option of “Liberal-NDP” on the ballot a lot of people would not support that combinaton – leftists who hate the liberals, and centrists who hate the NDP, like my father. They wouldn’thave supported that option so simply adding the popular vote totals is stupid.

  30. I agree that the opposition hold a larger aggregate portion of votes from the public, but I don’t know that it implies consent to a coalition. Much less logical is that it implies consent to a Prime Minister who is less popular than Elizabeth May, the leader of a Party who didn’t even win a seat.

  31. Ignatieff has not been giving any indications that he is opposed to this coalition, with Dion as PM.
    See his interview on CTV Question period: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jii7m7498qA

    The Liberal’s will still go to their convention in May. This does not change that.

  32. but I don’t know that it implies consent to a coalition.

    I’m soooo looking forward to the time when the wingnuts stop talking.

  33. Okay to a “coalition”. But if you want my support later on….Proportional Representation NOW!

  34. Martin: I don’t think the Bloc would go along with PR, as it would dilute their power significantly. I think something like preferential voting would have potential to gain support among all three parties, particularly because it would hurt the CPC most.

  35. JFD — the point is that in Canada we don’t elect governments, we elect parliaments. And in this parliament no party has a majority, so ANYONE who wants to be PM has to get the support (day-to-day or formal) of at least one other party. True, lots of Liberal voters mightn’t have supported a Lib-NDP coalition (and vice versa), but lots of Tory voters probably don’t like it when their party relies on the support of the BQ to get something passed, either.
    As the sitting PM, Harper certainly had the right to meet this parliament and ask for support. But none of the other parties owe that support to him — he’ll have to earn it. And he’s not doing a great job of that at the moment…

  36. So it seems that Ignatief is about to jump overboard of sinking Liberal ship and swim to Conservative Man of War. Question is: how many Liberals are about to follow him?? Is he going to deliver Conservatives majority that Harper is seeking??? If he does what will be his payoff? Is he going to become a Minister??

  37. Ivison now claims Iggy will be PM (link waiting in moderation).

  38. Karol: Dreaming. Ignatieff would become incredibly toxic, and would probably lose his seat, a la Emerson. Remember he represents Toronto.

  39. Don’t go on vacation!!

  40. Andrew, you do not get it. Iggy will sit out his term as MP, become senior politician and after next election he will get a job as a head of University of his choice in Canada. Emerson is a head of BC Hydro now and he makes at least five times more money than he made while in Ottawa.

  41. Fun question: What the hell would the policy content of this government be? Is ANYONE discussing this? Have they?

  42. I don’t think Emerson did it for the money.

    Iggy wants to be PM. He’s not going to be bribed with some cheap baubles.

  43. Ignore Karol. Karol is a troll. Same sort of pasted-in stuff on four threads, so far.

  44. “Fun question: What the hell would the policy content of this government be? Is ANYONE discussing this? Have they?”

    Nope. Not on the Macleans blogs.

  45. Karol is just Karlheiz pulling our leg. He’s miffed that the bought-leadership of Harper — we still haven’t found out who to make the receipt to — won’t bring him the head of bearscliffe.

  46. Just an observation that the separatists kind of resemble the Conservatives. They’re both a bunch of well-off white men who think Canada discriminates against them.

    I went to see Great Big Sea on Saturday, so right now it feels really really good to be Canadian. [This may be ironic coming from me but] Everyone take a Benzodiazepine & chill & watch the proceedings. Have a good trip Paul! This occassionally great country of ours will still be here when you come back, & you won’t need to hitch a ride on the space shuttle.

  47. You know what would be cool? Here’s what would be cool. The Liberal-NDP coalition invites Jim Prentice, or another relatively competent and intelligent Conservative MP into cabinet.

    THAT would be cool.

  48. “Martin: I don’t think the Bloc would go along with PR, as it would dilute their power significantly. I think something like preferential voting would have potential to gain support among all three parties, particularly because it would hurt the CPC most.”

    Andrew, PR has many different models, some of which the Bloc would be comfortable with. For example, why not make PR based on provincial proportions rather than national proportions.

  49. Kaplan wrote “You know what would be cool? Here’s what would be cool. The Liberal-NDP coalition invites Jim Prentice, or another relatively competent and intelligent Conservative MP into cabinet. THAT would be cool.”

    and brilliant.

  50. Paul cannot go on assignment during what will prove to be the most interesting period in Canadian politics in his lifetime. He’ll be kicking himself.

    Inviting a couple of Tories to sit in the Cabinet is too smart for the Libs or the NDP.

    If Parliament were really about democracy there should be a couple of Bloc members in that “Coaltion” Cabinet. That they alledge to advocate for Quebec independence is demonstrably not a true representation of their intent by virtue of their very presence in the House. Everybody should just grow up and accept they advocate Lower Canada interests. They couldn’t separate from their underpants. Alberta and Newfoundland are more realistic threats to leave.

    The other thing that should be made plain is that this coalition is about an emergency transfer of wealth from Western Canada to Central Canada. No one dares say so.

  51. I didn’t believe that Stephen Harper could be so stupid and so arrogant. Oh yes, I did think he could be very arrogant but to combine the two qualities at the same time was unexpected. The economic statement was intended to irritate all the opposition parties but why? If had left out all of those extraneous measures, party financing, civil servant freezes and pay equity nonsense and concentrated on what the statement was intended to do, he would have been fine. He could have said that he was meeting with the automobile industry (he is) and that the government was following what the U. S. was doing and would provide a stimulus in line with the Americans but instead he irritates all three of the opposition parties. Harper’s new spirit of cooperation didn’t last long. I believe we will see a new spirit of cooperation amongst the three opposition parties and the Conservatives will continue to play games. Gilles Duceppe is not scary as the Conservatives would have us all believe. He sounded more statesmanlike in the pre-election debates than all the other leaders.

  52. I’m surprised Rae stayed at that meeting despite the fact that it wasn’t to be held in public, with media present.

  53. This has to be done now! Separating the Liberal Party from the public purse for this long is just cruel and unusual punishment! Party first!

  54. Remember people, Wells’s Rule number 1 of Canadian politics: “For any given situation, Canadian politics will tend toward the least exciting possible outcome.” That means Harper will get his time-out. Parliament will resume in January, heads will have cooled. Harper will backtrack and evil devil’s pact will be a thing of the past. . .

Sign in to comment.