Canadian Parliament Prorogued again: Part 7

102 posts / 0 new
Last post
remind remind's picture
Canadian Parliament Prorogued again: Part 7

continued from here

remind remind's picture

Scott Piatkowski wrote:
..agree with what Ken said about the NDP e-mail. There is nothing offensive about asking supporters to join the party (which is where the "join our movement" link leads) or to asking them to join you at one of a series of rallies. There is no attempt to take credit for anyone else's work.

For the first week of January, some people were criticizing the NDP for not being out front in the anti-prorogue movement. Now, some people (some of them the same people) are accusing them of trying to steal the spotlight. It seems they can't win no matter what they do.

What the NDP does deserve credit for is

a) Making a serious proposal to Harper that would have brought Parliament back on January 25 as originally scheduled and reversed the procedural impact of prorogation.

b) Making a serious proposal for legislative change that would ensure that a Prime Minister could never again prorogue against the wishes of the majority of MPs

 

Well put scott!

Sean in Ottawa

Media coverage is very interesting-- tight shots on the speakers no crowd shots except before and after demos-- the appearance of deliberate lowballing of actual numbers. I hope people will post on facebook etc. the pictures. The Hill was packed from front to back and people did not fit in the middle paved area and had to spill over on the sides to stand in snow -- much colder on the feet. I did not have a good camera but have a few from my cell that show the place was packed.

How the media can justify showing no crowd shots when they were and did in fact take them there is another side of our failing democracy.

Sean in Ottawa

I have some trouble with Liberals making a big deal about the NDP on this. It was the Liberals who took down the coalition and then voted for the better part of the year in lockstep with Harper. They are kinda arriving at the opposition party late.

I'd have to see the emails-- all the materials I recieved seemed fair enough. I have seen some quotes that I did not like but no context for them. I would need that as I understand that promotion is part of what a party issupposed to do.

Unionist

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I have some trouble with Liberals making a big deal about the NDP on this.

So do I - the Liberals are total hypocrites who are responsible for this situation. But I have trouble with sectarian partisan politics when people should be encouraged to join this movement regardless of their party preferences.

Quote:
I'd have to see the emails--

Ocsi quoted it in the last thread:

Quote:
Friends -

Three weeks ago, Stephen Harper locked the doors of Parliament and shut out your elected representatives.

Canadians are sick of the secrecy and arrogance. They're tired of the old politics of Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.

Canadians are turning to a new kind of politics. A grassroots politics on Facebook and in neighbourhoods, at town halls and rallies. The new politics is New Democrat politics.

Join our movement today.

Our solution to prorogation is simple. Prorogation should only happen after a vote in the House of Commons. We'll work to make that the law.

And you can help New Democrats stand up to Harper. This Saturday, join us at one of dozens of anti-prorogation rallies across Canada.

Together we'll send Stephen Harper a clear message - democracy works.

Jack Layton

Here is the most offensive part (for me):

Quote:
Canadians are turning to a new kind of politics. A grassroots politics on Facebook and in neighbourhoods, at town halls and rallies. The new politics is New Democrat politics.

This is also clumsy and arrogant - comes across as implying that the NDP has organized the rallies:

Quote:
And you can help New Democrats stand up to Harper. This Saturday, join us at one of dozens of anti-prorogation rallies across Canada.

It's probably just ignorant cutting and pasting from Jack's excellent speech of January 20.

Again, [url=http://www.ndp.ca/press/new-politics-empowered-parliament]please read Jack's speech in full[/url] to see how it got butchered in the condensation.

It's no huge deal, but it should be an object lesson in how to push this movement forward. If the NDP can manage to be the most vigorous participants in this movement, both at the street level, Facebook, the House, etc., then people will be smart enough to figure out who the leaders are without it being shoved in their faces.

 

takeitslowly

I hope Scott will not mind I borrowed some of his quotes and referenced to this discussion on a facebook group discussion I just created. I cannot just stand by and let them rip the NDP apart.

 

Here is my topic.

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?topic=13864&post=92098&uid=26034809141...

ocsi

Pictures from Waterloo Town Square.

 

 

 

nicky

I was at the Kingston rally. An entusiastic crowd of 500-600 by my estimation.

remind remind's picture

Excellent pictures ocsi, thank you....

 

 

takeitslowly

I hate the Hilter reference, i really do.

WFPD

There were thousands in attendance in Ottawa. Probably about 3,000 to 5,000. The crowd was very boisterous. Iggy and Jack showed up. Elizabeth didn't. I think the politicians decided at the last minute to be part of something that was started by what looked to be university students. It was good to see that grassroots organizing could force mainstream politicians to participate in somebody else's project. It was not exactly a great show of leadership on the part of Iggy and Jack, but at least they participated.

They are old dogs who can learn new tricks I guess...  .

I wonder if Harper learned anything?

 

scott scott's picture

The march and rally in Edmonton was a big success. Up to 500 people braved -7°C and snow to show support.
Edmonton anti - prorogation march

Speakers included Christoper White, who started the original Facebook group that stated it off, Linda Duncan, Edmonton Strathcona MP and Gordon Laxer, director of the Parklands institute. A show of hands before the march began showed that it was the first march for a large proportion.

Edmonton anti prorogation march and rally  posterEdmonton anti prorogation marchEdmonton anti prorogation rallyEdmonton anti prorogation Linda Duncan

Michelle

It was a huge and amazing rally and march in Toronto - gigantic!  I'm hearing media reports of 3000-5000 - baloney.  It was about 7000 or more.

Just to be an annoying proud mama, here's a picture of my kid at the rally. :)

ocsi

Did you see this in the Globe and Mail, Michelle?

Bookish Agrarian

In the small city of Owen Sound I counted over 200 in attendance at our rally.

ennir

I'd say there were at least four hundred in Winnipeg, perhaps more but given the wet cold weather not a bad turn out although I would have liked to have seen thousands.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Looked like we got a couple thousand in Vancouver today--way more than I expected, anyway. It had to be the most wholesome rally I've ever attended! I guess that's what happens when you march with Liberals...

Kaspar Hauser

Catchfire: You were at the Vancouver rally, too?  I agree, there were probably several thousand at the rally. We filled Victory Square and, when we were marching, we were probably four or five blocks long and three lanes wide.

Debater

WFPD wrote:

There were thousands in attendance in Ottawa. Probably about 3,000 to 5,000. The crowd was very boisterous. Iggy and Jack showed up. Elizabeth didn't. I think the politicians decided at the last minute to be part of something that was started by what looked to be university students. It was good to see that grassroots organizing could force mainstream politicians to participate in somebody else's project. It was not exactly a great show of leadership on the part of Iggy and Jack, but at least they participated.

They are old dogs who can learn new tricks I guess...  .

I wonder if Harper learned anything?

 

I attended the rally in Ottawa at Parliament Hill today.

Police estimate there were about 3,000 - 3,500 people there.

Elizabeth May was there  - she spoke after Layton and Ignatieff.  She was the final speaker when the event wrapped up at 3:00 pm.

Michelle

ocsi wrote:

Did you see this in the Globe and Mail, Michelle?

Sure did!  We couldn't walk five steps without someone taking his picture or asking to interview him!  I think some of them were wondering how much he understood the issue, because a number of them asked him some rather probing questions about the issue, but he was totally on top of it.  A born politician. ;)

Debater

This page has a chart with estimates of the turnouts for each city:

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/from-facebook-to-filling-th...

WFPD

Debater wrote:

WFPD wrote:

There were thousands in attendance in Ottawa. Probably about 3,000 to 5,000. The crowd was very boisterous. Iggy and Jack showed up. Elizabeth didn't. I think the politicians decided at the last minute to be part of something that was started by what looked to be university students. It was good to see that grassroots organizing could force mainstream politicians to participate in somebody else's project. It was not exactly a great show of leadership on the part of Iggy and Jack, but at least they participated.

They are old dogs who can learn new tricks I guess...  .

I wonder if Harper learned anything?

 

I attended the rally in Ottawa at Parliament Hill today.

Police estimate there were about 3,000 - 3,500 people there.

Elizabeth May was there  - she spoke after Layton and Ignatieff.  She was the final speaker when the event wrapped up at 3:00 pm.

 

After Ignatieff spoke a band started playing and the crowd began to disperse. They were still playing by the time I had reached Wellington Street so I assumed that Elizabeth May was not going to speak. I did not see her among the other politicians on the stairs.

The event organizers seemed to deliberately downplay the detainee abuse issue and instead focused on the "Back to Work" theme. No doubt this was a deliberate attempt to broaden the appeal of the protest beyond one single issue. It was a very wise strategy in my opinion, as it achieved maximum inclusion among a wide range of Canadians. I was a little disappointed that the detainee issue was not more front and center, but I accept the practicality of the strategy. I just hope that the detainee issue is not neglected once Parliament resumes, as it is a very important one. It is worth going to an election over in my opinion. The opposition parties have to get out there and take a principled stand, and then really sell their case. Now that Harper has put himself on the defensive by appearing to have something to hide, the opposition can really use the momentum and anticipation built up by this public concern and run with it. Hopefully they will vote non confidence over the fact that Harper is so uncooperative with the Commons Committee hearings. If Harper tries to cancel the hearings then he is finished in my opinion, especially after this second prorogation. It will be three strikes you're out. Canadians will not give him the benefit of the doubt.

 

Again, the opposition must show leadership and make the detainee issue one that is worth calling an election over. Canadians will accept the importance of this issue if it is presented properly.

 

Debater

WFPD wrote:

Debater wrote:

WFPD wrote:

There were thousands in attendance in Ottawa. Probably about 3,000 to 5,000. The crowd was very boisterous. Iggy and Jack showed up. Elizabeth didn't. I think the politicians decided at the last minute to be part of something that was started by what looked to be university students. It was good to see that grassroots organizing could force mainstream politicians to participate in somebody else's project. It was not exactly a great show of leadership on the part of Iggy and Jack, but at least they participated.

They are old dogs who can learn new tricks I guess...  .

I wonder if Harper learned anything?

 

I attended the rally in Ottawa at Parliament Hill today.

Police estimate there were about 3,000 - 3,500 people there.

Elizabeth May was there  - she spoke after Layton and Ignatieff.  She was the final speaker when the event wrapped up at 3:00 pm.

 

After Ignatieff spoke a band started playing and the crowd began to disperse. They were still playing by the time I had reached Wellington Street so I assumed that Elizabeth May was not going to speak. I did not see her among the other politicians on the stairs.

The event organizers seemed to deliberately downplay the detainee abuse issue and instead focused on the "Back to Work" theme. No doubt this was a deliberate attempt to broaden the appeal of the protest beyond one single issue. It was a very wise strategy in my opinion, as it achieved maximum inclusion among a wide range of Canadians. I was a little disappointed that the detainee issue was not more front and center, but I accept the practicality of the strategy. I just hope that the detainee issue is not neglected once Parliament resumes, as it is a very important one.

1.  Yes, that part was a bit confusing - it seemed like it was the end when the music started playing, but it was just an interlude before Elizabeth May spoke.  After she spoke, the rally finished at 3:00 pm.  That's when I left.

2.  I agree it was best to focus mainly on the back to work theme and the undemocratic aspect of what Harper did.  Ignatieff did mention in his speech though that Harper had refused to produce the documents to Parliament, so the issue did get addressed briefly. 

stellersjay stellersjay's picture

The numbers for Vancouver are all over the place. CBC initially said “several hundred”. On the march from the Art Gallery, a couple of people told me that the VPD had estimated 3,000 based on the size and tightness of spacing of the crowd as it moved through the streets. The RCMP says 2,000. Whatever. It was an encouragingly large, enthusiastic crowd.

I didn’t really hear the speechifying because I was busy signing people on to Fair Vote’s Declaration of Voters' Rights, but I was pleased to see seniors and people just old enough to vote along with the thirty- and forty-somethings. I hope the organizers are thinking of ways to build on today's event. It would be a shame to waste the kind of energy and motivation on display today.

ennir

It said Winnipeg had 1,500 and I'd like to think there were that many but it didn't seem so, there was a wide range of ages and no politicians spoke. 

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Some comments on the Vancouver rally. I agree with Catchfire that there were about two thousand people in attendance. I also agree that it was a very wholesome rally, too wholesome if you ask me. It was decent for what it was, yet I think the messaging was off on the rally. As I see it, there are two reasons parliament has been prorogued. One is to ensure that no significant new revelations come out in the Afghan detainee torture scandal until after the Olympics. The second is to ensure that parliament cannot vote no confidence in the Conservatives and force an election until after the Olympics. This did not come through in the rally, as the main messaging was around why proroguing parliament is an abuse of power. The speakers (other than the speaker from the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA)) were shamefully told by the guy who bottomlined the speakers not to mention the Olympics or the Afghan detainee scandal.

No politicians spoke at the rally, though those elected officials in attendance were acknowledged. The speakers list was as follows:

Charles Demers -- MC (local comedian, author, and activist)

Raging Grannies

Bob Hamilton -- Disgruntled Conservative Supporter

Shoni Fields -- Fair Vote Canada

Speaker from the BCCLA (man, don't remember name)

Speaker from the Council of Canadians (woman, don't remember name)

George Heyman -- The Sierra Club (spoke on lack of accountability on climate change, and the stalling of Libby Davies housing bill)

Charles Demers did mention the Afghan Detainee issue and the Olympics in his opening comments, but was pretty tame on both issues. Otherwise, only Bob Hamilton mentioned the Olympics, and only the speaker from the BCCLA mentioned the Afghan detainee scandal.

The main slogan was "Rally for Canada! Stand up for Democracy!". I would have reduced it to just "Stand up for Democracy!" There was a Canadian flag behing the podium at the rally, and they sang O Canada, both of which I oppose.

Stopwar marched as a small contingent in the rally with our "STOPWAR.CA" and "Yes We Can Get Ou of Afghanistan!" banners. We also had about 50 of the Canadian Peace Alliances's placards that said " Wanted for War Crimes [photo of Stephen Harper] Stop the Torture! Stop the War!", which we handed out to marchers. A few of us from Stopwar tried to start a chant of "Troops Out Now!" after the speaker from the BCCLA, but it did not take.

I was somewhat involved in the organizing of the rally, and can say that the process for deciding the speakers list was not equitable.

Sean Devlin, the head organizer for the rally, called a meeting for Saturday January 9th to plan the Vancouver rally. I attended on behalf of Stopwar. About 50 people showed up at the organizing meeting. We broke into three subcommittees based on what aspect of the rally we wanted to work on. I chose the group working on speakers.

We decided on a 1 hour program with the following:

Sean Devlin -- MC

Indiginous Welcome

Rafe Mair -- Keynote Speaker (member of Fair Vote Canada)

Political Science Professor (to give history of precedence for prorogue, and to show that not all prorogues are equal)

Council of Canadians (or Fair Vote Canada if Rafe doesn't speak)

One of BCCLA or Stopwar or Amnesty International (my preference was for both BCCLA and Stopwar)

Sierra Club

War Veteran (one wanted to speak on the pension crisis)

Liberal Party Speaker

NDP Speaker

Green Party Sepaker

Rafe Mair declined to speak. We then tried for Bill Tieleman, who was unavailable, and then managed to get Charles Demers, who was subsequently moved to the MC position.

Don Davies agreed to speak on behalf of the NDP, Adrienne Carr agreed to speak on behalf of the Green Party, and already nomianted federal liberal Candidate agreed to speak on behalf of the Liberal Party. Harjap Grewal agreed to speak on behalf of the council of Canadians. The BCCLA spokeswoman on the Afghan detainee scandal was unavailable, so Marla from Stopwar agreed to speak instead. Other speakers were not confirmed with one week to go.

That's when the six person "coordinating committee" (which up until this point I had no idea even existed), met and decided to considerably change our plans. They wanted a shorter half hour program, and wanted a rally of ordinary folks only, so they cut the politicians. They also had a number of groups and individuals who requested to speak, so they decided to cut the indiginous welcome, the political science professor, and the war veteran. Also, they only wanted one speaker on the Afghan Detainee and related issues, so Stopwar was cut, as BCCLA requested to speak (though the woman who is their spokesperson on the Afghan detainee issue was not available).

When asked not to speak about the Afghan Detainee scandal or against the Olympics, Harjap Grewal handed off the COC speaking spot to another woman from the organization who caved and mentioned neither issue.

There was also some confusion on who was even on the speakers list. Stopwar was not contacted about Marla not speaking, so she showed up expecting to speak. The war veteran was also told he could speak, and so showed up expecting to speak.

So all in all, a decent if somewhat half-baked effort that could have been better focused and more politically relevant to the issues at hand at this moment in time.

KenS

And the irony for the milquetoast suppossed "pragmatists": not being connected to issues beyond the prorogation means the whole thing vanishes without a trace the totally inevitably moment the anger fades.

ennir

I wouldn't be too sure the anger is going to fade soon, I think many people have been energized by this experience and want it to continue, perhaps the anger can morph into political activism.

They are also questioning the Harper/Hitler signs that showed up at many of the rallies and in one discussion someone from Winnipeg noted that a university student known for their Conservative party allegiance was seen talking to those with that same sign. 

 

scott scott's picture

Awesome video from the Edmonton march and rally

Interviews with marchers, speech by Gorden Laxer and part of the open mike after. The video says 300 but I counted (best as I could) 500 at it's peak.

remind remind's picture

Who is  the "they" questioning the use of Harper Hitler signs?

ennir

The "they" is people on Facebook.

thanks

Northumberland had a very good rally, as did Peterborough.

There was an energetic spirit.  A sense of common purpose.  Harper has gone too far and needs to be removed from office.

Contrary to what the Conservative MP opined in the paper the previous day, the crowd of 150-200 in Cobourg (good for a rural region town!) was not just made up of 'political activists'.  Range of ages, predominantly middle-aged and seniors. Many people joined who had seen the notice in the paper, and who hadn't been out to events in the past.  In fact, many of the activists who usually come to protest events weren't there.  That's another issue i'll need to mull over...Similar picture in Peterborough- many new faces, new organizers participating with familiar groups.  Crowd there was larger, i'll say 500plus, maybe 700 at the gathering.

A summative story:  New senior participant suggests after the speeches in Cobourg that we march down the main street.  He is informed that organizers didn't get a permit for such, but we could walk sidewalks.  He thinks we ought to march and close the street. [memo: ripe for organizing, this area].

Speeches:  most good.  Highlights: Politicians involved weren't slamming eachother.  Someone from the crowd even called out "coalition".  Green Party candidate called for the troops in Afghanistan to be brought home.  Can't remember what the Liberal candidate said.  NDP candidate said Harper had poisoned political discussion- at a time when we needed to work on policy.  Moderator of event said Harper prorogued the day after the Parliamentary Committee called for release of documents pertaining to torture scandal.  Residents speaking called to support the troops by bringing them home, to uphold parliament, and condemned Harper for turning to torture and climate change instead of upholding what Canadians stand for in the world.

I'll let the Peterborough home-town folks talk about their event more.  OPIRG board member did a great job outlining the stages of the torture scandal, and the kind of torture we have been complicit in.  The only note i'd have added would be that international law calls for full investigation even in uncertainty.  Harperites saying 'they didn't know' is still chargeable. 

Homes Not Bombs made the perohe (alias 'prorogies') in Peterborough, which were actually very good.  Comraderie and laughs had by all in the kitchen doing dishes.

all in all a very good day.Smile

 

 

 

 

Stockholm

Left Turn wrote:

I also agree that it was a very wholesome rally, too wholesome if you ask me. It was decent for what it was, yet I think the messaging was off on the rally. As I see it, there are two reasons parliament has been prorogued. One is to ensure that no significant new revelations come out in the Afghan detainee torture scandal until after the Olympics. The second is to ensure that parliament cannot vote no confidence in the Conservatives and force an election until after the Olympics. This did not come through in the rally, as the main messaging was around why proroguing parliament is an abuse of power.

I have to disagree with the second reason for prorogation. I think we can all agree that the number one reason why Harper prorogued was to suspend the inquiry into the Afghan detainee scandal (though once parliament comes back - all those inquiries can be resumed - so Harper can run but he can't hide).

But I don't think the possibility of a non-confidence vote on the eve of or during the Olympics was a factor at all. In fact the Conservatives would have been jumping for joy if the opposition parties were stupid enough to vote nonconfidence in late January/early February (BTW: I'm not sure if that was even a possibility since I don't think any opposition days would have been scheduled until later in the session). But if you are the Tories what could possibily be a better scenario than to have the opposition pull the plug right now and then have Canadans pissed off all over again about an early election for no apparent reason AND to have the Vancouver Olympics taking place during most of the election campaign totally drowning out the opposition parties messages, while Harper and his minions get to enjoy endless photo-ops as they host the world and lead everyone in jingoistic reditions of Oh Canada everytime a Canadian wins a gold medal. If you wanted to GUARANTEE a Tory majority government - all you would have to do is have the government fall in late January and have election day in early March while everyone is still full of good feelings from the Olympics. Once the Olympics are over - the post-party hangover will start very, very quickly.

If we were to have a Spring election at all - its in the interest of the opposition to wait until several weeks AFTER the Olympics are over - when there is a post-party let-down and when no one can accuse them of being "party-poopers" for forcing an election during the Olympics and "ruining" the event.

All that being said, I think that the odds of the opposition parties voting non-confidence this winter/spring are close to zero. The Liberals have already said that they won't push for an election and it sounds like Donolo has a long term plan to rehabilitate Iggy's image and raise more money that requires at least another year

Sean in Ottawa

I am having some trouble also with the Hitler reference -- but for different reasons. On the one hand there is no comparison to what Hitler did with the power he took and he was far beyond Harper in many ways. The Holocaust itself is clearly not being replicated and Harper would not do anything like that.

But that is not where it stops. The reasons Harper would not do those things is because he does not want to. Where the comparisons start to work are the manipulations to take down a viable democracy, however stressed and flawed. Hitler took down the German democracy piece by piece. The use of outright lying and propaganda, together with a demonization of opponents Hitler raised to extreme but the tactics are being used by Harper. The manipulation of people's "patriotism" to direct people where they might not otherwise go is also being employed. The attack on intellectuals, objective science, is also something Hitler did -- albeit to a much greater extreme.

What troubles me therefore is the loss of credibility in comparing the man Harper to Hitler in part because it undermines far more legitimate comparisons relating to the tactics of assembling power, manipulating the public and undermine democratic institutions. I fear that the personal demonization about Harper by making horrific comparisons to Hitler at one point my blunt and discredit comparisons that need to be made about the attack that is underway against our democracy. So I am torn. At one point those comparisons may need to be made but they are dangerous and should be done carefully. Portraying Harper as Hitler is not helpful in imagery but comparing the track of a loss of democracy to the Weimer republic may be essential.

Anyway, I am torn and find it very difficult to be consistent on this so I can only sum up by saying I am disturbed but in a very inconsistent way.

 

Stockholm

Let's leave Hitler out of this. It only leads to the anti-prorogation movement being discredited. The last thing we need is to have the media start to ridicule the movement because of comparisons between Harper and Hitler which are clearly hyperbolic and over the top.

ennir

Stockholm wrote:

Let's leave Hitler out of this. It only leads to the anti-prorogation movement being discredited. The last thing we need is to have the media start to ridicule the movement because of comparisons between Harper and Hitler which are clearly hyperbolic and over the top.

It would seem this is precisely the concern being raised as to whether it is the Conservatives doing this to discredit CAPP.  One advantage to discussing it is to raise an effective strategy for dealing with these incidents and to make it clear that there is no support for this comparison.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I agree with Stock that the possibility of a vote of non-confidence at this time was virtually zero, so I was surprised to see someone mention it in their speech yesterday (I forget who it was, maybe Iggy).

 

ETA: does anyone have a link to the text of both speeches - Iggy and Layton?

 

ETA: I was glued to CBC Newsworld yesterday, they covered the Hill protest well, including carrying live both speeches by Iggy and Layton, Kady O'Malley's live blogging, and interviews with protestors from almost coast-to-coast.

ocsi

Stockholm wrote:

Let's leave Hitler out of this. It only leads to the anti-prorogation movement being discredited. The last thing we need is to have the media start to ridicule the movement because of comparisons between Harper and Hitler which are clearly hyperbolic and over the top.

 

Yes, let's leave Hitler out of this. 

By far, most of the placards and banners at the Waterloo rally were hand-made by individuals.   I took the picture of "Steven Hitler" because I, like many folks around me, found the placard mildly amusing.  The person carrying it may have felt that way.  I don't know.  At a grassroots rally there's very little control over who brings what kind of placard.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Iggy, in an opinion piece, that includes his thoughts on another election, from early January, here:

 

excerpt:

 

Shutting down Parliament has raised speculation about a spring election. Certainly, there is no need for an early election. Three in less than six years is enough for the next while. In case anyone missed it, I got that message loud and clear from Canadians last fall. And that message was not only addressed to me.

 

As I hear them, Canadians are saying: get back to work in Ottawa, make this Parliament work and do the job we elected you to do. We are listening. It is time that Stephen Harper did too.

 

Sean in Ottawa

I agree that the comparisons to Hitler are when buried in rhetoric very problematic. I am merely showing that there is a basis for the comparison in that it was the most dramatic loss of a democratic system we have ever seen. It is from that point of view that these comparisons may come. That said the imagery and the actions of Hitler are not comparable. While I feel the need to acknowledge the intellectual basis for comparison as not being entire fantasy, I will agree that the point is not worth the downside of the comparison. I would never show up at a rally with a personal comparison between Hitler and Harper.

But it is legitimate to note that there are other examples of a leader undermining democratic institutions and traditions. None of the examples ended well. There are numerous cautionary tales about undermining democracy and what that leads to. The rise of the Nazis in Germany is an extreme case but the less extreme cases are not pretty either.

Let's not kid ourselves about the fact that it is legitimate to compare to the extreme to illustrate a point. Layton at the rally compared Harper to King Charles the 1st. This may be a better example but only by degrees as there are problems with this example too.

So sure, avoid the Hitler references but when they come up understand that they are not completely wanting as admittedly extreme examples of what happens when one person targets democratic institutions. I accept that Harper would never do anything like Hitler but am disturbed by the grab for power he is displaying and by the fact that in the end while I trust Harper could never be as bad as a Hitler, I do not want to trust a political leader on this. I want my political institutions to be strong enough that I do not have to and those are the very same institutions Harper is attacking.

So sure-- let's avoid the rhetoric where we can and I did not raise Hitler in this thread but we should be careful about how far we go to criticize people who use the metaphor. It is tasteless, it is extreme but it is not entirely without merit and while I would not bring it up, I'd rather not attack those who are.

I'll go another step on the Harper-Hitler thing. I feel the personalizing of the attacks on what Harper is doing may also be unhelpful as an entire class of argument. It may be better to avoid the personal in all of this-- for example the references to being governed by Harper the King left me somewhat cold but when Layton said that they were governing the country by committee that struck home-- and many metaphors really resonated -- not the least a corporate boardroom. Government by committee in closed door session is the reality we currently face and is probably the best imagery and metaphor we can use.

Sean in Ottawa

The issue of no election is difficult-- you can't say no election with a government that does not compromise at all. It is only the threat of defeat that motivates this govenrment to work with other parties. To take it off the table is to say Harper can govern without any accountability until we put it back on the table.

This is a difficult position Harper is placing the people and the other parties in.

I would like to see the opposition parties run advertising together -- I have argued for some time about this. The reason is they form a majority and this is a way without either coalition or election where the point thathe is governing against the will of a majority of the House. Harper is running over the House blackmailing all the opposition with being credited with an unwanted election at every turn. Eventually there will be a grass movement calling for an election and then Harper's ploy will fail. But for now people need to see that Harper is going against the House constantly. This is an alternative to voting him down right now. I think the opposition needs to make the case that they would bring down Harper for this but recognize that the people do not want an election but that the result is that Harper is governing like a majority untill the people agree that we need an election and that this is how he has responded to having a minority. It is a serious, cooperative communications strategy on this single point that will be required to turn public opinion. Completely counter-productive will be the opposition turning on each other for avoiding an election and then turning around and doing the same. If they can coordinate their message on this the people will have a chance to se that this is a no-compromise government.

All that said, we all got played by Harper last year on the Stimulus spending. Harper was happy to do it-- happy to give us credit for it and happy to bankrupt the government. The Harper Conservatives can only implement their agenda with a government that is broke-- the argument for tax cuts have been recognized to be part of this agenda but so too should the interpretation of the stimulus spending. This spending was essential and if it had been spent properly could have left the country, economy stronger. But by squandering it, the government has forclosed any option of making the required investments. Put another way the opposition wanted a real stimulus. Harper refused. Then when they pressed he dumped the money into a pork-barrel campaign that the opposition did not call him on (because they were happy he was spending some money) and Harper guaranteed that the spending that was really required would never happen because the money was gone-- and the opposition could be blamed for that.

It will be a generation before we have the money we could have had for the kind of investments we needed. Now we will go through a painful belt-tightening worsened by the fact that these investments were never made. The long term damage to the economy is not being recognized yet but eventually it will be. Hopefully the next time we consider this -- better thought on how the money is being spent will be employed so that we don't end up broke without having done what we needed to do.

Polunatic2

Quote:
an early election for no apparent reason
So will we have to live with the new budget and continued hacking away at democratic rights? That would seem to be an apparent reason to have an election. It is a confidence vote. Will Harper moderate his "deficit reduction" plan (program cuts) to appear reasonable or will he go for the gusto? Should the NDP and other opposition parties support the budget to avoid an election? 

I too am uncomfortable with the Hitler references. I think a comparison to Dubya would be more apropos.

Check out Judy Rebick's latest blog post - A great day for democracy in Canada for some analysis on the anti-prorogation movement and possible next steps. 

Unionist

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
Layton at the rally compared Harper to King Charles the 1st.

Harper's pretty calm - I don't think he'll lose his head over that analogy.

Polunatic2 wrote:
Vote him down on confidence and force the G-G to try and form a new government.

She'll just call an election. Slavish Harper-worship dies hard.

 

Polunatic2

There is another option to an election. Harper could resign and the G-G could see if any opposition party(ies) could form a government which enjoyed the support of the House. While I've never been convinced that the fixed election date law applied to minority governments, that argument could certainly be made. Vote him down on confidence and force the G-G to try and form a new government. 

On the previous discussion about NDP messaging, I think it was a faux pas for them not to mention CAPP by name in their email & other communications (although they did link to them on facebook). It leads to the kind of acrimonious discussion we're seeing which is unnecessary and divisive. 

Polunatic2

Quote:
 She'll just call an election. Slavish Harper-worship dies hard.
So then why is that a constitutional option if the PM can over-ride it at will? The whole purpose of that option is to "make the most" of the MPs we elect. 

Unionist

What do you mean? The PM can't override anything. He has no power whatsoever under the Constitution. Only Parliament and the Crown have powers. I'm really uncertain as to why all the anti-prorogation forces haven't called for Mme Jean's ass to be kicked out of her palace for obeying someone who doesn't even speak for a majority of MPs. At the very least, the opposition parties should demand that she be turfed, or resign. The trouble is, the opposition parties suffer from the same cowardly craven kowtowing in the face of Harper's bold attacks on democracy as Mme Jean does.

 

Polunatic2

On another related matter, here's an anecdote from yesterday's Toronto rally. I was helping out with "bucket duty" to raise some money to pay for rally expenses. I "bucketed" as people were leaving Dundas Square. Then I cut across Dundas to Bay St. to meet the march and "bucket" the other side of the march. 

The march had taken over all four lanes of Bay St.  It was very impressive. A young woman, with a couple of her friends, asked me what was going on. I tried to explain that the PM had suspended parliament but her English wasn't very good. I asked her where she was from and she said she was a student from China. So I boiled it down to, "it's a march for democracy". Still, she looked puzzled and asked me what that was. I tried to explain elections, political parties, parliament, etc but to no avail. Finally, she asked me to spell it and then entered it into her blackberry translator. "Oh, she said. I've never seen anything like this in my entire life. (looking at the approaching police on horses) In China, the police would be attacking the people for doing such a thing". 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Well said, U. I can't stand this G-G at all.

Stargazer

Stockholm wrote:

Let's leave Hitler out of this. It only leads to the anti-prorogation movement being discredited. The last thing we need is to have the media start to ridicule the movement because of comparisons between Harper and Hitler which are clearly hyperbolic and over the top.

 

Absolutely right Stock. I think that signs equating Harper with Hitler do nothing to further our cause. Not to mention the belittling of what Hitler did.

Debater

Boom Boom wrote:

I agree with Stock that the possibility of a vote of non-confidence at this time was virtually zero, so I was surprised to see someone mention it in their speech yesterday (I forget who it was, maybe Iggy).

 

ETA: does anyone have a link to the text of both speeches - Iggy and Layton?

 

ETA: I was glued to CBC Newsworld yesterday, they covered the Hill protest well, including carrying live both speeches by Iggy and Layton, Kady O'Malley's live blogging, and interviews with protestors from almost coast-to-coast.

I think both Ignatieff and Elizabeth May mentioned the issue of non-confidence in their speeches yesterday.  

But Ignatieff wasn't saying he would vote non-confidence right now.  He was reviewing the history of the last 2 prorogations and saying Canadians don't want Parliament prorogued in order to avoid a vote of non-confidence (as in 2008) and Canadians don't want Parliament prorogued in order to avoid producing documents (as in 2009).

Then Elizabeth May mentioned the book she wrote about Stephen Harper's actions during the last prorogation and said that according to the research she did the only example of a Prime Minister proroguing in order to avoid a non-confidence vote was a former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, who was denied the right to do so.

Sean in Ottawa

All the opposition representatives gave good speeches including even especially May. Nobody lost support over what they said.

I was a ew feet from Ignatief though when he came out and I put up the NDP sign "stand up to Harper" when he was looking right in my direction. The look on his face was special. There he was, Liberal leader looking out over many orange signs.

There was a noticable difference in the cheering for Layton as Ignatief-- it was clearly an NDP and Green friendly crowd (there was a lot of May supporters there as well).

I wish I knew what he was thinking but the look on his face for a moment was something-- then he brightened up and delivered a good speech that actually was quite well recieved. By the end of his speech he had many of those with Orange signs clearly clapping well for him. But for a moment at the start I wondered if he was questionning if he had made a good move being there. In the end clearly he had.

Personally I find his tone difficult-- I don't enjoy hearing him speak-- he does sound like a snob but at least part of that is not his fault- it is just the way he speaks.

 

Pages

Topic locked