"a viable alternative government " / "un gouvernement de rechange viable"

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Wilf Day
"a viable alternative government " / "un gouvernement de rechange viable"

The Liberal motion, which has the approval of the NDP and Bloc Quebecois, reads

Quote:
"In light of the government's failure to recognize the seriousness of Canada's economic situation and its failure in particular to present any credible plan to stimulate the Canadian economy and to help workers and businesses in hard-pressed sectors such as manufacturing, the automotive industry and forestry, this House has lost confidence in this government and is of the opinion that a viable alternative government can be formed within the present House of Commons."

A historic event.

Discuss. 

 

longtime lurker

 If Harper is expecting a massive wave of public criticism of the notion that the majority in the House of Commons can dictate who gets to be PM I suspect he is going to be sorely disappointed.

Sunday Hat

Paul Wells has a pretty good forecast of what Harper will use the coming week for:

"I think it’s reasonable to assume that email will go out this weekend soliciting fresh donations from hundreds of thousands of Conservative supporters. Direct-mail appeals (”Stéphane Dion: Not a Democrat”), Web ads, broadcast and print buys, messaging for Conservative bloggers and for commenters on other blogs, talking points for talk-radio callers and the party’s teevee spokesmen — that will only be part of it. The messaging will be concentrated against the most vulnerable MPs: If you’re a Liberal or a New Democrat who won narrowly over the Conservative in your riding, you can expect your life to be hell, beginning tonight. There could be public “We Want Our Canada Back” rallies, including probably a big one on the Hill (”Send Ottawa A Message From the Real Canada”) by mid-week. It could be massive."

More time to negotiate - but also more time for Liberals get cold feet.

Why would they get cold feet?

Because they hate Dion. Because they think this is a massive Harper plot to win a majority. Because Harper will plant rumours claiming that's the case. Because a poll will come out saying Canadians don't want Dion as PM. Because they're scared of the NDP winning. Because they have no principles.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Harper is wise to play the long game in the hope that the coaltion will be so fractious that it will fold on some key issue. Then Harper could try once again for the majority he wants without taking the blame for early elections. I think this view is also in the minds of the Liberals.

Stockholm

The trouble is that Harper has put the opposition parties in a situation where they have nothing to lose by defeating the government asap. If they let the Harper gov't survive then it just means that in a couple of weeks the bill to end all subsidizing of parties is brought forth and results in all the opposition parries being driven into bankruptcy and having no money at all toi fight an election campaign down the road.

Wilf Day

Tomorrow's Globe editorial

Quote:
Dishearteningly, Mr. Harper sounded characteristically bellicose in his televised address yesterday evening, attacking his opponents and pronouncing that a coalition government is not an option. That determination is, frankly, not his to make. It rests with the Governor-General, and precedent suggests Mr. Harper is wrong. It is in the interests of his government and of Canadians that Mr. Harper reflect on where his cynical and combative approach has gotten him, and how it has destabilized our country during uncertain times.

 

ForestGreen

Yes, and it would be harder to bring down the government on that issue alone (government subsidies) - it would look bad for the opposition. I think they will still take the opportunity to defeat the budget - and I think they should - without the subsidies being part of it, even if Harper tries to amend it to make it more appealing to the opposition.

I don't think the opposition will be fractious. They have a good reason to get along - they have to. The parties are united by the need to provide an alternative to Harper's dangerous agenda. Their lives depend on it, for now.

Interesting times.  Even the Harper-endorsing media are calling him out for his stupid partisanship right now. It seems that very few are buying his version of events.

Unionist

Harper has backed off starving the other parties, for the time being. I think he's running scared and foresaw absolutely none of this. Has he run out of steam?

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/11/28/tories-fiscal.html?ref=rss]
Conservatives drop party-funding cuts from key motion[/url]

Interested Observer Interested Observer's picture

I'm sure some liberals are trying to avoid a formal coalition but it seems to me that the ndp is going try to force it to happen.

Oh and stockholm is right in his assessment, IMO.

However, I believe that Harper has already removed the public financing section from the confidence motion. Regardless, it's going to be hard to turn course as it stands.

 Slightly off-topic:

This is too funny!

[URL=http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2008/11/28/... Martin: Harper has no one to blame but himself[/URL]

 

He's being trashed by frustrated neo-cons for speaking the truth on the National Post! Laughing

One example:

Quote:

Martin should be fired from the Post. It's not Harper who is
triggering an election, but the opposition who has nothing but
disrespect for democracy.

Martin should worry about his being sued for malicious defamation,
instead of distorting the political facts on the ground in Ottawa.

His style of writing has become extremely poor since his assignment
to Ottawa, and his constant pro-Liberal hurrahs are getting on
everyone's nerves.

Now thats blind partisanship if I ever saw it!

 

V. Jara

Paul Wells is right. In this game of "political chicken" Harper has chickened out. He's now deep in a mad plan to save his government.

The key to the coalition materializing, at this point, is to get ahead of the media game. This means they have to issue some sort of joint statement, very soon. Even if this joint statement is just a statement saying they will issue a joint statement on Monday. They need to take away Harper's only angles of attack- namely that is a closed door process and to a lesser extent that the opposition is out for raw power, and raw power only.

For the opposition parties, they should issue a joint statement explaining clearly the issues, with a couple specifics, that they are mad at the Conservatives about/willing to take the Conservatives down on. They should state that they are working on a plan to make sure these stupid ideas don't come to fruition, and announce that they are absolutely prepared to vote this government down if that's what it takes to protect Canada's economic and political future. 

 This is a good move for all the opposition parties. It keeps the heat on the Conservatives, and if the Conservatives drop to their knees, it provides a cover for any opposition party that wishes to defect in the middle of the process. In short, it is a win-win-win for the opposition parties, so long as they maintain an upper hand in the media game.

For primers on why this matters, check out how much media time Obama has been hogging up with his "transition team." He's doing it for a very deliberate reason, he wants to come into office riding as much of the momentum as possible from the last election, and that won't happen if his opponents get to dominate the media circus in the interim. The Canadian opposition has the momentum now, and they need to make Harper look as cowardly and desperate as possible. If the public even so much as come to pity Harper- he's finished- he may be finished regardless.

ForestGreen

 

Thank you for posting that, Wilf. It appeared after I had started typing my post.

ForestGreen

It's interesting that Harper is now the one backing out of the political chicken game as Unionist just said. The difference between now and the last parliament is that I think now we are truly exasperated at the thought of another election, and the coalition is going to be an option on the table, no matter how averse some may be to the idea. Since it was Harper that called the last election, he has an added responsibility to keep parliament together, and if he can't, no one wants to give him another shot at a majority. Hopefully not the GG, although I know nothing about her political leanings.

V. Jara

Off topic, but this quote from Don Martin on the opposition parties is worth highlighting:

"It could take years to make up the lost financial ground by revamping their lazy and unimaginative fundraising operations."

 So sadly true Tongue out

Interested Observer Interested Observer's picture

Here is an exerpt from a harper interview I stole from another poster on another site:

Quote:

Solomon: So why did you write that letter to the Governor-General
with Gilles Duceppe and Jack Layton saying in the event of a confidence
vote situation do not call a snap election - are we to assume that
therefore you're working to form a coalition?

Harper: There seems to be an attitude in the Liberal government -
that they can go in, be deliberately defeated and call an election -
that's not how our constitutional system works. The government has a
minority - it has an obligation to demonstrate to Canadians that it can
govern. That it can form a majority in the House of Commons. If it
can't form a majority, we look at other options, we don't just concede
to the government's request to make it dysfunctional. I know for a fact
that Mr. Duceppe and Mr. Layton and the people who work for them want
this Parliament to work and I know if is in all of our interests to
work. The government has got to face the fact it has a minority, it has
to work with other people.

He should take his own medicine, obviously! Wink

 

Interested Observer Interested Observer's picture

V. Jara wrote:

Off topic, but this quote from Don Martin on the opposition parties is worth highlighting:

"It could take years to make up the lost financial ground by revamping their lazy and unimaginative fundraising operations."

So sadly true Tongue out

Agreed. We really need to take a lesson from recent US politics on that.

Unionist

Will the postponement of the party-funding cuts tip the Liberal scales against a coalition government?

Interested Observer Interested Observer's picture

Unionist wrote:
Will the postponement of the party-funding cuts tip the Liberal scales against a coalition government?

I highly doubt it as they have already insisted that their anger is about the lack of an economic stimulus package. Many sources have said that their latest caucus meeting was unanimous in that regard. They are way too invested already to turn around on that, plus they would just play right into the argument that Harper is making, which would be political suicide.

Brian White

I think they  have finally seen harpers dream future (a one party state) and hopefully they see this coalition g as their one chance of survival. Their only chance is to be in government and keep harper away from making laws.  Harper is now so intent on the game that he has forgotten the country. People are a little stupid sometimes but if they manage to maintain a coalition for just 6 months, there are probably numerous conservative knives for harpers back. It would be sweet to see that day!

Unionist wrote:
Will the postponement of the party-funding cuts tip the Liberal scales against a coalition government?

Stockholm

Unionist wrote:
Will the postponement of the party-funding cuts tip the Liberal scales against a coalition government?

 

No, why would it? The Tories have not in any way backed down on getting rid of party funding. All they have done is take it out of the bill to be voted on on Monday - they are still committed to scrapping the funding in a stand alone bill in coming weeks.

The Liberals would have to be NUTS to let the Tories survive on a vote on their broad economic policies and then vote them down in two weeks in a vote purely on the party funding.

Wilf Day

Unionist wrote:
Will the postponement of the party-funding cuts tip the Liberal scales against a coalition government?

I don't think so. It's too obvious a tactic. "Vote confidence in us now, and then we will bring in the funding cuts later and dare you to bring down the government out of self-interest alone." No, the train has left the station.

It was Gilles Duceppe who first made it a proper issue of principle yesterday, along with the failure to provide the needed economic stimulus: 

Quote:
What the Conservative government presented today was not an economic statement but an ideological statement. This ideology so blinds the government that it fails to see how urgent it is to act.

     Instead of presenting a plan to help the economy recover and breathe some air into it, the Prime Minister has chosen to smother it. . .  The Prime Minister has preferred ideology to economics. He has placed partisanship above democracy.

   Despite the surpluses accumulated over 10 years, the Conservative government not only refused to present its plan, to provide relief, it consciously chose to stifle the economy to advance its outdated ideology on the reduction of government.

    Naturally, we are prepared to cut our salaries and to reduce growth of expenditures by the government bureaucracy. But the purpose of these savings should not be to reduce government in order to avoid a one-time deficit, but to support the economy, to support the people.

    The government has decided to take advantage of the crisis to attack the rights of women and workers. The government is proposing to suspend public servants' right to strike. It has decided to attack women's rights by submitting their right to pay equity to negotiation. Since when are rights negotiable? It is scandalous. We will never accept such an attack by the government on women's and workers' rights. We will never allow it.

    Not content with putting ideology before the economy, not content with attacking workers, women, and Quebec, the Prime Minister is adding insult to injury by putting his own extreme partisanship before democracy. When speaking on December 8, 2005 about reforming the financing of political parties, the Prime Minister said:

 
    "These measures are directly inspired by reforms introduced by René Lévesque 30 years ago, reforms of which all Quebeckers can be very proud. Quebec has led the way in electoral reform."

    By announcing his intention to eliminate public funding of political parties, the Prime Minister is betraying the memory of René Lévesque. Public funding was at the heart of René Lévesque's reform. This desire to slash funding is a direct attack on democracy. Using the economic crisis as an excuse and under the pretense of saving $30 million, the Conservative government has shown the world the extent of its hypocrisy.

    Hardly a few weeks ago, the Prime Minister called an election for strictly partisan reasons. He spent $300 million, ten times more than what he is trying to save by eliminating political party funding. What will the Prime Minister announce next in the upcoming budget? Does he plan to shut down Parliament to save $500 million?

    The Prime Minister has manufactured a democratic crisis, simply to give himself a partisan advantage, because this government's goal is to silence all forms of opposition: silence artists, silence women, silence unions and silence the opposition.

Next came Jack Layton:

Quote:
. . . what we have seen is a government that has failed to act. It has failed to act boldly as other governments around the world are doing to tackle a crisis the likes of which we have not seen in generations. We have seen a government that also failed the fundamental test of leadership, which is to work with other parties, particularly in a minority House, in order to chart the pathway forward.

[Translation]

    People were hoping that something would change. Knowing that Canada has a minority government, they were hoping perhaps that the opposition parties and the government would work together to find ways of helping families that are suffering in this crisis. But this evening, the government rejected the idea of working together for families. Instead, it chose to pursue the partisan objectives of the Conservative Party. That is unfair. We cannot accept that. We reject that.

[English]

    We needed a stimulus to our economy and we needed it desperately. In fact, the people who are being laid off day in and day out were counting on the government to step forward with the kind of economic strategy that would have at least put some light at the end of the tunnel. They were counting on a government that might understand what they are facing when they go home with a pink slip and might say that it will take a look at the supports that are there, like employment insurance, and fix them so families can feed their kids. Instead, we get partisan games.

    What do the Conservatives expect to say to workers who are working in factories right now, knowing full well that the management of those factories need backing for their line of credit so they can pay their bills and keep on producing? They were counting on the government to step forward, like other governments around the world have done, and say that it will stand behind our businesses, stand behind our workers, stand behind our communities and support Canadians instead of just looking after itself. The Conservatives have turned it right around and that is not acceptable.

    What we see is a smokescreen. We have seen it before from some of the same individuals in Ontario when these same kinds of strategies and tactics were used. We have seen it before but I had hoped it would be different.

    I met with the Prime Minister and all the leaders here to see if we could find ways to work together. I have done it in minority Parliament after minority Parliament. Canadians want us to work together. Did we hear the slightest indication from the Prime Minister and his representatives on the front bench that they were prepared to work together? Not in the slightest. Instead, it was abuse, insults and putting down people who serve in elected office. I am sick and tired of it and I think Canadians are too.

    People were hoping to see some real action to protect their pensions and to protect their savings. They look at what is happening in the United States and they see President-elect Obama laying out a plan that provides at least some sense of hope and optimism. What we hear in Canada is denial. We hear the government saying that there really is no problem. It says that it has done everything so well that there is no problem. How out of touch can the government be?

[Translation]

    People are crying out for actions or initiatives like the ones they are seeing in other countries. But this government is not listening and is just saying things that do not make sense.

[English]

    I want to salute the speakers before me in this debate from the opposition side who have had the courage to stand up against this kind of ideological politics.

    Canadians have ideas about how we can move forward. We have been consulting with them. We have brought those ideas forward here. We have said that there must be action to protect consumers who are being gouged by the very companies that are receiving help from the government. There is no sense of responsibility, aid or assistance.

    We wanted to see investment in innovation so we could become more productive. We wanted to see investment in infrastructure. We have thousands of projects across our country that are ready to be built, with workers ready to build them.

[Translation]

    We need to invest at this critical time in order to create jobs and help Canada's communities and families. Those are our priorities, and I hope we can come up with an effective plan for people.

[English]

    I am here to say this evening that we are not about to play the partisan games and watch the attack on democracy unfold while thousands of Canadians are being thrown into the streets because of the recession and the loss of jobs. We are not prepared to support an economic statement that leaves Canadians behind. We will be voting against it, and proudly so, on behalf of the Canadians we represent.

Then came Mulcair:

Quote:
[Translation]

    Today, part of their almost imperceptible ideological manoeuvring is to blame those who have been elected, to make a politician a figure to be hated, just as Karl Rove taught George W. Bush to do in the United States—attack and divide. We already know that only 59% of the population votes and even that is too much for the Conservatives because they want to muzzle the opposition and cut off their funding. And they will do all of this without taking any action during the worst economic crisis Canada has seen in generations. It is shameful.

[English]

     For the Conservatives to be able to propose any concrete change or bring any structural ideas, something that would build the economy, something that would help create and maintain jobs, they would need to admit that there was a problem or that they had ever done anything wrong. Of course that would require a modicum of modesty. Now that they are back in here with a minority situation, they will not even recognize that they have done anything wrong or that the public does not trust them enough to give them a majority.

    Let us look at the facts. Right now in Canada 350,000 families, which corresponds to the 350,000 manufacturing jobs that have been lost because of the Conservatives, do not believe the state or the government has a role in the economy. They, therefore, have held back. They give across-the-board tax cuts but, of course, if a company did not make a profit last year it did not pay any taxes and it did not get anything back on a tax cut. Who got the money? Companies in the oil sector and the banks, the ones that did not need it. The companies in the forestry sector and the manufacturing sector in B.C., Ontario and Quebec, in particular, those are the families that have lost their jobs and those are the communities that are without work. That is the desperate situation that we are already in and the Conservatives refuse to recognize it and will not act on it.

[Translation]

    What a colossal fraud, Mr. Speaker. Just look at them go. Last week, Kevin Page said that we were headed for a $6 billion deficit because of their poor choices. And what do they have to say in today's statement? One has to read it to believe it; it really is something else. Let me read one sentence, and I am not making this up: “The government is planning on balanced budgets for the current and next five years, although given the downside risks, balanced budgets cannot be guaranteed.” They have managed to say one thing and then say the complete opposite in the same sentence. Is that what they call good management of public assets? This is pathetic. That is what we have had to put up with for the last two and a half years.

    That is why the NDP, on behalf of Canadians, is looking at the numbers and the proposals, such as the proposed sale of public assets. They want to sell off major assets that took years to acquire just to have a balanced budget. Take all of the institutions we have built and created in Canada over generations: social rights, the right to collective bargaining, which has been recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada. For no good reason, they want to abolish these rights in one fell swoop by eliminating the right to strike. They want to take away women's right to equal pay for equal work.

    I invite my colleagues to take a look —and it is well worth your while—at the difference between the speech as read by the rather dry and accusatory minister, that unadulterated homo reformensis, and the slightly broader document, expressed a little more lyrically, which proposes what another system might be like. They are doing this for the benefit of their reformist base. They never learned their lesson from the last election.

    Our constitutional system has a remedy for this. Part of that remedy will come from the NDP. I trust that everyone on this side will stand up against this right of centre ideology that no longer has a place in a country that is open and established, a modern country whose socio-economic institutions respect everyone. Our families and future generations are entitled to better than this. We will do our part to restore equality and freedoms here in Canada.

Historic words.

Interested Observer Interested Observer's picture

Vansterdam Kid wrote:

So long as the scope of any potential coalition is very mildly centre-left, but not too centrist to centre-right or left-ish, and so long as the Bloc is worried about the Cons in Quebec, the stability of such a government could be OK, for a little while at least.

 

Also, the issue of separation is completely on the backburner in Quebec right now so Duceppe has no other choice than to focus on the issues that Quebecors want, which largely coincides with the ndp agenda.

Vansterdam Kid

From the other thread cause it'll probably be closed soon....

Malcolm wrote:

1. The NDP conditions are apparently 1/3 of all Cabinet seats,
including both Finance and Environment.  Finance may be the
deal-breaker.

 

2. I can't see the Liberals letting any declared leadership candidate be PM.

 

3. I can't see the Liberal caucus letting Dion be PM because it gives him a window to unresign a la Pierre Trudeau in 1979.

 

4. Since the NDP have called for both immediate withdrawal from
Afghanistan and cancellation of the corporate tax cuts, I can see one
(probably the tax cuts in the present climate) giving way as part of
the necessary compromise.  Alternatively, I could see some compromise
on both - ie reduce the corporate tax cuts and set out a detailed and
concrete calendar for withdrawal.

 

5. If I'm right on 2 and 3, the most likely Liberal acting leader /
PM designate would probably be the stalwart Ralph Goodale.  Apparently
McCallum is a possibility despite his rumoured drinking problem.  (This
was the guy turfed by airport security after an alcohol fueled rant.) 
That would make Goodale the fourth MP elected in a Saskatchewan
constituency to serve as PM,  (Laurier, King and Diefenbaker) but the
first such not to represent Prince Albert.  He'd be the first Prime
Minister born in Saskatchewan. 

 

6. There is, of course, nothing to say that the PM has to be from
the larger coalition partner.  Prime Minister Layton?  He has applied
for the job. 

 

7. There is also nothing to say that the PM has to be one of the
party leaders.  we could have our first (openly) LGBTQ Prime Minister,
or our first Prime Minister of Colour, or our first non-Christian Prime
Minister.

 

8. I still don't think any of it is going to happen.

 

1) The number ratio is fair. Though I agree that it's unlikely to think the NDP are going to get Finance, ideally (in this parliament) the NDP would attempt to secure, Finance, Environment, Natural Resources, Transport and Industry. That however may be a bridge to far, so I think they'll have to give in on Finance. Which relates to 4), I suspect that the NDP would have to give in on corporate taxes, since raising taxes in this environment is likely a non-starter, especially with the Liberals, which is why I can't imagine an NDP Finance Minister (in this parliament). Maybe the proposed Corporate Tax cuts won't go through,  but there won't be any raising beyond what they are right now and in exchange there will be an immediate commencement of withdrawl from Afghanistan.

I agree with 2, but I don't agree with 3. Right now it might be best, from a Liberal leadership candidate's point of view, to let him be PM because any other "interm leader" might decide they like being PM and want to keep the job. Dion is no Trudeau, I'm pretty sure he could be forced to agree to step down in May. Though that relates to 6) as a compramise, maybe the Liberals would be willing to let Layton be Prime Minister until their leadership convention is finished, if he agrees to step down in May. This would probably require that he's put into an important Cabinet Ministry at that time, and would essentially gurantee the Liberals Finance. Besides, letting Layton be Prime Minister could be good from a Liberal perspective, since it lets them settle their leadership struggle first, and from an NDP perspective since...well there's never been an NDP Prime Minister before.

 

Interested Observer wrote:
 

I see where you're coming from Malcom, but as some commentators on tv have stated: 'The train has already left the station.'

The track we are on already is leading us towards defeating the
government. Another election is absolutely unacceptable and totally
undesirable. An Accord in my mind is unlikely as the ndp seems deadset
on a coalition. So that leaves a formal Coalition.

As for 'business' liberals, I doubt they would change their mind
unless some major concessions were made on the part of the
Conservatives, but even then they would be foolish. Ed Broadbent was
saying earlier today that business leaders are totally opposed to the
harper agenda as it stands.

However, like you said, a week is a long time. I just can't see Liberals backing down on this under the circumstances.

 

I agree, I don't think business leaders are for the Harper agenda, since his agenda isn't to do anything at all, and completely goes against what every other world leader is doing right now to minimize the fiscal damage.

As it stands most of the blue, business, or whatever you want to call it were defeated during the last election, by Conservatives. So while I'm sure there are still enough of them around to tip power back to the Cons, if they were so inclined, I don't think they'd be as much of a problem for any potential coalition as is assumed. So long as the scope of any potential coalition is very mildly centre-left, but not too centrist to centre-right or left-ish, and so long as the Bloc is worried about the Cons in Quebec, the stability of such a government could be OK, for a little while at least.

Vansterdam Kid

I don't like this new set up...

 

I don't want to re-edit my post, since it'll be even more out of wack with the thread time-wise. But basically what I was trying to say earlier is that I don't think there are enough blue, business, right-wing Liberals around to cause trouble.

Stockholm

If the NDP were to get 10 cabinet ministers in this arrangement - let's speculate on who they might be.

 

There are issues of competence and also geography. The NDP has seats in places where the Liberals are almost non-existent - such as Alberta, northern Ontario, BC interior, Manitoba.

 I would think that the following people would be obvious NDP cabinet ministers:

 Layton (duh)

Mulcair (ex-Quebec cabinet minister)

Linda Duncan (only opposition Mp from Alberta)

Judy W-L (ex-Manitoba cabinet minister)

Nathan Cullen

Christopherson (ex-Ontario cabinet minister)

Comartin

Jack Harris? (ex-NF NDP leader)

Dawn Black?

Charlie Angus?

I would expect that Libby Davies might continue as House Leader

any other thoughts?

KenS

Its a pain in the ass there are 3 open and over;apping threads on the topic, and you have to pick one where to post.

 

Doug

It's about time someone explained what was going on!

Super Genius Stephen Harper!

KenS

Unionist wrote:
Will the postponement of the party-funding cuts tip the Liberal scales against a coalition government?

Its not the postponing of them. Its that takes them out of the confidence vote.

And that plus Harper's one week delay is intended to give dissension time to develop in liberal ranks.

My surmise is that won't be enough. Harper has only said the party funding cuts come out of THIS confidence vote. When the leg comes up, it could be part of another confidence vote that isn't very linked to economic issues. Voting against this while they let the fiscal update pass would be disastrous for the Liberals. So would letting it pass. So this practical 'detail' is going to keep a lot of the chickens in line.

Dissension is more likely to develop if Harper backs down and offers some real stimulus. But the other big cuts will still be in the package, and even if they weren't, theres still the chance of the party finding leg coming back as a confidence vote. Problem doesn't change.

Its also worth noting that both the Martin and Chretien camps are solidly behind the coalition talks- its their preferred way to go. And Rae is talking pretty much the same way.

It would only take sveral Iggy supporters not shwing up for the confidence motion for it to pass. But that would be a hammer to Iggy's front runner status.

All in all, my guess is that we will only see largely unamed grumbling from 'senior ranks' about the coalition idea, about Dion being PM. The train in motion pressures them even more than it does Harper.

George Victor

From Brian White:

I think they  have finally seen harpers dream future (a one party state) and hopefully they see this coalition g as their one chance of survival. Their only chance is to be in government and keep harper away from making laws.  Harper is now so intent on the game that he has forgotten the country. People are a little stupid sometimes but if they manage to maintain a coalition for just 6 months, there are probably numerous conservative knives for harpers back. It would be sweet to see that day!

-------------------------------------------------------------

Just right, Mr. White. (But at least one year would be even nicer). And in that time, tough times will prevail, giving the lie to the neo-con squad's economics. Just imagine what the world will like like this time next year - "god" willing we make it there. And what opportunites for positive change will have opened upUndecided

Wilf Day

While Liberals and New Democrats discussed who would sit in a coalition cabinet, Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe said his party's demands are simple.

Quote:
"I mean to have come with stimuli concerning economy. To have a real plan for manufacturing and forestry sector. To have a better conditions for the employment insurance and so on."

Duceppe said it is not up to the smaller coalition partners to determine the Liberal leadership - and thus the prime minister - and a senior NDP strategist agreed.

sources suggest tripartite coalition talks, taking place in discrete Ottawa locations away from Parliament Hill, will continue through the weekend.

Despite the wording of the Liberal motion, sources say the three parties are still far from forming a "viable alternative government."

Only the broadest outlines of a single-minded focus on economic policy, and the need for immediate stimulus measures, had been agreed to by late Friday afternoon.

The biggest enemy of the coalition is time. How can they agree on a three-way agreement before Monday night? It took much longer to settle the terms of a two-way agreement in Ontario in 1985.

So, of course, Harper will -- give them the time they need. Amazing. He has moved both the opposition day and the ways and means motion to December 8th.

Wilf Day

(double post)

Wilf Day

Stockholm wrote:

If the NDP were to get 10 cabinet ministers in this arrangement - let's speculate on who they might be. 

The Globe this morning has a nice floorplan of the re-organized House. They give the NDP 12 seats, the Liberals 25.

But I'd rather not count chickens until the Bloc has given sufficient assurance of a stable government. (Still, to answer your question, I'd add Yvon Godin.)

Le Devoir: Canada in crisis:

Quote:
Gilles Duceppe would decide to support each bill submitted case by case.  "We have always acted issue by issue in the interests and values of Quebec. And we will be open to supporting a coalition that respects Quebec more, "he said.

That's consistent with the Ontario 1985 accord, and the recent New Zealand practice of supply-and-confidence agreements: bills can be amended in the House, case by case. As the 1985 accord "An Agenda For Reform" said "While individual bills, including budget bills, will not be treated or designated as matters of confidence, the overall budgetary policy of the government, including the votes on supply, will be treated as a matter of confidence."

But still, the coalition government would want at least a two-year term -- I'd prefer four years -- with assurance not only on confidence and supply, but the principles of the coalition's agenda. 

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

   I still can't believe this is actually being dicussed as a serious possibility of something that could happen.  I still think I'm dreaming.

   All in a matter of days.... 

   Just think back to this time last week. I just woudn't have thunk it. 

adma

Doug wrote:

It's about time someone explained what was going on!

Super Genius Stephen Harper!

http://www.nonstick.com/sounds/Wile_E_Coyote/ltwc_013.mp3

V. Jara

It looks like the media narrative so far has been heavily flowing against Harper- at least this Saturday morning. It's also ironic that Harper relied on voter apathy to win the last election (Rod Love, Ralph Klein's strategist, wrote on the day of the election about how he was expecting it to be the lowest turnout ever and how that could benefit the Tories), and is now clamouring for voter participation to save his political hide.

In terms of cabinet posts, Deputy PM is largely useless to the NDP. The NDP leader will be the publicly perceived de facto Deputy PM regardless of the titles handed out. The Environment ministry also helps the Liberals a lot more than the NDP. The Environment ministry is tiny and at the mercy of the PM's funding, the Greens also did a lot more damage to the Liberals last time around than to the NDP- except for in a couple of ridings like Central Nova and maybe one or two in BC. The Environment ministry is a great platform for an MP, but the NDP has more political capital there than the Liberals- at least for 1 more election cycle. The Finance Ministry is critical. If the negotiations have come down to ministries, then the buck stops at Finance. I'm sure Broadbent understands this and 95/100ths of the NDP negotiations should come down to this. Layton in Finance or bust. I don't think the NDP demands are unreasonable, but we'll see what happens.

From a previous thread, here are my cabinet predictions: Layton, Godin (EI), Mulcair, and Duncan are shoo-ins. Angus and Martin fight to represent N. Ontario (I think Angus gets it on nominal bilingualism and personal dynamism)

Next it's Christopherson, Chow, Savoie and/or Davies, Judy W-L, Harris.

Too bad Priddy, Nash, and McDonough aren't around anymore. They'd probably be shoo-ins. I wonder who the dark horses might be? I would guess some of the French speaking caucus members. Who under the recently elected fits that bill? Anyone from N. Ontario?

For those that still think this all an evil Harper plan, check out the desperate government email on this page and start writing your letters to the editor or sending it in to your local newspapers.

Unionist

The G&M has dredged up a copy of the Cons' desperate effort to turn the tide of public opinion this weekend:

And [url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081129.wtories_mess... are the talking points[/url] that they are dictating to their stormtroopers:

Quote:

* We're not even two months removed from the last election, and a group of backroom politicians are going to pick who the Prime Minister is. Canadians didn't vote for this person. We don't even know who this person will be.

* Not a single voter voted for a Liberal-NDP coalition. Certainly not a single voter voted for the Liberals to form a coalition with the separatists in the Bloc.

* This is what bothers me the most. The Conservatives won the election. The Opposition keeps saying that the Conservatives have to respect the will of the voters that this is a minority and so on.

* ...how about Liberals, NDP and Bloc respecting the will of the voters when they said "YOU LOSE".

* And what's this going to do to the economy. I'm sorry, I don't care how desperate the Liberals are - giving socialists (Jack Layton) and separatists (Gilles Duceppe) a veto over every decision in government - that is a recipe for total economic disaster.

* But how more phony could these guys be?

* I mean, I follow the news, virtually every single day you have Harper or Flaherty out there telegraphing exactly what they plan to do with the economy. And not once did you hear the Liberals, NDP or separatists talking about toppling the government in response.

* No - do you know what set this off. When Flaherty said he was going to take taxpayer-funded subsidies away from the opposition. Now there is a reason to try and overturn an election- because the Conservatives the audacity to say "Hey, it's a recession, maybe you should take your nose out of the trough."

* And I wish the media would be more clear on this point - the opposition aren't being singled out by this fact the Conservatives stand to lose the most money of all. The only difference is that Canadians are voluntarily giving money the Conservatives, so they don't need taxpayer handouts. The only reason the opposition would be hurt more is because nobody wants to donate to them. They should be putting their efforts towards fixing that problem.

* I don't want another election. But what I want even less is a surprise backroom Prime Minister whom I never even had the opportunity to vote for or against. What an insult to democracy.

"What an insult to democracy" indeed!

 

V. Jara

Quote:
But how more phony could these guys be?

Laughing

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The cabinet would likely be less than 30 members since the increased Harper cabinet is one of the things the opposition has been pointing to as conservative hypocrisy. Parliamentary belt tightening combined with giving more perks to the governments own troops. Seems to me 18 to 10 would be about right for the cabinet. Although I guess 19 to 9 might be the final split in a 28 person cabinet.

Most things don't have to be confidence votes so I think this would have to last at least until the beginning of the next budget cycle in 2009.  If the economy sours even more then they would have real incentive to reach a budget in 2010 instead of going to the polls again after failing. We are obviously being cursed with living in interesting times. _________________________________________________________________________________________From North of Manifest Destiny

Wilf Day

Go to their website, click on "Opposition lacks mandate to take power," insert your postal code, and get your taking points:

Mine are:

Quote:
Is anyone else outraged by what the Opposition Parties are doing in Ottawa?

  • We’re not even two months removed from the last election, and a group of backroom politicians are going to pick who the Prime Minister is. Canadians didn’t vote for this person. We don’t even know who this person will be.
  • Not a single voter voted for a Liberal-NDP coalition. Certainly not a single voter voted for the Liberals to form a coalition with the separatists in the Bloc.
  • Add – what’s worse the Liberals even promised that there wouldn’t be a coalition with the NDP – this is all about power, all about money and they don’t even want to face the voters
  • This is what bothers me the most. The Conservatives won the election. The Opposition keeps saying that the Conservatives have to respect the will of the voters that this is a minority and so on.
  • …how about Liberals, NDP and Bloc respecting the will of the voters when they said “YOU LOSE”.
  • And what’s this going to do to the economy. I’m sorry, I don’t care how desperate the Liberals are – giving socialists (Jack Layton) and separatists (Gilles Duceppe) a veto over every decision in government – that is a recipe for total economic disaster.
  • Here is what is bothering me about all of this backroom opposition coalition talk.
  • Sure it bothers me that parties Canadian rejected are trying to seize power through the back door.
  • But how more phony could these guys be?
  • I mean, I follow the news, virtually every single day you have Harper or Flaherty out there telegraphing exactly what they plan to do with the economy. And not once did you hear the Liberals, NDP or separatists talking about toppling the government in response.
  • No – do you know what set this off. When Flaherty said he was going to take taxpayer-funded subsidies away from the opposition. Now there is a reason to try and overturn an election– because the Conservatives the audacity to say “Hey, it’s a recession, maybe you should take your nose out of the trough.”
  • And I wish the media would be more clear on this point – the opposition aren’t being singled out by this fact the Conservatives stand to lose the most money of all. The only difference is that Canadians are voluntarily giving money the Conservatives, so they don’t need taxpayer handouts. The only reason the opposition would be hurt more is because nobody wants to donate to them. They should be putting their efforts towards fixing that problem.
  • I don’t want another election. But what I want even less is a surprise backroom Prime Minister whom I never even had the opportunity to vote for or against. What an insult to democracy.
  • V. Jara

    The Cons have a nice e-campaigning website, but it hasn't broken the media down beyond the "regional" level. The talking points are also quite a joke when they are so spoon fed and publicly available online.

    Unionist

    Ummmm, Wilf, I felt sick when I posted those talking points, how did you feel when you posted them again? Smile

    Brian White

    Well, there is me, the new Canadian.  I voted NDP so that there would be an anti conservative coalition. Denise Savoie (who I voted for) would make an excellent minister for the environment or for womans rights. I personally find it really neat and not ironic that the anti federalists are lining up to save Canada from harpers "total ruin" plan. All Good people must stand up to monsters at times like this. Years ago I asked for a south park like jerky cartoon of harper. (It can be monty python like either). He has to have evil red eyes, unusual underwear and when he walks it has to be goose step.

    At the end of the animation he gets shitted on by a giant puffin.

    It is called return of the puffin. 

     Jack leyton can be sitting on the puffins back directing the dump if you wish. 

    Can anyone do it? 

     

    "Not a single voter voted for a Liberal-NDP coalition. Certainly not a single voter voted for the Liberals to form a coalition with the separatists in the Bloc".

    Wilf Day

    Unionist wrote:
    Ummmm, Wilf, I felt sick when I posted those talking points, how did you feel when you posted them again? Smile

    I was giggling. Harper just undercut them by cancelling the cuts to party funding.

    Not only he undercut his talking points, but he's allowed the opposition to say "see, we told you it wasn't about the $27 million."

     

     

    Wilf Day

    Time to look at the Liberal cabinet ministers. Could be as many as 25, or as few as 19 as noted above. The last Paul Martin ministry had 33 ministers including Martin, one in the Senate, 32 in the House. Let's say 30, of which 20 are Liberal, 10 NDP:

    Ralph E. Goodale

    Stéphane Dion  

    Michael Ignatieff

    Bob Rae 

    Dominic LeBlanc 

    Ken Dryden 

    Gerard Kennedy

    Irwin Cotler 

    Scott Brison

    Denis Coderre

    Wayne Easter

    Ujjal Dosanjh

    Mauril Bélanger

    Martha Hall Findlay  

    Carolyn Bennett

    Marlene Jennings

    Marcel Proulx or Justin Trudeau

    Raymonde Folco 

    Anita Neville 

    Joyce Murray or Hedy Fry

    No room for John McCallum, Albina Guarnieri, Ruby Dhalla, Judy Sgro, Maria Minna, David McGuinty, Geoff Regan, Maurizio Bevilacqua, Bryon Wilfert, Keith Martin, Gerry Byrne, Larry Bagnell, Navdeep Bains, Gurbax Malhi, or Joseph Volpe. Well, there's always Ministers of State and Parliamentary Secretaries. 

    Unionist

    Exactly - he miscalculated - so he was damned either way. It's nice to see the Maestro mastered for a change. But it's so far from over, I won't break out the Château Schadenfreude yet...

    thorin_bane

    Want to know the funniest part those are the EXACT words of 90% of the letters to CBC....these idiots need a memo to tell them how to put it in there own words. LOL backroom deals...where is peter mckay these days who formed a coalition of the right in a backroom deal, all the while breaking a written agreement.

    ______________________________________________________________________________________
    "Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
    Noam Chomsky

    NorthReport

    I agree unionist that this is far from over.

    The coalition proponents are now going to be subjected to one of the most massive attacks that has ever been perpetuated by a Canadian political party on its enemies.

    It certainly does though make for interesting conversation at the usual Christmas season party functions that are presently going on. 

    Yes Virginia, maybe there truly is a Santa Claus. 

    Doug

    Unionist wrote:
    Exactly - he miscalculated - so he was damned either way. It's nice to see the Maestro mastered for a change. But it's so far from over, I won't break out the Château Schadenfreude yet...

     

    It's probably time to go buy a bottle. Making this would be appropriate:

    http://www.floras-hideout.com/drrecipes/recipes.php?page=drrecipes&data=...

     

    Interested Observer Interested Observer's picture

    Brian White wrote:

    Well, there is me, the new Canadian.  I voted NDP so that there would be an anti conservative coalition. Denise Savoie (who I voted for) would make an excellent minister for the environment or for womans rights. I personally find it really neat and not ironic that the anti federalists are lining up to save Canada from harpers "total ruin" plan. All Good people must stand up to monsters at times like this. Years ago I asked for a south park like jerky cartoon of harper. (It can be monty python like either). He has to have evil red eyes, unusual underwear and when he walks it has to be goose step.

    At the end of the animation he gets shitted on by a giant puffin.

    It is called return of the puffin. 

    Jack leyton can be sitting on the puffins back directing the dump if you wish. 

    Can anyone do it? 

     

    "Not a single voter voted for a Liberal-NDP coalition. Certainly not a single voter voted for the Liberals to form a coalition with the separatists in the Bloc".

     

    I completely agree with you about Savoie. She would be fantastic as an environment leader. I believe she has family members who are greens as well as ties one of the current two green party councillors in Victoria. She was largely responsible for the Triple Bottom Line approach being used at The Dockside Green Community currently being constructed that has achieved global recognition for its approach to building. I can't think of a person in both the liberal and ndp caucuses more qualified.Smile

    The Bish

    Quote:
    The government has decided to take advantage of the crisis to attack
    the rights of women and workers. The government is proposing to suspend
    public servants' right to strike. It has decided to attack women's
    rights by submitting their right to pay equity to negotiation. Since
    when are rights negotiable? It is scandalous. We will never accept such
    an attack by the government on women's and workers' rights. We will
    never allow it.

    Man, why can't Gilles Duceppe run for I party I can vote for?

    Interested Observer Interested Observer's picture

    Unionist wrote:
    Exactly - he miscalculated - so he was damned either way. It's nice to see the Maestro mastered for a change. But it's so far from over, I won't break out the Château Schadenfreude yet...

    It may not be a done deal but it's pretty clear to me that it is happening!

    One example:

    Scott Reid - former communications director for Paul Martin

    [URL=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081129.WReid29/BNSt...Why the opposition can't back down now[/URL]
    The Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois will never get a better chance to take out Stephen Harper

    Quote:
    First things first: take him out.

    After all, Stephen Harper is the most dangerous animal lurking in
    the jungles of Parliament. He is a threat to the future viability of
    the Liberals. A blood simple opponent of the NDP and the only serious
    contemporary challenge to the Bloc Quebecois. Without him, his party is
    an unlikely combination of Reform Party leftovers, Harris refugees and
    Red Tory desperates. They don't matter or even exist without Mr.
    Harper. So before you think a moment longer, opposition leaders, think
    on that.

    And if that's not compelling enough, remember: He doesn't play to
    win. He plays to conquer. Under his guidance, the public interest is
    always subjugated to his personal political advancement. And he poisons
    Parliament with an extreme, bare-fanged breed of partisanship that has
    no hope of repair until he is banished.

    This becomes relevant because suddenly, he is weak. In fact, at this
    particular moment, he is almost unable to defend himself. Owing to a
    ridiculously ill-considered act of hubris, he has laid himself
    vulnerable to his opponents. Their imperative could not be more clear:
    kill him. Kill him dead. Do not, whatever you do, provide him with an
    opportunity to extend his hold on power. Because you can be damn
    certain he will never again be so reckless as to give you a chance to
    finish him off.

    Fate tends to be grudging with gifts of this significance. To ignore
    it would be an error every bit as historic as the one Mr. Harper
    himself has made.

    (Continued in Link)

    sgm

    "Every tool and medium at our disposal."

     Hmm...

    Tools at Stephen Harper's disposal for handling the current economic downturn included fair-mindedness and good political judgment.  Instead, he reached into the box for ideology and self-serving partisanship, and now--like the proverbial bad workman--blames his tools for the political crisis he's constructed.

    The medium of the Throne Speech was also at his command to signal a new and constructive approach.  Instead, he followed up platitudes about solidarity and partnership with actions bespeaking doctrinaire do-nothingness and political point-scoring.

    Ironically for Harper, that speech may turn out to be among the opposition's most effective tools for building a new kind of parliament, because it outlined very clearly the principles under which Prime Ministers govern in minority parliaments:

    "At the same time, the people also chose to elect a minority Parliament.
    And in a parliamentary democracy such as ours, the government must
    always be responsible and accountable to the people’s representatives
    ."
     

    Under Canada's democratic parliamentary traditions, responsible and accountable governments enjoy the confidence of the elected representatives of the people.  Currently, it appears that Stephen Harper and his government do not.

    We may see next week, then, whether Stephen Harper truly believes in the principles he wrote into this month's Throne Speech.

    If not, Madame Jean has at her disposal certain tools of her own. 

     

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