What will the third-place Liberals do?

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Wilf Day
What will the third-place Liberals do?

Opening post.

Caissa

ditch Iggy

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

...and bring back Dion to lead the coalition.

Wink

Lachine Scot

That what I was wondering as well.  Hopefully they don't support Harper against a newly-strong NDP.  Sour grapes and all that.

Wilf Day

"It's by no means certain that the Liberals would support an NDP-led government. They might prefer to carry on shoring up Harper." By Craig McInnes, Vancouver Sun.

If anyone can find more quotes along this line, that there is now no guarantee the elected Liberal MPs won't support the Conservatives, this would be a good place to collect them. 

inukjuak inukjuak's picture

For a large chunk of the Liberal caucus, or even the whole party, to ally with the CPC over the next little while is not the worst thing that could happen for progressing Canada. Two benefits come to mind right away:

  1. It would clarify in the minds of many that there is no difference between the LPC and CPC, and would encourage more voters to ditch both in favour of the Orange Wave.
  2. The NDP may elect a bushel of new MPs who never expected to get to Parliament. Those folks may have all the good-will in the world, but they may also be naive as regards to what can and can't be done in their new roles. Would be nice to give them 18 months as a dynamic opposition to a foolish, declining regime, rather than shove them directly into positions of power (and temptation).

However, I will happily take a direct jump to governing if we elect 155!

 

**corrected a typo

Doug

Either option for the Liberals is kind of yucky but I think the option of supporting the Tories is much more destructive for them in the end. Worse yet, they might not be able to decide collectively and end up splitting in two like the British Liberals did.

Caissa

I think a lot will depend on which wing of the party elects the most candidates. I'd love to see two former NDP premiers having to support the Federal NDP.Laughing Their heads just might explode.

Wilf Day

Caissa wrote:

ditch Iggy

That would actually be a mistake. When Dion succeeded in stopping Harper`s bid for a majority in 2008, the caucus (or somebody) failed to notice, and told him to quit -- prematurely. That made the coalition negotiations very difficult. As Brian Topp says in his book, in hindsight it might have been more effective if the NDP had told ``the Liberals that we could not proceed until we knew who their leader was.``

Steve_Shutt Steve_Shutt's picture

Any move to shore up the Tories would probably confirm a split.  If Iggy retains any control he will not be able to formally join with the NDP in a coalition but if the caucus fractures then interesting options remain.

If there was one "player" who might we worth a "pick" in the Liberal dispersal draft it would be Goodale.  Former Liberal Finance Minister would be a nice reassuring face on what will be a stunning surprise to Bay Street.

An independent Liberal invited to the cabinet table, with or without Iggy's approval, would be a shrewd move by Jack.

Even if we win government we will NOT have the backing of the majority of Canadians and we need to recognize that.  Just because the FPTP process has benefited us for once doesn't mean that we can forget that it is horribly undemocratic and produces unrepresentative outcomes.

A move or two like this goes along way to showing that we are different than the other guys.

Steve_Shutt Steve_Shutt's picture

Any move to shore up the Tories would probably confirm a split.  If Iggy retains any control he will not be able to formally join with the NDP in a coalition but if the caucus fractures then interesting options remain.

If there was one "player" who might we worth a "pick" in the Liberal dispersal draft it would be Goodale.  Former Liberal Finance Minister would be a nice reassuring face on what will be a stunning surprise to Bay Street.

An independent Liberal invited to the cabinet table, with or without Iggy's approval, would be a shrewd move by Jack.

Even if we win government we will NOT have the backing of the majority of Canadians and we need to recognize that.  Just because the FPTP process has benefited us for once doesn't mean that we can forget that it is horribly undemocratic and produces unrepresentative outcomes.

A move or two like this goes along way to showing that we are different than the other guys.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Caissa wrote:

I think a lot will depend on which wing of the party elects the most candidates. I'd love to see two former NDP premiers having to support the Federal NDP.Laughing Their heads just might explode.

 

Preferred outcomes aside, it would be even more fun to watch these quislings having to support the Harper Conservatives.

KenS

Minor point, but forget about Iggy. He will have no role, and will not want one.

And until two weeks ago I was saying people tended to count Iggy out too easily, should the Liberals not do as well as hoped/expected. That was then.

Nor will it matter much the numbers of surviving MPs from the various camps.

The Liberals are praying they get a reprieve. What else would they do?

Aside from the disinclination to plan for the worst- there really is no point anyway. There are so many variables that they will just have to see where things fall in the end, and plan accordingly.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

The Liberals have kept Harper in power since 2008.  Is Harper wily enough to draft a budget the Liberals can't say no too?  I think so.  I also think in the long term the Liberals have no good options.  If the NDP is in second place they get to oppose the government when it meets the House because that is what they told the people of Canada. It is up to the third place team to decide who it will allow to govern.  That is a nasty box that has handcuffed the NDP for five decades so it will sweet to see the arrogant Liberals in that particular hot seat.

If you listen to Layton he regularly mentions the fixed election date law.  If he somehow becomes PM he will not pull the plug, the other parties will have to throw the country back into an unwanted election. 

 

Hunky_Monkey

Caissa wrote:

I think a lot will depend on which wing of the party elects the most candidates. I'd love to see two former NDP premiers having to support the Federal NDP.Laughing Their heads just might explode.

Oh, I want to see the look on the faces of Rae and Dosanjh if the Liberals come third... and a distant third.  Icing on the cake.

Sean in Ottawa

Perhaps more complicated than that -- the NDP will be blamed in the media no matter what -- this election has seen the media plumb new lows of ethics. That said, social media may even things up but that is no replacement for professional journalism. We need more of that.

The Liberals will not be able to have an election for a while but it will be gut-wrenching for them to decide between the NDP and the Cons. Supporting either would be very difficult. They likely will have to say they make it up as they go. For the BQ, hard to say as well.

It is also impossible to know how well the NDP will do. A record in seats looks all but certain but they would have that at 50 seats. The NDP could get anywhere between that number which would have seemed wonderful at the start but now would be a bitter disappointment and more than double that.

There is a lot of merit to the idea of the NDP sitting in opposition for a while -- at least to get everyone some experience and give a chance for them to get to know each other. Many of the NDP MPs on Tuesday may be people who barely know each other.

KenS

The Liberals will make their choice pretty much regardless of any enticements from the Cons. More llike the latter offering as big a fig leaf as possible.

duncan cameron

I have written about this. When Harper meets parliament, the opposition parties will have to decide whether or not to vote non-confidence on the speech from the throne. Since Harper was in contempt of parliament, they should vote him out of office. If the Liberals vote with Harper, they vote for a continuation of the silent Lib-Con coalition. Ignatieff will be leaving under this scenario. In fact he may have already resigned as leader before parliament reconvenes. Libs will tell themselves this support for Harper is temporary until they get a new leader, and improve their standing in the country. This will be seen as a sell-out, and may backfire.

As third party the Libs could join the NDP in a coalition government. Otherwise they could overturn Harper, and support the NDP on an issue by issue basis. The first option would provide a better chance of getting things done. It would be hard for partisans on both sides to swallow. It would be good for Canada. The second option requires as many seats for the two parties as the first option. It is less stable, but the NDP get to run the show. Layton would face huge pressures from business and the media.

The Bay St. wing of the Libs hate the NDP and vetoed the coalition. Ignatieff listened to them, it cost him his chance to be PM. if the Libs hold on to second he get a second chance. If as now appears likely, the Libs are third, he should join a Layton led government. In fact he may be forced out if he doe not go this route.

If the Libs decide not to join an NDP led coalition, the parties will be back at each other on the hustings sooner rather than later. The Cons will want another election while Ignatieff is still leader. The Libs will want to wait until Ignatieff has been replaced. The NDP will be trying to govern with 100 seats. Not easy to do.

 

Anonymouse

The Liberals will be besides themselves. There will be those (many of them), that will be desperate for power. They will go for the party that promises them a piece of the action (e.g. cabinet seats). There will be others that are opposed to supporting the NDP (e.g. Brison). All or most of them, will want an arrangement that buys them plenty of time to rebuild (e.g. at least two years).

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Layton will be offering a full term minority parliament and Harper will be offering more high stakes poker games.  Seems to me if I was a Liberal I would agree to Jack and try like hell to rebuild the party before 2015.

Anonymouse

We don't know what Harper will offer. If Harper finds himself outside of government, he will find himself outside of a (leadership) job.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Harper's first offer will be to get Liberal support by providing open and accountable government.  Maybe Iggy will agree to a special reporting system.  

Laughing

If the orange wave is real and it crushes Iggy and costs Harper seats we may well see both leaders gone pretty fast.  I expect that Harper has created a lot of enemies in his own party who would love to stick a knife in any vuneralbe part of his slimy body.  If I was to begin praying to the goddess I might include a plea for Helen to be re-elected as an independent and Peter defeated by an NDP'er.    

wage zombie

This is all very interesting.  For the Liberals to support Harper I think he'd need to keep the per-vote subsidy.

On the other hand, with net seat losses, Harper would be done, and it would be to the Cons benefit to replace him with a new leader asap.  It might be difficult for them to do that while running a tenuous minority govt.

Maybe both the Cons and the Libs will want the NDP governing--they might view it as the best way to reverse NDP momentum as well as get their own houses in order.

KenS

Anonymouse wrote:

We don't know what Harper will offer. If Harper finds himself outside of government, he will find himself outside of a (leadership) job.

 

We were talking about what Harper would offer. If he's offering, he isnt deposed from government yet.

 

I'm going to comment further on this following post, and it more belongs here, so I'm re-posting: 

 

Pogo wrote:

KenS, do you know how in debt the Liberals are?  How easy is it to guess at their revenue prospects with a 25% 50-60 seat election?

Short answer- money is going to be the least of the Liberals problems.

And I dont just mean that the other problems are so bad.

Its not true that their supporters will bail them out. Yes, the Liberals can always get a lot of bodies to a rally. But thats it, for 10 years their ability to raise money and run campaigns has been eroding. All they can do is get those loyal bodies to the rally.

But the LPC has little debt. While their fundraising is weak, they are in our league on that score. Their big issue is the bloated administration that the brain trust[s] have unable to force change and cuts against the resistnace of the grassroots. That dead end discussion has just been 'resolved'. The LPC organization will have to be rebuilt entirely- way too big and way too stupid. That isnt going to be easy- but the size of the new organization will simply be matching the revenue.

 

KenS

Harper is only done if he is not governing. And you can count on him working on keeping the reigns of governing even if he drops 15 seats. Looks like either or both the Liberals and BQ will at least strobgly consider partnering [if the Bloc has enough seats].

I wouldnt bet aganst that.

wage zombie

But if he loses 15 seats...doesn't it then become clear that Canadians will never give him a majority?  I have heard pundits argue that the NDP surge is more about Harper's lack of appeal than anything about Jack or the NDP.  I disagree of course--but can't help notice how little regard people have for Harper personally.

Pogo Pogo's picture

If Harper loses seats he is likely gone as leader.  His iron grip on power is on the premise of success.  If he takes a set back he will need to fight to keep his job.  There will also be significant questions about his role in allowing the proletariat such gains. 

OnTheLeft OnTheLeft's picture

The Liberals should get on board with an NDP-led coalition, or at least support them in an accord, otherwise (as already pointed out), they'd look like the same as the Conservatives and it would be disastrous for them. 

It's pretty safe to say that Ignatieff is likely finished as party leader. Goodale and Carolyn Bennett would make good interim leaders, and if Justin Trudeau doesn't lose his seat to the organge wave as speculated, the Liberals will likely turn to him as their saviour and put pressure on him to run for the party leadership.   

KenS

The last election the LPC pulled the plug on campaign spending because they have no capacity for operating surpuses after for paying off campaign debt [their debt was less than half the NDP's].

The situation has not improved for them. But from way back my expectation was that they would not shrink from taking on more campaign debt this time. For one thing, doing better was essential this time. But there was a side benefit: substantial campaign debt would mean the administrative structure would be forced to accept the diet the brain trust has been trying to force since before Iggy.

But the interesting brain trust money discussion is going to be right now- actually this last weekend probably. Because the gutting of the administrative structure is now a give- no debt is required for forcing it.

Instead, what they are faced with is an undreamed of post-election revenue reduction. So a $4million campaign debt instead of $2million [as in 2008] is a HUGE difference. So they will have had a very interesting discussion this weekend where they at least considered pulling the plug on late advertising again. [But I'll bet they didnt do it. If for no other reason: who wants to take the heat for that. The debt will be someone elses problem.]

All that said, I still think that by far money issues will be the least of their problems.

KenS

Pogo wrote:

If Harper loses seats he is likely gone as leader.  His iron grip on power is on the premise of success.  If he takes a set back he will need to fight to keep his job.  There will also be significant questions about his role in allowing the proletariat such gains. 

Broken record time.

Suceess for the Conservatives is continuing to govern. Period.

Diminished seats would not make continuing to govern easier. But they are getting plenty of compensations for that [2 out of 3 opposition parties seriously weakened and grabbing at whatever is the least awful for them means of survival].

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

The NDP needs to start setting up the narrative for the post election period.  Assuming a minority situation where the Liberals have sufficient seats to decide who will govern, Jack needs to set it out starkly on election night.  Something like:

Quote:

Mr. Harper said this election was a choice between a Conservative majority or a "risky" coalition.  Canadians took him at his word, and have clearly chosen to take the risk.

Now it is up to Mr. Ignatieff. 

He can choose to support a government which his party found to be in contempt of Parliament.  He can choose to support a government which refuses to accept that it does not have a majority.  He can choose to support a government that is determined to tear down our democratic institutions.

Or . . . he can support a new government.

Mr. Ignatieff has said that the values off the Liberal Party have always been very close to the values of the New Dmocratic Party.  If this is true, then here is his opportunity to prove it.

Mr. Ignatieff, the choice is yours.

 

IF Ignatieff chooses to support an NDP minority (and I'm not convinced he will), there would actually be an advantage to the NDP if we made it a coalition.  The likely Liberal survivors include several experienced Cabinet ministers, and appointing a Liberal to Finance - say Ralph Goodale - would be useful in calming the markets.

If Iggnatieff chooses to sustain the Harper government, the Liberal Party's pretence of being even vaguely progressive will be utterly destroyed.

wage zombie

(this was to KenS)

So you think if Harper gets ~130 seats and can bring enough Libs and/or Bloc on board to pass the throne speech then the Conservatives would keep him as leader?  I suppose he could remind them how rough things were before he was in charge.

ghoris

I agree with Malcolm's analysis, with the caveat that I don't think it will really be Ignatieff's choice to make. He could resign immediately on election night (doubtful), but even if he doesn't, he'll be operating on borrowed time. One of the reasons why the 2008 coalition collapsed was because Dion was already half-way out the door and no longer had any control over his own party. Ignatieff will likely be playing with a similarly weak hand and he will need to seek consensus from the various camps in the Liberal Party before making any moves.

As Malcolm observes, propping up Harper would likely pay political dividends for the NDP (in that it would further undermine the Liberals' claim to being a party of the centre-left) but it would not be good for the country. Let's hope that if the Liberals should find themselves in the situation Malcolm describes, that they make the right choice. However, I suspect they probably won't.

KenS

No doubt about it.

And he wont have to remnind them of anything.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Malcolm wrote:
IF Ignatieff chooses to support an NDP minority (and I'm not convinced he will), there would actually be an advantage to the NDP if we made it a coalition.  The likely Liberal survivors include several experienced Cabinet ministers, and appointing a Liberal to Finance - say Ralph Goodale - would be useful in calming the markets.

 

Ralph Goodale to finance if the NDP win? Why bother winning an election, then?

JeffWells

Exactly. If that's the direction, look for all our gains based on our not being the Same Old to go poof.

 

Noah_Scape

First off, I would like to say that Iggy was allways only iffy at best. But I won't.

As for coalitions, the Liberals joining with the Cons would really put a nail in the LPC coffin. Oddly, that should have allready happened - if only more Canadians could see that the Libs and Cons are the same.

I think many Canadians have seen that voting for one or the other of the same two "corporate entrenched" parties that got us into this mess is not a good way out of this mess. For those who vote NDP this time, they will not want to see any alignment with the Liberals for that reason.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

I merely point out that there is some political benefit to calming the worst fears of the markets.  That would be a benefit to having the Liberals as coalition partners.  And frankly, there is no downside to having them as coalition partners that ddoes not equally apply to being dependent on the Liberals in a minority House.

Barring an NDP majority (which no one is yet predicting), the Liberals are likely to act as a brake regardless.  If so, better to have them inside the tent pissing out, n'est-ce pas?

Unionist

Malcolm wrote:

 If so, better to have them inside the tent pissing out, n'est-ce pas?

Especially if you-know-who is standing outside the tent...

I agree with Malcolm. If all goes well (and I don't like to jinx it by even thinking about it too hard), one huge difference with December 2008 is that there will be no credible force within the Liberal party trying to trash a coalition.

 

JeffWells

Speaking of jinxing, the presumption of this subject makes me nervous. We're not there yet, and I'm getting the impression we're not having a great day. The Liberals are down, but they don't need to rise much to have a very efficient vote.

Unionist

Catchfire wrote:

Ralph Goodale to finance if the NDP win? Why bother winning an election, then?

Exactly! I'm holding out for Paul Summerville.

Listen, if we can't chuckle a little...

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I am not against a Coalition. But worrying about "calming the markets" following a potential NDP victory is one of the most foolish things I can think of for a Social Democratic gov't to do--especially if it means handing over the purse strings to Ralph Goodale! Are we still thinking that Obama's playbook was a winner? Might as well give Foreign Affairs to Peter McKay.

I can see Deputy PM going to a Liberal, that seems pretty standard, but finance? What a disaster.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

The problem with the Obamacrats (besudes the fact that their party isn't really progressive anyway) is that they would never fight back on anything, caving to the Republicans on everything in the fruitless hope of bipartisan support.  They were paralyzed by a desire to make nice with a recalcitrant minority.

Appointing a Finance Minister with some credibility on Bay Street is can be a useful way to buy a new government some space on a range of issues.  In our system, I rather doubt the NDP will renounce all progressive policy in the vain hope of Conservative support.

If the NDP were forming a minority government with Lib support, they are no more drag on us outside a coalition than they are in - and probably less of a drag if they're in.  We'd need to give them Deputy PM and at least one senior economic portfolio.  Making it Finance actually buys the government some political capital.

Of course, if we can form an NDP majority, then there's no need to water our wine.

KenS

Hate to rain on the parade. But here is one way the Liberals survive the poison of allowing the Cons to govern. This would work, and there are probably other ways.

Iggy will fall on his sword and take all the blame for the disaster anyway. He just adds to that- "I am the Decider, and while I understand many will not agree, the Liberal Party of Canada cannot blah, blah, blah." So he packs it as a personal decision, even though the party- Caucus included- quiety agrees with him.

The leadership race in practice begins immediately- and every contendor openly runs against what the enabling of the continued Harper govt. [Which they raised no objection to in the post election discussion.]

And the leadership vote is scheduled for after the 2012 Budget vote. "We need lots of time for rebuilding. Blah, Blah."

And Harper- without any pushing- may also decide it is the perfect time to leave.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

double post

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

I agree, Ken, that you've drawn the more likely scenario.  And the farther the NDP is behind the Conservatives in the seat count and / or the popular vote, all the more likely.

 

But just for shits and giggles, what if the results were

  • Con - 130 on 33% of the vote
  • NDP - 125 on 35%
  • Lib - 50 on 20%
  • Bloc - the balance on 5%

The Cons and NDP nearly tied in seats, with the Cons having a few more seats but the NDP an advantage in the popular vote.  Does that add to the pressure on the Liberals?

Or, what if the NDP actually manages to pass the Conservatives in seats?  Can the Liberals justify letting Harper continue (because despite his protestations, I'm convinced he;d seek to hang on if he were a close second in seats)?  Or if Harper does resign, are the Liberals stuck coming to some sort of accommodation with the NDP?

1weasel

The other possibility for continuing with a Liberal supported Conservative government would be Harper allowing them to introduce approved legislation and having it pass.  The potential problem of backing the NDP is that the Senate is led by the Conservatives and they have shown no qualms with defeating Commons approved bills from other parties.  The NDP can only guarantee passing of Liberal legislation if they appoint senators to defeat that Upper Chamber roadblock.

adma

Malcolm wrote:

I agree, Ken, that you've drawn the more likely scenario.  And the farther the NDP is behind the Conservatives in the seat count and / or the popular vote, all the more likely.

 

But just for shits and giggles, what if the results were

  • Con - 130 on 33% of the vote
  • NDP - 125 on 35%
  • Lib - 50 on 20%
  • Bloc - the balance on 5%

The Cons and NDP nearly tied in seats, with the Cons having a few more seats but the NDP an advantage in the popular vote.  Does that add to the pressure on the Liberals?

Or, what if the NDP actually manages to pass the Conservatives in seats?  Can the Liberals justify letting Harper continue (because despite his protestations, I'm convinced he;d seek to hang on if he were a close second in seats)?  Or if Harper does resign, are the Liberals stuck coming to some sort of accommodation with the NDP?

Because of the overwhelming "wasted" Tory advantage in zones like Alberta, I can somehow see the NDP more likely w/more seats on less vote than the Tories...

adma

Another possibility: regardless of whether he's defeated or not, the Grits opt for Justin Trudeau--and Stephane Dion steps aside on his behalf.  (Assuming that Dion's likely to be reelected--though, who knows at this point.)

Wilf Day

Malcolm wrote:
I merely point out that there is some political benefit to calming the worst fears of the markets.  That would be a benefit to having the Liberals as coalition partners.  And frankly, there is no downside to having them as coalition partners that ddoes not equally apply to being dependent on the Liberals in a minority House.

Barring an NDP majority (which no one is yet predicting), the Liberals are likely to act as a brake regardless.  If so, better to have them inside the tent pissing out, n'est-ce pas?

Agreed.

Malcolm wrote:
IF Ignatieff chooses to support an NDP minority (and I'm not convinced he will), there would actually be an advantage to the NDP if we made it a coalition.  The likely Liberal survivors include several experienced Cabinet ministers, and appointing a Liberal to Finance - say Ralph Goodale - would be useful in calming the markets.

If the Liberals have comparable numbers of MPs to the NDP, they are likely to claim their entitlements; equal partners, half the seats or one less than half. Should be interesting negotiations.

The NDP could start by offering the Liberals six seats in cabinet, as they made the NDP settle for.  :)

duncan cameron

If Harper does step down, after winning a reduced minority, the Cons would name a new leader who would become PM. That might make it more difficult for the opposition to vote non-confidence in the government, since it was the Harper government that was found in contempt. 

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