Who's afraid of an election?

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Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

The costs of delaying an election

excerpt:
This country urgently needs an election, and despite the pundits who say Canadians don't want one, there is a truly mammoth base of non-Tories who are in fact anxious to head to the polls before the winter.

Stockholm

That Alice Klein is sooo tedious. When the NDP voted against the Tories 79 times while the Liberals propped him up - her only response was to dismiss the NDP for "playing parliamentary games" and making the Liberals look bad. In other words, in her world, the job of the Liberal party is to do what's good for the Liberals and the job of the NDP is also to do what's good for the Liberals.

Maybe in her little coccoon in downtown Toronto, everyone is just dying to have an election so that Tory candidates in places like Trinty-Spadina and Toronto Centre - can lose by a slightly larger margin than they all lost by a year ago. It reminds me of the famous quote by Lillian Hellman in 1972 "I don't understand how Nixon could have won the election, everyone I KNOW voted for McGovern!?".

Its abudantly clear the Tories really, really want an election this Fall - BADLY. They see it as an opportunity. I'm not sure why Klein is so eager to play inot their hands.

Life, the unive...

I was at a Rona yesterday as we are doing renovations.

I almost forgot my receipt.  The nice woman at the checkout reminded me I would need it for my taxes.

I said thanks and cracked "as long as those guys in Ottawa don't screw it up on me"

She replied to my amazement.  "You would be amazed at how many people are upset about potentially losing that after spending all kinds of money on doing work based on it"

"Oh" says I very curious now.  "Do they blame anyone."

"Oh for sure - the Liberals"

Huh thinks I. 

My guess is that that nervousness will still stick in peoples minds and that the Liberals have done themselves few favours.  Why would anyone want us to go to the polls when the Liberals have managed to move the possibility of a Conservative majoirty from highly, highly unlikely to a distinct possibility in a few short weeks.

I much prefer a leashed Harper than an unleashed one.

remind remind's picture

Just what does she think the Liberals would do for the environment and our presence at Cophengan, Ignatieff loves the tar sands?

Moreover, we could just as easily, or even more easily, have a Harper majority in the end blush, instead of a minority, is that what she wants?

ETA: Thinking more about this, I realize that there is no deep thinking going on at all, given her push for "strategic voting" last year.

 

janfromthebruce

One has to laugh at her - last election she was all about votefortheenvironment and what wonderful things the libs were going to do for it. I wonder how she is going to square that peg with Iggy "I love the tarsands".

Maybe thevotefornottheenvironment will just be honest next time out when they crank up their webpage and put truth to advertising:

voteforliberals - we decided to go with truth and forget about the environment last time - now we "voteforthetarsands" - what a dork.

Let Iggy lead with his chin and put his confidence motion forward and why he should wear the Canadian crown. Should be good for a laugh.

remind remind's picture

Well really, it starts with them choosing Iggy as leader, which indicates the liberals were never  going to do a thing about environmental concerns. You don't replace an environmental leader with a tar sands loving leader if you were at all concerned about the environment and planning on actioning it.

Actually, that  reminds me of a email I got from Morton, on the Liberal's actions in respect to Dept of Fisheries and Oceans, and how the Cons are now using the same play on the west coast as the Liberals did on the East coast in 1997.

Quote:
Judicial Inquiry into Fisheries and Oceans Handling of Fraser River Sockeye Collapse is Essential to Preservation of this Fishery

Sointula BC, September 16, 2009 there must be a judicial inquiry into Fisheries and Oceans Canada's handling of the Fraser River sockeye crash.  Statements by Minister of Fisheries, Gail Shea and Regional Director General (Pacific) Paul Sprout to exempt salmon farm companies from the investigation into this crash are misleading. The current situation bears disturbing resemblance to the same department's inactions that culminated in the commercial extinction of Canada's North Atlantic cod. Hutchings et al. (1997) critique of Federal Fisheries on this include:
 

  1.. Misinformed the public on the science on the state of the cod stock
  2.. Reprimanded their own scientists who tried to speak freely
  3.. Offered plausible but wrong theories that allowed continued inaction
  4.. Did not take recommended action

No one was held accountable for demise of one of earth's largest human food resources. Today, the highest levels of Fisheries and Oceans Canada are exonerating salmon farms using plausible but wrong arguments before the investigation on the collapse of the world's largest sockeye salmon river has even begun.

http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/

SCB4

The pathetic part is that when the Alberta votes are counted in the next election, Iggy's support for the tar sands is going to net him the square root of jack shit.

Geez, if you're going to sell out, sell out for something.

 

janfromthebruce

yes, and if one looks at the EI reforms that are getting "fast tracked" Harper is ensuring that laid-off workers in Alberta are taken care of, to ensure his base stays solid.

He is pitting worker against worker - deserving and undeserving. I would really hope that the labour movement in Alberta sits up and says something - solidarity comes to mind here.

Aristotleded24

janfromthebruce wrote:

He is pitting worker against worker - deserving and undeserving. I would really hope that the labour movement in Alberta sits up and says something - solidarity comes to mind here.

As mentioned above, the auto workers are not in support of this motion, and for that reason I have serious reservations about Layton siding with Harper.

Stockholm

I don't think ANYONE in the NDP or the labour movement is saying that these EI measures are even remotely sufficient. The question is are they better than nothing and it looks to me like they are since they do benefit SOME people and also is there any point in voting them down, having an election, Harper winning and then having him withdraw what few scraps there are.

Aristotleded24

I see that argument Stockholm. But where is the push to do better?

janfromthebruce

They are working on that Aristotleded24 - they are just not blabbling on rabble.

Stockholm

The NDP has policies on EI that go far, far beyond what's in this bill, but its hard to "demand" anything more from the Tories, because everyone knows that they are dying to force an election right now because they think they can win a majority - therefore there is no reason for them to make any more concessions.

If there is one thing that must totally drive the Tories nuts its how all they want is for the Liberals, NDP and BQ to vote them down right away so they can go on a demogogic rampage about a coalition with "separatists and socialists" (sic) - instead their plan has been foiled by the NDP and the BQ NOT voting down a bill that would have caused a snap election - plus the (from a tory point of view) horrific optics of Harper being "propped up" by socialists and separatists!!

Unionist

Stockholm wrote:

The NDP has policies on EI that go far, far beyond what's in this bill, but its hard to "demand" anything more from the Tories, because everyone knows that they are dying to force an election right now because they think they can win a majority - therefore there is no reason for them to make any more concessions.

Umm, so why did they make this one so-called "concession" at all, which various political forces have been drooling over as a "step in the right direction"? Just to appear weak? Just to look as if they've caved to the NDP?

Why didn't they just say, "We spent over $6 billion improving EI in the spring - and we're not going to respond to the blackmail of non-confidence motions, especially now when the economy is turning around!"

Gimme some better logic, Stock, I know you're capable of it.

 

Debater

As John Ivison said on CPAC tonight, the NDP didn't want an election and wasn't going to let Layton have one - that is the main reason why they are coming up with the justification that they are supporting EI to help workers.  It is totally at odds with the NDP position on Harper for the past several years.

As the BQ also pointed out, the new EI reforms only help long-term workers, primarily in the auto sector.  These are targeted to help the Conservatives in Ontario, and do nothing for Quebec.  BQ MP Michel Guimond gave a very impassioned speech in the House yesterday explaining why the EI reforms are so inadequate for Quebec, and particularly the regions.

KenS

Aristotleded24 wrote:
As mentioned above, the auto workers are not in support of this motion, and for that reason I have serious reservations about Layton siding with Harper.

Thats actually not true.

The CAW expressed reservations about the bill as written [so far], as did the NDP and at the same time. And Ken Lewenza has been publicly supportive of the effort.

janfromthebruce

One needs to read what the CAW, for instance actually said, instead of MSM "spin."

I liked what Wilson said, and that made sense to me -

What does the EI bill mean for some workers?
In his previous colomn Wilson stated the obvious - Iggy is right wing so like is that really an alternative? Nope.

Unionist

KenS wrote:
The CAW expressed reservations about the bill as written [so far], as did the NDP and at the same time. And Ken Lewenza has been publicly supportive of the effort.

janfromthebruce wrote:
One needs to read what the CAW, for instance actually said, instead of MSM "spin."

Sources?

 

janfromthebruce

Harper's New EI Plan is "Crumbs" For the Unemployed, CAW President Says
I liked what you said in another thread about taxes, incidently.

Unionist

I'm familiar with this release, Jan, having posted it here when it was first issued. I just didn't see anything in it (or elsewhere) which showed that "Ken Lewenza has been publicly supportive of the effort", as Ken said above.

Don't put too much stock in my "Unionist tax policy", as I'm not one of the ones who would be hard hit by all those tax hikes I proposed. LaughingMoney mouth

janfromthebruce

Same here but I strongly believe "in each according to his need".

NorthReport

The last election was less than one year ago where Harper came within an inch of getting a majority, the Liberals are flailing about helplessly in all directions, and people want another election now. The NDP has said it will proceed on a case-by-case basis in supporting the government. Sounds pretty straight-forward to me. 

So what gives? 

Unionist

NorthReport wrote:

The last election was less than one year ago when Harper came within an inch of getting a majority, the Liberals are helplessly flailing about in all directions, and people want another election now. What gives? 

That's the same feeling of terror which "justified" 79 Liberal confidence votes. Their only interest is their electoral fortunes. Wish the NDP were different.

What would it take to eliminate your fear - Harper repealing the Canada Health Act (but giving every Canadian $5000 per year to look after their own health)? Tabling a bill to make Canada the 51st state?

Don't you find it slightly shameful to condemn the Liberals (correctly) for their sycophantic bootlicking out of selfish fear, then to justify it when your own favourite party does exactly the same thing?

NorthReport wrote:

The NDP has said it will proceed on a case-by-case basis in supporting the government.

Yes, well they've just supported the government on a bad piece of legislation, under the delusion that they will improve it - just as they did with the Clean Air Act in 2006. Is that what you meant by supporting the government "case-by-case"? Isn't that what the Liberals did on 79 cases?

NorthReport

The NDP apparently has extracted something for Canadian workers in return for their support. What is wrong with that?

Perhaps I'm wrong but my understanding is that the Liberals got nothing for their support and that's the difference between what the NDP are doing and what the Liberals did.

 

Unionist

NorthReport wrote:

The NDP apparently has extracted something for Canadian workers in return for their support. What is wrong with that?

 

That's a delusional, unfounded statement which makes me think you haven't read a news report in the past two weeks.

What did they extract?

Are you suggesting that Jack Layton asked for this anti-worker Bill C-50 and that Harper said, "Ok Jack"?

Did Jack ask for enhancements to EI that would only benefit 10 percent of unemployed Canadians - and that's how it looked to everyone BEFORE the horrid new details of the bill were made public?

What are you actually talking about, if anything??

NorthReport

By that do you mean we are supposed to take something the CAW says, whose members probably support the Liberals, as gospel.

Sorry as much as I may want to I just can't go there. 

NorthReport

Is this incorrect?

 

Government adopts elements of New Democrat Workers First bill

Fri 18 Sep 2009

OTTAWA - Government legislation based on the New Democrat bill which puts workers at the front of the line in bankruptcy settlements has now come into effect.

"The adoption of elements of our Worker's First bill is a significant victory for workers," said New Democrat Leader Jack Layton. "Never again will workers wait for the scraps left by the creditors, instead of receiving the pensions they've earned. As of today, the workers are at the front of the line."

The New Democrat bill, which was adopted in 2007, ensures that wages, pensions and benefits receive top priority for payment when employers go bankrupt-ahead of banks and other creditors.

 "While today should be celebrated as a victory for workers, there is still more work to do," said Layton. "These changes must be retroactive, and the government must also commit to including unfunded pension liabilities. New Democrats will continue to press for implementation of the complete Workers First bill."

 

 

http://www.ndp.ca/press/government-adopts-elements-new-democrat-workers-...

Unionist

NorthReport wrote:

By that do you mean we are supposed to take something the CAW says, whose members probably support the Liberals, as gospel.

 

The CAW? What in God's name are you talking about? And you think its 200,000 members probably support the Liberals? That's really enlightening.

You know what? The weather is beautiful here, don't know about where you are - why not get back to me a little later, when you've enjoyed some of what nature has to offer.

George Victor

Or, if you're not ready to leap into a political chasm, go explore a gulch.

Unionist

[url=From">http://www.ndp.ca/press/fact-check-harper-hazy-employment-insurance][col... the NDP web site, dated September 15:[/url]

Quote:
This morning, Stephen Harper unveiled a new Employment Insurance initiative without any credible costing. [...]

Harper may be trying to distract from his dismal track record:

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government has refused to lower the eligibility threshold to 360 hours for Employment Insurance benefits. The current threshold is 910 hours, which prevents 68% of women and 62% of men applying for benefits from receiving them.

Bravo!!

Oh wait a sec.

That was Sept. 15, 2008.

Moving right along...

 

Webgear

NorthReport

It's about time the NDP focuses on winning. Nice to finally see an action plan.

NDP support for Tories sign of broader strategy, analysts say

When the Tories responded by introducing a tantalizing $1-billion boost to employment insurance last week, the NDP decided that not only would it support the measure, it would also prop up the Conservative government for as long as it takes to get the EI bill passed.

The decision puts the NDP in a position similar to one the Liberals were in for months: supporting a government it despises in the hope of extracting benefit for its causes.

But there is more to the transformation of the NDP strategy than the EI bill and Liberal tactics, say party insiders and analysts. The seeds were planted at the party's annual convention in Halifax in mid-August.

There, party members focused intently on how to win. They talked about putting an end to the political games and voting for things that they actually wanted to happen. And they took a hard look at how provincial NDP Leader Darrell Dexter managed to work his way up to be premier of Nova Scotia.

The events of the last week "are an example of Jack Layton trying to take a page from Darrell Dexter," said Anthony Salloum, program director at the Rideau Institute think-tank and a former staffer for Alexa McDonough when she led the NDP.

Salloum, who is also close to Dexter, said the Nova Scotia premier had a patient, pragmatic approach to politics when he was in opposition. He didn't oppose for opposition's sake, and would hold his nose and support measures that made sense. Gradually, he expanded his base that way, developing a reputation for being practical rather than partisan.

Manitoba Premier Gary Doer has had a similar approach, Salloum added.

"I think in this case, we shouldn't discount the example of Manitoba and Nova Scotia in 1/8Layton's 3/8 decision-making.

Layton spent time at Doer's cottage this summer, and stayed behind in Halifax for a few days with Dexter after the party convention, added Brad Lavigne, the party's national director.

"There's no question, Darrell Dexter played a significant role" in developing the party's approach heading into the high-stakes fall parliamentary session.

Despite the criticism heaped on Layton for changing course, the party believes it has worked, Lavigne argued. Donations are flowing in, some polls are showing better momentum for NDP support, and feedback from provincial party leaders and labour leaders has been positive, he said.

"This has been one of the best weeks of Jack Layton's leadership. He's risen to the occasion."

Political scientist Graefe points out, however, that the electorate is still digesting the news conference this week where a seemingly defensive Layton abruptly announced his intention to support the Tories, and then walked away without taking questions. Voters' ears are still ringing with the accusations of hypocrisy, he said.

If the NDP can cut through the noise and convince the public that its new, pragmatic approach is better for Canadians, there is "some potential upside," Graefe said.

But the move is a "gamble," he added. "They kind of lost a bit of the moral high ground."

 

http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5isZFZ4rZQ5N...

bekayne

There, party members focused intently on how to win. They talked about putting an end to the political games and voting for things that they actually wanted to happen. And they took a hard look at how provincial NDP Leader Darrell Dexter managed to work his way up to be premier of Nova Scotia.

The events of the last week "are an example of Jack Layton trying to take a page from Darrell Dexter," said Anthony Salloum, program director at the Rideau Institute think-tank and a former staffer for Alexa McDonough when she led the NDP.

It helps to become leader of a party that is already the official opposition. And had tied for the most seats in an election just a short while before.


bo_bo_obama

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

We all should be afraid of an election -- another term from Harper would damage the country; a majority would be unspeakable; Canadians turnign away form their democratic first choices to avoid another minority just because Harper can't understand the requirement to cooperate-- yeah much to worry about and that is before we get to an individual party's political success or risks and they all have serious risks.

Given that the party leaders that are running against the CPC are a sick joke, pulling the plug now would be a terrible idea. Do you want to give Harper a majority?

bo_bo_obama

NorthReport wrote:

Polunatic2 wrote:

How can there be a fixed election date with a minority parliament? 

Unless that fixed date legislation did not pass, it should be 4 years from the date of the last election which was October 10, 2008, wasn't it. That is unless the opposition defeats the government or Harper does what he has done previously when he called an early election, didn't he.

I don't think that law can rationally apply to minority governments.

The purpose of the law was to prevent a majority government from heading for the polls when its numbers were good and the opposition off-base and not expecting an election. During a minority government, the opposition can topple the government almost any time. Why should the government have to operate with both hands tied behind their back?

remind remind's picture

We will see what the courts decide, eh!

Stockholm

What would be wrong with changing our system to say that elections are everey 4 years PERIOD. If you elect a minority government, there is still no election possible until after four years. If for example the Tories form a minority government, the opposition can defeat their bills anytime they want without fear of sparking an election, meaning that if they want to pass a budget, they are forced to compromise with the opposition to get a majority vote. We could say that only CONSTRUCTIVE votes of non-confidence are ever allowed - meaning that if the opposition parties ever unite to depose a minority government, they must vote constructively to replace it with a new opposition led government and say that early elections are only possible if all the parties acknowledge that there is a deadlock and that only an early election as a last resort can resolve the impasse. This is how it works in Germany - no early elections unless the President can be convinced that no government can possibly be created - otherwise the parties just have to keep going back to the drawing board.

janfromthebruce

You know Stock, I like that. It would really flush out who are the progressives and who are the "great pretenders". Surprised

janfromthebruce

What I mean is that, since the alibi is taken away -we don't want an election - so we support this crap because we have no choice - it would reveal exactly where the parties position themselves on policy, bills and so on.

It also means that the one who got the most minority seats could not act as a bully - confidence votes - to ensure someone votes for their crap that the majority of legislatures don't support or support but modified.

I would like the NDP have that as a campaign plank. It would be a small step to "making democracy work" and also to electorial reform.

remind remind's picture

I agree Jan.

Ward

I agree as well.

remind remind's picture

Wow, we are getting close to a consensus quorum on this. The solitice must be bringing in an era of consensus building. ;)

janfromthebruce

hmmmmmmmmmmm.... I feel the good vibrations

Frmrsldr

I motion that I agree as well. And I am unanimous in this.

bo_bo_obama

Stockholm wrote:
What would be wrong with changing our system to say that elections are everey 4 years PERIOD. *******This is how it works in Germany - no early elections unless the President can be convinced that no government can possibly be created - otherwise the parties just have to keep going back to the drawing board.
How would you like Harper with U.S.-Presidential type powers? Probably not very much.

 

Your suggestion would turn him into a dictator for a term of four years.

Stockholm

YOu obviously have no understanding of what I'm suggesting. In my system Harper would be strippped of powers. The opposition parties would be able to vote down Conservative bills any time they wanted to without any fear of provoking an election. This would render Harper totally impotent. In fact, any combination of opposition parties could take power at any time without there being an election - all it would take would be a "constructive" vote of non-confidence and the government is forced to resign and be repalced by the opposition parties. The only way that early elections can ever happen is if that government in turn collapses and the GG is convinced that no one is able to command any confidence.

That change would instantly create a massive incentive to parties to work together.

Frmrsldr

bo_bo_obama wrote:

Stockholm wrote:
What would be wrong with changing our system to say that elections are everey 4 years PERIOD. *******This is how it works in Germany - no early elections unless the President can be convinced that no government can possibly be created - otherwise the parties just have to keep going back to the drawing board.
How would you like Harper with U.S.-Presidential type powers? Probably not very much.

 

Your suggestion would turn him into a dictator for a term of four years.

When Stockholm used the word "President" he was merely acknowledging that the German government has a President. The German government also has a 'Prime Minister' - the Chancellor.

janfromthebruce

bo-bo are you scared that a minority govt would have to work with others and that legislation enacted by the majority in the minority govt could actually drive the agenda?

George Victor

"How would you like Harper with U.S.-Presidential type powers? Probably not very much.

 

 

Your suggestion would turn him into a dictator for a term of four years."

 

 

This chappy with the racist moniker does not understand that Harper has more power than the U.S. pres. in ordinary times. And the fact that he is labeling the pres. a dictator clearly identifies him as libertarian as well as racist. A marvelously reactive combo.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Frmrsldr wrote:

bo_bo_obama wrote:

Stockholm wrote:
What would be wrong with changing our system to say that elections are everey 4 years PERIOD. *******This is how it works in Germany - no early elections unless the President can be convinced that no government can possibly be created - otherwise the parties just have to keep going back to the drawing board.
How would you like Harper with U.S.-Presidential type powers? Probably not very much.

 

Your suggestion would turn him into a dictator for a term of four years.

When Stockholm used the word "President" he was merely acknowledging that the German government has a President. The German government also has a 'Prime Minister' - the Chancellor.

And the German presidency is a ceremonial office with no real powers, like the presidencies of the Republic of Ireland and of other republics that are governed under parliamentary systems.  It's more like the governor-general of Canada or the nice old German lady in the really big house in London whose "authority" that the GG represents.

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