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The greatest histories are always written in the toughest times
November 28, 2008 9:43 AM   Subscribe

Je ne comprends pas anglais, Former Canadian PM Jean Chrétien forgets his second language as he and former NDP leader Ed Broadbent use their elder statesmen status to discuss bringing down the six week old Conservative government in Canada after the promised economic stimulus turned into cutting travel expenses, cancelling pay equity and the right to strike for federal workers, and changing the party funding law in favour of the ruling Conservatives under PM Stephen Harper. The opposition still vow to topple the government even though the funding change appears to have been dropped. But the largest opposition party is effectively leaderless and they need the Bloc Quebecois support. Could the next Prime Minister of Canada be Gilles Duceppe?
posted by saucysault (295 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
It appears the Conservatives have back down on the promise to eliminate political party funding. But what a fucking country.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:50 AM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm already preemptively angry at the Conservatives for inevitably spinning this as the other parties putting self-interest before the good of the country.
posted by Adam_S at 9:50 AM on November 28, 2008


> Could the next Prime Minister of Canada be Gilles Duceppe?

Anyone other than Harper would be A-OK by me.
posted by you just lost the game at 9:55 AM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


If those motherfuckers send us to the polls again...
posted by gman at 9:56 AM on November 28, 2008


I'm not sure that saying Chretien forgets his second language is really proper - the interpretation that I see is that he dodged the question by joking that he doesn't know English.

More importantly, good that the funding law is getting dropped, bad that the right to strike is leaving. Can we have Chretien as PM again?
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:58 AM on November 28, 2008


The Bloc Quebecois are ridiculous.
posted by delmoi at 10:08 AM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Je ne comprends pas anglais

I think that's awesome. Did he choke the guy as he said it? I miss Chrétien.
At last some excitement. I hope they DTMFsA.
I'd be more than happy to go to the polls again if it wasn't such a giant use of cash we don't have.
posted by chococat at 10:11 AM on November 28, 2008




I think Layton will take the helm before Duceppe. I just pray Jean will tell Harper where to go if he comes asking for another election.
posted by Brodiggitty at 10:23 AM on November 28, 2008


The Bloc Quebecois are ridiculous.

No more than the Cons or Libs. I would be very pleased to have a BQ PM, and not just for the utter surreality of it either. I would definitely prefer that to the more likely Ignatieff "Liberals" or the status quo.

I think Layton will take the helm before Duceppe.

That would be a lot less bizarre, but also a lot less democratic. The BQ has more seats than the NDP.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:29 AM on November 28, 2008


I'd be more than happy to go to the polls again if it wasn't such a giant use of cash we don't have.

... and would only result in the same outcome.
posted by orange swan at 10:35 AM on November 28, 2008


"In terms of the unemployed, of which we have over a million-and-a-half, don't feel particularly bad for many of these people. They don't feel bad about it themselves as long as they're recieving generous social ssistance and unemployment insurance."
-Stephen Harper, June 1997

"People who work hard, pay their taxes and play by the rules are getting ahead."
-Stephen Harper, October 2008
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:36 AM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


PM in a coalition would likely go to John Goodale, Lib house leader.

The wild card here is the Bloc. A coalition can't work without them, but to formally join one would be politically unpalatable for them, I think. Also, the price they will demand of the NDP and the Liberals will be mind-blowing. Deep deficits, here we come!
posted by bonehead at 10:36 AM on November 28, 2008


I would be very pleased to have a BQ PM, and not just for the utter surreality of it either.

Please elaborate.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:36 AM on November 28, 2008


A text book definition of "dick move" by Harper.
posted by Paid In Full at 10:37 AM on November 28, 2008


The BQ has more seats than the NDP

Our voting system is FPTP. The number of seats a party has doesn't work out to national support by percentage of the population.
posted by shoebox at 10:37 AM on November 28, 2008


John Ralph Goodale (brainfart).
posted by bonehead at 10:37 AM on November 28, 2008


"but also a lot less democratic"

True, but since when does Democracy have anything to do with the Canadian Parliament? The Greens had 6% of the popular vote while the Bloc had 9%. That translated to 0 and 49 seats respectively.

Really though, Dion will take the helm before Duceppe or Layton. Unless we see one of the two independents stand in as some sort of good will gesture? Shades of Chuck Cadman all over again.

Suddenly "meh" is no longer a useful word for describing Canadian politics.
posted by Brodiggitty at 10:41 AM on November 28, 2008


Prime Minister Layton doesn't sound so far-fetched now.
posted by mazola at 10:44 AM on November 28, 2008


I would be very pleased to have a BQ PM, and not just for the utter surreality of it either. I would definitely prefer that to the more likely Ignatieff "Liberals" or the status quo.

I suspect that if, by some weird turn of events, Duceppe were to become PM, things would quickly flip to a Con majority in the next election. It would make the status quo look bloody fantastic.
posted by CKmtl at 10:44 AM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


The NDP has more popular support, and they also have seats across the country. Still, I would imagine a liberal would head a coalition. Also, couldn't the liberals +and NDP for a minority coalition government? (Or is that not allowed?) I can't imagine we'd go to the polls again if the confidence vote doesn't pass, it seems a bit too ridiculous. (What would change?)

I'm also surprised the Torries haven't punted harper. Trying to push all this stuff through seems like a politically stupid move. (Well, it's a stupid move period, I suppose.)
posted by chunking express at 10:45 AM on November 28, 2008


I'm also surprised the Torries haven't punted harper.

Who would they replace him with, Day? Kenney? Baird? Clement? McKay? The only high-profile member of the caucus who isn't a complete shit and/or moron and could be palatable to the whole country is arguably Prentice, and Harper's already taken steps to discourage the guy from getting any funny ideas.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:51 AM on November 28, 2008


i love canadian bacon.
posted by billybobtoo at 10:53 AM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, there is no such thing as Tories in Canada's Parliament. Harper suffocated them with a pillow while McKay pinned them to the bed.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:53 AM on November 28, 2008 [8 favorites]


I hadn't though of Prentice. I always figured McKay would step up at some point, since he seems reasonably popular. I will be a happy man if the Torries lose their minority government for being dumbasses. Fuck yeah.
posted by chunking express at 10:54 AM on November 28, 2008


Considering how the Conservatives haven't let their minority status stand in the way of ruling with virtual impunity, it's nice to see the Tories finally being forced to back down for once. Let's hope this is some political capital spent.
posted by Adam_S at 10:56 AM on November 28, 2008


I don't suppose we could shift to some fancy proportional-to-percent-of-the-vote representation system, with rotating 1/3 gender quotas (to increase female participation in government)? Everyone I know votes by party anyway, and it would be nice to actually feel like my vote counted. @_@
posted by Phalene at 11:00 AM on November 28, 2008


Right about now is when I wish fervently that Canada had a real life Mitchell Hundred.
posted by LN at 11:02 AM on November 28, 2008


Another election would be preferable to this disastrous economic plan from Flaherty (and this is 100% from Flaherty as opposed to Harper, IMO). He's taking advantage of a bad economy and a scared-of-election opposition to cram through an ultra-right-wing agenda that includes dumping (at rock-bottom prices) public assets, stifling public sector unions, and emaciating social programs - all in the name of balancing the budget.
posted by rocket88 at 11:04 AM on November 28, 2008


IMO much of the reason Harper has coasted along as PM as long as he has is due to his almost total lack of personality (and his impressive ability to keep his crazyass MPs from voicing their opinions).

In other words, as long as there's no ripples on the surface and everything appears to stay the same, people figure no news is good news. But now with the economy scaring everybody, his hand was forced and his real personality begins to ebb to the surface.

I wish the Liberals would get a decent leader, someone other than Ignatieff for pete's sake. At this point - and I say this as someone who remembers all too well the early 90s in Ontario - I think Rae could only be an improvement.

And Duceppe as PM? Is that even possible? Would the lieutenant-governor not step in before that would even happen?
posted by stinkycheese at 11:05 AM on November 28, 2008


They should have done this before the election. I guess it is hard to have that kind of foresight..

There are two questions, really. The obvious one is how Harper will proceed, he is playing brinkmanship now, but he's not a complete fool. The other question is the Liberal party. They are massively in debt and underfunded at the moment, and they lack modern political imagination.

For example, it would be easy to score political points by saying "let's just get rid of the political contribution tax credit instead of the party funding". Of course I can't see the Liberal party ever making that argument. In addition, Dion was the perfect figure to rally around to create a new vision, and they didn't do it. How much it was Dion's failings, and how much the party's, we can't know. They do have a leader though, if they decide they want him..
posted by Chuckles at 11:12 AM on November 28, 2008


The likelihood that I would actually envy the political situation down south over my own is on par with the idea that a black man could be elected President in 2008.
posted by gman at 11:15 AM on November 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


And is there no way we can convince Lloyd Axworthy to make a comeback?
posted by gman at 11:16 AM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Est-ce que c'est quelques choses pour lequel j'aurais besoin d'avoir moins de l'apathie à comprendre?
posted by blue_beetle at 11:22 AM on November 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


Schwarzenegger for Prime Minister!
posted by blue_beetle at 11:23 AM on November 28, 2008


Wikipedia image of the current Parliament

Chunkin' Express, the Libs and the NDP together don't have enough seats to vote down the conservatives. They'd need all three parties voting together to bring the government down, and given the Liberal leadership race, it would be pretty dicey to put Dion in the PM's spot.

A coalition would likely only last as long as the Liberal leadership race. It would be fragile, they'd have to agree on everything, and it would be short lived and provisional. But it's still far far better than King-Harper-by-default.
posted by jrochest at 12:01 PM on November 28, 2008


It sounds like the Liberals are going to force the issue monday. Harper is a dumbaclot.

I could see the Bloc joining in to vote down the Conservatives. Then we'd have a different minority in power, but I imagine that a Liberal + NDP minority would be more amicable to the Bloc than the Conservative one.
posted by chunking express at 12:06 PM on November 28, 2008


Despite Canada's bilingual status, one word does the job here: coup.
posted by grounded at 12:20 PM on November 28, 2008


Canadian coups are both polite and orderly.
posted by chunking express at 12:22 PM on November 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


from a Macleans blog post

Hot off the Canadian Press wire (link when available):
The Liberal Opposition plans to introduce a motion in the House of Commons on Monday declaring non-confidence in the minority Conservative government and proposing a governing coalition.

The motion comes as emissaries from the Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois hold talks about forming a new government should Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s minority fall.

But Harper could still avert the immediate defeat of his weeks-old government through procedural tactics.
The Liberal motion, which has the approval of the NDP and Bloc Quebecois, reads:

“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 source says the opposition parties have agreed that Liberal Leader Stephane Dion would lead the government for the next few months.


tags from the blog post include governmentdownbringingwatch-2008 and wow

an appropriate tag for this MeFi post would be batshitinsane as this is, to sum up, fucking nuts.

Deputy PM Layton maybe?
posted by futureproof at 12:23 PM on November 28, 2008


This sucks!
posted by monkeymike at 12:25 PM on November 28, 2008


This sucks!

... that it didn't happen sooner.
posted by chunking express at 12:29 PM on November 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Can't they just say no without having to take the whole thing down and try to rebuild?
posted by sandraregina at 12:29 PM on November 28, 2008


I would be very pleased to have a BQ PM, and not just for the utter surreality of it either

I suspect the coalition deal would be a Liberal/NDP coalition, with the Bloc agreeing to a legislative agenda...
posted by Deep Dish at 12:44 PM on November 28, 2008


I'm curious too how a PM would be chosen. Anyone with a stronger sense of Canadian history able to explain the last coalition government with Borden as PM of the Unionist Party? Borden's party had the most seats before the coalition I believe. Of course, it was a much more of a two-party system then. I thought Duceppe would be the only palatable choice for the Liberals if a coalition rejects Dion, as well as buying the Bloc's vote. No way would the Liberals put Layton as PM, he would be too much of a threat whereas Duceppe can always be kicked out in an election. Duceppe is a spoiled his ballot in the 1980 referendum instead of voting separatist, so I think his politics are a bit more complex then just blindly believing in Quebec nationalism. Goodale hadn't occurred to me, though.
posted by saucysault at 12:44 PM on November 28, 2008


Canadian coups are both polite and orderly.

And heavily punctuated with Canada's favorite word, 'sorry'.
posted by grounded at 12:50 PM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ha! Should have previewed. Thanks futureproof. I haven't checked on Macleans since they changed editors and focus.
posted by saucysault at 12:51 PM on November 28, 2008


AFAIK the leader of a coalition is often the leader of the party with most seats, in this case Dion.

As my link above points out, it is rumoured to have been agreed upon that he would be the PM for the time being.

The major issue concerning the Liberals after the election was whether to force Dion out and bring in a new leader immediately, or wait till a leadership convention (they went with the latter, not all happily). Yet another reason this is pretty wild.
posted by futureproof at 12:54 PM on November 28, 2008




Borden's party had the most seats before the coalition I believe

Yeah and Borden was already PM. The Unionist government was Libs and Tories who didn't want to change governments during a war. The deal wasn't really that complicated.

I suspect the PM will be a Liberal... probably someone fairly boring and non-controversial. Ralph Goodale seems reasonable and when the Liberals hold their leadership conference, I assume the coalition would either take a vote among MP's to decide the PM job or decide to dissolve the coalition and hold a new election. I suspect the tradeoff would be, Jack Layton is Deputy PM and the NDP gets a couple of important cabinet spots and Senate appointments. I suspect in this scenario, the Bloc decides on the legislative agenda.

Though, if the Liberals were really serious about a united-left coalation they would allow NDP members to vote in their leadership race. This would make the new coalition PM very strong... Wouldn't happen in a million years though.
posted by Deep Dish at 12:58 PM on November 28, 2008


Rick Mercer for write-in PM candidate!
posted by CKmtl at 1:12 PM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes! Gilles Duceppe for PM, poutine as equalization payments!
posted by racingjs at 1:16 PM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think it is very unlikely to happen, but if it did, Dion would become PM. He is the only candidate, that much is completely obvious.

The interesting question is, would Dion be able to swing that into a campaign to turn the May convention into a leadership review instead of a full blown leadership race. Seems like a hard bit of politics to play, but it is far more likely than defeating the government in the first place. It seems to me that if he can pull off the government change, holding onto his Liberal leadership becomes a serious possibility.
posted by Chuckles at 1:16 PM on November 28, 2008


It's still unclear who would lead a coalition, though the Canadian Press quoted a source as saying the opposition parties have agreed that Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion would lead the government for the next few months.

Source: The CBC
posted by Deep Dish at 1:21 PM on November 28, 2008


From the "dropped" link above:
The Liberals were taking the prospect of a coalition so seriously that some MPs were privately discussing ways to dump Stephane Dion as leader without waiting for their party's scheduled May 2 leadership vote.
The entire reason for this is my above observation. If Dion becomes Prime Minister, he will be hard to unseat, so the idiot backwards thinking wing of the Liberal party needs to get rid of him first.
posted by Chuckles at 1:25 PM on November 28, 2008


A brilliant plan, as always... place an impotent coalition in charge of the country during a global economic downturn, pissing off the public and paving the way for a Conservative majority in the next election.
posted by Krrrlson at 1:27 PM on November 28, 2008


What is the public sentiment here? How is this being spun? I'm guessing the only people who will be pissed are those who vote for the Conservatives. Most papers point out that the Conservative bill was obnoxious, and more about politics than about helping the economy.

And yeah, the Liberals need to stop with all the back room shit. Their party seems to be full of fat cats.
posted by chunking express at 1:31 PM on November 28, 2008


I have a sadness - the first link has been updated since this was posted, and I can't find Chrétien's joke now.

Deep deficits, here we come!

Deficit spending is a good thing in a recession - it mitigates the fall in demand and stimulates the economy.

Also, one of the links is simply wrong: there is no way that Rae "created" the recession of the early 1990s - a recession which affected the whole world. Ontario is a great and beautiful place, but we're just not that economically powerful. It's like claiming that Harper sneezed and make Hurricane Ike happen.

Not that the NDP didn't make some mistakes - it was their first time in office, and there was a lot of inexperience. But I have never heard any honest and factual assessment of their term in office. Instead, we just get propaganda from a party which did far more to eviscerate the Ontario gov't and defraud the Ontario people - and left the gov't more in the red, because they were lying, despicable crooks who got away with it because they kicked at the homeless and the poor and other vulnerable people. (I'm just as angry at the unions who worked to destroy Rae, only to end up hurting not the working class but the class under the working class worse than Rae ever affected union members.)

I was a teenager in high school under Rae and under Harris - and every single adult who voted for Harris screwed us and all the children of Ontario. Under Rae, I didn't even notice the recession. Under Harris, schools deteriorated during a boom. Sure, kids can't vote, so who cares right? Who cares that university professors tell me that children educated in Harris's Ontario are less prepared for university than those educated under Rae and the previous governments?

But undereducated students, people dying from poisoned water, selling off provincial assets to your political cronies, bankrupting the province during a boom and then lying about it - that's what Ontario considers "good governance".

God, it's enough to wish we'd had Thatcher instead. At least she was honest about it.

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

Back to Harper - yeah, his plan is messed. Worrying about the deficit during a recession is a great way to try to make it into a Depression. Maybe he and Hoover would like to go hang out for a while - they can invite Churchill (great, inspiring leader - but don't let him near your economic policy) and reinstate the gold standard. I just love a deflationary spiral.

I think I just want to start carrying a placard at all times to wave in people's faces: "Keynes was right, suck it up already".

But Harper will stay in power so long as the rest of the country is so fractured. They do need to seriously think about coalitions, if not outright mergers. Not that I'd be that happy to seen the NDP and the Liberals unite - the NDP has acted at times as the candidate for all us mice, so that we didn't have to just vote for one cat or another(YouTubs). But since the ousting of Rae, they've moved into the realm of the impractical left, and I think that does limit their ability to both get elected, and to effectively govern. A party that took the best of the Liberals and the NDP (and some of the Greens) would be pretty awesome.

I know that a lot of NDP and Green supporters want to see proportional representation - but that's a solution with some serious pitfalls. Sure, the NDP would have much better representation - but so would smaller, more fringe parties that maybe we don't want having a legitimate voice in our politics. Countries with proportional representation see more fragmentation in their politics, and more extreme voices gaining not just legitimacy as represenatives but also direct power by being able to act as king-makers in coalition gov'ts. Just think about how powerful the small extreme parties are in the Israeli legislature. We have a lot of scary politics in Canada which right now stays small and supressed because it doesn't have an outlet - of which the Christian Heritage Party (anti gay marriage, want a "Fair" aka regressive tax, and who already run candidates in my riding) is pretty mild.
posted by jb at 1:33 PM on November 28, 2008 [11 favorites]


place an impotent coalition in charge of the country during a global economic downturn, pissing off the public and paving the way for a Conservative majority in the next election

I think the comparison is the Joe Clark government... a fairly new weak Tory government defeated in the house and then gets trounced in the next election. People blamed the Tories for the government falling in the 1980's, not the people who brought it down. There is no telling what the people will think of this... but the media doesn't seem to like Harper much anymore.

Call this a feeling, but the second I saw Harper's election night speech I thought he had just won a battle but lost the war. Harper's political capital is fleeing him at an alarming rate.. I think he is near his "sell by" date.
posted by Deep Dish at 1:34 PM on November 28, 2008


oops - "Youtubs". That's silly - but also cool sounding. It's like the online laundry channel or something.
posted by jb at 1:35 PM on November 28, 2008


There are reports the Governor General's office has made contingency plans to cut short her trip to Europe.

Poor Michaëlle Jean keps getting her trips cancelled.
posted by saucysault at 1:36 PM on November 28, 2008


The coalition wouldn't be any more impotent than the current minority government, and what makes you think it would piss off the public? If they can hold the coalition together long enough the weather the worst of the downturn, the Liberals can claim victory and maybe have a shiny new leader to boot.
posted by rocket88 at 1:38 PM on November 28, 2008


Help an uneducated American here - in the event of a successful no confidence motion, your unelected GG would have complete discretion over deciding between allowing a coalition government of the Liberal and NDP parties or requiring new elections, which would probably result in another Conservative victory? Seriously?
posted by thewittyname at 1:50 PM on November 28, 2008


There are reports the Governor General's office has made contingency plans to cut short her trip to Europe

To further the intrigue... The GG is a Paul Martin appointee, but she is supposed to be apolitical. Another interesting point is there are a bunch of vacant seats in the Senate... even a temporary coalition could have a huge impact on our future. I don't think our constitution was really meant to handle this...
posted by Deep Dish at 1:51 PM on November 28, 2008


your unelected GG would have complete discretion over deciding between allowing a coalition government of the Liberal and NDP parties or requiring new elections, which would probably result in another Conservative victory? Seriously?

The GG is unelected, but she is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister - so while the GG is unelected, the office that appoints the GG is (the Queen can't appoint just anyone). It is also important to state, that this kind of thing really doesn't happen often - people are alluding to World War 1 in this thread. It's a constitutional loophole I guess, but a small loophole - much less important than the Bush victory over Gore in the USA.

The Canadian tradition is that freedom wears a crown.... and a conservative victory is far from an obvious conclusion and if it occurred that way, from the GG's point-of-view it would reflect the will of the people.
posted by Deep Dish at 2:00 PM on November 28, 2008


I know my delicate constitution wasn't meant to handle this.
posted by mazola at 2:04 PM on November 28, 2008


Stephen Harper is the rebound-boyfriend of Prime Ministers. Skulking in the wings jealously, he waits till you break up and sneaks in to provide a shoulder to cry on while you are emotionally unstable. You don't really love him, but in the absence of any other suitors he'll do. You're not even sure he likes you all that much, he just wants you as some sort of prize. Your friends tell you he's manipulative and petty but you can't be bothered to dump him even through an ultimatum. And finally his fiscal shenanigans and utter lack of character begin to wear you down.

I may have come up with this thought after a couple beverages.
posted by captaincrouton at 2:33 PM on November 28, 2008 [20 favorites]


your unelected GG would have complete discretion over deciding between allowing a coalition government of the Liberal and NDP parties or requiring new elections, which would probably result in another Conservative victory? Seriously?

The GG doesn't have any real power.

In this case, they are talking about a motion that both declares no confidence in the current government and asserts Parliament's confidence in a new one. If the motion passed, it would simply be presented to the GG for a rubber stamp -- at least that is my understanding.

The GG would have more power, though still a vanishingly small amount, in the event of an outright no confidence vote -- a defeat of the proposed motion associated with the fiscal update, for example. I think that in such a circumstance the GG is allowed to affirm a new government without an election, as long as it looks like the new government would have the confidence of Parliament. I guess you could sort of maybe call that power, but it isn't really..
posted by Chuckles at 2:39 PM on November 28, 2008


Think of the Governor General in that "President of the Senate" way that the US VP has a really impressive sounding title and theoretical powers that never actually mean anything.

No, they're not the same powers, but it's that kind of appearance v reality thing.
posted by rokusan at 3:03 PM on November 28, 2008


Wittyname: if anything she's an external arbiter when the House isn't functioning.

The GG can say "You jerks better start getting along back there or I'm turning this car around!"
posted by rokusan at 3:05 PM on November 28, 2008 [3 favorites]




Chuckles writes "I think that in such a circumstance the GG is allowed to affirm a new government without an election, as long as it looks like the new government would have the confidence of Parliament. I guess you could sort of maybe call that power, but it isn't really.."

It's more just letting someone decide what everyone else knows. If the new goverment doesn't have confidence than the first thing that happens is a no confidence vote and viola, no more appointed goverment. Besides the new goverment is still composed of MPs elected by the populace. It's not like she is going to be able to instill a straight teddy bear ticket or something.
posted by Mitheral at 3:12 PM on November 28, 2008


cancelling pay equity and the right to strike for federal workers,

It is only just sinking in how big a "Fuck You" this really is. I take it back, Harper might actually be a complete fool.
posted by Chuckles at 3:17 PM on November 28, 2008


Hmm. On the one hand, I hate PSAC with a white hot passion. But I really don't wish Harper's latest decree on any workforce.

And anyway, why all the gloom about BQ involvement? It's the only party that would keep the others honest. That ever attempts to. (Don't even try to give me Layton on this point)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:29 PM on November 28, 2008


One of the interesting aspects of this that I haven't seen covered (and why, as much as I think Gilles Duceppe would probably not be a bad Prime Minister, the Libs and NDP would never go for it), is that the power of the Prime Minister carries over until the new government is elected. So while a new election may be the result of all this wrangling, if the "coalition" can be cobbled together to get the GG's blessing, then the "appointed" PM would have executive power until the new vote.

That's why I think there might be a lot of incentive for the minority parties to work hard at this. They've seen Harper pulling autocratic crap out of his legislative hamper right out of the gate, and they know that if this crap passes it'll just get worse, so if they pull the plug on him now, he loses the power to govern while Canadians get to reflect on why they re-elected the bum as PM (to a minority, but still).

I think (hope?) that most Canadians will put the blame for this on the Conservatives (or is that my "Obama can win, so maybe there isn't a complete lack of basis for faith in the electorate" thoughts talking).
posted by birdsquared at 6:39 PM on November 28, 2008


BWAHAHA! Even the National Post is having it at Harper.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:19 PM on November 28, 2008


BWAHAHA! Even the National Post is having it at Harper.

OMG!

To American mefites, I will translate this thread. Imagine if the Barack Obama/Hilary Clinton primary battle had been going on for like 80 years, and 20 years ago... it was joined by Al Gore circa the year 2000 (the Al Gore who was trying to distance himself from the Clintons perceived lack of morals) and the three suddenly decide in a matter of like three days that they are going to hug, shake hands, and vork together.. on the same day the second biggest newspaper in the country (founded as a Conservative mouthpiece) refuses to tow the line.
posted by Deep Dish at 8:55 PM on November 28, 2008


To American mefites

Er, that should be "to non-Canadian MeFites."

Anyway, the National Post isn't that bad a newspaper. The writing is quite good, and, since Conrad Black sold it, the paper has drifted back to the center. Sure, it has a few right-wing pundits, but, that doesn't make it right wing. It's like calling the Globe and Mail left wing because it publishes Rick Salutin. The NP's greatest crime is that it's no longer a national newspaper - it really only cares about Toronto.

But then again, I tend to admire Stephen Harper. It's just the rest of his Mike Harris retread cabinet that is so ridiculous.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:17 PM on November 28, 2008


[hums song, eats Kit-Kat.]
posted by heeeraldo at 11:17 PM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


jb: A-fucking-men, yo. I was in high school in Ontario during the Rae-->Harris period and it was a fucking disaster under Harris. I bore the brunt of the budget cutbacks in an "inner-city" high school in London, ON, and my parents worked in the medical sector as Harris decimated the healthcare budget. It was horrible. Thanks for reminding me how much I hate Harris; I had managed to suppress it.
posted by LMGM at 1:59 AM on November 29, 2008


why all the gloom about BQ involvement?

Because of the price they'll ask to pass anything. This puts Parliament in their complete control---if they don't like something the government will fall. Given the numbers, the Bloc can't just not vote, and avoid issues as they do now, they must vote with the coalition for it to survive.

Duceppe needs to be able to show prizes to his constituency in Quebec. This means more, disproportionate, demands for Quebec, both legislative and financial. This means that the coalition, if it happens, is going to be very expensive.
posted by bonehead at 6:35 AM on November 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why is Harper saying the opposition "doesn't have a right" to form a government? Does he have any constitutional argument to back that up? Not having heard one, it just looks like arrogant bullshit, which we know he is capable of.
posted by sfenders at 7:05 AM on November 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Does he have any constitutional argument to back that up?

Generally speaking many constitutional experts agree that he's incorrect.

I imagine he's hoping to appeal to the idea that Canadians 'rejected' these other parties in the last election (despite them winning a majority of seats) and thus they don't have a right to govern. If he really believes that this coalition is constitutionally illegitimate then he's as bad a politician as he is an economist.
posted by Adam_S at 7:35 AM on November 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


> Can't they just say no without having to take the whole thing down and try to rebuild?

That's entirely in Harper's hands. Essentially, he has to back down, to a point where the opposition parties conclude that it's not in their best interests to force a government change by a non-confidence motion. Since Harper went so far over the line, the amount he now would have to "pull back" would be a serious blow to his party's aims and to his stature as a leader.

I didn't support Harper but I did expect that in serious times he'd be pragmatic enough to do the right things. Instead, he's apparently more interested in capitalizing on economic misfortune to create more misfortune, all in pursuit of expired 90's style conservativism, abetted by all the Mike Harris acolytes the Federal Conservatives have picked up.

So, to stay in power, Harper will have to back waay down, which will pull his fangs and dent his stature as a leader with both right-wing idealogues and the general public. Imagine my dismay ;)

I'm not afraid of a Dion-led coalition, if it proves workable. The biggest mistake Dion made in the election was to go all-in with his "Green-Shift" plan, which, even though it had some sensible foundations, was too big and risky to be embraced by the public.

Right now, we don't need big idealogical shifts (right, left or green), we need pragmatic and responsible leadership to get through the next year or two. I think that now that his Green Shift has been euthanised, Dion could possibly be that pragmatic leader, and that being in a coalition government, facing a big Conservative opposition, would keep him focussed and on the middle path.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:28 AM on November 29, 2008


I want to add that partisanship is the LAST thing any country needs right now, yet Harper has just gone in exactly that direction, which very much calls into question his suitability to lead at this time.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:43 AM on November 29, 2008


But then again, I tend to admire Stephen Harper.

I'm genuinely curious what there could possibly be that is admirable about the man.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:02 PM on November 29, 2008


How sweet it is. Somebody leaked Harper's talking points, hee hee.

Mr. Harper's chief of staff Guy Giorno sent out an e-mail that included talking points, scripts for Tory partisans to use on radio phone-in shows and a template for letters to newspaper editors. Party faithful were encouraged to "use every single tool and medium at our disposal" to spread the word that opposition parties are trying to usurp the government in a crass bid to protect their political "entitlements."

...

Mr. Giorno's message included very detailed scripts MPs are expected to follow while delivering radio interviews that include the following lines:

* 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.

posted by stinkycheese at 7:51 PM on November 29, 2008


Holy shit, Christmas came early.

How more phony could these guys be, indeed.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:56 PM on November 29, 2008


(I know that these sorts of instructional scripts are nothing new, but Canadians love/hate it when their political cynicism is validated.)
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:04 PM on November 29, 2008


It's like seeing the Emperor's tiny wang. It feels honest.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:08 PM on November 29, 2008


Duceppe needs to be able to show prizes to his constituency in Quebec. This means more, disproportionate, demands for Quebec, both legislative and financial. This means that the coalition, if it happens, is going to be very expensive.

This simply isn't true. For the last few months leading up to the election the Liberals abstained and/or supported the Conservative government. For all of that time the Conservatives chided Dion and the Liberals for weakness and scheming. If the Liberals were to take power now, it will be the Conservatives on the spot. The Conservatives will have to do all the abstaining and/or supporting the Liberals did before, or they will force an election. The Bloc will come out of this with exactly the same power they have now.

The Bloc does get one card, and one only. The Bloc can ask for concessions in exchange for their initial vote of confidence in a Liberal government.
posted by Chuckles at 9:17 PM on November 29, 2008


I said above about how it would have been better for this to happen before the election.. I forgot that Parliament last sat on June 20th, so the opposition parties haven't had much opportunity. Of course I knew the timing and duration of this recent election were cynical, but..
[source]
posted by Chuckles at 9:39 PM on November 29, 2008


"Backroom Prime Minister" sounds like some kind of Trudeau-era porn production.
posted by rokusan at 12:22 AM on November 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


That's great stinkycheese! i love how the media has turned on Harper.

As Scot Reid notes though, the Conservatives have given the opposition a week to hang themselves on the leadership issue. Even funnier than the FP bashing Harper is the Toronto Sun editorial bashing everyone and calling the conservatives absurd. Surely that is a first. [Too many bitter memories of that conservative rag being the only newspaper to read growing up]. Back in May Goodale critiqued Harper for deliberately creating a deficit situation in order to exploit it politically.

On preview: There are reports Harper is considering proroguing Parliament until 2009.
posted by saucysault at 4:39 AM on November 30, 2008


from the talking points:
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.

About the only appropriate response from the opposition to this would be: 38,545 Canadians voted for Stephen Harper. 13,795,749 Canadians voted for someone else. What exactly is your point?
posted by oaf at 7:53 AM on November 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


Not to mention that the Conservatives were quite happy to negotiate with the Bloc when it was the Liberals who were in power.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:35 AM on November 30, 2008


...but the media doesn't seem to like Harper much anymore.

Anymore? By "media," did you mean the National Post, or have I been observing some sort of bizarro version of Canadian media?
posted by Krrrlson at 2:48 PM on November 30, 2008


IMO, based n this is how it will play out...

After the defeat of the government tomorrow (Monday) Dion, Layton and Duceppe will go to the GG this week with an agreement signed by all three leaders with Dion as PM. If they were smart, they'd also already have their cabinet picked among Libs, NDP and potentially BQ MP's.

Their agreement would confirm a confidence agreement for the coalition for a particular term (2 years would be minimum to get the GG's approval I think).

The Liberals would go ahead with their leadership convention as planned, and the new leader would become PM. And, I think Dominic LeBlanc would step out of the running - as the game will have taken on quite a serious tone with the leader automatically becoming PM.
posted by SSinVan at 3:28 PM on November 30, 2008


The government can't be defeated before the 8th, because the Liberals won't be able to get their motion put to a vote.

In other government-toppling news: Tories release secret tape of private NDP meeting
posted by oaf at 4:43 PM on November 30, 2008


Isn't the Liberal's opposition day tomorrow - the 1st?
posted by SSinVan at 4:50 PM on November 30, 2008


The Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois will never get a better chance to take out Stephen Harper.

Scott Reid is right on the money. Please don't let them waste this opportunity!
posted by zarah at 5:14 PM on November 30, 2008


I've said it before - the Conservatives hold Parliament in complete contempt. The irony of all of this is that it comes on the heels of a week in which the parties committed to improving decorum in the House.

If the Speaker had any balls at all, he'd haul everyone into his office by their ears and read them the fucking riot act. The partisan nit-picking that is going on here makes the 1980s Liberal Rat Pack look like a demure and reasoned policy think tank.

Folks, for me this seals the deal. Our Parliamentary system simply doesn't work, and it's time to start the hard slog of finding a political governance structure that will serve us well in the 21st century.

Much as I love the idea of a progressive coalition to wipe the crocodile grin off of Harper's pie hole, I would much rather see a committed and multi-party group of MPs begin the process of radical reform of how we elect and operate our government. The 19th century system that has served us well is now broken beyond repair and we are in grave danger of losing the country over the medium term if we can't find a new system that will work.

And on second thought what with Obama and all, now might be the best time in history for the USA to invade. I, for one, would welcome our new hope-filled overlords.
posted by salishsea at 5:46 PM on November 30, 2008


Isn't the Liberal's opposition day tomorrow - the 1st?

Harper moved it back a week.
posted by oaf at 5:50 PM on November 30, 2008


I wish we had Paul Martin running the budgets again. I don't much like that guy, but he did do a good job of managing our money.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:08 PM on November 30, 2008


From oaf's link:

Flaherty said the provocative, three-year strike ban in the fiscal update is now "unnecessary" because a settlement had been reached covering minimal wage increases for the vast majority of public service workers.

"So our view is that it's not necessary, given what has happened in terms of the agreement so far, to proceed with that."

The wage agreement came three days before Flaherty delivered the fall update last week.


So. Very. Desperate.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:28 PM on November 30, 2008


It appears that the Liberals and NDP have hammered out a coalition deal. And it looks as though the Liberals have agreed that Michael Ignatieff will lead the new government.
posted by New Frontier at 8:22 PM on November 30, 2008


Michael Ignatieff will lead the new government.

That is really astonishing. The Liberal party is still in tatters. More concerned with who gets power than which party does. It has the stink of the Chretien-Martin war.. Idiots!

Of course you could take this as final proof that Dion was the wrong man for the job, but superficially it looks like Dion is the architect of the solution!
posted by Chuckles at 9:00 PM on November 30, 2008


Stephen Harper has been far more expeditious in uniting the left than he was in uniting the right.

But, as it turns out, there is no need to unite the left. If this the NDP/Liberals coalition is successful, they could very well run in the next campaign (30 months out per their agreement) as a coalition and win a majority. NDP'ers could still vote NDP and Liberals could still vote Liberal.
posted by SSinVan at 11:23 PM on November 30, 2008


I think those Ignatieff reports are more rumors than anything else right now. I'm curious to see what news is reported today. Things don't look good for the Torries. Clearly last week wasn't the time to pull a little power play.
posted by chunking express at 4:59 AM on December 1, 2008


The Bloc will come out of this with exactly the same power they have now.

With respect, you're incorrect: numerically the Bloc goes from one vote in three that mattered (and has mattered since the Martin minority), to the only vote that matters, based on the numbers.

On a coalition budget for example, the Bloc, and only the Bloc, would decide if it passed or failed. In contrast, for the past three minorities (L, C, C), the party in power had to get one (or two) of three opposition parties to agree for motions of confidence---they could choose their ally. Now there is no other choice. The Bloc will have to vote with the government or Parliament collapses.

The Liberals are definite that there will be no cabinet appointments for the Bloc. Duceppe, logically, will demand other concessions, likely delegation of powers and/or monetary plums.
posted by bonehead at 7:43 AM on December 1, 2008


Interestingly, Rae has been here before. He signed a very similar deal with Peterson in 1988 (89?). I wonder if he wasn't the instigator and bridge-builder last week. Her certainly knows Chretien and Broadbent well---the coalition architects.
posted by bonehead at 7:47 AM on December 1, 2008


On a coalition budget for example, the Bloc, and only the Bloc, would decide if it passed or failed. [... The Conservatives] could choose their ally. Now there is no other choice.

Indeed, I am slightly wrong. The coalition would have to have the support of either the Bloc, or the Conservatives, a choice of two, where the current Conservative government can choose between three other parties.

As we all know, in practice, the Conservative's choices never actually worked out. It always came down to the Liberals acquiescing. This was due to a complex political calculation which, as one of two potential governing parties, the Liberals felt obliged to. We are yet to see how the Conservatives would play a possible coalition government, but being the only other potential governing party, they face the same political calculation the Liberals did, don't you think?

Well, obviously you do not. I can't understand why though. I'm sure the Conservatives will be at least slightly belligerent, it is in their nature. Surely though, if they are simply going to oppose, oppose, oppose, even in the face of a cooperative and consultative government, they will pay an electoral price. Do you think the voting public will excuse Harper for causing an unnecessary election? For the third time in a row?
posted by Chuckles at 8:24 AM on December 1, 2008


I leave the country and the government goes to hell in a handbasket... A Liberal-NDP coalition? WTF?
posted by GuyZero at 8:51 AM on December 1, 2008


The coalition would have to have the support of either the Bloc, or the Conservatives, a choice of two, where the current Conservative government can choose between three other parties.

On an ordinary bill, you would be correct. On a motion of confidence, no. In order for this to work, constitutionally (i.e. this is the way it's always worked before), the coalition has to present a deal (can maintain confidence in the house) to the GG (or LGG in other precedents). This means a written agreement.

According to reports this morning, apparently a formal deal is close/exists with the Bloc for at least one year of support on confidence votes. The question is: at what cost?
posted by bonehead at 9:15 AM on December 1, 2008


On a motion of confidence, no.

I quote myself:
The Bloc does get one card, and one only. The Bloc can ask for concessions in exchange for their initial vote of confidence in a Liberal government.
posted by Chuckles at 12:17 AM on November 30 [+] [!]
It certainly will be interesting to see what the costs are though. The Liberals will have to ware whatever concessions they make. For example, some guy calling in to Ontario Today said that one concession was removal of bilingual services from Federal offices in Quebec -- unlikely..
posted by Chuckles at 9:38 AM on December 1, 2008


I wish we had Paul Martin running the budgets again. I don't much like that guy, but he did do a good job of managing our money.

The coalition will see your Martin, and raise you a McKenna, Manley, & Romanow.

This coalition is exactly what Canada needs right now. I'm counting down the days.
posted by futureproof at 9:54 AM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Holy crap.

The coalition will see your Martin, and raise you a McKenna, Manley, & Romanow.

Wow. Thanks a lot Stephen Harper for being so autocratic that literally everyone else in the country decided to unite against you. You're better than Word War Three. And only slightly more explosive.
posted by GuyZero at 10:12 AM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Interesting Canadian Politics: No longer an oxymoron.
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 10:39 AM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


To to add some context to my post above, CTV is reporting (updated link which is also reporting that Dion has been chosen to lead coalition as PM, by unanimous approval of all leadership candidates) that the coalition's economic portfolio will be guided by Paul Martin (former Liberal Prime Minister and Minister of Finance), Frank Mckenna (current Chairman of TD Bank, former Liberal Premier of New Brunswick, former Ambassador to the U.S.), John Manley (former federal Liberal Cabinet level MP), and Roy Romanow (former NDP Premier of Saskatchewan).

This powerhouse of a team vs. Jim Flaherty is kind of a no brainer.
posted by futureproof at 11:01 AM on December 1, 2008


Question period right now is pretty entertaining. (And interesting.)

Also, damn, Flaherty is a serious dick.
posted by chunking express at 11:40 AM on December 1, 2008


Nobody I talk to believes this coalition will happen. They think Harper will pull the prorogue manoevre.

But, I believe the house (and the national media) has already lost confidence in the government. Could they still go to the GG on that basis without a no-confidence vote?
posted by SSinVan at 11:51 AM on December 1, 2008


Any budget is a confidence vote.
posted by chunking express at 11:53 AM on December 1, 2008


SSinVan - I wondered the same thing and I have been trying to reseach whether it is ONLY the PM that can request a new session of Parliament from the GG (at the end of January next year!) or if a vote of non-confidence could be presented to her directly by the opposition. There is nothing specific I can find on the Parliament website. I'm surprised no reporters have researched it (that I can see). I would expect the PM is the only one able to recall Parliament but I am sure the coalition parties are looking for loopholes in case he does it.

I know why Stock sat through the conservative standing ovation when Harper entered the house but why did Justice Minister Rob Nicholson refuse to stand as well?
posted by saucysault at 1:21 PM on December 1, 2008


There's some speculation here on various legalities. Most of this stuff isn't written down anywhere, so who can do what is a bit unknown. I suspect the GG dissolving Parliament without either the PM asking for it or a formal non-confidence vote would trigger a full-on constitutional crisis like the Byng affair.
posted by bonehead at 1:33 PM on December 1, 2008


> The coalition will see your Martin, and raise you a McKenna, Manley, & Romanow.

YES PLEASE! If these guys are willing to back the coalition government and are going to advise it, I am that much more for it.
posted by Artful Codger at 1:56 PM on December 1, 2008


Dion was just talking now, live, on http://cbc.ca/news. He's probably on TV now as well perhaps. Layton has started speaking.
posted by chunking express at 1:59 PM on December 1, 2008


watching CBC Newsworld at the moment. The ticker noted if Harper moves to prorogue Parliament it needs the GG's approval.

That being said, Harper is finished.
posted by futureproof at 2:11 PM on December 1, 2008


I was trying to make the National Post one of my daily reads, but I simply can not do it. They're as bad as Fox News is in the USA. Every time I click an article to read, I end up regretting it.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:29 PM on December 1, 2008


In answer to my own question, Steele at the Globe and Mail questions whether Harper would even be able to prorogue. (Every time I say that I get hungry for perogies).
posted by saucysault at 5:35 PM on December 1, 2008


I hope the coalition utterly murders Harper and the Reeeeeeformatories. The asscrawling douchebags that hijacked the old Conservative party need to be expunged.

Then the same thing needs to happen to the Liberals. There's a lot of dishonest deadwood cluttering the parties. We need them scourged by a cleansing fire.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:39 PM on December 1, 2008


mmmm, perogies. and scourging.

Since we have the internets, there's some new corners to assemble in.

you can make your mark here if you support the proposed coalition; you can go here if you think the Conservatives are on the right track (and you enjoy inflammatory half-truths).

It's gonna be a long but interesting week...
posted by Artful Codger at 5:48 PM on December 1, 2008


Just so you know, Artful Codger's second link is a virus. ;-)
posted by gman at 5:56 PM on December 1, 2008


Here's another group that's collecting signatures from those who support the coalition.
posted by squeak at 7:56 PM on December 1, 2008


LOL STÉPHANE CLARTÉ DION
posted by zenzizi at 8:42 PM on December 1, 2008


I had forsworn Twitter, but I had to set up an account for this.

DAMN YOU, HARPER!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:29 PM on December 1, 2008


Michaëlle Jean is cutting short her trip to Europe. And there are four guys she probably wants to punch in the face.
posted by oaf at 6:00 AM on December 2, 2008


> And there are four guys she probably wants to punch in the face.

Hard to argue with that.

One of the possible but less dramatic outcomes is that Harper will request a prorogue, and at the same time the coalition will submit a request to form a government, at which point Mme la GG would tell them to all grow up, take another week off, and JOINTLY develop a stimulus package. This may be the only way that Dear Leader Stephen can back off while only losing a little face and still remaining in power.

Anyway, his blue cardigan is stripped away, we now know him for the divisive, bullying opportunist that he is, and Harper won't likely survive as leader past the next election. Yay.
posted by Artful Codger at 6:50 AM on December 2, 2008


...Mme la GG would tell them to all grow up, take another week off, and JOINTLY develop a stimulus package.

I just love this visual. Could this be the greatest image in our nation's history?
posted by stinkycheese at 7:17 AM on December 2, 2008


Other than Trudeau pirouetting behind the Queen, of course.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:19 AM on December 2, 2008


I'm listening to conservative talk radio in Calgary right now. It's actually pretty funny.

OUTRAGE!
posted by chugg at 9:20 AM on December 2, 2008






Yeah, this question period is great. I'm waiting for Dion to powerslam Harper.
posted by chunking express at 11:47 AM on December 2, 2008


That was pretty good.
posted by chugg at 12:18 PM on December 2, 2008


The coalition will see your Martin, and raise you a McKenna, Manley, & Romanow.

I liked the coalition idea before, but enlisting the four wise men clinches it for me.
posted by Deep Dish at 12:59 PM on December 2, 2008


I love the idea of Harper lying awake in bed at night, staring up at the ceiling, grasping for ways to stay in power...
posted by saucysault at 1:22 PM on December 2, 2008


And the Globe telling Harper to resign is just the icing on the cake. HeeHee!
posted by saucysault at 1:27 PM on December 2, 2008



Yeah, this question period is great. I'm waiting for Dion to powerslam Harper.


Flaherty: "Relax, Carolyn, you're going to hurt yourself".

Stay classy, Tories.
posted by Adam_S at 1:46 PM on December 2, 2008


The problem with prorouging is that immediately Harper shuts down Parliament for a month during the midst of the biggest global financial crisis since 1929 for political reasons. It undercuts his entire argument that the opposition is playing politics.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:48 PM on December 2, 2008


It undercuts his entire argument that the opposition is playing politics.

I think you are expecting nuance from his supporters that just isn't there. I don't think anyone that supports the Torries will give a fuck. That, or they'll blame the shut down on the opposition.

My friend also noted that Dion and much of the opposition were wearing a red ribbon for World AIDS Day. Harper? Nope. His posse? Also a big no, as far as we could tell.
posted by chunking express at 1:59 PM on December 2, 2008


(Same friend points out error/lie in the not enough Canadian flags behind the coalition talking point.)

Could you imagine how drunk you'd be if you had to take a shot every time a conservative said Separatist during the question period? I think Socialist-Separatists are the new Comunazi's in Canada.
posted by chunking express at 2:06 PM on December 2, 2008


I do love a good flag etiquette post. Also, the unprecedented nature of a Canadian coalition is quite intriguing.
What would a coalition government formed by the Liberals and New Democrats look like?

I don't have the slightest idea. It's so unprecedented. I wouldn't care to even speculate.
posted by zamboni at 2:17 PM on December 2, 2008


For those who don't want to follow all this nonense: isharperprimeminister.ca
posted by chunking express at 2:19 PM on December 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


That, or they'll blame the shut down on the opposition.

Kinda hard when they're the ones pulling the trigger.

Plus there have to be some swing voters in Canada.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:24 PM on December 2, 2008


There are some good comments and links in this deleted thread if anyone missed it.
posted by Rumple at 2:36 PM on December 2, 2008


There's some meaty-faced tool in the House right now complaining about how the "separatist-backed coalition" wants to "overthrow the government" and "destroy Canada as we know it."
posted by oaf at 3:46 PM on December 2, 2008


What time is Question Time? Is it online? (are there reruns?)
posted by jb at 3:53 PM on December 2, 2008


Okay, it's called Question Period, and I've found the reruns online. They don't have todays yet, but they have yesterday's. I hope it's exciting. (ooh, they are yelling. Congress never gets this good.)
posted by jb at 3:58 PM on December 2, 2008


What time is Question Time? Is it online? (are there reruns?)

chunking express shows the way: CPAC, which has live and recorded video.
posted by zamboni at 4:00 PM on December 2, 2008


(I think I thought it was "Question Time" because of that classic sketch Wayne & Shuster sketch - and because that's what the Brits call it. Wish I could find that sketch - I've got the song in my head now.)
posted by jb at 4:15 PM on December 2, 2008


Oh god, I hate Jim Flaherty - I don't hate Harper, but I hate Flaherty for having been in Harris's gov't. Lots of practive "cooking the books" and selling off government assets there.
posted by jb at 4:19 PM on December 2, 2008


chugg writes "I'm listening to conservative talk radio in Calgary right now. It's actually pretty funny."

They had a Preston Manning sound bite on CBC today in which he was very concerned that the coalition will be bad for

.
.
.

Wait for it,

.
.
.

The NDP.

I swear this has got reformers frothing even more than mentions of the National Energy Policy. It's hilarious. I wonder if that won't be the final nail in Harpers coffin; finally losing control of the mouths of some of the whackadoodle back benchers.
posted by Mitheral at 5:08 PM on December 2, 2008


Man, as if the upcoming Liberal leadership convention wasn't going to be entertaining enough (in a dull Liberal way) the upcoming Conservative leadership convention is going to be a total blast!
posted by GuyZero at 5:19 PM on December 2, 2008


according to bourque (canada's, uh... drudge) seems to indicate the whole thing may be crumbling down.
posted by futureproof at 5:35 PM on December 2, 2008


I don't know if i'd trust anything I read on borque.

I got this link emailed to me from the NDP: http://www.62percentmajority.ca/action/yourvoice. Apparently you can never have too many online polls.

And JB, i'm from Toronto and was in High School when Harris was fucking Ontario. Someone needs to punch him and Flaherty in the dick.
posted by chunking express at 6:02 PM on December 2, 2008


A couple of primers on coalition governments in Canada here and here. And some soul-searching by the Tories.

Also: Ignatieff has always seemed like a smarmy opportunist to me but now I am really starting to loathe the man. RRR.

futureproof's link suggests he may be responsible for scuttling the coalition before it even gets started. Here is his latest blog post on the subject.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:09 PM on December 2, 2008


If the coalition takes power, maybe all the Conservative MPs should resign, hmm? Storm out in a fit?

This awesome idea floated in the National Post by one Steve Janke, whose blog Angry In The Great White North has a really funny header.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:56 PM on December 2, 2008


Nobody is even thinking about the Conservative-to-Liberal floor crossings which are bound to come out of this. :)
posted by Chuckles at 7:07 PM on December 2, 2008


It looks like Harper is going to prorogue. I'm not surprised at all. There doesn't seem to be a lot of talk about Harper resigning though there are some mentions of it in various newspapers I'd think it would pick up a bit more ground. I'm waiting for someone to ask the coalition what they would do if Harper resigned.
posted by captaincrouton at 7:45 PM on December 2, 2008


I initially thought the GG couldn't refuse a request to prorogue, because I thought that kind of decision would be somehow partisan. Listening to the discussion on The Current this morning, I get the feeling it isn't nearly that cut and dried. The GG is required to find a government that has the confidence of the House, so.. Here is the discussion (listen to part 3).
posted by Chuckles at 7:57 PM on December 2, 2008


And JB, i'm from Toronto and was in High School when Harris was fucking Ontario. Someone needs to punch him and Flaherty in the dick.
posted by chunking express at 9:02 PM on December 2 [+] [!]


I think that's three of us in this thread - teenagers under Harris in Ontario, and still pissed. I was 17 and 11 months when he was elected - and the only two 18 yearolds in the room voted for him. Yech.

But I don't want Ignatieff. Call me judgemental, but the first thing I ever heard about the man was about him justifying torture. He's my MP, and I was glad that my absentee ballot arrived late so I didn't have to decide whether to actually vote for him. I like Dion, though I recognise that he may not have the charisma needed to get elected. But I think he has the wisdom to work out good policies.
posted by jb at 8:49 PM on December 2, 2008


I was (technically) a tax-paying adult when the Mike Harris "Common Sense Revolution" reamed Ontario.

Dion may not be telegenic, and I still think he was out of touch for campaigning so strongly on the Green Shift (even though it wasn't a bad plan), but I suspect that he's a more than competent administrator, and if a truly open and cooperative coalition is possible, he would do a good job leading it.
posted by Artful Codger at 9:20 PM on December 2, 2008


How the fucking fuck can Harper prorogue when there's an economic crisis that we need to deal with? What a complete and utter bastard.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:36 PM on December 2, 2008


Futureproof: are you Andrew Steele or did he plagiarize you?

If the latter, I hope you beef at his editor. He shouldn't get away with it.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:52 PM on December 2, 2008


I'm hoping "Prorogue THIS Harper!" becomes the "Tax THIS Brian!" of the 21st century.
posted by mazola at 9:52 PM on December 2, 2008


nice, Mr. Steele's post was made 55 minutes after mine. I just sent a brief note to the G&M editor.
posted by futureproof at 10:11 PM on December 2, 2008


Man, the lengths Dion will go to avoid being only the second (non-interim) leader of the Liberal party not to be PM.

Nice to see things get exciting up here again. I was just about resigned to another two years of Harper's rule. This could go in any number of directions; unfortunately, one of those possibilities is a Conservative majority. I hope these folks realize just how tricky this is going to be to pull off.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:59 AM on December 3, 2008




Bloc part of secret coalition plot in 2000 with Canadian Alliance

9/11 changed everything.
posted by mazola at 12:43 PM on December 3, 2008


I was just coming here to post the same link as oaf. For those in a hurry:

“The brutal fact here is that something has happened that has never happened before in Canadian history,” Mr. Day, the current Conservative Minister of Trade, said on CTV Newsnet on Tuesday. “And that is two federal leaders have actually signed a deal with a separatist party whose goal it is to destroy the country.”

Mr. Day was replaced at the helm of the Alliance in 2002 by Mr. Harper, who went on to oversee a merger of the Alliance and the PC Party.


And for those in more of a hurry: Stockwell Day is shocked to find there is gambling going on in this establishment.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:59 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Still, the agreement included room at the bottom for the signatures of Mr. Day, Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe and Mr. Clark, to be signed the day after the election.

So, no signatures actually made it onto the document. Big, big difference. Huge. Immense. Enormous. Because that would make Day a liar. A big fat stinking liar. Instead of, you know, a simple hypocrite.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 1:17 PM on December 3, 2008


Harper's only real chance is prorogue, then bringing in a throne speech or budget with so many giveaways that the NDP looks prudent by comparison.
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 1:51 PM on December 3, 2008


Looks like proroguing is how it's going. He will be on the teevee in 45 minutes to... to do what? Say "no fairsies?" Call "time out"? Refute rumours of kitten eating?

Out of curiosity, I hope some enterprising blogger at the end of the year compares how many times the word "proroguing" appeared in the media in 2008 compared with 2007.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:19 PM on December 3, 2008


Jim Prentice (Conservative, MP, Environment Minister) on As it Happens, just now (quotes are approximate):
Prentice: "I think Mr. Dion might back off."
Carol Off: "You've heard that?"
Prentice: "Well, I've said that."
Hah!

And, later Carol Off paraphrases Harper in 2005, referenced in an article here (still paraphrased, emphasis mine -- probably Harper's too though :P):
the Liberal minority of Paul Martin should be able to earn the confidence of the Commons every day.
posted by Chuckles at 3:41 PM on December 3, 2008


Harper, in 2005 (from above link):
"The government has lost the moral authority and the democratic legitimacy to govern. They cannot carry on. It is time, for God's sake, to go."
and later:
"The Governor General does not have to follow the prime minister's wishes. She must ensure that he has the House's confidence, that's all."
posted by Chuckles at 3:44 PM on December 3, 2008


Harper's going to meet with the Governor General tomorrow to ask for perogies for Parliament?

This just gets weirder and weirder...
posted by mazola at 3:44 PM on December 3, 2008


Harper's smirk/smile is so creepy.
posted by oaf at 4:02 PM on December 3, 2008


Wow, he actually just framed keeping the coalition out of power as protecting Canada.
posted by oaf at 4:06 PM on December 3, 2008


Just saw the "address to the nation" from Harper. That was rather meh. Over and over again he made the argument that a government should not be making alliances with Separatists. Ah, hypocrisy, how entertaining.

Oh, and CBC makes the interesting note that in the french version of the speech the word separatist is replaced with sovereigntists. Nice.
posted by aclevername at 4:10 PM on December 3, 2008


CTV is flipping out because Dion's tape is late.. "Borders on incompetence" one of them said!

Regarding the GG, they keep talking about how it is already clear that the confidence vote won't happen till January. And now they are talking about it as if "the common sense of Canadians" should guide her decision?!?!?

I'm only watching CTV because it is coming in more clearly on my TV. Yes, I feel a little dirty :P
posted by Chuckles at 4:22 PM on December 3, 2008


Add Peter Van Loan to the list of MPs who don't fucking know how Parliament works. The government is not directly elected, bonehead.
posted by oaf at 4:25 PM on December 3, 2008


"We're really testing the patience of our viewers" says Lloyd. WTF?

And now, "[the coalition] is a recipe for chaos." Emphasis was Lloyd's.

And now, I can hear Dion on the CBC radio in the other room, but CTV had gone off air. No Dion statement!
posted by Chuckles at 4:30 PM on December 3, 2008


I think Dion's statement is hitting the salient points much better than Harper's did. I can't believe CTV didn't show it. Wow.
posted by aclevername at 4:32 PM on December 3, 2008


Listening to Van Loan's explanation and Conservative strategist Tim Powers' apologia on CPAC, I am reminded that every statement is true if you are free to redefine the terms.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:33 PM on December 3, 2008


Add Peter Van Loan to the list of MPs who don't fucking know how Parliament works. The government is not directly elected, bonehead.

I'm pretty sure that they do know this, but are ignoring it for spin.
posted by sauril at 4:40 PM on December 3, 2008


I can't believe CTV didn't show it.

CPAC started in the middle.

I am reminded that every statement is true if you are free to redefine the terms.

Powers was nowhere near as bad as Van Loan. The latter was almost throw-things-at-the-TV stupid, which would be especially bad because the TV in this case is my computer.
posted by oaf at 4:42 PM on December 3, 2008


Duceppe just noted the separatist/Sovereignist difference. Does Harper think no one in Canada is bilingual? Amazing, hubris.
posted by Rumple at 4:49 PM on December 3, 2008


And now Layton is giving a campaign speech which seems ill-pitched to me....
posted by Rumple at 4:52 PM on December 3, 2008


Lloyd Robertson looks like an old painted lady.
Ever since I was a kid, and to this day, when my mom sees him on the news she says, "he's a drunk." She has no evidence of this.
posted by chococat at 4:53 PM on December 3, 2008


Does Harper think no one in Canada is bilingual?

He's projecting his own experience onto the rest of the country.
posted by oaf at 4:54 PM on December 3, 2008


Lloyd Robertson looks like an old painted lady.
Ever since I was a kid, and to this day, when my mom sees him on the news she says, "he's a drunk." She has no evidence of this.


There was a Royal Canadian Air Farce gag years ago where Luba Goy came on as the nightly news anchor replacement and said: "Good evening. Lloyd is drunk." Your mother is clearly not alone in this assumption. Or maybe that's why...
posted by ilana at 5:02 PM on December 3, 2008


The constitutionalists invited by the French CBC could not agree on whether Jean could refuse to prorogue or not.

Jean-Pierre Charbonneau (ex-Quebec speaker of the house) had an interesting theory: Harper will tell Jean that he will go for the confidence vote, but that if he loses, she has to call an election. After all, his coffers are full, and he can play the "Stéphane Dion is in bed with separatists" angle during the campaign.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 5:59 PM on December 3, 2008


Harper will tell Jean that he will go for the confidence vote, but that if he loses, she has to call an election.

See, that's where the theory breaks down: the Governor General doesn't have to do that, indeed, it would be very awkward in a Westminster Parliament to ignore a statement from the opposition that it can muster the confidence of the House and thereby form a government. She has a very clear and free option to call on the opposition to do exactly that before going to an election. And if she does, she is telling citizens of the constituencies who elected the Bloc that they are not Canadians (consider that in many such constituencies the Block wins with a plurality, not a majority), and such a message would be disastrous for re-awakening true separatism and not just Quebec-Firstism. Remember when Trudeau called Mulroney the "Sorcerer's Apprentice"? This is Harper reprising that role, X 10.

Now she might do what he suggests anyway, but not because of anything Harper says.

I hope she is getting advice that proroguing the House will create a lame duck government for 2 months since it will be clear that the Government will fall at the budget they have promised. (Indeed, do they have to present a new Throne Speech after prorogation and will there be a vote on that?)
posted by Rumple at 6:30 PM on December 3, 2008


Someone here suggested (a few Cdn threads ago, IIRC) an alternative name for the ReeeeeeformaTories.

Anyone recall what it was?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:00 PM on December 3, 2008


Anyone recall what it was?

Regressive Preservatives?

I got nothin'.
posted by hangashore at 7:17 PM on December 3, 2008


I still call them CCRAP. God, that was so funny when they announced their new name.

Yes, after the prorogue the new session must begin with a Throne speech and the coalition has said they will defeat the government then, not even waiting for the budget. One of the CCRAPs criticisms of the coalition is that they passed the Throne Speech last week so therefore CCRAP has not lost the confidence of the House. Yeah, I know, it doesn't make sense.
posted by saucysault at 7:18 PM on December 3, 2008


Someone here suggested (a few Cdn threads ago, IIRC) an alternative name for the ReeeeeeformaTories. Anyone recall what it was?

Has my seed taken root in fertile soil?!?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:32 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I probably could have found a better way to say that.

Anyhow, I caught the speechs on CBC Radio. I honestly believe Harper thinks he's the fucking President or some shit, Dion should have been like that during the election, and I still wouldn't buy a used electric car from Layton. As It Happens reunited their election panel tonight and as per, Deb Grey was her usual swell self - despite the ideological issues, I miss that woman and her attitude. Her disdain for the arrogance and bullshit of her former employee was nearly palpable.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:38 PM on December 3, 2008


If anybody's still following this thread and, you know, bored or something, could you give us a quick plain-language primer on what the heck is going on at this point? I do not understand this prorogation of which people speak.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:29 PM on December 3, 2008


wiki
posted by futureproof at 11:34 PM on December 3, 2008


Thanks!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:35 PM on December 3, 2008


Holy shit. If that weasel-fuck Harper asks the gov-general for prorogation and she allows it, I hope my fellow Canadians back home hit the goddamn streets in protest. Clinging to power while the economy is crashing through the ice would be predictably contemptible, but just not something that could be countenanced.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:47 PM on December 3, 2008


I think that asking for a prorogue is abusing his power as well but Conservative supporters feel very strongly that the coalition is a power grab by the Liberals that were elected with even less of a minority than Harper. Emotions are really running high here, the first poll I have saw indicated that 30% of the population support the coalition, 30% support Harper and 30% aren't sure. The only one I can find online is only 1,000 Canadians, and only the NP seems to have the full results. If the gov't is defeated 43% want a new election and 40% want the coalition to govern. To each side, since they usually live in an insular bubble of like-minded SES, they can't imagine what the other side's position being justified. If you look through the googlenews from across the country you see editorials are split 50-50 it seems. "An Angus Reid poll released Wednesday reveals 35 per cent believe Conservatives deserve to continue governing; 40 per cent disagree. At the same time, polls show 41 per cent of Canadians are in favour of suspension while 37 per cent endorse the opposition coalition struck last Monday." I wish the coalition had come up with a catchy name or brand though, the 62% majority isn't very sexy.
posted by saucysault at 4:42 AM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Canadians don't know how Parliament works, and have no interest in doing so.

I'm not enthusiastic about either Harper or the coalition, but legally and constitutionally, Harper doesn't have a leg to stand on, other than prorogue. But the precedent that would set would be extremely poor.

And his argument that Canadians didn't vote for coalition, and even the three parties disavowed the notion during the election? Taken to it's logical end, it would mean that if a party could not bring in a policy that wasn't in it's campaign platform. I doubt he'd want to take it that far.

Watching the speeches last night, (and Mansbridge also made a comment on the Liberal disorganization btw) neither leader was convincing, and Duceppe probably swung a lot of people towards the Conservatives.
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 6:18 AM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Canadians don't know how Parliament works, and have no interest in doing so.

Keith Boag on CBC just pointed out that he can't recall a time in recent history in which journalists (particularly those from the CBC, from what I've watched) have had to correct things being said by politicians so frequently. From "forming a coalition with separatists" to "bloodless coup", I think he's right. The Tories have been remarkable at their double-speak and ability to boldly distort facts.

I have to agree that much of the on-the-street commentary I've seen and read has shown a remarkable lack of understanding of how parliament works, but with this amount of sheer disinformation being spread I can see how its happening.
posted by Adam_S at 6:53 AM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Question Period, scrums, and media interviews would be much more interesting if the MPs had to be connected to lie detectors.
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 7:12 AM on December 4, 2008


The Tories have been remarkable at their double-speak and ability to boldly distort facts.

It seems they are taking a page from the Republicans. Hopefully, that will end with Harper.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:21 AM on December 4, 2008


> The Tories have been remarkable at their double-speak and ability to boldly distort facts.

It seems they are taking a page from the Republicans. Hopefully, that will end with Harper.


They have been doing this for quite a while now.

I live in Alberta, and there's a fair amount of "bloodless coup" type rage going on here. I don't think that people realize the active hate for this coalition.

This whole fiasco is bad for everyone. I hope after this that Harper is gone, Dion is gone, and Layton goes back to being mostly irrelevant.
posted by sauril at 7:31 AM on December 4, 2008


My dear American neighbours
posted by stinkycheese at 7:32 AM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


If I recall correctly, Charles II used to prorogue his parliaments whenever they annoyed him. Worked better than his father's attempt to rule without parliament.
posted by jb at 7:37 AM on December 4, 2008


Canadians don't know how Parliament works, and have no interest in doing so.

Very, very true. For one thing, yawn.

I'm guessing much of the ignorance (and my italicized dismissiveness) has a lot to do with the fact that for some bizarre reason our system of government is usually taught in elementary school. Ten-year-olds have absolutely no use for any of that complicated information and will likely either be completely put off or quickly forget it all.

It ought to be taught in high school, when it's relevant.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:48 AM on December 4, 2008


I can't believe everybody has such a hard time with it. It's like a pie - if less than half the pie goes to the government, they can be defeated in a vote by the rest of the pie, and then there's a new government within that pie - or you toss the lot out & bake a new pie entirely.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:52 AM on December 4, 2008


From the "American neighbours" link:

The current office holder [GG], Michaëlle Jean, used to be a CBC reporter. Like me.

Actually, the one before her was once a CBC reporter, too. So were two others in the recent past. In our country, any CBC reporter can dream of becoming head of state.

posted by jb at 7:57 AM on December 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm guessing much of the ignorance (and my italicized dismissiveness) has a lot to do with the fact that for some bizarre reason our system of government is usually taught in elementary school. Ten-year-olds have absolutely no use for any of that complicated information and will likely either be completely put off or quickly forget it all.

It ought to be taught in high school, when it's relevant.


Every grade 10 high school student in Ontario must take a Civics course that covers this very topic extensively.

Whether or not they fare much better than the ten-year-olds you mention above is another matter entirely.
posted by davey_darling at 7:57 AM on December 4, 2008


Mmmm...pie.

(I've noticed that pie has become very politically important lately.)
posted by jb at 8:01 AM on December 4, 2008


I can't believe everybody has such a hard time with it. It's like a pie - if less than half the pie goes to the government, they can be defeated in a vote by the rest of the pie, and then there's a new government within that pie - or you toss the lot out & bake a new pie entirely.

In hindsight, it might not have been such a wise decision to put the fate of our nation at the mercy of baked goods.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:13 AM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


CTV reporting prorogue.
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 8:33 AM on December 4, 2008


CBC reporting the same thing.
posted by oaf at 8:49 AM on December 4, 2008


Prorogue THIS Harper!
posted by mazola at 8:50 AM on December 4, 2008


noooooooo!
posted by saucysault at 8:53 AM on December 4, 2008


Lawrence Martin spelled out the case against proroguing in the Globe this morning
posted by Adam_S at 9:04 AM on December 4, 2008


Yeah, he gets to play PM for a couple more months. Still, the conservatives have fucked up. Anything they do from now on, even if they aren't brought down in January, is going to be tepid and left-friendly.
posted by chunking express at 9:05 AM on December 4, 2008


He did not deny that he had just started an election campaign. He must hope (or now, expect) that the GG will grant an election after a January defeat, or, that the opposition will end up more weakened than he is. Which would be typical Harper blood sport.

Also I am pretty sure he just said "I'll say in English what I said in French" but my interpretation of his French was substantially different.
posted by Rumple at 9:11 AM on December 4, 2008


Yeah, he gets to play PM for a couple more months.

He's more like the Prime Minister on hold.
Like that kid that calls "time out!" every five seconds when you're playing tag, so you can't make him "it."
Scaredy-cat.
posted by chococat at 9:11 AM on December 4, 2008


Is there any word of floor crossings? Either direction?
posted by chugg at 9:34 AM on December 4, 2008


Harper is doing a reasonably good job with the press right now.
posted by chunking express at 9:35 AM on December 4, 2008


He may have asked about the prospects of his calling an election in a few weeks. If he plays nice and acts contrite for the next little while, then he was probably told no. If he remains on attack, then the message he received was at least a "maybe".
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 9:49 AM on December 4, 2008


OK, so Harper's got seven weeks to table what amounts to an opposition budget. Because if it's anything less than that, the coalition HAS to pull the plug or let Harper rule as if a majority. And although they've proven in the past to be unable to muster the fortitude to do it, this time that's just not an option if they ever want to regain the support of voters. I just can't see Harper giving in, which means the government will fall. And since it will require the coalition to hold together to bring down the government, the coalition will still be in place to form the next government, which the GG can't ignore at that point.

So there won't be an election from this. Harper's banking on the coalition falling apart in the next seven weeks. That's a fair bet to make, of course, and really his only shot. Because of the coalition's very public statements and agreements, the election card is not Harper's to play. The GG must give the coalition its shot or the King-Byng sequel will outdo the original.

And honestly, nobody in this scenario wants to go to an election. Voters could do just about anything with this - each party could go drastically up or down on this, depending on how it plays out. I'd give the Conservatives the edge there, based on their ad effectiveness last election, but who knows? And we could return a parliament effectively unchanged from this one, too, which would be bizarre but wholly understandable.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 10:09 AM on December 4, 2008


ugh, this is so frustrating, and I'm rather disappointed by Jean's (metaphorical) lack of balls. As Schreyer said in the article linked by Adam_S, nothing should be done that helps the government evade the will of the parliament. Prorogue is a move that has to be approved by the GG precisely because it's essentially calling a "state of exception" (sorry, I've been reading Agamben) ; an "exception" is being made because of a perceived emergency, but "lack of confidence" is not an emergency. Massive cataclysmic weather events are emergencies. Terrorist attacks, maybe. Not the end of Harper's career.

Anyway, the shitty thing about all of this is that it just extends uncertainty. Holding the country in this limbo for the next 7 weeks will only erode Canada's economy, dollar, and morale.
posted by LMGM at 11:10 AM on December 4, 2008


The Conservatives could win a majority, but by then the Libs and Dippers could have agreed not to run a complete slate. The NDP won't win rural ridings in south and central Ontario. The Liberals won't do well out west. Why not let one non-Conservative take on Harper's nominated sheep and avoid the splitting? Saves money too.
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 11:13 AM on December 4, 2008


It starts with tactical collusion on running candidates in ridings to avoid vote-splitting and it ends with the New Democratic Liberal Green party.

Please do not let me see orange-red-green lawn signs in the next election. Save that for Christmas lights.
posted by GuyZero at 11:22 AM on December 4, 2008


Although, in fairness, when Peggy Nash ran against Gerrard Kennedy in my old riding I felt it was a waste where one really good MP had to lose.
posted by GuyZero at 11:24 AM on December 4, 2008


Should I not be so surprised she approved that? On who's advice did she allow this? Seeing as Harper's entire rationale is not wishing to accept the legitimate machinations of our political system. I can't believe the state of democracy in this nation. This sets a terrible precedent, will PMs be able to simply halt government whenever they don't wish to accept its will?
posted by kaspen at 11:24 AM on December 4, 2008


Is it any worse than a filibuster? As long as the MPs go home and do some actual work for their constituents there are worse outcomes than a break over the holidays.
posted by GuyZero at 11:40 AM on December 4, 2008


Although, in fairness, when Peggy Nash ran against Gerrard Kennedy in my old riding I felt it was a waste where one really good MP had to lose.

High Park is my current riding and until the results came out, I thought for sure Peggy Nash was going to win, as I totally clued out on who Gerrard Kennedy was.
posted by gman at 11:53 AM on December 4, 2008


Having seen Gerrard Kennedy speak on TV twice in the last two days I just want to say that the Liberals need him to be the first person in front of a camera whenever anything comes up.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:54 PM on December 4, 2008




Seeing how there seems to be a fair bit of disagreement over when the GG can grant a proroguing of Parliament, can't the coalition pass a law limiting when the PM can request a prorogation once Parliament is back in session? Admittedly this may only be as effective as a law specifying when elections are to be held, but every little bit helps right?

Actually an amendment to the election law might be useful too - no deviation from the fixed dates unless there is some crisis. And no, a minority government feeling it has lost the confidence of Parliament is not a crisis.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:39 PM on December 4, 2008


Well, Harper violated his own election calling law, so i'm not sure how well that would work out.
posted by chunking express at 1:51 PM on December 4, 2008


As long as the MPs go home and do some actual work for their constituents

What work? The thing that I'm most furious about this is Harper's abduction of responsibility at a time when he could, he should have been offering leadership and building a national consensus. GM claims that they won't make it to the end of the month! Harper now won't do a single blessed solitary thing for almost two months!

The thing the Liberals were most afraid of, I'm certain, the thing that would have neutered them for years, was an effective Tory government. If Harper really had lead from the centre, been a blue Romanow, for example, the Liberals would have lost the next two elections and would have spent their decade in the wilderness. He had a chance to rise to the current crisis. Take Gordon Brown, for example, who's gone from a dog to a saint in the UK.

Instead we have the current clown circus, complete with three stooges, all because Harper couldn't resist taking the low road. I'm hardly a natural conservative voter, but a stable, centrist Tory government is what we needed and absolutely will not get. Harper has to go. There are sane Tories, but he's not one of them.

What a waste. Two more months of chaos is all he's bought.
posted by bonehead at 2:01 PM on December 4, 2008


Here's my ideal:

* Coalition keeps their shit together for 7 weeks
* Parliament returns in Jan
* Budget is presented as a motion of confidence (standard procedure)
* Coalition rejects the budget, Government is defeated
* GG allows the coalition to form new gov't
* New Gov't passes proportional representation act
* Election is called
* PR comes into effect and new coalitions are formed
* Peace returns
posted by Paid In Full at 2:28 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


What work?

Processing visa requests, whatever the heck an MP's office does for people. Helping expidite refugee requests. Hell, they should get out and LISTEN to people. And not just the people who tell them what they want to hear. There should be an Ontario-Alberta MP exchange program so they can all get an earful about what idiots they are.
posted by GuyZero at 2:30 PM on December 4, 2008


There should be an Ontario-Alberta MP exchange program so they can all get an earful about what idiots they are.

But everyone in Ontario already knows that Albertans are idiots.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:45 PM on December 4, 2008


It is hard to imagine defeat on a confidence motion in January (and, remember, the Government sets the date for votes and the actual vote could easily be middle or late February) when the Liberals will still presumably be leaderless -- while some people may not really care, a lot of Liberals (and especially Left-leaning ones who might flutter between NDP and Libs) will very much care if presented with a choice between a possible Ignatieff PM vs Rae PM parliament. With that in mind, it wouldn't surprise me to see te NDP bail on the coalition in order to hasten an election that they feel they (a) can't win but (b) can supplant the Liberals as major power on the left even at the expense of (c) handing the Conservatives a majority government which they would assume they could use as a springboard to solidifying their (perhaps more effectve) opposition into future government.

Sounds unlikely to me too, but then the NDP did form a government in Ontario just few years after the end of 42 years of continuous Tory governments.

Equally, the Liberals would like to see an election in the summer after they get a new leader, when certainly there would be an election following a non-confidence vote. So, I can see a weird spectacle of the NDP bailing on the coalition in the short term, then even supporting the right or abstaining if it looks like a strong Liberal party would enter a Spring election.

So: the risk of the GG not granting a coalition government in February may well drive the collapse of the Coalition, for different reasons.

I doubt the Bloc cares either way, they have what they were going to get out of it anyway: more outrageous statements by the Tories and the likelihood of getting the Tory Quebec seats back, and the Liberal ones too with a non-francophone running that party.
posted by Rumple at 3:01 PM on December 4, 2008


So as the global economy crashes around us, we will have no government to deal with the issues that arise.

Gosh, that's just swell.

Harper must hate Canada.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:18 PM on December 4, 2008


Harper must hate Canada.

I think he just loves himself more.
posted by oaf at 5:20 PM on December 4, 2008


Thank god there aren't any Jedi for Harper to turn into Darth Vader.
posted by GuyZero at 5:44 PM on December 4, 2008


I'm listening to the podcast of yesterday's Question Period.

About 14 minutes in, while Jack Layton is talking, you can hear someone yell "Jack, you're a traitor!" in the background.

It amazes me how the Tory response to just about everything is something along the lines of "undemocratic, socialist, separatist, Jacques Parizeau, stand up for Canada."
posted by oaf at 5:52 PM on December 4, 2008


Robert Paterson has put up some good posts. 1 2
posted by gman at 7:08 PM on December 4, 2008


Robert Paterson has put up some good posts

meh, that second one seems a little histrionic, if you ask me.
I mean, comparing Canada to Yugoslavia? Comparing Harper to Milosevic? Seriously? Paterson writes about being worried about "a murder, a bomb, whatever..." and then he publishes garbage like this. Christ.

Look, I don't care much for Harper; I'd really like to see Dion running the country - but let's be rational and calm about this. Harper's not the antichrist.

OK, so Harper took the risk of suspending parliament and won for now, but it's not like the doors to the House of Commons will be locked. In the event of any emergency (whether it be natural, financial or whatever) between now and the 26th of Jan, I'm sure that there will be an emergency session of parliament asap.

What really gets me is this false and exaggurated sense of outrage that Stephane, Gilles and Jack are showing. I think they're just trying to beat Harper at his own game and all this posturing has nothing to do with integrity, but everything to do with opportunity.

Don't get me wrong - Harper and Flaherty precipitated this by releasing a cocky and overconfident fiscal update, but I don't believe for one second that any of the "three tenors" are losing sleep, thinking about their consituents.
posted by bitteroldman at 8:44 PM on December 4, 2008


Please do not let me see orange-red-green lawn signs in the next election. Save that for Christmas lights.
posted by GuyZero at 2:22 PM on December 4 [+] [!]


Any reason other than aesthetics?
posted by jb at 9:46 PM on December 4, 2008


The aesthetics are enough.

Plus, to be semi-serious, there are some pretty irreconcilable differences between the NDP and Liberal platforms in spots. The NDP's long association with organized labour does not always jive well with Martin-style Liberal budgets. It would be much more fractious than the Reform-PC thing currently called the Conservatives.
posted by GuyZero at 10:13 PM on December 4, 2008


I was thinking a Lib-NDP longterm coalition might be great for both parties. Pull the libs to the left, while I wouldn't mind pulling the NDP away from organised labour. The unions have a lot of political power - but they don't stand for poor and working class people, just their members. They'll hurt the less powerful if it benefits them. (Yeah, I'm still pissed about the way they turned on Rae, and the transit strikes that screw poor people, etc.)

Are the current Conservatives fractious? They seemed like a tight ship - and I thought most of the Red Tories like Joe Clark had left?

(I'm so out of the loop on Canadian politics, being out of the country. I try listening to CBC news, but I only get around it it every week or so - it's just not the same as being there.)
posted by jb at 10:22 PM on December 4, 2008


Plus, to be semi-serious, there are some pretty irreconcilable differences between the NDP and Liberal platforms in spots. The NDP's long association with organized labour does not always jive well with Martin-style Liberal budgets.

True, but here in Manitoba at least, many unions seem to be behind it.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:10 PM on December 4, 2008


Canada's No Government
posted by oaf at 5:18 AM on December 5, 2008


Power is a great unifier. Red Tory+Reform. Southern Fundie+New England Frugal.

(I'd add well-off inner city and mining/lumbermen, but the electoral prospects of the NDP blow that theory.)
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 6:56 AM on December 5, 2008


Are the current Conservatives fractious?

Conservatives are always fractious. It's pretty safe to assume there are quite a few unhappy water buffalo in the Tory caucus. If Harper does lose power, the hyenas won't wait for him to stop breathing before they tear him apart. He's already being compared to Joe Clark by some.

This is not to say the the Liberals are in any better shape. I think Layton and Duceppe are pretty safe though.
posted by bonehead at 7:03 AM on December 5, 2008


meh, that second one seems a little histrionic, if you ask me.

And you would be Frank?
posted by gman at 8:32 AM on December 5, 2008


Harper must hate Canada.

I think he just loves himself more.


Well, yes. It seems pretty clear to me that the coalition is a tenuous one, and the strongest glue holding these guys together is their enthusiasm for seeing the back of Harper's head as he goes to the airport with a one-way ticket back to Calgary.

Harper could have decided to fall on his sword and leave the Conservative party in the hands of Prentice or Strahl or somebody. That would probably have been best for the party, and even more likely have been best for Canada, but it would not have been best for Stephen Harper, and it's pretty clear whose interest is uppermost in his mind today.

If nothing else, I think this will be a mortal wound to his carefully cultivated image of a strong leader. This is the the same guy who pushed for a law to prevent governments opprtunistically calling elections when they judged their chances good, right? And it was how long before he called an election? And now he has gone to the GG to call time out and give him a chance to think of a way out of the mess. I submit that "Mom, they're pickin' on me!! Make them stop!" are not the words of a statesman.

It's hard to know what to think here: I do not care for Harper, but Dion seems the very definition of "hapless." Maybe he is a very thoughtful, decisive guy put if so he is not putting that across. All I can say is here's hoping that this crisis sends them both out of public life.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:53 AM on December 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I suspect Dion is a "very thoughtful, decisive guy" in French.
posted by chunking express at 11:09 AM on December 5, 2008


I dunno -- I just asked a francophone co-worker about him: she rolled her eyes and said, "Oh my god, what a twit." This is kind of my reaction to him as well, so it may transcend language.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:48 AM on December 5, 2008


I suspect Dion is a "very thoughtful, decisive guy" in French.

I find him articulate but annoyingly whiny. Duceppe, in contrast, is quite polished.
posted by bonehead at 12:37 PM on December 5, 2008


The NDP in BC certainly don't have the backing of the unions. The unions here feel they got thoroughly shafted by the NDP, and have essentially cut all ties, afaik (friendship w/ a friend of very high-ranking unionist.)

Which isn't to say union members don't support the NDP. But the union leaders here certainly aren't in the sack with the NDP leaders. Again, afaik.

Myself, I'd like to see Canada take a big step left. The most consistently successful countries in the world — the ones with the highest standards of living, the happiest and healthiest citizens, the best opportunities for personal advancement — are consistently those with strong social support systems and the greatest personal freedoms.

We should be emulating their success.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:44 PM on December 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or, rather, emulating the things that have made them successful.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:44 PM on December 5, 2008


In French, Dion sounds like a political science university professor. Which he is.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 3:26 PM on December 5, 2008


Myself, I'd like to see Canada take a big step left. The most consistently successful countries in the world — the ones with the highest standards of living, the happiest and healthiest citizens, the best opportunities for personal advancement — are consistently those with strong social support systems and the greatest personal freedoms.

We should be emulating their success.


Um . . . Is there another Canada I don't know about? It's just that the one I live in is already like that.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:59 PM on December 5, 2008


Oh, we're pretty good. We're certainly a helluva a lot closer to the ideal than a good number of other countries. But we've been sliding right this past few years and we risk losing some of the really great things we have. I fear that without a step to the left, we're going to fall to the right.

And once lost, it is going to be *damn* difficult to regain some of the more important social support systems.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:26 PM on December 5, 2008


Um . . . Is there another Canada I don't know about?

Well, from my perspective, the inspirational stories I hear out of countries like Norway, Denmark, even France or Britain, are a far cry from the sort of middling status quo we seem to be stuck in. Tuition is increasingly expensive, the minimum wage sucks, I still have to worry about extended medical coverage, we have the shame of just forgetting about Kyoto, we are more wasteful per capita than America but consider ourselves superior and so pay no attention to our polluting, the essentials of good living (fine wine and cheese) are inordinately expensive compared to the states, and while I worry about my own future, I know that in the downtown eastside and reserves across the country, we have people actually living in third world conditions. Canada is a great place, but there is so much work still to be done, and our politics are essentially at a standstill. Even before this whole debacle, have the conservatives really done anything at all since they got in to power? Do they have no ambition but to while away the time until their inevitable majority? And the complacency and ignorance of the electorate, who apparently are supporting Harper more than ever through all this....

I think we've gotten all too comfortable in our identity of liberal utopia, and while we've been able to look down at the states and feel all the better about ourselves, they now have high ambitions while we are yet to wake up to the reality that our society is not as just or well off as we think ourselves to be.
posted by kaspen at 11:28 PM on December 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


Tuition is increasingly expensive

In Ontario, it's been going down in real terms for a while now.
posted by oaf at 9:44 AM on December 6, 2008


In Ontario, it's been going down in real terms for a while now.

Don't be silly. The year over year increase is clearly higher than inflation, you can read it right in that chart. Further, tuition was $5500 in 2001/02, so assuming the number in my first link includes incidentals, it has grown at twice inflation since 2001.
Don't forget that 2001 was already a high starting point. Tuition in 1992 was only $2500 -- it grew at 9x inflation between 1992 and 2001!
posted by Chuckles at 12:51 PM on December 6, 2008


Sorry, I was taking "tuition" to mean the whole cost. Tuition alone may have gone up, yes.
posted by oaf at 1:09 PM on December 6, 2008


Every single number I quoted is a whole cost except possibly the link. If the link isn't the whole cost, then the number should actually be higher, which means tuition has grown at more than double inflation. So...
posted by Chuckles at 1:17 PM on December 6, 2008


http://www.cbc.ca/news/interactives/map-tuition-fees/

"The average annual tuition for a bachelor of arts programed has climbed from coast to coast since 1990-1 but the size of the increases range from one province which has yet to double to another where they have nearly quadrupled."

Honestly, though tuition is my most immediately pressing concern, it's nowhere near what I would consider our most important issues. The neglect of imminent and catastrophic climate change, as well as our dithering in Afghanistan, are what I think will be the most regretted fuckups of our time, but if I had the energy and it were of any use, the list of significant issues that need addressing could sprawl for pages. And what gets me most, more than any particular item, is the mind-numbing complacency I see pretty much everywhere but here. Parliament is just a massive jerk off session, every party vying for marginal gains but I see no talk whatsoever of the substantive issues themselves, no one is offering their vision of how they might do things differently, or even that things might be done differently. After all the elation of the US election, it really sucks to see that all our politics sees fit to offer is a lot of audacity and very little hope.
posted by kaspen at 6:47 PM on December 6, 2008


Also, tuition is an education issue, which is a provincial jurisdiction. Article 93 of the Constitution, people.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 9:45 PM on December 6, 2008


Ya, sorry about the derail.. I just felt like a response was required.
posted by Chuckles at 11:07 PM on December 6, 2008


Don't worry about it. That's just my standard "healthcare and education are provincial jurisdiction, you federal jackasses" federal election rant.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:47 AM on December 7, 2008


Rumors are Ignatief (son of a bitch) is going to be running the Liberals by Wednesday.
posted by chunking express at 8:05 PM on December 7, 2008


Gah. If there is any prospect at all of Ignatieff being PM, I might have to reconsider my support of the coalition.

Never mind the fact that his entire political career amounts to a whopping two years; he spent the prior three decades outside of Canada. I don't think it makes me a hardline nationalist to find that a bit sickening.

What the hell does he know about the Canada I grew up in? Jack shit, that's what. He was in Britain the whole time.

Ignatieff's Canada is a romanticised abstraction, a nation of two peoples he sees as bitter rivals. He has repeatedly rallied for Quebec's status as a nation. (Harper's bullshit recognition of the Quebecois people as a distinct nation was a hilarious compromise of Ignatieff's decidedly less funny first draft.) Remember, he left the country in 1978, shortly after the violent FLQ gave way to the Parti Quebecois, and spent the subsequent decades lecturing about civil wars and genocide and ethnically divided nation-states like Northern Ireland and Palestine. In his mind, the Bloc Quebecois is probably no different than militant-cum-political organs such as Sinn Fein or Hamas. It's an understandable obsession, considering the man's grandfather was a top-level politician in Tsarist Russia during the Revolution, but that's what it is: An obsession.

Installing Ignatieff as leader of the coalition would completely validate the Conservatives' otherwise ridiculous claims of a Separatist coup. Having this guy as our Prime Minister would be fucked up.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:13 AM on December 8, 2008


Sys Rq, I don't think the Liberals will be interested in a coalition if they have a viable and electable leader -- which I suspect Ignatieff is, even if I find him creepy. I am guessing they are gearing up for an election in January.
posted by chunking express at 8:36 AM on December 8, 2008


Regional fragmentation is the new normal. A coalition is the only viable way for the Liberals to govern until Quebec goes back to electing Liberal MPs. Ignatieff would be a fool to not go for it - elections will continue to produce the same general results until there's a big shift in party positions or leadership.
posted by GuyZero at 10:01 AM on December 8, 2008


I don't think the Liberals will be interested in a coalition if they have a viable and electable leader

Agreed. Ignatieff has been distancing himself from the coalition (as much as can be expected from such a high profile MP) and much of the analysis I've been reading indicates he's going to move away from the coalition as soon as possible.

If I had to predict, I'd say that the parties will work together on a consensus budget for January 27th and tensions will simmer down. Or Ignatieff will come out guns blazing and dive headfirst into an election. Or Layton will repel down the side of Parliament with a ski-mask on and attempt to break into the PM's office.
posted by Adam_S at 10:09 AM on December 8, 2008


Layton's more likely to sneak in and sit in the PM's chair in his assless chaps, thus rendering the office off-limits to the entire Conservative party due to NDP-butt-cooties.
posted by GuyZero at 11:07 AM on December 8, 2008


Layton's more likely to sneak in and sit in the PM's chair in his assless chaps

Chaps are, by definition, assless; the opposite is true of the Prime Minister's chair.

(I have a feeling Harper of Cowtown is the more likely chaps-wearer than Layton, porn mustache or no porn mustache.)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:10 PM on December 8, 2008


(I have a feeling Harper of Cowtown is the more likely chaps-wearer than Layton, porn mustache or no porn mustache.)

Disturbing yet insightful.
posted by GuyZero at 1:43 PM on December 8, 2008


How Harper fucked Canada by allowing high-risk US-style mortgages into the country.

Thanks for nothing, asshole.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:52 AM on December 14, 2008


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