Wednesday, 3 December 2008

This coalition is bearing unexpected fruit

We're getting to know the real Stephen Harper. Very intimately.

Ever ready to insult the intelligence of all within reach of his voice, the Prime Minister stood then and expanded on his falsehood of yesterday. “Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party sat down with the leader of the separatist party on national television. Those pictures are all there,” he said. “They will show those flags put way off to the side where they are out of the camera angles. If the Liberal Party continues down this path, those images will never be forgotten by the Canadian people. If they want to help the Canadian economy, they should sit down with us in front of the flag and do it now.”

(As an aside, best LOL moment:
Stockwell Day, leader of the Canadian Alliance at the time, pleaded ignorance. Quite convincingly, it must be said.)

Instead of an immediate budget, they propose a new coalition which includes the party in Parliament whose avowed goal is to break up the country. Let me be very clear: Canada’s Government cannot enter into a power-sharing coalition with a separatist party.

At a time of global economic instability, Canada’s Government must stand unequivocally for keeping the country together. At a time like this, a coalition with the separatists cannot help Canada. And the Opposition does not have the democratic right to impose a coalition with the separatists they promised voters would never happen.

Credit where credit is due, the Conservatives are sticking to their talking points. They deviate not a wit from each other. On CBC radio I listened to John Baird yesterday and Jim Prentice today. They're almost word-for-word identical. The coalition is undemocratic. They are entering into a coalition with the separatists. The separatists will have a veto.

What is striking is they refuse to use party name Bloc Quebecois. Every reference to them uses the word separatist. Its fascinating (in a weird train wreck kind of way) how the Conservatives are willing to throw Quebecors that support the BQ under the bus in the name of unity. If that's unity, I'd hate to hear separatist rhetoric from the Conservatives.

Memo to the federal conservatives. Many Quebecors vote for the BQ because they feel they best represent Quebec's interests on the national stage. They don't necessarily support separation.

For a party that so desperately needs Quebec's support to form a majority, they're providing ample ammunition to the opposition for the next election.


Raphael Alexander said...

They're fighting the only way they really know how, to be honest. I don't know what other options are open to them since the opposition now refuses to acknowledge there are any concessions too great to change their mind.

Catelli said...

They have an option sir. They can back off and take the high road.

Stay mum, let the Libs/Dippers/BQ implode and then step in and get a clear mandate.

What are they afraid of? That the coalition will prove so successful that the Conservatives will never win another election?

Raphael Alexander said...


The option of silence may not be the best one. They have to make certain things clear, and that is that the opposition are not forming an organic choice of the voting public [as is being portrayed], but a backroom deal for power.

You read Olaf. He's right.

Catelli said...

I agree with Olaf (and Andrew Potter) on many things.

Look, we all know this is not unconstitutional, our very system was designed to let this happen.

As Andrew Potter pointed out in his latest, the output legitimacy may not be there. But we the people will have an opportunity to punish the coalition parties in 16 months (or more likely sooner).

Also, Harper and co could still let their objections be known, but do it in a reasonable and calm manner. Shrieking about flags and separatists show desperation and appalling lack of judgment. Aspects that are not desired in a leader.

There's an old saying, "give them enough rope to hang themselves." I find it amusing that the parties are forming their own nooses instead, and Harper especially is more intent on hanging himself.

I'm willing to give the coalition a chance. If it works, great. If not, punish the bastards in the next election and hand power back to the Conservatives.

I have faith in the system. It will self-correct eventually.

Raphael Alexander said...

16 months is a long period in which to damage the progress this country has made. Worse, it can really have a deleterious effect on the economy, even though they believe this stimulus will work.

And if you read the text of what they intend to implement, you don't need to give them enough rope to hang themselves. Their own manifesto clearly spells out that they will. The only thing is, will Western Canada stand for it?

Catelli said...

I guess we'll find out.

Like I said, I'm willing to wait and I have faith that we will ride out (as a nation) whatever the government throws our way.

Just as I was willing to ride out a Harper majority. And that was for 4-5 years, not 16 months.

If I'm wrong and all it takes is a 16 month coalition (or conversely a Harper majority) to destroy this country, then it wasn't much of a country to begin with.

James Bow said...

A couple of comments on the comments here:

1. We survived the policies of Trudeau and Mulroney. We survived the policies of Rae and Harris. We can certainly survive the policies of a coalition government promising to match a stimulus package being set up for our neighbours to the south.
2. Another way out for Harper is to resign for the good of his party. It's his own leadership style which has brought this on -- his pattern of behaviour over the past two years of eschewing conciliation during this minority House. His most recent shinenigans last Thursday were brought about by him alone, against the advice of his own MPs and his Chief of Staff. So, prorogue parliament and resign as leader. Let the Conservatives reorganize behind someone like Prentice. That would reset the pieces on the board and allow this parliament to start again with a Conservative minority government.

Catelli said...

Thank-you James

Raphael Alexander said...


I believe we can survive this government. But the question, as Coyne poses, is not whether it is our objection to the legitimacy of the coalition, but our objection to the idea of whether it should govern.

I also think the leaders are being more disingenuous than their ardent and more honest followers. They clearly see a path to power that requires an implied consent of Canadians. Their ascension may be legal, but they will need the consent of Canadians in more than just electoral results from an election that occurred before talk of a coalition, or else they risk truly feeling the wrath of the unhappy citizen.

Catelli said...

Their ascension may be legal, but they will need the consent of Canadians in more than just electoral results from an election that occurred before talk of a coalition, or else they risk truly feeling the wrath of the unhappy citizen.

And as a coalition supporter, I'm fine with that. I don't see why coalition opponents are not. Bide your time, you'll get your chance for punishment. Or revenge, it is after all, a dish best served cold, is it not?

Raphael Alexander said...

I hate to belabour the point, but my objection means more than just waiting out the natural death of the coalition through political means.

No, I mean that I believe Canadians will quite possibly reject this government so strongly that it will make a farce of their claim to right of governance. Not politically, but through grassroots opposition from non-partisans who don't agree with powerful interests hijacking the way things are done in this country.

Catelli said...

And again, I don't have a problem with that (as unlikely as I think it is).

What we have here is fear vs. optimism. Sorry Raphael, I don't see anything to worry about here. What happens, happens. We'll deal with it and fix it.

Even if the people take to the streets in protest.

Raphael Alexander said...

I find it interesting that you say that because I do agree it's based on fear. Fear is also the reason that many Liberals oppose the coalition. Fear it will destroy their party. Fear it will lead to an irrevocable link to western and Quebec separatism. Fear of the unknown.

But worse than all of this is that even apolitical people fear the change because humans are comfort based creatures who are very uncomfortable with making rash decisions [which this is, no doubt] at times of crisis.

If the coalition wanted the consent to govern, it would let the public mull this over for more than a week. You keep approaching this from the perspective that it should be done because it can be done.

I approach it from the perspective that it should only be done because it MUST be done.

James Bow said...

As far as I'm concerned, if the coalition holds together enough to make its vote of non-confidence, and then pass a throne speech, they've been given their consent to govern. This is what happens in a parliamentary system when the governing party loses the confidence of the House so soon after an election: the MPs that we elected to represent our interests riding-by-riding have the right to pick a different prime minister. We didn't vote for a prime minister, we voted for our MPs. And more voters voted for more MPs that supported different leaders for prime minister than Stephen Harper.

The precedent for that has been set several times before, most recently in the aftermath of the 1985 Ontario election, and immediately following the fall of the Clark government, when Governor General Edward Schreyer rebuffed Clark's request for a dissolution and offered Trudeau a chance to forge a working coalition with the House as it stood (Trudeau passed on that opportunity).

Catelli said...

I don't think it should be done. I think it can be done, and that it was inevitable that it reached this point due to the personalities involved, and the history of the respective parties.