Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Let's Make a Deal!

I'd love to go into a big long policy discussion debating the merits of spending money on corporate tax cuts versus affordable housing, public transit, post-secondary education and foreign aid . Honestly, I think this is a huge improvement on the budget and the areas where Layton is redirecting money are areas money should be spent (notice how Jack didn't say "throw it all into healthcare"). But, let's be perfectly honest - it ain't gonna make a difference. With Chuck Cadman hinting he'll vote against the government and both sick Tory MPs declaring themselves able to make it to Ottawa, this government is likely to go down before the budget is passed. And I have a sneaking suspicion that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is unlikely to keep 1.6 billion for affordable housing while the eight car garages of Canadian CEOs remain half empty.

So, let's assume the government falls and look at the fallout of this deal from a purely political perspective.

NDP: For years the NDP has been nothing more than that collection of Shakespeare books in your bookcase that you never read; no real purpose and mostly for show. But people are finally reading the Bard! The NDP is...gasp...relevant! I know, I'm as shocked as you to realize this. I can only imagine how giddy NDP supporters must feel to be making a difference (well, in theory) on the national stage. This deal works for Layton on a few levels:
1) It makes him seen as a real player and gets him a ton of media exposure
2) It shows people a vote for the NDP is not a wasted vote
3) It gets his message out there. He supports education, the environment, and affordable housing over corporate tax cuts. That's not a bad message.
4) It shows he's trying to make Parliament work.
5) It shows he's against an early election.

The only real drawback is that he might be seen as propping up the Liberals and it gives Harper full control of the sponsorship issue. It'll be harder for Layton to argue the Liberals don't have the "moral authority" to govern when he's supporting them.

Liberals: The good for Paulie is it may put off a spring election. But even if we go to the polls this spring, there's some good in this:
1) Having the "moral conscience" of Parliament support your government is a big plus when the next election will be fought on corruption.
2) The Liberals will be seen as moving left which might bring back some disgruntled Bloc and Dipper voters to the fold.
3) Martin will be able to talk up the unholy alliance of Stephen Harper and Jean La...I mean, Gilles Ducceppe.

But, there are some drawbacks:
1) Martin will be seen as trying to buy his way out of an election.
2) Having Jack Layton set the agenda will not help dispel the perception that Martin is a pushover.
3) The business community will not be amused.

Conservatives: For Harper, this is likely about as appealing as a candid Randy White tell-all press conference. Harper will be seen as the one bringing down the government and he'll be seen as the one working with the Bloc to do it. And with campaign finance laws in place, having Bay Street turn on Martin won't make much of a difference.

Bloc: Quoi? Quelle deal?


  • As an NDP supporter, I would have to say that I am in fact pretty stoked that the NDP is actually able to do something outside of BC. It's kind of nice.

    -Socialist Swine

    By Blogger Socialist Swine, at 3:06 a.m.  

  • As for bringing back left leaning Bloc and NDP voters -- not so much I think. Martin is seen as a small 'c' conservative who, in desperation, made a deal with the NDP. Layton will be seen as the hero of this piece and his voters will probably stay put because they have someone to believe in again. The Bloc will continue to benefit from the Gomery scandal.

    By Blogger Greg, at 9:03 a.m.  

  • Here's my view:

    Bloc: Needs a vote as soon as possible. It's high tide in Quebec, and if an election was held tomorrow, the BQ would sweep the province. The Tories and Blocquistes are ideological opposites -- but they can find shared ground on devolution of federal powers.

    NDP: This has been a wham-bang strategy. Concessions from the Libs that support important and underaddressed priorities. Cooperation with a minority Tory government would be tough -- but they don't want to prop up the Libs in perpetuity, either.

    Conservatives: No matter what anyone says, they're in a tough position. Electorally, the anti-Liberal sentiment is probably as strong now as it's ever going to be -- but the only thing Canadians like less than the idea of Liberal cronyism is the prospect of another election. Damned if they do...

    Liberals: If the story above the fold is about budget changes rather than crooked marketers and consultants, it's a good day.

    By Blogger Optimus, at 10:39 a.m.  

  • Another useful aspect of this for the Liberals is that it changes the subject . The daily grind of scandelous headlines was killing them. Just getting something else in the papers--will they or won't they? are these policy shifts good or bad? reactions from x, y, and z? will the two sick Tories make it to Ottawa?--helps stem the tide.

    By Blogger buckets, at 10:47 a.m.  

  • Layton is great on this. I hope he got really drunk last night with Ed while celebrating. "Hey, let's give Audrey a call!" "Ed, for chrissake, it's 4 am" "Naw, she's a party girl, 'sok."

    As for Martin, it changes the subject. And makes him look really weak. There are three issues at play: adscam, dithers, and dead man walking syndrome. This like paying off one credit card with another.

    Bloc: this is a big fuck you to them. Gloves are off.

    Tories: Harper has to get some new Gomery headlines. The topic is tired, but easily rejuvenated. Martin isn't out of the woods yet. And he has some legitimacy in bringing down the government now 'cuz he just hates their policy, but I don't know if Ontarians will buy that. Having the legitimacy the NDP would bring on a non-confidence motion would've been nice, but the government is now more likely to die on the budget if the sick MP's show up, which makes that point moot.

    To sum up, Layton up a gizillion, Martin up 1, Harper down 1.

    By Blogger matt, at 12:22 p.m.  

  • Well, CG I know you never really were a pig "Team Martin" fan, however, I think today we've seen Rick Mercer's founding Liberal principal in action "We will sell our own mothers to hang onto power." Evidently it is written on a plaque somewhere in latin. Paul Martin hasn't just sold his mother out, Paul Martin has sold himself out. At the very least he's sold the Paul Martin of two or three years ago out. Whither the Paul Martin who was the pillar of financial rectitude, the deficit slaying hero? The taxcutter and fiscal conservative?

    Now we have the Paul Martin who cuts a deal with Smirkin' Jack Layton to run up spending past already boggling levels, and to essentially nix as many as 340,000 jobs being added to the economy according to the C.D. Howe Institute. Its a big no to investment, business, jobs, and growth. And for what? A bit of NDP cover as Paul Martin tries to shore up his political credibility, it doesn't even see him through a non-confidence vote.

    It seems Paul Martin's political soul is for sale, while Jack Layton's integrity and believe in honest government evidently can be bought.

    This is ultimately the sort of disgusting filpflops on both their parts that turn people off of politics. ONe day the Liberals are saying how these tax cuts are necessary, the next they've changed their mind. One day the NDP are accusing the Liberals of corruption, they next "let's make a deal".

    By Blogger Chris, at 12:24 p.m.  

  • Running up spending to boggling levels?

    Thats what Mulroney did.. thats what Bush is doing (aided by an idiotic tax cut).

    Last I looked Chris, even with these new programs in place.. Martin is still running a surplus and is putting forth money to pay down the debt.

    Last I looked, most Canadians dont want an election til Gomery comes out.. Layton's merely (brilliantly) tapping into that sentiment with "Let's Make Parliament woril Til Gomery Comes Out" line.

    Quite frankly.. if this budget goes down to defeat, I'm going to love listening to Harper sputter and fume on the campaign trail about "corruption" and "Gomery" while he tries to explain to voters why he was in such a rush to go to an election when the public would just as easily have thrown out the Liberals in November if Gomery rules that these allegations are true.

    Explaining how he wants to kill proposals to help affordable housing , the environment and so on while entering back into BMD negotiations with the US ought to be a laugh-a-minute as well.

    If Harper were smart, he'd bide his time... but he apparently has taken the bait; he was fuming down in Ridgetown Ontario today about how he was going to try and defeat this govrenment at the earliest moment possible.

    Good luck Stephen... in my opinion, you've just thrown a lifeline to the Liberals if you go thru with that threat, as well as causing the NDP to gain in popularity.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 4:19 p.m.  

  • CalgaryGrit:

    I'm not sure all of those "blue Liberal" voters, who thought Paul Martin was smart enough to stay away from the big-spending Grits of yore and could therefore vote Lib instead of Tory, will be impressed. This may yet cause Martin some grief, especially in suburban/ex-urban Ontario.

    S. Swine: You're stoked b/c the NDP is finally doing something "outside of BC"? What about MB and SK - or are they too "common sense-ical" to be counted as *true* NDP govt's ;)

    - Jason.

    By Blogger Jason Hickman, at 6:15 p.m.  

  • Scott you have nailed it. The narrative for the election will be: On the one hand we have a tired corrupt government and on the other we have a man so consumed by ambition that he will do anything to become Prime Minister. If you are tired of the same old politics, vote NDP.

    By Blogger Greg, at 6:20 p.m.  

  • Greg:

    I was thinking about posting something on these lines on the BlogsCanada column I write. Only reason I hesitate is I've written 2 columns yeesterday there and have most of the conservative community foaming at the mouth (not sure if they hated my 1 column more of what i said or because of the smiling visage of Jack Layton I posted there).... although Jim Elve probably loves it for the traffic its bringing in.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 6:44 p.m.  

  • Ahhhh... I threw caution to the wind and posted something anyhow.. I quote you in the column Greg.. hope you dont mind ;)

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 7:41 p.m.  

  • Not at all.

    By Blogger Greg, at 8:30 p.m.  

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    A much better description comes from the Free Online Dictionary which states that hypnosis is: an artificially induced state of consciousness, characterised by heightened suggestibility and receptivity to direction. So what does this mean and how can it be used to your advantage?

    Well, the subject of hypnosis has been discussed and pondered since the late 1700s. Many explanations and theories have come and gone though science, however, has yet to supply a valid and well-established definition of how it actually happens. It's fairly unlikely that the scientific community will arrive at a definitive explanation for hypnosis in the near future either, as the untapped resources of our 'mostly' uncharted mind still remain something of a mystery.
    However, the general characteristics of hypnosis are well documented. It is a trance state characterized by extreme suggestibility, deep relaxation and heightened imaginative functioning. It's not really like sleep at all, because the subject is alert the whole time. It is most often compared to daydreaming, or the feeling you get when you watch a movie or read a captivating book. You are fully conscious, but you tune out most of the outside world. Your focus is concentrated intensely on the mental processes you are experiencing - if movies didn't provide such disassociation with everyday life and put a person in a very receptive state then they would not be as popular (nor would TV advertising be as effective!). Have you ever stated that a film wasn't great because you just couldn't 'get into it'???
    This works very simply; while daydream or watching a movie, an imaginary world becomes almost real to you because it fully engages your emotional responses. Such mental pursuits will on most occasions cause real emotional responses such as fear, sadness or happiness (have you ever cried at a sad movie, felt excited by a future event not yet taken place or shivered at the thought of your worst fear?).
    It is widely accepted that these states are all forms of self-hypnosis. If you take this view you can easily see that you go into and out of mild hypnotic states on a daily basis - when driving home from work, washing the dishes, or even listening to a boring conversation. Although these situations produce a mental state that is very receptive to suggestion the most powerful time for self-change occurs in the trance state brought on by intentional relaxation and focusing exercises. This deep hypnosis is often compared to the relaxed mental state between wakefulness and sleep.
    In this mental state, people feel uninhibited and relaxed and they release all worries and doubts that normally occupy their mind. A similar experience occurs while you are daydreaming or watching the TV. You become so involved in the onscreen antics

    By Blogger fish, at 3:13 p.m.  

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    By Blogger Robert, at 12:33 p.m.  

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