Friday, June 23, 2006

At Issue

The National's At Issue panel did their "end of school" recap last night, looking back at the highs and lows of the last parliamentary session. Mansbridge asked the pundits a series of questions and, since bloggers see themselves as pundits, I figure I'll play along. Besides, it's either this or another post on Senate reform which I'm fairly sure no one really wants to read.

Best Political Play
It's gotta be the Accountability Act. Harper won an election on Liberal corruption and this was the first of his five priorities. By getting it passed, he's shown he's a doer (no, not the Premier) and shown he's for clean government. Plus, the problems it may cause the Liberals make this a very smart political play, especially since the media or public are unlikely to be very sympathetic to the Grits.

Worst Political Play
For Harper, it's obviously the Emerson/Fortier debacle. I haven't seen any pay-off from either of these moves yet and they're easily the most memorable events of the last session. The entire Youth for Volpe fiasco deserves mention here, as does Scott Brison's over-active Blackberry.

Defining Moment
Probably the Afghanistan vote. This issue may yet take over the Liberal leadership race and it has certainly defined Harper on foreign affairs. It's hard to get overly emotional about a 1% GST cut but an issue like this brings out passion on both sides which means it will be in the news and on people's minds for a while.

Underrated Politician
Stephen Harper is the obvious choice here and it's hard to argue with that selection. I also tend to think that since the media is so down on the entire Liberal leadership field, whichever one of the 11 emerges on top is going to surprise people in a good way.

Overrated Politician
Andrew Coyne's pick of Gilles Duceppe is a good one, as was Rob Russo's pick of Peter MacKay. Personally, I've made my opinion on this topic fairly obvious over the past few months. The Jim Dinning bubble is going to burst and it's going to be beautiful when it does.

Who would win the Liberal Leadership Race if it were held today?
The last ballot would come down to Ignatieff against one of Kennedy, Dion, or Rae. I have no freaking clue which of the four would win.

Future Newsmaker
Chantal Hebert's pick for Andre Boisclair seems about right to me. There's going to be an election in Quebec within the next 16 months and the implications are going to be massive. Boisclair is looking more and more like a dud with every passing day but may still become Premier par forfait.

When is the next election and how does Stephen Harper orchestrate it?
It won't be in this fall. The common consensus is that it will be next spring, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say this government lasts longer than people think it will. Fall 2007 at the earliest and maybe even Spring 2008.


  • I'm a Conservative and I can't wait for the Dinning bubble to burst. The whole situation reeks of Paul Martin.

    I don't think Dinning will be quite the gong show that Martin was (the two situations are different in some ways), but Dinning won't be a raging success.

    I'm going to bet the Alberta Alliance will benefit from this guy.

    By Blogger Sean, at 2:26 a.m.  

  • the LAST thing we need is the Alberta Alliance getting any stonger.

    By Blogger YYC Liberal, at 2:44 a.m.  

  • My guess, based on AB history, is that someone like the Green Party will sneak up the middle. The PCs can't possibly win IMHO as for God's sake, 35 years is long enough. However, again based on history, the Liberals won't either as they are the opposition.

    So WHO will be the unexpected winner?

    It will be interesting, no doubt, and certainly ironic if, for the first time in friggin-forever we have a conservative federal gov't and we elect, for the first time in friggin-forever, a non-conservative govt in AB.

    By Blogger Candace, at 3:09 a.m.  

  • Good read on what's been going on. I think the federal election will have to go next spring or winter 2008 since we're going here in Ontario in Oct 07.

    By Blogger Blaine, at 8:35 a.m.  

  • Excellent guess about the next election. I don't think the new Lib leader is going to want to pull the plug and Harper won't either.

    My guess is that after the new leader is picked, both he (or she) and Harper will be playing a game of chess of confidence motions, hoping the other blinks first.

    I think it will take the dippers or the Bloc to pull the plug with the Tories of Libs putting on their best innocent act.

    By Blogger Zac, at 9:25 a.m.  

  • The problem with the Fall 2007 date for elections is that Ontario goes to the polls in October.

    The problem with next spring is that I'm guessing Charest will pull the plug on the Quebec election then. Of course he could go in the fall but if they think they can have a good budget next spring why not wait? I think going to the polls around the same time as Quebec could be a problem.

    On the flip side, if the Quebec election is over and Charest loses, Harper could have some trouble. It seems to me that he is hitching part of his ride on Charest being re-elected.

    By Blogger Bailey, at 10:19 a.m.  

  • He's hitching his cart to Charest and then saying the Fiscal Imbalance is Charest's problem, that he won't be responsible for Charest's fate. I would venture to say their fates are closely intertwined.

    By Blogger Sinestra, at 10:51 a.m.  

  • CG's prediction for the election is spot on.

    Everyone is talking crazy if they think an election is likely next fall. Harper wants time for his machine to take root... and he's made every indication that the timeframe is 2 years. We're only 5 months in now, so don't hold out for an election within the next 5 months

    By Blogger Riley Hennessey, at 11:23 a.m.  

  • Ask yourself: If you were Harper when would you want an election to occur?

    Now ask yourself again: If you were Harper when would you want an election to occur?

    Now ask yourself: If you were Layton when would you want an election to occur?

    Now ask yourself again: If you were Layton when would you want an election to occur?

    You would want an election when it is not contingent on Quebec/Ontario election outcomes and when your greatest threat is directionless (sorry, the renewal commision is not going to have a Red Book ready anytime soon) and leaderless.


    By Blogger Peter, at 11:32 a.m.  

  • Here is another take on the election timing issue.

    There is increasing evidence that Canada is heading for an economic slowdown, probably within a year.

    That could result is alot of negative economic news coming out which, although will not portend a disaster, will be a contrast to the long term properity of the Liberal years.

    Think for a second if inflation, employment, housing starts, GDP, etc. begin going south in 2007 how the Liberals can claim: "Look when we were in power Canadians enjoyed nearly unprecedented prosperity but it begins to disappear after just one year of Conservative governence." It would be BS of course but such a message could resonate with Canadians.

    Throw in the fact the government did not leave much room in the fiscal framework for any kind of slowdown in the economy, increasing the risks of deficits as we go further into the future, and you have a big incentive to call an election before next summer.

    Of course the economic experts could be wrong but I would keep an eye on this all the same. It could be a big factor in determining Mr. Harper's timing for the next election.

    By Blogger ottlib, at 11:52 a.m.  

  • Best Political Play: Harper wooing Quebec and having some payoff with strong Quebec representation in the cabinet.

    Worst Political Play: Having Bill Graham, a man involved with the criminal sexual exploitation of an underage male prostitute, as leader of the Liberal party. Instant controversy and humiliation anytime the Conservatives want to use it.

    Defining Moment: Steve MacKinnon in all the national media defending Volpes fund-raising.

    Under-rated Politician: Rona Ambrose, if she actually presents a decent plan later.

    Over-rated Politician: Andre Boiclair. Dismal approval with focus groups of Quebec voters off the island of Montreal.

    Liberal Leadership Winner Today: Dryden as party compromise.

    Future Newsmaker: The Liberal party. Where's the missing 40 million from Adscam? The missing 7 million from the Canada Space Agency? Will there be criminal charges? Lawsuits? How are the MP's in the leadership race re-paying the tax-payers for using their offices during the race? Three other political parties will be hounding the Liberals.

    Next Election: 2009, unless the government gets indication the economy is slowing down, then they will call early.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 11:56 a.m.  

  • Instant controversy and humiliation anytime the Conservatives want to use it.

    Because calling the Liberal leader a pedophile worked so well in 2004.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 12:26 p.m.  

  • "Because calling the Liberal leader a pedophile worked so well in 2004. "

    Allow me to correct your ignorance. The Conservatives asked a question "Is Martin soft on kiddie porn?". If the Tories had followed up by mentioning kiddie porn advocate Robin Sharpe had been given a government grant by the Liberals from the Canadian Heritage Dept.-as reported in the Globe and Mail-the attack would have had more resonance, but the Tories are always less adept at PR than other parties.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 1:16 p.m.  

  • Majorities require trust especially after all that hidden agenda crap.

    The key to Harper getting a majority is to look like he already has one and is safe with it.

    CG and Riley are right. 2 years is the minimum. I think he does 3 budgets.

    By Blogger anonymous, at 1:19 p.m.  

  • CG:

    Old topic, but I think you guys all had the $1000 limit wrong. Any donations made prior to the date the new rule is in force do not contribute toward the new limit. Your quite safe sending your $1 donation in today!

    By Blogger anonymous, at 2:03 p.m.  

  • re: Dinning and the Alberta PC party.

    Methinks that if the Alberta Conservatives are not careful, that they may fall into the same trap the federal Liberals did. And that trap was not listening to the grassroots.

    Dinning DOES have some Paul Martin similarities, although certainly not a clone (I am not talking about political philosophies). Dinning is supported by a number of "inside boys" with money, as was Martin. Dinning is "talking the good talk" like Martin. Neither one are people I consider particularly genuine, and I am worried that Dinning will cause the same harm to the Alberta PC's as Martin did with the federal Liberals.

    BTW, I actually think both did a great job under difficult circumstances in their respective Finance roles, but that does not qualify EITHER one for leadership.

    My opinion only.

    By Blogger Andy, at 5:15 p.m.  

  • Dammit. I was hoping to read your views on Senate reform.

    By Blogger James Bowie, at 11:05 a.m.  

  • ""Because calling the Liberal leader a pedophile worked so well in 2004. " Allow me to correct your ignorance. The Conservatives asked a question "Is Martin soft on kiddie porn?"."

    *** Nuna, allow me to correct your ignornace and/or selective memory.

    The headline was "Paul Martin Supports Child Pornography?"

    Nice job trying to change the past and seem all high an mighty.


    By Blogger Hammering Jow, at 5:19 p.m.  

  • Ottlib:
    "There is increasing evidence that Canada is heading for an economic slowdown, probably within a year"

    I don't know where you are getting your facts from, but right now the Canadian economy is in very solid shape, and growing at a nice, sustainable clip. Unemployment is low, GDP growing at ~3%, there is moderate inflation risk, but not enough to warrant hiking interest rates to contractionary levels. Corporate profits are rising at healthy rate. Many are forecasting that the Canadian economic growth will outperform US growth over the next 12 months.

    Of course, there are a few storm clouds with a high dollar for Ontario manufacterers, and a lerger inflationary risk in Alberta but that doesn't change the fact the fundementals of the Canadian economy are probably the healthiest they have been in 40 years.

    No respectable economists are predicting a recession anytime soon.

    By Blogger Andrew Smith, at 5:21 p.m.  

  • The headline was "Paul Martin Supports Child Pornography?"

    You just proved my point, that it was a question not a statement. But arguing over it distracts everyone from the fact that the current leader of the Liberal party is a sexual predator involved in illegal activities with underage boys doesn't it?

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 6:56 p.m.  

  • When you google the allegations against Bill Graham all you get for search results is Conservative bloggers citing articles that cite an article (which no one can seemingly find or reproduce) that interviewed someone who may or may not exist (there are no persons listed under the allegers last name in or near Toronto).

    Maybe Stephen Harper does rob church collection plates... I saw it in an article that cited an article interviewing the tooth fairy after all...

    By Blogger Ivan, at 10:21 p.m.  

  • Ivan, the writer who broke the story about Graham now works for the National Post. Maybe it will pop up in the MSM. The story has been in 3 papers so far, including the Toronto Star owned eye weekly.

    It hasn't been in the MSM that Graham purchased a $400,000 townhouse for his young male lover David on Maitland St in Toronto, but it's something that lots of people know. I've seen it written about on an American website. You know the internet is always ahead of the MSM.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 12:37 p.m.  

  • Best Political Play
    - Redusing the GST. Pure politics, but very poignant.

    Worst Political Play
    - Cutting National Childcare. There was lots of money for it, and this keeps the Liberals alive. Did you know the agerage wait time in Ontario for a day-care space is over 18 months?

    Defining Moment
    Dion belittling Kennedy in the debate. No offense to Gerrard, he is an ofterthought, but Dion arrived on the national stage at that moment, and showed he could beat Harper and Duceppe in a debate.

    Underrated Politician
    Stephane Dion, for this session. Quebekers must be doing a doubletake at how deft this guy is (Harper for last one).

    Overrated Politician
    Rona Ambrose or Tony Celement. Boy did those bubbles burst.

    Who would win the Liberal Leadership Race if it were held today?
    Dion, the hard way.

    Future Newsmaker
    Ruby Dhalla.

    When is the next election and how does Stephen Harper orchestrate it?
    2007 Budget.

    By Blogger Hammering Jow, at 2:48 p.m.  

  • I still don't see an election in Fall 2007. The Ontario election is happening at the same time. A lot of people don't even know the difference.

    Then there's the usual whining about too many elections at once - as if it involves a big time commitment from a typical voter.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 9:34 p.m.  

  • I guess you could be making a mistake on your prediction on who it will be in the final ballot: I can see Ignatieff vs. Kennedy, Rae or Dion... But I guess you should count more on a Ignatieff vs. Ken Dryden, Bob Rae or Kennedy.

    Yes my friend the real underdog Dryden is leading a poll on first ballot with 14 % (L├ęger marketing). Also there is several member of the Party that are considering Dryden as their second choice. Myself Pierre Martin, Vice-president of the Chicoutimi-Le-fjord liberal association I am supporting DRYDEN NOMINATION as our next leader... In fact for several spinmaster of the Party they tought that Dryden wasn't going to be consider in Saguenay region, but in fact he rally more people than Ignatieff did and he had more coverage that his opponent. Everyone here talk about Dryden visit in Saguenay, in comparaison to little few people for any other candidate. Ken Dryden could be the candidate that will surprise as much as Dalton McGuinty surprise the Ontario liberal ask Kennedy.

    By Blogger PMO, at 3:18 p.m.  

  • Majorities need believe in especially after all that invisible plan junk.

    The key to Harper getting a greater part is to look like he already has one and is secure with it.

    CG and Riley are right. 2 decades is the lowest. I think he does 3 costs.
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    By Anonymous FF14 Gold, at 1:59 a.m.  

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