Thursday, December 14, 2006

At Issue

The National did their year end At Issue roundtable to look back on the past few months. Here's a run down of what the panelists had to say, with my own two cents (off the top of my head - I'm sure I'm missing some good answers):

Best Political Play
Chantal Hebert: Dion taking ownership of the environmental issue
Andrew Coyne: Kennedy endorsing Dion
Rob Russo: Kennedy endorsing Dion
Rex Murphy: Yup. Make it three for that.
CG: Gotta agree with the majority on this one. Gerard's walk to Dion's box was definitely the political play of the past few months, both for impact and drama.

Worst Political Play
Coyne: Harper's nation motion
Russo: The Tories handling of the environment issue
Rex: Volpe's kiddie donations
Hebert: Ignatieff wading into the nation debate since it shows he doesn't understand the Liberal Party. [hmm...I seem to recall many a columnist who claim to understand both the Liberal Party and Quebec claiming this was a brilliant play on his part back when it happened...]
CG: I've got to think Ignatieff's "war crimes/losing sleep" comments and Harper/Ambrose's handling of the environmental file take the prize.

Significant Event of the Fall
Russo: Clean Air Act
Rex: Dion's win
Hebert: Nation motion
Coyne: "Decapitation" of the LPC old party establishment at the convention
CG: The nation motion or Dion's win are the obvious choices here, but I am surprise no one mentioned the Tory flip-flop on Income Trusts

Rex: Nation motion
Hebert: Elizabeth May
Coyne: Ontario Citizen's Assembly of electoral reform
Russo: Economic changes in Canada
CG: The disappearing wait times guarantee fifth priority

Underrated Politician
Hebert: Pass
Coyne: Starts off on Rona Ambrose, saying the Tory plan wasn't that bad but settles on Jim Prentice
Russo: Rob Nicholson
Rex: Dion, who is underrated by the Tories
CG: Given who was just sworn in as Premier of Alberta today, it's hard to think that Ed Stelmach wasn't completely underrated by everyone over the past few months.

Overrated Politician
Coyne: Ken Dryden
Russo: Lawrence Cannon
Rex: Jack Layton
Hebert: Gilles Duceppe
CG: Some interested choices all around. Instead of making my pick, I'll refer to what I said back in June when they asked this question: "The Jim Dinning bubble is going to burst and it's going to be beautiful when it does".

'Sup with Afghanistan?
Russo: Big because the Quebecois nation are sending troops over in June
Rex: This will be a huge issue!
Hebert: Duceppe's proposal was panned in Quebec
Coyne: Rex is way off base
CG: Elections rarely are based on foreign affairs in this country, but it's hard to see how this won't be an election issue

When do we Vote?
Rex: Spring
Hebert: Spring
Coyne: Spring...maybe February
Russo: NDP saves the Tories bacon
CG: Like I said on the hotstove, later rather than prediction is early 2008.

Who is this lady?

None of the four panelists got it, although I'm proud to say I guessed right. Admittedly, it was a guess though.


  • Her office is a 5 minute drive from my house, so that's an easy one.

    I didn't catch the hotstove. Why do you think that the vote will be so late?

    By Blogger rob, at 12:16 a.m.  

  • its cuz her hair used to be blonde...would y'all recognize elinor caplan?

    i didnt think so

    By Blogger Anthony, at 1:32 a.m.  

  • As normal, CG does a good job.

    I agree, Dion is blustering about the election. I don't think he's serious about pulling the trigger yet. Besides, by February a poll or two will show the Tories ahead and the election speculation will end.

    Charlie, I respectfully disagree. As much as the NDP voting with the Tories has some bad optics the NDP will extract enough promises from the Tories to make it tolerable for them. Besides, then the NDP will claim to be the true relevant party.

    By Blogger Eric, at 1:53 a.m.  

  • Harper threatened to make every motion a confidence motion throughout 2006. His bluster will surely be his downfall. Expect a spring election.

    By Blogger Psychols, at 3:25 a.m.  

  • The Conservatives will want to set their own direction at budget time.

    Look for a budget aimed squarely at voters with lots of environmental improvements.

    The budget will be defeated and then we go to the polls.

    April or May 2007

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 8:23 a.m.  

  • I don't think the Liberals want an election, despite the bump in poll numbers. This party isn't ready and parties who aren't ready never perform well. Meanwhile the NDP knows they're getting squeezed so I can't see them eager for a vote.

    So it's up to Harper to pull the plug and he'd need to find a good reason to justify that (or to want to do it, if his poll numbers still trail). Maybe he tries to catch the Libs off guard and finds a way to orchestrate it, but my gut says that they wait.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:21 a.m.  

  • Holy crap! There is no way that is really Elinor Caplan.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 12:20 p.m.  

  • Chantal guessed the picture correctly didn't she? Are those of us who knew who it was doomed to eternal geekdom?

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 12:28 p.m.  

  • Let's see. Despite media predictions that he would never win and should be tossed from the leadership of the Tories, PM Harper became PM.

    He's not the underrated politician of the year?

    I think Coyne et al don't understand what a full year means.

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 1:13 p.m.  

  • More people should know who Carol Skelton is, she's one of the most hard-working members of the tory caucus. Hopefully she'll get a promotion in the rumoured cabinet shuffle.

    By Blogger BR, at 3:29 p.m.  

  • I wish I had the knowledge of you all - truth to tell, I've never heard the name Carol Skelton before. (I'm surprised the panel didn't know her, though...)

    I'm personally not expecting an election for spring. I wouldn't be surprised if it came '08. Well, we'll see.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 3:55 p.m.  

  • "When do we vote?"
    Russo: NDP saves the Tories bacon
    CG: Like I said on the hotstove, later rather than prediction is early 2008.

    I agree with both these points. Jack has been underperforming, and stands a big chance of losing seats if we were to go to the polls right now. It's in Harper's best interest to offer a couple of olive branches in the next budget to allow him to save face and say "We want to keep working for Canadians". I think there will be a high-stakes showdown, but the plug won't get pulled just yet.

    By Blogger Christian Conservative, at 4:29 p.m.  

  • H├ębert things Elizabeth May was under-reported?? Could someone please tell me what country she's being under-reported in so I can move there?

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 11:39 p.m.  

  • Well, to estimate when the election gets called you have to look at what the opposition fears. And remember, all CPC + all NDP is, what, 153 out of 308?

    Jack's in deep doo-doo and needs to have the environmental file put through the car wash a few times, just as the CPC does. Harper needs a strong NDP, BTW, to split the left. Jack doesn't care, he just wants to hold on to the 29 seats or gain.

    The Bloc does not want a budget favourable to the CPC, tax cuts, etc, but is more afraid that Harper will be well on his way to getting a combined responsibility/money deal with the premiers for jurisdictions, fiscal imbalance, etc. The Bloc would also like to see the federal election before the Quebec one. There's no way Harper will even be near a deal with the premiers, but if it looks that he is making good progress, Douceppe will panic and try to pull the plug as quickly as he can.

    The Liberals are not as "unified" as the spin doctors and Liblogs would like everyone to believe. I believe Dion is just a caretaker, especially if he looses the next one. Riding in on a cloud of dust will be a lot of long knives, including the absolute dimwit and useless twit Justin, and ta-da, Frank McKenna and whatnot.

    Dion, like Duceppe, doesn't want the Tory budget tabled but, as noted by everyone earlier in the comments, isn't all that prepared to have an election. It's not bluster at this point, just wishful thinking and rallying of the troops ... he hopes. He has no platform and, from what I've seen of hime, no hard-held beliefs or principles either. No track record of achievement, despite best efforts lately to rewrite history. Half-Canadian will come back to haunt him. Personally, I hope so since he bungled the issue completely and, I am beginning to suspect, isn't a 100% Canadian ,,, just by his opposition to the issue.

    On the other hand, one has to assume (dangerous, given their record to date) that the CPC will come up with an Environmental Plan that Jack can live with. Assuming that, and light casualties in Afghanistan, and a continued release of auditor reports and bad Liberal (past deeds) news to the media, they should be in good shape to weather at least the Spring.

    So, of all the parties, the CPC is the one that has alternatives. Including the ace up its sleeve. It can withhold Opposition Days until AFTER the budget is tabled, a la Liberal trickery in the last parliament. If they can forestall non-confidence votes until after the budget, then there's no use Dion and Duceppe yelling "Me First, Me First", is there?

    So the first indicator will be scheduled Opposition Days. After that, I really don't know apart from saying broadly that the timing will have been taken out of the Opposition's hands and placed solely in Harper's.

    By Blogger Erik Sorenson, at 1:11 a.m.  

  • Interesting point Erik, but one major quibble I'll make. Even though the Liberals, Bloc and two independents could numerically bring down the government, without the NDP support it would be a hollow victory. Without NDP support the Grits could be portrayed as siding with the seperatists, although this might not be enough to bring them down it would neutralize Dion's other major asset, his fierce Canadian nationalism.

    Dion needs the NDP support to bring down the government. Otherwise, he's leaving his flank dangerously exposed.

    By Blogger Eric, at 1:17 a.m.  

  • Lance, just because you are the one holding the brown paper bag full of crap come election time, doesn't mean you won't play chicken... eg. Social Credit party in 1980... Austria-Hungary in 1914.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 9:57 p.m.  

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