Friday, November 28, 2008

Memory Lane 2

April 18th 2005
On Monday, Valeri said he would cancel a Conservative opposition day motion because setting opposition days is the responsibility of the government, not the opposition parties.

That provoked outrage from Conservative Leader Stephen Harper who met with reporters Monday evening on Parliament Hill to denounce Valeri and the Liberal government.

"I think they are just signing their own death warrant," Harper said. "This is the kind of behaviour a government does when it is scared to death of the electorate.

"It is not up to the government in our system to decide whether an opposition motion is order or not. It's up to the Clerk and the Speaker. Our motion was in order. We don't have to get the approval of the government to express dissent.

"When a government starts trying to cancel dissent or avoid assent is frankly when it's rapidly losing its moral authority to govern."


About an hour ago:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has delayed for a week a confidence motion vote that could bring down his government.

40 Comments:

  • Yes, you are right.

    By Blogger Ashley_Wilkes-Booth, at 7:18 PM  

  • Bart, I love your research assistant.

    By Blogger James Bowie, at 7:28 PM  

  • You missed the difference, Bart.

    The parties that are afraid of the electorate will be easy to spot. They'll be begging the G-G to keep the electorate at arms length.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:42 PM  

  • Right, so the Cons want to cut 30 million in public funding for parties that people vote for and instead want to plunge us into yet another 300 million dollar election(after the last one they caused only a couple of months ago produced no change in the status quo)? No wonder, these economic geniuses have burnt through our surplus so fast...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:50 PM  

  • If Harper delays this whole thing by a week the opposition will fall apart. Can they not still do it Mon-Tues? Libby Davies was on Newman and she was suggesting Mon-Tues was the latest an opposition sponsered motion of no confidence could be delayed, but I was in the middle of supper and such.

    There is no -way- we'll hold this stuff together long enough if it's a week. I am joyful at the prospect of getting these oafs out of office, but a week? Terror!

    This'll be a bumpy enough ride just from a constitutional point of view. The Lascelles Principles couldn't apply to a situation any better than this, but they're untried and the Tories have their own pet 'experts' for CTV to trot out, as they already have.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 8:40 PM  

  • Eh, forgot to link. I blogged about this back in 06, because I think a chronic minority without an option to remove dud governments is a huge problem. Indeed, you could say that Canada proved Alan Lascelles to be correct.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lascelles_Principles

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 8:41 PM  

  • Not that I'll ever underestimate the ability of political parties to mess things up, but I really can't see the fundamentals of this situation changing over the next week for any of the three opposition parties.

    Harper announced his intention to bankrupt them. And if they let him slip away, he may yet get his majority, and then he'll do just that, when they can't stop him. This is their best chance. Unless they forget that, I can't see them letting him stay, even if they quibble about some policy matters.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 8:54 PM  

  • This Conservative initiative of cutting out the payments on a per vote basis for each party is a smoke screen. Like the $30M is going to make some sort of a big difference to our overall economic situation! Sure the payment of that money should be looked at. But look at it in a full election reform where first past the post don't cut it (and harper and the Conservatives wuld NOT be sitting in all the positions they hold right now having received so little of the vote). Removing the $30M is petty and will not affect anything that I need as a Canadian to survive through the economics we are in.

    The bigger picture is that the Conservatives have NO intentions to help average Canadians manage through the troubles we are in. They (Flaherty) offered NOTHING substantial. It is all 'wait and see'!

    Because they don't want to run a deficit we will continue to flounder through this economic uncertainty. A deficit is what WE (Canada) need right now.....we need spending! And we need the spending in Canada by Canadians for Canadians. Government spending will put us in deficit but it is the right time for a reasoned deficit.

    They could/can (but seem afraid to) take steps to move things forward. Who says they have to go on a spending binge and make it a large deficit! They don't. If they had a surplus (which they blew/squandered before our latest election) the deficit would NOT be huge. As it is it will be more than we may want but it is a necessary evil.

    Ah if only there were some leadership from the government in this regard, eh!. And Harper says he's an economist! Ha!

    The Conservatives could table motions to allow withdrawals from registered plans at the age of 71 reduced to allow only a 50% withdrawal per year and they could put a midnight clause into this which would have it expire by the end of Feb 2010. This would get seniors through the trouble times over the next two years in a better state. Sure it will have an impact on the coffers but that's why they would run it from a deficit position!

    They could provide added dollars to municipalities so they could get their infrastructer plans moving forward quicker. I know we here in Ottawa are looking to get money to improve our city trabsit infrastructure but are unsure whether the federal coffers will ante up and if so when! These plans have been in the works for over a year and so I am sure other municipalities also have infrastructure plans they could trigger almost right away, providing they have the federal funds at their disposal.

    The Conservatives could extend the EI payments (maybe double the time they could be paid EI benefits)starting for anyone layed-off as of Oct01, 2008 to give people more money to make ends meet through these tough economic times.

    The Conservatives could advance the approvals of lands for renewable energy wind farms and start to take steps to purchase wind turbines from overseas manufacturers with the intent that within 12-18 months these turbines would be built in Canada by Canadians. That would start to stimulate alternative energy sector and new manufacturing jobs here in Canada for Canadians. If the government placed the orders now then these turbines may be available in 12 months which would give time for the wind farms to start to be layed-out and the transmission grid put in place. Surely there are plans already formulated in many areas so this would not be starting from scratch. Make the money/turbines available and accelerate the wind farms build-out.

    We do not have to wait for the Americans and for Obama to be sworn in before we start to put into place some made in Canada for Canadians economic actions that would help people here in Canada.

    Let's face it. The Harper Conservatives said they would stay the course when they got elected and that course has NOT been to run a deficit, or to put money into various sectors by picking and choosing, or to have their minority government questioned when they do things. They have been true to their word....but it'll make the recession we are in that much harder and longer and delay further any swicth-over to alternate energies.

    Hell they are loosing a windfall of taxes from the tar sands as we speak today now that the price per barrel has dropped back to around $75. That'll hurt the federal coffers alright but then again that is another perfect reason to start to float a deficit now! Also Obama may declare that the tar sands is to dirty an energy source and they may start to put plans in place to take themselves off that sooner thna later. Then what would the Conservatives do to keep the people in Alberta happy....reduce further the corporate taxes on tar sands development (and in the process NOT lifting a finger to help many other Canadian sectors wich is the course they are on now).

    The Conservatives are clearly NOT governing for Canada or Canadians and have no idea on what to do. They hype $30M in vote payments but in reality just want to cling to power in a Minority situation where less than 40% of the Canadian population actually voted for them!

    The Conservatives are treating this like we are in a boat heading towards Niagara Falls and they know we will be going over the Falls soon but until we actually go over the Falls we are technicall NOT over the Falls so don't worry until we actually do go over the Falls!!!! Oh and don't change course because, well, we have not gone over the Falls by staying on the course we have been on over the past three years so why change course now!! (....to paraphrase Flaherty wrt his comment that we are maybe in "a technical recession").

    The issue the Conservatives lobbed at the other parties with this payment of public money per vote is just to keep everyone off the script and so no one will stay focused on the fact that they have not done anything to try and manage Canadians through this economic situation. They want everyone to focus on something other than their ineptitude. All they want to do is practice Harpernomics and leave the markets to run whatever way they want. Let the chips fall where they may and to HELL with average Canadians! And then when Obama is sworn in they can blame the impact of the economic situation being so bad on the Americans and what they chose to do and why we had to wait for them!

    After all, Harper still believes there is a great buying opportunity out there. Otherwise why would he (Flaherty) be offering to sell Canadian assets on the open market?

    Now where did I put that extra money I have laying around to buy prime Canadian assets for a song? Oh ya. It went to putting food on the table and paying for the roof over my head while I'm looking for a new job since I just got laid-off!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:07 PM  

  • It's not that the fundamentals will change in a week exactly - it's that the CPC will spend the whole week blitzing the country about stopping the 'coup d'etat' and installation of the 'junta,' to use the terms their footsoldiers over at the Blogging Tories - er, I mean, National Post Full Comment - have already pulled out of the air.

    We have a tricky situation vis a vis constitutionality - I believe we're in the right but it is in fact new ground in the Wesminister system, which wasn't designed for our prolonged minority situation.

    And we have... christ, quite the interesting coalition. Which has unity and backbone. I don't mean to belittle anyone at this momentous time, but it's a very good thing that we have unity and backbone, and not something we can count on prevailing in record amounts for any length of time.

    Monday would be great. Tuesday would be better. I think Dec 8 is way too late. We'll find some way to bollocks this up in the meantime, be it by fighting with the NDP, arguing amongst ourselves, or giving the Tories time to flack the idea, via think-tank, traditional media dominance, and direct advertising that it is -illegal- to form a new government without an election.

    Harper is in a bad spot but if we give him our own position will deteriorate by the day.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 9:15 PM  

  • The best hope Harper has to continue his radical conservatisim is massive media pro Harper advertisements and right wing media support.

    Harper is a radical conservative. Which leaves him helpless to fascist influences. Harper's handling of democracy feels like the early rise of fascism.

    Sadly a lot more people support Fascism and the hateful propaganda on which it is based than we like to admit.

    Fascism is corruption based on lies which start out as half truths and grow into deceit necessary to the gain and maintain power to protect against mythical enemies both within and outside the state. Worst still concentrated conservative media feels a patriotic duty to protect the naive public. Lies are not exposed but added on to, until fascism is embraced and suppresses resisters as internal enemies.

    Removing campaign funding combined with Harpers abuse of election spending rules will destroy the ability of political parties to compete fairly. And destroy our democracy and replace it with a system buying votes. Sensible political interests which attract the majority of common people will not win, but rather political interest which make the rich richer will win. If anything the current system does not reward sensible political interests which attract the majority of common people enough.


    This is a path to economic and political corruption and national destruction.

    HOW MUCH has the private sale of the 407 cost the public through increased travel cost either directly or over crowding the 401?

    The 407 was sold and is the gift that keeps giving. This corporate monopoly generates the kind of money that can buy a lot more advertising then families trying to make ends meet. But it cost us all and makes us less economically efficient.

    By Blogger Socially Active, at 10:19 PM  

  • In terms of media coverage, the biggest difficulty Harper would probably have in rallying people to his cause is that, well, he's not remotely likeable or empathetic. It's going to be hard to make a clear majority (large numbers of whom didn't vote for him) say they'd be sad to see him go.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 10:24 PM  

  • "I think they are just signing their own death warrant," Harper said. "This is the kind of behaviour a government does when it is scared to death of the electorate."...

    About an hour ago:

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper has delayed for a week a confidence motion vote that could bring down his government.


    A very, very big difference here.

    The opposition isn't pushing for an election. And as far as I can tell, Harper isn't buying time to purchase MPs and ensure opposition MPs with cancer can't show up.

    If Dion and Co. had the balls to ask for a new election, you'd actaully have half a point here.

    By Blogger Brandon, at 10:27 PM  

  • "actually" that is.

    By Blogger Brandon, at 10:28 PM  

  • Memory Lane. My favourite lane.

    By Anonymous the dominion archivist, at 10:33 PM  

  • Jason, those Lascelles principles are eerily prescient:

    n so far as this matter can be publicly discussed, it can be properly assumed that no wise Sovereign—that is, one who has at heart the true interest of the country, the constitution, and the Monarchy—would deny a dissolution to his Prime Minister unless he were satisfied that: (1) the existing Parliament was still vital, viable, and capable of doing its job; (2) a General Election would be detrimental to the national economy; (3) he could rely on finding another Prime Minister who could carry on his Government, for a reasonable period, with a working majority in the House of Commons. When Sir Patrick Duncan refused a dissolution to his Prime Minister in South Africa in 1939, all these conditions were satisfied: when Lord Byng did the same in Canada in 1926, they appeared to be, but in the event the third proved illusory.

    The bolding is mine; it might be the most salient point here. Canada cannot afford another 300 million dollar election. It cannot afford the uncertainty that election would engender, especially if (as seems likely) the Conservatives would once again get a minority government. If any other option exists, it should be exercised.

    Something to remember going ahead, when Harper ratchets up the volume on his paranoid accusations of treason and coup d'etat.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 12:28 AM  

  • Here is why the 30 million dollars will result in positive change: it will take the Bloc, which gets 86% of its money from that subsidy out of commission. The Bloc was listless and dying in the early 00's. Two things happened - one, adscam, got a lot of press. The other, Chretien's subsidy (circa 2003), didn't.

    Money raised by the Bloc
    2001: $571,000
    2002: $900,000
    2003: $1 M
    The next year they got 2.4 million from the subsidy alone.

    Canada's core problem isn't Harper or Dion, it is minority governments. Why do we have persistent minority governments? Caps on party spending (which enable small parties to be politically viable) and the public subsidy have increased the number of parties and increased the likelihood of a minority parliament.

    I'm not so much concerned that we have a constitutional crisis right now, but that we have had at least three potential crises in the past few years.

    I see two solutions:
    1. Reform campaign finance laws (obviously that one is a nonstarter).

    2. Electoral reform Australia-style.

    1 makes the Tories the natural governing party, 2 makes the Liberals the natural governing party, but both are a hell of a lot better than option 3 - resisting all structural change as Canada becomes Italy (which is exactly what the Bloc wants).

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 12:38 AM  

  • By the by, the constitutional argument here seems pretty simple. The GG has the power to ask the leader of the opposition to try to form a government. If he can, he can. If he can't, the House is dissolved.

    It's a rarely-used power, of course, but it's legitimate enough. Were it not for the fact that neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals wanted to ally with the Bloc to date, a coalition would already be running Canada. That one may be running the country next week isn't a "coup", it's just the natural evolution of current Canadian politics.

    If Harper doesn't like it, he can find a coalition partner of his own.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 12:41 AM  

  • Demosthenes,

    1. Elections don't cost 300 million dollars. Even if they did, you are proposing that to save $10 for each Canadian, a three-party coalition including one party dedicated to the breakup of Canada is probably the path of least harm.*

    2. The Liberal objection to Harper (in principle) is based on the idea that he doesn't support a stimulus to the Canadian economy. At the same time you oppose an election because it will cost money. Ironic, isn't it?

    *Whereas the Tories (or Martin's Liberals) could govern in the last session with the support of just one other party, the coalition would require two other parties to sign on (and one of those parties is the Conservative party, which will be ill-inclined to do so). Even then, it would only take 9 individual MP's being absent or not voting on a given measure to ensure it went the other way.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 12:46 AM  

  • H2H, do you honestly think that pulling the plug on the bloc through an out-of-left-field stab in the back like this won't have consequences in Quebec?

    Harper already called the BQ traitors; there will already be consequences for that.

    The solution is pretty simple, as I just said: there needs to be real coalitions in Canada, just like in any other minority-prone country. The problem has always been coalitioning with the BQ, because both parties feared the wrath of the electorate.

    But, now, the Liberals and NDP have been driven into the arms of the BQ by Harper; and once the precedent is established, a center-left coalition (sovereigntists or no) is likely to remain in the cards for a good long time. And considering the parties received over 60% of the votes? I'd say that's pretty damned reflective of the will of the public to me.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 12:46 AM  

  • I'm calling it using "the Paul Martin maneuvre".

    And yes, for partisan Tories, that label should sting.

    ***

    Anyway, this week should be fun.

    By Blogger Ben (The Tiger), at 12:51 AM  

  • Yes, H2H, the last election in Canada cost upwards of $300 million. Another would probably cost more.

    And you know damned well that an election is not real stimulus. Provoking another election would have such disastrous effects on the Canadian economy that it might even affect its trading partners!

    As for the reasons for the coalition; while preserving the financial impact of individuals' votes is a good reason for it, a better one is the simple fact that Harper's clearly delusional. He is proposing spending CUTS during a recession, and when called on it, only retrenched his position. A competent economist would know better, but Harper's clearly so blinded by his neoconservative ideology that he can't do what's necessary to help the people, any more than the Republicans did. And Republican-style governance just doesn't work. It's a disaster.

    The people already spoke in giving a majority of the seats to the three progressive parties. If it's time for the Liberals and NDP to put aside their differences with each other and the BQ, bow to the will of the electorate, and put together a government that will actually serve the interests of the people instead of Republican-derived ideology, then so be it.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 1:00 AM  

  • Canada's core problem isn't Harper or Dion, it is minority governments. Why do we have persistent minority governments? Caps on party spending (which enable small parties to be politically viable) and the public subsidy have increased the number of parties and increased the likelihood of a minority parliament.

    Eh? Last time I checked, but the Bloc has been viable for almost 20 years - it may have down c. 2001, but it certainly was not out. Since then the Greens have emerged to win... 4-6 percent of the vote. Whether they sustain that is anyone's guess.

    I'm not so much concerned that we have a constitutional crisis right now, but that we have had at least three potential crises in the past few years.

    Gee, you'd think adopting some better parliamentary rules along the lines of Germany or another country which manages these sorts of issues better would be impossible.

    1 makes the Tories the natural governing party, 2 makes the Liberals the natural governing party, but both are a hell of a lot better than option 3 - resisting all structural change as Canada becomes Italy (which is exactly what the Bloc wants).

    Nonsense. India, to take one example, has an identical electoral system, and has experienced progressive fragmentation of the party system ever since Indira Gandhi's Emergency (and her government in general) served to weaken Congress.

    In fact, the Liberals are a lot like Congress - very influential historically, long dominant, only to be brought down by a weakened sense of purpose combined with opportunism. And now they're back in power in a minority coalition while relying on leftists to maintain confidence. Sound familiar?

    While public financing may have contributed to the most recent round of party fragmentation, successive and increasing periods of such fragmentation has characterized Canadian politics since WWI.

    By Blogger Josh, at 1:09 AM  

  • Harper has already backed down on the election finance reforms.

    Why don't the opposition parties just let him govern?

    By Anonymous Dubya, at 1:28 AM  

  • Demosthenes: FWIW, the "economic" element of the principles is apparently no longer part of the formalized UK version, although I think the sense wasn't that it was irrelevant but that it was -unecessary,- that is, a viable alternative government existing was reason enough to deny a dissolution.

    I think, to be frank, that we should have been mentioning the possibility of no-election votes of no confidence as early as 2006 at least, simply because an unpopular (but belligerent) minority and a more or less compatible (but election averse) opposition just screams out for it.

    And, not to put too fine a point on it, but I did blog about this at the time, to no great effect.

    I'm thrilled it's finally coming to pass, but we're going to have more than trolling comenters to worry about if this crisis is a week in duration instead of a few days.

    The CTV water carriers for the CPC - already quoting "the experts" (two profs in Alberta) as saying that it can't happen, are going to be giving us the Harper-approved cereal box version of the King Byng affair all week long, with nary a mention of Alan Lascelles.

    Pretty much everyone employed by the National Post has gotten into histrionics already, and while we might kind of LOL at them on the blogs, organs like the National Post - and more to the point, CTV - are going to be a big problem if they decided that this is all much too theoretical to ever happen.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 1:50 AM  

  • Demosthenes,

    On the Bloc, it depends. Something like excluding them from the debates or implementing proportional representation is such an overt slap that it would create a backlash in Quebec.

    By contrast, a more gradual step like eliminating the public subsidy would not only make a harder rallying cry, but would diminish the ability of the Bloc to get its message out in a way PR, or other anti-Bloc steps would.

    Secondly, on spending cuts, I think you are thinking rather narrowly here. The government is going to accelerate infrastructure spending eventually, and some tax cuts wouldn't surprise me. Is it incoherent to make spending cuts at the same time? Absolutely not. Different kinds of spending and taxing have more or less of an impact on the economy.

    Infrastructure spending has long-term benefits and creates more jobs than say - higher public sector wages, which is where most of the cuts are coming from. Similarly, if you think of where most of the money spent on elections goes (hiring short-term employees, most of whom are paid very little), it goes to people with a low savings rate and back into the economy.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 4:59 AM  

  • Stephen Harper is finding out the difference between leadership and tactics. Sure, it was a brilliant stroke to play to the base by attacking the hated women and public servants while at the same time destroying all opposition. Combine that with a fraudulent financial statement of the likes Canada has not seen since Michael Wilson promised declining deficits and surpluses it the late 1980s and early 1990s while delivering ever increasing deficits.

    It might even have worked, but Mr. Harper forgot an important precedent. Back in 1979, another tory PM thought that Parliament was his plaything, and that the opposition was so afraid he could do anything. "Govern like a majority" was his line.

    Well, it turns out that the opposition is not going to be cowed. Harper may point out that he got 37.6% of the vote, and suggest that means he gets to make all of the decisions.

    Others might notice that the combined Liberal/NDP support was more than 44%, and that this coalition received almost a million more votes.

    Lets get on with a government which things that governing is actually important.

    By Blogger Stephen, at 9:09 AM  

  • On the subject of the BQ, trying to weaken them via election rules is a bad idea; I'd love to see them go, but it should be by convincing people there are better options to vote for.

    As of now, they represent a legitimate political concern in the electorate. Trying to strangle that voice from the formal political discourse is exactly the wrong thing to do. That just forces it into alternate currents.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 9:18 AM  

  • Stephen: Sure, it was a brilliant stroke to play to the base by attacking the hated women...

    The intellectual bankruptcy of some people know no bounds.

    Demos: He is proposing spending CUTS during a recession, and when called on it, only retrenched his position. A competent economist would know better, but Harper's clearly so blinded by his neoconservative ideology that he can't do what's necessary to help the people, any more than the Republicans did. And Republican-style governance just doesn't work. It's a disaster.

    Oh, get over yourself. Anyone who claims that "spend our way out of recession" is the Universally Accepted Truth is lying. (And that's even if we ignore the fact that current gov't spending levels are likely well above Keynes' wildest dreams.) Furthermore, our economy is largely export-based; how much good can domestic stimulus do?

    And quit screaming "REPUBLICAN! REPUBLICAN!!11" all the time. Get some real arguments.

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 11:18 AM  

  • 77 Liberals and 34 Dippers does not a majority make.

    Do the math kids . . . this coalition thingy is walking into a hellstorm of the Bloc being the decision maker in Canada.

    Work with that for awhile. Figure out how a coalition will support Canada and Canadian unity.

    By Blogger Fred, at 12:20 PM  

  • Fred: So, the Tories are going to take their marbles home and never vote for anything, thus making all decisions dependant on the viewpoint of the Bloc? Interesting how the role of a constructive opposition changes.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 1:29 PM  

  • I'm terribly amused by a conservative mouthpiece named "the invisible hand" whining about "universal truths".

    But if there was such a thing these days as a universally accepted truth, "the world's economies need serious fiscual stimulus" is it. Certainly Krugman does, and he knows one hell of a lot more about economics than you clearly do.

    (He's also pointed out that Keynes was far more expansion-happy than any modern government. Keynes would probably be nationalizing industries by now.)

    And, no, sorry, your man Harper is singing from the Republican hymnbook. He's more on key than the actual Republicans are these days, but it's definitely the Republican hymnbook.

    H2H, why on earth should we believe that Harper is going to spend a dime on infrastructure? He's clearly folded to pressure from his anti-government base; that's the only thing that can explain the change in rhetoric from Peru. If he's going to be carving up lower- to middle-class wages...

    ...which, contrary to your assertion, are excellent stimulus because they get spent...

    ...then there's no reason to believe he's going to do anything else of note. His rhetoric, his base, his mindset and ideology, all of it suggest otherwise.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 1:33 PM  

  • Hey, Fred:

    May 11, 2006:

    The minority Conservative government has won approval in principle for its first budget in the House of Commons, with a helping hand from the separatist Bloc Quebecois.

    The Bloc support, announced before Finance Minister Jim Flaherty had even finished reading his budget speech last week, was more than enough to outweigh opposition from the Liberals and NDP.


    September 11, 2006:

    Now that the Bloc Quebecois has said it will support the softwood deal with the U.S., it has virtually secured a positive confidence vote in the House of Commons, say industry observers.

    Together, the Tories and the Bloc would have enough votes to defeat the Liberals and the NDP, who have said they will vote against the bill to implement the deal when Parliament resumes sitting Sept. 18.



    March 20, 2007:

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper set out to help Quebec's federalists with his new, big-spending budget unveiled yesterday, but it's Quebec separatists who are keeping that budget and the Conservative government alive -- at least for now.

    The $10-million spending plan, aimed specifically at Quebec and "hard-working families" across Canada, won immediate endorsement from the Bloc Quebecois, based on a go-ahead phone call from Parti Quebecois leader Andre Boisclair, who hopes to be premier after next Monday's election in the province.

    That's all the support the federal budget needs, so Harper has averted an election that could have been kicked off as early as tomorrow evening when the Commons first casts its vote on the budget.

    By Anonymous Errol the beaver, at 1:47 PM  

  • Hi CG
    My memory lane leads to my recall of May 2003. The Magna budget. Remember that Ontario?
    During that one the finance minister told the province there was no deficit (in spite of the sale of Hwy 407). Remember that balanced budget...only a $6B deficit
    And someone (Deficit Jim I suspect)dropped a stink bomb into the budget with the proposal for private school funding (we all know where that ended...or didn't).
    Curious to recall the players in that fiacso (and subsequent decimation of Ontario PC's). Hmmmm, Deficit Jimmy F, Guy Girno (sp?) Tony Cement, Rabid John Baird.
    Do they ever learn?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:01 PM  

  • The fact of the matter is that 44% of Canadians voted for the NDP and Liberals combined, isn't that more democratic than the 38% of Canadians who voted Conservative? The Conservatives brought this onto themselves, and clearer are to concerned about partisan attacks to manage our economy. The Conservatives claim the Liberals are breaking a campaign promise of not forming a coalition, lets take a look at the Conservatives broken promises:

    a) Remember when Mr. Harper promised to make parliament more cooperative, obviously he "forgot about that".
    b) Remember when Mr. Harper said there would be NO deficit, obviously he "forgot about that".
    c) Remember when Mr. Harper guaranteed there would be NO recession, obviously he "forgot about that".
    d) Remember when Mr. Harper implied that governments only act with irresponsible behavior when they are scared of the electorate?

    Clearly he has no credibility and will do anything for power himself, talk about a hypocrite. Since Conservatives are trying to sway public opinion, by selling their "provocative" economic plan Liberals should do the same. Tell everyone exactly what the Conservatives are trying to pull here, lets not let them get away with another scheme.

    By Blogger Scott, at 2:31 PM  

  • Anonymous Dubya said...

    Harper has already backed down on the election finance reforms.

    Why don't the opposition parties just let him govern?

    1:28 AM

    --------

    Because that is only 1 small problem with the fiscal update.

    100 M surplus, after selling $10 B in undisclosed assets, in the worst sellers market in 70 years

    No action on stimulus at all

    No attempt or inclination to work with the opposition at all (even tho they have a minority).

    The CP will spin it that this move is about the $30 M cut to parties, but as always from the CP, it's only a part truth - the full truth is CP have no plan, and in stead of "Standing up for Canada" and helping the country in this dire time, they (the CP) choose petty politics.

    By Anonymous Tim N, at 2:58 PM  

  • Scott, the NDP and Liberals ran on two very different election platforms. Nobody can rightly claim that 44% of voters chose an NDP-Liberal coalition (despite Jack Layton "running for Prime Minister").

    But it's important to note that the Canadian system of Government is based on individual MPs being elected, not based on national popular vote. So it's only relevant how many MPs support the Government, not how many votes were cast for other parties.

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 3:00 PM  

  • If Conservatives were really worried about the loss of public dollars to political parties, he'd remove the tax exemption for political donations to gain more revenue for the government.

    Of course, their own supporters wouldn't love that nearly as much.

    By Anonymous rc, at 5:15 PM  

  • Where is Memory Lane 3?

    Nov. 28, 2008

    "They want to take power, rather than earn it," Harper said of the proposed coalition. "The opposition is in its right to bring down the government, but (Liberal Leader) Stephane Dion does not have the right to take power without an election."

    Sept. 9, 2004

    From a letter to then-Governor General Adrienne Clarkson signed by all three opposition leaders: Gilles Duceppe, Jack Layton and Stephen Harper

    As leaders of the opposition parties, we are well aware that, given the Liberal minority government, you could be asked by the Prime Minister to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government’s program. We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority. Your attention to this matter is appreciated.

    By Blogger MERBOY, at 11:46 AM  

  • RE: hosertohoosier

    "By contrast, a more gradual step like eliminating the public subsidy would not only make a harder rallying cry, but would diminish the ability of the Bloc to get its message out in a way PR, or other anti-Bloc steps would."

    I'm sorry could you explain how having the entire subsidy vanish on one day in a few months is gradual? The Conservatives might even convince one or two of the opposition parties to support their position if they phased it out over time... oh wait they aren't actually interested in anything other than enhancing their own position.

    By Blogger MERBOY, at 11:58 AM  

  • I'm terribly amused by a conservative mouthpiece named "the invisible hand" whining about "universal truths".

    ...as opposed to an anti-conservative mouthpiece who thinks criticizing someone's internet alias is somehow a valid argument.

    And, no, sorry, your man Harper is singing from the Republican hymnbook. He's more on key than the actual Republicans are these days, but it's definitely the Republican hymnbook.

    This is actually quite funny. In trying to prove that Harper and the Republicans are the same, you talk about how their policies are different! :D

    BTW, how much has that evil anti-Keynesian Bush increased spending over the last eight years?

    PS- Friedman won the Nobel prize, too.

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 12:45 AM  

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