Thursday, December 04, 2008

Happy Prorogation Day


(I'll be updating this thread if anything interesting happens today...)

I know every newscast these days has a constitutional expert citing precedence (that, and streeters with angry Albertans). But the fact of the matter is, this is unprecedented. Michaelle Jean is today setting the precedence future scholars will cite.

And, because of that, she needs to be very careful. Allowing a Prime Minister to escape a confidence vote in the House through prorogation allows a Prime Minister to govern without the confidence of the House. In my opinion, this breaks a fundamental rule of our parliamentary system.

What's worse, it sets a terrible precedence. Can you imagine Paul Martin proroguing in May or December 2005 to escape confidence votes? Who knows how this power could be abused in the future.

Because of this, I firmly believe that the Governor General has a duty to turn down Harper's request, and force him to face the House on Monday. That said, I won't blame her if she agrees to it, since Harper has placed her in a Kobayashi Maru by asking her to do something he should not have asked her to do.

But, from a principled perspective, the proper and responsible decision would be to deny prorogation until Harper demonstrates that he has earned the confidence of the House - something he clearly does not enjoy at this moment.

10:50 am: They've been in there for over 75 minutes now and still no word on what the hell is going on. I suppose it's a good sign that they're actually talking this over in detail, but I'm anxious to see how this horrifying experiment in democracy turns out.

11:45 am: CTV is reporting that Jean has approved Harper's request to prorogue.

12:25 pm: And thus concludes another productive session of parliament! See ya'll on January 26th.

I think I've been more than charitable to Harper throughout this entire ordeal. But any good will I had towards him has gone out the window with this move. You simply cannot govern in our system without the support of the House and that's what he'll be doing.

Labels: , , ,

73 Comments:

  • Via NBPolitico:

    The premise of responsible government is that the executive remains in office only so long as it enjoys the support of the responsible house of the legislature. If the governor general allows a prorogation and sets a precedent that a prime minister can seek and receive a prorogation anytime, even when it less than two weeks after a throne speech, with no legislation passed. This would allow any future prime minister to simply prorogue whenever a confidence vote they fear losing is scheduled.

    By Blogger Rob, at 7:21 AM  

  • Mr Grit,

    Maybe the GG doesn't believe in the no win scenario, and has reprogrammed the simulation...

    By Anonymous The Architect, at 7:43 AM  

  • Absolutely, Rob! No GG would want to go down in history as the one having created such a precedent.

    By Blogger Gene, at 7:47 AM  

  • By the same rationale she should refuse to entertain the idea of a coalition government and call an election in which the coalition makes it's intent to act as a unified party obvious and can present their unified platform to the electorate.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:58 AM  

  • Is there ANY good way out of this mess?

    By Blogger David Harrison, at 8:01 AM  

  • Even if she refuses, I think the coalition will fall apart because the Liberal party is losing the PR war as this dog and pony show morphs into Canada's favorite pastime, National Unity. I believe that after last night's abysmal video from Dion, a lot of Liberals have to be asking themselves if they really want to serve in a coalition under this guy. Between now and the confidence vote on Monday, I honestly believe the gravity of the political damage the Liberal party is doing to itself by forming a government that acts at the pleasure of the Bloc is going to force some serious reconsideration of whether Liberals honestly want to go down that road.

    It's also possible that Michael Ignatieff might back out on this - God knows, I can see the attack ads being formulated in the Little Shop of Tories for Election 2009 already...

    By Blogger The Grumpy Voter, at 8:18 AM  

  • If Harper was not such a lying, manipulating twit he would have never got himself into a situation that requires the GG to go against the wishes of Parliament to save his own skin.

    For the Liberal MPs that are considering not voting with the Coalition I ask a simple question:

    Knowing Harper and those Harris flunkies - Flaherty, Clement, Baird - who hold critical positions within the present government, can you honestly say that it is in the best interests of Canada that lying, manipulating Harper remains prime minister?

    And if I hear another idiot try the "Dion and the Liberals are in bed with the Separtists" argument, it is one too many idiots that I have heard from. This line is a Conservative speaking point, and has been repeatedly explained as not the case.

    The Bloc, like the Liberals and NDP, do not think it is in the best interests of Quebec (or the rest of Canada) that Harper remains PM. They are prepared to rid Quebec (and Canada) of PM Harper by promising to support the Coalition, without fail, on confidence votes for the next 18 months. The Liberal/NDP government agenda will be a combination of Liberal and NDP policies, not Bloc policies. The most important thing is, it will be the end of lying, manipulating PM Harper.

    David Harrison, yes, that is the GOOD that will come out of this. The end of lying, manipulating PM Harper. Are we really that dimwitted that we can't remember the Cadman affair, the Harper arrogance, the Harper lies during the election, the elimination of the Kelowna Accord, ........... I can handle a late tape and even a less than spectacular, but very decent and honest Dion, if it means the end of lying, manipulating PM Harper.

    By Blogger MississaugaPeter, at 8:22 AM  

  • To Anon @ 7:58 am:
    From what I understand, the GG is allowed to ask the Opposition to form government.

    ---------
    "If a Cabinet is defeated in the House of Commons on a motion of censure or want of confidence, the Cabinet must either resign (the Governor General will then ask the Leader of the Opposition to form a new Cabinet) or ask for a dissolution of Parliament and a fresh election. In very exceptional circumstances, the Governor General could refuse a request for a fresh election. For instance, if an election gave no party a clear majority and the Prime Minister asked for a fresh election without even allowing the new Parliament to meet, the Governor General would have to say no. This is because, if “parliamentary government” is to mean anything, a newly elected House of Commons must at least be allowed to meet and see whether it can transact public business. Also, if a minority government is defeated on a motion of want of confidence very early in the first session of a new Parliament, and there is a reasonable possibility that a government of another party can be formed and get the support of the House of Commons, then the Governor General could refuse the request for a fresh election. - Eugene A. Forsey

    ----------

    My interpretation is that the GG cannot even go there, i.e. "refuse [or not] to entertain the idea of a coalition government," as long as a confidence vote has not taken place in the House of Commons.

    By Blogger Gene, at 8:31 AM  

  • Full Disclosure: As a Conservative Party member and one who strongly believes that Canada is well served by having such a Prime Minister as Stephen Harper at this time...

    I believe the Governor General has little choice but to suspend Parliament if that is what Harper asks.

    In January she would be in a much better historal position to force a confidence vote to proceed, which (if lost by the CPC) would more likely trigger a new election than a coalition headed by a PM without the confidence of his own party.

    Personally this "constitutional crisis" would be best and more democratically resolved by holding the darn vote Monday, and if lost by the government a new election would ensue in which the Libs/NDP would run on the promise of forming a coalition (with Bloc support) if there's another minority.

    But again - If Harper asks to perogue (sp?) The GG I think would have to agree.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:02 AM  

  • To Anonymous 9:02:

    Your above scenario would allow any future Prime Minister to prorogue Parliament at any time to avoid a confidence motion.

    Is that a precendent we should be setting?

    By Blogger Rob, at 9:05 AM  

  • I was reading (I'm not sure where - sorry) that Harper's repeal of public funding was designed to cripple the Bloc, who benefit most from this. After all, they have much lower costs as a non national party and would have to tap into the same donations as the PQ if they were to lose public funding. I realise that the Grits are tapped but at least they can raise funds on a national level...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:28 AM  

  • CG,

    I'm not so sure it's a fait accompli that Harper would lose a confidence vote. Liberal unrest with the coalition seems to be growing.

    Kinsella is now on the record as being against it, and anyone who reads Kinsella knows that when he has a partisan interest in something, he stays on message.

    You can be sure that if Kinsella comes out against it, he's getting his marching orders from Ignatieff. And if Iggy's not on board, they won't vote Harper down.

    The opposition just went all in without even bothering to look at their hole cards to see what they actually had.

    By Anonymous john g, at 9:34 AM  

  • John g - Well then, Harper should face the vote and try to win it. It's because of the uncertainty around this that we need a vote to determine if he has the confidence of the house or not.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:35 AM  

  • The House gave PMSH their confidence following the Speech from the Throne.

    and then this comment comes into play:
    My interpretation is that the GG cannot even go there, i.e. "refuse [or not] to entertain the idea of a coalition government," as long as a confidence vote has not taken place in the House of Commons.

    By Blogger wilson, at 9:37 AM  

  • Rob - We're in the land of "the lesser evil" now - No, governments SHOULD not avoid confidence motions simply because they might lose them....BUT...there is far more of a historical basis to taking the "advice of the Prime Minister" for a 1-2 month "time-out" (if that is what he should ask for) than to replace his government with a coalition that the Libs/NDP explicitly opposed during the last election under a PM who is by definition not good enough to lead his own party.

    In my original post I agree that a PM cannot forever duck out on these confidence motions.

    Such matters, as rare as they are should be handled in a "historical context."

    If, 20 years from now, after we've had a few such coalitions, then in a similar situation, replacing the government with such an opposition coalition without an election could become more appropriate.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:40 AM  

  • Which is more important in a democracy?

    PM having the confidence of the House

    the House having the confidence of their citizens


    That is really what is happening here. The Opps telling Canadians that their votes do not carry as much weight in Parliament
    as a constitutional technicality borrowed from the Motherland.

    And here Canadians thought all this time that the guy with the most votes wins.
    This coalition is an insult to the sensibilites of Canadians.
    Opps have the right, but it doesn't make it right (think floorcrossing)

    By Blogger wilson, at 9:47 AM  

  • Has a prorogue request EVER been denied? There would be no precedent set if it was not denied here, because the general rule is to not deny. The precedent would rather be set if it IS denied. The precedent would be that the request should not be approved as a formality but the GG should look through it to see if the request unduly serves the Prime Minister's political objectives. That would greatly empower the GG.

    As for those saying a prorogue would install Harper as dictator, please. He just won a confidence vote in November and it would be a political outrage if tried to significantly exert his authority between now and the next Budget anyway. The REAL question is whether Dion et al should get their wish to take power immediately granted or whether it should be delayed such that he provides further proof his coalition would be stable and has a Budget before him which proves that the policy divide is irreconcilable, or at least more substantial than a personality excuse for why he should be PM instead of Harper.

    By Blogger Brian Dell, at 9:48 AM  

  • Anon:

    It still sets a precedent. Imagine if a future Prime Minister in a minority Parliament decided to outlaw all further oil sands production, had a Coalition organized against him, and then prorogued Parliament to stay in power. He could then cite Harper's prorogation as justification for his move. Imagine what a 1-2 month time out would do to the Alberta economy in the meantime.

    The PM needs to face the House as soon as possible. We have to uphold the principle of responsible government above all partisan considerations.

    By Blogger Rob, at 9:53 AM  

  • CG,

    I agree completely. I'm disappointed in this attempt to prorogue and would prefer Harper face the house.

    But my point is only that it's not clear that Harper has lost confidence; therefore making Jean's job harder and more likely that she will agree to prorogue.

    I'm betting Dion's performance last night speeds up the demise of the coalition. Who wants to follow this guy into battle after that display? I wish Harper WOULD face the house.

    What a depressing time. Perhaps I should be more like the majority of Canadians, who only care about votes when American Idol is on.

    By Anonymous john g, at 9:59 AM  

  • Whether or not to suspend Parliament SHOULD (usually) have nothing whatsover to do with what a government plans to do. The GG's responsibility is first and foremost ensuring that Canada has a stable government.

    In your oil sands scenario, just as in the present situation, the system is working. The government would be (and is) prevented from doing anything. (Like when the Senate in 1984 forced an election over Free Trade.)

    Yes, your future Prime Minister could cite this suspension (if it happens) to justify his or her own clinging to power...and he or she would still be more justified than the opposition would be in simply taking over in a situation similar to today's.

    The beauty (which nobody sees but me :) in having few actual rules to deal with these types of situations is that everything can be considered; The strength of the PMs mandate, the opposition's credibility, public opinion, problems facing the nation etc...

    If the crisis was say, an invasion by the United States and the current government wanted to surrender, maybe it would be more appropriate for the GG to install the opposition without the delay a suspension of Parliament or an election would cause.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:07 AM  

  • Brian - Yes, no prorogation has ever been denied. But it has never been asked at a time when the PM lacked confidence in the house, nor this soon after a session started (that I know of).

    Harper has put the GG in a tough situation.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:19 AM  

  • We can talk about giving the GG too much power if she denies this request, but if so the blame for that lies solely with Harper. He is demonstrating an appalling abuse of power here.

    That said, I believe she will grant his request - not because she should, but because she does not really have a choice.

    If Iggy backs out of this now, after a public demonstration of support, why would anyone still want him as a leader? He will have hung his party out to dry, and given Harper carte blanche in the coming months.

    Again, a coalition is not the first choice of anyone, but Harper is not giving people our first choice. He is insisting on HIS choice. The party has to stay the course here. If you think it was bad last session, just imagine what Harper will do if the LPC back out now - not to mention what the NDP will do.

    By Blogger Gayle, at 10:35 AM  

  • Do we know for sure he's actually asking for a prorogue? Isn't it just as likely, knowing what we do of the man, that he is trying to steer the Governor-General to calling a new election, when his opponents are broke and less than steady in their cause?
    It would be tantamount to telling the Canadian public that they got it wrong in October, that Harper will continue to refuse to govern in a minority situation unless provided majority-like freedoms.
    This is a long delay. Either he's wrapped his sausage-like fingers around the piano leg and refuses to leave, or we should be worried about the Governor-General's safety.

    By Blogger rockfish, at 11:03 AM  

  • WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON??? WHEN WILL HARPER COME OUT???

    By Anonymous Vancouver Sean, at 11:04 AM  

  • refuses to leave, or we should be worried about the Governor-General's safety

    Ha, I love it!

    By Anonymous jason bo green, at 11:07 AM  

  • I love how everyone is talking about how cold it is outside Rideau Hall.

    It's 3C, with a -1C windchill.

    By Blogger Rob, at 11:12 AM  

  • Harper shouldn't have asked to prorogue.

    Whether you agree with the Coalition or not, the prime minister should not avoid facing the House.

    Not to quibble, but Paul Martin avoided facing the House. Not with a prorogue, but with other means. It was wrong when Martin did it, and it was wrong when Harper did it.

    Martin may have postponed his defeat, but he got crushed the next time he faced the voters. Harper may suffer the same fate if he keeps walking the Martin path.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 11:16 AM  

  • If I was the Gov Gen, I'd refuse the request to shut down Parliament and indicate to the opposition that, if they do take down the government, she will be accepting Harper's request for an election. If the Lib / NDP / BQ (or Lib / NDP ) want to govern as a coalition, then they should run as a coalition.

    By Anonymous IanS, at 11:45 AM  

  • Yes, I want to repeat what you said:

    The FIRST PRINCIPLES of Canadian democracy are "responsible" and "representative" government.

    Meaning that both the formal executive (the Crown) and the political executive (the PM and cabinet) derive their legitimacy from Parliament.

    They must be "responsible" to the House of Commons, which is "representative" of the people.

    Our Constitution itself has just been suspended.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:12 PM  

  • The Globe is reporting that Dion is losing the support of his caucus. Which, by Liberal standards expressed in the last few days, means DIon must resign.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 12:19 PM  

  • Dion already has resigned...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:31 PM  

  • Harper wriggles free.

    "Voldemort" is back and stronger than ever. If one fails to kill the king quickly, the king gets stronger.

    A time out isn't such a bad idea, because the Coalition and the Liberals really have to figure out who is going to lead this thing. Last night, revealed that the Coalition is not likely to fly with Dion leading it.

    The prorogation also disrupts the Liberal leadership campaign.

    I think the Liberals have to decide on a new leader before January 26.

    By Blogger whyshouldIsellyourwheat, at 12:40 PM  

  • Let the mudslinging begin...

    er... let it continue.

    It'll be an ugly 7 weeks. Merry Christmas indeed.

    By Blogger Brettinhalifax, at 12:47 PM  

  • Hi CG

    The coalition is at the fork in the road

    Please take the high road

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:08 PM  

  • wilson said...
    Which is more important in a democracy?

    PM having the confidence of the House

    the House having the confidence of their citizens

    The coalition doesn't want to answer this question because they know the answer. They have the confidence of the house, but have lost the confidence of the citizens. It is still our government afterall.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:28 PM  

  • The coalition is at the fork in the road

    Please take the high road.


    Screw the high road. When the sitting Prime Minister fails to act in a responsible, democratic manner, he and his supporters deserve to have whatever horror befalls them.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:31 PM  

  • I would now think strongly about moving the Liberal leadership convention forward to before January 26, 2009.

    The only real reason we are into coalition is that we don't want an election now. And the only reason we don't want an election is because we don't have a leader or the money.

    Can't do much about the money, but for sure can elect a leader quickly.

    Very disappointed in the GG.

    By Blogger mezba, at 1:33 PM  

  • Maybe Harper went in there and threatened to fire her if she didn't acquiesce. "Do what I say or I call the Queen and install Stockwell Day as GG".

    Or maybe he just hung out in the hallway for a couple of hours, didn't see here, and then went out to the cameras to announce that she prorogued Parliament.

    I could see Harper having her replaced in an instant. Her husband's a separatist, she probably was too before she got this cushy job.

    The option's still on the table if the Liberals follow through with this idiot plan. I'm certain this coalition is going to go down in a flames, but if it doesn't, Harper can have her replaced and let Stockwell call an election.

    And when the Tories return as a minority government, and the Liberals try to take over again, we can just have perpetual elections. We'll call it our stimulus package. We will elect ourselves out of recession with unending elections.

    By Anonymous Tony the Tiger, at 1:35 PM  

  • I don't know how realistic it is to move the Lib leadership up to January, but if possible, I guess it's in everyone's best interests to do so.


    CG - I think you've been very fair and charitable to Harper, no question.

    By Anonymous jason bo green, at 1:49 PM  

  • Thank God Jean prorogued Parliament. A basic convention of our consitution is that the Crown follows the advice of the individual who commands the confidence of the House of Commons. At this time, that individual is PM Harper. The confidence of the House in his government was expressed as recently as 8 days ago (IIRC) in a vote on the Speech from the Throne. It would have broken a century and a half of constitutional convention for the representative of the Crown to disregard the advice of the Prime Minister on the basis that he *might* lose the confidence of the House in the future. To have done so would have made the Governor-General an independent political agent, and destroyed the foundation of representative democracy. Simply put, the Governor-General can only disregard the advice of the Prime Minister when he is no longer Prime Minister (i.e. having resigned or lost a vote of confidence in the House). While I'm sure Jean had misgivings about approving Harper's request, she did the right thing.

    By Blogger Wes, at 1:57 PM  

  • More than charitable?

    If you were blogging at Macleans you'd be called a conservative hack.

    By Anonymous john g, at 2:07 PM  

  • For the 'wushy moderates', of whom it appears Calgary Grit was among until a few minutes ago:

    One point we should all be pounding on: Harper is clearly either a psychopath or a sociopath (if there is even any difference between the two).
    The few snap polls I've seen show support for the coalition at around 40% and support for the Conservatives at around 35%. Nearly all of the undecided are people who voted for the coalition partners in the last election. While, no doubt, a good percentage of those are Bloc supporters who aren't sure they want any part in 'being' in government, most of the rest are obviously Liberals or New Democats.

    Some of those, are some of the people here, those who don't want to see the two parties get into bed with each other. But, many others are the wushy moderates who want a 'fair outcome for all involved' to be the result. The talking point from them seems to be 'Harper backtracked on the budget, so hasn't he shown he should be given one more chance'.
    Harper is clearly either a psychopath or a sociopath. I'm not a psychologist but I've read enough to know that these sorts of people feed on the wushy moderates. They get caught, promise to behave better, and then go back to their standard behaviour the moment attention has moved on. The answer is to the line "shouldn't he be given one more chance" is he's already been given a ton of chances.
    He promised to be contrite after he failed to get a majority and went back to his old self immediately thereafter with the budget. He promised after the budget fiasco to be more conciliatory and then immediately after began to engage in behaviour that could very well split the country apart because he perceives it to be in his short term advantage.
    Canada deserves better than to be governed by a psycopath.

    By Blogger Adam T, at 2:23 PM  

  • While I don't like the decision I do believe it is the best thing that could happen for the Liberals.

    The poll results released yesterday indicated 40% would welcome a change but there was strong opposition to Dion being PM. I'm wondering if we'll see two of the three leadership candidates drop out of the race by early January.

    Any thoughts on how the general Liberal party members (and delegates) would respond to that - having been denied the opportunity to choose a leader?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:32 PM  

  • "angry Albertan" streeters? I think you've underestimated the anger. You could probably add Saskatchewan and B.C. to that mix. Anyone who thinks the coalition as government wouldn't have spiked western separatism doesn't understand how angry people out here were with the actions and the potential of a "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" arguement to support a Bloc-like party for the West, not just Alberta.

    By Anonymous Darren, at 2:37 PM  

  • I dislike the idea of regional parties, but a Bloc-lke party for the West might be a good idea. Seems an unhappy route to take, but maybe it would be for the best.

    By Anonymous jason bo green, at 2:55 PM  

  • Conservative Party supporters are angry in the west, not supporters of the other parties.

    Conservatives are always angry about something. It must be something in their makeup, it might have something to do with the fact that nearly all of them are invariably stupid.

    By Blogger Adam T, at 3:06 PM  

  • RE: john g

    "But my point is only that it's not clear that Harper has lost confidence; therefore making Jean's job harder and more likely that she will agree to prorogue."

    It's not clear? You actually believe that?

    By Blogger MERBOY, at 3:06 PM  

  • This is the best possible outcome for the Liberals. They avoid the spectre of Stephan "Peter Principle" Dion actually becoming PM and get to hammer Harper for a couple months for avoiding the vote of no confidence. The NDP coalition is on the table if their next leader wants it, or it can be dropped like a hot potato.

    Best of all, they can hang the recession around Harper's neck next election. He owns it now, even if Canada hasn't taken the real hit yet. Things didn't really go bad in the USA till September, and you have to expect that we'll lag by six months. It looks like this recession will be worse than 1982 or 1974 in terms of raw numbers. It may not feel as bad, because so much growth in housing and finance was not real money, but the effects of this credit bubble will last for a long, long time.

    By Blogger Robert McLeod, at 3:09 PM  

  • I dislike the idea of regional parties, but a Bloc-lke party for the West might be a good idea. Seems an unhappy route to take, but maybe it would be for the best.

    I think I've seen that film before!

    By Anonymous sukshoom, at 3:23 PM  

  • Yeah, Reform II isn't a great idea in my opinion.

    (that said, it would certainly help the left in Western Canada politically, because of vote splitting)

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 3:40 PM  

  • >Allowing a Prime Minister to escape a confidence vote in the House through prorogation allows a Prime Minister to govern without the confidence of the House.

    It's not an escape; it's a delay. The House is still there when prorogation ends, along with (undoubtedly) a slew of opinion polls. Maybe the opposition becomes more sure of itself and even more determined to put out the cat; or maybe it takes a sober second thought and the country avoids an unnecessary dislocation. Either way it's useful.

    lrC

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:40 PM  

  • Darren: You know, I hate it when Albertans to speak for the west. Perhaps you hadn't noticed, but BC definitely does not have Alberta levels of blue, with the exception of the northern oil and gas ridings. We actually have elections here, not coronations. And separatist talk is generally limited to visiting Albertans.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:40 PM  

  • Am I the only one who actually liked Dion's speech last night (although did not appreciate the delay). I thought he hit all the right points; collaboration, working together, consensus, working for Canadians, coalitions aren't scary, etc.

    And I'm a Dipper, not a Lib, if that makes a difference to you.

    By Anonymous Deanna, at 3:43 PM  

  • You simply cannot govern in our system without the support of the House and that's what he'll be doing.

    Serious question here: How much governing can Harper do without the House in session? Obviously the CPC controls the levers of government, but how much can they actually do without being able to pass legislation?

    By Blogger David, at 4:07 PM  

  • //Serious question here: How much governing can Harper do without the House in session? Obviously the CPC controls the levers of government, but how much can they actually do without being able to pass legislation?//

    The auto bailout package created in partnership with the McGuinty government will be in the throne speech budget on January 26.

    Voting down the throne speech budget, will delay the auto bailout.

    $30 billion has already been budgeted and allocated for infrastructure. In the meeting with first ministers in January, the list of projects with shovels being put into the ground will be released.

    By Blogger whyshouldIsellyourwheat, at 4:47 PM  

  • Yeah, it's hardly optimal. But this isn't really a precedent from what I see. If the new coalition can survive till 2009, then it will take power no matter what Harper wants.

    If it doesn't, then it was probably best that we found that out beforehand.

    Either way, Harper is still screwed.

    By Blogger The Internationalist, at 5:37 PM  

  • It has only now been pointed out that prorogation slices off all of five sitting days from the House calendar.

    It should take all of an hour to re-introduce the legislation which just died on the order paper.

    Not really worthy of the sort of vitriol that some Liberals continue to spew, is it?

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 5:41 PM  

  • Not really worthy of the sort of vitriol that some Liberals continue to spew, is it?

    Brother, I don't think any of this is worth vitriol from liberals *or* the Conservatives. I don't see how any side here looks mature.

    By Anonymous jason bo green, at 5:52 PM  

  • From what I understand, there have been many objectionable budgets presented over the years and when the then ruling party took out the offending items the opposition would vote in favour. In this instance the "fix" was in before the budget was even presented by "Comrade" Layton. That is the party whose members at every opportunity say the "will take Harper down". Dragging the Liberals with them was a poor idea start to finish. Here's my problem; the party that is needed to support this coalition is not on the ballot in 9 provinces and 3 territories and whose only reason for being is to separate from Canada.

    By Blogger Rositta, at 5:53 PM  

  • As an aside, Mike Duffy reports a new Ipsos-Reid poll with 68% support for prorogation, 56% support for a new election, and 38% support for the coalition to take power. I don't have anything regarding the phrasing of the questions, or other details.

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 5:54 PM  

  • National Newswatch is posting stories saying that polls show Harper would now win a majority. Dion, the gift that keeps giving.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 7:02 PM  

  • Prorogation will save the LPC from the nasty association with the coalition. Take the gift, and be happy for it.

    It means the LPC will exist until the next election, but not long after that, if they run as the "coalition party".

    By Blogger Möbius, at 7:09 PM  

  • John g - Well then, Harper should face the vote and try to win it. It's because of the uncertainty around this that we need a vote to determine if he has the confidence of the house or not.

    And we will have the vote...just not in a few days when everyone is on edge. If, by the end of January, this coalition still exists, they can still vote down the government.

    Martin set the precedent of dirty (but legal) tricks with the Stronach defection, when he didn't have the confidence of the House, and paid the price eventually.

    Harper may too, but unless the LPC is completely abandoning the centre, they may wish to re-visit where their swing votes come from.

    By Blogger Möbius, at 7:16 PM  

  • If Iggy backs out of this now, after a public demonstration of support, why would anyone still want him as a leader?

    I've seen no real evidence he's backed out of this. He may be laying low, but I can't blame him for that.

    By Blogger Möbius, at 7:22 PM  

  • Not to quibble, but Paul Martin avoided facing the House. Not with a prorogue, but with other means. It was wrong when Martin did it, and it was wrong when Harper did it.

    Exactly. If you're looking for precedents, don't start with Harper.

    By Blogger Möbius, at 7:24 PM  

  • Dan: you are missing the point. The GG would have created a precedent if she DENIED the elected prime minister's request, particularly a Prime Minister whose throne speech was passed five days ago with the confidence of the house and one who was elected with a strong mandate only weeks ago.

    Harper hasn't lost the confidence of anything. Other than the word of 3 leaders who by themselves represent only 3 votes -- there is no loss of confidence. You need a formal expression of non-confidence in the house to make the statement that he has officially lost confidence.

    But you liberals only seem to like the rules and constitution when you can adapt them to your favor.

    This was an attempted coup. Stephane Dion's career is over. The Liberals are in trouble for the next 2-4 years.

    By Blogger Brian Grenya, at 7:44 PM  

  • Personally I think the Liberals should immediately exit the coalition. Now that the vote is moved back, and public support is the government's favor there is nothing to gain for creating a coalition.

    The Liberals should provide suggestions for the budget, and then pass it. If the Conservatives refuse to allow other parties to help with the budget, and provide another botched plan they can face the music for that in the next election. The main goal for Liberals should be to keep our party together until the leadership convention, then assume a new stance then. We shouldn't allow the party to do anything too dramatic until we have a new leader. If we destroy the party today, there will be nothing for a new leader to lead tomorrow.

    By Blogger Scott, at 7:59 PM  

  • RE: Brian Grenya

    "This was an attempted coup. Stephane Dion's career is over. The Liberals are in trouble for the next 2-4 years."

    Conservatives are naive if they think they can go back to ruling as though they have a majority mandate... even if the opposition parties decide they aren't part of a formal coalition anymore... they're way more likely to support each other against the government than they were before... which will probably mean no more Harper if he doesn't clean up his act.

    By Blogger MERBOY, at 10:47 PM  

  • Rob 9:05 & CalgaryGrit et al

    Harper has WON the confidence of the House by the passing of the Throne Speech last week.

    The GG doesn't have to guess whether or not he'll win one next week, she can base her decision on very recent history.

    Once again, the Liberals/NDP/Bloc coalition were too cute by far.

    My personal preference is that Harper face the House as after last night's fiasco, I suspect any number of Liberals would have succumbed to the flu.

    By Blogger Candace, at 11:59 PM  

  • Adam T: "Conservative Party supporters are angry in the west, not supporters of the other parties.

    Conservatives are always angry about something. It must be something in their makeup, it might have something to do with the fact that nearly all of them are invariably stupid."

    Why the Liberals lost. Arrogance.

    By Blogger Candace, at 2:50 AM  

  • Candace said...

    "Why the Liberals lost. Arrogance."

    I'm sorry but after this whole exercise Conservatives have lost the right to lose that word EVER.

    By Blogger MERBOY, at 8:09 AM  

  • "I'm sorry but after this whole exercise Conservatives have lost the right to lose that word EVER."

    Nope. We can share. But calling all conservative voters is just that, arrogance.

    Wear it.

    By Blogger Candace, at 10:09 PM  

  • RE: Candace

    "Nope. We can share. But calling all conservative voters is just that, arrogance."

    Uh where exactly did I call all conservative voters arrogant? The Conservative party has displayed an unprecedented level of arrogance this week... that's what I was referring to.

    By Blogger MERBOY, at 10:30 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home