Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tory Times Are Tough Times

The buzz out of Kitchener is that the Liberals may do the honourable thing by not taking advantage of an impending economic slow down. Garth Turner explains:

"I think the most important thing for us is not to just say, 'Oh goody, here's an opportunity for us to bring the government down' when people are feeling most anxious about the future. That might be politically advantageous but it's not the right thing for Canada."

I agree 100%. I think the"right thing for Canada" would be to wait until things get bad enough that people are willing to toss Harper over the economy and then bring 'em down.

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  • Translation: Dion's popularity is still in the crapper, so let's find another excuse not to vote on any confidence motions for another half a year.

    Seriosly though, if the Liberals were high enough in the polls that they thought they could win, do you not think they would pull the trigger?

    By Blogger cherenkov, at 12:24 a.m.  

  • Regardless of Dion's political tin ear, Canadians at this point are more frustrated with the utter lack of any balls on ANYONE in opposition. We've had these clowns running the show since 2006 with no real voice of sanity to keep them in check. As much as I find conservatives vile, petty, morons incapable of independent thought, the opposition has been abysmal. Even though 2/3 of the country didn't vote for the conservatives, we sure as hell expected the opposition to be much better. I hope for an election but I fear what that will bring - another pathetic conservative minority, operating as though they own the place. A sad reality.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:57 a.m.  

  • I completely agree with your take here CG.

    I also agree with AR. I was not supportive of pulling the plug over the Throne Speech, but at some point the liberals are going to have to call Harper's bluff. That does not necessarily mean an election. It means putting the conservatives in the position where they have to work cooperatively or their government will die. The liberals have to show they are willing to take that step.

    Jaffer was on Duffy tonight claiming the opposition is not willing to work with the government. He went on to say that Manley's report will be part of a confidence motion and the conservatives will not permit any amendments. Odd thing to say for a party that claims it wants Parliament to work.

    By Blogger Gayle, at 1:15 a.m.  

  • Gayle, where exactly have you seen any willingness with this Conservative bunch to work with the opposition? You just answered your own question with their threat to make the Manley report a no-confidence motion, and some of us out here in Liberal netroots land are getting rather frustrated that our party is bending over backwards and looking like wimps trying to avoid an election then stand on some principle and call the Cons bluff, particularly over an odious obviously hand-picked commission like Harper did with this panel to report the result he wants to do EXACTLY what they're threatening to do now.

    Furthermore, I wish our communications advisers would tell the Liberal caucus - both highups and MP's - to stop broadcasting to the world what we may or may not do. Can we at least give the Cons a little suspense rather then broadcasting to the world how afraid we are of an election?

    By Blogger Oxford County Liberals, at 1:27 a.m.  

  • I agree 100%. I think the"right thing for Canada" would be to wait until things get bad enough that people are willing to toss Harper over the economy and then bring 'em down

    CG, that is the most cold-hearted statement you have ever made.

    By Blogger Greg, at 7:21 a.m.  

  • Greg said...

    "CG, that is the most cold-hearted statement you have ever made."

    Greg... ever heard of sarcasm?

    By Blogger MERBOY, at 8:02 a.m.  

  • greg; Yeah, I was just pointing out that the spin that most parties (in this case the Liberals) use about "making parliament work", "the good of Canada", etc, etc, is usually just BS.

    If the Libs thought people were feeling the economic slow down right now and were willing to vote Harper out, they'd pull the plug right now.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 8:12 a.m.  

  • Whooee! I think the average Canadian who's paying some attention to HoC is wondering where the opposition is. A sizable majority of Canadians disagree with the direction and tactics of the Harper Cons. Yet, they get carte blanche for whatever they want to do.

    Why? Because the Liberals are afraid of an election. Political expediency trumps all else. Never mind your principles. Allow yourselves to be bullied and blackmailed by the most transparently odious government Canada has ever had.

    Dion has been successfully painted as a wimp and voters of all stripe are interpreting his unwillingness to fight for Liberal principles as additional proof of his wimpiness.

    An official opposition that refuses to officially oppose while at the same time espousing opposing viewpoints and ideology is no opposition, at all.

    Like Merkan voters, a majority of Canadians want hope and change. The Liberals are delivering hopelessness and the status quo. I had high hopes for Dion but his ineffectual performance as an opposition leader is just playing into the "not a leader" meme.

    Like ol' Kenny Rogers sang: "Sometimes you've got to fight to be a man."


    By Blogger JimBobby, at 8:35 a.m.  

  • I hope we can buck the tide of the current trends in the world economy, and still elect a Liberal government. Me thinks we might not and all the things we disagree with Harper about (foreign policy, environment, health care), the one thing that he can't really control - the economy - will ultimately bring him and his government down.

    I'm fairly confident there will be an election call this year by summer or fall. And I think its possible Canada will join the "need change" coalition that seems to sweeping the globe. And the result will be Canada's New New Government.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:52 a.m.  

  • I too had high hopes for Dion, JimBobby - the Liberals have become spineless cowards in Opposition under him. I don't know if it's him or the party's reaction to him or what, and I don't really care, but it's time to start a) cheerleading on Harper instead of attacking while voting for him, or b) stand up and oppose him and actually mean it. They can't have it both ways forever.

    Dan, in terms of capitalizing on an economic slowdown, I speculate that it could help Harper distance himself from the Bush Administration, if he chooses to do so. It could turn out to be a huge vote-getter for him. No idea what he'll choose to do, of course - just pointing out the possibility is all.

    For that reason, the Liberals and other opposition parties should start getting really serious and specific about the economy - they don't currently have much message on it that I've yet seen.

    Funny post.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:54 a.m.  

  • Wrong.

    The right thing to do is wait until the Liberals finally get their crap together and THEN toss Harper out.

    Might take a few more years. Be patient.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:09 a.m.  

  • "Might take a few more years. Be patient."

    Ummm... the election act sez we need to have an election by Feb 2009. The Grits don't have a few more years. Bear in mind that the message sent by a party in disarray is that if they're elected, that same party in disarray will be running things. That doesn't inspire much confidence.

    Time for Dion and the Grits to prove themselves on the campaign trial. Harper is vulnerable on such a wide range of issues, there should be no reason to fear a fight.

    Harper can and will capitalize on an economic slowdown. He'll blame it on treehuggers and he'll use the false "economy-vs-environmental" framing that he's been able to get away with, so far.

    While Canada is bleeding jobs, Germany has added 200,000 new jobs in the wind and solar energy fields. The green economy and associated prosperity is passing us by. Maybe the Liberal Party can afford to wait. The planet cannot.

    I don't expect the gal I adore, earth Mother Lizzie May, to become PM. The best outcome for Canada and the planet is a minority Liberal government with a smattering of Greens to keep Parliament on it's best behaviour.

    Change the climate in Parliament. Vote Green.


    By Blogger JimBobby, at 10:34 a.m.  

  • Harper is vulnerable on such a wide range of issues, there should be no reason to fear a fight.

    I could not possibly agree more. What are the Liberals so afraid of? They want to whine and nitpick (their own former) policies, but studiously avoid real potential opportunities.

    I generally don't 'get' politics, but I'm totally lost on what's going on now with the Liberal Opposition.

    I may take your advice and vote Green, Jimbob - I won't decide til the actual campaign, but anything is possible.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:02 a.m.  

  • Scott:

    "I wish our communications advisers would tell the Liberal caucus - both highups and MP's - to stop broadcasting to the world what we may or may not do. Can we at least give the Cons a little suspense rather then broadcasting to the world how afraid we are of an election?"

    is what I meant.

    Of course Harper is pushing the liberals around because the liberals are allowing it.

    Take a stand, and then vote against the conservatives and force an election if need be. As long as the conservatives know the liberals will cave, there is no incentive for them to cooperate. This worked well for them last year because the liberals could not afford an election. Now things are different - they have good issues to go on and the poll numbers are more favourable.

    By Blogger Gayle, at 1:46 p.m.  

  • wait till fall 2009 general election

    that way Dion doesn't have to make priorities.

    sit on your hands

    it worked for Harper in opposition

    CDN's don't want an election.

    Harper is a bully

    By Blogger Unknown, at 2:24 p.m.  

  • Oh dear! Harper isn’t have much luck with the commissions that he appointed. After Paille trashed him, Manley lets him down.

    CBC January 22nd

    Canada's military should remain in Afghanistan beyond February 2009, contingent on more support in terms of troops and equipment, according to a panel led by former Liberal cabinet minister John Manley.

    The five-member panel was not specific about how long Canada's mission in the embattled country should last. The report said it could find "no operational logic" for choosing February 2009 as the end date for the Canadian military mission in Kandahar, and there was nothing to indicate that it would be completed by that date.

    "We are recommending a Canadian commitment to Afghanistan that is neither open-ended nor faint-hearted,” says the report.

    If these conditions are not met, "the government should give appropriate notice to the Afghan and allied governments of its intention to transfer responsibility for security in Kandahar," the panel says.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 6:53 p.m.  

  • I can't say I agree with any of that, CG. I don't believe the Liberals should fear an election - I do believe that Canadians have ample cause for concern in being ruled by the current roster of incompetents and hacks for much longer. The AECL/CNSC fiasco demonstrates this easily, but it is only the tip of the iceberg. If the Liberals have the courage of their convictions, they will pull the plug as soon as possible - looking for "winning conditions" is as good a strategy for the Liberals as it has been for the Quebec sovereignty movement. On the other hand, if the Liberals do not really believe that they'd provide better government than Harper, then I suppose they should go on abstaining ad infinitum.

    By Blogger JG, at 7:04 p.m.  

  • Gayle,

    The economy will loom large in the next election. For the last number of years it's been on auto-pilot. That may coming to an end of sorts. Harper's caution about balancing the economy and the environment might resonate a little bit more. Curing povery for all time and saving the planet will take the back-burner. I say patience is in order and in the meantime the Liberals have to show themselves to be the government in waiting. And I think they could use the time to make that case better than they have thus far.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:43 p.m.  

  • I notice that it's mostly Rae and Ignatieff supporters that one to go to the polls now. The government hasn't even been in power for two years. Harper's played his cards pretty well thus far, but he'll slip up at some point and then, and only then should the Liberals pounce.

    BTW, Rae supporters know that his time has come and gone. I don't think that Iggy or his supporters know that.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:03 p.m.  

  • Toronto Tom

    I happen to have supported Ignatieff at the Montreal convention. If an election is called it's anyone's game, the Conservatives could maintain the status quo and get a minority or the Liberals could get a minority. They can do this by increasing their seat totals in Ontario and Quebec. I think the Bloc will lose further ground there. Whovever wins the election campaign, or better put, campaigns more effectively, will win. I think Harper might get better. Dion will not get better as opposition leader, it's not in his blood. There's no sure thing in politics and our chances are as good as they'll get.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:25 p.m.  

  • Harper's caution about balancing the economy and the environment might resonate a little bit more.

    I understand your point and totally agree. (A very cold winter isn't going to help Dion either.) But on that same point, Harper's reluctance over the environmental front has seen a few electric car companies move south to New York -- not very smart for the Canadian economy, in my opinion. The environment can work hand in hand with the economy.

    I mean, this giant 6X7mile solar panel in space that the Pentagon and Nasa are looking into developing - tell me that's not going to pay off economically if it works out.

    One problem is that Dion isn't a big environmental thinker, in my opinion. I'm not aware of him (or May, or Layton) even mentioning those electric motor companies transplanting themselves. That's an economic AND environmental issue to grab headlines and attention and votes with, I think. They talk a big green game but often seem out to lunch (unless I'm missing the right media reports).

    Nobody takes a party that moans and bitches but never stands up very seriously. Dion should stop abstaining or stop harping - our system only works with a real Opposition.

    And I think Curt B. is probably right - no sure thing, and the Liberals chances are probably as good as they're going to be.

    Sorry, long comment.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:40 p.m.  

  • If the economy becomes the issue, I think the Conservatives are going to be well positioned. Dion's basically outflanked the NDP on the left. I think that your middle of the road voter will be loathe to trust Dion based on his public pronouncements thus far.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:06 p.m.  

  • "I mean, this giant 6X7mile solar panel in space that the Pentagon and Nasa are looking into developing - tell me that's not going to pay off economically if it works out."

    that's not going to pay off economically.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:21 p.m.  

  • Scott, re "working with the opposition",

    just as it isn't "easy to make priorities", it also isn't easy to work with an opposition that has no priorities.

    Last I checked, Dion has no policy other than to be relexively against whatever Harper does,

    without actually putting his opposition to a vote that is.

    I'm not sure why Harper should follow Dion's suggestions, when Dion doesn't follow them himself.

    Let us know when Dion's prepared to take a principled stand on something, rather than sitting on his hands and chirping from the bleachers.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:04 a.m.  

  • Yes, in tough economic times, every canadian knows that it's best not to have a tested leader who happens to be an economist,

    what's best is to have a pie-in-the-sky ivory tower academic, who's never handled an economic portfolio, and who's grand economic vision consists of the economy detroying carbon credit plan.

    Tough economic times certainly favour Dion alright!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:34 a.m.  

  • Harper is an economist? He may have a degree or two in the subject, but his entire career has been spent in political hackery, right-wing lobby groups, and now, finally, government.

    We'll see just how much Harper is "tested" by any downturn. Thus far, he seems to have a hard time dealing with anything unexpected.

    By Blogger JG, at 1:15 a.m.  

  • "(A very cold winter isn't going to help Dion either.)"

    Anyone who thinks one cold winter in the midst of a trend where winters are getting warmer means the environment is not an issue is not going to vote for Dion anyway.

    By Blogger Gayle, at 1:30 a.m.  

  • Sorry Gayle, but you're wrong - and, as usual, in your inimitable, reflexive knee-jerk partisan fashion. There are a lot of Canadians who have started taking global warming more seriously - a large amount of those people will begin to question the matter after this winter.

    Your haste and urgency to write these voters off as "not going to vote for Dion anyway" is a quitter attitude best reserved for political losers. Me, I'd say quite a lot of them could be persuaded to vote for Dion and the Liberals - but not by you, evidently.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:06 a.m.  

  • "as usual, in your inimitable, reflexive knee-jerk partisan fashion."

    Personal attacks do not make your point more effective. You are entitled to your opinion, but mine is not lessened by the fact you engage in insults in order to discount it. In fact, the need to insult me actually lessens your argument.

    As for the actual point, most people already recognize global warming is not a myth - which is why it has consistently scored as the top concern amongst Canadians. People who understand global warming also understand that one cold winter does not negate the science. They know it exists because thousands of scietists say it exists, and the international community takes it so seriously they hold summits and seek international consensus to find ways to deal with it.

    It is the Harper crowd who have been denying this fact - led by the man himself before his miraculous change of heart once Dion became the leader.

    I simply question your assertion that the fact this winter may be colder than the last will actually cost Dion votes. I believe the majority of Canadians are too smart for that.

    I managed to do that without insulting you.

    By Blogger Gayle, at 9:59 a.m.  

  • Gayle, I'm tired of conservatives who can't or won't acknowledge that FDR and Bob Rae and Clinton and Trudeau all had some good ideas, and I'm tired of liberals who are unable to do the same for Reagan or Harper or Thatcher.

    I come here for honest discussion towards education and improvement, and I'm tired of partisans who don't think independently. Sorry if that hurts your feelings, but you're as tiresome as any right-winger I've met. Your comments are predictable and boring and if that insults you, please accept my apologies in advance.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 7:18 p.m.  

  • JBG - I do not feel insulted. I find your attempt to dismiss my point through insults rather than reasoned debate amusing.

    I know you think of yourself as some great non-partisan, which I believe makes you think that your opinions somehow mean more than anyone you have decided IS partisan.

    The truth is you are as partisan as anyone who posts here. The fact you self-identify as someone who is not does not make it so. I know I am not the first person to tell you that.

    I would not be concerned about the fact you have biases like everyone else in the world. The fact that someone may be partisan does not render their opinion meaningless. There are any number of partisans on both sides of this political fence who make good points, despite the fact they may prefer one political party over another. If you were able to shake your prejudice maybe you could see this.

    What you do not seem to understand is that when you resort to insults, you demonstrate that your argument is weak. I suppose that is why you have not addressed my point.

    I do not want to use this blog to get into a war of words with you. I hope someday when you are able to discuss things in a mature fashion you and I can engage in a reasoned discussion. Until then, carry on...

    By Blogger Gayle, at 7:43 p.m.  

  • Gayle, that's wonderful, because I find you just as amusing - I guess we could make this a "Mutual Amusement Club" and sell free memberships.

    Conservatives and liberals can't carry on a mature conversation because they refuse to talk to one another. Your hatred of each other is childish and unproductive, and if you'd sit down and actually talk to each other, and listen to why you all feel the way you do, then our Parliament and government and entire nation would be a lot healthier. But no, you all scream about the dirt in each other's eyes while ignoring the mud in your own.

    Let me guess - I'm a "Conservative partisan", right? Let's see - I've sent a hundred bucks this week to the fight against Harper's criminal actions against Marc Emory and other innocent Canadians who've done nothing more than sell seeds that Nature put here on our planet. I called the Justice Minister about the matter and complained about their right-wing agenda against these innocent citizens. I've criticized the Conservative government for not doing enough to stimulate and foster environmentally-friend electric cars in Canada, which in turn would help to boost our economy.

    And it's only Wednesday!

    But according to your childish thinking, I'm a "biased Conservative".

    I know you don't like insults, but - could you grow the ---- up and act like an adult with a fuller perspective on life?

    Anyway, I know I'm doing the right things in life when I have right-wingers like Gol spitting "liberal" at me, and left-wingers like you scowling "conservative" at me. You guys can fight with yourselves over how you want to label me, but I am not a partisan hack - I'm a free-thinking independent voter.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 10:46 p.m.  

  • "but I am not a partisan hack - I'm a free-thinking independent voter."

    Of course you are. Now get some rest because you have a big day tomorrow demonstrating your superiority by bashing all the people you believe to be the partisans.

    It must be hard to be the final authority on all that is right and wrong in this world.

    By Blogger Gayle, at 12:22 a.m.  

  • I've never missed a beauty nap yet, so it's actually quite easy!

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 6:11 p.m.  

  • The problem is that Dion is (quietly) dealing with two conflicts: one external, and one internal.

    The external one, with Harper, is one where going to the polls isn't a bad idea. The money issues aren't as bad as they were, and with the numbers being the way they are the best Harper could expect would be an expanded minority. Dion could even eke out a minority of his own, which might put Jack in a bad position: either he has to help the Liberals (against his own instincts) or go against them and enrage his progressive base.

    The other conflict, though, is against Dion's detractors in his own party. They want an election as quick as possible, because they want an excuse to anoint their own candidate.

    (Maybe Iggy, but maybe not... Manley's gotten a bit of a national spotlight lately, hasn't he?)

    Dion knows that in order to keep the party together, he has to at least increase his seat count, if not get that minority. Unlike Harper, he can't take a loss and use it to rebuild, because the Liberal party itself won't let him.

    (Look at that guy who says "he can't improve, it isn't in his blood". What the hell does that even mean? What's in his blood is plasma. If you mean he's not tempermentally suited to be leader, neither is Harper. If he were, he'd be in majority territory now. If he could improve, he would have. Harper's hit the wall, not Dion.)

    So Dion waits, and catches hell from those people who (deliberately?) see the external, and miss the internal. They focus on the election, and not what would follow it.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 1:05 p.m.  

  • Jason: Pretending that you're right because both conservatives and liberals attack you is insipid. Be better than that.

    You're completely wrong about this "non-partisan" crap. A Westminster-style Parliament is adversarial. Period. There's no reason for the Liberals and Conservatives to "actually talk to each other", and every reason for them not to.

    Even if the Liberals made overtures to that effect, everybody knows that Harper's hatred of liberalism (big and small "l") verges on the rabid. All it would accomplish, in his mind, is demonstration that the Liberals are weak and he isn't.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 1:07 p.m.  

  • Influence can be defined as the power exerted over the minds and behavior of others. A power that can affect, persuade and cause changes to someone or something. In order to influence people, you first need to discover what is already influencing them. What makes them tick? What do they care about? We need some leverage to work with when we’re trying to change how people think and behave.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:12 a.m.  

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