Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Harper Exemption

Stephen Harper has announced that he may decide to go ahead and call an election, despite his own fixed election date law that forbids him to do just that. Apparently it’s more of a “fixed election guideline” than a“fixed election law”.

I wonder if it applies to the rest of Harper’s democratic reform package?

Corporate donations are illegal…unless the corporation believes a donation is needed.

Personal donations are capped at $1,000…unless you feel like donating more.

Political staffers are banned from lobbying for five years…unless they get a really good job offer.

UPDATE: Harper plans to meet with the opposition leaders and if he determines they intend to bring his government down (which they will, just because Gilles Duceppe has a death wish), he may pull the plug himself.

Which begs the obvious question: If the opposition plans to defeat him, why not just let them?

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  • I'm all for fixed election dates, but from the get-go they seemed obviously unlikely to apply as much to minority governments. I won't consider it any real blow to democracy if Harper goes to it early.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 9:14 a.m.  

  • its the school yard yah know.

    dion calling out harper

    waddya gonna do?

    ain't no rools

    By Blogger Unknown, at 10:00 a.m.  

  • Well, one has only to read the fixed election law to see it was never mandatory in the first place. It was nothing but a shell game that shortened the maximum length of a parliament. For all intents and purposes, it really does say, "Unless an election is called earlier, there's one every four years."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:11 a.m.  

  • Then why pass the law in the first place? I understand that minority parliaments are a bit wonky and not overly compatible with fixed election dates but the Tories went around giving everyone the impression they couldn't euthanize their own government until it became convenient to do so.

    If Harper wants to bring about his own demise, he should have to work for that "strategic genius" title that gets hoisted on him, and put forward a bill the opposition will have to vote against.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:05 a.m.  

  • cg, I agree.

    The bill does not make it illegal to request the GG to dissolve Parliament earlier.

    Rather the point was to cause someone going to polls too early in the mandate to pay a political price for doing so.

    I don't see why Harper shouldn't have to pay that price from the likes of you, the media, and others if he ignores his own fixed date. But it's not illegal as some have claimed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:58 a.m.  

  • Hey CG:

    Would you honour me by exchanging links?

    I've taken down The Dominion Pages and I'm now at:

    I've already taken the liberty of linking to CalgaryGrit. Hope you don't mind.


    By Blogger Matt, at 12:01 p.m.  

  • I agree with CG. The New Government has been full of flip flops. Either those guys are fools and/or they have the morality of rats.

    Looks like they are worse than the Bush Administration down south.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:54 p.m.  

  • so who passed the law?
    parliament. ergo
    they are all rats, jimtan

    harper learned well from Chretien's term.

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

  • Spending during federal elections is capped...unless you have an in-and-out scheme.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:05 p.m.  

  • Looks like they are worse than the Bush Administration down south.

    Finally, someone willing to speak truth to power. There's no question that they're worse than the Bush Administration, not in my mind. Calling an election after promising to serve out their term far outweighs declaring an unnecessary, bank-busting war of choice while ignoring Osama Bin Laden. And their income trust flip flop is a much graver matter than people realize; re-defining torture and tanking the world's greatest economy are small potatoes when placed in the appropriate contrast.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 2:39 p.m.  

  • Did the Liberal Party oppose the law to which you refer? The NDP? The Bloq?

    Yet Stephane Dion has threatened how many times now to ignore the implied will of the Legislature?

    No, the Fixed Election Date law does nothing to diminish the authority of the GG to call an election when she deems it advisable to do so, and one would expect her to make that determination if, on the advice of her Prime Minister, she finds the current Parliament to be obstructed by the opposition parties.

    By Blogger Paul, at 5:36 p.m.  

  • "so who passed the law? parliament. ergo they are all rats, jimtan"


    As usual, you are full of it. It is harper's government who wanted the law. And, it is harper that wants an early election. Why throw dirt on the bystanders?

    “harper learned well from Chretien's term”

    Definitely! And harper promised a New Government. Who speaks with a forked tongue?

    BTW, you harperites are worse than the American neo-conservatives. They have the courage to try to brazen it out. The harperites whine that Liberals did it. So, there must be nothing wrong if they do it.

    Be a man! Either admit that you were wrong, or go down fighting. Don't make excuses.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 6:00 p.m.  

  • If Harper wants to bring about his own demise, he should have to work for that "strategic genius" title that gets hoisted on him, and put forward a bill the opposition will have to vote against.

    Don't you think he's been trying to do so for several months?

    He could vote for euthanizing puppies, and Dion would tell his MP's to stay home for the vote.

    By Blogger Möbius, at 8:29 p.m.  

  • I've had two chats on the fixed election law that have left an impression.

    The first was after working a provincial election for the Libs in Canada. Sitting around and having lunch I commented that we'll still have elections anytime a government wants to go to the polls. My fellow liberals all cried foul, and that we had a new law that would stop that kind of thing. I simply said the law was useless.

    The second was yesterday. I'm traveling abroad right now, and I bumped into a Stanford Grad and we talked about politics. I explained our system was different than his and an election can happen at any time and the government can change at any time. He said that was dangerous and an ineffective way to run a government and country. I replied, that the party in power passed a law that set fixed election dates. He said that was a good idea. I then said that the party in power who set that law was about to ignore it and call an election.

    His response, and I'll quote him here: (eyebrows raise) How can they get away with that? That's stupid? Why would anyone vote for a party that breaks it's own laws?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:32 p.m.  

  • "It is harper's government who wanted the law."

    It was Harper's Government that showed the leadership in introducing this legislation at the federal level in Canada.

    But now it's the law of the land. And if Harper is to be accused of going against the spirit of the law by bringing about elections before four years are up, one must also wonder about Dion's commitment to the laws of Canada for threatening to do the same.

    We don't have a system where you only have to follow the laws you voted for, despite the best efforts of some to suggest otherwise.

    By Blogger Paul, at 9:36 p.m.  

  • Weren't there a whole lotta Liberals in parliament when that thing was passed (like just slightly less than the cpc)?

    Did a single Liberal propose an amendment to close that little loophole?

    How 'bout raise a single objection?


    Didn't think so.

    Carry on.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:40 p.m.  

  • How is it relevant if the Liberals and NDP supported the law when it was passed or not?

    Or that they've voted to bring down the government?

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:59 p.m.  

  • Let me help my friends from the extreme right and left. What's the difference between a liberal, a conservative and an extremist?

    A liberal is a progressive who is trying to prepare society for the new world. One important requirement is to eliminate bad traditional practices e.g. discrimination against minorities, women, gays etc.

    A conservative is the liberal's ideological opponent. He prefers the old ways. Both act as a check and balance to each other in a democracy.

    An extremist is something else. Often, they masquerade as idealists. Indeed, they have a definite vision of paradise. However, they also hate certain groups which are blamed for societal problems. It's the homos who are responsible for immorality and disease!

    The hallmark of the extremist is their need to purge society of 'bad elements'. In the Balkans, they blame other ethnic/religious groups although there has been peace for several generations. In western democratic societies, the extremists attack minorities. The final solution!

    Another hallmark of the extremist is their propensity to lie and cheat, break promises with aplomb, ignore evidence, and turn a blind eye to atrocities on their side. Is there any chance that the Georgian President will be charged with war crimes?

    Extremists like to attack corrupt politicians, who are merely self-serving. However, they defend their side when they do the same tricks. After all, it's all in a good cause!

    So, I say to my extremist friends. Get a moral backbone, and “Know thyself”.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:55 a.m.  

  • To answer your last question, CG, it's because (all together now):

    "Stephane Dion is not a leader."

    Only leaders can be allowed to take the initiative.

    By Blogger - K, at 8:00 a.m.  

  • Wow Jim, partisan to master of the obvious in only a week's time. Thanks for that profound and earth-shattering revelation.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:05 a.m.  

  • "Thanks for that profound and earth-shattering revelation"

    Wow! You agree with me.

    So, what are you going to do about your problem?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:44 p.m.  

  • "How is it relevant if the Liberals and NDP supported the law when it was passed or not?"

    According to the manner in which you seem to be interpreting the law, support of the law implies holding to the announced election date next October (a mere 14 months from now) - regardless of one's role in Parliament. Dion, Layton, Harper, Duceppe all to be held to the same standard.

    But you seem to think the law doesn't apply to the Opposition MPs, that it's okay for them to flout the fixed election date, but not for Harper.

    Rather, I contend that the law applies equally to all MPs, but that it doesn't bind the Government any more than it does Opposition MPs: just as the Opposition retain their rights to vote non-confidence in the sitting Government, so too a Government is not bound to sit idle waiting for the fixed election day while the Opposition plays political games and blocks all legislation.

    By Blogger Paul, at 4:31 p.m.  

  • "a Government is not bound to sit idle waiting for the fixed election day while the Opposition plays political games and blocks all legislation."

    Except that the thanks to the Liberals abstaining - the Conservatives have been able to easily pass whatever they want. NOTHING of theirs has been blocked at all - so what's Harper complaining about. As I see it, the only thing he doesn't like is having committees investigating Tory corruption - boo-hoo-hoo - cry me a river.

    Even if the Tories were to get a majority - the Liberals will still control the Senate and can still obstruct all they want.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:29 p.m.  

  • Yet another flip flop

    New navy supply ships too costly, government says
    Ottawa cancels plans to replace aging vessels, buy 12 coast guard patrol ships
    Last Updated: Saturday, August 23, 2008
    The Canadian Press

    The Conservative government has quietly scuttled the navy's $2.9-billion project to replace its aging supply ships, saying bids from the shipbuilding industry were "significantly" higher than the money set aside for the program.

    It has also cancelled a tender call for the purchase of 12 mid-shore patrol ships for the coast guard.

    The decisions were announced in a statement issued Friday night by Public Works Minister Christian Paradis.

    "These vessels are a key priority of the government of Canada," Paradis said in the release.

    "However, the government must ensure that Canadian taxpayers receive the best value for their money."

    Both National Defence and the Fisheries and Oceans Department are considering "the next steps," Paradis added.

    The decision to halt the Joint Support Ship project is a major blow to a navy that is already struggling to keep its existing 1960s vintage replenishment ships — HMCS Preserver and Protecteur — in the water.

    The "tankers," as they are known in the navy, are vital to keeping warships supplied with fuel, ammunition, spare parts and supplies during long overseas operations.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:22 p.m.  

  • "the Conservatives have been able to easily pass whatever they want. NOTHING of theirs has been blocked"

    Except of course for, say, the Crime Bill which languished in the Senate for years. And other changes to the Criminal code to protect Canadian citizens, which the Liberals have vowed to block.

    And money bills which the Senate refused to pass until threatened - a violation of the Constitutional powers on the part of the Liberals.

    And the near-complete obstruction of most committees to play political games, outside the mandate of the committees (e.g. trying to "investigate" activities which are well known to be perfectly legal in order to create a scent of a scandal.

    Come on, if you're going to make a claim, at least make it a factual one. Otherwise you're likely to just make Dion look like a snivelling fool. One who tonight, after threatening for months to take down this Parliament, is whining that the Prime Minister might take him at his word.

    By Blogger Paul, at 11:01 p.m.  

  • If you go back a few years, just after the Liberals formed a minority government under Martin, Messrs. Harper, Duceppe and Layton wrote a joint letter to the Governor General asking that she refuse to dissolve parliament should Martin engineer the defeat of his government. Harper was adamant: the government should not allowed to engineer its own defeat.

    Just to remind some of you here who have very short memories.

    By Blogger Loraine Lamontagne, at 7:25 a.m.  

  • Paul Obeda: I would imagine you were shocked out of your wits with the actions of the Conservatives in the last parliament when they created a scandal out of thin air over a pack of gum worth $1.29 for which a reimbursement was never sought nor given.

    Worse, after the accused was proven innocent by two independent audits, The Conservatives used his image (without his permission, I am sure) in their campaign ads.

    Why would the Conservatives object to a dose of their own medicine?

    By Blogger Loraine Lamontagne, at 7:55 a.m.  

  • Hey stupid: The fixed election date only applies to MAJORITY governments. Are you leftards going to continue to ignore the facts so that you can spout your nonsense. Only a MAJORITY government is obliged to follow the fixed election date rule, just saying in case you idiots decided to ignore the fact that this is a MINORITY government. Ther rule doesn't apply. LEFTARDS: Stop mindlessly parrotting your inept and impotent leaders like Dion and Layton.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:46 p.m.  

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