Friday, November 28, 2008

Harper Blinks...Kinda

The Liberals show some backbone for the first time in a long time and, who woulda thunk it, they force Harper to actually back down.

Conservatives back down on controversial party funding changes (URGENT-Fiscal-Update-Vot)
Source: The Canadian Press - Broadcast wire
Nov 28, 2008 11:17

OTTAWA - The Conservative government says an incendiary plan to strip political parties of their public financing won't be included in a confidence vote on the fall fiscal update.

Government sources say only tax measures will be part of the ways and means motion that parliamentarians will vote upon on Monday.

It’s probably not incredibly surprising that the Tories blinked – these “crises” usually have a way of sorting themselves out. But if Harper really had wanted to go all in on this one, I think another election or an unstable Lib/NDP/Bloc coalition would have worked towards his end game.

I know a lot of people will call this a huge strategic blunder on Harper’s part but, I’m not so sure of that. It distracted people from a very unpopular fiscal update, and it may make it a bit harder for the opposition parties to borrow money for their next campaign, if the collateral of public finance dollars isn’t a certainly (you have to imagine they’re gone if we get a Tory majority). And you have to think the PR hit on an issue this complicated will be negligible.

This should also serve as a huge wake up call for the Liberals, Bloc, and NDP. If they don’t get their act together on fundraising soon, their very existence could be in jeopardy. If people didn’t recognize how important effective grass roots fundraising was before, they sure as hell will now.

"FISCAL UPDATE" UPDATE: Then again, maybe we'll get that election/coalitionofthewilling after all:

But Liberals and New Democrats say that dropping the financing measures will not influence their decision to vote against a fiscal update they say provides no economic stimulus at a time when Canada is entering a recession.

Now, as for the bill being broken off into a separate ways and means motion, to answer the question in the comments section - yes, I consider this backtracking on Harper's part. This is what you do to bills that you want to sit in purgatory for ever and ever. Maybe Harper brings it back to force an election at a later time but, for now, I think we don't need to worry about that bill anytime soon.

So the issue now becomes the Fiscal Update itself. And, as bad a fiscal update as it is, I really have a hard time seeing the opposition voting it down. My guess? The Bloc abstains.

UPDATE: Another ball to juggle:

MONTREAL — The Conservative government is set to announce details Friday of its hotly debated reforms to Canada's immigration system.



  • Ways and means vote will not include political finance changes, however, the later vote will. Your party will still have a chance to cave on the finance part later. :D

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:07 p.m.  

  • This should also serve as a huge wake up call for the Liberals, Bloc, and NDP.

    Seriously. They've been delaying reworking their fundraising structures for far too long.

    By Blogger That guy, at 12:11 p.m.  

  • And if the Liberals now support this bill just because the finance part was taken out, what do you think THAT will say to Canadians?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:13 p.m.  

  • Wake up call for Canadians.

    We all watched as the elites in the LPC throw out their elected leader, ready to install their choice for PM.
    We all watched as Liberal elites assign NDP Mps cabinet posts and swing deals with the Bloc,
    the trio now being called
    the Coalition of the Entitled.

    By Blogger wilson, at 12:17 p.m.  

  • Exactly, Anon-12:13

    Not for Immigration,
    Not for Afghanistan,
    Not for Greenhouse Gas.

    But BY GHOD, definitely over "our" money!


    By Blogger lance, at 12:18 p.m.  

  • Are the Liberals really going to let Harper pull his "all in" bet back, and let him get off with an "oops"?

    Shouldn't the Liberals go ahead with defeating the government? Chretien could go to Martin and ask him to run again and be his finance minister. Chretien and Martin would get a chance to rewrite their final acts. It would fix a lot that is wrong with the Liberal Party. It would be a referendum on which team, Harper-Flaherty, or Chretien-Martin, that one wants in charge in a time of severe economic crisis. In a big election like this, Obama like appeals for money from the grassroots should work.

    And would be mucho fun for an election with Harper facing off against Chretien.

    By Blogger whyshouldIsellyourwheat, at 12:19 p.m.  

  • And, Lance, if after all this "deep discussions" over a coalition the talks fall apart, well we all know what they were REALLY after, won't we? :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:22 p.m.  

  • So the Liberals in the last Parliament caved dozens of times, often over issues that were supposed to be at the heart of their party's values and principles because they knew they couldn't win in an election due to lack of money to campaign. But threaten them now byy taking away their tax-funded entitlement and what happens. They suddenly find a spine. Tells you something doesn't it?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:30 p.m.  

  • This move basically got the media talking all about public financing, and not the fact that our budget surplus is down to about 100M (presumably less now that we still have this financing). And on a budget the size of Canada's, that's like your average family budgeting in a surplus of a couple pennies at the end of the year.

    By Blogger UWHabs, at 12:31 p.m.  

  • 12:13 anon - agreed. Which is why I think Harper, despite taking a media hit, doesn't come out of this one too badly.

    And, heck, at least he knows what the poison pill is, if he ever wants to bring out his government's own demise again.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:08 p.m.  

  • wheat - That Chretien-Martin tag team would have been amazing for a campaign. I doubt it could have really played out that way, but that would have made for one hell of an election.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:09 p.m.  

  • i think you are wrong to think that harper blinked. ways and means motions do not include anything that does not change the current budget. the political party funding announcement does not take effect until the next budget. this was a set-up for the opposition, and the liberals in particular. now, despite all the talk about the lack of stimulus, the liberals will support the ways and means motion. they look very amateurish and self-interested!

    time for dion to go!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:13 p.m.  

  • If the Liberals and NDP don't vote against the update en masse, then yes, Harper comes out looking good. If they do, though, and they piece together a coalition, removing party financing from the update also removes it as a wedge issue/something the Conservatives could've used to make the opposition look bad. By taking it out, he's allowing the Libs and NDP to say that it was a bad update with the measure, a bad one without it, and they're voting it down regardless of what it contains about financing...maybe that's part of Harper's devious plan to be out of power when the extent of the full extent of the recession becomes obvious, but somehow that seems like a lot to bank on...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:38 p.m.  

  • interesting point matthew. i have trouble seeing how the liberals, ndp and bloc will actually form a coalition. neither layton nor dion will be tagged to lead it. and ignatief and rae are unlikely to step aside. perhaps it could be accomplished under a temporary liberal leader but that, too, seems unlikely. how do you see it happening?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:57 p.m.  

  • Yes, it would be risky, but at lease talk about the "pro" side of this coalition. How would Conservatives across the country, or undecided voters, view Harper throwing away the keys to 24 Sussex? Of all the hits that could be taken by all sides (raised above), would it not be Harper who takes the biggest hit? "Dude, you had power, and threw it away?"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:07 p.m.  

  • URGENT-Fiscal-Update-Vote,@
    INDEX:Finance, Politics@
    Update:RECASTS with Liberal confidence motion; will be budgeted writethru@
    Liberals propose non-confidence motion, governing coalition@
    OTTAWA - The Liberal Opposition plans to introduce a motion in the House of Commons on Monday declaring non-confidence in the minority Conservative government and proposing a governing coalition.
    The motion comes as emissaries from the Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois hold talks about forming a new government should Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority fall.
    But Harper could still avert the immediate defeat of his weeks-old government through procedural tactics.
    The Liberal motion, which has the approval of the NDP and Bloc Quebecois, reads:
    `In light of the government's failure to recognize the seriousness of Canada's economic situation and its failure in particular to present any credible plan to stimulate the Canadian economy and to help workers and businesses in hard-pressed sectors such as manufacturing, the automotive industry and forestry, this House has lost confidence in this government and is of the opinion that a viable alternative government can be formed within the present House of Commons.'
    A source says the opposition parties have agreed that Liberal Leader Stephane Dion would lead the government for the next few months.
    (The Canadian Press)
    14:31ET 28-11-08

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:39 p.m.  

  • And Anon 239 when they do that and that coalition swiftly falls as it will, who do you think the voters are going to punish for not defeating a government that they only installed mere weeks ago?

    I seriously hope they go ahead and form coalition. I truly hope they do.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:48 p.m.  

  • So the Liberals/NDP want to defeat a government that the Canadian people JUST elected.

    Ok, so on what grounds to the Liberals/NDP want to slap us in our face for the choice we recently made? In their own words it's because our chosen government isn't spending enough money.

    Is that really what the Liberals/NDP want? To govern during a recession? To necessarily bribe separatists to regain power? To be seen as defeating a fresh government over a triviality at best, and naked greed and self-interest at worst?

    If so, Harper should lay out the red carpet for that bonehead move. He'd have enormous ammunition in opposition, think of the hypocrisy in which the Liberals/NDP would have to engage to form and keep a government. Harper could probably break it up as soon as the worst of the recession was over, and blame it all on them. Lovely!

    Best case scenario in 2008 for the Liberals truly would have been a Conservative majority. They could have repaid their debts, rebuilt their base, chose policies that appeal outside Toronto, defined and established their new leader themselves, etc, while the Tories took the rap for an inevitably dismal term economically. Maybe that was their master plan choosing Dion all along.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 3:36 p.m.  

  • What an absolutely disgraceful attempt to secure power. The opposition leaders keep saying that the people didn't give Harper a majority so he needs to cooperate (cave to their feeble self serving demands).
    Well the people surely and intentionally did not elect Stephane Dion (or his policies)as PM or elect Jack Layton or his policies or Gilles Duceppe or ...
    If these manipiulators try this stunt I pray that the electorate cripple them in the next election.

    By Blogger Bob McInnis, at 3:53 p.m.  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:21 a.m.  

  • Nothing has changed. The Conservatives will lose the confidence of the House. A coalition will form the next government. It's not surprising so many posters on here are in a state of denial. Oh well, reality will descend soon enough. Checkmate, Harper. Game over.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:03 p.m.  

  • Will we EVER have stable government for 4 years again?! Hope so, because liberal or conservative, stable and decisive government is what we need in thee days. But we will not have it so soon, it seems...
    Maybe it's really time to change the system a bit and start working with coalitions...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:31 p.m.  

  • I forgot the backbone of the liberal party but I still i dont like them.

    By Anonymous tuxedo shirts, at 7:23 a.m.  

  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:56 p.m.  

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

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