Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Take a Deep Breath

It's true that two thirds of Canadians voted for the Liberals, NDP or Bloc. But the converse is also true: one third of Canadians voted for the Conservatives. Furthermore, that one third all went for the same party and fully expected it to be the government until the next election.

I support the coalition, but I would also like to see the coalition parties' leadership reach out to Conservatives in a spirit of cooperation. Before deposing the government, we should be sure that we have exhausted less drastic alternatives.

I call on the leaders of the Conservatives, Liberals, NDP and Bloc to get together and discuss what we can do. Would it be possible for the Conservatives to replace Stephen Harper as leader? Is there anything Stephen Harper can do to restore confidence in the House that he will be competent and responsible in his approach to politics and the economy?

It is clear at this point that a budget including a fiscal stimulus is not enough. But that doesn't mean that reconciliation is not possible. Harper could promise to consult with the opposition on government response to the economic crisis. He could apologise for trying to abolish political subsidies and commit to not raising the issue again.

I am not swayed by the outrageous claims and downright lies of the Conservative PR machine. But I am concerned about Canadians who voted Conservative and who still support the Prime Minister. The politics of Stephen Harper has been dominance and arrogance. That should stop, and we should be sure the government governs for all Canadians, not just its base. We could think of the economic crisis as akin to WWII: we need to all band together.

There is more that unites us than divides us.

Update: I do not by any means intend this post to support prorogation. Action should be taken this week. The confidence vote should occur as scheduled on Monday. Stephen Harper does not have the confidence of the House and prorogation of parliament totally flies in the face of parliamentary tradition.



Bo Green said...

At last, some Liberals are speaking with some concern for the nation and not cheap partisan gain.

I feel Harper needs to go after last week's shenanigans, it's the last straw. But I'm really, really wary of this route.

Yappa said...

Hi Bo Green -

Thanks for your comment. I have a quibble with one point... I don't agree with your statement, which seems to be a common sentiment these days, that the coalition is out for "cheap partisan gain."

The Liberals and NDP are taking a huge risk in forming a coalition, especially the Liberals.

Dion is putting himself out there to be the target of all the anti-coaltion hatred, and yet he has very little mandate, a very restricted time frame, and very little to do. Sure, he'll get to say he was PM; but he is also taking an enormous risk with his legacy. By being the figurehead, all blame falls on him.

The way this came about is that the House lost confidence in the PM. The majority of MPs had a choice: ask for an election six weeks after the last election, or try to form a coalition. The latter seems like the responsible choice. I don't think it was a power grab at all.

Anonymous said...

I really respect the integrity of the approach you propose, but I'm afraid it has no merit. There is no way Harper can ever regain the confidence of this House. It really is impossible now. To start of the session with hyper political games made it clear to the opposition they had to do something now, because it will only get worse. There are only two choices: Coalition government or yet another election.

Anonymous said...

My concern is that this coalition could have a long term damaging affect on the Liberals. I don't think Stephane cares about his legacy. Whoever becomes the next leader of the LPC will wear it, if a possible long term recession occurs. I'd rather see the cons wear the brunt of it. In the meantime, we have to raise funds for the next election.


Yappa said...

Hi Penny -

Thanks for your comment. I agree completely that this move is not necessarily in the interests of the Liberal party. The party is taking this on for the good of the country and because it has become necessary given the actions of Harper. It is not what they wanted - as they made clear. That point gets lost in the PR war that's going on.