Thursday, December 04, 2008

If We Back Down Now, We're In Big Trouble

My last post got a lot of angry comments, and I'm not sure whether the angry ones were Conservatives or Liberals or what. A couple of anonymouses pretended to be Liberal. But in case any of the anonymouses really were Liberals, I have a question: Do any Liberals really think we should just quietly back down now? Do you think that's what Dion was suggesting?

If we give in to Harper now, do you really think there will be no consequences? If he let him be dominant dog he's not going to improve his behavior - he's going to get even worse. This is a guy who has let it get around that he has a plan to drive the Liberal party into bankruptcy.

He never promised not to try to abolish the political subsidy again. He never acknowledged that subsidies are required when you have campaign finance rules. He hasn't promised to implement a fiscal stimulus to help Canadians. He removed a few things from his economic update, but he hasn't made one real concession. If we roll over for him now, do you think we'll have any ability to stand up to him the next time he tries to pull this crap? If we give in now, do you think there will be any fiscal stimulus in the January budget?

The Globe - which supports the Conservatives - has written about the damage Harper is doing in Quebec and has even published columns urging the Conservatives to replace Harper as leader. Where do you think that sort of reform is going to go once Harper learns he can subvert our democracy by forcing the Governor General to create a dangerous new precedent - and get away with it? Once he realizes he doesn't need the confidence of the House - that he can act as a majority PM even with a minority?

This absence of leadership in the Liberal party is having huge consequences. While Dion implodes and Ignatieff smirks on the sidelines (his campaign had the nerve to send out a fundraising email today), we are in one big unholy mess. Thsi isn't going to go away just because we want it to.

Update: In his statements on December 5, Harper was even more careful to say that his retractions are only temporary. He said he wouldn't move to abolish subsidies or ban civil service strikes now, and similar careful weasel-words. As soon as he can do it, everything in the economic update is going back on the table.



Anonymous said...


I doubt the anons are much to worry about. The trolls are going to gloat tonight. I've already read several gleeful "thank god Quebec will be gone soon" posts tonight, as if people are genuinely thrilled that separatism is now en vogue again.

Real Canadians don't feel that way, and never will.

So just don't get too concerned that people think that polls taken in the midst of a crisis showed a short-term blip towards stability - i.e. the government they know. I daresay the polls also showed a legitimate concern at the prospect of PM Dion (much as it pains me to say that, it's true).

Harper snapped this week. The longer term damage is done to his reputation. I just hope he hasn't harmed Canada too much in the process.

By contrast, the Liberals laid some good groundwork this week.

I agree with you completely that Dion has to go, sooner than later. He should not get in front of a podium, or bookshelf, again as leader of the Liberal Party as far as I am concerned

Yappa said...

Hi Joseph -

Tory trolls are a bitch, aren't they? I hope Liberals don't pull that kind of crap.

I don't think there's reason for great optimism. Who knows what series of events Harper has started in Quebec. Plus, polls are strongly on Harper's side, and he hasn't even begun to unleash his PR campaign yet. It's a long time till January 26 and things are probably going to get worse before they get better.

Still, it's good to think about the positives as well!

MississaugaPeter said...

13 hours later...

still disappointed and confused how the GG approved the prorogue...

but life goes on, and another obstacle needs to be overcome...

we just can't lose our focus that Harper is the bully, the bad guy, not our fellow Liberals...

Shawn Kalbhenn said...

I think that this break could be good for the liberals. We can use it to replace Dion and rally behind an interim leader that Canadians can support. Installing Dion as PM we would only be replacing a leader that has lost the confidence of parliament, with a leader who has never had the confidence of the people. How could we go to the polls in good conscience and ask Canadians for their vote after that? This mess has also weakened Harper's economic cred. We pick someone with a strong finance background as a steward PM and carry on with the leadership race.

Anonymous said...

I do feel a storm coming, I'm afraid to say. Two months is a long time.

Anonymous said...

Yay for anons!

What should have been done is shame and scare the Prime Minister, make him drop half his stupid platform (including all of the incendiary policies from the update), make him and the rest of Canada know that he is weak and that the opposition is ready to remove him at any time should he get out of line, then let him keep governing until a new leader is in place.

That would have been the smart thing to do. The scent of power always screws with good old fashioned logic and common sense, eh?

Anonymous said...

hi I'm a Tory supporter but I have to say you guys have done great damage to PM Harper this past week. If you continue to play your cards right you can get the conssesions you want in the Budget and defeat Harper in may/june when he might be in a even weaker position and the Libs would have new leadership.

Anonymous said...

I'm an anon but I'm not a troll. Do I really have to come out of the closet because I thought I had a choice on this blog between name/url, open ID and Anoymous. If not, then please make it clearer.

Yappa said...

Hi Anon at 8:14-

What I find I get a lot of is anonymouses who pretend to be Liberals but who say things that are destructive to the future of the party. It's when I get those that I make comments about possible trolls. Otherwise, being anonymous is fine; don't let me suggest you shouldn't exercise your democractic right! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I am very glad the GG prorogued parliament. The electorate definitely did not want a Liberal government (lowest showing ever) and Dion's performance the other night once again solidified that. A new poll which admittedly I just glanced at would give Harper a very strong majority if an election were held now if it was between the coalition and the Conservatives.

Time to move on.

Bert said...

From SDA:

if these professors were confronted with a situation in which their favorite Party, the NDP, had won more than 140 seats in the House of Commons. Imagine if the NDP had double the seat total of the Conservatives. Imagine what would happen if the Conservatives had then gotten together with two other parties, one of them being an Alberta Only party and then perhaps the Christian Heritage Party, one that would be supporting Capital Punishment and Opposing Abortion. Imagine if the Conservative Party with their right of centre coalition partners including a party dedicated to the Independence of Alberta. Imagine if the Conservatives signed a document with these smaller parties and presented that to the Governor General and said, "We have ourselves a legitimate, constitutional, coalition of elected members who have lost confidence in the government led by Jack Layton. He must face the house. He must face defeat, and we must now come to you Governor General, your excellency and pick up the keys to a new government.

Can you imagine the professors of our elite universities going on the National TV Newscasts, saying "This coalition is very much in keeping with Constitutional Values, Canadian values and there is no reason to go back to the polls. These coalition partners ought to be given a chance to make government work.

If you can imagine the professors giving their intellectual and moral consent to that, then you can also imagine Pigs flying, Cows barking, and Cockroaches coming up with a cure for cancer.

Yappa said...

Hi Bert,

Nice to hear from you again! I'm not sure what the SDA is or who these professors are. You're right that partisans tend to argue the facts to our own benefit, and probably any government would muster arguments against a coalition unseating them.

But the plain, whole truth is that in a parliamentary democracy we do not elect the PM - we elect MPs. If the PM loses the confidence of the House the MPs can unseat the PM, either through an election or a coalition. We just had an election so a coalition is the better choice. It is a very strange circumstance that Harper essentially forced a no confidence vote within two months of an election, in the first week of a new parliamentary session, and it's not at all clear what his game is.

Coalitions happen less in Canada than in other parliamentary democracies because of our first past the post electoral system, but they are very common in many parliamentary democracies.

Anonymous said...


It seems Bob is the only Liberal willing to give everything he has to take down Stephen Harper.

Ignatieff on the other hand, has been silent, and was the last Liberal MP to sign the letter to the GG. You can draw your own conclusions.

Anonymous said...

"Time to move on" Billy Jack? To what? More of the same? As far as I can see, Mr Harper and the Governor General have between them placed Canada in jeopardy. How many jobs are being lost, how deeper must the economic crisis get, how much more alienated must Quebec and Alberta get while these people play chess with my country?

So, what precisely do you mean BJ by this exhortation to "move on." I repeat, move on to what? As far as I'm concerned, this is a pretty empty cliche.

Bert said...

Hi Yappa,

SDA is Small Dead Animals, a Conservative blog based in Saskatchewan: