Friday, April 21, 2006

That's Why They Call it "Opposition"

Those evil Liberals are at it again, unlike those nice NDPers:
He accused members of the previous Liberal government of also being ,"obstructionist" and "particularly vicious" in their criticism of the bill introduced earlier this month...

Harper said he expects "some refining" of the 252-page proposed bill using "useful suggestions" made by the New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois.

Harper seems determined to paint the Liberals in a corner, in spite of the fact they are merely doing their job as the official opposition. I would like to see reporters ask Stephen Harper if he still believes the following:
"And I think the real problem that we're facing already is that the government doesn't accept that it got a minority."

"First of all, I can't forget my first responsibility - which is to be the Leader of the Opposition and that's to provide an alternative government."

"We'll support the government on issues if it's essential to the country but our primary responsibility is not to prop up the government, our responsibility is to provide an opposition and an alternative government for Parliament and for Canadians."

The Liberals are simply withholding judgment, offering stern negotiation as they should, given the nature of this government. Where is the NDP, or are they content to act as Harper's working partner so that Harper can pin the "obstructionist" tag on the Liberals. The NDP are essentially irrelevant on questions of confidence, so Layton can afford to be a vocal dissenter and force Harper to turn to the Bloc for support. The fact the NDP hasn't adopted this strategy is further proof of the "unholy" alliance with the Conservatives to eradicate the Liberal Party. I hope Layton realizes that Harper is using his tepid opposition to gain a majority, while his party becomes a useless faciliator. I'm sure Layton will attain the required window-dressing concessions to save face, but he will also be saddled with his transparent agenda.


Sir John A said...

Graham should use those quotes as his own and see if anyone picks up on it.

Scotian said...

Isn't it amazing how it is somehow undemocratic and anti-Canadian to be opposing a Conservative minority government yet was totally democratic and pro-Canada to be opposing a Liberal minority government? This really disturbs me about how poorly our system of government is understood by so many that claim to be informed on political issues. It is the role of the Official Opposition to oppose the current government and provide alternatives to the policies of that government, it is how our system has always worked, it is how Harper and the CPC itself worked it prior to becoming this government. Indeed, I suspect part of this from the CPC is to neutralize that weapon now that they are on the business end of it instead of the ones aiming it. The CPC knows full well that the Official Opposition in particular has every right to be doing this, indeed the duty to be doing so, and yet they are painting it as some sort of heinous act?!? It just goes to show that for them they do not care about the traditions and protocols of our government, no they want to set themselves up federally the way the PCPA is set up in Alberta and destroy any opposition.

Indeed, the alliance with Layton that Harper has going is a twofer, it not only allows him to further weaken the Liberals but he also knows that the closer Layton gets to him the more the NDP base will splinter/fracture. Harper understands the dynamics of a party of ideology, he was a member of one for many years. He knows there was no debate within the NDP to change fundamental directions from being a party more interested in advancing their agenda/principles than being the ones actually in government to a party that places seeking government above all other considerations. Layton made that decision on his own and runs a real risk of alienating the more hard core NDP voters with this act, since they see the CPC as fundamentally more dangerous to their social justice agenda than anything the Liberals might have done.

So by helping Harper Layton is not just hurting the Liberals he is hurting himself, the fact that Layton appears to not see this, or thinks it is far less significant and therefore a risk worth running Layton shows himself to be first and foremost interested in power than the much vaunted principles he tells us really matter. Like with Harper Layton's actions and his rhetoric do not match up, and I judge by the actions far more than the rhetoric what a political leader is really doing. This is why Harper worries me so given his actions to date, and why I think Layton is betraying the core NDPers.

I might be a little less abrasive regarding Layton's aims if I thought he had a really good chance of supplanting the Liberals enough to become the governing party of the left, but I don't see it. Indeed, by supporting Harper while he helps Harper destroy the Liberals will likely in the process make Layton and the NDP less trusted by committed "lefties" in this country precisely because he placed this goal ahead of protecting all that the NDP historically fought for and won over the last several decades which Harper and the CPC clearly think need to be massively/fundamentally altered where they think it should still exist at all. I think Layton is far from helping himself and his party is damaging it, and in the process he is quite willing to allow at least one CPC/Harper majority regardless of the damages that will likely cause in those fundamental NDP areas of interest.

If you think I am more than a little pissed off with Layton, you are right. I always had a bad feeling over him, but when he brought the Libs down last year for the reason he claimed that was when I realized just what kind of leader he truly was, and that he was not typical of the leaders the NDP had prior. They believed in their principles and party beliefs over all other considerations, this man clearly sees power as even more important. I am pissed because thanks to him the only large party federally I can consider supporting is the Liberals. In the last four years I went fro having three federal parties I could chose between to no choice at all save one. The PCPC are gone, the NDP are led by a power hungry short sighted fool, and the Harper led CPC is a party I consider a genuine threat to the long term stability of this nation, much like Mulroney proved out to be between his constitutional ego exercises and his willingness to rely on soft separatists to run as his MPS in Quebec, which is what brought us the federal BQ. I do not like being placed in such a position, I like having more choices than that, and I resent watching the country of ideals and social justice that I have lived in all my life being sold down the river by two power hungry expediency before all else political leaders, Layton and Harper.

I also would add this regarding the post itself, Graham should be quoting Harper at every chance from when he was in Opposition whenever the CPC and especially Harper start making these kinds of arguments. I think Sir John A has it exactly right there.

Steve V said...


"It is the role of the Official Opposition to oppose the current government and provide alternatives to the policies of that government, it is how our system has always worked, it is how Harper and the CPC itself worked it prior to becoming this government."

This is why, I can't fathom why the media doesn't call Harper on this point, especially given the fact that he was in the same position six months ago. You can understand Harper framing the Liberals, but how he is able to make the claim without challenge is what disturbs me.

Sir John A makes a great point, because it forces the media to do the compare and contrast. Reality check.