Saturday, April 21, 2007

Do We Need An Election?

All the election talk revolves around strategy and timing. We will have an election when a party, or coalition of parties, decide it is in their own self-interest to pull the plug. Procedure and posturing aside, on principle, an election looks more and more a necessity.

There is no question that the environmental rhetoric has ramped up to unprecedented levels. The divisions move in concert with a piece of legislation tabled by the government, re-worked by a majority in committee, that is soon to be rejected. I don't want to debate the semantics of what constitutes a confidence motion, but it would seem that an inability to deal with an issue that Canadians have selected as their number one concern, classifies as failure of government. The Conservatives don't enjoy the confidence of the parliament on this issue, and the government rejects the majority opinion articulated with the new Clean Air Act. The chasm between the two positions is extreme, and given the priority that the opposition parties have attached to environmental legislation, how can they continue to support this government?

Dion has made the issue the cornerstone of the entire Liberal platform. Layton has consistently argued that the NDP have always had this issue as primary. The Bloc sounds the "alarmist" rhetoric, reflecting the views of Kyoto friendly Quebecers. How then, can these parties continue to keep this government afloat? I suppose we need to wait, but we already know where Baird is heading. The Conservatives might not even introduce legislation, and just make more eco-announcements, to avoid a showdown that they know they can't win.

We have legislation, it is sitting there, after careful consideration, supported by the vast majority of parliamentarians. If there is no election, then that effort dies on the vine, an opportunity is missed and we waste more time, on an issue that they all argue is "urgent". It would seem if principle has any bearing, the opposition must bring down the government. The Clean Air Act was rejected, we went through a process, and now that is rejected by the minority. Confidence? It probably won't happen, because principle is largely an afterthought, but we really should have an election on such a self-described "critical" issue.

26 comments:

joe said...

Canadians have picked Climate Change as their number one issue??? Doesn't even come close except among those who think that they can ride the issue to power. Most Canadians don't want to commit economic suicide and as such remain "not in my lifestyle" environmentalists. Any government that tries to implement Kyoto will be out of power very quickly PMJC knew this and thus is legacy. Even Dion said as much when he was in cabinet. When cast adrift in the open ocean don't hitch your hopes to a boat anchor.

Scott Tribe said...

Oh boy.. its the "Sky is Falling" Conservatives visiting.

Hey Joe.. go read all the studies that show Kyoto won't devastate the economy. You're just pushing the fear-mongering rhetoric that Baird brought to the Senate floor last week.

Steve V said...

"Canadians have picked Climate Change as their number one issue??? Doesn't even come close"

Okay joe, whatever you say.

knb said...

Doesn't even come close except among those who think that they can ride the issue to power

It doesn't come close only for those who deny it, joe. What would you say is the number one issue for voters?

Steve, your question is specific, "do we need an election?"

I would say that yes we do. Even if you put the environment aside, Parliament isn't working. It's all partisan, all the time. QP is the joke of the nation and what legislation does get through, is either ignored by the government, (Accountability), or is chosen as a compromise to keep things moving. The Government has worked hard to put forward their agenda, without regard to being a minority and perhaps that is to be expected, but I get the sense that there is so much pent up anger having been on the opposition benches for so long, they are bent on shoving through radical agendas, without regard to the 66% of Canadians that did not vote for them. Clever though, most people don't know they are doing it.

Anyway, to your question, yes. Will it happen? I'm not sure. There is a question of timing, re' scheduled provincial elections, readiness, re' the Lib's, and the temperment of the public.

In large part, I think it's going to depend on what Baird hass to say next week. I just know there is a big plan there, or we would not have seen the alarmist idiocy that put forth. What is it? I have no idea, but I am convinced the "spin machine" has been working overtime.

Steve V said...

"Even if you put the environment aside, Parliament isn't working. It's all partisan, all the time. QP is the joke of the nation and what legislation does get through, is either ignored by the government,"

It is a joke. I'm a junkie and last week I found it hard to watch. Baird seems to think he's at Yuk Yuk's. This parliament is now dysfunctional, and there is no going back. I can't really see much new legislation passing, everyone is digging in their heels. I choose the environment, because that is the big issue, but on almost every score, there is no sense that the parties can work together. As a matter of fact, I would actually agree if Harper went to the GG and asked to dissolve parliament.

knb said...

Hmmm, I'm not sure I'm there yet, but I'm being partisan. I want Dion to have his ducks in a row. But as a fellow junkie, I do hear you and in principle support your thought.

Everytime they introduce someone in the balcony I cringe, thinking how stupid do we look?

Steve V said...

"Everytime they introduce someone in the balcony I cringe, thinking how stupid do we look?"

Especially a delegation from an "emerging" democracy. Watching Baird lead the Tories in silly chants must be quite inspiring.

knb said...

Precisely.

Lizt. said...

If you go into the Globe and Mail, and they mention the word Koyoto there are about 90% against it., over and over....... the same Condervative hacks. As everyone listens to Baird, the stupid are going to listen to him, and then up go their numbers, and the same imbiciles will vote Harper in again.

knb said...

lizt, not if rational voices are louder.

Suziki needs to jump on someone's bandwagon. I suspect he's waiting to see what Baird comes out with, before jumping.

Not just him, other credible people must come forward. I suspect they will and they are biding their time. The economists who came out behind Baird, I think were railroaded to a certain extent, and some may also have something to say if their reputation is at risk. I cannot at the moment think of the leading guy, but something makes me think he's being wooed by the con's, as McCallum was. (For the record, I cannot stand McCallum, but he's serving a purpose).

joe said...

Steve v: you are going to have to better than a couple of "push" pieces from an agendized media outlet. Man on the street is not talking about climate change and hasn't been since the weather turned colder in January. Man on the street is worried about pocket book issues not "sky is falling" hype.

scott tribe its too bad you don't even know where I stand on climate change. You seem to assume that because I don't go ga ga and demand the shut down of our economy you think that I don't care about change. I simply think that change happens all the time and that there is no ideal global temperature or CO2 level. We simply need to be wise enough to adapt to all that nature throws at you. Witness the Vikings in Greenland who starved/froze to death because they refused to deal with global cooling.

Steve V said...

joe

You're a joke, I'm serious.

lance said...

An election would be a pointless exercise in futility. There are three possible outcomes:
CPC majority, CPC minority, LPC minority.

Two of which would not "enact" Kyoto, and I highly doubt the third would either, not in a minority.

Thus the fate of "the number one issue".

Cheers,
lance

knb said...

Wrong lance, a LPC minority and if brought to a vote a CPC minority would indeed enact the spirit of Kyoto.

What is the matter with you people? You are 1/3, just a puny 1/3 of the population...the rest of us do not agree with you.

You harp, ad infinitum, about democracy...which part of the word do you not understand?

I'm sick of this. I'm tired that a small number of people are dictating what should be and I'm sick of the media making it more valid than it is.

66% of Canada thinks you are wrong, didn't vote for you and won't vote for you as you take on this ridiculous pose vis a vis the environment.

Media, wake the hell up. Present what is, not what you "think" might happen. I don't need your possible scenarios, I need facts, you know, reality.

People like joe actually lap up what Baird said. That is pathetic. Just reporting what people say isn't fact based reporting. It's taking dicatation for goodness sake. What ever happened to analysis? What happened to the role of the press to be the "opposition" as June Callwood said?

Oh, I'm so angry about this and I don't know if the media on the Hill has just become as jaded as the politicians, or what exactly has happened. It is bad news though, for Canada and Canadians.

Steve V said...

Well said knb.

lance said...

knb, don't go postal, you don't control the agenda either. 69.8% of voters rejected the Liberals and a whopping 82.5% said no to Jack.

A CPC majority wouldn't enact Kyoto, an election fought over Kyoto with a CPC minority could claim a mandate, and _no one_ would want to revisit after that anyway.

The Liberals in a minority situation would do exactly as Harper has done, indeed, Dion has already laid the ground-work, "We need action this year . . . blah, blah, blah".

Any bet Dion's message on winning would be, "It's too late to take definitive action about meeting Kyoto, the CPC wasted our year of opportunity."

Stop getting angry enough to spit and think.

FWIW, the press is not the opposition, the rest of parliament is. If the press were the opposition then everything that Harper did last year to the gallery was correct. More should have been done, if that were the case.

Cheers,
lance

Annie said...

Why do the 1/3 of people hate Koyoto so much..and all Conservatives, which appear like rats on Liberal blogs

Steve V said...

"knb, don't go postal, you don't control the agenda either. 69.8% of voters rejected the Liberals and a whopping 82.5% said no to Jack."

And what percentage of the populations representatives have cobbled together the revised Clean Air Act? The majority generally "controls the agenda", or don't you support that premise of democracy?

knb said...

lance, you are playing silly games with those numbers. I never claimed to hold the numbers myself as a liberal, but the truth is, 66% of the country's rep's did, as Steve said, counter the Clean Air Act, and put together what that percentage mandated. There is no escaping that fact lance. 66% of the population disagrees with you and your leader. And, that was then. Make it worse by following Mr. "create the worse case scenario" Baird...you are digging a grave.

You are wrong about Dion, even in a minority, you are wrong about me, (I don't spit) and you completely missed my point re' the media and June's wise words. I'm sorry for that in particular, because if we had more of her there would be less devisiveness today.

She did not say that in support of one party or another, but all of them. I couldn't agree more.

btw, postal? That's a bit dated, no? Passionate, yes, I was/am that.

Tomm said...

knb,

We disagree on a lot. We both know that. However let's hang on to the one thing we do agree on and that is the media.

The media doesn't want solutions. It doesn't want resolution. It wants confrontation and polarization.

What you and I are seeing in the papers, on TV, and on-line is the media manipulating politicians and the message.

OK. Let's go back to the thread. 40% of the seats in the House are Conservative. That means that there are bills being passed that do not reflect the government position (like Pablo's). There was also the "fixed up" Clean Air Act.

If the opposition wants this government to fall, it will fall.

Do not blame the Conservative's. They cannot prop themselves up. If this government is still in power in September it will be because the Opposition didn't want them to fall.

Blame Dion. Blame Duceppe. Blame Layton.

Be rational about this, do not blame Harper.

In regards to Baird's message. How can you be 100% sure he is wrong. If he isn't wrong, than you and all the people allowing the media to polarize this debate will bring about a huge recession in this country. Think about that.

Tomm

lance said...

Steve, were it up to me we'd have referendum for everything. I don't believe 308/33M is representative.

Regarding the Clean Air Act, it was Layton that forced it to committee. Dion and May just wanted it dead. All parties participated in the changes. Whether they all support it is a different question. Whether I support it is different again. But then, that's our system, 10 or fifteen people argue it out, 308 vote on it. The rest of us bitch about it.

knb, we're off-topic. My point was that in the event of an election, only the least likely outcome offers at best a 50/50 (me says no, you says yes, 50/50 :) ) chance of Kyoto being implemented.

The environmental lobby would be further ahead by getting a formal coalition together between the Liberals, the Bloc, and the NDP.

An election would doom their cause.

Cheers,
lance

Tomm said...

At some point Baird is going to table some piece of environemntal legislation. Either the Clean Air Act, which seems wildly unlikely, or something else.

At that point I think the government will do the Opposition a favour and say that the passage of the Baird Environemnt Bill is a confidence motion and let the opposition gang up to defeat them.

In my view, that is what will send us to an election.

Despite what people are writing on this thread, I don't think that the average Canadian wants to face the threat of a drastic and immediate change to their lifestyle just because Chretien signed a piece of paper in 1997, and the LPC, NDP and BQ are insisting we live up to the letter of the signature.

Tomm

Steve V said...

"The environmental lobby would be further ahead by getting a formal coalition together between the Liberals, the Bloc, and the NDP."

That just happened in committee, unless legislation doesn't qualify as "formal".

JimBobby said...

Whooee! Do we need an election? Eventually, yes. Now, not necessarily.

I see the "all vs. nothing" premise is being argued here. Dumb!

Numerous Yerpean countries have complied with Kyoto an' they ain't all beggin' in the streets an' drivin' dog-carts to the welfare office.

There's gold in them thar green actions an' Baird's BS ain't prospectin' fer it. Green collar job creation, carbon tradin' an' innovative energy reduction are all potential plusses fer the economy.

If the Grits wanna win, they gotta talk to Canajun pride. The Cons is all natterin' nabobs of negativity. The Cons say Canajuns is too weak an' stoopid to to save energy, reduce GHG's an' do like the Yerpeans. Cons got an inferiority complex an' they're sellin' their CANTDO attitude to Canajuns.

We ain't weaklings. We ain't stoopid. We can do anything the Yerpeans can do. We got a well-educated workforce, established industrial infrastructure, easy access to US markets and a desire to do our part on the world stage.

Grits an' Greens an' Dips gotta show Canajuns that the Cant-do Cons is all wrong. The Con message is one of hopelessness in the face of unavoidable environmental catastrophe. Who wants to accept that? Not the smart, proud, Can-do Canajuns I know.

Between now an' whenever we finally do have an electionvote, the anti-Harper bunch oughta be talkin' positive. When Baird sez Kyoto'll ruin the economy, Canajuns gotta get told about how 1.) environmental action and prosperity can go hand-in-hand and 2.) Baird's fudged the figures to fit the CPoC Negative Nelly Can't-do Canajuns-are-nincompoops attitude.

We can do it. We want to be told we can do it. We want leaders who are positive an' forward-thinkin'.

Polyticians are short-term thinkers. Their goals seldom go beyond winning the next election. They make false promises to win short term support.

But Canajuns are smarter than that. Canajuns are some of the biggest savers and savviest investors. Despite our user-unfriendly mortgage system, proportionally more Canajuns own homes an' property than Merkans.

Canajuns understand longterm investment. We're smart enough to understand short-term pain for long-term gain. More'n'more boomers is becomin' grannies an' grampaws an' we're worryin' about the kinda Earth we're leavin' to the grandkids.

Grits an' all anti-Cons need to develop a strategy that speaks to positivism and works for long term goals. The Cons came in on an antiGrit, antiCorruption wave. The Grits can come back but not simply with an anti-Harper message. The message needs to be pro-Canada, pro-Earth -- pro-gressive.

JimBobby

knb said...

Tomm:In regards to Baird's message. How can you be 100% sure he is wrong.

Because the scenario he painted has not been suggested by anyone or any party. It's a straw man, period.

He put it out there, imo, to come forward this week to save the country from the impending doom he showed us this week. Classic Baird, classic cpc strategy. Spin, get cdn's to buy it, present the only solution to the problem that never was, and presto, mission accomplished.

JB: The message needs to be pro-Canada, pro-Earth -- pro-gressive.

I tend to agree. I think the problem is the con's keep throwing up diversions that require immediate countering. Given some time, they could be countered with positive alternatives and I think, or at least I hope, we will see that happen.

Ti-Guy said...

I think the problem is the con's keep throwing up diversions that require immediate countering.

Ain't that the truth. And that includes the brightest and nicest among them (...and no Tomm and Lance, I'm not referring to you guys) arguing with their political detractors while members of their own flock wander aimlessly through a bleak landscape of disinformation, smear, progaganda and tribalism.

If I were a precocious con, I'd sure be spending a lot of my time making sure the fabulists are not speaking on my behalf. But then, I value the credibility of my political convictions.