Saturday, September 29, 2007

Running Scared

Abstaining from a vote on the throne speech is the quintessential expression of weakness. I don't agree with any of the logic, put forward by Dion's confidant:
Wilfert proposes an unusual tactic of partial abstention by the Liberals if they have the deciding vote among the opposition parties on a confidence motion over the government’s Oct. 16 speech from the throne. “We could register our displeasure without bringing down the government,” he said.

“You need three things to win an election: money, organization and money,” he added. “We’re doing better now with money after that lengthy leadership process, but if anybody tells you we have all of those things, they are obviously deluding themselves.”

Wilfert’s proposed tactic to avoid defeating the government would have Dion and other front-bench Liberals vote against the throne speech while the majority of the 96-member Liberal caucus remain in their seats, abstaining from a vote.

Does Wilfert think no one will notice as Liberals sit on their hands and perpetuate the myth that they stand for nothing? Good grief, you let Duceppe off the hook and provide Layton with a powerful tool to argue Liberal irrelevance. Abstaining oozes weakness and solidifies the idea that the Liberals are running scared.

Wilfert also makes a cute comment about money, which is irrelevant. Realistically, the Liberal fundraising isn't competitive with the Conservatives, and shows no signs of anything close to parity in the future. If we are waiting on that "winning condition", the train will never arrive. As it relates to organization, if that fundamental piece isn't already in place, particularly within the volatility of a minority, then I have more concerns about competence.

You don't get to run and hide, especially when Dion has already put out his demands. Dion's bread and butter issue is the environment, how the Liberal Party can endorse this sham of a plan, the further erosion of the international movement is beyond me. Abstaining isn't an effective way to "register our displeasure", its a copout and everyone but the spinmeisters will view it as such. Wilfert also references Harper's 2005 abstaining, and his present position, as evidence that the tactic can work. Don't expect Harper to be the scandal ridden reeking mess we saw from the Martin campaign.

If the Liberals abstain, provided the throne speech doesn't meet the conditions, then it serves as another example of weak, irrelevant leadership, a party more concerned with survival than principle, which will be exploited at every turn. It isn't getting any better, anytime soon Mr. Wilfret, especially with a government bathed in surplus, the winning conditions you crave will never come.

UPDATE

Fall or Bust

11 comments:

Decoin said...

excellent

Anonymous said...

Dion needs to clean house and right away - get rid of the Quebec wing president and get rid of Jamie Carroll.

For an adviser - Carroll talks too much. Doesn't matter what he says - he should be saying anything.

You have to wonder, besides the flake Ray Heard - who's telling tales in the woods on Dion - Carroll?

wilson said...

If Libs want to take Cons to the polls, given that the country is lulled and content, what is the burning reason?

I suspect it will be 'the hidden agenda if Harper gets a majority'; msm is already on that for yah.

But!
Harper can't get a majority if there is no election...

hmmmmm that would mean that the Libs are worried that if Harper governs any longer, he will get a majority
and
it is the Libs fear of being in opposition so long that the NDP has a good shot at replacing them as the official opposition, that is the real burning reason.!

oh yah.

Steve V said...

wilson

The country never wants an election, do they? The burning reason is bad government, which is clear to 67% of the population.

Woman at Mile 0 said...

It seems so obvious. Anonymous has provided a position that would show strength, confidence and a willingness to confront our problems head on.

SouthernOntarioan said...

Agreed.

Dion needs to do one of three things.

1) Bite the bullet and abstain on the Throne and budget. Going into an election like this is suicide for Dion politically. Yes, he'll be labeled a hypocrite, an opportunist and a weak leader. That's the best he can hope for and maybe he'll learn next time not to make his demands so public so early.

2) Clean house. Anonymous is right, heads need to rhetorically roll. Harper dumped Garth Turner for less reason, Dion has much more reason. The Quebec wing needs to be purged and dissidents shown the door. It needs to be clear that going public with your dirty laundry will not be tolerated.

Sure, in the short run this will be disastrous for the party. You will definitely take a hit in the polls. But its gonna happen one way or another, and as long as the Liberals abstain from forcing an election they can buy themselves time to reorganize.

It also provides a good reason to avoid an election which voters will understand. "I can't fight Harper and fight my party at the same time. I have to unite my party before I can be expected to run an election."

Carroll needs to go irregardless of what was actually said, a group of senior Liberals were so deeply offended that they went to the press.

3) Tone down the rhetoric and move back from the left wing. Harper isn't evil. He doesn't have horns. And repeating that over and over does not make it any more true.

Disagree with his policies or not, but Harper has proven himself to be a moderate leader, not a wild eye crazy Bush-lite. Dion needs to engage him not with cheap rhetoric but with serious policies. (And simply opposing everything the Tories do, does not constitute good policy-making)

SouthernOntarioan said...

Sorry previous line should have been 'the following three things' not 'one of three'

Steve V said...

southern

Fair points, although I disagree with 1. Whatever happens, we have to lose the "hidden agenda" angle, because while I believe there is actually truth to the idea, it won't fly with voters. Having said that, aligning ourselves with Bush on climate change is fair game, because Canadians understand what joke.

wilson said...

''The burning reason is bad government, which is clear to 67% of the population.''

Using that logic Steve, 70% of the population do not have a burning desire to see Libs back in charge either.

'Bad government' reigns over a 30 year high dollar and economy and employment, low inflation and low interest rates, national debt paid down 17B in 2 years (instead of spent buying votes)?

There is optimism in Canada not seen since the birth of the Bloc, and that is bad government?

And what have the Liberals done, in the last 18 months, to EARN the trust of Canadians?

Dion can't even keep his own party together, how is he going to run an entire country?
And Canadians can smell fake party unity a mile away.

If Libs go for an election this fall, it isn't about 'saving Canada', it's about taking their lumps now rather than letting Canadians get ever more comfy with Harper.

Steve V said...

"'Bad government' reigns over a 30 year high dollar and economy and employment, low inflation and low interest rates, national debt paid down 17B in 2 years (instead of spent buying votes)?"

So funny to hear Cons take credit for their Liberal inheritance. The only issue they don't seem to mention the last 13 years.

"(instead of spent buying votes)"

You must have missed the last budget, in fact I'm embarrassed for you to have made that statement. Geez, get off the kool aid.

James said...

I've commented on this a couple times now and will repeat my position here.

First of all, if an election is called, I will bust my hump working for my candidate. I want Dion to be successful in his bid to become PM, make no mistake.

But there are two really important things to consider. First, the timing for an election isn't right. The liberal party seems highly disorganized and the electorate doesn't have a burning desire to kick out Harper right now. As well, the incumbent has the advantage.

Second, calling an election now would equate to a massive gamble. Should we lose, another opportunity to successfully boot out Harper wouldn't present itself for another year and a half, perhaps even longer. If Harper were returned to office in a minority government, it would amount to a massive waste of public funds and the appetite for another election wouldn't return for a good while.

Me personally, I would play to win. This may be shrewd opportunism, characterize it however you want. But at the end of the day I would want to be successful in kicking Harper out. There will be more and better opportunities to kick Harper out of government in the near future.