Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"Calling Bluffs"

You won a MINORITY, that is your mandate Conservatives. Yes, the Conservatives have a stronger mandate, and the government enjoys some latitude, no matter the parliamentary makeup. However, if this is how you intend to set the tone, we'll let's "call bluffs" indeed:
The Conservatives are not backing down from threats to make the measures matters of confidence.

"I don't think there has been any change in our position around that," Kory Teneycke, spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, told The Globe and Mail. "We are prepared to make them [justice issues] confidence matters if necessary."

After the election, Mr. Teneckye reiterated the Conservative resolve to move the justice provisions through Parliament.

"If the other parties want to go into an election on criminal-justice issues, I think we are prepared to call their bluff on that," he said in an interview.

It is unclear just when the crime bills will be introduced in the House of Commons. But the opposition has already indicated its willingness to vote against them, even if it means a return trip to the polls.

Teneycke's bully routine, threatening confidence votes if necessary, demonstrates one simple fact- for all the bluster of a more inclusive and co-operative Parliament, the Conservative government intends to operate, as though in defacto majority. I say let the Conservatives threaten this and that, frankly I'm all for "calling bluffs", because I suspect the non-confidence routine will BLOW UP in Harper's face.

I would encourage the Liberals to operate on simple principle, if legislation is presented which we can't support, no hint of compromise or inclusion, then we simply vote against, Harper can determine if it's a confidence matter. The ONUS is on Harper, it is not the role of the majority to simply cower to the minority, that's not the way game works, Canadians have spoken. Harper engineered an election to get a majority, he FAILED, so let's dispense with strong arm rhetoric, and let the government no straight away, that tone doesn't fly.

I'm just not particularly worried about any Conservative threats, because, despite our internal problems, the Liberals are actually well positioned in this regard. First, it is an open question whether the GG would grant another election, in the next year, at the minimum. There are no guarantees for the Conservatives, they would risk their own government, a scenario which partially declaws.

More importantly, any return to the polls, on anything other than the economy, is a complete and utter non-starter with the electorate. I almost laugh to myself, at the thoughts of Harper blowing another 300 million, based on the argument, that the opposition won't support his crime legislation. You can't be serious? The Canadian public has NO appetite for another election, they expect the parties to WORK TOGETHER, so the prospects of Harper jamming legislation down the opposition throat OR ELSE, is almost delicious. Go for it Kory, I have a good hunch how that one works out for your team.

Part of the problem here, there is little doubt that the Conservative inner circle suffers from an arrogance, which tends to cloud their judgement. The Liberals are on their knees, broke, leaderless, demoralized, we can have our way, we can step on their throats and they will always cry uncle. Ah, but here's the rub, the Conservatives blindspot. Yes, much of the deduction is true, but the Liberals misfortunes actually work to our advantage, in any "calling bluffs" scenario. Canadians are WELL aware of the Liberal Party's problems, nobody doubts they are in no position to credibly challenge the Conservatives for some time. Which means? The Liberal MP's can throw up their arms, remind us all again of the party's problems, and then say- do Canadians really think the Liberals want another election? I think the Liberals can make a powerful argument, that any vote of non-confidence is a forced position, based on Harper's tactics, surely you can understand that an election is the last thing we want too. The optics are favorable, and combined with Harper the "bully", I would say game on. An added bonus, the Bloc and NDP singing the same tune, repeating the theme of the minority not respecting the majority, it all adds up to trouble for the Conservatives.

So, here we go again, the first signals from the Conservatives, nothing's changed. It is imperative that the Liberals set their own tone early, and that should include a firm response on "bluffs", because we might just call yours. Call me completely and utterly UNAFRAID Kory.


Constant Vigilance said...

And if push came to shove and there was an election, the one thing that would break through the bafflegab and motivate people to get Harper out and vote would be another election.

You can't fight a bully by rolling over.

Steve V said...

Another point to consider, the government CHOOSES to make legislation a non-confidence matter, so it adds another layer of ultimate responsibility.

Anonymous said...

"You can't fight a bully by rolling over"

Totally sums up the situation we face with this schoolyard bully PM.

Anonymous said...

It's the Liberal party that is stupid here. They are the ones that put themselves in this position. We all know that they the (Liberals) can't afford another election anytime soon.It's the best way for them to go broke. This crime bill will pass parliament if the Conservatives make it a confidence vote. All they had to say was "we will have to wait and see what's in the bill" that's all,not make hallow threats. But I digress.

Let me make another prediction here about the throne speech.It will pass because of the Liberals and then they will just turn around and mention say the very speech they let pass,how terrible it is.Mark my words.

Anthony said...

enough Liberals will be absent anyway that Harper will have a de facto majority during the leadership race regardless

Anonymous said...

Canadians have buyer's regret with Harper even before Parliament reconvenes. News of his bloated, costly cabinet landed with a thud. Like Bush, whose approval rating tanked months into the second term and stayed there, Harper's vindictive and juvenile tactics will get tiresome real fast. His government, like Bush's, is not a serious government for serious times. The Cons know they got away with this win and will not do anything to risk their position.

rabbit said...

Those conservative bullies - always trying to get their policies implemented.

The Conservatives have the right to put forward non-confidence bills. The opposition has the right to defeat them. I have no problem with either of those ideas.

I've seen plenty of political hardball from the Liberals. Chretien played rough when it suited him. For example, he called an election in 2000 immediately after Stockwell become leader of the Canadian Alliance, not giving Stockwell any time to organize.

I don't blame Chretien much for that, but I don't sympathize with the Liberals here either.

Gayle said...

rabbit - try not to forget he called that election at Day's invitation.

That said, it completely breaks tradition to make non finance bills matters of confidence.

This is just posturing by Harper. I somehow do not think the YCJA is at the top of people's priorities right now. Not to mention the fact he can kiss his entire Quebec caucus good bye if he forces an election on this issue.

Anonymous said...

there is no doubt Dion would crush the neo-cons if another election is called today - and despite the financial collapse the Libs can borrow the millions to run an effective campaign - call the election now following a non-con vote - do the Liberals have the vision to bring down the neo-Con gov't now - go Dion go!

Gayle said...

By the way, some of the criminal lawyers I know are all for these measures, and even voted for Harper.

That is because lawyers can be selfish, and they all recognize that they are going to make a lot more money if all these proposals pass. The provinces pay for legal aid though, and if they are unable to afford the extra costs you are going to start seeing charges being thrown out in courts due to the failure of the governments to properly fund defence lawyers.

Funny how Harper is so gung ho about off forcing the provinces to pay for his crime package. He better start amending that equalization formula.

Steve V said...

"We all know that they the (Liberals) can't afford another election anytime soon."

You're just reinforcing my point, but go ahead...

wilson said...

The crime issues PMSH campaigned on were popular with Canadians, in 2006 and 2008.
That's why, combined, Libs and Dippers hold 114 seats and Cons won 143.
The 10 seats in Quebec will hold again too if the opps decide to bring down the govt on a crime bill.
Getting tough on crime is a winner for PMSH.

Dr. Tux said...

No repeat of abstentions can be tolerated.

Anonymous said...

Sorry buddy, but most people in Canada view a 14-17 old killer as a killer.

If you have the insane trait to kill someone you should be locked up for life.


It's funny that you have no problem with an 18 year old getting a life sentence, but if they're 1 day before 18, "OH NO HE'S JUST A CHILD".

Grow up.

Being compassionate to killers is not a Canadian value or virture.


Steve V said...

"Grow up."

And the funny part, your comment reads like a angry child.

gingercat said...

More of a question then anything else. Doesn't the official opposition vote first? If they do, now with their diminished size, does that not put the onus on the Block and NDP? Wouldn't it therfore become someone elses problem thus allowing the Liberals to vote their convictions?

Anonymous said...

You can't get more un-Obama than Harper: divisive, dismissive and arrogant. Hope is contagious and change is on the way.

Gayle said...

Silly little anon

Young people between the ages of 14 and 17 are already liable to receive a life sentence. Harper is not changing that.

What he proposes is an automatic life sentence. He does this despite the fact the SCC already ruled an automatic adult sentence for youths is unconstitutional.

In other words, he is pandering, and willing to spend millions of your dollars to do that.

Next time, take a moment to educate yourself before you demonstrate your ignorance in such a spectacular fasion.

wilson - apparently you failed to notice almost 65% of Canadians voted AGAINST Harper's crime bill.