Thursday, November 27, 2008

Liberals Need To Take A Stand

We need to see how Flaherty introduces this attack on democracy, but I fully expect the Liberals to reject this obscene and transparent attempt to hobble the opposition. The NDP are already on record, they will vote against any attempt to undercut public financing, for obvious reasons I expect the Bloc to follow suit. The onus will then be on the Liberals to take a principled stand, and anything less than complete DEFIANCE is unacceptable.

Conservative insiders have already let it slip, this isn't about symbolic gestures, belt tightening, this is a salvo aimed at the opposition, using the guise of crisis for political advantage. A complete affront to the rhetoric of finding common ground, moving beyond partisanship, the Conservatives have shown themselves in striking fashion. It is simply amazing, that with an economy crumbling, the Conservative braintrust can afford to put their energies into a meaningless fiscal initiative, it is quite revealing, in terms of priorities. Rather than a singular focus on serious matters, the Conservatives would rather manipulate the situation to introduce a partisan STUNT. Simply unacceptable, I agree with any sentiment that frames this debate as "war", it's a fundamental issue which can't be reconciled.

If it turns out to be a confidence measure, the Liberals have no choice, they must band together with the other parties, they MUST take a stand. I want to see a joint news conference, May included, a united front that SCREAMS. Let the Governor General sort it out, I suspect the result won't be what Harper had in mind, if it is, so be it, sometimes risk is required, political consideration secondary to a core principle, which can't be compromised.

A nation waits for a plan, and we will get games, serious action secondary to political gamesmanship. There is only one response that is satisfactory, unless the fundraising rules are changed to offset, the Liberals have no choice and the fallout will not be of their doing, the responsbility lies with craven opportunists. When confronted by a smug bully, the required response is obvious, you coil back and smack em square in the jaw.

30 comments:

penlan said...

Unless I misheard, on CBC Newsworld this morning I heard it will be a confidence motion.

Bring em down - we have no choice.

liberazzi said...

I agree, but who leads the Libs in a potential election?

olaf said...

We need to see how Flaherty introduces this attack on democracy

Haha, attack on democracy. Political parties funding themselves through voluntary donations: tyranny!!!

liberazzi said...

One ploy I have noticed with regards to the CPC in QP is that when the opposition attacks, their answer is "Canadians expect us to cooperate, cant we all just get along?". They are trying to portray the opposition now as mean-spirited and uncooperative, whenever they pose a tough question. Plus, their other game is to portray the Libs as being mean-spirited when they cut the deficit in the 90's.

Steve V said...

"Political parties funding themselves through voluntary donations: tyranny!!!"

Olaf, if you actually think this is a principled stand, then I question your instincts. The minions have already articulated what this really all about...

The Grumpy Voter said...

Newsflash: 15,000 auto workers in Ontario may be shit out of luck my January. The economy is going south faster than you can say "gimme my gold plated MP pension" and I suspect the average voter strongly supports this move by the Tories. You can engage in spin all you want (God knows the Tories are, claiming that "we must all do our part") but if this is an affront to Democracy as many claim, then I will expect Canadians, rightly concerned about the state of their democracy will be calling MP's until the fibre-optic lines melt, DEMANDING the opposition defeat the government so we can spend another $350 million on an election that nobody gives a rat's ass about.

The $30 million to political parties is important to political parties and NOT Joe and Suzy citizen. Those 15,000 auto workers would probably like to see a bailout to protect their jobs as opposed to:

a) $30 million going to political parties
b) $350 million for another election

Yawn.

Steve V said...

grumpy

Oh, you're still around, hadn't noticed. Yawn is right.

Steve V said...

And, if the Tories don't want another election, then simply remove or amend the irritant, so we can get down to serious issues, rather than cynically exploiting a economic crisis for partisan advantage.

John van Popta said...

If the Liberals, NDs, Bloquistes, and Greens of this country are so incensed by this 'outrage' I'm sure they'll step up to the plate and donate a toonie each every year in order to make up the shortfall to their respective parties. There's more heat than light appearing on the left horizon. I think they do protest too much!

jvp

Anonymous said...

I agree that the opposition should vote this down. But, needless to say it will look pretty bad on the Liberals that they were willing to prop up the Tories for over a year - as long as they were doing stuff that was destructive to Canada as a whole - but now they suddenly want to play hardball when its something that affects the Liberal Party.

Eugene said...

I can't believe the Liberals would want to support maintaining the Bloc's taxpayer funding!

Steve V said...

eugene

Wow, that's some sad spin. This initiative is good for Canadian unity.

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha. That's so stupid it really gave me a good laugh. Thanks Gene.

Constant Vigilance said...

If an election is the final result, there will be more than enough ammunition due to the Cons inaction with regards stimulus.

Bring them down. Go to the Governor General.

Steve V said...

Yes, I think people are missing the point here, a vote against doesn't mean another election. There is a very plausible scenario where the majority of MP's ask the GG to form a government, this lot of opportunists have shown themselves, nobody wants another election.

It's a minority people!

The Grumpy Voter said...

Oh Steve of little faith...

This issue isn't even registering with voters who are more concerned with, gasp, "KEEPING THEY'RE EFFING JOBS" as opposed to $30 million going to a bunch of partisan hacks who spend more time attacking each other than actually contributing to solving the problems of voters.

I am loving this, though. Go ahead, bring the government down. We're going into deficit anyway, what's another $350 million and political instability at a time of economic crisis anyway.

If the liberals are so concerned about funding, how about changing those ARCANE rules that allow the party to choose its leaders. Why not get into the 21st century and do "one member, one vote."

Very simply, Canadians don't give a damn about the plight of politicians in this country. God knows, they've got problems enough of their own.

In closing, Liberals MUST know they are being played here, right? Harper is drumming up opposition outrage to drown out any concerns about the prospect of Canada going into a deficit.

Dalton went $500 million into deficit and simultaneously announced a ban on cellphone use while driving... this is all about deflection and distraction. That Liberals are falling for it is freaking laughable.

Steve V said...

Ah, the rational musing of a Blogging Tory. Yes, laughable.

Gayle said...

"Haha, attack on democracy. Political parties funding themselves through voluntary donations: tyranny!!!"

When this is done without notice, in a manner that will cut the legs out from under all the opposition parties, then yes, it is an attack on democracy.

Not that I think Harper will go through with it. He just wants to be able to point his finger at the opposition, say "ha ha" while he continues to take in his taxpayer funded democracy.

Unless, of course, he is willing to put his money where his mouth is and voluntarily give up his subsidy when the measure is voted down.

Scott Tribe said...

The opposition parties should now be openly musing to the press that the G.G can ask other parties in the House to try and form a government rather then waste another 300 million $ on another unnecessary election a month and a half after the last unnecessary election fuelled by Harper's determination to get a majority before the economic meltdown hit.

Such open talk of this scenario may get him to back off (and it certainly is a strong possibility of happening as well).

Susan said...

Well put as usual Steve. I agree completely that the Liberals should take a stand. Harper reminds me of Fagin in Oliver Twist, I call him Stevie one-note because all he can do is obsess about the Liberals while the country and the planet go down the tubes.

Cynic said...

You're from Ontario Steve. I don't remember reading such outrage when the McG Liberals changed the parliamentary hours, stifled debates, time allocated controversial bills, engaged in overtly partisan debates on the economy, reduced salaries for opposition researchers while bolstering their own etc etc etc etc.

"we're not talking about Ontario" you will say. I say you should be because it shows that anti-democratic bullying is nothing new and not a conservative phenom. Sad but true.

But oh wait, nobody gives a shit about Ontario politics despite the $100 billion they control.

Dalton and Harper = peas in a pod.

Anonymous said...

Agree with those saying Liberals, NDP and Bloc should vote it down and go to GG to propose forming new government.

Jaytoo said...

Principled Steve is back. Welcome!

Scott T: Bingo. That "open musing" about options for an alternative government should have started immediately post-election. But if your guys needed this attack on public election financing as a spark, okay. Just no more turtling from here on, k?

Steve V said...

Interesting.

Anonymous said...

Also interesting - Harper and his wife Loreen have become quite close friends with GG (even though Harper didn't like it when she was appointed). I think it was Jane Taber (don't hold me to that) that said that Loreen and GG do nature walks together and stuff.

Do you not see a pattern with Harper? He befriended Charest when he needed him, that was two-faced and befriended Dumont, etc., etc.

Do you think GG would go against Harper's wishes?

Mark Francis said...

The Conservative party is the largest beneficiary of the political tax credit, which sees donations to political parties reimbursed at least 50% using public money. I don't see Flaherty suggesting that that huge subsidy be revoked. Far from being hit the hardest, the Conservative Party will be the best situated party if this change goes through.

Furthermore, campaign expenses at the riding level are also routinely reimbursed for the larger parties with public money.

If the Conservatives really were that concerned about our money, they wouldn't have wasted $300 million on a useless election.

kheimbuch said...

I don't think it is a stretch to suggest that this is democracy itself on trial. The LPC needs to put their internecine squabbles aside and call Harper's bluff on this one.

One question I have: since the LPC leadership race is between essentially two candidates, why can't caucus just decide and save more wasted time and money,not to mention dissention?

CuzBen said...

Although I agree this move is underhanded, unfair, undemocratic etc (though not uncommon and agree with Cynic, not isolated) let me play devil's advocate for a sec and reveal a possible silver lining:

If the numbers I just saw are correct, the LPC relies on public financing for 67% of its revenue. That's insane. This move will force the Party to change, NOW. Meanwhile, you can more or less sit back and watch the uncontrollable economy take its toll on this unprepared and horribly underqualified government, nailing them on each mistake as they happen. In the end, you will have remade your party's fundraising structure and will face a Conservative party that is bruised and battered, leading you to a breezy election win sometime in late 2010 or so, just around the time when the economy will be picking up. Then as you take the reigns of power, the slowly rising economy is credited to your sober leadership which lasts far into the 21st century. Eh?

Steve V said...

I just saw a NDP MP and Liberal MP openly discussing a coalition government as a possibility. The NDP seem eager, the Liberal "were not quite there yet", but "it's happened before". VERY interesting days ahead.


ben

If it was phased in, then I'd agree it could be a good thing. That said, fundraising is already a critical discussion within the party, so it's not like Harper's gambit is a wakeup call.

Steve V said...

According to the media, the Liberals will NOT support economic statement!