Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More Coalition Feedback

Hat tip to Big City Lib. A new Compass poll, which asks a mirade of questions on the coalition, how the Liberals should choose leaders, and oh, btw a horserace question, with largely predictable and already replicated results.

What this poll reveals, or more correctly, what is relevant moving forward, another finding that shows just how unpopular a coalition is with the Canadian public. It's so unpopular in this poll that we find contradictory results. For example, Canadians largely disagree with the process of installing Ignatieff, without a proper democratic expression, that doesn't consult the rank and file (the result is expected, especially when you ask if people prefer elitism or democracy). Okay, so Canadians disapprove of the Liberals installing Ignatieff. However, and this is key, when asked if "Liberal politicians in Ottawa were right to force Stephane Dion to step down immediately because his coalition with the NDP and Bloc Quebecois was so unpopular", all of sudden the vast majority suddenly think it was right to turf Dion (63% to 37%). The Liberals shouldn't choose leaders through an elitist process, but when you connect the question to the dreaded coalition, it's fine by me. I consider the disconnect here to be another stark example of the poison that is the coalition. The pollster also points to the "conflicting results".

More bad news for the coalition, not only is it largely unpopular, but Canadians aren't particularly engaged, they can't really decipher the difference between what Dion agreed too, and what Ignatieff is now arguing ("a coalition if necessary, but not necessarily...). Apparently, we just see separatists, socialists and a powergrab, don't expect a detaled analysis of the merits:
The Liberals are not successful at distancing themselves from the coalition policy that enraged Canadian voters and led to Dion’s premature departure in early December. Almost half of Canadians (46%) consider the current policy of “a coalition if necessary but not necessarily a coalition” to be essentially the same as the Liberal policy under Dion, as shown in table 2f. Irrespective of whether they perceive the policy as the same or different from under Dion, a 58% majority considers the new Liberal policy as bad policy, as shown in table 2f.

The continuation of the Liberal commitment to the coalition idea is a major reason explaining why Liberal support is stalled despite having a new leader.

Liberal commitment to the coalition idea harms the Liberals not only because of public opposition to the policy itself but also because the policy reinforces public perceptions of the party as unauthentic. During the height of the controversy over the coalition in early December, most Canadians believed the Opposition parties were motivated mainly or entirely by a desire for power rather than by an honest belief that Harper was a bad manager of the economy

Here's where all the Conservatives can get weak in the knee, the horserace numbers:
Cons 43%
Libs 30%
NDP 13%
Greens 8%
Bloc 6%

The pollster concludes that the only reason the Liberal number is up, because they are drawing support away from their coalition parties, but also hemorrhaging to the Conservatives. I don't really buy that argument, you could easily make the case that much of the NDP erosion in the west is moving directly to the Cons, although the Quebec numbers do suggest some Bloc support moving the Libs way (Libs 42%, Bloc 28%, Cons 16%, NDP 7%- don't get too excited, margin of error is large with a 600 national sample). Anyways, I'll make the same point I made a BCL's and prior, any pollster that asks coalition questions will get these horserace numbers, people simply reject the idea and flock to the party that has no role. I'm actually surprised the Lib vote is this high, considering the Con total, but it's mostly a whatever for me, unless of course we jump off the coalition cliff, then they're real baby. For now, I'll stick with the AR horserace only poll, that showed a much closer result, and also showed how far Harper's stature has fallen, because of this crisis. These coalition polls tend to mask Harper's role, and I maintain the damage is real and sustained. I'm sure the Conservative koolaid crowd will disagree, but if they want to delude themselves, have it at, works for me.

Conclusion. Unless Harper goes the poison pill route, or the budget so misses the mark to be obscene, the coalition is an albatross that any prudent person should avoid. That's my view, and the above poll is just further validation.

55 comments:

bigcitylib said...

The Coalition etc...

But probably it cannot be officially backed away from until after the budget.

Steve V said...

I agree. I honestly don't think we will get a good read on where the Cons are, until after the budget.

BTW, has that poll been picked up on by the MSM, can't seem to find it anywhere?

Thor said...

With a sample of only 600 nation-wide, the results are almost meaningless.

It's interesting that around the prorogue and coalition-forming time, and from then to now, there have been a lot of polls of either small sample, or from biased conservative-hired firms, or both, and no polls of large sample size or from more un-biased firms.
Where are the Nanos and Environics polls?

Larry Gambone said...

Some of this anti-coalitionism could be the result of ignorance of the way our government works. A large number of people think we elect our PM. The totalitarian nature of our media did not help - name one newspaper or major media outlet that looked at it objectively. An ignorant population can easily be manipulated.

Steve V said...

"With a sample of only 600 nation-wide, the results are almost meaningless."

I might agree, if these results haven't been replicated by every single sample on the coalition, from a wide range of sources.

Steve V said...

larry

I don't necessarily disagree, and this poll is further proof of that, because Canadians apparently can't tell the difference between the Dion and Ignatieff arguments. As a matter of fact, one of my chief hesitations about the viability of a coalition is voter ignorance, and to hang your hat on some epiphany is more wishful thinking, than accurate sense of the electorate. It's a lot easier to cry separatists and powergrab, than it is a detailed tutorial on how our parliamentary system is supposed to work. Know your audience.

janfromthebruce said...

And the reason why Dion was forced to resign didn't have to do with the coalition as to the fact he was such as weak and ineffective liberal leader that he was the "drag" on the coalition. If the vote had happened, liberals didn't want Dion to become PM, as he was a walking disaster.
Think about it, Dion couldn't even get a video tape together.
So that question was a bogus question, but sure buy into it.
Just to give a heads up here, ndp will not be propping up Iggy without that agreement. Let Iggy play kiss with Harper.

bigcitylib said...

Steve,

Nobody has been fit to declare this poll news.

janfromthebruce said...

I'm just wondering, since you think that poll is the defining one and all, and how the public didn't like the crowning of Iggy, does that mean the libs are going to get rid of him now? I mean the poll people are unhappy, so best to get rid of Iggy, right?
Or would that mean that the liberal party gets out there and sells Iggy.

Steve V said...

jan

Yawn. I'm sure the majority rejection of the coalition was bogus too. I can't hear you, I can't hear you. Whatever floats your boat, but you might want to look at those NDP numbers that keep coming up, I'm sure Jack and Lavigne have.

Gerry said...

These types of polls are conducted to grab headlines but they provide little insight on voting intention. Imagine how low support for the Conservatives would be if, instead of leading up to the voting intention question with questions about the coalition and the way Michael Ignatieff was installed as Liberal leader, the questions were about Harper's unprecedented and constitution bending decision to prorogue Parliament to avoid being defeated on the Fall Economic Statement after he miscalculated the mood of Parliament, despite being elected only a few weeks earlier with a minority mandate? Then it would be the Liberals with and handsome lead.

Steve V said...

bcl

I get that, what with Iggy's eyebrows and all :)

jan

Becoming unglued again? I just don't care, never have actually.

Steve V said...

Gerry

You are right, as far as the horserace numbers go, I put no stock in them, because the other portions of the poll will bring a predictable response. We do know, that Canadians reject Harper's behavior, his negatives are higher and he can't even best an opposition leader for best PM (a fact without precedent). That's the point here, Conservatives are fooling themselves with this bravado of "bring it on", using coalition tainted polls as validation. I think they're in for a surprise once we get some clarity.

Archie said...

When Dion was won the leadership for the liberal party the liberals had a jump in the polls. Matter in fact I seem to remember they were leading at one point. This did really didn't happen with Count Igor. Could this be do the fact that the coalition was hated by most Canadians, or people not liking how Count Igor was appointed, or a combination of the two.

Steve V said...

Archie

Actually, they were leading prior to Dion's victory in a couple of polls, so it's a bit of a flawed argument. Anyways, I'm not particularly worried about Ignatieff, I think our fortunes have improved, we've seen some evidence of that in the polls, but the one's with the coalition tend to distort any hint of increased support.

janfromthebruce said...

I just looked at how the questions were worded, and even suggesting that Dion would be the MP now is stupid. Oh and framing the question as the Bloc as "partner" is also bogus.
I guess Canadian Business is into "push polling" again. What a surprise. Now that Harper has basically bailed out the banks and other financial institutions, they sure don't want the money going to the working class, the ones that are going to be paying all that money back.

Steve V said...

jan

You keep telling yourself whatever you want, I am ENTIRELY confident in the notion that Canadians hate the coalition, they punish anyone associated with it, and their lack of knowledge precludes any sudden reversal in opinion. The sky is blue, the sky is blue.

janfromthebruce said...

I wouldn't be too cocky here Steve, considering in the fundraising department, it's the libs who are in the poorhouse, and overly dependent on the public purse. The cons and the NDP, not so much, but alas, the liberals, well when they lost their corporate sponsors, they just didn't think that the public would lose interest in them.
Anyway, this is all stupid speculation, and we will see which way the wind blows.

Joseph said...

While I agree with your sentiments, I still have a hard time with the poll as you've described it. If described accurately in your post (as I assume it is ;), it seems to be designed with more than a small amount of bias to me. It seems more a poll driving to a conclusion rather than a poll trying to measure un-influenced opinions of the electorate.

I'll start believing the myriad of busy-bee pollsters are really trying to gauge public opinion when I read the headline that says, "Poll finds abortion stance harms Conservatives" rather than yet another poll reinforcing how unpopular the coalition is.

While, again, I state I agree with your basic assessment that the public does not support the idea of a coalition, I have to say I'm growing irritated by the continuing onslaught of "experts" being quoted in the news who while supposedly offering "unbiased" opinions manage to slam the idea of a coalition in both subtle and direct ways. The Vancouver Sun this morning had an article in the business section in which two professors managed to size up that the opportunistic "menage a trois" would "certainly" clash with the Obama administration if they formed the government.

Not even a mild reference to how the actual functioning government of Harper's conservatives might fare. Nope, the only offering even hinting at that obvious subject was a reference that the "menage a trois" would be unsettling to the relationship between the two nations (which I guess implies the Obama and Harper teams are in lockstep unless someone rattles the basket in some horrid fashion.

It just seems a strange offering, and makes me question the "expert" and their statements. I've noted a few times in the past couple of weeks articles which followed the same basic pattern - "expert uses negative or derogatory description of coalition as they pronounce their expert opinion of the horrors that would befall the nation if they formed the government."

It would be tiresome if it didn't bug me so much ; ).

I think Ignatieff and the Liberals just need to approach this as an independent decision. If the budget is good or acceptable, accept it. If not, vote it down. Ignatieff could certainly accept forming the government if offered, but I think his and the parties attitude should be they are willing to go into another election - low finances and all - if Harper screws it up again.

Personally, I think he has the ability to rally fund-raising on just that basis. I think many Liberals would return home. And personally, I can't imagine a better election campaign than one based on what Harper said in October and how it clashes horridly with what he says - and the reality - of where Canada is now.

I don't fear another election, and I don't think the Liberals should either.

Steve V said...

Joseph

I hear you on the media, and it's part of my calculation- don't expect a fair hearing, we've already seen how silly arguments take hold, with little sense of honest debate.

Jan

Cocky? No, just reasonable, as opposed to emotionally invested like yourself. Anyways, good luck with the "real opposition" angle, methinks it's time has passed.

Scott Tribe said...

Steve:

I get that you're uneasy about a coalition (even if the polling #'s essentially are meaningless, since if we do go to a coalition government, the electorate can't harm the coalition governing parties immediately for 18 months), but I guess I need to ask clearly; are you advocating that unless the Conservative budget is so bad that it cant be swallowed, we should just take whatever they throw for scraps at the opposition parties?

Steve V said...

scott

First of all, you can't just plow ahead with the coalition, unless you are confident that some measure of support exists. Oh sure, you can comfort yourself in not facing the electorate, but what of the moral authority to govern? I'm not really into getting crucified, nor am I into a national unity crisis, as the "west", rightly or wrongly, sees a coalition as an eastern power grab.

What I am advocating, is that the Liberal Party uses its head, and people stop with their personal want (I support the coalition) and think big picture. This budget already has the Liberal and NDP fingerprints on it, I would hardly call what we know to be already "scraps", good grief. Unless this budget is offensive, we can't in good conscience move forward. Let's see what happens, leave the option on the table, but be prudent in the end. All I know, Canadians just want a package, they don't care about all these inside the beltway considerations.

Northern PoV said...

I might be interested in polls taken a couple of months after a coalition gov't has been in power. Current polls indicate only what their sponsors want them to show (how the questions are asked) in this weird media climate where even CBC-TV sounds like Fox news.

Iggy and friends:
For once do what is right and ignore the polls. Harper wants gov't to fail in general (and to reward his friends via tax-dollars), so even
if the budget looks OK, if there is any room for doubt - vote against.

Oh and let's pray that M. Jean comes to her senses should Harper fall on his sword.

Steve V said...

Pov

Last time I checked polls reflect public will, so it's not simply a political calculation, putting your finger in the air, but more rightly seeing if you have the real authority to govern. Besides, if people want to fluff it all off as weird questioning, agendas, I assure you my opinion isn't based solely on polls.

Here's a twist, which people had best consider. Should the coalition vote against the budget, and the Cons can credibly argue it was a fair document, then don't discount the possibility that Conservative MP's resign in protest. That has already been floated, and I don't doubt for a second these people would take that extreme route. So, you want have a half empty house, with virtually no representation in parts of the country, or you would another round of by-elections that would so enflame the environment, the coalition government's legitimacy would be nil.

On the media front, this characterization from a supposed member of that liberal media:

"the three headed political monster". The idea is so tarnished, it will take a miracle to salvage it.

The Jurist said...

Steve: It's disturbing how many Con talking points you've taken to parroting. But re: the alienation/resignation/other threats to kick and scream about losing power: do you really think that it's either smart politics or even faintly responsible governance to send the message that Harper can get whatever he wants by threatening to throw a tantrum until he gets his way?

Steve V said...

Jurist

Those are the talking points repeatedly daily by our media, and those are the one's that Canadians have bought into. The first few days were pivotal, and sadly we failed to make a case (our abysmal video performance the best and only chance WASTED). Since then, not much has changed, the debate has cooled and those talking points have settled in. I guess the question- how do you change it?

The Jurist said...

I'd think an obvious first step would be to stop perpetuating the problem. And the fact that the Cons are changing the subject now (presumably in hopes that public opinion won't move from where it is now) leaves a huge opening to present a strong refutation of Harper's flat-out lies about how Canada's system of governance works.

But then, I'd argue that you're overrating the importance of polling in determining what the coalition parties should do in any event. Surely they should be concerned enough about the country's recovery from a recession to take the reins if they consider themselves able to deliver more stable and competent management than the Cons - and I can't imagine how one could justify being a member/supporter/leader of a coalition party without holding that belief.

Anonymous said...

Why don't the Liberals take a play out of Harper's book and announce their own budget a week in advance. This gives Harper a week to adjust his crappy budget or provides a clear alternative that even the MSM can't distort easily. If the Liberals don't take the attack for the first time in 5 years they will get burried if they pull back in any way yet again. This would also put Iggies stamp on the party and indicate a new direction. This would also likely make any move to the coalition uneccesary and push that out of the picture as Harper knows he has to look better than Iggy or face sliding polls in the coming months. All you have to do is lok at the response to the abortion nonsense the last couple of days.

ottlib said...

Actually, if you look at the horserace numbers for this poll and compare it to the ones immediately after the the coalition idea was floated the Conservatives have lost a significant amount of support and the Liberals have gained a significant amount of support. So the coalition idea is growing on Canadians as it sinks in. Let's see where these estimates are in three weeks. Neat spin eh?

Or you can spin it like Compass and its sponsor are doing.

Either way it is a meaningless poll asking about a hypothetical, with polling question content and positioning within the questionnaire that could be designed to produce desired results as opposed to a real snapshot of public opinion.

The coalition idea should not be dismissed out of hand based on polls that could be designed to give the false impression that Canadians are against the idea. Some of the polls that were conducted just after the coalition idea came to light had some pretty loaded questions, which certainly put the coalition idea in a negative light even before the respondent was given an opportunity to answer. If every poll was conducted the same way with similar questions then none of them can be considered accurate assessments of public opinion. Cranked polls never are.

However the idea of a coalition should not be embraced without making certain it is the right thing to do in the national interest and from a political standpoint.

So keep it on the table as a credible alternative so that Mr. Harper will know that he does not have a free hand. Use it to demonstrate that his government is still in peril if he is unable or unwilling to work with one or more of the opposition parties in the House of Commons.

Antonio said...

i nearly fell over at those quebec numbers

the sample may be small.

However, pushing that the Tories are the enemy in Quebec can only do the Liberals a whole lot of good.

IF the Liberals were to get anywhere near a 40 Lib 30 BQ 15 CPC

that would translate to 30 seats in Quebec at a minimum.

Greg said...

My reaction to the poll numbers is, so what? If the coalition hangs together for two years, Harper will be gone and the poll numbers will have changed about 500 times. The numbers are the way they are because Harper has convinced people that the coalition is a coop. They will only, only, come into play if there is an election within a week of the coalition taking power. If the coalition keeps its nerve, that won't happen. So Steve, if you oppose the coalition for other reasons, fine. But, please stop saying its because the polls are bad. That is just nonsense.

Anonymous said...

U should ignore the polls they are trying to dissuade Iggy and the coalition from bringing down the crooks...why U get your shorts in a knot over these idiot polls...I really dont get it....ignore them...dont repeat them.

Steve V said...

"Ignore them"= "bury head in the sand"

Steve V said...

Greg

I actually support the coalition. What people fail to realize here, you can't hide from the electorate, using the argument that no election will take place. It is imperative to have the moral authority to govern. If you have huge swaths of the country rejecting the legitimacy, you will create an untenable position. It's that simple, which is why the onus is on Harper, short of offensive, the Liberals need to act responsibly.

Anonymous said...

Ignoring them is not burying your head in the sand....do you believe the Decima poll last week which stated around 60 percent of Canadians are buoyant about 2009...this poll must have been taken is Sask. or Newfoundland. Maybe if we ignore their lies...they will quit printing them....gramps

Greg said...

It is imperative to have the moral authority to govern.

And it is my contention that, by virtue of the last election, the coalition does have the moral authority to form government. The House composition will not change one whit because of the coalition, only the arrangement of the chairs will change. There really is no moral problem with the proposed arrangement, except in the minds of Tories (and they have a vested interest in that point of view).

Also, I would argue that "moral authority" to govern rests with the majority, not the minority. After all, the coalition plus the Bloc equals 62% of the vote in the last election and the Tories represent 38%. In my mind, it is the Tories who have the "moral authority" problem, not the coalition.

Steve V said...

Ignoring them, "lies", whatever. Only a fool plows ahead, when they know the public is suspicious. Change the mentality, or it's a non-starter. Because YOU support the coalition is entirely irrelevant, same goes for myself.

Look, everyone agreed, that the battle of public relations was key, once the coalition came to be. We've largely lost that battle, miserably I might add. Is it fair? NO. Are the criticisms nothing more than hysteria and mistruths? YES Did the Cons do exactly what they accuse others of now? ABSOLUTELY Would the coalition do a better job of governing the country? NO DOUBT Is public opinion decidedly against a coalition outside of Quebec? For a myriad of reasons, any objective sense tells me YES, YES, YES.

Just one final point, part of the problem here is that the Liberals just came off a historically poor election result. Forget about parliamentary procedure, which Canadians frankly don't understand, the optics of that result, coupled with a non-elected leader of the Liberals (or the former rejected leader of the Liberals) is a disaster waiting to happen. Again, what do you do when the Conservative MP's walk away? Just think it through, you will create a west vs east crisis, and it will cause a rift that is not easily healed. I'm not prepared to plow ahead with my pet want, when I see landmines everywhere.

Harper acts like a clown, we take him down. Harper adopts many of our demands, you've lost the impetus, it's as simple as that.

Steve V said...

Greg

I don't disagree with one word, it's all factually correct, and it's all entirely legitimate under our system of governance. However, the general public doesn't seem to understand our system very well, the idea of coalition a foreign concept in Canada, so the soundbite criticisms take root. All people see is a Liberal Party rejected in the last election, engaged in a power grab with the NDP, their own chance at influence, with the kicker being the separatist. I would say that is the majority mentality out there, not 62%, or we don't elect PM's, all the valid stuff, it's been muddied and tarnished.

Greg said...

And my advice to you is don't let the polls unnerve you. We are all in this together. We either hang together or we hang separately. The Tories are trying to stir things up. That is what they do.

Steve V said...

Greg

I assure you, my opinion is not entirely motivated by the polls. I've tried to scan every measure of public opinion and feedback I can find, which has given me this general sense of rejection. Couple that with the irresponsible frame of the media, I'm trying to be realistic.

Gayle said...

If the CPC MP's resign, they are the ones who are going to wear that.

They were elected to represent their constituents. If they choose to resign simply because they did not get their way with the GG, do you really think the media are going to paint them as heroes? Because I think they are going to look like petulant children.

ml johnstone said...

The problem with the Coalition is the Liberal Party. They are their own worst enemy.

Steve V said...

Gayle

You live in Alberta, how do you think MP's resigning will play there? I see parades and martyrs :)


So, I guess it safe to assume, everyone pretty much agrees with my point of view here ;)

another Steve said...

I think the questions in that poll are pretty loaded. That, and the small sample size, make it a bit suspect. That 42% for the Liberals in Quebec is a huge outlier... if it were in line with figures from other polls (high 20s) the LPC would be in the same 24-25% range everyone else showed.

Additionally...

Michael Ignatieff's signature is on that coalition appeal to the GG. He still refuses to repudiate it. Even if he ultimately cans it, he's going to wear it. It's no different from Liberals making Conservatives suffer for their past positions on social issues, etc. This means that you cannot point to the only poll that didn't ask coalition questions and claim it as the true indicator of public opinion. In fact, it may very well be the worst indicator of it because it completely avoided the most serious political issue of the day.

Steve V said...

"This means that you cannot point to the only poll that didn't ask coalition questions and claim it as the true indicator of public opinion."

What I'm saying, it's probably the only one indicative of true support, without the taint of a coalition. Like I said, if the coalition moves forward, I'll take these numbers, but since that's an IF, I'll stick with the "pure" poll.

He ain't wearing nothin, but people can tell themselves what they want, I'm not concerned in the least. Harper's wearing it though, that stink sticks.


BTW, the last poll, prior to this one, has the Libs at 32% in Quebec.

another Steve said...

32% is still off 10% from the Compass poll... which would produce a fairly large drop in the national polling number.

There's no such thing as 'true support', if you mean in the sense of support without the context of various political issues. All of these issues drive party standings; they don't just exist in a vacuum.

The effect on Harper is there. It's just that people have reacted more strongly against the coalition parties than against him. A couple of the earlier polls had the 'who do you blame' question, and I recall it being fairly evenly split. So he's not unscathed, but the coalition is rather obviously looking worse. This can change, of course, but for now the Liberals are wearing it -- especially in Ontario, where 50% of the vote for the CPC would probably see Ignatieff lose his own seat.

And I think it's a bit unrealistic to expect the public to just disregard this whole episode if Ignatieff does not go ahead with the coalition. His signature is on it and he's not going to end it for another month, at least. Every day he keeps it alive is another day for the public to associate him and the Liberals with it.

Anonymous said...

Compas is a totally disreputable polling company that has absolutely the WORST reputation in Canada. They are a joke within the industry for their ridiculously biased question wording and the way in which they manipulate findings to feed into the editorial whims of the National Post. Conrad Winn who runs Compas is a rightwing fanatic and his analysis is total garbage as well.

I'm not saying that what this poll shows is necessarily wrong - but CAVEAT EMPTOR - when I see a poll from Compas - by immediate reaction is to use it as toilet paper.

Steve V said...

Did you read the post?

"Libs 42%, Bloc 28%, Cons 16%, NDP 7%- don't get too excited, margin of error is large with a 600 national sample"


Ignatieff's signature is on it, but it's pretty common knowledge, and the media tends to parrot this, that it wasn't his baby and his support is tepid at best. Ignatieff is well positioned to dis-entangle himself from the coalition, I'm just not concerned. As a matter of fact, I think he's played it perfectly.

Steve V said...

anon

Okay, let's just refer to the other half dozen polls that show largely the same feeling :)

Anonymous said...

I don't give a damn about what Canadians tell pollsters at this snapshot in time. I think Harper is a psychopath and that all the opposition parties need to unite and get rid of him before he does even more irreparable damage to Canada. Let's worry about what people think of coalition government after it is in power. Right now we need to excise this cancer named Harper from the Canadian body politic. If you let him fight another day - who knows what diabolical scheme he will have to cling to power - and then a lot of people will regret the opposition not slashing his jugular when it had the chance.

We have already seen how willing he was to play the Canadian equivalent of the "race card" with his nauseating crap about so-called separatists. Imagine if the leader of the Liberal party were a black man - Harper would probably be talking about him raping white women.

The guy has got to go NOW!!!

another Steve said...

Right, so he's spun himself in circles. He's not for it, but he signed it. He's for it, but only if he has to. He signed it, but he can just bail on it. He might have to but he doesn't want to. He really doesn't know.

As for getting out of it, all he's really done is sign it and endorse it in public a bunch of times. No big deal, right?

Steve V said...

"coalition if necessary, but not necessarily a coalition"

Brilliant. You worry, I'm good.


"I don't give a damn about what Canadians tell pollsters"

And, the majority of Canadians don't give a damn what you think, that's the point.

Anonymous said...

Steve,
you defined this whole issue when you said that Harper has "defined" the coalition with little hope of repair. This is the story of the Liberals for over 6 years of Harper defining everything they stand for with his media lackeys repeating his every word over and over until it becomes the "truth".

Until the Liberals turn the table and do the same to him there is no hope of changing any poll results. The best chance they have is to produce a budget a week before Harper to define what people want. A budget split between helping those most at risk and economic stimulation is the defining "Liberal" budget. By making E.I reform the centerpiece to help those losing their jobs due to the down turn plays well across the country. Harper then has one week to decide to add some elements into his own budget or stubbornly stick to 100% of the money going to business. No matter how hard they try the media cannot spin this any ther way as the public has a clear choice.

The best part is that if Harper backs down the coalition becomes a moot point and if he doesn't the Liberals have something for the governer general to give them a chance at power. Also this takes the whole coalition thng that the media is spinning desperatly out of the picture.

Steve V said...

anon

I like the idea of putting out some clear demands, prior to the budget. I especially like the EI demand, because Harper is already on record calling it "lucrative not to work", which is callous and offensive. I suspect the Cons will use re-training to blunt any EI criticism, but there is ample economist support for the idea of extending benefits, a temporary measure in extraordinary times. Also, workers are well aware that WE support EI, and we also all know that it's been in obscene surplus for years, so now it's payback time when required.

Gayle said...

"You live in Alberta, how do you think MP's resigning will play there? I see parades and martyrs :)"

Mass resignations leaving the coalition to govern unfettered by a conservative opposition? I do not think Albertans will like that one bit.