Thursday, December 04, 2008

Over The Horizon

The Liberals will use the coalition as a threat to garner massive concessions from the government, on top of the one's we've already seen. That is my take on Dion's statement, the coalition threat as vehicle to push the Conservatives towards our demands. If we see a "monumental" shift by the government, then the Liberals will reaccess. I would argue that is the prudent path, that rightly weighs all the pros and cons, a perspective I endorse.

Stephen Harper is forever wounded in the eyes of Canadians, this crisis has solidified opinion and his reputation has suffered permanent damage. That is a simple fact, which should be considered by the Liberal Party as we wade our way through the future events. IF, and I believe we still enjoy the upper hand, the Liberals are able to make further policy concessions, that essentially amounts to complete victory, it is wise to be pragmatic. A diminished Prime Minister, an economic policy that reflects the wishes of the official opposition, within that lens, one could easily say mission accomplished. The Liberals then return to our leadership race, and once resolved, the new leader faces a humbled Prime Minister, with little moral standing.

In addition, should the Liberals secure more concessions, it is they who can extradicate themselves from the voters universal disgust, they can rise above the perceptions and demonstrate leadership, in the name of stability, compromise and most importantly, the ECONOMY. There is a path available, and it is envious, if we think through all the ramifications. Harper will cave further, he simply must to survive, that is a given.

Keep the pressure on, and be prepared to bring the government down, but with that, acknowledge a parallel path and recognize that we can have our cake and eat it too, we really can. Little man Harper, endorsing our economic demands, after climbing down from partisan provocations, the Liberals free of risky circumstance, smells like victory from here.

67 comments:

Joseph said...

I actually think this is a positive day as well.

Harper erased a year - or much more - of gains in perception in less than one week. He will wear this decision, and I don't think it will look good on him.

Dion again reminded us of his flaws - just being honest - but he also moved the progressive voice in the country into a really good position given the circumstances and the bully in chief PM. And, at the end of the day, Dion is exiting.

I don't know that Harper is leaving, but I suspect his iron-grip on the hold of power in that party just fell apart.

Samuel Linton said...

Steve,

Best post I have read from you so far :)

I think you are spot on with this one, in fact, Harper's move to prorogue can only hurt him in my estimation. It allows the opposition the opportunity to reassess and take the high ground (although, we will see if they take your wise advice).

Anonymous said...

Well said. Harper has shown his true face to Canadians - a leader who does not lead, but seeks power through spreading lies, division and hatred. The Opposition must continue to use the threat of a coalition government to prevent Harper from doing further damage to Canada, and finally, defeat him.

Kevin T. said...

Harper will include most of the coalition's economic stimulus initiatives, but you can sure as hell bet that he will hold a grudge by keeping the cut to party subsidies as well, making sure the whole thing blows up in the coalition's face. Do-over Harper will lead the war, unfortunately, as he is unencumbered by principles nor truth and honesty.

Steve V said...

Kevin

One demand, will obviously be, a formal pledge to NEVER re-introduce that measure. That said, Harper would NEVER re-introduce it on his own, because the public would never tolerate another provocative salvo to incite. It's dead.

janfromthebruce said...

And defeat him in the "window of opportunity" or as soon as that is done, Harper will be back to his "old self."
Remember, the libs are broke and Canadians and not take 3 more years of Harper rule - having the jack boots done to them.

Anony said...

"Its dead".

================

When Harper gets his majority, it will come back to life.

Steve V said...

anon

Majority, lol. Harper is finished in Quebec. Let's use our heads, his unseemly attempt to cling to power has made any thoughts of a majority almost nonsensical.

Mark Francis said...

Keep pushing.

I really think we should see our Parliamentarians on the Hill protesting round the clock the undemocratic closure of Parliament.

Joseph said...

Two thoughts:

1) If the Liberals do not take this opportunity to raise funds and expand their base, they will be blowing an absolutely unmistakable opportunity to do so.

2) I think Bob Rae just earned my support. Michael Ignatieff sort of disappearing again amid "rumour" that he was hedging his bets on the coalition is just a story I've heard too many times at this point. I just find it unseemly. Rae may not have been out in front on all of this, but I have heard him speak twice now to the cameras during the events of the past week. His tone and his ability to connect on the big-picture issues to project his own sense while expressing solid support for the coalition within the context of the "big picture" convince me he could overcome anything the conservatives sling at him in a campaign.

That last point is a change for me. I'd support whoever ultimately takes the helm of the 3 who've come forward, but Ignatieff has disappointed in the past week. I just sense a little too much waiting to see which way the wind is blowing. I'm not comfortable with it.

Anony said...

Majority, lol. Harper is finished in Quebec. Let's use our heads, his unseemly attempt to cling to power has made any thoughts of a majority almost nonsensical.

==========================

And the coalition's unseemly attempts to grab power with a separatist agenda holding the being pivotal to their existence will be well remembered in the ROC. Nonsensical? The Tories won't need Quebec to get their majority.

And just think. The great irony of this is that without the "efforts" of the coalition, this would not have been possible.

Steve V said...

"The Tories won't need Quebec to get their majority."

Keep thinking that dim bulb, but unless they sweep the GTA (belly laughs), it's never on.

I love how people think Harper's stature has improved in all of this, you've got to be kidding me.

Steve V said...

Joseph

Not sure that's a fair characterization of the various people, but I respect your choice.

Anony said...

Well Steve, the Liberals need the West more that the Tories need Quebec. After the Liberals and the NDP were willing to sell out the ROC to the Quebecers, they just screwed their chances for a majority, let alone a credible government of any kind for a long, LONG time, if ever again.

Joseph said...

Oh, Steve, don't read too much into it. If the conservatives continue to drift ever further in the divisive, manipulative, and irresponsible path they have chosen, there is no fear that I would STRONGLY support whoever emerges.

It was more of an observation. But I sure as hell wish Ignatieff was somewhere to be found this morning. Where is he as the rumours have sprung up again at a most unfortunate time? That is beginning to be a trend. So my observation is more a plea to him and his campaign than some type of solid rejection.

Anonymous said...

Is this all part of a tactic/scheme/plan by Harper to force another election soon while the Liberals are financially weak and in the midst of a leadership race and Dion at the helm?

Wouldn't be surprised.

Joseph said...

If Anon is going to argue with you about how catastrophic this has been for the progressives of the country then I am further reassured.

Canadians got to witness the great demagogue in all his glory this week. So much for sweater Harper. I'll take the beliefs of a coalition of diverse Canadians against the image of a fully exposed manipulator any day.

If I were a newly elected Conservative in Ontario or BC, I'd be a little more concerned this week than last.

To use your phrasing, Harper needs Central Canada and the metro areas a heck of lot more than the Liberals need the Prairies.

At the end of the day, what any politician needs is an appeal to all of Canada. If you want to argue that it is a banner week when Harper starts slicing away parts of the country to hold power, you just keep repeating it to yourself. I'd love too see a campaign based on that philosophy. But, wait, I just did - I think it was called the "Real America" tour down south.

Steve V said...

Just to add to these delusional prognostications, the Liberals will have a fresh start with a new leader and all that entails, while the Conservatives would be stuck with the chameleon that nobody trusts. My primary consideration, making sure our strategy ensures Harper stays at the helm.

Steve V said...

Telling words from Dion's official statement on the website:

"He has the opportunity now to reach out – to follow the example of the coalition that we support to find common ground and interests that benefit all Canadians to come together in this time of crisis in the economy.


Or, he can return to his divisive politics that he has followed up till now – seeking every opportunity to divide and conquer at the expense of Canadians with negative attacks.


Warm sentiments today are not enough – his behaviour must change.


Now, more than ever, we need to be united."

I would recommend Liberals knock on Harper's door tomorrow, with a list of demands that respects the spirit of the coalition agreement.

kheimbuch said...

Things I am pretty certain of:
a) Dion has to go asap. The LPC needs new leadership and address any internecine issues asap.

b) The Govenor General has set a dangerous precedent allowing a sitting PM to prorogue Parliament, merely to avoid a confidence vote. This has a potential for future abuse when any other PM faces a similar conflagration.

c) Harper is finished in Quebec. Gilles Duceppe is the biggest victor here.

d) I wouldnt doubt that Harper planned all of this, sensing that there was a lingering threat of a coalition forming against him at any given time. He may have forced the opposition to play this high card of theirs at the first opportunity (the first vote) in this session.

e) No other PM has ever abused his office and the Parliamentary process as much as Harper has. Hopefully the public will, as time goes by, see this more and more - especially in some of the soft support he had in the GTA.

Steve V said...

Agree, with the exception of D, we give Harper far too much credit sometimes.

CuzBen said...

I agree Steve, it's a victory for the LPC, but probably a loss for Cdn politics generally. I was hoping for the coalition so to a) get rid of Harper and b) stir things up a bit, but this result will at least force him to eat some humble pie for the next crucial months.

Long-term, the ramifications in Quebec are real and should not be underestimated by Conservatives. Libs should clean up federalist votes next election unless the NDP start making economic sense. And while Anon ("The Tories won't need Quebec to get their majority")is exactly the kind of moron that is polarizing the country, I think Western alienation is a big problem for future Lib governments. It would make sense for the Libs to somehow get some Western representation at the fore now, even in the leadership race if possible.

Anyways, fun week here at F&W. Considering all the bull I have to swallow here at work, it provides me some reprieve and small doses of reality. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Well said!
Mind you, sensible assessements like yours are falling on deaf ears - not only those of the "coalition" but those of the lazy, cowardly and irresponsible citizens of Canada who don't care enough about the way their own country is governed to stand up on their hind legs and fight Stephen Harper tooth and nail. he is a bully who needs to be out-bullied and then replaced with someone who knows how to compromise. Oh, and knows how to remember that he's not the king.

Gayle said...

"That said, Harper would NEVER re-introduce it on his own, because the public would never tolerate another provocative salvo to incite. It's dead."

I think it is a grave mistake to ever think Harper will behave honestly or ethically. Last night he proved that he is incapable of ever accepting responsibility for his mistakes. The guy could not even find a way to apologize for claiming there was no Canadian flag at the signing ceremony.

Everyone expects him to act the way he talks - and he doesn't.

He said we need fixed election dates.

He said MP's need to work cooperatively.

He suggested any party that works with the Bloc is supporting separtism.

Frankly, I would not be surprised if he gives the opposition absolutely nothing in the January budget. He sure as hell is not going to want to appear to be acceding to Dion's request that he be more cooperative. He will point the finger at the LPC and blame them, no matter what.

While I believe the coalition won a victory here, it is wrong for any opposition party to think things will all work out nicely in January so the opposition can step back gracefully.

Plan to govern, plan for an election, and please, please, please stop undermining each other.

Gayle said...

Oh yeah - all those MP's who were reportedly offered senate seats if they agreed not to vote non-confidence, be prepared to come forward and name names during the eventual election. Put this man on the defence for being willing to sell out his principles in order to keep his grasp on power.

While you are at it, plan to hammer him on his willingness to sell out an entire province by fanning separtist flames here.

Steve V said...

Gayle

You're reservations are warranted, but please don't confuse what I consider a wise strategy with division. The coalition remains an option, it is the stick. Garner everything we can, call Harper's compromise bluff and push, push, push. If he fails to meet our demands, then he leaves the opposition no choice, the coalition will be viewed in a different light.

I don't think Conservatives would allow Harper to re-introduce that fundraising measure. Just think of the signal it would send to Canadians, it's pure poison for Harper. I honestly can't see any realistic scenario where that even comes up in this parliament. None.

Steve V said...

Gayle

Agreed, we can hammer Harper all day long. He's created a national unity crisis, to go along with his self-created political crisis, because he failed to deal with the economic crisis. Harper smells like a skunk, even his allies have criticized him. To think he emerges, when the dust settles, stronger or the same character, fails to see the gravity of the NOW. These are historic times, this isn't Cadman or other junkie items, everyone sees, and NOBODY is impressed. The Liberals have a new leader coming, which allows eventual separation from this sad spectacle. The Conservatives have Harper, they have damaged goods, ours are temporary.

Jeff said...

OK, that's the one possibility: the coalition pushes for concessions and gets them. Now let's consider what happens if Harper plays hardball, as usual.

Unacceptable budget in the new year, followed by a non-confidence vote. Harper asks the G-G for an election. The Coalition asks for power to be transferred to them. Jeanny on the Spot, Part Two.

Is this not a bad scenario for the Liberals and the coalition, given the leadership situation?

Steve V said...

Jeff

If the Liberals push with good faith, then the onus is on Harper to make concessions. It's as simple as that, Harper is no position to play partisan games. I guarantee you, there are people in that Con caucus who are just as sick of it as we are, Harper doesn't have the iron grip he once did, which is another fact we should consider- he's weakened. Exploit the position, and if Harper doesn't cave, then force his hand. The GG will NOT grant another election, if Harper appears to go back on his word to act in good faith.

joyce said...

The coalition needs to stay united and vote down the budget in January. Harper cannot be trusted with our economic future.

Jeff said...

Steve:

I hope you're right. I have been thinking recently about how many Conservatives there must be that hate Harper's guts because of his bullying ways, but stand behind him as their best bet to get to power.

I picture them as the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz, who suddenly and unexpectedly start cheering when their boss, the Wicked Witch of the West, goes down.

(And I know that it's premature, but over the past week, I have found myself singing "Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead".)

Steve V said...

Reasonable Conservatives will also start looking at life after Harper. Will he survive, yes, but the spell is broken and people have talked.

Gayle said...

Steve - no disrespect for your leadership choice, but his hesitation in demonstrating support for the coalition smacks of putting self before party - which is exactly why I have concerns about him.

I was really starting to warm up to him in the days leading up to the coalition formalizing, but now we already see media reports about him backing off. That would not be so bad if he had not been such a public supporter last week.

This schism is esposed by the media and exploited by Harper. Iggy made his bed when he gave the coalition his support.

Now it just looks like he was playing Dion to try and force him out earlier.

I really want to be wrong about this, but Iggy is going to have to do something more than lie back and allow those mysterious insiders speak for him.

Bruce Stewart said...

Life after Harper is now on the table. What about life after Dion?

I'm sorry to say that I heard him as putting poison in the well. Achieving the coalition's objectives includes him achieving the Prime Ministership. I find it highly unlikely Harper would step down in his favour - to another Conservative, maybe, but not to someone from another party except by loss of confidence, and not to Dion (their mutual contempt is clear).

In any event, for your scenario to unfold, Dion must go. Where are the Liberals who will depose him during this quiet period?

Steve V said...

Gayle

You should watch Ignatieff today, in front of the cameras. He basically said Jimmy K should be turfed from caucus, his support for Dion unequivocal. This angle just isn't on, it's fabrication.

Steve V said...

Bruce

Dion is going, we all know that.

Harper isn't stepping down, or at least I hope not. The point, he is weakened, and that is without question in my mind.


Just to clarify, I am not advocating abandoning the coalition. What I'm suggesting is a plausible contingency plan, should the opportunity arise. This situation is entirely fluid, and my main concern is we achieve our goals on the economy, in a way that best helps the Liberals moving forward.

Anony said...

"We are determined to fulfill our mandate and get rid of Stephen Harper and his government," Gilles Duceppe.

So thats it then. No "mandate" to help Parliament run or to help fix the economy. The "mandate" of this farce of a coalition isn't to work together in the best interests of the country, it's simply to "get rid of Harper".

What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Harper is the joke. He suspended Parliament for his political gain.

ottlib said...

He did not suspend Parliament for his political gain. He suspended it for his political survival.

Big difference.

My only question is why did not Paul Martin think of this in 2005?

Oh yes, because he is a man of integrity and he went into public life to advance the cause of democracy in Canada not because he could not find another job.

Mushroom said...

Steve,

Are you doing a post on the EKOS poll?

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to be offensive, but I DO wonder just where you all live that you read this this way. Living in the great black hole that exists for the LPC between Barrie and Surrey, I can tell you I have had conversations with many, many people of all ages and backgrounds who did NOT vote Tory last time out who would do so right now without hesitation.

My own mother--who has in her day voted for every federalist party and who is pretty much inert in her temperament--wrote an angry letter to her new NDP MP in Edmonton-Strathcona on this matter. My jaw hit the floor.

You might want to take a look at what Ipsos and Ekos have to say, before you congratulate one another too much more on how right you all are about Harper being toast. You might also consider what Jimmy K is trying to tell you about the LONG TERM brand damage to what was, until three years agoe, THE federalist party.

Or not....

D. M. DeCoste
Regina

Okhropir Rumiani said...

No, what will happen is this:

This coalition will break down and vindictive Harper will revive the legislation to cut party funding.

liberazzi said...

Just heard Iggy laying into Jimmy K. Good on him. I think Iggy put the rumours to rest today.

Möbius said...

My prediction:

Iggy will denounce the coalition, cross the floor, and join the CPC, replacing Harper as leader.

I'll eat this PC if it doesn't happen. Or at least the sound card. It has some pointy, nasty, bits on it!

Gayle said...

The guy from Ekos said the only real trend he found was that most people do not want an election right now.

That is all the coalition needs to hear. It is quite understandable people would be irate, given the lying propoganda campaign the CPC are engaged in (did anyone else receive the lying email asking us to sign a petition?).

Once the coalition is in place, all they need to do is govern well and no one will care about the rest.

THAT is what Harper is afraid of - so much so he is willing to risk his reputation by trying to offer liberal MP's Senate seats, and when that failed, he ran away to the GG to ask her to save him.

If he thought he was going to get an election right now, or that there were cracks in the coalition such that they would not bring him down, he would not have run to the GG.

Anonymous said...

Gayle--Hey, keep on keeping on, then. But the coalition of 62% is now polling 45%. If that works for you, swell. Just keep telling your self the same old story of how much Harper is hated, and I'm sure that'll turn everything right around.

Adieu.

DM DeCoste

Gayle said...

Thanks DeCoste.

I will.

Or, I could start wailing and crying over one single poll, one that is contradicted by another poll that was released a couple days ago.

So, you know...

Steve V said...

D. M. DeCoste

I'm sure everyone you're talking too does agree, nobody disputes that regional outrage. What a national unity guy, that Harper.


Ipsos also has a poll, that is equally as bad, if not worse.


Mobius

Clueless as always. Eat your PC right now, because you're lost.

Steve V said...

Gayle

The one thing the EKOS guy said, and he stressed this- don't read much into these party perference numbers, they're volatile. That said, coupled with Ipsos, we are clearly losing the PR battle.

Gayle said...

But everyone knew the coalition would lose the PR battle. That will always be won by the guy with money.

The end game is to get into government and prove Harper wrong.

Gayle said...

Let me also say that what I have always wanted was for Harper to govern during the recession. We will see what his economic credentials look like when that is over with.

To be honest that was always my biggest concern with the coalition.

The problem is his stupid petty partisanship. The LPC have to be willing to bring him down, whether or not they actually do so, because any sign of weakness will move Harper to act. Right now the LPC look weak.

Möbius said...

Clueless as always. Eat your PC right now, because you're lost.

Thanks, charming as usual.

We'll just have to wait and see.

Möbius said...

Let me also say that what I have always wanted was for Harper to govern during the recession.

Great endorsement!

Anony said...

But everyone knew the coalition would lose the PR battle. That will always be won by the guy with money.

If they are losing the PR battle, its not because of money, its because people won't support their little "coalition". Money is just a poor excuse. I don't expect we will hear how this coalition is speaking for the people when the people have clearly demonstrated that this little farce of a coalition is not wanted.

The end game is to get into government and prove Harper wrong.

Rather then proving Harper wrong THEN getting into government. Only this coaltion has failed miserably at that objective. And thats all that has ever mattered to them since this weeks old Parliament sat; getting rid of Harper. Not working through this eonomic crisis, not bringing forward ideas. Just crass, power hungry ambition.

And that is why they lost today and will continue to lose.

Gayle said...

Mobius

No one can solve this recession. No one can prevent a deficit (though Flaherty may try to hide it).

Harper will wear this. Better him than the LPC.

Anony

Harper and his gang put all kinds of money into spreading lies. He paid people to stand outside the GG's house and protest. Sorry - but there is no question money had a lot to do with this. He was desperate that people believe this was illegal and a power grab, rather than what it was - a legitimate expression by the majority in parliament.

Steve V said...

mobius

Truth hurts, not my fault for noticing.

Steve V said...

Gayle

If we lose the PR battle, we can't get in, the public outrage with mean another election. If people don't have a level of comfort, it's simply over.

Anonymous said...

The EKOS numbers are volatile. The poll was done on Dec. 2, 3. The Cons just locked down Parliament. This will start sinking in and these numbers will change. The coalition needs to hang in there, perhaps change the person at the helm, but go with someone equally committed to the coalition. Ignatieff won't even use the word "coalition."

crf said...

This is clearly the worst day in Canada's history.

This day has, I fear, begun an unstoppable process that will lead to Quebec's leaving Canada.

The Prime Minister said outside the governor general's residence that he will use any legal means at his disposal to prevent a coalition government supported by the Bloc Quebecois. Only governments that have support from tory, liberal or new democratic members from Quebec may exist in Canada, according to Stephen Harper. This is a severe and undemocratic constraint upon the electoral rights of Quebecers, and all Canadians.

He has therefore promised he will prorogue parliament again if need be. Institute the war measures act if need be. Or negotiate Quebec's separation from Canada if need be.

You need to face reality here. Finding a silver lining here is delusional thinking. Bad actions lead to bad consequences. It's why so much effort has been spent trying to prevent these bad actions.

There is no turning back. Stephen Harper just murdered Canada in order to assure conservative hegemony over its rump.

Anonymous said...

I agree. There is no turning back. Liberals, get a grip.

Möbius said...

Truth hurts, not my fault for noticing.

The only thing that hurts me is watching a once great party falling apart, after making steps to regain the trust of Canadians.

Now, who will I vote for when I'm pissed with the governing party?

Möbius said...

Harper will wear this. Better him than the LPC.

While you hope for disaster, I'm hoping that this economic problem can be contained. It's affecting people where I work, through no fault of their own, and we're spending time arguing about who's going to run the country, two months after an election.

Steve V said...

"Now, who will I vote for when I'm pissed with the governing party?"

Just vote Con, and be honest with yourself. You defend them everytime, you twist everything into a poor reflection on the Liberals, no matter the issue. This pretense of unbiased analysis is frankly a joke, you're more predictable than a partisan, so enough with you.

Möbius said...

This pretense of unbiased analysis is frankly a joke, you're more predictable than a partisan, so enough with you.

Let's see 88, voted Lib, 93 Lib, 97 Lib, Alliance/CPC since.

Yep, it's me, not the party.

Gayle said...

"While you hope for disaster, I'm hoping that this economic problem can be contained. It's affecting people where I work, through no fault of their own, and we're spending time arguing about who's going to run the country, two months after an election."

Seriously mobius - grow up.

No one is hoping for disaster - just some of us acknowledge tough times are ahead.

I know that may be hard for you since Harper has been assuring you that it is all just going to be peachy keen, but I actually acknowledge what all the economists are saying.

I do agree with your last point. If only Harper had not decided now is the time for cheap partisan politics or manufacturing a constitutional crisis.

Möbius said...

I know that may be hard for you since Harper has been assuring you that it is all just going to be peachy keen, but I actually acknowledge what all the economists are saying.

I'm no great fan of Harper. I'm just less enamoured with the alternatives presented.

Listening to the government on the economy is for fools. Governments are driven by election-readiness, not economics. If the two collide, then we're the better for it.

I diversified my investments long ago, knowing the mortgage crisis was coming. As you may be aware, it didn't just happen recently, it was predicted many years ago, by respected economists.

As I said somewhere else, not sure where, governments can only do so much harm to the economy.

Gayle said...

That's kind of my point mobius.

The government may not be able to do much, but the government will be blamed.