Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Vote Or Bust

Having just finished watching the NDP's Paul Dewar speak on the Afghanistan question, it only confirmed a "becoming obvious" point- the Liberals will be on the defensive until we demand a vote on the mission extension.

First off, the Liberals have supported this type of mission for months, there is no philosophical alteration. If anything, this whole process is merely the Conservatives coming to the Liberal way of thinking, moving forward. In that sense, one can understand why the Conservatives developed this extension math, because they foresaw broader support for the concept. In addition, in the most simplistic fashion, one can also follow the logic that would see the Liberals giving approving "cues", again because the idea is nothing foreign to on the record, stated Liberal policy. However, and this is the key point, none of these facts, the chronology, really matters, because it is this lack of a VOTE that casts a massive shadow over the entire affair.

Until the Liberals agree to a vote, then they might as well resign themselves to giving the NDP carte blanche to pound the snot out of us, make us look like co-conspirators, usurping democratic will, blah, blah, blah. The Conservatives "broke their promise" to consult Parliament, and by arguing the finer details of Parliamentary protocols, the Liberals allow themselves to get lumped in and opponents have a free ride. The NDP doesn't make sense on Afghanistan, in many respects, but by not holding the government to full and formal account, it's no matter, they are allowed to go on pure and effective offence. Fair? Whatever. Right or wrong? Who cares. Bottom line? We'll lose the argument, because we lack the soundbite position, we are lost in the detail, while others react with powerful indignation.

IMHO, it's vote or bust for the Liberals. Forget about the "system", what government's can or can't do, it is not the Liberals job to educate us all on Parliamentary precedent. The Liberals are running around the country telling us all "you can't trust these guys", a persuasive narrative, rife with easily understood examples, and yet we don't take this Afghan debate to the most transparent conclusion. It's not to say a vote guarantees anything, but a vote says to Canadians "here's what we will support" and if it strays from those voted on parameters, then the government is offside. A vote still allows the NDP to protest the position, but all of the behind closed doors stuff, the guilty by association, broken promise routine, is neutered. No matter the semantics, you will forever lose the public relations battle, when your position refuses to bring a matter this important before the elected Parliaments, the optics NEVER work.

12 comments:

Brenda said...

I full heartedly agree!

Mike said...

Have the Liberals decided yet what their opposition day motion will be for this Thursday?

Anya said...

Harper is on his way to making a great big divide between the Liberals and the NDP and he will be so happy with that... and no coalition to bother him That will leave the left (NDP) and (Right), the Cons.......Liberals disappearing as Harper so wishes. I despise that maniac.

Glenn said...

Steve, assuming for one second that a vote does go ahead, how well do you think that the MPs in the Liberal party that want out of Afghanistan all together will take having their vote whipped; because make no mistake about it, that is exactly what it is going to take if this vote happens.

This wouldn't be the same as the gun registry vote. And win or lose such a vote, it doesn't matter, because the divide in the Liberal party over this issue will be given full view, a narrative exposed. The Liberal party is better off not advocating for a vote on this. But that won't matter either, because the NDP or the Bloc are going to push for one anyway. Either way you guys go, you're cooked.

Steve V said...

I suspect that's why were avoiding the vote...

Kirk said...

Do the Liberals need to consent to having a vote at all?

I don't really think it's their decision.

Steve V said...

If they don't push for a vote, then it is partially their decision. I think we need to keep the chronology in mind here, Rae talked to Cannon and it was after that he said no vote was required. Now, we're playing catch up.

Dame said...

Yes vote in a Countrywide REFERENDUM..

Gayle said...

I don't know. The liberals are getting all kinds of cover from a media that largely supports the extension.

Aside from perusing liblogs and Macleans every evening, I have not really been paying much attention to politics lately, but I can say the place where this seems to be getting the most play is here, on liblogs. I am not questioning your position on the vote however I am not sure not pushing for one is doing the liberals any real harm.

There is a disagreement within the party on this extension. I do not care about that - seems perfectly reasonable there be a disagreement on something like this. Personally, I think a vote on the issue would end up being more about other parties trying to exploit that disagreement than it would about the extension. And from a purely partisan perspective I think people are more likely to forget the LPC did not call for a vote than to forget the fact the vote split the party.

Steve V said...

Gayle

I hear you, but I find that a bit of a cop out response. I mean, you could seriously say that about just about every issue imaginable, so why do or believe anything??

Gayle said...

Steve

I thought I made it clear I was not talking about whether there should be a vote. I was commenting on this:

"the Liberals will be on the defensive until we demand a vote on the mission extension."

I simply do not agree with that.

Steve V said...

That's fine, but again you can say that about almost anything, so what's the point then really?

Whether it is moving voters is one thing, but if you watched Ignatieff's limp performance in QP yesterday, possibly the worst I've seen to date, then maybe my point has some merit. If you're saying it's confined to the chattering classes, okay, but it is also true that the NDP and Bloc will use this against us. Look at the zeal, the way the NDP have gone at us, and I think it tells me they sense a real vulnerability they can exploit.