Saturday, February 19, 2011

"Capitulation" Is Right

Apologists can tell themselves whatever they want, oh there might be a crumb here and there, but the beloved NDP, the party that puts principle first, is about to "capitulate" in a way that would make all us Liberals proud. If this budget goes down as it appears, one is left to wonder what is the point of the NDP, the supposed moral separation from the Liberals gone, the ENTIRE political argument of the last FIVE years obliterated in the name of naked self interest.

Let's start way, way, way back, farther back than anyone in Ottawa can entertain apparently. Go look at every single NDP press release for 2010, and you will see the CORE thesis to reject a budget they didn't bother reading was corporate tax cuts. Google it, do yourself a favour, and the words of Layton and company will now ring more hollow than Harper speaking about accountability. If this wasn't serious, it would be drop dead funny, but such is NDP reality as soon as the Liberals get a "spine" and the great party of theory moves to the practical world. In other words, the NDP become the Liberals when forced to play adult, a irrefutable reality that should cause pause.

I'm not really into bashing the NDP necessarily, but I can't stomach this duplicity. Yesterday we have confirmation from the NDP that they've "dropped" the corporate tax demand. Whoa? While I know the measures were already voted on by the Liberals in the past, how can the NDP suddendly drop what was their entire economic thesis? How can the NDP play footsie with Harper on the budget and ensure another YEAR of reign? Yes, that's right, budget support- and everyone agrees- means Harper has another year of power, you will own that, you can't blame the Liberals for propping up anymore, when the time came to go to the "kitchen table" you hid under it because your strategists don't fancy your chances. Period, sky is blue, don't insult yourself with rationalizations, here it is, naked and proud.

Liberals have caved time and again, mostly because other parties are so quick to oppose, without even reading, in front of the cameras prior to words even uttered. That irresponsible approach to opposition has been championed by supporters, they bake cakes for the Liberal confidence climbdowns, they mock, they have this air of superiority. Well no more! I don't even care if we have an election now, the intent here is clear, the NDP have already caved, now it's just up to Harper to see if we wants to give them a face saving scrap, one everyone can bear hug as though "making Parliament work", reality lost in pushed optics, whatever, pure bullshit.

Harper and Layton had a very productive meeting yesterday, given past history, the gag reflex is warranted. Layton has laid out his paltry demands and now it's up to Harper to see if he believes a majority is within reach. If the Conservatives conclude another minority is likely, they will give the NDP something and they will suddenly become Liberals and we will become the NDP, and rational people will wonder what the point of the last five years of voting against the government, trying to force more than 100 elections or whatever the former bragging tally, was all about in the first place????

Why is that everytime the Liberals take a stand, the NDP take a knee?


Greg said...

I can't take anything that goes on in Ottawa seriously anymore. It's all just games 24/7. This is just the latest iteration.

Greg said...

Btw, it seems to have worked. Liberals are not talking about Bev Oda much today, are they?

Steve V said...

Someone pointed me to Layton's facebook page, hopefully this is indicative of grassroots balking at playing footsie with Harper. As far as I'm concerned now, the NDP membership is the last thing that can stop Layton.

Kev said...

No matter how this turns out, Layton has damaged the NDP brand for some time to come. Having watched him during his time on Toronto city council, I was dismayed to see him chosen as leader of the NDP, sadly I was right and he is indeed devoid of principle.

Steve V said...

If they bail on supporting Layton is fine, still inside Ottawa stuff. However, if they prop up, their entire argument is undercut and it will feed the "two choices" Lib narrative. I'm conflicted, because I want an election, but strategically, the NDP supporting the budget is pure gold for the Liberals moving forward, they will wear it just as we have in the past.

Shiner said...

Have to admit it's satisfying to see their high horse run straight into a swamp.

Steve V said...

The NDP have the benefit of being theoretical, it allows moral high ground. In practice, every single NDP provincial gov't looks Liberal, but on the federal scene they are attractive because they can appeal to the ideal, whereas Liberals are the tarnished realistic manifestation. Supporting Harper will move them and take the "shine" off the rhetoric, soft support might just wonder why, why when you prop up just like the Libs? This isn't some EI concession, this is the budget, you wear it and we will make sure they do!

Omar said...

Since 2001 there has been an undeniable lean to the right for many Canadians. That this is reflected in today's NDP isn't very surprising. The days of being the unfettered voice on the left (at least under Layton) are gone.

ottlib said...

Win-win for the Liberals.

They get to hammer the Conservatives on their priority to help big business before ordinary Canadians and they get to hammer the NDP for supporting that priority.

Two additional benefits.

Judging by Mr. Ignatieff's latest tour he is really beginning to enjoy the retail side of politics. More time for him to hone his skill in that is not a bad thing.

The impression of this government that the Bev Oda and many other similar affairs give Canadians will just have more time to be cemented into their consciousness. So, when the election finally happens and the Liberals remind Canadians of how this government operates support for it is more likely to melt away as the campaign progresses.

Like you Steve I would prefer to have an election sooner rather than later because I believe the Conservatives are vulnerable. However, that vulnerability is only going to become greater as time passes so waiting a few more months in not such a bad thing for the Liberals from a political point of view.

Steve V said...

I honestly see it as a win win for the Libs as well, maybe better if they do prop.

The Mound of Sound said...

Maybe all three parties should throw in their hands for a fresh deal with new leaders. The current crop is driving a serious disconnect between the Canadian public and their government.

Read Gerald Caplan's piece on Oda in yesterday's G&M and ask why you aren't hearing that same sort of visceral opposition from the Liberal leader.

I don't much care about Layton. He's relevant only to himself and his die hard supporters. It's the Harvard schoolboy that worries me.

Steve V said...

Looks like Harper is telling Layton to take virtually nothing:

RT @RobertFife: PM rejected Layton demand to lift home heating oil sales tax& double CPP. May hike GIS for seniors but not enough for NDP.

CK said...

I don't see Harper giving squat to the NDP. Truth is, Harper wants an election this spring so bad, he can taste it. So does his base. The polling numbers of late, with recent surge in Ontario with possible breakthrough in and around Toronto illustrates the stars are aligned for them. Harper knows it; his base knows it.

Hell, Gilles Duceppe has called his bluff in demanding that 5 billion dollars which most of Canada is screaming "Quebec Extortion!!" In reality, it was nothing short of a stroke of genious. Duceppe would've been more worried if Harper actually offered him the 5 billion or most of it. Unlike the Liberals and the NDP, Duceppe's time for an election here in Quebec is now, before Pauline Marois's Parti-Quebecois leadership vote.

The only question is, will Layton support this budget without a single demand of his? Quite possibly, even if Harper inserts that per vote subsidy elimination poison pill, which I think he will do now that he's riding high. The Liberals and the Bloc would basically cease to exist without it, but the NDP could survive.

Shiner said...

I'm left a bit confused over Rick Anderson's rather certain tweet that none of them want an election. Liberals certainly have me fooled. Also, relying on Layton to prop up the government seems like an absurd risk for Ignatieff to take. If the Liberals ended up having to climb down again, that would be game over.

The Mound of Sound said...

When you align yourself with Harper he knows that you're his bitch and he treats you that way. You don't partner with Harper, you serve him. He figures, quite rightly, that you wouldn't be propping him up unless that suited your own agenda at the moment so why would he do more?

Look at Harper's pathetic stimulus budget and how Ignatieff was forced to kiss Harper's ass. Oh, sorry, I forgot. Ignatieff put Harper "on probation." Steve must have found that absolutely hilarious.

There is no leader on Parliament Hill who has Stephen Harper's respect but that's because there is no one who commands it.

Fred from BC said...

Why is that everytime the Liberals take a stand, the NDP take a knee?

Because your best chance at increasing your seat counts is to take them from each other? When the NDP is feeling emboldened by their poll numbers, they take a stand; the Liberals do the same when their own numbers appear to be moving in the right direction.

(my theory, anyway...)

Good post, though. Why can't every Liberal supporter be as pragmatic and straightforward as that? That's why I keep coming here, if you were wondering...

Steve V said...


I'll take that :)

I think Anderson is taking his cues from the polls when he says Libs don't want one. I have seen no indications to support that, we seem ready to go. I heard yesterday we have a plane as well!!

ottlib said...

There are still weeks before the budget is tabled and the government will be working on it right up until it is delivered. So, these initial moves by both Mr. Harper and Mr. Layton are just the beginning of their dance.

Both of them have the most to lose from an election. The NDP in particular hit their high water mark in 2008 and they only have one direction to go from there, down. They know it too which is why they may decide to support a budget that has provisions that violate their core beliefs.

The Conservatives are also vulnerable and they know it. I disagree with CK and his assertion that Stephen Harper wants an election. His base might, as the public polls seem to be going their way but the actual party apparatus does not. They know they are on the wrong side of several issues right now and they would prefer not to fight an election where those issues would be prominent during the campaign. If they are going to fight an election they want to do it when one of their pet issues is front and centre. Further, they have also noticed that Mr. Ignatieff seems to be getting his legs underneath him.

I am on the fence as to whether we will have an election this spring or not. That will depend very much on Mr. Layton and whether he is willing to trade the long-term interests of the NDP for its short-term interests.

Steve V said...

We have a long, long way to go. I will say the fact the Cons are already rejecting more NDP demands tells me they smell utter weakness.

Kirk said...

The Liberals and the Bloc would basically cease to exist without it (per vote subsidy), but the NDP could survive.

The Liberals raise twice what the NDP do in donations.

In 2009 the Liberals raised $9 million from contributions and the NDP $4 million.

look it up at

The per vote subsidy 55% of the NDP income and 45% of the Liberals.

So while it may be fun to pretend that the NDP are financially better off than the Liberals, it's not even close to being true.

2010 contribution numbers are somewhere on Elections Canada's site but I can't find them at the moment. They show basically the same as 2009 though.

Skinny Dipper said...

I'll agree with Steve V that the Conservatives smell Layton NDP weakness. The Conservatives have knocked off Layton's demand for rescinding the corporate tax cuts. They will do the same with Layton's four other demands--one at a time.

Steve V said...


Flaherty is already looking at some pension reform independently. I wonder if we will see a EI redux, wherein the Conservatives favour something prior, then the NDP bear hug the idea and claim victory?


Yes whoa, I didn't see that. Thanks for clarifying, NDP rely on vote subsidy and part of the climbdown equation is a fear they will lose some, Liberals will get more.

JimmE said...

People are starting to see the same Jack & O show peeps saw in TeaHo; it's all about Jack.
Despite what many say about Libs & NDP merging I think you need a strong stident NDP so it moves BOTH Liberals & Reform to the left. Jack will do what Jack always does - whatever is good for Jack.

Steve V said...

Layton firmer today on QP, even said "one third" of meeting spent on corporate taxes, even though they weren't on his supposed wish list. Looks like he is getting resistance from grassroots.... stay tuned.