Thursday, February 03, 2011

Cheap Date

NDP supporters will think this is just bashing, but honestly as a political junkie, the evolving NDP budget capitulation is simply breathtaking. The other day I noted that Flaherty seemed to outright reject that "core" NDP demand on home heating taxes. I mentioned that we should look to see if the NDP drops the heating demand and looks to bear hug something else, to rationalize propping up the government. In fairness, CPP has always been ONE NDP demand. However, with the government signalling they want CPP reform as well, it is fascinating to see the NDP quickly move to this item as the "make or break". Last year at budget time we had almost daily NDP press releases demanding an end to corporate tax breaks. This year it was a list of paltry NDP demands, which has now been peared down to one apparently, ONE the government has already signalled they intend to reform. In other words, the NDP have transitioned to people who don't read budgets to people who will chain themselves to a paragraph, in a budget to avoid an election? It's starting to sound like it:
“If the government said to us ‘look we want to spend the next four months working on CPP, we want to work with you. If we can get you onside, will you consider supporting our budget?’ The answer to that is yes. And that is what I’d rather be doing,” said Christopherson.


All of Hamilton’s NDP MPs stated they would follow leader Jack Layton’s support for the Conservative budget and prevent an election if the NDP could get something substantive in return.

Pretty clear language- if we can get an agreement on one item, the government is already floating, we will support the budget. There is also mention of what the NDP did in the past when an election looked possible, namely the EI reform. An interesting reminder, because if you were paying attention, you would remember Min Finley telegraphed the EI reform in the summer, the NDP then mirrored and adopted as their own, knowing full well the government was already on board. Bingo, bango, the Conservatives brought forward EI reforms that were ALREADY in their bluebook and the NDP claimed victory. It was all such utter nonsense, but hey, optics rule and the NDP had their talking point to justify. It would appear we are in the midst of a similar manufactured deal, find something the government already plans to bring forward and make that the ONLY consideration, everything else is secondary. NDP supporters can roll out "making Parliament work", the rest of us can gag.

I'm not sure what will happen, this NDP desire to avoid an election could all fall apart easily. However, one thing is painfully clear, the NDP really, really, really don't want an election. I wonder if the Liberals will bake them cakes and whatnot?

30 comments:

thwap said...

Well Steve V,

If what you say is true, then it's disgraceful.

Absolutely disgraceful.

And if the NDP does wimp out and give extra life to the government of a despot-minded thug who has inflicted serial constitutional crises on us, then they're just as bad as the Liberals who have done yeoman's work in making sure that we:

- continue to train insurgents and rapists in Afghanistan

- reward Colombia and its death squads with a free trade deal

- hid rather than condemn the harpercons for their dangerous indifference to climate change

- "caved like spineless jellyfish" rather than force the harpercons to respect the rights of parliamentary committees

They did all that on top of having been the party of "Screw the Red Book."

And the reason that I'm typing this is not to say, "Oh yeah? Well you're party stinks more than my party!"

I'm saying this because if your predictions about the NDP caving come true, then ALL OF US, as progressives, have to think long and hard about continuing to support either of these disasters, and ponder whether parliamentary action is going to be enough to redeem our society.

Steve V said...

I'm not predicting anything, because this is a huge swallow, and I expect some grassroots revolt as the reality sets in. All I'm saying is that the NDP are clearly looking for a way to avoid an election.

Tom said...

It's funny (amusing) that while the LPC has twisted itself in knots to avoid an election for the last few years, suddenly the NDP is the bad guy for not going along with the Liberals by voting against a budget that they have not seen yet.

Steve V said...

More amusing maybe, how conbots are now suddenly defending their socialist friends. Neat.

DL said...

The plan is working perfectly. Everyone thinks the NDP is trying to avoid an election and make parliament work...the longer this goes on, the more we get to be the centre of attention. Its all good. Meanwhile, the campaign jet has been rented, the ads have been shot and the party is chomping at the bit for an election as soon as possible.

What could be better than being seen as not wanting an election that no one wants - when in reality you are 100% gunning for an election.

bubba said...

I think each party has the right to ask their members to support the budget or not. They have to consider what is best for their party the public and any other considerations. The Liberals will also make their own decicion. The fact they get any cocessions makes them better negotiators than the Libs of the last few years. They flipped, They flopped, They hid, They ran,They told scary stories,but now they are ready to dance and they cant find a partner. That is sooo sad.

Dylan said...

Ah yes, the rationalization continues from Toronto-Danforth.

Look, I don't blame any party in the opposition making deals with the government - CPP reform in exchange for supporting the whole budget.

I supported Paul Martin's decision to reach out to the NDP back in 2005 and I wouldn't expect any less of the CPC to do the same right now.

What is most enraging about this whole dance between the NDP and CPC are the very, VERY short memories Dippers have that these deals even took place.

Log onto Far and Wide and what do you read bullshit such as: "the Liberals have supported Stephen Harper 61 billion times in the last four years!"

Log onto Scott's Diatribes you'll find arguments akin to: "Ignatieff and Harper are the same person they have been in cahoots together on 45 pieces of legislation that are designed to destroy the middle class!"

ALL THE WHILE! The NDP is cooking up ways to make the budget pass. Like they did in 2009! And like they did with Paul Martin.

I remember. And I'm cool with that. And that's why I never seriously accuse the NDP of being in some sort of evil coalition with the CPC or have some rant about the candidate of my choice having some sort of moral superiority over their orange clad opponents tucked away in my back pocket for any occasion when the NDP do something ridiculously hypocritical such as this.

DL said...

Speaking of "cheap dates", the Liberals have propped up the Conservatives over 100 times in exchange for (drumroll please) ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!! (unless you count some stupid blue ribbon panel chaired by Pierre Poilievre)

Dame said...

dates / no it is prostitutes..
traitors ... candy bar kids..

self serving little rats

thwap said...

Steve V,

"I'm not predicting anything, because this is a huge swallow, and I expect some grassroots revolt as the reality sets in. All I'm saying is that the NDP are clearly looking for a way to avoid an election."

Yeah, I heard that second part. I don't know why you're saying you're not predicting anything, since you're asserting that the NDP is going to do something in the future, ... the very definition of "predicting," but no matter ... you make a strong enough case to cause my stomach to turn a little.

But you've missed my point entirely. IF the NDP disgraces itself and props-up a prime minister who has demonstrated his utter contempt for Canadians and their entire system of government, and the NDP does this all for some crumbs in the budget, and we add this to the equally hapless and nauseating display from the Liberal Party over the past five years, ... then WE (you, me, all the "progressive" bloggers, all "progressive" Canadians) have to seriously wonder whether there's any hope for our ideals in the present political system.

If the Liberals and the NDP are going to take turns playing the enabler of neoliberal anti-democracy, then putting our faith in either of them is a waste of time.

The rising inequality, the destruction of health care, the suicidal adherence to the oil economy, the torture and war around the world, Canadian mining atrocities overseas, it's all going to keep going merrily along.

Dylan,

I don't think Jack Layton ever got enough credit for his maturity for agreeing to "make parliament work" back in the days of the Martin minority. While the BQ and the harpercons ranted about his "propping-up the corrupt Liberals" Layton did make Parliament work, until out of concern for the Liberals' continued assault on public health care, he asked Martin for a promise to stop it and Martin told him to piss up a rope.

Then, Layton was blamed for voting down the contemptible Martin, and installing harper. But I think Layton's plan was more to weaken the Liberals and strengthen the NDP's seats so as to be able to defend public health care better.

Regardless, in the early days of harper's rule, Layton was mature enough to give him a chance to rule as well.

I've spoken long enough here, and you can look up what i've written elsewhere about Ignatieff's last disastrous election bluffing.

Tof KW said...

DL said “Speaking of "cheap dates", the Liberals have propped up the Conservatives over 100 times…

Oh, here we go! Just like Dylan said earlier “Log onto Far and Wide and what do you read bullshit such as: "the Liberals have supported Stephen Harper 61 billion times in the last four years!"

Look DL, I won’t say anything about that tactic you guys used to skewer the Libs over the past few years in opposition. Politics is a blood spot and it’s your job to try and move up in the polls. Likewise I’m not condemning the NDP now if they are trying to find something to support in the upcoming budget to prevent an election (to avoid losing seats). But it’s this sanctimonious “we’re pure and principled unlike the other two parties” that really gets under my skin and would make me vote for the Bloc (if that was an option in my riding) before I would ever think of voting NDP.

Your organization is a political party just like all the others, and when push comes to shove the NDP will always make pragmatic choices to prevent electoral erosions rather than stick up for any of your high & mighty principles. I just wish once that one of you self-righteous Dippers would finally admit that. The Conservatives and Liberals at least are grown up enough to admit this, because they are the ones who can actually form government and pragmatism is required to hold on to government.

Also it’s complete bullshit to say you’re now working with Stephen Harper and getting concessions and real results for Canadians. Whatever Harper is giving you, he’s doing on his behalf, on his terms, and for the CPC’s benefit.

Harper is a well-known commodity now, and this man doesn’t make concessions, it’s my-way-or-the-highway with him. Ask Joe Clark what concessions and compromises he got when they were originally discussing the merger between the PCs and the Alliance back in 2000. Likewise ask Dion what he got over the years of squirming and hoping for breadcrumbs from Harper. Ignatieff also had his experiences with that ‘blue ribbon’ panel last summer where the Libs got next to nothing on EI reforms (basically they got the changes Harper already announced were going to be done).

What makes Layton think he can succeed now where other very honorable, capable and intelligent political leaders failed?

Again, I don’t hold anything against you for trying to look like the good guys here …trying to make parliament work and all those optics. In the end I can’t see the NDP supporting this budget anyhow.

I just wish you’d drop this act that somehow your groveling with Harper is somehow different that what the Libs previously did.

Steve V said...

Great argument, we don't want an election now, but we did those other 100 plus times we voted non confidence! Yes, keep reminding us all of the hypocrisy, it's hilarious.


thwap

I think what this dance tells us is that all the parties are the same, so if you want to get rid of Harper, forget about the NDP and their rhetoric, might as well just vote Liberal. Seriously, the NDP are prepared to voluntarily give up the high ground, in the name of political expediency. It means they aren't an alternative to the Liberals as they claim, so tell us again what the purpose is? I mean we already know that when the NDP take power provincial they act like Liberals, now that this federal vascade is being destroyed as we speak, I think this will feed the "two choices" argument.

I take your point.

Steve V said...

Just to add, I notice all the NDP sympathizers having their little hissy fits all over the blogosphere and twitter. Hey, go ask 1000 independent journalists if they think the thesis in this post is baseless bashing or a reasonable response to the known developments presently? People can buy the NDP spin, but everyone else knows that they aren't in great shape electorally, an election has no real upside and THAT'S why they want to deal with the devil they've lambasted for years, and act like the opposition they've vilified for years.

This deal might fall through, so I'm not suggesting it's in the bag. That said, the only way the NDP turn now is if THEIR grassroots puts pressure or the Cons decide they don't want to deal with them. That's it, it's not about making Parliament work, it's not about helping people, it's about NAKED POLITICAL SELF INTEREST. Walk amongst us self righteous, walk amongst us!!

thwap said...

Steve V,

So, in response to the debasement of BOTH the NDP and the Liberals, your response to me is to ditch the NDP and join the Liberals?????

I can think of other alternatives.

DL said...

Of course when the NDP votes down the budget and we end up in an election campaign - people will look back at this thread and think "what a waste of ink"

Steve V said...

Sure, but none that are realistic. How do you think I ended up here? Not like I've voted Lib my whole life. If all progressives joined the Libs, we could take this party over, it is just ripe for activist infiltration. Seriously.

Steve V said...

Maybe DL, but right now they're saying "holy shit that guy is a useless hack that can't admit the most obvious dynamic in Ottawa". I'd say it's up to Harper at this point, you guys are clearly ready to do almost anything to avoid an election.

thwap said...

Steve V,

Okay. That was a serious answer. Mel Hurtig said much the same thing at a talk years ago.

he said, a bunch of you people here could join any party's riding association and you'd probably swamp it and be able to elect your whole group and take it over.

But something tells me that joining the Liberals in the hopes of a progressive takeover would be as successful as progressives taking over the Democratic Party. Which is to say, not at all.

But at this point, we're both speculating. I'm getting a sense that at least you're not some deluded, blathering partisan who believed in Paul Martin or now thinks Ignatieff is the answer to all our prayers.

Let's hope for the best.

Steve V said...

I didn't vote for Martin, voted NDP, prior to that Green :) I joined this party because I supported Kennedy in leadership race.

Dylan said...

Thwamp, all your points were taken. And believe it or not, I agree with your synopsis of how the NDP has operated over the last few years. In fact, I do not find much fault in it as they did what a third-party in their position would do.

It's not the band I find frustrating -- it's the fans I have a hard time debating with.

Ignatieff will bluff and then he'll be serious. When he said he'd look at the entire budget, he was accused of propping up Harper and being in a "Liberal-Conservative coalition" as Jack Layton put it. This was shortly after the 2008 coalition died. Was that fair of Jack? Perhaps. Do Dippers use selective memory when their leader is now doing his best to "make parliament work" - absolutely.

I didn't buy the spin on the gun registry from the NDP and I thought Ignatieff was very crafty when he puts these big decisions to Jack - let him take the heat from his grassroots. The grassroots that doesn't blog or over analyze every poll. The grassroots that shows up on e-day believing in the NDP but have never taken out a membership. Those are the voters Ignatieff is thinking about when he forces the issue onto Jack. Is it fair? Maybe. It's certainly political and it's been done to death by EVERY party in the house.

And I'm cool with that.

Like I said, I don't place the Liberal party's actions on some sort of higher moral ground. Nor do I think the NDP have some sort of monopoly on the high road. Both parties certainly do better than the CPC; and I have a gut feeling that the Greens might take a more principled stance to governance on the Hill should they ever grab a few seats (at least for a little while).

Is Ignatieff more or less of a "politician" than Jack Layton when it comes to election framing and timing? I see them as both being pragmatic about their parties and when one party's blogosphere base throws words like "Lieberal" when the other party backtracks and supports the government, I get a little uppity. I'm disappointed when the LPC retreats from their principles and likewise the NDP.

Steve V said...

Layton in Question Period doesn't ask any questions, but feels the need to tell everyone that the Bloc has supported two budgets, Liberals have supported budgets, maybe it's time for the NDP to get in this budget stuff and get real results. Simply bizarre to watch, he's already laying the foundation for the budget rationalization.

Dylan said...

Steve, remember: it's not a lie if YOU believe it.

thwap said...

I just sent two NDP MPs who know me a very strongly-worded letter.

Proud Canadian said...

one of the reasons the liberals are most likely not going to support the budget is the corp.tax cuts that they supported in 2007.

The reason they are now giving why they supported the corp.tax cuts in 2007 was because we weren't in a $56 billion deficit. I say to that "BULL CRAP!" If that is truly a reason,why than didn't the liberals raise a fuss in 2008,2009 and in 2010? Can anyone say "PLAYING CHEAP POLITICS?" That is all I have to say! Let the insults fly!

Steve V said...

thwap

Good on you. The silence from NDP ranks is deafening, people need to express their displeasure.

Steve V said...

Dylan

Is it a lie or real delusion? I can't tell, it's like people just lap up whatever talking point they're told.

Tomm said...

thwap,

Are you even a democrat?

When I read your stuff it's like no group is going to be acceptable to you unless they have stormed the hill and are presenting Harper's head on a pike.

That isn't democracy. Instead of whining that the party you voted for isn't rabid enough for you, join one that is.

My suggestion?

...the Black Bloc.

Tof KW said...

Just spotted this on your tweets...

"The Bloc supported 2 Con budgets, the Libs supported the rest. Seems to me that it's time to put some NDP into these budgets". - Layton QP

Too lazy to look up yesterday's Hansard ...did Layton really say that?

Steve V said...

Here is the exact quote from Layton's bizarre QP question yesterday:

""The Bloc supported 2 Con budgets, the Libs supported the rest. Seems to me that it's time to put some NDP into these budgets". Layton QP


Clearly trying to show the history, greasing the slats for the big cave!

thwap said...

Tomm,

"Are you even a democrat?"

This is rich, coming from someone happy with a political system where the "conservative" pm prorogues Parliament to avoid an inquiry into government torture and the "liberal" pm participated in a coup against the elected president of Haiti.

"When I read your stuff it's like no group is going to be acceptable to you unless they have stormed the hill and are presenting Harper's head on a pike.
"

Actually, I believe harper violated international laws against torture and that he should be investigated and, if found guilty, incarcerated. It's a radical, extremist concept called "the rule of law."

"That isn't democracy. Instead of whining that the party you voted for isn't rabid enough for you, join one that is. ...My suggestion? ...the Black Bloc."

The Black Bloc isn't a political party. Your whole post was an incoherent, self-imploding bunch of drivel. You haven't a clue about what I'm talking about and you'll never have one.