Friday, September 21, 2007

Duceppe's Line In The Sand

Conventional wisdom assumed the Bloc was less likely to support a non-confidence, given the poor results in the by-elections. Instead, Duceppe draws a line in the sand:
The Bloc Quebecois has issued a five-point set of demands for the Conservative minority government that appears to be a muscled reaction the party's bruising in byelections earlier this week.

It also appears to be setting the stage for a fall election.

The demands set out Friday are that the government:

1)Eliminate all federal spending powers in provincial jurisdictions

2)Respect the Kyoto Protocol and establish targets for greenhouse gas reductions

3)Assistance for workers in the ailing forest industry

4)Changes to supply management for dairy farmers

5)And finally, "non n├ęgociable," in the Throne Speech, an announced end to the combat mission in Afghanistan by Feb. 2009.

These demands come a day after Harper's Quebec lieutenant, Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon, gloated over his party's byelection victory and called the Bloc "useless" in Quebec.

Harper might throw a carrot on 1, in his own self-interest, 3 and 4 room for comprimise, 2 and 5 showdown. I suppose the government could weasle around Kyoto and "targets", but given the favorable results for the Conservatives, I don't think Harper is prepared to commit to ending the Afghanistan mission, in such clear terms.

Duceppe's tough stance is an effort to look relevant, but it does raise the stakes considerably. The NDP has been equally combative, which may mean the Liberals will decide the government's fate.


Anonymous said...

Well, if you're Duceppe, all the news for close to two years discloses a really existential threat--that separatism (and its ability to do what is often over looked, i.e. bridge quite left and right of centre constituencies) is in fact a generation and not a true movement or culture. Frankly, more than his own (admittedly less than I expected) performance, and coupled with longstanding grass roots difficulties in PQ, this also accounts for Dion's late difficulties. But for the Bloc, nothing suggests things can get better, and Duceppe will find himself increasingly under siege from within his own caucus, from within the separatist fold and from the Quebec commentariat more generally to prove his own or his Party's relevance. Hence today's grandstanding.

For myself, I find it tough to believe he truly wants that election, but pissing contests have certainly produced them before. The bigger problem is for the Liberals, who truly don't want one, unless Dion figures he must unify the Party via a campaign to keep his own and Iggy's loyalists from bringing ceaseless, anonymous-sourced scandal and division on the party. Given the logistical and FR (forget leadership or policy issues) weaknesses revealed lately, I find it hard to think he really wants to do this, but he too might have no choice.

Also, as a Tory who's watched this dance all too many times before, let me say that, while I genuinely sympathize with you all, it's nice to see the shoe on the other foot!


lance said...

Wasn't it someone here who coined the term, "Last one to the mike gets to concede."

That's what this is. Layton did it Monday. Dion did it Thursday, Duceppe on Friday.

Giles was the last to the mike but he figures he has less to lose that the Libs.

They're all gambling, but I think he's right on who is holding just two kings.


burlivespipe said...

Harper would be foolish not to push the opposition at this stage of the game. He's holding some decent cards, people aren't talking about his lying, tricks and financial knuckleheadedness... And the biggest reason he'd draw the opposition to an election? The economy is about to be kneecapped and a minority in a recession is a hard row to hoe. He's already, quietly cutting department spending and promises at wildlife and national defence. Just clearing the decks so that he can bribe those hard-to-please, easy to buy Quebec votes, I guess...

Anonymous said...

For Duceppe the choice is either a general election or risk defeat in a leadership review through the party rank and file.

The Bloc caucus will go for an election instead. Time to pack their bags and join Pauline Marois'renewal project.

For Dion, fighting an election now may be better than slow death. What he is saying to the membership is: Put up or shut up.

Losing the upcoming election is acceptable for the Liberals. As long as winning the next one is a reality.

bigcitylib said...

Polls-wise, I think the Libs are in better shape for a Fall election, the Tories worse.

Money wise I'm not privy too, but presumably they're a few mill ahead of last year.

And when does Elections Canada report on the Tory Ad scandel?

Objectively, despite the Quebec blow, things don't look too bad. Better than last Spring.

Anonymous said...

i only have one thing to say, its about fuckin time someone showed some backbone, and get rid of this ass, out of the office that belongs to anyone else but him, and dion should continue takin the road to showing decisions like the kadr case, bypassing that asshole

Steve V said...

I can't remember which pundit offered the following, but it might be relevant. Harper concludes that an election is a good thing, because even another minority guarantees a ineffective Liberal Party, for upwards of a year, as they bleed resources and energy finding another leader. Harper would have a mini-majority period, where he could push through legislation, taking advantage of the opposition circumstance. Not just the Liberals, but the Bloc might be in flux too, as Duceppe's leadership will be questioned.

Anonymous said...

Bring it on!!!

Mr. Harper will mop up the floor with any and all of the present Opposition parties.

The only one showing anything is Mr. Layton. He will self-immolate with his hare-brained socialist ideas in an election. Unless of course he just concentrates on bleeding Liberal votes.

BCL...polls right now are meaningless. Nobody is engaged politically. I think you are being deceptive about funds. For someone that seems to be politically engaged you don't realise Conservatives are running circles around all parties on this front?

ottlib said...


What you describe is what we had immediately after the last election. And we all know how Mr. Harper wasted those months. In other words it would be business as usual.

As well, if Mr. Harper is unable to secure a majority this time around it will be his job on the line. After all, conventional wisdom states that the Liberals are in disarray and the Bloc is becoming irrelevent. If he is unable to secure a majority under those perceived circumstances many in his party and the country at large will conclude that he will never secure one.

So Mr. Harper has as much riding on the the next election as Mr. Dion and Mr. Duceppe.

Anonymous 12:20: Would you say the same thing about polls if the Conservatives were 10 points up?

Steve V said...


Fair point, Harper could only survive if he increased his seat count. Does that mean a majority, or could he keep going with a stronger minority, arguing the party is on the right path? With no obvious successor, Harper could stay on if he increases the seat total.


If Harper will "mop up the floor", then why the going nowhere polls. You can discount them all you want, and as Ottlib points out, it is a matter of convience, but they reveal a clear storyline- despite the opposition weakness, Harper can't capitalize. If you use the voter engaged argument, then that presents some problems as well, given the fact most don't support the policy.

Anonymous said...

once harpy is in the open, in an election we are lookin at 1993 again, harpy will be destroyed by the Canadian voter, he does not have anough support, stuck at mid 30's, is not a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that every time "majority" is mentioned regarding Harper - the polls change.

Where is the MSM these days - all repeating the Dion issue - but what about the adscandal of the CPC, the issue with planes, the new environment fraud, etc?

Where are they? Are they afraid of Harper?