Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Heading To The Polls

It looks like an election is now inevitable, with Peter MacKay making tactical statements that effectively put the Liberals in the non-confidence column. Dion demands:
Canada notifying NATO that it will end its combat mission in Afghanistan in 2009. The government must make clear the wording of the motion, and confirm how it will vote.

MacKay offers:
Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Canada has the option of waiting until April 2008 before choosing whether to extend its mission in Afghanistan, despite pressure from opposition parties for an early decision.

On Monday, MacKay said Canada can wait until the NATO summit next year in Bucharest, Romania, before clarifying whether combat operations will continue past February 2009.

"There is a NATO meeting in April 2008," MacKay told reporters.

"It will be necessary to communicate a final decision before that meeting."

MacKay clearly signals there will be no formal notification, and his timing basically ensures the Liberals won't support the throne speech. MacKay's comments aren't off the cuff, they work in tandem with the sudden ramping up of the Tory machine:
The Conservatives have been told to ready themselves for a mid-October federal election, says a report.

Sources have confirmed to the Toronto Star that an election could be called three days after Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivers his minority government's throne speech on Oct. 16.

The newspaper reports that the Tories have already reserved two buses currently in use by Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory -- who is campaigning ahead of the Oct. 10 provincial election.

Two more Greyhound buses are also being prepared and "wrapped" with party logos and large photos of Harper, reports the Star.

I assume the government has decided they would rather fall on the Afghanistan question, than the environment. Probably a wise decision, since there is more divison on the Afghanistan question, than the woeful handling of the environment file. Can someone in Ottawa stroll by the Conservatives "war room" tonight, I bet the lights are on?

9 comments:

900 ft Jesus said...

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070925/election_tories_070925/20070925?hub=TopStories

the lights are on, it seems - "Federal Tories told to prepare for Oct. election"

Calgary Junkie said...

The Opposition has to defeat the government on a lot more than just the timing of the Afghan vote.

The Tory spin will be that we are committed to Feb 2009, NATO doesn't need a decision on what Canada will do beyond that date, until April, 2008. So lets wait until then, when we have more information on the ground and can make a more informed decision as to our proper course of action.

And the Liberal spin will be, what ? The only one that makes some sense is Dion's fear-mongering that Harper is a Bush puppet and has committed to Bush that Canada will extend the mission beyond Feb 2009.

Not bad, as it appeals to the Liberals anti-American base. But does Dion really want to defend that spin to the general voter ?

Steve V said...

"Not bad, as it appeals to the Liberals anti-American base."

There is a big difference between anti-American and anti-Bush. I seem to remember a great relationship with Clinton and the Liberals. I guess Americans, or 75% of them are anti-American too by your superfical standard.

Anonymous said...

All Liberals need do is point to a Harper record of "0": no legislation of any substance at all, a hostile and non-cooperative parliamentary attitude that couldn't create consensus on even a single matter of substance, a blundering bull foreign policy, an environmental policy of sheer ingnorance, an adversarial attitude towards the civil service and judiciary, a "bait and switch" approach to taxation, blatant hostility towards indigenous peoples, a trigger happy approach to gun law, etc, etc., ad infinitim.
Of course Liberals now need to learn to let Dion be himself instead of trying to make him over into another Harper-like song and dance man.
Lets get it on!
foottothefire

be himself

burlivespipe said...

I think a good starting point on an election footing would be to highlight Harper's inability to reveal his cards on this file, letting a minister suggest in Quebec that the offensive mission will end and then posing tough outside of Quebec.
If Canada is to be able to honour its role in NATO and also exercise its option, it needs a leader who can consult and make its decision known, not someone hiding behind the facade of a pretend date.
Harper has shown that when it comes to negotiating real agreements, he's much more prone to ripping them up. Tick the list of signed agreements that have disappeared -- despite his defence on the hustings that Kelowna, Kyoto were safe -- and you see someone who isn't too interested in participating in working arrangements with others who may not be cut from the same cloth. Here's a leader who prefers to make enemies instead of friends. Ol' Calgary Junk's spin is the reverse. Can the CURRENT gov't offer its exact plan -- if no nation is willing to step forward to replace Canada, what then? Will Canada offer an ease-out plan, where we will remain in our current position until 2010 but no later, or will it just leave the Canadian public drifting in the wind, content to know that the divisions among us may, MAY play into their hands?
That is no leader.

Steve V said...

"Tick the list of signed agreements that have disappeared -- despite his defence on the hustings that Kelowna, Kyoto were safe -- and you see someone who isn't too interested in participating in working arrangements with others who may not be cut from the same cloth. Here's a leader who prefers to make enemies instead of friends."

People point to Afghanistan, but I think there is broader point to be made. There is a laundry list of foreign affair snafu's and examples of harmed Canadian reputation.

Calgary Junkie said...

Can the CURRENT gov't offer its exact plan -- if no nation is willing to step forward to replace Canada, what then?

And why does anybody--including the Taliban--need to know that plan right now ???

You guys are missing my point. The only difference between Dion's postion and Harper's position is a question of timing. Dion wants things determined right now, whereas Harper (through MacKay) says, lets wait until April, 2008, keep discussing things with our NATO allies, get the Afghan army up to speed, and then make our Afghan determination.

If Dion forces a fall election over that difference--the timing of the Afghan vote--I suspect voters will be plenty upset at you guys.

Steve V said...

"You guys are missing my point. The only difference between Dion's postion and Harper's position is a question of timing."

Junkie, it's more of a difference than timing. Dion wants an end to combat operations in 2009, Harper endorses NO SUCH THING.

burlivespipe said...

No, Harper still probably wishes we were part of that wonky 'Coalition of the Leeching' or whatever.
Calgary Junk, the only way to get one of the NaTo comrades to step up is to show that you are serious --isn't that what Harper's means in governing (hey, support this trade deal or its an election! Don't like my newfangled accord, you provinces? Tuf baloney! Hey China, I'm gonna rattle your cage -urgh! Oh Hi Uncle George, yeah, keep on truckin!)...
NaTo only works if each member is truly committed to their roles and Canada and its fine men and women are doing the job. But we are equally as needed on the humanitarian and rebuilding portion. Harper however realizes exactly what Bush used to win the last election --the public generally won't turf its leader in the midst of a war. While we're not technically 'at war' in Afghanistan, Harper and his apolectic speech writers have to keep the syllables simple for that honkin' teleprompter he carries around along with a photographer and psychic dresser.
I guess that's the kind of country you like and the kind of leader you deserve. But my children deserve better, thank you.