Monday, December 01, 2008

A Good Deal For Liberals

As details of the coalition agreement come out, on balance, it looks a good package for the Liberals. The trick for the Liberals, obvious compromise, without sacrificing our agenda, because that could bring long term harm to the brand. This deal would seem to protect the Liberals integrity.

I actually expected the NDP to demand more cabinet seats, after all the seat makeup would legitimately allow for 1/3 of cabinet posts, the Liberals did well to secure 18 of 24. Within that, the absolutely crucial post of Finance Minister. Canadians will see a Liberal guide us through trouble waters, the importance of which can't be understated. It remains unclear what cabinet posts the NDP will get, but I'm hoping the Environment portfolio is among them, because that will offset any potential lingering questions on a carbon tax. The NDP, generally, have shown themselves to be genuinely engaged and relevant on this file, it's a natural fit, and it actually works for the Liberals as well.

Word has it, that corporate tax cuts are still on, a concession by the NDP that is pivotal for the Liberals. Those tax cuts speak to a fundamental belief, if we were forced to abandon that regime, it would give our opponents ammunition, it would push us out of mainstream thought, it would come back to haunt us. Couple this concession, with a decidedly middle of the road economic advisory panel, and the Liberals can still govern with the crucial center placated, the cries of too far left, entirely muted.

Liberals have always believed in government intervention to offset economic downturns, so again, a stimulus package is completely consistent with that belief. A stimulus also enjoys widespread support within the economic community, so it can fly, it is sound, thoughtful policy.

I'm not certain about NDP supporters views, but given the reaction I've gleamed, everyone seems content. If we can cobble together a coalition, that manages to maintain the integrity of each side, then it's a good package, one that may not hobble either, when we eventually part ways. From the Liberal side, in totality, looks good from here.


Constant Vigilance said...

The impression I have had is that Mr. Dion has led the charge on this one. Since it appears that he has provided a good deal from the Liberal stand point he deserves a lot of the credit. Given that he has successfully navigated the shoals so far, I expect that history will look kindly on the man. He proposed a what will eventually be seen as a good policy during the election and took steps to save the country from incompetence after the election.

He will be able to retire in May with dignity.

northwestern_lad said...

I think that the deal is palatable and workable. The 6 seats in a 24 seat cabinet is about where I thought the New Democrats would end up, but the 6 parlimentary secretary positions does help to balance that out.

As for the corporate tax cuts, I had heard differently. I had heard that they were gone and that it was being used to help fund the $30 Billion stimulus package.

As for cabinet posts, I think Environment is going New Democrat and that Linda Duncan is the choice. She has impeccable creditals and that would make her the only Cabinet minister from Alberta, a necessity right now. As for other posts, I think that Labour would be another good fit to the NDP, along with maybe Heritage, Health and maybe Justice. We'll see, but it's pretty cool to be able to speculate about this stuff :)

Steve V said...

An able job, no doubt.

Steve V said...

Sort of hoped Cullen would snag Environment, but that sounds fine by me.

I've heard the tax cuts are there, although delayed, which makes sense- dying companies don't pay taxes ;)

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog, but you're wrong to think of corporate tax cuts as a feature of "mainstream" economic theory.

Rather, they only function within a particular *neoliberal* mainstream.

There is little empirical evidence to support the idea that tax cuts stimulate investment and growth -- there are other factors that play a much more significant role, and in any case, the comparative evidence reveals that no causal link can be made between tax cuts and capital investment.

As a result, corporate tax cuts often turn into massive profit grabs.

The LPC needs to stop listening to only one stream of economic thought in Canada.

Start with the CCPA or the Progressive Economics Forum -- two of the best sources of information on economic developments in Canada.

Anonymous said...

Did any of you watch QP today? Harper called Dion "President" in his answer to Dion's third question. It was just priceless -- almost felt sorry for Harper; he looked silly (note that I said "almost").

Gayle said...

After many long years with Rahim Jaffer as my MP, Duncan boots him and I finally get to be represented by a cabinet minister.

I know this is still speculation, but cool...

Steve V said...


By mainstream, I mean that is it widely accepted, your references aside, that in a global environment, it is imperative to make domestic companies competitive. If you polled economists, I can tell where the majority would lie, and that fairly overarching view is probably why NDP provincial governments have also chosen this path.

CuzBen said...

What about Foreign Affairs? Any rumours? Ignatieff is probably the most qualified but I know it's coveted by Rae among others. How will NDP influence affect the mission in Afghanistan?

Dion looked good just now, quite a 180 for him.

This is mental (in a good way). I am so sorry that my dad, a political junkie like the rest of us, didn't live to see this.

Anonymous said...

Ignatieff is not an ideal choice for foreign affairs. He has an unfortunate tendency to go off message, and the leadership race would disqualify any of the candidates from a portfolio that requires so much travel. I believe David McGuinty or Marc Garneau would be excellent choices.

janfromthebruce said...

Hi Steve, and so we are uneasy bedmates, as we figure out how to "sleep together." LOL
Anyway, I think the global economic meltdown and neoliberal thought - such as corporate taxcuts - will be revisited in the wake of tidal wave hitting the world. Remember it was the wonderkind of the economic world - who through corporate greed - completely dis-ablized the global economy.
That said, I think that we all have some learning to do on each side of the sheets, and make this work for Canadians. They are counting on us all.

northwestern_lad said...

Steve... Turns out you were right about the tax cuts. I owe you a Coke.

And Jan, be sure to leave plenty of room in the bed for me too. I roll a lot in my sleep and snore from what my wife tells me ;)

Anonymous said...


Corporate tax cuts will be delayed, we are in an economic downturn anyway. Since the coalition is expected to last until 2010 anyway (since Duceppe will be gone by then), the Grits can argue for them in a new election. Whether the Grits can form majorities in my lifetime will be questionable at best LOL.

A Grit party dependent on NDP support will not implement corporate tax cuts.

I suspect the NDP will get Justice (step right up, Joe Comartin) since the Grits will probably covet the more lucrative Public Safety posting more (I hope the name changes as a reflection of a post-Stockwell Day era).


A Grit will get the Foreign Affairs because Layton will want to be in the House most of the time. My pick would be Martha Hall Findlay, who is deserving of a major role.


The Liberal leadership candidates will not be in Cabinet, since campaigns have become more Presidential. There are no verbal agreements that restrict their appointments, but it is understood that it is not in the country's best interests for them to serve.

No mention of Afghanistan and I cannot see the NDP getting the Defence portfolio (although I like Peter Stoffer). Good candidates there are either David McGuinty or Ujjal Dosanjh.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that someone from the NDP would become HRSDC minister (Human Resources and Social Development) and then they could spearhead reforms to child care and EI etc...

Anonymous said...

"I roll a lot in my sleep and snore from what my wife tells me ;)"

What about room for wiry and thin politicos like Dion and myself? ;(

Steve V said...

I think I'll sleep on the couch for a few days, let's take it slow ;)

Anonymous said...


The NDP, generally, have shown themselves to be genuinely engaged and relevant on this file, it's a natural fit, and it actually works for the Liberals as well.

Um, you couldn't have written this, could you?

However, as Layton tours the country, positioning himself as the real steward of the environment, the one that targets the true culprits while protecting you and I, it is interesting that the environmental expert community REJECTS the NDP stance.

Now, instead of being REJECTS, they're engaged and relevant. Funny how things change. :)

Also, that the corporate tax cuts are still on is a relief, if true. I should really stop listening to Bob Fife, but you could have told me that.

Steve V said...


I'm so tired of the gotcha game. And the funny part, that quote you cited is EXACTLY why I put GENERALLY in today's quote. Already considered my friend, but thanks for looking :)

Steve V said...

"I should really stop listening to Bob Fife"

I guilty as well. The trick with him, he has good Con sources, but Libs or NDP, not so much.

Anonymous said...


I'm so tired of the gotcha game.

I hate getting caught too. It's annoying. :)

I actually could tell you were holding back on your praise, using the term "generally", not to mention the hardly complimentary terms "engaged and relevant".

That being said, I don't know why you felt the need to praise them at all on the environment, following your rather unequivocal condemnation during the election. Other than spin, of course.

Steve V said...


Well, in 2006 I voted for them, because of the environment, so it really isn't spin, unless of course voting preference is irrelevant. I specifically choose that word, and the funny part, I had quotes like you cited in mind, it was for that reason. In the last election, partisanship really hurt a good, fundamental environmental idea in my view. I wasn't alone in my scorn, many former environmental allies were miffed as well.