Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Something To Consider

No surprise to hear that the two liabilities for a potential coalition are the inclusion of the Bloc and Stephane Dion as Prime Minister. These two facts, offer an intriguing dynamic, which does offer a "kill two birds with one stone" response strategy. I'm not suggesting what follows will necessarily work, but it deserves some consideration.

Canadians have a low opinion of Stephane Dion, with one stark exception, he is seen as a true patriot, a defender of Canada, nobody disputes that narrative. That fact does allow Dion to credibly fend off the outlandish "in bed with the separatists" angle. If Canadians are concerned about Bloc involvement, does it not play to Dion's strength? Is Dion not one of the better politicians to dispel any fears that this arrangement will help breakup of our country? Can Dion not tell Canadians that if thought Canada was in jeopardy, he would never have agreed to the understanding, in fact it's parameters reflect a basic protection?

Is there not a way for Dion to allay Bloc fears, while simultaneously boosting his personal stature? National unity is Dion's "pocket" issue, so there is a way to turn two perceived weaknesses into a positive. They are not mutually exclusive liabilities, they can be dealt with in concert. On leadership, Dion's best chance is too remind Canadians of his sacrifice for the country he loves, and in so doing, fears of the Bloc are blunted. It's a longshot, but it's not as far fetched as first blush might suggest.


In_The_Centre said...


The RoC simply has one uniform view point of the Bloc, and they would more likely see Dion selling out his "defender" of Canada status for the sake of power.

He can trying reminding Canadians all he wants, but the national media has already made its view point known about the prospect of a separatist party holding the balance of power.

Steve V said...


Here's the deal, we won't be reminding anyone, the CONS WILL, so you might as well push back, where required.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to disagree with you on this one, Steve.

For once, someone needs to do something that is NOT the argument that Stevie wants to rant about.

Special effort should not be given.


The coalition members, Dion included, should openly scoff at the notion that this is anything about Separatists or Socialists. It is about Canadians.

Then go on with the direct attacks on Harper's inability to lead, the loss of confidence in the House, his failure to schedule a confidence vote he will lose, and the need for a working Parliament address the needs of the nation starting with the economy.

I swear their is some type of syndrome at play in Canada right now. Harper yells Boo at the audience, his beady eyes dilate and everyone goes, "Oh No! We've gone too far. We have to respond to him! What if we step in doo doo? I wannna go home!"

Canadians really need to grow a pair when it comes to this bully tyrant wannabe. Stop playing his games.

Steve V said...


I understand that reasoning, but it fails to properly respond to the liabilities. Canadians aren't comfortable with Dion or the Bloc, for this coalition to thrive, those fears must be dealt with head on, otherwise Harper will exploit what is already there.

Ignoring Harper, not playing his game, I agree, but these issues have nothing to do with Harper, they have to do with the viability of this coalition, ignore at our peril.

Anonymous said...


Wishful thinking to say the least, IMO. There is a reason people have such a low opinion of him, and I believe it is largely because they do not believe he could navigate the country in times of no great importance, let alone in financial situation we find ourselves in today.

I don't think anyone would believe that Dion would purposefully sell out Canada for political power, but he may well unintentionally sell out Canada for political power. He may think he can save the economy without allowing the Bloc to gain more power and influence, but the rest of Canada isn't so sure.

Anonymous said...

You should watch Broadbent on TV. CBC was playing this, "But wouldn't you do anything you could to stay in power if you were in Harper's shoes?" game and he essentially said HELL NO.

He went on to explain other party leaders who have stepped aside honourably when faced with similar situations in Canadian and Provincial governments, making sure to point out that leaders of all political stripes have done so.

He struck right back at Harper as being outside the Canadian mainstream and pointing out that he, in fact, was disrespecting our form of government.

Why not make THAT the argument! God, again, I have to say. Quit playing Harper's game!

Get out of the freakin' corner already, Progressives and Canadians. Demand a Confidence Vote and Demand it NOW!

Anonymous said...

I can think of no one more qualified than Stephan Dion to lead a coalition party which relies on the support of the Bloc. Mr. Dion has always been the champion of a unified Canada. The problem seems to be that this view of Dion is rarely represented in the MSM, and Harper has free reign to spoon feed his lies to the Canadian public.

Anonymous said...


My point is that is not the argument now. There will be time to address the question and concerns and whipped about fears (which is what they are) later.

The only question now is, "When will the confidence vote be?" Any special focus beyond that is fluff.

Answer questions, yes. Provide data yes - that can be done without anyone on camera. But you are advocating that the leaders of the coalition allow this sideshow to become the centerpiece of their argument. That is not what this is about, at all. Not at all.

Steve V said...

Agree completely on what our talking points should be, simple and concise. I'm trying to separate responding to the nonsense, with the idea of speaking to concerns Canadians genuinely have, irrespective of the HOWLS. This coalition must look credible to Canadians, if they will take the leap, we know what the hesitations are, so develop a strategy to deal with it. What I'm saying the two liabilities work in tandem, and can be dealt with in concert.

Steve V said...

I realize, I'm presenting an awkward argument.

Gabe said...

During a scrum sometime after the coalition press conference, Dion was asked about the dangers of Bloc involvement. He answered that he thinks that the best way to counter the separatist argument is with a policy of inclusion rather than exclusion because it could persuade them to work with the country rather than against it. Until Duceppe's ill-advised remarks (yesterday?) about the coalition contributing to the separatist cause, it seemed like a good idea. Now, maybe not so much...

Jesse said...

I think Dion's already moving your direction:

L’hon. Stéphane Dion (chef de l’opposition, Lib.): Monsieur le Président, j’ai donné ma vie pour l’unité de ce pays, pour mon amour envers le Canada. Avec cette entente, le Bloc a accepté d’avoir 18 mois de stabilité politique au Canada. Voilà ce qu’obtient le Canada par le biais de cette entente.

Anonymous said...

I would recommend burying down the hatches if you are a Grit. Dion will be gone by May and it will be obvious that the next Grit leader will be more sympathetic to Quebec than Dion and Harper.

"If Canadians are concerned about Bloc involvement, does it not play to Dion's strength?"

Duceppe's involvement in the coalition is very popular in Quebec and the Angus Reid poll proves this. It is Western alienation that needs to be addressed first and Harper is fomenting this. Not sure if Dion can sway them though.

"Is Dion not one of the better politicians to dispel any fears that this arrangement will help breakup of our country? Can Dion not tell Canadians that if thought Canada was in jeopardy, he would never have agreed to the understanding, in fact it's parameters reflect a basic protection?"

Maybe Dion should go on the offensive and attack Harper further. Calling him a Westerner wedded to a past similar to social conservatives obsessed with guns, gangs, and gays. Tell them that he will implement a cap and trade within the first one hundred days of the coalition government.

Anonymous said...



Steve V said...

Harper reaching out to the Liberals today in QP, interesting strategy.


Story of the day is right.

Anonymous said...

The Bloc propped up the Conservatives on 14 different confidence votes during the last session of parliament.

Stephen Harper enlisted the help of Gilles Duceppe to pass the April 2006 throne speech, as well as the 2006 and 2007 budgets.

The Conservatives can try to demonize this coalition all it wants. The fact of the matter is, no one has worked more with the Bloc than Stephen Harper.

Another thing that is a given, with all the burgeoning contempt for the Bloc, the CPC can kiss any hoped-for future support among soft nationalists in Quebec goodbye.

Steve V said...


It's a forgotten story in this maelstorm, but no matter what happens, these Cons will never get a majority, they have effectively wiped themselves off the map in Quebec.

CuzBen said...

I called some of my quebecer friends last night to hear their opinions and they indicated the same. Harper's approval is at an all-time low in Montreal and in the RoQ, among federalists and separtists alike. In Montreal especially, federalists live, work and play alongside separtists and while they like to argue at dinner parties, they are not bitter enemies , generally. To them, Harper's devil-talk is so transparently ignorant and coniving. And when my separtist friends tell me that Dion is preferred, I know they are fed up.

Anonymous said...


Your basic argument here is sound, and Dion has to have it in his pocket as a response to wild-eyed accusations of separatists on the loose. (Don't get distracted by this line of argument - I agree with Joseph on that - but have a way of dealing with it in order to get back on track.)

And Dion sounded great, I thought, when he reminded Harper that Bloc MPs were duly elected by their constituents, and that he (Dion) didn't need any lessons in national unity from Mr Harper.

Möbius said...

With all due respect, I have defended Dion repeatedly for brilliantly defending this country against the threats of separatists in Quebec, by writing the letters tearing apart the separatist myth, and helping form the structure of the Clarity Act in the late '90's. It was one of the best decisions made by Chretien, post-referendum, to bring him aboard.

It's a sad day to realize I was wrong about him. I didn't think he was a good Liberal leadership candidate, but at least I thought he was genuine.

Blame Harper for starting this, if you wish, but then think about the future of the only other party that can credibly govern from the centre.

Steve V said...

After recent events, I would like to change my title to "Nevermind, nothing to see here". That one won't fly now.....

Steve V said...


You know what man, time for a new blog to hangout on. Seriously.