Saturday, December 13, 2008

They Hate It, They Really Do

I think it's important to separate personal want from rational thought. If confronted with clear evidence that rejects a concept, it is far more astute to incorporate that knowledge and react accordingly, rather than to pretend it doesn't exist or put one's faith in the unlikely possibility of seismic change. I would argue, that in the last two weeks, Canadians have been more engaged in our political process, than any other time in recent years. With that reality in mind, opinions expressed are not easily dismissed, they have weight and people would be wise to recognize.

Another poll, that provides further evidence of a simple fact- Canadians, overall, HATE the idea of a coalition. The Ipsos poll isn't a one off, I believe we've now seen four separate outfits present the same theme, in overwhelming fashion. Ignore at our peril:
65% of those surveyed said they believe Mr. Ignatieff should try to find a compromise with Mr. Harper, compared with 27% who said he should "stick with the Liberal-NDP coalition." Eight per cent said they didn't know how Mr. Ignatieff should proceed.

The coalition does find support in Quebec, a fact which shouldn't be ignored, but also a result which isn't enough, looking at Canada as a whole. As a matter of fact, this support in Quebec means the results are even more negative in rest of Canada. Some quick math, you are probably looking at a maximum of 20% support in the rest of the country, a disasterous total by any measure.

People would also prefer an election, over the possibility of a coalition:
Poll results also suggest Canadians are so uncomfortable at the prospect of a Liberal-NDP coalition government, backed by the Bloc, that a majority -- 56% -- would prefer going to the polls again early in 2009 if Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean is forced to choose between the two options.

The obvious counter, principle should trump opinion polls, you don't govern with your finger in the air, testing the breeze of the day. If the results were mixed, I might agree, but when you have such a decided rejection, it is almost silly to argue politicians should ignore the will of the people they represent, especially when the idea of a coalition demands public legitimacy to thrive. If it comes to a head, expect Harper to remind the GG of public sentiment, as she weighs her options, and don't think for a moment that sentiment is a meaningless consideration.

Conclusion, unless we see a change in public mood, the idea of a coalition is political suicide. I suppose if Harper introduces more poison pills in his budget, that transparent partisanship could change some minds, so you can't be entirely absolute, but you also must recognize where we are and react within that knowledge.

On the subject of party support, which our Conservative friends, and this pollster, see as good news for Harper, I would offer a serious caution. You commission a poll, wherein you ask a host of questions surrounding the coalition. Respondents are decidedly against the idea of a coalition, express their views, but within that poll you also ask a party preference question. I hate the coalition, I want another election, rather than that coalition, but if I had to choose, I think I'll vote Liberal or NDP. Huh?:
Those surveyed favoured the Conservatives over the Liberals by 45% to 26% when no leaders' names were mentioned. The 19-point gap was repeated when the question was rephrased to name Mr. Ignatieff. The New Democrats trailed at 12% and the Green party came in at 7%. The Bloc scored 39% in Quebec, and 10% nationally.

I'm not surprised to see the above, nor am I particularly concerned, unless of course the Liberals actually do end up supporting the coalition. The Liberals are currently woven within the idea, respondents aren't about to separate the two questions, if they reject the coalition, they will also reject the parties that support it- it's as simple as that, and it's disappointing to read the following horrible analysis of the pollster:
Mr. Bricker said he is surprised the Liberals didn't get a bump from Mr. Ignatieff's selection

How can anyone be surprised, especially with the tone of the questioning? Come on Mr. Bricker, you're the pro, pretty shoddy stuff to reach that conclusion when you can't separate the coalition from leadership, when you rile up the respondent. I read a recent poll, last week, that showed Canadian opinions of Mr. Harper have deteriorated considerably. It's pretty self-evident to conclude that Harper's games have cost him, tarnished his image. But, wait, look at the numbers, the Cons are riding high? Again, the crucial point here, recognizing that any "boost" is in reaction to an unpopular idea, it doesn't translate to genuine support. Remove the irritant, and we may get a better gauge of where we really are with the public. In other words, consider me entirely unmoved by a large gap between the Cons and Libs, it's expected, given the coalition question. And, as I've argued before, because of some shrewd positioning, Ignatieff has given himself room to walk away from the concept and position himself as sacrificing a lust for power for the greater good of the economy. I'm just not concerned, nor do I buy for one second that Harper is "stronger" now. The opposite is true, but the coalition provides cover for Harper's preformance, so offensive it trumps everything else.


Another poll, that is "pure" in the sense that the leadership question isn't confused within the question of a coalition. This result supports my theory that you can't get a clear read of Ignatieff when you pepper respondents on the coalition too, as well as the idea that Harper really isn't "stronger", the coalition masks his problems:
Ignatieff tops the list of party leaders Canadians would prefer as prime minister, with 28 per cent of respondents naming him the best head of government, according to the Toronto Star/Angus Reid survey.

Harper came in at 27 per cent – a virtual tie because it's within the margin of error, but the first time the Conservative leader has polled below 30 per cent in two years.


Anthony said...

Everything will change once we see the budget, so until then I think polls are a crapshoot.

Steve V said...


If we see a provocative budget, that doesn't incorporate opposition demands, than yes it can change. However, that IF aside, you don't dismiss what amounts to passionate rejection.

sjw said...

Everything will change once we see the budget..

Nothing is going to change until the LPC starts raising money. Not a little bit of money, a LOT of money. I feel idiotic even typing that because it's so ridiculously obvious. Has the party raised any significant amounts in the past 6-8weeks? Will Canadians even donate? We all know the Conservatives have truckloads for their messaging, but surely the LPC could begin by doing up some of those cheap flyers delivered by Canada Post for a song and delivered to targeted households. I would start with this story in today's Globe. I am absolutely outraged by this little revelation and I think most Canadians would be as well. It really bothers me to think that only cold-hard-cash and incessant negative messaging is the best way to curry favor with the voting public, but that seems to be the way of the world these days, doesn't it? Is fighting fire with fire so unsavoury for progressives that we are willing to continue watching as Canadians take these Con messages hook, line and sinker and form their opinions accordingly? Or is it because of a severe lack of funds that we are perhaps witnessing a Liberal Party destined to die an embarrassing death because it cannot operate as a well-run, money generating business?
No cash, no message, no votes. Seems to be.

Oxford County Liberals said...

The difference is of course, that a coalition - if granted by the GG - isn't going to immediately face the voters in an election; it would be given the reins of government and have the chance to prove to Canadians that it would work.

And, if good policies are enacted, public opinion would swing back. All we're seeing her from these polls is a result of the mass propaganda effort the Conservatives have done by calling this a "coup", with their enablers in the media helping along, which other then constitutional law experts being quoted in the papers we have not countered very well.

Oxford County Liberals said...

I might also add, and in agreement with Antonio said - that its rather premature to be burying a concept when the Budget that will decide its fate is 6 weeks away still.

Lots can happen in that time frame.. and I hope the Iggy advisers don't get so wrapped up in poll watching that they forget that rather basic fact.

Mark Richard Francis said...

When Canadians tell a pollster that they dislike the coalition, they are guessing.

If the coalition got in power, and did reasonably well, people would support it. That's how Canadians work. We are also used to have a government opposed by a majority of Canadians (due to first past the post) nevertheless get popular endorsement from the population.

The coalition cannot die based upon even reliable polls. It must die if found not to be expedient.

If Iggy ends up being popular, then the coalition poll results would rise.

Iggy needs to keep in mind that if he dumps the coalition, and ends up with a minority Liberal government, then he'll be looking across the aisle at the NDP, pissed that they didn't get their 6 cabinet seats.

If we get another Con minority, but the Lib + NDP = majority, then Iggy will be staring at the Prime Ministership he never had.

This is no longer a one party, or one man Parliament.

Susan said...

I'm with sjw and scott, all the public know about the coalition has been told to them by Harper. There really is a problem in the Liberal party's approach to raising funds. You have to create a relationship with the grassroots and then ask them for money, not make it seem that the only relationship with the grassroots occurs when money is asked for. In some cases there is enormous frustration in the party at the riding level where communication and organizing is minimal or non-existent. People are dropping the ball at the national and provincial levels. There's a potential reservoir of party 'workers' who are ignored or pushed aside by consulting firms or small and ineffective power cliques.

Steve V said...

I think people fail to calculate whether the GG incorporates public sentiment into her decision. You don't think Harper will make a strong case, and you don't think he hasn't already?

As for the budget, let's not forget that the economic statement was roundly rejected by everyone, it was provocative and offensive, inadequate and partisan, and YET people reject an alternative government. We already have a real case scenario, so to say the budget opinion will be much different, completely fails to realize what has already happened.

Greg Fingas said...

Steve: The polls are suspect. They really are.

Steve V said...


If it was just Ipsos, and the wording of one pollster, then I'd be suspicious, but it's not, everyone agrees.

Hey, I like the idea of a coalition, I think it was a good package for all parties. However, I'm not interested in marrying myself to a lead weight, which is exactly what a coalition is at the moment.

Susan said...

Thanks to the Jurist for those revelations!

Anonymous said...

There's a few reasons why Canadians oppose the coalition, but the one that Liberals should focus on is that the Liberal party is NOT the NDP. They have very different platforms and approaches to governing. The Liberal party should be more than anti-Harper. Joining with the NDP has the very real risk of ceding the political centre to the Conservatives. This is a bad long term strategy.

I hope that the Liberals do well with their new leader, but as Sjw said, the Liberal party needs to start raising money. Dependence on the dole is a dead end street. Consider what would happen if there was an election and the Liberals lost badly again. Diminished results mean diminished funding and that feeds on itself. Consider the possibility that getting power in a coalition after the worst election results in Liberal history might result in losing badly the next time.

Having your funding entirely dependent on the Conservatives NEVER getting a majority is a very bad idea for the Liberal party. The future of political funding in Canada is in large numbers of small donations from citizens. Small amounts of large donations be they by "rich people", corporations or unions just won't fly anymore. Political welfare is short term thinking.

Anonymous said...

I think Steven makes really good sense here. It is naive to think that the GG would NOT allow a call for an election. If you're counting on that, it could create a really bad situation.

I think if Harper produces more poison pills, then defeat the budget on that alone, not riding on the coalition per se.

I definitely agree the fund-raising is the real issue. There is a new leader. That is an excellent time to set a new marker and work towards it. Make it a party top priority - because it is. Launch it as part of a message of a return to a sane political environment for Canada.

The coalition can be discussed in that context, start pushing against the "power grab" message that Harper is pushing. Parties are supposed to find common ground. They are supposed to work together for the good of Canada. That should be focus. The moment it is framed as a coalition for grabbing power, then support will plummet. Turn that message around by pointing out that Harper drove the other parties to this point - broken committees, brinksmanship attitudes, the never-ending campaign, etc, etc, etc.

Build a message and promote it. Create another frame of reference for the public even as Ignatieff molds his personal image.

Anonymous said...

I think that the more we see short term polls showing support for the coalition being low and support for the Tories being high - the GREATER the chance that we will actually get a coalition government by the end of January.

One thing we have learned about Harper is that he always, always, always overplays his hand and gets greedy. Favourable poll numbers and stories about Iggy being lukewarm about the coalition will go to his head and he will think that he can get away with bringing in a very aggressive budget that makes almost no concession to the Liberals at all. Who knows maybe he'll even try to bring back the scrapping of party funding. For Harper to ACTUALLY compromise and give the Liberals a face-saving way out of bringing him down - he needs to be scared. I think that Harper has probably convinced himself that he is out of the woods and that he can now freely go back to his bardball brinkmanship tactics that he was doing before. But, if he plays too hard ball, the opposition retains the "nuclear option" of bringing him down and replacing him with a coalition government.

Some people say Ignatieff has to use the coalition threat as a way to "leverage" Harper. But i predict that Harper will not be leveraged. The guy is a psychopath who is incapable of ever yielding one square inch.

So what if Harper tries to humiliate Ignatieff by essentially giving him NOTHING in the budget?? Unless the opposition is actually willing to govern as a coalition - Harper has a de facto majority government. Does Iggy want to be the handmaiden to that?

Steve V said...


Any revelations on every other poll, that shows the exact same results, if not worse?


That's a good point. If Harper takes these polls as proof he is in a "stronger" position, then he may become belligerent. That would be a critical error, because within these numbers, the idea of compromise, not just on the part of the opposition, but the government. If Harper thinks he's can pull some fast one's, then all bets are off, it would be a grave miscalculation.


Steven? Sounds like my mom ;)

susansmith said...

Seeing how the media and pollsters frame questions, it's no surprise people are leary.
That said, the coalition needs to frame their economic stim package and how the coalition will bring govt stability as representing the majority of voters rather than one party.

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised that the public is against the idea of a coalition - for now. Its not as if it was ever even given a chance. Ideally we could have had a mature debate about how the coalition might actually government and we might have seen articles and studies about the successful coalition government in places like Ireland, Australia, Germany etc... and how in an era of probably perpetual minority government - maybe this is a good new way to do things. We could have also seen more discussion of how by participating in government and settling for virtually nothing in return - the BQ was poised to "go native" and become part of the federal system. In fact one of the most UNDER-reported stories of the past two weeks was the extent to which Duceppe and the BQ were raked over the coals in Quebec by the hardline sovereignists for essentially putting up a white flag of surrender and making a pact with federalist parties. In Quebec this was depicted as the beginning of the end of the whole sovereignist enterprise and the first step towards the BQ become a federalist party that was after a few little concessions to Quebec - kinda like the Catalan autonomists who regularly take part in coalition governments in Spain.

Instead all we got was a mindless tsunami of lies and invective from the rightwing press and pundits about who a coalition was "unthinkable" and could never work and was all about "getting in bed with separatists"! etc...

Anonymous said...

Maybe I am? . . . or maybe I just know you so well now ;).

sorry, Steve!

Gayle said...

I agree with those who say fundraising is the issue the LPC should be concentrating on right now.

I am astounded that I have not received one single request for money since just after the election.

I know there may not enough staff to coordinate a fundraising data base, but surely there are enough volunteers who are computer savvy the LPC can call upon for assistance?

Anonymous said...

If Ignatieff abandons the coalition he can expect a barrage of smears - to which he will be largely powerless to deflect - for the next couple of years. It will be Dion Redux.

If, however, as has been mentioned, he can lead a coalition and impress Canadians with the new, better direction he can take our country and benefit at the polls the next time around.

Any thoughts as to whether Canadians will punish a coalition for this kind of move, I think, can be largely dismissed - after all Canadians didn't even care that Harper broke his own law to call the last election.

Anonymous said...

Scott Tribe and Mark Francis made some good points. It is still too early to tell what will happen six weeks from now with daily economic bombshells being dropped on us. Public opinion can turn on a dime.

In Ontario, my bet will be that our cowardly PM will be judged appropriately for suspending Parliament just to keep his own job, while at the same time tens of thousands of blue collar workers in Ontario are poised to loose their jobs in the new year.

Steve V said...

"It will be Dion Redux"



Just joking :)

I think people are projecting their want on to the populus as a whole. Can it change? Yes. Is it wise to consider the public mood as we proceed? Absolutely.

Anonymous said...

"It will be Dion Redux."

That is by no means inevitable. Ignatieff doesn't need the coalition. He can simply be ready for an election.

If the Liberals vote down the Conservatives in a confidence motion over an issue that they can take to the voters it could work out very well for them.

Anonymous said...

If the Liberals take your advice to heart and act based on the current polls then the only recourse is for Ignatieff to get his tongue deep up Harper's ass - and say Yes Sir! Mr. Harper Sir! Your wish is my command! I will vote for your budget come hell or high water....and knowing Harper he will try to humiliate Ignatieff by bringing in a budget loaded with "poison pills" and he will count on the Liberals being too timid to actually bring him down.

If the Liberals cave in - the only winners in the long run will be the NDP and the BQ who can spend the next two years blaming the Liberals and the Conservatives for the economic meltdown and depict our government as a de facto "grand coalition" of Liberals and Conservatives.

Dame said...

The idea and the possibilty of Coalition gave a powerful position for Iggy to talk the way he is talking now. ?And he is talking VERY WELL !!!

Canadians are having a month off the usual December "give me a break" time.No time for thinking seriously . Watch how the polls will Change as the reality checks in January.

When we have 4 political parties with strong following how can you dismiss the Joining Forces Idea?

Steve V said...


Oh bore me too tears. The Liberals don't have to "cave", as a matter of fact, it's pretty easy to declare victory. Harper has already backed off on two items, and the main coalition point of a stimulus package, looks to be a certainty in the budget. If the Liberals get a budget, that accurately reflects the deficit, with a healthy stimulus package, it's pretty much what we've demanded. How that equates to caving escapes me, and I doubt Canadians will see it that way either.

If we see poison pills, then it's a new ballgame, which is why you don't completely abandon a coalition until you see the details.

Steve V said...


Yes, the coalition is a stick, but it isn't a tattoo. That's my point.

Anonymous said...

Then I look forward to the Liberals hailing the Tory budget as being "good for the Canadian economy" and try to take credit - and then when we tumble into depression, i hope the Liberals just go right on taking credit for what a wonderful economic policy the coerced Harper into bringing in.

Vast numbers of Canadians face unemployment now. I think one non-negotiable thing the opposition should demand of Harper is to get rid of the two week waiting period for EI and also to raise EI payments so that we don't suddenly get a million penniless ex-middle class people rioting in the streets when they lose everything and are shocked at just how stingy our "social safety net" actually is.

Of course there is no way Harper would ever enrich a social program of any kind - so he would face defeat in January. But I'd like to see Ignatieff demand something like that for the good of Canada.

Steve V said...


I agree on EI.

Steve V said...

What the Liberals should do, is publish a list of demands for support, that way everybody knows the where we stand. If Harper fails to oblige, then we have some argument, because Canadians might say "well, what was wrong with that?".

Anonymous said...

My big fear with a psychopath like Harper is that he would agree to almost anything just to get the budget passed and to get past the time when the oppositioin can remove him from power without an election, THEN as soon as that window passes he brings in a Robespierrian "reign of terror" of extremist policies and the opposition will then be powerless to stop him - the Liberals will still be too broke and Iggy new new to risk an election.

Anonymous said...

Flaherty and Harper will lead Canadians off a cliff. Business leaders and premiers are already wringing their hands over the delays in stimulating the economy.
Sounds like R.B. Bennett time again.

Anonymous said...

"get past the time when the opposition can remove him from power without an election".

Liberals REALLY need to get past this idea of taking power without an election. There is no guarantee at all that the Governor General won't call an election. The public is very much opposed to a coalition and the Liberals explicitely rejected the idea of a coalition during the last campaign.

It is a very real possibility if the government falls on a confidence motion that there will be an election, so the Liberals need to be ready for it.

Running from an electorate is not how Ignatieff should begin his leadership. He shouldn't rush to an election, but he should be ready to go there if he can make a good case that he was forced into it by Conservative intransigence.

Anonymous said...

Another thing of note is that it goes without saying the biggest challenge the LPC face lies in the propaganda campaign waged by Conservative media cabals like CanWest, National Post et al, directed by people like Paul Godfrey and the Aspers.

Anonymous said...


No. The biggest challenge the Liberals face is getting their funding and platform in order.

Propaganda and fighting propaganda comes after those.

Anonymous said...


Interesting post, as usual. So what does the suggestion that "Canadians, overall, HATE the idea of a coalition" do to the argument that 62% of Canadians voted against Stephen Harper, and the coalition is therefore necessarily an expression of their wishes?

Of course, there's a difference between a few polls and an actual election, but taking these numbers at face value, would you suggest that the coalition may not be the democratic lodestar that its supporters would suggest?

Anthony said...

I dunno kheim

I have a bet with one of my teacehrs that Canwest will be bankrupt before I graduate in April.

Im surprised they lasted this long.

I also think the sticking point in an election is the deficit. If flaherty comes back and says small surplus again, its a guaranteed election.

Nobody in Canada thinks there is a surplus except deficit Jim.

The BQ can only pick up 3 or 4 more seats from the Tories and would lose at least that many to a rejuvenated Liberal Party.

If the economy is the issue, I really find it hard for jack "I sold out for 6 cabinet posts" to really make any ground.

Only the Liberals benefit from an election. Harper should be careful what he wishes for.

They better come out with accurate numbers in january.

Steve V said...


I think it's entirely democratic, but the public doesn't see it that way. Perception is reality.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Steve, I hate to burst your bubble, but the Star has now published the Ipsos poll too.

Do you honestly believe that Ignatieff won't wear some of this if he doesn't reject the prospect of a coalition soon?

Steve V said...


Oh, so the TS has a story on the poll, so that bursts my bubble? Huh?

Speaking of bubbles, you should check out the leadership/horserace only poll by Angus (the election's most accurate pollster). Harper's negatives are WAY UP, Ignatieff tied on best PM, the Liberals up 9% since the last poll. The conclusion, Ignatieff really helps the Liberal fortunes and Harper is at his lowest total in TWO YEARS. Looks like Harper is "wearing it", which is why I've warned, don't be confused by concern with the coalition and real disgust at Harper.

Steve V said...

"For the first time in two years, Conservative leader and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has fallen below the 30 per cent mark when respondents are asked which of the five federal party leaders would make the best head of government.

Liberal leader Ignatieff is at the top of the list with 28 per cent, followed by Harper with 27 per cent, and NDP leader Jack Layton with 10 per cent. Green Party leader Elizabeth May and Bloc Québécois leader Giles Duceppe are in single-digits.

The results of this particular question reveal a major breakthrough for the Grits. Former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion was unable to reach the 20 per cent mark as the preferred prime minister in two years, and trailed Layton in several surveys conducted during the last federal electoral campaign."

A majority of respondents (51%), score of -39 say their opinion of Harper worsened over the course of the past month, and 39 per cent feel the same way about Layton. May posted a negative momentum score of -10, while Ignatieff stands at -1."


Joanne (True Blue) said...

Steve, believe it or not, I agree with you, and I am well aware of the Angus Reid poll having commented on it this morning on my own blog.

Harper and Ignatieff are on equal footing when you factor out the coalition, which is why I think he should back off.

Also, here is an interesting bit from Jane Taber under Not Hot:

Not: The coalition. Publicly, Mr. Ignatieff has endorsed the coalition concept that would see the Liberals governing with the NDP, supported by the Bloc. Privately, however, he and his people are trying to back away from it. Liberal insiders are quick to note that the deal was cooked up between former leader Mr. Dion, the NDP's Jack Layton and Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe. Mr. Ignatieff was not involved in any the negotiations or kept in the loop. It was telling that he was the very last Liberal MP to sign the letter to the Governor-General endorsing the coalition. Some of his senior people advised him not to sign, but in the end he acquiesced.

Steve V said...


Then why are you bursting my bubble, in a post where I offer extreme caution on the coalition? You presented your comment, like I'm oblivious to the need for distance, when that's exactly what I've argued. Consider me confused.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

The bubble-bursting was in reference to the story appearing in the Red Star.

But you are right that caution should be exercised regarding the coalition. I just think it may be a tactical error to be onside too long.

But hey. Why should I give advice to the other side? ;)

Steve V said...

The reason I'm not particularly worried, Ignatieff is also making an effort with Harper. Ignatieff has already met with Harper, he will do so again in the future, so he can maintain an air of working towards a understanding. This fact should buffer him from "owning" the coalition idea, then it will all come to a head in January, and tough decisions will be made. Some disagree, but I think Ignatieff has positioned himself well, he should be able to walk the fine line for a few weeks, without taking too big a hit.

bigcitylib said...

I would remind everyone too that the whole coalition idea also sucks support like crazy from the NDP. If you still see Layton pumping the idea,then its only because the NDP never really has to take responsibility for any of its positions and they are relying as per usual on the Libs dumping the idea first and thus giving them an exit.

Greg said...

If you still see Layton pumping the idea,then its only because the NDP never really has to take responsibility for any of its positions and they are relying as per usual on the Libs dumping the idea first and thus giving them an exit.

Or else he really believes in it. That is the less cynical view, anyway.

Anonymous said...


Layton should be concerned about going to the polls if the GG grants a dissolution of the House. Picking up NDP support is what Iggy is doing now to him, as most Canadians see him as the true alternative to Harper.

If Layton bashes Iggy, he loses the coalition concessions the Grits gave him. They are still on the table, whether it be before the budget or throughout this parliamentary session.

bigcitylib said...


"Or else he really believes in it. That is the less cynical view, anyway."

Layton only projects sincerity. He isn't really that stupid.

Anonymous said...

This is priceless:

liberazzi said...

I have a poll, who thinks its a good idea that the Leafs are not on Saturday night?! I'm pissed! I have the choice to watch Montreal or Ottawa. Montreal or freaking Ottawa!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Ignatieff has already met with Harper, he will do so again in the future, so he can maintain an air of working towards a understanding. This fact should buffer him from "owning" the coalition idea, then it will all come to a head in January, and tough decisions will be made.

Yeah, good point Steve. As long as he seems to be open and conciliatory, he'll probably be fine.

Gayle said...

Steve - I think Iggy is in more trouble if Harper can make him share the recession than he would be for owning the coalition.

The only thing I have against the coalition is that I want Harper to wear the recession. I am quite certain voters will be more likely to punish the government in power for the recession than for a coalition.

Gayle said...

lib - just watch the Oilers. They are more exciting anyway. ;)

Anonymous said...

Let's get back to Steve's point about how Liberals should handle the budget speech:

"What the Liberals should do, is publish a list of demands for support, that way everybody knows the where we stand. If Harper fails to oblige, then we have some argument, because Canadians might say "well, what was wrong with that?".

If you're not afraid of an election, then that's the way to go: Don’t wait for a budget and then react to it; make a set of demands, and make them good, and get a lot of support for them by starting a campaign right away. Set the agenda. If you do a good job, then by the time the budget is presented, everyone will be expecting the Conservatives to answer some specific questions about their environmental, financial, social and economic plans.

Gayle said...

There is no chance Harper will give the liberals what they want in a budget. If they did, they would include a poison pill, like cutting off party funding (kind of hard for the liberals to oppose a budget when it includes everything they asked for on top of the poison pill).

Iggy should say nothing. It gives him more flexability.

wilson said...

''Liberal leader Ignatieff is at the top of the list with 28 per cent, followed by Harper with 27 per cent''

And 31% did not vote for ANY leader; none of the above 16%, or not sure 15%.

Canadians are expecting the opps to influence the government's budget decisions.
IMO, Iggy refusing to provide PMSH with proposals it just another Liberals abstension.
Liberals still sitting on their hands.
Refusing to be part of the solution because of fear of taking part of the blame. Not ready to govern.
And the Cons will play it that way.

Gayle said...

Of course they will Wilson.

But they are the ones who ran on the notion they were the best people to handle the economy. Voters agreed. There is no reason for the LPC to tell them what to do.

If Harper says he cannot run the economy without Iggy's advice, then Harper better step aside and allow the LPC to run the government.

So, no, I do not think Harper complaining because Iggy did not give him advice is going to play very well.

Steve V said...


Pretty pathetic for the PM to not garner 30% support, and I take the no vote for any leader as a further indication of voter DISGUST with Harper. Sad, sad numbers, no matter your feeble attempt to spin it.

Anonymous said...

Couple of things. MPs are in their ridings this month and will be hearing from constituents loud and clear - they will ignore those voices at their peril. Those voices will be saying NO to the coalition and NO to defeating the budget - to do so would delay any response to the economic crisis by another few months while the GG decides what to do and after an election or coaliton government can get its act together enough to present a budget. History will show Dion's ambition to be PM and Liberal greed for power destroyed an excellent opportunity to do something good. The coalition made its move and failed - Canadians overwhelmingly rejected any concept of this coaliton governing the country, so even the threat of bringing down the government over this budget is just blowing smoke -the backlash would destroy the Liberal party beyond recovery. Thus, because of that ambition and greed, I believe the oppostion is weaker than before - all Harper has to do is present a budget most Canadians see as reasonable and he is home free - do the Liberals really want to go to an election where the only two choices (in people's minds) on the ballot are COALITION or CONSERVATIVES?

Steve V said...


It had nothing to do with greed, it was a reaction to a scoundrel, and don't think Canadians think highly of Harper. They don't.