Monday, January 11, 2010

Staying Ahead Of The Story

Yesterday, I proposed that the Liberals need to offer some substantive alternatives, that actually deals with the political climate, which allows a Prime Minister to act unilaterally. That post was met with a collective yawn, but I find some of the commentary today quite interesting, downright validating.

In the span of an hour, I heard no less than four references to my proposal, from interesting sources. First off, both Tom Flanagan and Rick Anderson acknowledged that the Liberals have done a good job to date, on this prorogue issue. Those kudos aside, the foreshadowing frame is starting to gel. Anderson said that this prorogue question will only be a "game changer", if the Liberals propose changes to the system. Mike Robinson agreed. The opportunity will be lost, in the final analysis, this issue will lose steam, if they fail to be a champion of reform. Wise words indeed.

Later, during the same CTV program, a panel of talk show hosts were debating the prorogue question. CKNW's Bill Good posited that the issue is resonating, but unless opponents offer something substantive as an alternative, it will fail to capture. Wise words indeed.

I then watched Ignatieff's townhall. Questions from the audience about our system of government, the issue of reform, what would Ignatieff do differently. Ignatieff later acknowledged that the students gave him much to think about. Wise words indeed.

In the media scrum that followed, Susan Delacourt asked Ignatieff if he would curtail the Prime Minister's whimsical authority. The obvious inference, what are the Liberals prepared to do, apart from complaining? We would be wise to ponder the question.

Everyone acknowledges, some grudgingly, that the Liberals are making a strong case, there's a new wind in the sails. However, rather than being content with the present reality, we would be wise to see where this story is ultimately headed, and today's recurring theme speaks to that looming fact. If the Liberals truly want to capitalize on Canadians disgust, then we have to offer a package of democratic reforms. We can debate degree, but our arguments will have staying power if they're armed with ideas, rather than simply criticism. In addition, for a party desperate for a reconnect with Canadians, what better way to seperate from your historical shackles than to be a vehicle for change, rather than the rigid institution, more part of the problem than solution.

My ears were ringing today. I hope people who actually matter noticed too, because that's when we can really entertain a solid "game changer".


Tof KW said...

Holy Crap! Just watched that CBC P&P clip where Tom Flanagan said everyone knows Harper prorogued to avoid the Afghan questioning, that no one believes the PMO's talking points anymore, and that he hopes no one thinks he's a Harper stooge. I was expecting everything to go black & white and for Rod Serling to pop out from the side.

Steve, you are bang on here. If the Liberals quickly offer a few substantive alternatives, that could very well finish off Harper.

Mark Richard Francis said...

Well, grab a wiki somewhere and start writing policy. Don't wait for the paid staff to get around to it.


Mark Richard Francis said...


Good time to remind everyone that Harper completely broke that promise.

Or, maybe reminding them of the sponsorship scandal is a bad idea, but the recommendations should be used.

This article in The Walrus should also give some hints of what needs improving:

Tof KW said...

Mark, that's not such a bad idea. There were at least two key recommendations from Mr Gomery I can remember that Harper never bothered with in his accountability act. Also shows the grits are past Adscam and want to ensure it never happens again.

Might I throw in copying the Ont Libs strong new guidelines for government advertising that were put in place after the shameless self-promotion circus of the Harris/Eves regime. You know like how the same guys are now putting EAP signs up whenever a lightbulb gets replaced in a federal building.

Chrystal Ocean said...

Include fixing the electoral system to one that results in fairly representing voters' preferences and I'll start looking more seriously at the LPC. That's a promise.

Woman at Mile 0 said...

Of course the answer is to implement Gomery. It's been there all along! Just the Cons hated it.

D said...

Great post Steve! You're blog is always one step ahead of the curve and that's why I keep coming back.

Gayle said...

I totally agree with you.

OT question: does the fiscal year for political donations start on Jan 1? Just wondering if I can make my donation for 2010 now. You would think the LPC would be on that by sending me an email seeking my money, but no...

Jerry Prager said...

165,000 + Canadians are hammering out all kinds of ideas on the Fecebook Group every minute of the day. They're not waiting for the politicians, they're going to come up with a list of their demands.
The blogosphere is like tepid tea compared to the work going on over there. It's like thinking in a river of human thought, and come Jan 23rd that river will be on the streets, and after that it will grow into something this country has never seen before, all through the Olympics, and the return to politics. Substantive change will be on the books, and the Libs will either support it, or get lost in the flood.

doconnor said...

In response to the coalition crisis I put together an idea for a constitutional change.

Another obvious constitutional change is to end prorogation. It hearkens back to the time of The Tutors when the King called parliament to pass what he wanted and then dismissed them when he was done.

deBeauxOs said...

The Tudors.

Yes, there's a lot of heat being directed against Stevie Spiteful's tactic.

I disagree however with the comment that the action is only happening over in FB's creative chaos pool.

There's a number of strong Progressive Bloggers who are advancing good propositions and facilitating discussions at their blogsites.

The point is that this protest movement is quite different from last year's knee-jerk ReformaTory hate-on against the coalition.

People are reading, talking and learning much about the process of democratic participation in Canada as the result of the anti-prorogation movement.