Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Smoked Out

With all this "unnecessary election" rhetoric being spewed by Conservatives, it is fair to ask just what efforts they've made to form a majority consensus, so their budget can pass. Thankfully, I'm not the only one who wondered and it turns out the Conservatives are "refusing" to work with any other party to avoid "the last thing we need" election, that will "distract" from the important work on our "fragile" economy. More succinctly, these people are full of shit:
Harper refuses to discuss budget with Layton

When Layton and Harper last spoke on the phone on Dec. 17, Layton said, Harper expressed a desire to meet with him to discuss NDP priorities for the budget. Harper has not called to set up a meeting, and does not plan to do so, said MacDougall, since Layton has made his positions clear.

The Conservatives say the NDP have made their demands public, which is vaguely true on one level, utter nonsense on another. If the Conservatives are truly interested in avoiding an election, one would think high level negotiations with potential suitors would be JOB ONE.

Let's follow the Conservative logic. They don't want an election, but they will present a budget, which may or may not incorporate a few broad soundbite ideas from Layton. The Conservatives will let an election hang in the balance, based on a transcript of a Layton speech, this is how they will avoid the election nobody needs or wants. There will be no formal sit downs, no hashing out, no negotiations, no working out some broad deal, no sense of a government that understands the nature of minority rule? No, what we will see is a unilateral document, that throws a few scraps based on the Conservatives interpretations of what will be palatable to the NDP. Or, the Conservatives are merely going to do what they want and see if the NDP blinks anyways.

No matter the scenario, "refusing" to even meet with the NDP is a clear, irrefutable REBUKE to all this rhetoric from the government's side we are forced to endure, which largely goes unchallenged. Let's say a company wants to avoid a strike. Would Canadians say that said company did what they could to avoid said strike if they refused to even meet with the workers? A loose example, but the point is crystal clear. The Conservatives are playing hardball, they are acting as though they have a majority once again, they are failing to appreciate the nature of minority rule.

If we do head to the polls, this budget "dance" or lack thereof demonstrates why the government is the TRUE obstacle to good government, not deserving of another mandate. The fact that Harper can't be bothered to contact the man who is offering you a lifeline speaks to the style and neuters the Conservative rhetoric. What Harper is doing is playing right into the backup NDP theme- we tried to make Parliament work, but the phone never rang.

The Conservative rhetoric doesn't translate to reality. If we have an election, if we must speak of "blame", then the idea of a minority government that never bothered to discuss with ANY opposition party, well.... There is simply no excuse, no rationalization that can distract from the firm facts at hand. Where's the effort, where's the outreach, where's the "burning the midnight oil" routine, to show Canadians that we've done everything to avoid this "needless election"? Exactly.


thwap said...

Posts like this show me why i like Liberal bloggers while loathing the Liberal Party.

I'm glad some people are recognizing that playing chicken is the opposite of governing by compromise.

Tof KW said...

I'm not sure why anyone is surprised by this. Harper's been on the political scene for almost 10 years now (either as opposition leader or PM) and he's never shown any willingness to compromise in the past, with one exception.

Only during the 2008 constitutional/coalition crisis did his government hold meetings with the opposition to consult on a budget, and that was due to the very real possibility that his days as PM would be over if he failed to obtain a majority consensus.

As thwap said, Harper's shtick is to play chicken; rather than consider anyone an equal and actually compromise.

Unknown said...

I'm sure the Cons don't care. They're counting on Canadians to swallow whatever drivel they spew out, which we probably will.

ricky said...

I hope more people can point this out. If Harper really wants an "A" for playing well with others, he needs to "start" playing with others.

I know the Conservatives feel they don't need to play, they should be held accountable for it.

The bigger question is if any of the folks on CBC or CTV will even think it an important enough issue to raise. Likely they will say of course the Cons would do this, its just a game, and they they will move onto to celebrating 5 years.

Kirk said...

Let's see if Layton pushes his advantage here and makes an issue of his wanting to meet Harper "to make Parliament work" and Harper refusing to meet with him.

I agree with the others that the media and general will barely mention this and stick to repeating Conservative Party talking points as news. So only by Layton pushing for this to be an issue does it have a chance to become one.

Steve V said...

This refusal plays right into the NDP talking point. If I'm Layton I'm on the phone asking for a meeting with the Prime Minister. What's the downside? You look like you're trying to avoid an election. If the gov't refuses a meeting, another contradiction. If you meet with Harper, you get a day or two of press, looking like you're trying to make it work, regardless of outcome. I'm all over this angle if I'm the NDP.