09.29.2010 08:21 AM

Coalition redux

So, the Harper Reformatories continue to raise the spectre of a Liberal-socialist-separatist coalition. Writers are writing about it. This is happening a lot, lately.

It’s odd, however.  Here are some reasons why it is odd:

1.  The Conservative Party is the successful result of a coalition.

2. Their party’s leader formally endorsed a coalition with the aforementioned “separatists” (which the Grits don’t, by the way).

3.  Canadians don’t think it is a big deal, or even objectionable.  They like it.

4.  Even long-time Reformatory cheerleaders think Harper et al. are being silly.

5.  The people who advocate for the coalition idea are among the most-revered in Canada.

So why does the (oxymoron alert) PMO brain trust continue to scream bloody murder about a “coalition” that doesn’t exist?  Beats me.  But, as my grandmother used to say: “Never discount the possibility that a political strategy that looks clever is in fact totally stupid, dear.”

As in all things, I’m with my grandmother on this one.


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    Norman Spector says:


    Here’s my take this morning


    I’m informed by CP that Mr. Ignatieff has not disavowed this report in any way

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      Namesake says:

      Wow, Norman Expectorates in person. What an honor. I’m not really sure how phoning in a column by cutting and pasting someone else’s interview really qualfies as “your take,” though, except for the fact that you took it from someone else. But you’re right, M.I. was brow-beaten… largely by this blog… into conceding that he couldn’t rule out a coalition, if the Libs failed to win enough seats in the next election.

      But that’s largely beside the point, isn’t it, since I believe WK’s point was that there has never been a formal power-sharing agreement with the BQ onthe Libs’ part, even in ’08 — unlike the plan Harper was trying to hatch to unseat the gov’t back in 2000.

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      Anonymously Posted says:

      There is a column in La Presse this morning where Iggy clearly disavows the concept of a coalition with the NDP. Perhaps reporters and columnists should ask Harper, if he ever agrees to an interview with an actual non-sycophantic reporter, if he, Harper, disavows the concept of a coalition with the NDP were he to fall short after the next election.

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    Paul R. Martin says:

    If I was to employ Vizzini’s thought processes, I would reply “If you think that it really is silly, why write about it? If you actually think that Conservative focus groups have shown the merit of this approach, then the best thing a Liberal could do is to denigrate it.”

    What do you think about the latest Angus Reid Poll? It has Conservatives at 34%, Liberals at 26% and NDP at 18%. The Liberal and NDP numbers are rather different than the numbers in other polls.

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      Namesake says:

      Yeah, I gotta wonder about those Angus Reid online polls… aren’t they just populated by their same self-selected — and paid — panel, whom they keep asking over & over again whether they’ve been moved by the latest news? How representative of anything is that?

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        Paul R. Martin says:

        Hello namesake. How do you explain the recent poll in Ontario that indicated that the provincial Liberals were in trouble? I will not ask you about BC or NB.

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          Namesake says:

          “I will not ask you about BC or NB.” Well, good, at least you’ve learned from our exchange on this the other day not to make any more self-refuting statements… maybe you’re not a completely hopeless case Conservative, after all.

          As for so many provincial gov’t’s tanking in the polls just now, could be it’s just a case of recessions being pretty hard on incumbents… in which case, it’s not exactly good news for Mr. Warmth and Perceptive.

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            Paul R. Martin says:

            I have learned is that you are good at producing useless research. You may have difficulty with logic and humour, although I find your phrase “Mr. Warmth and Perceptive” to be suitably ironic.

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    Curtis in Calgary says:

    Isn’t the CPC a coalition of the right sans progressives? Fiscal conservatives who can no longer read or believe their balance sheets, so-called prairie populists, religious fundamentalists and end-timers, climate change deniers, teetering western separatists, flat earth society members, alien- watchdog wannabe Stockwell Day, angry old man Toews and his ilk …

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      JStanton says:

      …yes, you are of course correct. But hypocrisy is the least of their transgressions. Fundamentalists live in a simple, binary world of believers and non-believers, and possess a zealotry that is sociopathic in its intention and practice.

      With his fabrications about coalition, Mr. Harper is simply appealing to the petty bigotries and sense of powerlessness held by his existing constituency, to ensure that they don’t stray too far in response to the general incompetence of his government, and the appalling destruction that his government continues to wreak on our country and our people.

      He is well aware that his propaganda will sway no liberals, who are more concerned with making an accommodation between thinking people in order to fulfill the public good, and as such abhor the antithesis, as practiced by Mr. Harper.

      I am always struck by this difference between liberals and those that hold Mr. Harper’s fundamentalist world view: no matter how venal and destructive are their intentions, there is always room for them under the liberal umbrella – even if that simply means community funded mental health therapy.

      In their bleak and exclusionary world however, they are compelled to destroy in the most obscene way all that liberals hold dear – those beliefs and institutions that have created this just society, and on which they themselves have suckled all of their lives.

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        Namesake says:

        Yes, and let’s add to all that:

        how utterly provincial so many of them are in their thinking… and their travels.

        It’s easy to harp on about and fear-monger how Coalition = Unstable gov’t because we’re so utterly unfamiliar with them here.

        But just a quick look at Wiki shows dozens — 62, in all — of countries that have or have recently had them….

        including some that can’t be dismissed as too small or foreign to us to matter, like,

        “Australia, [where] the conservative Liberal and National parties are united in an effectively permanent coalition, known simply as the Coalition [which] has become so stable, at least at the federal level, that in practice the lower house of Parliament has become a two-party house, with the Coalition and the Labor Party being the major parties.”

        or Germany, where

        “coalition government is the norm, as it is rare for either the Christian-Democratic Union of Germany and Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CDU/CSU) or the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) to win an unqualified majority in a national election. Thus, at the federal level, governments are formed with at least one of the smaller parties. For example, Helmut Kohl’s CDU governed for years in coalition with the Free Democratic Party (FDP), [and] from 1998 to 2005 Gerhard Schroder’s SPD was in power with the Greens.”

        So even if other-than-emergency or wartime coalitions are as foreign to us as, say, BIDETS are, we should start educating ourselves that they are indeed very permanent, healthy, and prominent fixtures in most civilized parts of the world.

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    Grant says:

    1. A merger of two parties to make a new one is not a coalition.

    2. Asking the GG to consider options and working together to defeat what was viewed as a tired and corrupt government is not the same as forming a coalition. And the Grits signed on the doted line already. There is no saying they won’t do so again when it proves convenient.

    3. As long as it is led by Jack Layton or Bob Rae, and not with seperatist help, that is. And mass demonstrations and a surge in Tory supoort at the time say otherwise.

    4. Again, as long as it is not with seperatist help.

    5. Yesterday’s men.

    And never discount the possibility that a political strategy that worked well before is not working or will work again, dear.

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      Namesake says:

      Right, and since we’re so big on parsing important distinctions, the, ahem, “Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance”, the CRAPPY precursor to the merger, wasn’t a “coalition,” wither, because it: used a synonym. So there.

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    Will M. says:

    The LPC are not going to win in the next election. The economic tsunami is still on its way. I could live with a Harper majority being at the helm when it hits.

    Go back to the November, 2008 Economic update to see how they’d respond.

    We’ve been in Afghanistan for a long time. I reckon the battle with Harper can last as long.

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      Namesake says:

      Yeah, because Lord knows, the economy needs another 8,500 $5,000 Giant Cheque Signs and mini-Fake Lake-style photo-op christening ceremonies,


      and more $20 to 50,000 desktop computers bought on the fly,


      and more $16-B sole-sourced contracts for inappropriate products that these great stewards of our economy and practitioners of responsible procurement have brought us so far.

      I’m sure our grandchildren will thank us if we stand down and let them carry on running up tens of billions in deficits for their toy planes and Don’t Lego prisons, just so we can have an easier victory in 2015. Thanks for your patriotism, unWilling.

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        Will M. says:

        Hey, I’m blue in the face decrying the Harperites. I can only vote. And I will.

        I can’t change the collective mindset. It’s up to the LPC leadership to change and drive the narrative.

        And really, playing the patriotism card? Maybe you should apply to the PMO my friend.

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          Namesake says:

          well, sorry for the cheap shot, but it reprised the same discussion of this in the Spring, when a few were saying it’s a foregone conclusion that the Conservatives can’t be defeated in the next election, and indeed, shouldn’t be, because then the Libs can come back stronger once they’ve been given enough rope to make a right mess of things. I’m not willing to let the country suffer another 8 or more years it would take to start reversing that.

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            Will M. says:

            Fair comment.

            Again though, it’s up to the LPC leadership to go on offense. Harper screams coalition, LPC should scream Economy. He does it again, scream Education. He does it again, scream Health Care. Harper can be beaten. I just don’t see the fire in the belly coming from the LPC right now. Mind you, that could all change in a campaign.

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            Namesake says:

            okay, so we’re on the same page, here — literally — but it’s not true that you can’t do anything to change the collective mindset or that it’s just up to the Lib leadership.

            We _can_ do our bit by pushing back in the letters & comments sections of our local papers, if nothing else, to counter the misinformation & propaganda of the Observants who live under bridges (but don’t build them).

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    David says:

    ” ..Most revered in Canada..”

    Really? Parizeau and Duceppe !?

    The coalition attempt two years ago didn’t just fail. It was a disaster.

    It ended with the guy who was supposed to be leading the new gov’t being turfed by his own caucus; Within days!

    It was a farce. I’d suggest any future coalition would have to be drafted much more carefully than that last hatchet job. It cannot include the BQ.

    Ignatieff won’t rule out a coalition but he is not happy to endorse one either.

    The latest numbers are a failure for the Libs west of Ontario. Any whiff of a coalition will not allow growth in that region. Even Iggy knows that.

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      wilson says:

      The Lib-NDP Coalition Agreement does not end until June 30, 2011

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    Paul R. Martin says:

    The latest CROP poll for the Province of Quebec is bad news for the Bloc and good news for the Conservatives. It is BQ 32%, C 23%, L 23% and NDP 18% . Election anyone?

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