01.14.2011 09:41 AM

Groundhog Day, blah blah blah

Holy smokes!  This morning, there sure are a lot of pundits saying there’ll be an election in 2011! The Globe, in particular, has gone slightly bonkers.

If  a lot of this seems familiar to you, well, that’s because it is:

  • Globe editorial, January 11, 2010: “With Canada on the brink of a federal election in 2010…” blah blah blah.
  • Globe editorial, July 21, 2009: “Canada might have a general election in 2010…” blah blah blah.
  • Globe news story, January 1, 2010: “The best prediction now is for a trip to the polls in the autumn, before the Conservatives are forced to bring down the 2011 austerity budget…” blah blah blah.
  • Globe news story, January 2, 2010: “Sooner or later in 2010, an election is likely….” blah blah blah.
  • Globe news story, January 4, 2010: “There might even be an election…” blah blah blah.
  • Globe column, March 5, 2010: “It’s a government that wants to get re-elected with a majority – and that means having an election if possible before the 2011 budget…” blah blah blah.

That’s just one newspaper.  It took five minutes to find.  The rest of them are just as bad.

Everyone take a frigging Valium.  Jesus.


  1. Lance says:

    Except that this time, there is going to be a poison pill in the budget in the form of the cancellation of the vote subsidy in the next budget, something the Opposition was willing to topple the government over the last time it was tried. Unless the Liberals support that this time (which they still can’t afford to do) and the other parties now change their mind and go along with it, how can an election possibly be avoided at this point?

    • Ted says:

      When did he say that? I didn’t see it.

      • Namesake says:

        It was implied b/w the lines of what he DID say about this in the National / Post-media News (PN) interview the other day, that,

        “It’s not going to be repealed unless there’s a Conservative majority government because the other parties for all kinds of reasons will not accept something that is more reasonable.

        PN: Is it something you’d campaign on? Is it something you’d propose?

        Harper: It will be a clear plank on our platform but as I said voters shouldn’t hold out any hope that we’re going to get any support to do this from the other parties.”

        Read more: http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/01/12/interview-stephen-harper/#ixzz1B2PcD5qo

      • hugger says:

        According to CBC;

        “Prime Minister Stephen Harper has indicated he will make the elimination of taxpayer subsidies to political parties a campaign pledge in the next federal election.”


        Harper is also quoted as having said “There are already generous credits and incentives in the tax system to encourage people to give to political parties today.”

        Wondering about those people whose taxable incomes are such that the credits are of no value. Maybe they are un-Canadian. Un-American? Mostly those whose value to society is dubious? Old people who are poor, cripples and other misc. blatherskites.

        Give them your tired, your poor, your huddled masses and they will talk out of both sides of their mouths.

    • Bill King says:

      I’ll run against the vote subsidy any day.

      Bring it on!


      • The Doctor says:

        It reminds me of the politics behind either cutting or eliminating the GST: great politics, bad policy (except the fact that w.r.t. the vote subsidy, I viscerally loathe the fact that one result is that Canadian taxpayers subsidize a separatist party and ensure that said separatist party doesn’t even have to engage in fundraising).

        • Scott Tribe says:

          The only Canadian taxpayers who subsidize the BQ are the folks who are actually willingly voting for them… and if they want to vote for them and give them 2$ of public financing for their vote, that’s their right.

          This is about preserving the Canadian public financing system – the BQ being subsidized by the Canadian taxpayer is a Conservative propaganda red herring.

    • Bugzy says:

      The media is trying to prove its value by talking, talking, talking. Have none of these guys the imagination and energy to do some research into a substantive issue or two?

      They only point they are proving is that they are subsidized by the harercrit Crap party and they are too partisan and lazy to do any kind of research before sowing themselves as lazy partisan and do nothing but write opinions that a grade five student could do better, They are as dumbed down and brain washed as their adoring readers who support them and more than likely never buy a paper but do their early morning visits on line And Gord, Harpers word means nothing. He is such a compulsive liar he actually believes his own lies and his supporters just simply lap it up rather than use a little common sense before cheering them up like monkeys in a cage. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and fiction Some economists was one of his first lies. He more likely got his diploma in a popcorn bag

  2. Not to worry with the support of the Liberal Premiers, excellent fundraising, tight messaging, performance in by elections since taking the helm I am confident Ignatieff will make a significant impact with his merrymen when the writ is dropped.

    At least you have been public with your concerns, your conscience is clear.

  3. Cath says:

    Actually Warren, I’m betting that you can go back to right after the last election and read the media creating fictional suspense by ramping up threat of an election. What I don’t get is that the media folks who do this must think that everyday Canadians have mush for brains to buy what they’re trying to sell us. Some days I get the impression that if it weren’t for the election fantasy explosion like the Globe pieces you’ve nicely highlighted they’d have little to talk about.

    I actually think that it’s a bit insulting to grassroot Liberals who know in their heart of hearts that Ignatieff’s not their man…never will be but yet the media seems to cover for him or do their fair share of lifting the fellow up to a place that was earned by the likes of Jean Chretien.

    • bigcitylib says:

      “Some days I get the impression that if it weren?t for the election fantasy explosion like the Globe pieces you?ve nicely highlighted they?d have little to talk about.”

      Bingo. So that’s what they talk about when there isn’t much going on.

  4. Cath says:

    Have a kid home from University who read your post along with me here. His comment is “Ask Warren that if it’s Groundhog Day does he predict six more weeks of looking for news?” – smart ass kids.

  5. Liz J says:

    Actually it’s the media who are gung-ho for an election, they’ve been talking about it since the Conservatives came to power. It’s because they’re running out of real issues to rag on about, they’re down to idle gossip.

    • Namesake says:

      It’s not that there aren’t any other issues to get into, it’s that they’re too GD lazy and/or limited intellectually to do any real research to get into them.

      • Liz J says:

        The issues they keep bringing up are tired old retreads but you’re bang on on the latter.

      • Namesake says:

        I know… I thought the same thing when I saw your first comment above.

        Maybe it’s the alignment of the stars or something…. they should rush out & broker some Mideast & Afghan Peace Agreement todays, if it’s a 24 hour thing.

  6. Ted says:

    Even a broken clock is right two times a day.

    And I think we will have an election soon because both the Liberals and the NDP have said they will not support the budget or the government to such an extent now that it would be too politically costly for them to back down.

    Which means it comes down to the Bloc. Will Harper buy them off with the type of HST payment he bribed Ontario and BC with? Will there be some money for the Quebec Nordiques rink? Will there be a cancellation of the per vote subsidy (of course he’d never touch the less democratic, far costlier, worse tax deduction subsidy which benefits the Conservatives even more)?

    I think his caucus and western support would boil over if he gave in too much to the Bloc and I don’t think the Bloc could survive without the per vote subsidy, so I don’t see how the budget gets passed.

    • Jason Hickman says:

      Will there be a cancellation of the per vote subsidy (of course he’d never touch the less democratic, far costlier, worse tax deduction subsidy which benefits the Conservatives even more)?

      I think this itself could be a topic that could cause a nice little debate.

      I would argue that the per-vote subsidy (PVS) is *less* fair/democratic/worse than the tax-deduction subsidy (TDS) system.

      When I choose to vote for a candidate/party in my riding, it reflects my wishes on election day as to who I want representing me in the House of Commons. I understand that barring exceptional circumstances, I have to live with my vote – especially if my candidate wins – until the next general election.

      That is not the same thing as saying I want my money to subsidize that candidate’s party until the next election. In fact, a voter could be in a situation where s/he wants to vote for a given candidate despite that candidate’s affiliation. Choosing to vote for a candidate on e-day should not have to mean that I choose to support that candidate’s party financially until the next time the writ drops, but that’s what we are stuck with via PVS.

      On the other hand, TDS applies if, and only if, I choose to write a cheque to a given party (or one of its riding associations). TDS is there to encourage us to donate to a party of our choice, if we choose to do so. Under a TDS-only system, my financial support for the party is not a precondition of me exercising my franchise by voting. I can vote for a candidate of one party and then donate to another. What’s more, if I decide to support another party between elections, TDS allows me to do so. The “hangover” from PVS applies until the next election, even if I get toally disgusted with the party I supported at the ballot box. In fact, the TDS system allows me to “punish” (in a manner of speaking) a party that I may have voted for two years ago by donating to one of its competitors. That flexibility doesn’t exist under PVS.

      Furthermore, unless they’ve amended the law, PVS only benefits parties that reach a certain threshold. I can understand why, although I’m surprised one of the smaller parties hasn’t gone to court over it (if in fact one of the smaller parties has done so, I’d be interested in what the outcome was). On the other hand, TDS applies, as far as I know, to any properly-registered federal party, regardless of how many votes it won. If one wants to help support the glorious revolation of the proletariat (sp?), he can send some dough to one of our two (at last count) communist parties. If one wants to put (the Christian version of) God back in Government without any if’s, and’s or but’s, he can write a cheque to the Christian Heritage Party, and so on. PVS isn’t “fair” to those parties because they didn’t meet the threshold, but a donation to them under the TDS system gives the donor the same tax benefit as a donation to the CPC or the BQ.

      As for which is costlier, I suspect the revenue “lost” as a result of the TDS system *is* greater than the money paid out under the PVS, though I’d be interested in seeing some evidence of that just to satisfy my own curiousity.

      Speaking for myself, I’d be happy to see the back of both the PVS and the TDS. We can keep mandatory disclosure, and I suppose limits on the amounts donated and who can donate, without asking our fellow taxpayers to help pay for our donations, at all. But assuming that isn’t on offer, and assuming that the choice is between TDS, PVS or both, I’d sooner see TDS-only.

      (WK, sorry if I’m thread-jacking, but I’ve seen the “which is fairer” point before, and I couldn’t resist jumping in.)

  7. wilson says:

    It’s 27 months since the last election,
    PMSH is now in the history books as longest serving PM in a minority Parliament.
    It’s not like Canadians are being rushed to the polls.

    One would think the Libs would prefer a general election to a divisive leadership review this spring.
    Or are they wanting to install their 6th leader in 6 1/2 years?

    I agree with Nichols,
    the CPC isn’t going to get any stronger, the LPC isn’t going to get any weaker,
    (and the Bloc is solid) the time is now.

    • Namesake says:

      Whoa, wilson’s actually going off-script, for a change.

      What happened to the “needless and costly election” & “it will destroy our fragile recovery” mantras the PM issues every time the gap’s less than 10?

      Both he & you are arguing in other places that we should save the taxpayers the evil of the wasted $27-M annual vote subsidy for the parties, but we should blow another $300-M+ on an election which is almost certain to produce pretty much exactly the same overall result, if held soon?

    • James Curran says:

      Chretien, Martin, Dion, Ignatieff. That would be 4 plus the next one. Which would be 5. But I guess if you’re counting Graham…. and it’s already been 8 years there Wilson. But I know you just read off the talking sheets so….

      It was very peaceful here for a while in Wilson’s absence. Oh well.

  8. The Doctor says:

    Just to be a bit contrarian . . . I have no better idea than anyone else on here as to whether there actually will be an election this year, BUT . . . what the Globe article is primarily responding to is “campaign-style” stops by the Tories in ridings which they are targeting, and in particular, the LPC’s announcement of their “ballot question” talking points (“are you better off today than you were 5 years ago) along with their own campaign-style tour of ridings that they’re targeting. To be fair to the Globe and other media outlets, this looks a lot like election preparation and pre-election activity, don’t you think?

    • Warren says:

      I think it looks like every other thing that it looks like, and which preceded it.

      I’m just humbly suggesting that maybe us media fortune-tellers should be a bit more cautious, having been wrong so many times, now.

      • The Doctor says:

        And WK, I’m with you to the extent I think the chance of an election actually happening this year is about 50/50. I think what really muddies the waters is the phony war/BS theatre aspect. E.g., the fact that part of what drives Iggy’s behaviour in this regard is his need to “appear tough and resolute” to the LPC caucus, membership and supporters and conversely can’t be seen as being Harper’s doormat. Thus he has to pretend that he’s gung ho for an election even if he actually isn’t etc. etc. Layton has similar issues, obviously.

        • George says:

          Where’d he say that Doctor? Must have missed it.

          • The Doctor says:

            Sorry, perhaps I overstated a tad — what I meant by that was that both Iggy and Jack have gotten into this pattern of coming up with supposed “bottom line positions”, where they claim that if such-and-such is or isn’t in the budget, they will vote against the budget. The obvious “takeaway” from that is that if that condition is not met, the government will fall and we will have an election on our hands. So I guess the more literal, exact way of expressing it is that both Iggy and Jack have to adopt the straight-faced position that they’re perfectly willing to trigger an election under those circumstances. There are obvious similarities to the classic game of chicken there.

  9. Derek Pearce says:

    Heya WK, off topic, but back to your Twitter question: I made one major omission when I dissed the whole enterprise a couple of days ago. The mini-revolution in Tunisia (which reminded me of Iran 18 months ago) shows that Twitter is effective for short bursts of info when a major event, that can’t be fully tracked by the media in real time, is occurring. I still won’t join, but if I ever found myself in the middle of a revolt I guess I would.

  10. Art Williams says:

    Let’s wait for the budget. If the Conservatives try to end party subsidies then we’re into the writ period.

  11. Mr. Chamberlain says:

    It all reminds me of a “check swing” in baseball.

  12. orval says:

    Liberals may vote against budget, but not in sufficient numbers to defeat the government. No election until Oct 2012. Like Mr Kinsella says the media need to take a valium. The Canadian political story of 2011 will be the Ontario provincial election.

  13. James Curran says:

    65 Bloc MPs? Never happen.

    • Mr. Chamberlain says:

      1. Never say never.
      2. If it happens, it’s the will of the people. How have we become afraid of it! There are worse things than allowing people to vote!!!

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