03.23.2011 11:27 AM

Advantage Harper

Smart.  It never made sense to me that Harper would give up his “unnecessary election” talking point this morning, and say he was walking over to Rideau Hall to see the GG.  Along with the fact that his statement has now won me a number of bets on which I intend to collect/gloat, he can still say he was the guy who “wanted to make Parliament work,” blah blah blah, and that the Opposition are just politicians who are in it for themselves, blah blah blah.

As I say, smart.

Harper says opposition will have to push him into election; he won’t jump (FedElxn-Harper)
Source: The Canadian Press
Mar 23, 2011 12:19


OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he won’t jump into an election; the opposition parties will have to push the government off the cliff.

Asked whether he will ask the Governor General for the dissolution of Parliament and an election, he gave a flat no.

“Our priority is the economy and that will continue to be our focus as long as we’re allowed to make that our focus,” he said.

Harper said the Liberals, NDP and Bloc, who have all pledged to vote against the budget handed down Tuesday, can still change their minds.

“The opposition still have the opportunity to put Canadians’ interests first,” he said. “It is not too late for them to step back.”

He rhymed off a string of measures from the budget, saying they are vital to support a still-fragile economic recovery.

“Our economy is not a political game,” he said.

But Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff wasn’t backing down and was ready to deliver the push into an election.

“We have a responsibility to say quite clearly that this government has lost the confidence of the House of Commons,” he said. “This government has lost the confidence of Canadians.”

He said he’s ready to introduce a non-confidence motion later today and debate it Friday.

27 Comments

  1. fritz says:

    It may or may not be smart but it won’t matter by next week. That Harper didn’t use certain talking points or the word coalition may win you some money (congratulations) but it isn’t important in the great scheme of things.
    I was impressed by Ignatieff. He has grown a lot as a campaigner over the last year; staying on message (blue door/red door) and avoiding, for the most part, the appearance of lecturing.

  2. Harith says:

    He’s not running scared this time, that’s for sure. I think he believes the message on the economy will resonate and allow the tories to win again.

  3. Sean says:

    Always better to be seen as the aggressor in an election.

  4. The Doctor says:

    I was almost shocked to see that Jeffrey Simpson, in today’s Globe, is basically predicting a CPC victory. Simpson, up until now, had been extremely critical of Harper and the CPC, to put it mildly. What is up with this? Very curious to me.

    http://v1.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/HTMLTemplate?cf=common/MiniHub.cfg&configFileLoc=config&hub=jeffreySimpson&tf=columnists/Summary.html&title=Jeffrey_Simpson

    • Warren says:

      Well, I’m pretty critical of them, too, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think the election is theirs to lose.

      • The Doctor says:

        Point taken, WK. I do find it odd, though, that in the last couple of days, two prominent veteran Canadian political columnists — Simpson and Lawrence Martin — who have been extremely critical of the Harper govt, have written columns that have been critical of the LPC braintrust and its strategic thinking heading into this election. Martin criticized the LPC policy platform the other day for its “poverty of ambition”, and Simpson today pretty much accused the LPC braintrust of being delusional in their thinking.

        Personally, I do think the LPC is gambling here, and I could see this thing going in either direction. But it seems to me that, by and large, present company excepted, the LPC rank and file and true believers are generally happy with this decision, mainly because they relish the idea of duking it out with Harper. I think this is the most interesting set up for an election that I can remember.

        • Thor says:

          Ignatieff did say he’d fight the election on the economy which is likely a mistake. I just can’t take iggy’s outrage all that seriously. And when he says “listen folks” in response to questions iy comes off like he’s teaching a class. Off-putting. Ndp are really vulnerable here.

          • Namesake says:

            Off-putting unlike the more endearing “I think I make the rules” bully-boy, you mean?

            He who “repeated …the phrase ‘I think’ …an astounding 55 times in the 17 minute clip” of the first part of the December Mansbridge interview

            …and “also leaned on the personal pronoun ‘I’ a total of 95 times, and ‘me’ five times, and the royal ‘we’ 55 times.”?

            http://glenmcgregor.tumblr.com/post/2812225397/i-think-therefore-wordplay-with-prime-minister

            …and “leaned on the ‘you know’ a total of 18 times during [the second] segment of the interview” ?

            http://glenmcgregor.tumblr.com/post/2812225397/i-think-therefore-wordplay-with-prime-minister

            I think you know we don’t exactly cotton to that, either.

          • Dude Love says:

            The problem is how can you fight the current government on the economy, when the Liberal party has voted with the Conservatives on various budgets over the years.

            There is also, the time when the Liberals voted against the budget that contained the renovation and eco tax credits and the sound bite from the news corp scrum was that he was proud that he and his party voted with their principals. That piece of video is going to end up in a Conservative campaign ad for sure.

  5. wilson says:

    The non-confidence motion to be introduced Friday states the contempt finding is ‘unprecedented’ in Canadian history,
    so is the coalition opposition in turn going to make an ‘unprecedented’ request of the GG to ask for the resignation of the PM and Cabinet,
    and deliver government to them, without an election?

  6. Philip says:

    Didn’t Ted Menzies visit all the opposition parties in lock up to make sure they had read the budget? He also gave them each the executive summary.

  7. Ted says:

    I wouldn’t be so quick to give Harper the point on this one.

    By allowing the Liberals to defeat him, he let’s them determine the first question of the campaign, which will end up lasting all weekend, and thereby helping them re-frame the questions of the election.

    As Kady O’Malley liveblogged/tweeted today: “So by my count, the PM lost control of two things today: a press conference, and the timing of the vote that brings down his government.”

    And it’s not as if they didn’t try to control that scrum or try to control the procedural steps today. They simply lost on both counts, were outmaneuvered. I love the smell of Liberal backbone in the afternoon!

    That’s never a good way to start to an election.

    Maybe for tomorrow, Kinsella CCC.

    • Brammer says:

      Losing control – things do not go well for Harper in these circumstances.

      Oh yeah, and tonight I already received my first auto-dial robot call from the local con candidate “budget good, blah blah blah…”

      Looks like we are go for launch.

  8. reformatory says:

    hear hear!

  9. JH says:

    I think you folks in here would be better off paying attention to WK’s B&B’s and commenting on them, then sitting here all day for the most part reinforcing each others case against the Cons. When I read much of this stuff it is not the real world of an election campaign and what is happening out there. I agree with Don Martin – the talk show guys often have a better handle than folks living in the bubble. They are available all across the country on the net. You should listen to them for a different perspective if nothing else.

  10. Harper’s got his back covered on two points.

    1. Today, he played the part of trying to save Canadians from an election they supposedly don’t want, so he’s got the “everyone’s best interest” card going for him, and;
    2. All of this budget back-and-forth is helping everyone to forget the far more serious contempt of Parliament issue. While no one seems to still really understand the consequences, the average voter does know it’s “bad” – and they will also see no resolution to it.

    Harper has been the aggressor for so long, it’s quite a shock to see him plead for calm.

    Might just get him back into office. (Sans majorite…)

  11. Leo says:

    test
    [i] test [/i]

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