03.27.2011 11:37 AM

KCCCC Day Two: Coalition Transition Edition, and other things that rhyme

  • Coalition in Remission: Paul Wells, I think, is the guy who once said that it is always the most-obvious, and least-complex stuff that gets you.  As Election 2011 kicks off, and as you pore through the avalanche of analysis ce matinhere and here and here and here – we are all reminded how eminently wise that observation is.  As regular lurkers at this site will know – and as I plan to write, shortly, for a magazine piece – I think cooperation/coalition/merger is a pretty good idea.  A few somewhat successful politicians, like Messrs. Chretien, Broadbent, Romanow, etc., think it is a good idea, too. I mean, (a) Stephen Harper did it with the Reformers/Alliancers/Conservatives, and (b) he won the election that came right afterwards.  But Ignatieff and his circle of advisors are against it – they think they can win by stealing NDP votes, instead of eliminating the NDP as a choice.  They’re totally wrong, but whatever.  All that needed to be said was this:  “Harper isn’t telling the truth.  He tried a secret coalition in 2000 and 2004 with the NDP and the Bloc.  When that didn’t work, he merged in 2004 with the Conservatives.  Me, I want to win the election on my own, fair and square.  What’s going to happen after the election, you ask?  Beats me.  I don’t answer hypothetical questions.  Maybe you can go ask Stephen Harper why he’s a liar.  That isn’t hypothetical.”
  • Coyne Coalition Edition: Andrew has a typically thoughtful and principled essay on the subject, here (and “thoughtful and principled” are the reasons why Andrew would be the least successful politician ever, if he ever took the plunge, that is, which he won’t).  Andrew seems to be satisfied with Ignatieff’s answer, but also with the notion that coalitions are perfectly legitimate – just don’t be sneaky about it.  What he doesn’t like is Harper’s aforementioned dishonesty:  “…if [Harper] now believes it is “illegitimate” for one government to replace another without going back to the people, is he then formally swearing that he would never again make the kind of agreement with the other parties, whatever it was, he was so evidently prepared to make in 2004?”
  • Winner-ation of the day: Gilles Duceppe.  He called Harper a liar, for lying, and I can guarantee you the Conservative leader would be suing the Bloc leader for defamation were he not protected by the defence of justification.  Harper needs to understand that it isn’t the coalition notion that is a club with which to beat Ignatieff – it’s the suspicion that Ignatieff isn’t being truthful about it.  It’s not the break-in, it’s always the cover-up, etc.  As polls have repeatedly shown, Canadians are quite okay with this coalition stuff.  Go, Gilles, go.
  • Loser-ation of the day: The politicians.  They may be talkin’, but ain’t nobody listenin’, yet.
  • The Physician Omission: I am rather slow, so you will forgive me for being more bewildered than usual by the fact that the leaders are all yammering about something that doesn’t matter to Canadians so much (cf., coalitions), and not talking at all about something that does (cf., health care).  I’m not making it up:  it’s the Number One Issue Thing for Canadians. So why don’t Ignatieff and the other Opposition bosses beat the stuffing out of Harper with it?  Good question.  I can tell you, however, that health care is going figure rather prominently in the coming Ontario provincial election – and we are going to make Timmy Hudak wear the 20-odd hospitals he shut down, as well as the thousands of nurses he fired, and thousands of hospital beds he eliminated.  And we are going to win with that election, too.  But to each his/her own, I guess.
  • Cauchon Emotion! I was happy to see Iggy charge right into Quebec, that horrid La Presse poll notwithstanding, and start hitting the hustings with my friend Martin Cauchon.  As Ivison wrote, he did quite well, and quite a few folks are cheering on Cauchon’s challenge of the rebarbative, back-stabbing Thomas Mulcair, thousands of Layton loyalists included.  To do well in this national election, the Grits need to retake their former stronghold of Outremont – and I confidently predict that the progressive, smart-as-a-whip Cauchon will do just that.  Here, meanwhile, is a photo a Jewish community friend took of a Cauchon sign in his ‘hood.  Nice pic, Cauchon!


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    Mark in Ontario says:

    Except that in the 2004 press conference both Layton and Duceppe say it is not a coalition. So it appears Duceppe is lying.

    No matter. The more often Gilles Duceppe appears in ROC newspapers complaining about Harper and about his refusal to give any more money and influence to Quebec or to kowtow or pander to Quebec, and the more often everybody keeps talking about the Coalition, the better it is for the Conservatives in ROC.

    Speaking of which, in the weeks before the Election, Ignatieff goes into Quebec and panders, promising to provide federal funding to a Quebec City hockey arena. It is like he wants to throw the election.

    The only way Ignatieff should have forced the election is if he had a plan and the capability to defeat the Bloc in Quebec and to return the Liberals to its once-dominant position in that province. Absent that, (the Liberals are 4th in Quebec), they should have supported the budget and bided their time. But NOOOOOO!

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    MontrealElite says:

    Interesting, no?

    Layton says coalition was one of the options discussed in 2004 with Stephen Harper, Gilles Duceppe and himself

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      Mark in Ontario says:

      One of the options “discussed”? So there wasn’t an agreement, then. If there was an agreement, maybe he should show us the proof. One way to do this would be for Mr Layton to tell Canadians how many NDP cabinet ministers there were to be in the 2004 “coalition”?

      Anyway, here it is Day 3 and everybody is still talking about coalitions. So much for “contempt for democracy” and “scandals”

      As to Gilles Duceppe, well, when it comes to a dispute between a federalist and a separatist, I will believe the federalist 10 times out of 10. I can’t help it, I am a proud patriotic Canadian. I was never a fan of Stephane Dion, but I loved his “get stuffed” letters to Lucien Bouchard and I loved the Clarity Act.

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        MontrealElite says:

        Harper’s intent was clear. He wanted to ascend to PM without the benefit of an election.

        I hope Harper keeps the coalition topic up. Jack & Gilles are both making Harper angry and the press is finally calling him on it.

        I love to see an angry PM in front of the TV everyday, don’t you?

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          Mark in Ontario says:

          My clear intent is to date Angelina Jolie but I have never tried to call her to ask for one. So who cares?

          In any event he didn’t try to ascend to PM without the benefit of an election. He probably calculated that the Canadian people wouldn’t support it even if it resulted in Paul Martin being replaced. So obviously he discarded the idea if indeed he considered it. So instead Harper did it the right way…he introduced a motion of non-confidence, the NDP and Bloc supported it, and then he won the 2006 Election.

          Every minute devoted to coalitions favours the Conservatives because most Canadians despised the December 1 2008 Coalition Pact. Harper is the front-runner, so of course he is going to be attacked by the press. Better to have them talking about this than the so-called scandals. Nobody has mentioned Bev Oda for days.

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            MississaugaLibPeter says:

            Mark you state: “In any event he didn’t try to ascend to PM without the benefit of an election.”

            How do you know? Were you there in the hotel room with Harper and Duceppe?

            All you are is a Conservative War Room Troll trying to rewrite history.

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            JH says:

            Now I know some of you hate this, because soon as I mention main street, we don’t count. But a lot of folks out here are asking why is a separatist leader trying to help Mr. Ignatieff? What is the agenda there? Is it seen as a road to power? I know, I know, I’m a senior and non-elite, but still these are questions we have.
            And what is this deal about not running in Outremont vs not running in young Trudeau’s riding? Some of us out here have heard something of that. Clarification anyone?

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            NameRequired says:

            @JH I’m not sure what you’ve heard people saying, but I cannot for a minute imagine that the rumors are true. I don’t believe the Bloq would collaborate in that manner with the Liberals. The BQ doesn’t appear to have a candidate yet in Outremont, but I’m sure they will find one. It might be tough to find someone to jump into that race: before Mulcair, it was held by the Liberals throughout its entire history (except for the 1988 election, where the PCs won.) Papineau, Justin’s riding, does have a BQ candidate: Vivian Barbot. I’m sure they will fight hard to win it back. Interestingly, the CPC doesn’t yet have a someone running against Trudeau; if your source is thus extrapolating BQ-LPC collusion from the fact that the BQ doesn’t have a candidate in Outremont, he could just as easily conclude that the CPC and LPC are cooperating to prevent the Bloq from winning Papineau … which is, of course, a ludicrous proposal.

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        Bill Templeman says:

        Mark: Yes, the infamous Clarity Act. Brilliant. The Clarity Act played well west of the Ottawa River, and extremely well west of the Red River. But the LPC is now in 4th place in Quebec. Time to connect the dots…..

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      Jan says:

      Duceppe didn’t enter into a coalition in 2008 either. He says he never would. Harper’s threat of a coalition with separatists is total b.s.

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    MontrealElite says:

    The LPC despite public pronouncements to the contrary, IS prepared to coalesce with those two partys.


    I will never tax income trusts.

    I promise no deficits.

    You have no lessons to offer Gord but you do have much to learn.

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      MontrealElite says:

      You rail against Ignatieff and say he’s saying one thng but will do another while you give Harper a pass for doing the same.

      Your point was more than refuted.

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        MontrealElite says:

        Harper’s a liar.

        And you’re a fool.

        Here endeth the lesson.

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    J.G. Love says:

    Funny, I thought that a return to big goverment was what we got under the Harper years.

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    Namesake says:

    Hmm. So, judging by his campaign speech and presser this (Sunday) a.m., it looks like Mr. “I think I make the rules around here” is having a go at rewriting and/or redacting the 10 Commandments, now. You know, from Exodus 20:

    “8 Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

    9 For six days you shall labour and do all your work.

    10 But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.

    11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.”

    Odd that such a fervent supporter of Israel and conservative Christian values is willing to violate a Holy Commandment for the sake of personal career advancement.

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    Jewels says:

    A little gem from 2004, courtesy of The star comments board – circa 2004

    Harper: We’ll support the government on issues if it’s essential to the country but our primary responsibility is not to prop up the government, our responsibility is to provide an opposition and an alternative government for Parliament and for Canadians. What the government has to do, if it wants to govern for any length of time, is it must appeal primarily to the third parties in the House of Commons to get them to support it.

    ain’t life a bitch stevie.

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      Mark in Ontario says:

      The 2008 Coalition was “not one of the options we discussed around the table.” It was a formal agreement on how to take power without the “pesky obstacle” of winning an election first. It doesn’t matter though. This issue of who discussed what in 2004 doesn’t help Ignatieff because he wasn’t even in Canada in 2004. And so long as everyone is talking about coalitions, they are not talking about “planes and prisons ” or Harper’s alleged abuse of power. Win for Harper.

      One way for the Liberals to get past this is for Stephane Dion to give a speech saying December 2008 was a huge boo-boo and that he was sorry and that Michael Ignatieff would never do this. But seeing how shabbily the Liberals treated Dion I doubt this will happen.

      BTW has there been any Bob Rae sightings? I haven’t seen him since the Friday vote in the House.

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        Mark in Ontario says:

        Thanks Gord for the tip. Good on Bob Rae. Despite his politics I have a lot of respect for Mr Rae. A true Canadian.

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    Cat says:

    Layton rebuffs 2004 “coalition”

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      Jan says:

      Totally nails Harper – that he proposed a coalition to Jack and Gilles and they rejected it. And that he intended to be PM without benefit of an election.

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    dave says:

    I sympathize with Harper and his supporters regarding the 2004 coalition letter and the 2004 coalition actions.
    I remember when I was 7 or 8 years old, and said to my Mom: ‘Ok, I did have my hand in the cookie jar. But it was NOT in there to take a cookie.’

    I have always thought that what happened next was a great injustice.

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      MH says:

      Hey! It was a damn good legal defense.

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    kitt says:

    Is Harper running legally? Or is he banned from running after being found in contempt of parliament? http://presscore.ca/2011/?p=1980

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    allegra fortissima says:

    All Conservatives do is fear mongering:

    Canadians, FEAR a former Harvard Professor
    Canadians, FEAR Social Democrats
    Canadians, FEAR the Bloq Quebecois
    Canadians, FEAR a Coalition

    How booooring… do I hear Canadians yawn? FEAR won’t sell this time, it’s a dead tea bag.

    And should Michael Ignatieff change his mind about a coalition, “it often takes more courage to change one’s opinion than to keep it.” (Willy Brandt)

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    MontrealElite says:

    Warren, what say ye?

    Parliamentary law bars Harper from re-election. Found guilty of a culture of abuse of Parliament


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      MH says:

      Hope Warren says you are fishing in sterile water. Cant make such an interpretation stick. Sorry about that.

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      MH says:

      No. No. Hawaii

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      nastyboy says:

      You’re linking to a blog that measures and tracks “HAARP created earthquakes”. I hope you’re joking around, or do we have to break out the tinfoil hats?

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        dave says:

        Whether there is substance to this or not, it looks like the kind of stuff that would circulate in a ‘dirty tricks’ manner in campaigning, the way that the birther/haarp comments above suggest.
        I thought that in the last 2 federal campaigns in the lower mainland that a lot of weird stuff about individual candidates was dug up by party “researchers,” and some of it might have stuck in close constituancies.

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    fritz says:

    Hmmm. After todays press availability, such as it was, will we now see ‘the Harpster’ enter the bubble or cage, if you will, for the rest of the campaign; only appearing for stage managed events in front of handpicked audiences with the press shuffled to a different room and watching on CCTV?

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    hugger says:

    More on the dastardly, evil and barbaric coalition. According to the Con member from Wild Rose Alberta.

    Meh. Another asshole heard from.

    Umm, grown ups would talk about the real issues, rather than the ones the ex Harper Government wants you to talk about. Lot’s and lot’s of them out there for those with a smidgen of a brain.

    I won’t bore you with a whole lot of words, and how John Baird made me feel when he insulted my intelligence, and my perception of how all Canadians present and past would feel about his non answers to legitimate questions.

    I just had another of my moments when I look at the medals on my wall. From Juno

    I also have a glass top box with my Grandfathers medals from his time in Galipoli.

    The purple heart is in my sock drawer. I don’t look at it very often. But I can never forget.

    From Hugger Radio, a repeat

    Old Dogs and Children, and Watermelon wine


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    nastyboy says:

    Name calling? Way to raise the discourse.

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    Mike says:

    Sure, but admit it — Tulk is a pain in the a$$. Reminds me of Guy Giorno — won’t STFU.

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    Wayne says:

    I hope all of you cheering on the Libs rhetoric re the corporate tax cuts are watching 60 minutes right now.

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    hugger says:

    Being paid by the word? Come clean and cleanse your sorry soul gord. Lol

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    Mark in Ontario says:

    Ignatieff is in a tough spot on the Coalition. This issue totally derailed the start of the Liberal campaign, making Ignatieff look weak and unprepared, as Mr Kinsella pointed out. By the time he recovered a bit the “coalition” debate morphed into a Harper versus Duceppe battle. Ignatieff (and Layton) are bystanders in this. Harper is using the Coalition now to signal he is the only one who can stand-up to Duceppe. This helps Harper immensely in the West and Ontario. Ignatieff can’t afford to agree with Duceppe (yeah, I agree with the separatists – the Prime Minister of Canada is a liar). He has got to stand up for Canada now to have any chance.

    In other words, he has to agree with Harper! – “In 2004 Mr Harper may have thought a coalition involving the separatist Bloc Quebecois was a good idea. It wasn’t. In 2008 the Liberal party, myself included, believed that a formal coalition with Bloc Quebecois support was a good idea. It wasn’t. It is obvious we both realize this now. It was the wrong thing for Canada in 2004 and the wrong thing in 2008. The Bloc Quebecois is dedicated to the break-up of this country Canada. They should never be permitted to be part of a Government of Canada. I agree with the Prime Minister, you either seek to govern the country or you seek the break-up the country. You can’t do both. A coalition dependent for its political survival on the separatist Bloc Quebecois cannot by definition be stable. The Prime Minister is correct on this fundamental point. Therefore I will never consider to be part of any arrangement, formal or informal, that is dependent upon the support of the Bloc Quebecois”.

    This would defuse the whole issue. If on Election Day the Liberals and NDP together have more seats than the Conservatives and together are a majority, and both the Liberals and NDP were upfront about this before the Election, a Coalition of the two would be perfectly acceptable.

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      Mark in Ontario says:

      oops. It may be too late. From Jane Taber in the Globe and Mail:

      “The Liberal Leader agrees [with the leader of the Bloc who says Mr Harper is lying about 2004 “options” letter]. “Look, the person who has got a problem with the coalition is Stephen Harper,” the Liberal Leader said. “The reason that Mr. Harper keeps waving this coalition stuff around is so that he doesn’t have to defend his choices.”

      Mr. Ignatieff may have a point. The Conservative efforts at keeping the idea of a Liberal, NDP and separatist Bloc coalition alive has distracted from other campaign issues, including the ethical troubles facing the Tories. As well, the Liberals want to get out their message about the billions of dollars being spent on new fighter jets, prisons and the tax break to big corporations.

      In fact, Mr. Ignatieff was forced to issue a press release Saturday to clarify his position on the matter. He had stumbled badly Friday in a news conference just after the government was defeated, not able to clearly explain himself on the issue.

      In his statement, he said that whoever leads the party “that wins the most seats on election day should be called on to form the government.” And he ruled out forming a coalition with “other federalist parties” as well as with the Bloc.

      “Yes, yes, I am excluding coalitions,” he said when asked for about the third time in his press conference Sunday. “And I’ve put it writing. It can’t be clearer.” ”

      Yes, it can. Mr Ignatieff has to be clearer: “What Gilles Duceppe thinks about coalitions is irrelevant. Look, the only two people with any chance of being Prime Minister are Mr Harper and myself. And I think we have both learned our lesson – getting into coalitions with a party dedicated to breaking up Canada is dumb. If Mr Harper thought this way in 2004, it was a dumb idea. I thought this way in 2008, which is why I signed the December 1, 2008 agreement. It was a dumb idea. I know Mr Harper is saying that the Liberal denial cannot be believed because of what happened. I concede this. I am excluding the possibility of a coalition involving the Bloc because it is a mistake to do it. And I don’t want to make the same mistake twice. So you can believe me when I say it, I am ruling out a coalition with the Bloc and with the NDP. On May 3rd I will either be the Liberal Prime Minister-elect, or not.”

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    reformatory says:

    WK on the idea of a coalition between the NDP and the Liberals….”But Ignatieff and his circle of advisors are against it – they think they can win by stealing NDP votes, instead of eliminating the NDP as a choice. They’re totally wrong, but whatever.”

    I respect that opinion because obviously your skills, experience and backroom information means alot… but I need some help understanding it. I don’t see how a merger of those parties would really help. In a classic 2 party system.. we can look to the US and see that the Republicans to the right usually come out ahead with respect to that battle. In Canada, we had a 2 party plus system with the Libs firmly in the centre and they move left and right issue by issue. The NDP to the Left and in the past, the PC’s to the right. The Liberals have more often than not usually come out ahead of that battle.

    Today with the right merger… the centre vote is indeed being squeezed but I don’t think it is because of the New Conservatives. If the Libs had a JC still in charge now.. firmly in the centre, straddled with giants to the right and left.. and squeezing the new Conservatives to the right.. the Libs would be looking much better now.

    If the Libs and NDP merge.. the left would splinter off and form a new party, and the blue side of the LIberal party would leave and probably join the new conservatives. To me it’s clear as day.. that this would happen. I’m a perfect example. I consider myself a Blue Liberal. If they merged with the NDP.. I might not be inclined to really feel at home in that new party. I don’t agree with alot of NDP stuff. The Lib. party I loved best was the one led by JC, because he housed both an “Axworthy” and a “Martin” and managed both ideas in his “big tent”. JC often kept both Main street and Bay street happy.

    WK.. can you please help me see how either I am wrong in my presumptions or how you are right.

    If MI stays firmly in the centre and squeezes the left vote and then opens up a tent to keep the former PC’s warm in the Lib. party— I think better results can be had.

    Side note: The biggest challenge for the Lib. or the Conservatives really is.. unlocking the Quebec votes. Whomever can unlock those seats to their favour will be the biggest winner for some time to come.

    The challenge for the Lib. party is to TAP into those Quebec voters, squeeze more left votes, bring in the old PC voters, remain firmly in the centre and force the New Conservative Party more to the right.

    That and World Peace should suffice for now… LoL
    Anyhow.. let me know if I am making any sense?

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      The Other Jim says:

      I can’t believe that someone who is so wrong about the 2008 coalition can be so right about everything else. 😉

      Seriously, an excellent post on what is missing in Canadian politics right now. JC certainly had his flaws, but I really think that his first two terms were tremendous for the country. Its a shame that Paul Martin’s (a man I deeply admired and supported in the ’90 convention) impatience for power so impacted the third mandate and his own time as PM. I don’t share your loathing of the current government, but I wouldn’t be disappointed to see the door hit their backsides on the way out.

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        reformatory says:

        “Stop being afraid of people who disagree with you and provide JUST ONE comparable example of a coalition in a parliamentary democracy that is remotely comparable to what was attempted in 2008.”

        Okay.. that’s easy .. Harper et al.. in 2004. He clearly thought one way then and another way now? Do you rule out both?

        As for Brown.. that’s a perfectly good example. Why are you searching for examples that have to be similar to situations here? It’s an example that any commonwealth nation can draw example from. In 2010, Brown was the second place finisher and he was given first opportunity to form a coalition gov’t. If he would have succeeded, are you saying it would not have been legitimate?

        In reality then.. what would you propose happen in a minority situation, where the leading party loses confidence early on? Obviously it would be up to the GG, and most likely another election so soon would have to be ruled out? Aside from Allowing the Oppo. leader to take over what else would you propose? Is Proroging Parliament a suitable democratic option?

        What are your thoughts on this?

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        reformatory says:

        “I have repeatedly said that the attempted coalition was constitutional. There is no doubt about that. It was also wrong and anti-democratic.”

        Let me guess .. you must think then that prorogation was right and perfectly democratic? Hold on while I laugh!

        If you want to talk about things that are wrong or anti-democratic just give me the word and I’ll unload a truck full of things that Harper is wrong on and I’ll site even more anti-democratic things he’s been involved in. This guy was held in contempt…. do you think Canadians even register the seriousness of this?

        Now if democracy is your thing.. then look no further than MI. Ethics, honesty, democracy.. those are just a few of the things he can be counted on.. so go ahead. You can thank me later for leading you towards the best person to vote for.

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          The Other Jim says:

          MI does strike me as an honest and ethical man, which I why I believe regarding the coalition issue and why the Liberals are now a viable option for me in this election.

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          The Other Jim says:

          I wasn’t thrilled with prorogation. I think that the correct response by Harper would have been to let the government fall.

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            reformatory says:

            and then what.. go to the elctorate again so soon? The GG would not have allowed that and would have mostlikely gone with the OPPO idea?

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        reformatory says:

        See.. without any SPIN.. the reality on the 2008 coalition is this.
        Harper was dead wrong to lose confidence so soon after that election.
        The OPPO did what they obviously should do when faced with what they were faced with. The coalition was really the only alternative that would have been constitutionally correct.

        Proroging was also not correct and certainly not democratic.

        Now the style and substance of the coalition.. that’s another story… and the skills of Dion had lots to say about how that was handled. but… what we should all at least admit is this… Canadians expect much less partisanship, much more leadership and much more cooperation from their PM’s. They did not and still do not get any of this with Steve.

        If Steve was not Steve.. the coalition thing would never have been on the table.

        At some time.. the chickens will have to come home to roost for him. He has not been held accountable for any of his errors, lapse of judgement, or reason and for his highly partisan rhetoric. Hopefully this election will be that time.

        Spread the message.. this guy’s got to go.

        Democracy and the Canadian way of doing things… depends on it!

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      reformatory says:

      I agree. They need Bob Rae keeping the left warm, and they need a “John Manley” type to be giving some “Street Cred” to their policies. Until they publicly reconcile those 2 talking points.. the wheels will spin and spin and spin.

      I remember back in the day when JC was still a nobody.. he never started to be taken seriously by some in the media and the general electorate until he was flanked by Paul Martin to give some street cred to his ideas. Axworthy.. et all warmed the left.. Paul Martin, and Manley warmed the right.. and JC cashed in at the CENTRE TILL looking statesmanlike while speaking Franglais? I Loved it.

      I suspected Paul Martin was going to go nowhere, when as soon as he got in.. he alienated the left.. and had nobody warming up the left.. and well on that note he also was missing another Paul Martin type on the right. He just sat there like a deer with headlights dealing with.. well we all know what bombshell was left for him to deal with.

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      Danny says:

      A coalition with the current set of representatives would again be Ontario and Quebec gaming the system to screw Western Canada. Of Western Canada’s 92 seats, 71 are currently Conservative, a huge majority.
      That Ignatieff and Duceppe might think this is acceptable is understandable, they are totally out of touch.
      That Layton thinks so shows he needs to get out of downtown Toronto for once, or retire soon.
      The coalition does not represent Western Canada. And it does not represent Canada, as the 50 BQ seats belong to a party that wants to destroy Canada. It only represents the blind power lust of the Liberal Party of Toronto.

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    Bill Templeman says:

    Sorry Gord. My Spin Alert Alarm just went off. The LPC has never said it wouldn’t spend $ on fighter jets. MI said he wouldn’t spend $ on the F-35’s. You know there is a difference. I have read too many of your posts to believe that you do not know the difference.

    Being against the F-35 deal is not the same thing as being against all fighter jet deals. There are lots of other options out there from the Euro Zone. The USA makes fine aircraft. So do a number of other countries. And some of them may result in a better deal for the Canadian Forces and taxpayers. Holding an open tender bidding process would help as opposed to this un-tendered F-35 deal. Aren’t you interested in getting the best deal for the best tax dollar?

    As for new prisons in Ontario, the overcrowding problem is getting acute. A few new institutions will be needed, not because the crime rate is going up, but because the general population is increasing. The Ontario gov’t is not launching a provincial “get -tough on crime” campaign.

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      Elisabeth Lindsay says:

      Bill Templeman – There is not another fifth generation jet out there.

      The Liberals already established that a lot of years ago.

      New prisons for Ontario OK.

      No new prisons for rest of the country?

      Don`t follow that logic.

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        Bill Templeman says:

        Sorry Elizabeth, I owe you a reply and this one may too late, but …

        A few new prisons to cope with the expanding population are needed across the country, not just Ontario. Keeping human beings in crowded, violent cages only leads to very angry ex-cons being eventually released out on to the streets. Let’s keep our prisons humane, and please no spin about Club Fed.

        I am no demographer but the number of new prisons would have to kept in line with the increase in the general population, no more. What the Harper government is proposing is the construction of more than the number of prisons required by population growth. The Conservatives want to bring in a parade of mandatory minimums that would result in a sizable increase to the prison population. I have no qualms about keeping dangerous offenders off the streets, but the Conservative are billing this construction campaign as a good way to prevent crime. Building more prisons on the level that Harper wants is all about punishment. It is not about crime prevention 5, 10, 15 years down the road. If he truly wants to prevent crime then he has to invest in the root causes. Any what are they? Support programs for youth at risk, families raising kids in poverty, early childhood education, high quality affordable daycare, addiction treatment, etc. the whole social safety net? Expensive? Yes, but a bargain compared to incarcerating huge numbers of citizens unnecessarily. Ask the Republican governor of Illinois. He is getting off the Big Prisons bus because it is too costly. For more on this click here:


        Sorry for the long reply but you asked….

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        Bill Templeman says:

        Re the jets, yes, the F-35, we are told, is the best around. My challenge is, what are those jets to be used for in terms of our national defense strategy? Do we really need them, or do we need that many of them, given the fact that our army is really in need of more equipment and trained troops?

        I have as little expertise in military matters as in demography, but the futurists I read predict that the wars of the 21st century will be far more like Afghanistan and less like nation to nation conflicts. Some military experts call on Canada to double or triple the size of our JTF2, which apparently is one of best units in the business. All I am saying is let’s get our priorities clear before breaking the bank.

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    Mark in Ontario says:

    I just watched the Bob Rae interview with Wendy Mesley on The National News. Wow, when Wendy Mesley of the CBC is a hostile interviewer you know you have problems with the media. Bob Rae, usually so smooth, was argumentative with Ms Mesley and evasive. The first question about the 1985 Peterson-Rae coalition in Ontario threw him because he knew that saying what he really thought, “yeah coalitions are great when they let you take power instead of the Conservative guy with the most seats” was exactly the wrong thing to say because it would undermine everything Ignatieff has been trying to do today. So instead he tried to change the subject to Liberal talking points (prisons, jet fighters contempt of parliament blah blah blah) but Mesley kept asking questions about the Coalition. Rae keep sputtering rather embarrassingly until the interview mercifully was over. Mr Rae has to be thinking: “if we have lost the CBC we’re toast.”

    Also on the CBC I thought Greg Weston on Reality Check, who I always considered to be a strong Harper-hater, was actually fair and balanced. The take-away was that the 2004 “options” discussions were in no way a coalition like the 2008 Coalition. At most it was an agreement to cooperate which happens all the time in minority Parliaments and was designed as a “threat” to get PM Martin to cooperate with the opposition parties. Then with those pictures of Dion, Layton and Duceppe signing “the Pact” Weston was intoning that the 2008 Coalition was a true coalition that would make Stephane Dion Prime Minister with 6 New Democrats in the Cabinet. Talk about earned media. The Conservatives could not have designed a more effective attack ad on the Coalition than what Weston produced.

    We haven’t heard the end of “coalition” yet.

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      dave says:

      Try the CBC website, click on POLITICS, and scroll down tothe article by Rosemary Barton called ‘Bood excerpt:Layton on the ‘three amigos.’
      Most of the article gives Layton’s view of what happened back in 2004 coalition talks.

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    Elisabeth Lindsay says:

    I really really resented the “goodies for corporations” comment that Ignatieff made re: raising the rate up to 18% from 16% (which has been law since January 1st) Even Jack doesn`t speak that way any more.

    That totally slams the door for any of us blue libs that are left.

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      MedEditor says:

      Elizabeth, do you have any idea of how corporate tax rates compare with those of individual Canadians?

      I’ve run an incorporated small business (one of “the engines of the economy” according to some) for more than 10 years now. Its revenues have always been under the small-business tax relief cap. For fiscal 2010, on about $48,000 of gross income (used to be considerably higher, but my spouse has retired his consulting work), the corporation will pay about $1,600 in federal and provincial tax combined, plus another $600 or so in source deductions. That’s because corporations get to deduct nearly all their expenses (including salaries to employees) before their federal taxes are calculated purely on the PROFIT they make. Small businesses don’t even pay the full rate, because they get a “small business relief” credit. That means that my corporation paid just over 4% of its gross income to government.

      As a private taxpayer earning about $48,000, I used to pay about $6500 in federal and provincial tax combined (about 13.5%). It would have been closer to $9500 (20%) had I not been laying some money aside in RRSPs and had deductions for childcare at the time.

      So, please explain to me, in similarly simple terms, how a tax rate of 18% on only the LARGER corporations, and calculated only on PROFIT NOT gross income is somehow exorbitant and awful.

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    DJ says:

    An aside here from federal politics, check out the BC NDP’s funny new negative ad against Christy Clark (aka “Christy Crunch” in the ad). It is hilarious! Very effective without being nasty.


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    Kevin says:

    Everyone always says health care is their number one issue. Everyone. Always.

    But unless the government — the PROVINCIAL government — is closing the local hospital, no one, and I mean NO. ONE. moves their vote because of their number one issue, health care.

    No one. Not in federal elections. No one. Nobody. Never.

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    Jj says:

    Nice pic Mendy

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    jenjen says:

    Does the media only care about the coalition question?

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    Warren says:

    It does nothing for nobody. It’s politicians talking about themselves, on all sides.

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    Bill Templeman says:

    Gord, you have a far greater understanding of the F-35 deal than I do, and I am more than willing to concede that if Canada is going to get a new fighter, that the F-35 is the one to buy. But should we not FIRST have in front of us a National Defence White Paper? What do we want the CF to do? We are a middle power. We cannot do everything. Therefore, should we not have a good idea of what our defence priorities are? The army really needs a lot of attention, and those personnel have been by far the most active members of the CF (in terms of deployment) over the last 20 years.

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