03.28.2011 02:33 PM

Reasonable-sounding young man advocates “working coalition”

It’s in fact “the test” for future Parliaments, he says.  How very interesting.


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    john says:

    Is that real hair?

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      Warren says:

      Let’s not get into hair discussions, please. I am in a sensitive mood, today.

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    john says:

    Sorry. And PS I’m not one of the paid hacks. I do love reading your stuff, though. You have great hair 🙂

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    Dave Roberts says:

    I’m personally all for coalition governments if they are presented as such before an election is called. This allows voters to know exactly who and what they are voting for.

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      Michael Watkins says:

      Next time Harper gets all high and mighty about governing “even if [he/they/someone] didn’t win the election”, claiming “that’s not right, that’s not democracy” — could someone please, please, hold him to account for usurping the votes of more than sixty thousand electors in Vancouver–Kingsway when Harper convinced former Liberal cabinet minister David Emerson to become an instant Conservative cabinet minister the very next day after the 2006 election?

      Harper’s quite correct — That’s not right. That’s not democracy. He oughta know, he’s the undisputed leader of undemocratic action since 2006.

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    Thor says:

    Very good clip, Warren. However, I actually think it makes him look very good, if not prescient. Far less ‘damning’ than you seem to hint at.

    All that being said, another conservative minority is fine by me. And I live in Toronto.

    Stop being sensitive about your hairpiece;I think it looks great.

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      Warren says:

      Damn you, Thor.

      By the way, my sons and I are looking forward to the release of your movie.

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      Namesake says:

      Good, how?

      As I noted in the other thread:

      while Harper the dispassionate analyst correctly notes, “Parties who want to form government [in a post-BQ Canada] are going to have to learn to work together,”

      once he found himself in that position just a few years later, Harper the power-mad (but still dispassionate, or maybe just dyspeptic) governor promptly threw that advice out the window, and he keeps trying to defy the will of the majority of the populace by governing as if he had a majority, and when the Opposition does their job of trying to hold him to account and voting against those things he doesn’t have a mandate to implement, he resorts to proroguing, dissolving Parliament, spreading lies and making threats, and generally holding tantrums over and over until he gets his way.

      Given what’s happened since, it makes him look like a hypocritical, slow-learning, bullying, spoiled child.

      And the CPC zealots think we should reward that type of behavior? That’s a terrible role model for decent behaviour and family values.


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    Ted says:

    There is also his press conference with “the separatist and the socialist” (http://www.cpac.ca/forms/index.asp?dsp=template&act=view3&pagetype=vod&hl=e&clipID=5288) in which Harper notes that he, Jack and Gilles had reached an “agreement” and that this was what “I hope is the first phase” of the opposition cooperation.

    Clearly it was an attempt by “losers” to win government without an election. Was it a coalition? Was it cooperation?

    Let’s settle on “cooperlition” which is just ridiculous enough a phrase to ridicule Harper himself and the notion that he is being consistent and not the biggest hypocrite in politics right now.

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      Al in Cranbrook says:

      Just listening to that clip…

      Harper made no suggestion of a “coalition”. Duceppe ruled it out completely. And Layton said virtually as much.

      This somehow makes Harper a liar???

      Might “coalition” have been mentioned behind closed doors?

      Sure. “And as for the concept of a coalition?” “No way!” “Are you kidding!” “Good, then we’re all on the same page on that one!”

      We’ll never really know, will we. Pretty thin gruel for accusations seven years later.

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        Namesake says:

        except, again, as I noted in an earlier thread, that’s only the public face of went on behind the scenes — in hotel rooms (the very place they slagged the Libs & NDP a few days ago on the budget, as somewhere the CPC supposedly would NOT engage in high-level negotiations) — as Layton explained in this excerpt from his 2005 book:


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        Ted says:

        Um, can you do me a quick favour and point out where I said it was a coalition or that Harper lied. I mean he certainly does lie, it is a fundamental part of who he is as a politician, but I’m not accusing him of that here.

        Just of being the biggest hypocrite for opposing something he favoured when it was in his interest.

        Now he says that losers don’t get to form a government. Then he was quite willing to do exactly that. Layton has confirmed that he was willing to do that. Duceppe has confirmed that he wanted to do that. Harper keeps avoiding the question when put to him directly.

        They may not have planned a formal “coalition” – with shared power arrangements, agreements on cabinet positions, etc. like currently in Britain and Australia and Ireland and Israel (does any Parliament NOT have a coalition these days?) – but they had an agreement of cooperation that would have put Harper in as PM with the support of the socialists and separatists. Call it a cooperlition.

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        James Curran says:

        Except now Harper says that coalitions are “illegitimate”. Which, in that interview, he clearly states in inevitable and legal. So which is Cranberry Al?

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          Al in Cranbrook says:

          Well, here’s the relevant highlights from the vid. I don’t think Harper, Duceppe, or Layton could have been any more categorical than that. Problematic possibly for Duceppe, because now he’s actually calling Harper a liar on this.

          Bottom line, far as I’m concerned, and the only thing that really matters on May 2, 2011 is whether we’re in for the following scenario…

          Harper wins a minority, forms a government, re-introduces the budget, the three parties defeat it, and, Bob’s your uncle, Iggy gets to be Prime Minister, and Layton and a handful of Dippers get cabinet posts…and Duceppe undoubtedly extracts his $5 billion plus worth of flesh for the pleasure of letting it all happen.

          Nothing anyone of the three has (carefully) said, given a minority, precludes this virtually certain eventuality.

          And if anyone thinks Canadians were choked in 2008, especially after all this, I’d suggest that uproar will look like a Sunday tea party by comparison.

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            Namesake says:

            Argh. Are you really that dense that you really believe all that CRAP Harper is feeding you, or are you just as dishonest as him?

            If Iggy REALLY wanted to head a coalition this Spring, and was prepared to offer Layton some Cabinet seats and the BQ some goodies (most of which the Cons. are going to deliver on, eventually, BTW) to do so, why, then:

            he could already just be DOING it, RIGHT NOW, as we speak, w/o bothering with a risky election….

            if he’d simply gone to the GG last week to make that request.

            After all, they already had an agreement on hand to form an alternative gov’t, as you lot are so fond of point out, and David Johnston has already signaled (in Dec.) that he would likely honour such a request, and there WAS about 18 months left in this Parliament’s mandate that he could have used to his advantage, to show there was nothing inherently nefarious about such an arrangement.

            And yet… he completely declined to do so.

            So it’s simply ridiculous the way you lot are carrying on, accusing him of planning to assault your precious democracy (which you’ve collectively been demonstrably more contemptuous of than any Commonwealth government to date) a month from now, when he could and would have done it on Friday, if he had any such intention, and clearly did not do so.

            So stop crying “Wolf,” when you’re the only ones baring — and bearing — fangs, and when your boy clearly tried to do the very thing he’s accusing MI of (see my other posts in this thread).

            Stinkin’ Harpercrites.

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    chris says:

    Given all of the focus on post election scenarios…..the libs would do well to get the media to ask Harper if prorogation is off the table. Whatever his answer it shifts the current post-election scare tactic narrative and increases doubts about someone who’s done it twice.

    “Mr. Harper, now that the Liberals promise to govern on a vote by vote basis the way you have for 5 years, do you pledge not to push for proroguing parliament if your first budget is defeated?”

    It is important to get Harper on record about the 3 options available: 1) pushing his hand picked GG for another election– doing this means his whole campaign about “not the time for elections in this economy” is destroyed. 2) prorogation –he has no choice but to declare that he will not prorogue (otherwise suffer the political consequences). 3) allowing the GG to have the party with the second most votes try to get the confidence of parliament. (if he is asked repeatedly he will have to eventually admit that it is the only reasonable (as well as legal) option right after an election.

    * This validates the Lib position of governing sans coalition and gives Canadians a much needed Cdn. parliamentary democracy lesson to boot.


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      A.BO says:


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      Ted says:


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    Mark in Ontario says:

    I see even Mr Beer and Popcorn on CBC is advising Liberals to keep on arguing with Harper about coalitions. The Liberals have got to stop talking about it. The damage is done, but there is 5 weeks to go, maybe everybody will get bored.

    The reason the coalition hurts the Liberals is because Dion made a commitment before the election he wouldn’t but then did right after the election. Now when Ignatieff makes the same pledge, nobody believes him.

    Team Harper scored a goal in the first minute of the first period. Deal with it. Don’t whine to the ref that it shouldn’t count or that it was a bad goal. It’s a goal. Now play, skate up the ice and score some goals for Team Liberal.

    Don’t compound the gaffe by continuing to talk about it day after day.

    And get some advisors around Ignatieff who know what they are doing! In response to the income-splitting proposal, Ignatieff can’t say “it’s not credible” because everyone (voters) will say, “you mean like Jean Chretien’s promise to kill the GST was credible? Harper promised to cut the GST and he did. So why should I believe the Liberals?”

    Don’t make it about credibility because Ignatieff and the Liberals will lose on this point. make it about attractive policies that are affordable and make sense. I am looking forward to the Liberal platform release “at end of this week” (does this mean it’s not ready yet? – who called this election anyway?). I hope to God it is not called the Red Book.

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      Ron says:

      Mark has point talking about policies and right now all I’ve heard from the Liberal leader is “we will offer this or that” but nothing concrete.

      More to the point Iggy’s credibility has taken a hit specifically for not answering the coalition question when posed to him. Add to the fact that Harper answered the 04 question when posed to him, whether you agree or not, quickly and effectively.

      He didn’t dodge it and left it as well this is my answer.

      Iggy has not done that. Leaving it hanging and then changing and then answering a carefully crafted answer made him look stiff and thus untrustworthy.

      The CPC has painted him masterfully…no different than the secret agenda campaign in 2004

      What is Iggy going to do when he’s posed with:
      “You’ve been away for 30 years from this nation you love and all of sudden come back after being wined and dined? Only after your ego was stroked as the second coming of Trudeau” (Okay so I’m not as masterful as our resident spin doctor but hopefully you get the point)

      It’s coming…especially the whole me campaign they have going. Like I said last week, spoke to several friends who are Liberal supporters and even they say they don’t trust Ignatieff based on that fact alone.

      One more point (on a roll tonight)
      Saw a Liberal strategist on power play on Friday night say something to the effect of “Once people see Mr. Ignatieff they’ll realize he really is just a beer and hamburger kind of guy”

      I’m with Warren on this…who are the advisers and why attempt to portray him as that when the mood is definitely not that amongst the voters. Like WK wrote last week “he doesn’t connect with the majority of the voters” and that is a death nell for a politician

      WK – the hair thing…let it go buddy…just shows your experience and ahem maturity

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      Wayne says:

      Great points, Mark. But will anyone in Lib land listen? Their track record to date doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

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      Cat says:


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        Namesake says:

        Yeah, so they got their cover story straight, about what they were up to, like any organized thieves (of democracy, acc. to the new Harper, at least); so what?

        But even if it’s given an Orwellian neologism like “co-opposition accord,” it was still an organized attempt to usurp power from the sitting PM and give it to the, er, loser, to avoid another election so soon after the last one [just like in ’08], and — oops — even his former mentor, campaign director, and Chief of Staff, Tom Flanagan, concedes that it wasn’t just an empty threat (i.e., they were prepared to act on it), and the Conservative Senator-in-waiting breathlessly reported what his future colleagues told him at the time:

        “‘It is possible that you could change prime minister without having an election,” Mr. Duffy said on CTV on Oct. 5, 2004. ‘If you could put Stephen Harper — and this is some of the thinking of Conservatives — in 24 Sussex Drive, even for five or six months without an election, it would make the Conservative option much more palatable to Canadians because they’d see that they don’t have horns and a tail.'”


        It just didn’t get that far, since, unlike Harper, the Minority leader Martin was willing to change his mind on some of the the Opposition’s issues for the first few months, and also since, as I noted above (and as Wherry also brings up here), Layton backed out of their ‘co-opposition pact’ once he realized how bad it would be for the country to let the separatist Bloc and firewall Steve dismantle federal programs.


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      Ted says:

      Actually, I’d modify your comment a bit.

      They did well to raise it.

      Harper is not going to stop making stuff up about the coalition. However, now every article I read that mentions it, also mentions that Harper supported one when it was to his advantage. That’s better than giving him carte blanche.

      I actually don’t see the Liberals talking about this. They get asked and respond to it. And they have to. Iggy gaffed by not being prepared for the question on day 1 of the campaign. But thereafter he has been note-perfect, given that he is going to be asked about it and every evasion would compound the initial gaffe.

      When you have to face questions that you don’t want to, the best answers are ones that redirect without being evasive.

      As for income-splitting, it is good to call it not credible because it isn’t. Harper has tied so many strings to it – deficit must be gone, he has to win back to back majorities, your income gap must be enormous, your kids must be only a certain age, the Leafs must win the Cup, the Gardiner Expressway must be buried, etc. – that it fits perfectly into the Liberal messaging: families are not Harper’s priority when he gives you empty promises but gives profitable corporations billions. Oh, and Mr. Promise Breaker Say Anything Steve has already promised it a few times already!

      Couldn’t have asked for a better first volley from Harper. I’m really very surprised.

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        Mark in Ontario says:

        Thanks Ted for your comment, but I can’t agree. Maybe because Ignatieff wasn’t in Canada in 1993 and beyond so he doesn’t know that Liberal credibility on tax promises is nil, or he is not being shown the polls which show he is the least credible by far of all the leaders. Making it an issue of credibility between him and Harper is a loser strategy. Hurling insults at Harper isn’t going to change a thing in his favour. He has to be both respectful (remember, he wants to be PM, so he needs to show respect for the office) and PERSUASIVE.

        Ignatieff at Press Conference: “At last we are discussing issues that matter to Canadians, This is what this election campaign is about. I commend Mr Harper for his proposal to give a tax break to working families. Working families have been hit hard by the recession. I have said this all along. I also appreciate the need to control the deficit. You know how hard I have been on the Government for running up the deficit and giving the bill to our children and grandchildren to pay. But I have talked to many working families from coast to coast to coast. They need help now, not years from now. Under my plan, families with children under 18 will receive……per child starting immediately. This will help them to pay their bills and invest in the childrens’ education, including by taking advantage of RESPs. But it is important that we do this without increasing our deficit and debt. So to pay for this critical assistance, I will increase the marginal income tax rate for the wealthiest of Canadians, those making over $100,000, upwards by 1 percentage point. Once the deficit is eliminated, that rate will be lowered to the previous level. By so doing, the Government will raise $………, more than sufficient to pay for the Working Family Benefit which would cost the Treasury $……..”

        I am not saying it will work, but it will change the channel to issues that are important and will help lower the bitter partisan tone and the gratuitous insults that are turning voters off. If you are going to be labeled a tax-and-spender (the Liberal strategy seems to be to capture the NDP vote, not the Conservative vote) then you might as well go all in, saying “damn right, I am a responsible tax and spender, and all Canadians will benefit, not just the well-connected few!”

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    Ottlib says:

    He was for it before he was against it.

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    Sezme says:

    I’ll never understand why the ‘coalition issue’ gets as much traction as it does. Do people really care that much that a coalition of parties might form a working government? I sure don’t.

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