03.25.2011 03:21 PM

Memo to Michael Ignatieff

TO: M.I.

FROM: W.K.

RE: ANSWER YOU SHOULD GIVE WHEN ASKED COALITION QUESTION

You should wave this news story around and say: “He’s full of crap.”  That should take care of it, and then you can talk about other stuff.

**

Text of Stephen Harper’s 2004 letter signed by Layton and Duceppe (FedElxn-Coalition-Let)
Source: The Canadian Press
Mar 25, 2011 15:54


OTTAWA _ The Harper government is warning that the Liberals will form a coalition with the “socialists and separatists” if the coming federal election results in a minority government. But when he was Opposition leader, Stephen Harper didn’t seem to mind the idea of governing with the support of the NDP and Bloc Quebecois. Here’s the text of a letter Harper and his fellow opposition leaders sent to the Governor General in 2004:

September 9, 2004

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson,

C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.

Governor General

Rideau Hall

1 Sussex Drive

Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A1

Excellency,

As leaders of the opposition parties, we are well aware that, given the Liberal minority government, you could be asked by the Prime Minister to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government’s program.

We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority.

Your attention to this matter is appreciated.

Sincerely,

Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.

Leader of the Opposition

Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

Gilles Duceppe, M.P.

Leader of the Bloc Quebecois

Jack Layton, M.P.

Leader of the New Democratic Party

INDEX: NATIONAL POLITICS

© 2011 The Canadian Press

 

 


82 Comments

  1. Philippe says:

    That’s what they would do to us in a millisecond. Calling them out on their hypocrisy, perfect.

    • Thor says:

      Fine, but why was he not ready for the question? Seriously. How do you NOT know that question is coming.? And they will keep asking. The letter won’t help though since the whole “A colaition if necessary, but not necessarily a coalition”, is what comes to mind everyntime the subject rendered. Just sayin.

  2. Sean says:

    The weird miscalculation with all the coalition talk is that Harper is in fact legitimising it as an option. He is running around the country telling everyone that the “choice” is Tory Majority or Coalition. If he misses his majority by one seat, Mulclair and Goodale are setting up transition teams on May 3rd. Believe it. However, Harper will no longer be able to say “this isn’t what the people voted for”. His own strategy will have proven that this is EXACTLY what they voted for. This may be a more dangerous gamble than they realise.

  3. You are wrong Warren.

    Stephen Harper was wrong in 2004. Two wrongs don’t make it right.

    In 2004 the Liberals lost popular support in every region? The combined seats on NDP+CPC were 118 vs 135 Liberals so it was WRONG for our PM to sit down and invite the separatists to the table. (Full stop).

    In 2008 the CPC gained from 2006 Canadians were rewarding them and the Liberals suffered their worst defeat in 150 years in popular support.

    The situation is not exactly the same but I am against any deal involving the Bloc for stability in Federal politics.

    • Brian says:

      Does opposition to “any deal” include one with concessions by the BQ to federalists on the sovereignty issue?

      • My preference is for ALL Federal parties is to fight against the Bloc as the greatest threat to Canada. The Bloc picked up 57% of the seats in QC with 38.1% of the popular vote. A democratic rebalancing of seats to Ontario, BC and Alberta would fix the problem. Why did the Liberals and NDP block it as directed by the Bloc?

    • Pete says:

      Keep skating to the middle of the lake….it has melted there.

  4. The Doctor says:

    Warren, I absolutely agree with you that that letter is potentially embarrassing to the Conservatives. But that’s on a logical level, and as you well know, election campaigns are not exactly won or lost on the basis of one party besting the other in a debate consisting of Vulcan-like logic. Election campaigns are largely based on emotion and big ideas and concepts that grab our hearts as much as our minds.

    The LPC has to walk a fine line here — if they harp (no pun intended) too much on this letter and spend too much time addressing and discussing this coalition issue, then arguably they are keeping the conversation pretty much where the Conservatives want it to be, i.e., on the topic of the coalition.

    I guess you’re right, though, that at least it has the potential to knock the CPC off of its talking points for a bit.

    Still, I agree with what Andrew Coyne, in his blog today, said about this issue. It is a big problem for the LPC, if the LPC braintrust has any brains at all they should have foreseen this, and there is probably no deus ex machina that’s going to come along and make it disappear as an issue.

    This is reflective of an overall problem I see with the LPC approach to this election: a lot of hard-core LPC supporters seem to think that they’re somehow entitled to have an election fought on the issues that they consider to be important, and they seem to be miffed and outraged when people want to talk about stuff that Liberal supporters don’t want to talk about. That’s just a bad attitude to go into an election campaign with. Reminds me of Susan Delacourt’s point that WK approvingly linked to earlier today: politicians don’t determine the ballot issue, voters do.

    • Michael Bussiere says:

      But is trust not always the main issue in any election? Platforms, policies, experience mean nothing is trust is no longer present. Trust is the basis of all relationships including ours with our politicians. Trust.

      • The Doctor says:

        Huey Long was a snake in the grass and most everyone in Louisiana loved him anyway and voted for him in droves. Look at Berlusconi in Italy. Are you sure about that?

        • nic coivert says:

          Huey Long had a personality, and Berlusconi may have one too -even if it is in his pants, Harper has neither (ie. nothing in his pants) and he’ll never be a populist. Harper is doomed by his own dull exterior to be a minority PM. After this election it will be up to the CPC as to what to do with this egomaniac who can’t get a majority.

          • The Doctor says:

            Hey, I was just responding to MB’s assertion that trust is always THE main issue in election campaigns. I beg to differ. I could give lots of other examples other than the ones I gave. E.g., lots of people in BC didn’t vote for Gordon Campbell because they trusted him; they just didn’t want the NDP getting anywhere near the chequebook. Lots of people in Quebec vote purely along sovereigntist/federalist lines; it really has zero to do with trust. And so on.

            I totally agree, though, that Harper is not Mr. Charisma — at the risk of gross understatement.

  5. Nasty Bob says:

    I’d waive the letter and say ” just another example of Harper Gov’t Hypocrisy ……No different than the hypocrisy of promising accountability but treating parliament with contempt….No different than the hypocrisy of promising financial responsibility and then running up a record deficit….No different than the hypocrisy of promising to clamp down on lobbyists and then creating loopholes and looking the other way for their friends…. No different from…etc etc.

  6. As I wrote recently:

    The 2004 document is a far cry from the formal, official coalition proposed by Liberals-NDP and supported by written contract by the Bloc to support the Liberal-NDP coalition on confidence motions for 18 months. Cooperation between parties, as suggested in 2004, is a time honoured tradition in Canada, but is not a coalition in the formal sense as was envisioned by the opposition in 2008—far from it.

    Neither Jack Layton nor any of his caucus were guaranteed a seat at PM Stephen Harper’s cabinet table and the NDP caucus was not invited to sit side by side in the House of Commons.

    If Canadians wanted socialists and separatists to control key cabinet posts and directly influence government policy, they’d vote to put them there. I believe a very large percentage of Canadians would worry enough about the quid pro quo of such a coalition that they’d vote in a way to avoid the chance of its formation.

    • Pete says:

      Answer one question..if the GG had responded postively to the 2004 letter would harpercrite have seized the day and taken over the government……..you know that answer.

      HARPER IS A LIAR AND A HYPOCRITE

      • R U Kiddingme says:

        A letter to the GG reminding her that the opposition would be willing to govern in the event the governing party could not is not even close the hidden agenda tactics of Dion, Deceppe and Layton in 2008 or the Liberal planned tactic this time around.

        That letter was written in the event the then-Liberal minority government of Paul Martin lost an early confidence vote in the House. That’s how parliament is supposed to work. And for the record there is nothing preventing a coalition either – its the way Liberals do it. They don’t get their way, so they pitch a fit.

        Liberals (in cahoots with separatists) back room tactics are far more egregious than a letter reminding the GG that there is an alternative to calling an (another) election.

        Of course, Liberals always see wasting $300-400 million dollars to get their hands back on the public purse, by any means, as their natural governing right!

  7. George says:

    Note to Ignatieff – quit with the visuals and oh, yes, you’re a Liberal not a democrat.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okrouXVANsM

    • Did you think this would end any other way?

      Conservatives want the Liberals to talk to Canadians about their wonderful ideas. I am confident what the voter will do as a result.

  8. JStanton says:

    Or, Mr. Ignatieff could simply decline to play Mr. Harper’s game. Why should he have to justify something of Mr. Harper’s invention?

    The parliamentary coalition methodology practiced within the Westminster system for centuries is available to Canadian political leaders should they choose. Mr. Harper’s coalition fairy tale is much like so many he continues to tell – a product simply of his own narrow, limited and self-centered opinion.

    Fortunately, as Ms. Delacourt reports, saner, non-partisan heads are gaining control of the coalition discourse, in order to prevent the perpetuation of Mr. Harper’s demagoguery.

    http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/article/961926–ignore-what-canadians-politicians-say-about-a-coalition-government

    .

    • The Other Jim says:

      This is not something of Harper’s invention.

      The 2008 coalition attempt, while certainly constitutional, was unprecedented in the Westminster system. I am not opposed to coalition governments, but was deeply opposed to what the Liberals/NDP/Bloc attempted to pull in 2008. I wasn’t alone, and its no coincidence that Harper was at his most popular during the coalition crisis and its immediate aftermath. You can dismiss such viewpoints as narrow and limited, however many Canadians had grave concerns and legitimate opposition to what the coalition attempted to do.

  9. Phil says:

    Canadians, indeed the world, have seen the devastating consequences of socialist governments. There is no way in hell Canada will not give the Conservatives at least a minority, if not an outright majority, before letting an NDP-Lib government in. Add the separatist Bloc to the equation? Are you guys kidding me? #MASSIVEFAIL

    • smelter rat says:

      Brilliant Phil. Did you write that on your own, or did your Mom help you?

    • Sean says:

      If the Tories get anything less than a majority, that means Canadians intentionally voted for a Coalition of the other three parties. How do we all know this? Stephen Harper said so.

      • Pete says:

        COALITIONS ARE LEGAL..READ THE 2004 LETTER AGAIN

        • The Other Jim says:

          Who is arguing otherwise?

        • R U Kiddingme says:

          Coaltions are legal.

          The sneaky, underhanded, devious way that the Liberal caucus went about it in 2008 is what galls people.

          What also galls them is, when asked about it, Liberals get a band of hecklers to try to ridicule the inquisitor – as they did yesterday.

  10. Stuart says:

    I keep cringing when I watching the weaving and the dodging around this issue by MI. Surely somebody who is advising him can see the optics of how this is playing out on TV? He’s just so damned smug and assured that he’s right and everyone else should stop asking the question. Answering with “Ha ha, no because we’ll win a majority” is just an insult.

    The question is being asked because real people have some concerns about the idea of a government being propped up by a pact with the Bloq and as constitutional as it may be, it just doesn’t play out as democratic that a party that won fewer seats is the government. Those are the gorillas in the room. And they need to be dealt with, not danced around.

    I don’t think pointing out Harper’s hypocrisy is the right angle though. They don’t want to hear: “Well, Harper tried it too”. Harper’s an ass and not a role-model anyone should be using. They just want to feel their concerns are being understood.

    If it was me, I’d just say no. But then if it was me, there wouldn’t be an election right now. I still don’t get why there is one. Harper didn’t just suddenly become uncooperative this month and if he gets another minority mandate like it’s looking then he’s not going to get any better. If anything he’ll be worse.

    I still don’t know who I’m going to be voting for this time around. Last time it was Liberal, the time before that NDP. Of course living in Calgary my decision doesn’t really matter to anyone but me. But it does matter to me.

  11. Harvey Martin says:

    And after he follows your very good advice, how about he says this: “A coalition is the last thing on my mind. Over the next six weeks, I’ll be trying to put the NDP and Bloc out of business!” It has the advantage of being totally true.

    Beyond that, Iggy should read Andrew Coyne’s fine piece on today’s McLean’s website. There have been plenty of minority governments (including Harper’s) that have governed without a formal coalition. Iggy should simply say that if the Tories get the most seats, they get first opportunity to prove they have the confidence of the House. If they fail, then the Liberals will get their shot – and that doesn’t require a coalition of any kind.

    • PoliticalPundit says:

      Beautifully stated!

      Why are the Liberal advisors so inept on this basic issue of Canad’s parliamentary system?

      This should be relatively easy for Mr. Ignatieff!

      See my post below

  12. leeky says:

    Ignatieff couldn’t have been more evasive in that last interview when asked about a coalition. He’ll be lucky if he doesn’t lose his own seat.

    • Jan says:

      And if Harper gets another minority how is he planning on governing without seeking support from at least one of the dreaded enemy parties?

  13. ghoris says:

    In the post-vote scrums, the press were all over Ignatieff on the coalition question. He hemmed and hawed and dissembled, and everyone kept pressing him for an answer. Ralph Goodale also turned in a similar performance, with “Pipsqueak” Pierre Poilievre sniping at him to “answer the question Ralph”. I am shocked that the Liberal war room has apparently not come up with a response to this issue. They had to have known it was coming.

    Whatever the line is (and regrettably, given the way the media went at Ignatieff this afternoon on the issue, I don’t think that Warren’s suggestion will be sufficient), they need to be able to give a straight answer, pronto, or the media will not let this one go and it will overwhelm all coverage of the Liberal campaign.

    • smelter rat says:

      @ghoris…Bullshit. He was unequivocal.

      • JenS says:

        My recollection is that he used the word “unequivocal” but I couldn’t figure out what he was “unequivocal” about. And I say that as someone who would be OK with it if the answer was, “If need be, we’ll look at a coalition.” He needs to answer the question, and, if the answer is what his emming and ahhing make it seem like it is, he needs to do it in a way that takes the fear out of the idea, because frankly, coalitions are not the great scare the Cons have led people to believe they are. But I don’t know how you sell that at this point in Canadian political history, because it’s been distorted beyond recognition. The Cons haven’t let the facts get in the way of a good story, and, sadly, people have bought it wholesale.

      • ghoris says:

        In what universe is this an ‘unequivocal’ answer: “I’m in politics, I’ve been a Liberal since I was 17, it’s in my veins…I’m here with this team of proud Canadians to create a Liberal alternative to the Conservative government. Let me make it more clear, if you vote for the NDP, if you vote for the Greens, if you vote for the Bloc, you’ll get more of this…and Canadians are saying ‘enough'”

        When pressed further, all he could offer was “I’ve answered that question in the past.” and “Any democratic politician, any democratic politician…and I’m a democrat right to the bottom of my feet to the tops of my toes [sic] respects the verdict of the people.” Yep, crystal clear all right.

        I’m sure every single, solitary member of the news media, who are all saying Ignatieff ducked the question (yes, even the Star) would *love* to hear Ignatieff’s “unequivocal answer”. So please, enlighten us all, o great sage.

    • Pete says:

      Why should Iggy say anything now? he is smart to waffle for a bit to see what hypocritical tactic harper tries and then he can level him with one punch, figuratively of course.

  14. Bruce the Painter says:

    Personally, I think Ignatieff should give voters some credit. We all know that a rehash of the current parliament would never last for even a month. So inevitably, a coalition is coming – we all know it. As a Liberal, I’d like to see Ignatioeff own up to at least the possibility of this happening, He could paint it as a less desirable option or whatever. But at least get out in front of this thing and put it to bed. Move on. There are many voters who understand that with the new reality of the Bloc, its never going to be like in the 80’s where you can leverage Quebec into a majority. Aint gonna happen. So, I think our leader has to start acting a bit more Prime Ministerial by acknowledging at least that possibility. We aren’t stupid.

    • JenS says:

      Yes, I agree. I think I get what he was getting at — that his goal is a majority, so a coalition is a non-starter — but he answered it badly. The answer, at this point, ought to have been in his back pocket. It’s not like it was a surprising question.

  15. Cat says:

    Iggy handing over that letter wouldn’t (shouldn’t) cut it with journalists WK because he’s still not answering the questions being asked of him which are of HIS intentions and where HE stands looking forward. I wouldn’t settle for that if I were a savvy media pundit.

    What was worse about his answers was his on machinations and ways of presenting his answer. Lots of fodder there for something but still not the answer to the questions posed to him.

  16. Tiger says:

    That doesn’t actually answer the question, or settle the issue — which is that Harper’s saying it’s Tory majority or bust.

    But I suppose WK’s point is that that isn’t the point — the point is to punch back, demonstrate toughness, and muddy the waters.

  17. Stewart says:

    Graham:
    We’d have a hell of cushion if we hadn’t had the Equalization (ie Confiscation) Program for the last number of years.

  18. hugger says:

    Note to Ipsos, Mr. Graves called.

    Cons 35.3 per cent , Liberals 28.1 per cent, NDP 14.2 per cent , Green Party 10.6 per cent , Bloc Quebecois 9.7 per cent.

  19. Chubsy Ubsy says:

    I beg to differ, graham watt. I think Canadians are a relatively smart bunch…and Harper’s counting on it.

  20. fritz says:

    The new Ekos poll numbers are out and they show a slight difference from the Ipsos/Reid poll numbers from just this morning.
    Ekos CPC-35.3% — LPC-28.1% — NDP-14.2% — BQ- 9.7% — Green-10.5%
    I/R CPC-43% — LPC-24% — NDP-16% — BQ-10% — Green-6%

    Whew; I guess we can start breathing again.

    BTW; does anyone really think the BC numbers in are really:
    CPC-50% — LPC-22% — NDP20% –Green-7%

    • Al in Cranbrook says:

      Yep, those numbers for BC are pretty consistent with previous polling heading into elections…indeed, just about dead on, including for the CA and Reform.

      Only place Libs have hope in hell is downtown Vancouver, and it’s a very slim hope. Keith Martin’s riding will go CPC. Rest of the province will go mostly CPC, with a few NDP wins scattered about.

    • The Doctor says:

      Bear in mind those BC numbers reflect a lot of rural/interior ridings, which are already and always in the bag for the CPC, with massive margins of victory. So it accomplishes very little in terms of seat gains or losses, which is the name of the game in our FPTP system. Same with massive CPC leads in Alberta and Sask. The far more important number in BC is what’s going on in the Lower Mainland, and particularly of course in the swing ridings there (e.g., Vancouver South, Richmond, maybe even Quadra if the CPC run a really good campaign, though I personally doubt it).

  21. fritz says:

    Gord I just know your just waiting to tell us they were all hard core Liberals & Dippers; not a Tory in the bunch. 🙂

  22. Mark in Ontario says:

    How many Cabinet seats did Harper promise Layton in 2004? Zero. How many years did the Bloc promise to prop up the 2004 “Coalition”? Zero. Did the 2004 letter say that the Coalition would be beneficial to both Canadians and Quebeckers, as though these are different? No. Had Harper in 2004 just promised to resign as leader of his party and call for a leadership race? No.

    There is no comparison whatsoever between the 2008 Coalition Pact and the 2004 Harper/Layton/Duceppe letter reminding The GGof Parliamentary practice since the King-Byng affair of 1926.

    The 2008 Coalition was a colossal blunder and of course the Conservatives will do their utmost to make them pay. The Liberals would do the exact same thing if things were reversed. Igantieff and the Liberals are truly euchred on this one.

    BTW, JD Bellavance hintedon Power Play tonight that there is a La Presse CROP poll for Quebec coming out tomorrow which show the NDP at 20% in Quebec and the Liberals “at half that”. If it’s true that the Liberals are at 10% in Quebec, then it will be a shellacking to use Warren’s and Obama’s word.

    • PoliticalPundit says:

      This is crap!

    • fritz says:

      Poll results from today for Quebec;
      Ekos: CPC 18.5%, LPC 18%, NDP 12.8%, BQ 39.7% Green 8.6 %
      I/R: CPC 25%, LPC 18%, NDP 13%, BQ 41% Green 3%
      So a new poll from CROP is coming out saying the NDP is at 20% and LPC at 10% proves what?
      Is it that the Liberals are about to go the way of the PC party or is that polls are all over the map at the moment and it will be a few weeks before we really have any idea what the real story is going to be in this election. I’ll take option number two.

      BTW:Why; after government fall do TV networks and other media always do streeters that ask people if they approve of the election being called? I can’t remember anyone ever saying ‘yeah that’s a good thing we really needed an election now’. Even if they did find someone who said that they wouldn’t show it as it wouldn’t back up the narrative they were pushing. It’s just like those stories they do on the price of gas going up They never show anyone saying that they think, considering the environmental cost of low gas prices, we are paying a fair price for gas Never happens.

    • Philip says:

      I find it really amusing how suddenly there are degrees of Coalition now. “Now” being whenever Harper’s 2004 coalition agreement is brought up. If parliamentary coalitions are inherently evil, as suggested by Conservatives, then Harper’s coalition agreement in 2004 is also evil. Whether it is a lesser or greater evil it would still remain evil, if Conservatives are being honest with themselves.

  23. hugger says:

    Look up Gord. Look way up. You and your message are really Rusty.

  24. PoliticalPundit says:

    Ignatieff has to declare that Harper’ coalition bogeyman is sheer contempt of Canada’s constititional democracy.
    Harper is denying the democratic rights of Canadian voters by saying that only his Party can form a government if voters opt for another minority.

    This is pure demagoguery!

    Harper should not be allowed to undermine democracy by making up his very own self-serving Republican version.

    By the way, Harper’s letter to the GG should be posted at the entrance to every polling station!

  25. JH says:

    Waving that story around WK and falling back on ancient history – just brings up the opportunity to talk about, Sponsership, Adscam, Shawinigate and Gomery. And please don’t mention Mr. Gagliano
    Not sure that’s a good stategy

  26. Mandos says:

    Graham:
    We’d have a hell of cushion if we hadn’t had the Equalization (ie Confiscation) Program for the last number of years.

    And that, of course, is what this is all about from the point of view of the Western Alien: convincing the rest of the country to slit their own throats. Because Albertans worked so hard to put all those dinosaurs in the ground and even harder not to charge a fair royalty or to have more than a one-party province…

    • hugger says:

      That wasn’t one of your better BSing efforts. I was amused by your having decided that Despot Danny was suddenly quotable. The enemy of my enemy eh Gord?

      Again singing the praises of the Tar sands while throwing darts at NEP. Does the hypocrisy ever end?
      You have yet to figure out which of the two prairie prov. will realize more return from the oil too it appears. When Alberta’s wells are sucking dust, Saskatchewan will be watching the black gold flow

    • Mandos says:

      Friendly hint. This argument clearly identifies the problem: oilcos. Or did I wake up to a world in which the Saudi Royal Family hasn’t been raking it in all these years…

      The global crisis: brought to you by unfettered capitalism. Austerity is bust.

  27. Dude Love says:

    The Liberals petition to form a coalition from 2008 is available here: http://milnewsca.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/081204_petition_liberal.pdf

    Ignatieff’s signature is on the last page.

  28. reformatory says:

    The conservatives are idiots for bastardizing commonwealth parliamentary traditions and somehow balkanizing the idea of coalition gov’t. Susan Delacourt has a great response with a follow-up article as advice on this subject. In the meantime.. constitutional experts in this country need to start weighing in a setting the record straight so that the media can stop their rant and excessive prodding on this issue. Once the constitutional experts weigh in.. most Canadians should be clear and all politicians should respect those traditions. In the meantime during the first few days of the campaign.. MI should write an extensive letter to the editorial board of board of all major newspapers .. and set the record straight as well as the Liberal party position. Then for the rest of the campaign, any journalist who asks can be politely referred to that editorial or reminded of the advice from constitutional experts. If Harper brings it up.. he will look like a fool and be exposed with distorting the truth and the traditions of our parliamentary democracy.

    • The Other Jim says:

      Can you please provide some examples of said traditions? Specifically, can you cite examples in which the party that obtained the plurality of seats was not part of the coalition?

      The only relevant example that I can think of (and I’m no expert, so please jump in) would be the Peterson/Rae accord of 1985, but that did not actually bring any NDP members in cabinet. The situation was also quite unique in that the Liberals received a greater percentage of the popular vote than the Tories did and the seat gap was minimal (four or five, I believe). It wasn’t remotely close to the situation in 2008.

      The only “tradition” of coalitions in the Canadian or British system that I’m aware of involves times of crisis and war. All of those situations included the party with the greatest number of seats (as does the current UK government). So, again, please detail this tradition that the Tories are idiots and fools for ignoring.

      • reformatory says:

        @the Other Jim

        A Prime Minister is not the Prime Minister because citizens elect them in any commonwealth democracy. They must have the respect, support and confidence of the house. In any minority situation the key word is cooperation… something both Joe Clark and Steve Harper did not and do not get. Why does it bother you if Liberals are better than Conservatives at cooperating? You need to get over it.

        In the UK, Gordon Brown was the first to have the opportunity to try to cooperate and earn the confidence of the house.. when he lost the election. Only when he was not able too… was Cameron asked to take over. If a sitting PM loses confidence, and not enough time since a general election has elapsed.. the Governor General would be asked to weigh in and in most instances they would seek the leader of the opposition to try to form the gov’t instead of going to a general election. The notable and out of the ordinary exception was Harper who was afraid to face the house….prorogued. That was a gift from above! and against normal convention. Now something tells me you don’t need this lesson.. you are just trying to spin for your own personal reasons. Stop the bias, put on the clarity lens and look at constitutional precedent and tradition. If that fails.. look more closely at the intentions of Harper in 2004 and you might get what he was trying to do and see the light.

        • The Other Jim says:

          Sigh. Yes, because I disagree with you, I must be spinning it for partisan reasons. It couldn’t be that I just think that the coalition was a clear subversion of what Canadian voters wanted.

          I will ask this again. Please provide an example in any commonwealth democracy in which a similar coalition occurred.

          In 2008, the Tories increased their popular vote and seat count. The Liberals decreased in both areas. This swing in voter intentions differs notably from Ontario ’85, UK ’74, or Canada ’25 in which the governing party saw significant declines in both areas. The Canadian public, given the opportunity to support the Dion-led Liberals, instead rewarded them with their lowest percentage of seats in modern times. Can you cite any examples of such a party governing a country mere weeks after an election?

          The Conservatives achieved a plurality of seats, one that was short of a majority but significantly larger than that of the second place party. Please provide me with an example in any commonwealth democracy in which a party holding only 25% of the seats in the house attained power.

          The coalition relied on formal support from a separatist party. Not issue-by-issue pragmatic compromise, but an outright alliance with a party that wishes to destroy our country.

          Finally, when asked about the possibility of a coalition government during the election, Dion categorically ruled it out. Shamelessly breaking that promise in his thirst for power further de-legitimatized the entire process.

          So, please, instead of attacking my motives and insulting me, just answer the question and provide a comparable example.

          • reformatory says:

            How convenient you attempt to suede conversations back to your talking points. You forgot to refer to Harper 2004, you forgot to mention Brown most recently in the UK, and you seem to presume if an example is not sited then it is not plausible? What was suggested was perfectly within the parameters of a constitutional framework. Can you find me a credible unbiased constitutional expert that would disagree with me? Ahhhh.. I thought not. Now back to Harper.. are you willing to admit he suggested the same in 2004? and last…. who’s fault is it that the house lost confidence in the PM so early after the election? That’s right.. don’t be afraid to say it! now even if an example might or might not have occurred that was similar… a fact is a fact… the house lost confidence very early after an election. It happened.. why.. I’ll let you answer that… then as any constitutional expert would agree.. the balls in the GG’s court and a coalition would be very plausible… unless one is afraid to face the house and allow democracy to function. ZAP you’re it, and when you respond… don’t forget to reply about Harper 2004 coalition suggestion, and the UK Brown scenario where he was asked first to try and seek cooperation. You may require en elementary civics lesson…. A mandate is not earned by citizens. Citizens choose members… and the composition of a parliament that must cooperate and form a gov’t. Perhaps Harper needs some remediation on this matter. How can we support a PM that does not know or accept this? and you seem to be of the same cloth? If this is your belief.. there are other blogs where you can find like minded people and you can float your boat over there.. and you’ll get much less disagreement. You would be happier there.. in your own world.. where there would be lots of shoveling of ideas, where no experts would ever agree with you.. and you’d go on feeling fabulous about your ideas that make no sense at all and are not in any way a reflection of reality or the truth. Just a thought.

          • reformatory says:

            “It couldn’t be that I just think that the coalition was a clear subversion of what Canadian voters wanted”.

            Wrong again.. please don’t attempt to think what Canadians do or do not want. When a gov’t forms a minority.. that means the majority of Canadians disagree with their ideas. That means they want cooperation. The general consensus of any coalition in any county has been overwhelmingly positive. People generally like when their elected politicians cooperate to get things done.

            Can I school you on another “convention” that PM Steve has not followed? It’s the tradition that a PM rises above the partisan fray and he leads and guides all parliamentarians and Canadians in general towards the common good. He or she is a consensus builder. They are no longer a politician but a statesman and a public servant. All things STEVE is not too good at. Look I don’t think too many people are opposed to the idea of the CPC. They just reject the dude at the help. I would bet you dollars to donuts that if a Jim Prentice took the helm… you’d see way less polarizing.. and plenty more people warming up. A majority would be plausible under somebody like that… just not the dude you’re supporting now.

          • reformatory says:

            “Finally, when asked about the possibility of a coalition government during the election, Dion categorically ruled it out. Shamelessly breaking that promise in his thirst for power further de-legitimatized the entire process.”

            Do you want me to spare you the embarrassment of me mentioning all the Harper promises or statements that he shamelessly broke or abandoned on his quest to become or try to gain a majority. He has attempted to practically become the LPC in his quest… problem is.. there is only one real Mccoy. I’ll spare you the examples though.. I’m not mean. I do have some pity on “New Conservatives”

          • reformatory says:

            I’m also not “attacking” your motives… I’m “exposing” them. If that insults you.. it is not of my doing!

          • The Other Jim says:

            I have repeatedly said that the attempted coalition was constitutional. There is no doubt about that. It was also wrong and anti-democratic. The only person spinning here is you, which is clear by your repeated attempts to paint me as a CPC supporter. I’m not and, now that the Liberals have categorically ruled out pursuing such a coalition again, I’m quite inclined to cast my ballot in their direction.

            Citing Brown was unnecessary because of its similarities with Ontario in 1995. The parties were extremely close in terms of seats and popular votes and the governing party suffered significant loses in both tallies. There is no comparison between UK ’10 and Canada ’08.

            I am well aware of elementary civics, as I’m sure that you’re equally aware of how television, increased power of the party leaders, and general apathy of the Canadian public have muddied the waters forever in terms of “who we are electing”. A significant portion of voters in any riding are unable to name their MP or MPP. Millions of Canadians will cast their vote based on national and leadership decisions, not the quality of their local representatives.

            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.

          • 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?

      • reformatory says:

        it’s also not politically correct to refer to them as “tories”. They are Conservatives or ” Harper’s Team”. Take your pick.. since the reform swallowed the PC’s .. most of the tories left and joined the Liberals or left altogether. I don’t think the grassroots Reform activists in the party appreciate the tag. Just my 2 cents.

  29. Herta says:

    I attended a workshop today…about 40 people. The facilitator decided to ask everyone to “vote” – i.e. throw a ballot into a basket just to see what the result would be. Guess what…overwhelmingly a vote for the Liberals. Now, I will say that most of those in the room were women….but, interesting just the same.

    • Pete says:

      I have just come back from Alberta where I attended a large dinner and the mood best expressed was that Harper has been a disappointment…will they vote against him? I got the feeling more will vote for others or abstain.

  30. Jan says:

    You should start your own polling company, Gord, with that talent for data collection.

  31. The Other Jim says:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/second-reading/silver-powers/guiding-principles-for-a-coalition/article1573071/

    This article may have been previously cited, but it certainly provides some food for thought.

  32. reformatory says:

    @the Other Jim

    A Prime Minister is not the Prime Minister because citizens elect them in any commonwealth democracy. They must have the respect, support and confidence of the house. In any minority situation the key word is cooperation… something both Joe Clark and Steve Harper did not and do not get. Why does it bother you if Liberals are better than Conservatives at cooperating? You need to get over it.

    In the UK, Gordon Brown was the first to have the opportunity to try to cooperate and earn the confidence of the house.. when he lost the election. Only when he was not able too… was Cameron asked to take over. If a sitting PM loses confidence, and not enough time since a general election has elapsed.. the Governor General would be asked to weigh in and in most instances they would seek the leader of the opposition to try to form the gov’t instead of going to a general election. The notable and out of the ordinary exception was Harper who was afraid to face the house….prorogued. That was a gift from above! and against normal convention. Now something tells me you don’t need this lesson.. you are just trying to spin for your own personal reasons. Stop the bias, put on the clarity lens and look at constitutional precedent and tradition. If that fails.. look more closely at the intentions of Harper in 2004 and you might get what he was trying to do and see the light.

  33. 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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