Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"This is the end, my only friend ... " Yeah, really Iggy?

More than 3½ years into Conservative rule, we've seen what has become the state of our economy with a minority right-wing government. Certainly, global circumstances have played a lot into the recession; but imagine what spot Canada would be in if Stephen Harper actually had a majority.
So when we hear that Canada may be going to the polls this fall just a year after the last election, I have to be a bit skeptical. Yes, Harper has to go but the Liberals had plenty of chances to bring down the government under Stéphane Dion and when Harper called an early election -- breaking his own law -- he took advantage of a hapless leader and complete falsehoods about the carbon tax even though nearly all living precedessors in the PMO supported the concept in principle.
When there was the possibility of a coalition government forming, Harper prorogued Parliament and the alliance essentially collapsed on its face.
Michael Ignatieff is a much more substantial leader than Dion but apart from a few isolated appearances he has been nearly quiet all summer, and he waits six days before Labour Day to finally announce enough is enough? Where has the Liberal Party leader been all summer? It's like he disappeared off the radar screen. And Harper can make hay of that by replaying the "just visiting" ads over and over.
Make no mistake, Harper will do whatever it takes to stay in power -- including lies, half-truths and innuendo -- and yes he will definitely take advantage of a vulnerable Governor General and prorogue Parliament before the next supply vote if the possibility exists. After all, the House of Commons need only sit once -- just once -- every twelve months. And a quorum consists of just 20 members out of 308. Just keep proroguing, make the House sit out in the cold, and wait until the fall of 2013 to call an election and all the while rule the country as a dictatorship relying on Governor General's Warrants for appropriations.
No excuses. If Harper is bent on making even a simple procedural vote a matter of confidence, then every single member of the opposition has to show up, every single day for all votes; and it takes just one to demand a vote to adjourn which must be immediately voted upon without debate under the Standing Orders. Make committee work grind down to a crawl by sticking to strict procedures rather than handshake agreements.
Or just sit out the government on a vote and let the bells ring and ring and ring (or chime, as they do nowadays) like the old PCs did back in 1983 on the Crow Rate issue. If it happens enough times, maybe that's what it will take for Harper to avoid the humiliation of a non-confidence vote and call a snap election. Canadians are cranky about the economy, and they will let their crankiness known with votes. So if Ignatieff is serious, he shouldn't even have to wait until a regular scheduled sitting -- he and the other opposition leaders should demand the Speaker recall the House of Commons early for an emergency debate and then strike.
At this rate, a Liberal-NDP alliance would be better than a Conservative minority that rules and acts as if they have a majority. My sense is if the vote is this fall, we'll have yet another minority one way or the other.

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Anonymous said...

"The secret weapon on our side is Stephen Harper's record," he (Ignatieff) said. "We can do better."


The problem with that statement is that Michael and the Liberals supported that record numerous times, even after talking tough in a similar fashion, only to backpeddle over and over. Sorry, Ignatieff and the Liberals own that "record", too.

Trying to say that you're going to be a better alernative to Harper only works if, you know, you actually don't act like him.

Platty said...

Yes please, Mr. Ignatieff..

CTV Poll

Who would you vote for in a possible fall election?

Conservatives 61%
Liberals 27%
NDP 7%
Other 6%

BlastFurnace said...

Was that an online poll? Because if it was, it's not scientific but designed to generate a desired response from those who want to answer the question the network wants them to.

Let's see what the real pollsters have to say what the mood is, with a random sample.

Jim Hunt said...

I vote both Liberal and conservative. Last time I voted for Dion. But this time I am voting for Harper because I think it is time that we give a PM a majority to see what he can do. Iggy is too American, too academic, and too Rosedale for my liking. No more minority governments!