NDP,Liberal Coalition Agreement; Setting the record straight

January 5, 2009

Better late than never  I suppose…

Although I have to say at the time when some blogger’s and journalist were spinning the NDP’s  coalition agreement with the Liberals, into a tale of opportunism,I for one never paid much attention  to the hype.

Preferring to hold my judgment ,at least until there was some tangible proof.Also I reasoned the benefits of an NDP/Liberal coalition government far out weighted the negatives.

That said I have to admit I was some what taken aback when Bill Tieleman joined the rush to judgment.In fact I felt a twinge of self-doubt.

Bill Tieleman wrote, “the NDP now faces the challenge of explaining to supporters why they were willing to jettison key 2008 election positions — like wanting Canadian troops out of Afghanistan….”

But what the hey everyone makes mistakes,even Bill ;o…

The mis-reporting of the NDPs’ position on Afghanistan stemmed from a statement by Thomas Mulcair, the deputy leader of the New Democrats. Brewster quoted Mulcair as saying, “The NDP is putting aside its differences that have existed historically with the Liberals on such issues as Afghanistan.”

Indeed  Afghanistan was not even mentioned any where in the agreement.

Read in isolation, the statement could seem ambiguous. Does “putting aside its differences” mean adopting the Liberal position or just agreeing-to-disagree?

The answer — that it’s an agreement-to-disagree — is found later, [...]

[...], Liberal finance critic Scott Brison is quoted as saying: “All three parties recognize the seriousness and as such we are putting aside our differences to focus on common ground.”

All said it’s nice to  know the NDP did not trade, in the currency of  cynicism.

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Damn Lawyers…

December 15, 2008

Always taking the fun out of the party,by reminding us of the small/fine print.

That’s lawyer talk for ,read and understand exactly what it is that your buying into before placing your John Henry on the dotted line,not after.

The always insightful Janice Switlo,comments on the coalition agreement between the Liberal Party the NDP and the BLOC,from a constitutional law perspective.

Never thought I would find myself arguing for more lawyers as members of parliament  but this Bloc-head move illustrates just how important constitutional lawyers are.

Coalition;Stick a fork in it,it’s done

December 8, 2008

Now that Liberal Leader Stephan Dion has resigned.It’s pretty much a forgone conclusion that the next leader of the party will be Mr. Ignatieff.

How the Liberals chose their leader might well be the question,but do they will,and sooner than later.It’s either close ranks/get one’s shit together or continue to appear weak & divided.

The Liberals know that they must get this done as soon as possible,which means before the House resumes sitting, January 26/2009.

What happens after that is anyone guess.

Although one thing is fairly certain,the coalition will not be an option.

The Liberals will find someway to work with the Conservatives,and or the Conservative’s will submit a budget that the Liberals can live with.Peas of a pod the only thing that matters is the  party. Either way the coalition is dead.Conservatives continue to govern,the Liberals buy time.

Time they desperately need,in order to re-build & re-organize their divided and demoralized party.

As much as I might wish for the Liberals to take the moral high ground and work with the NDP to hold the Conservatives to account,it’s not going to happen.The Liberal Party’s health or lack thereof is the main concern,the well being of ordinary Canadians and the economy are of secondary concern.That’s “life” that’s just the hard cold reality of Liberal politicking,its not called the “Big Red Machine” for nothing.

But hey we might all be surprised,although I for one,will not be holding my breath.

Well hallelujh

December 4, 2008

At least one conservative MP gets it,well mostly.

“We misread the situation and we’ve retracted those aspects of our update.”

“I think clearly the Conservatives . . . have been humbled by the turn of events in the last week.

“I think we as Conservatives need to understand we do not have a majority, and we therefore need to seek the support of opposition parties.”  Micheal Chong MP [ @ ]

I totally agree that the conservatives must work with and seek the support of the opposition parties.But that’s not what the Conservatives chose to do. After the fact policy retractions,not with standing…

Rather they have stepped-up the partisan rehetoric,using words such as treason and sedition to describe those parties that would work with the BLOC. Who are as you correctly point out…

Bloc Québécois members are duly elected by Canadian citizens, and he respects their right to represent their constituents, he said. [ @ ]

Sorry but there seems to be a disconnect between Harper’s words and his actions. Harper’s actions seem aimed at lessened the liklihood of cooperation,or building that support that you rightly point out,as being necessary.

In fact PM Harper is doing & saying everything possible,again policy retractions aside,to ensure that the opposition parties have no room to seek reconciliation even if they wished to do so.

The way I see it Harper is cutting off his nose despite his face.

After all the cons need the support of Quebec voters if ever they are to form a majority government.In fact the conservative party itself needs the support of Quebec voters to be considered a national player of any real consequence.

Indeed as the folk’s over at ‘The Galloping Beaver‘  suggest,Harper seems to have chosen to sacrificing  Quebec votes for partisan politics,a zero sum game.

The Conservatives are playing a fools game,their very actions are shoring up support for the coalition and making it quite palatable to boot…

Political analyst Josée Legault, a former political counsellor for PQ Premier of Quebec Bernard Landry, sees the attempt of a coalition as understandable, logical, and even necessary. For two reasons: the ideological choices of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who used the economic situation to impose a right-wing agenda; and an anti-democratic attack against the opposition parties, with the proposition to cut their subsidies. “How couldn’t the Bloc not understand that on these two aspects – fundamental ones, merci beaucoup – the interests of Quebec and Canada, for the first time in ages, are similar rather than opposed,” Legault writes.

And…

La Presse’s political columnist Vincent Marissal considers the Bloc to be the big winner of the deal. “So much, in fact, that if all this really happens, it will convince a few more Quebeckers that Canada is not that bad of a deal, after all,” he writes.

Included in the agreement: new subsidies for economic development programs, cancellation of the cuts in culture made by the Tories, improvements made to the federal employment insurance and a cap and trade system to reduce carbon emissions in the country. “In Quebec, we call this an agreement by compromise. Elsewhere in the country, especially in the West, they will call that a hold-up,” Marissal concludes.

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Coalition for Change

December 2, 2008

Stephen Harper failed Canada’s families when they needed it most. I demand better.

I’m supporting the Coalition for Change. The Coalition will deliver the economic stimulus we need to kick-start the economy. The Coalition will invest where we need it most – in people.

Sign petition here go party there

After all “whats good for the goose is good for the gander

The Ducks are lining up…

December 1, 2008

The liklihood of a Coalition government just got a whole lot more likely.

The Liberals and New Democrats signed an agreement on Monday to form an unprecedented coalition government, with a written pledge of support from the Bloc Québécois, if they are successful in ousting the minority Conservative government in a coming confidence vote….[ @ ]

All conservative rhetoric aside ,about coup d’etat’s and usurping democracy,the oppositions party’s are well within the rules of a parliamentarian democracy.

In fact the Conservatives themselves embarked down a very similar road back in 2004.

When along with the NDP and BLOC,(the same BLOC that Harper now accuses of wanting to destroy the country), the Conservatives led by Harper co-authored a letter to the Governor General.

The opposition leaders said the letter was an attempt to head off any attempt by Martin to hold a snap election in the hope of coming back with a majority.

“I would not want the prime minister to think that he could simply fail in the House of Commons as a route to another general election. That’s not the way our system works,” Harper said…[ @ ]

Basically the same argument that is now being voiced by the Liberals,NDP, and BLOC as they contemplate the consequences of a non-confidence vote Dec 8th.What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,as the saying goes.

Indeed a coalition government would be more inline with and better reflect the wishes of Canadian voters than the present Conservative government.In that Canadians have expressed on many occasions, that what they prefer,is more co-operation and less partisan politics.In fact Mr Harper campaigned on that very idea or at least gave the impression he would govern in a less confrontational/partisan manner.

But that was then (Nov 7)…

“We are not seeking confrontation in areas that are secondary to the economic focus of this government.”..[@]

This is now,”silly gullible”,voters.

The very nature of a coalition government demands co-operation and consensus building.

Another argument that can be made for the desirability of a coalition government.Is that it would reflect,more accurately,the votes of Canadians that are perpetually skewed by our “first past the post” system.Lest we fail to recall,62% of Canadians did not vote conservative,yet here we are.

Therefore the conservatives argument that the opposition party’s are acting against or counter to the wishes of the electorate,rings rather hollow.Again,particularly when when one factors in the Conservative/opposition coalition talks of 2004.

Harper has nobody to blame but himself,at a time when Canadians are looking for leadership ,Harper chooses to play political and ideological games. Times are strange indeed,when even the right-wing National Putz Post admits the obvious

Six weeks ago, the morning after Stephen Harper had been re-elected, I wrote that if he could find in himself the ability to acknowledge the legitimacy of other perspectives and to occasionally yield to them, he might one day become one of Canada’s great prime ministers [...]

What Harper and his sniggering advisors did last Thursday was craven, partisan and cheap. Instead of tabling an economic update that offered Canadians –at the very least — the comfort of knowing they have a steady hand on the wheel in uncertain times, the Conservatives delivered a political limpet mine…[@ ]

Also the argument that ridicules the notion of the BLOC Quebecois being part of a coalition/unity governments,should in fact be turned on its head and embraced.

Where else but in Canada would separatist put their differences aside to work for the greater good of all,not just themselves ? Indeed what an awesome opportunity to build bridges and unite Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

But then again,separatist rhetoric aside,the people of Quebec have always stood with Canada in the most part,they’re still here.Indeed the the majority of Quebecois support the idea of a coalition government,vive Quebec & Canada.

Quintessential Canadian

November 29, 2008

I can see the headline now,:Separatist join unity coalition”

If that,rather counter intuitive equation does not say more about what Canada is all about,than I do not know what does.

We squabble,we shout,what family doesn’t ? But in the end we do the right thing,we find a balance,we recognize the diversity that is Canada,we make it work.

Gawd I love this country,all three founding pillars of it,indigenous,francophone and anglo.The experiment continues…