Thursday, December 4, 2008

"When a government starts trying to cancel dissent or avoid dissent is when it's rapidly losing its moral authority to govern"

Wise words, spoken by none other than Stephen Harper on April 18, 2005. Can a single Conservative really say that if there was a Liberal PM today under similiar circumstances that you would be applauding the Governor General's decision to allow the porogation of the House of Commons? Thanks to the Harper-Jean precedent (which Harper is SOLELY responsible for and never should have forced the GG to choose between two troubling precedent setting choices) that day is much more likely to come under a future PM who doesn't wish to test the confidence of the House. At least I will remain consistent should that day come, but I trust the Conservatives will be about as consitent with their statements and past positions as Stephen Harper has been throughout this whole crisis. In the end for Conservatives it's all about putting Stephen Harper and the Conservative cabinet minister's jobs before everyone else's.

Stephen Harper still doesn't enjoy the confidence of the House of Commons. These petitions signed by every MP from the opposition parties delivered TODAY to the Governor General clearly demonstrate that. These MPs must hold together. If there was no coalition waiting in place then Harper would never have backed down on his fiscal update. If divisions start to form Harper will make NO or very minimal concessions on his budget. And in the end if his budget doesn't reflect the policies that 62% of Canadians voted for and represent a DRAMATIC departure from what was in his fiscal update then he should be brought down and replaced. I don't expect him to do that because it's not in his character and Harper has completely betrayed the trust of all opposition MPs. But Harper is gambling that this opposition will crumble or cower away.

For all the talk of "belt tightening" a large sum of taxpayer money was spent on this past session of Parliament to be the least productive in Canadian history and accomplish absolutely NOTHING. I imagine Conservatives are proud of how they "put the opposition in a corner" on this one though and are hoping that millions spent on ads over the next few weeks will help Canadians forget how much they are interested in preserving their own power than doing what Parliamentarians are supposed to do.

But we shouldn't give in to his strong arm tactics, the man has shown a complete lack of respect for the Parliament Canada elected and to let his get away with it all and come back stronger to laugh at the success of his gamesmanship later (which will happen if he passes a budget with very minimal concessions) is not in the best interests of this country and nor is it the best solution for this economic crisis that Canadians most want their Parliamentarians to deal with right now.

Canadians could have had a budget and response to the fiscal crisis before the end of this month. Harper instead wants them to wait two months when people need help NOW.

Canadians could have had a government that brought in common and economically sound policies 62% of Canadians voted for. It appears they won't get that before the New Year, but it is my hope they still will.

This is justice delayed, let it not be justice denied.

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janfromthebruce said...

So Danielle, if every MP signed it, than why was the liberal MP from Guelph saying he doesn't support it? He put his name to the petition, so how much can anyone trust this guy?

Danielle Takacs said...

Jan we've had our debates in the past but Stephen Harper is desperately hoping that Liberals and NDPers start turning on each other now and that the coalition falls apart. I hope NDPers don't think this is the time to start pointing fingers at Liberals, it's time to hold together.

Frank Valeriote is actually someone who advocates a uniting of the left wing parties, not just a coalition. I know he is actually supportive of the coalition, but is also a very conciliatory MP and would like to see a resolution to the impasse for the betterment of all Canadians, I think the intent of his remarks were twisted a bit.

But if the coalition holds together until the next confidence vote and the coalition is still prepared to bring down the government I would be surprised if Valeriote didn't go along with it. I trust him, so should you. I hope we can keep our guns on Harper while Parliament is away rather than turning them on each other.

Geekwad said...

As a bitter and cynical leftist, I think of the three extreme options of unconditional prorogue, unconditional change of government, and an election, the least evil choice was selected. I am disappointed that the GG could not arrive at a compromise position. But then I laugh; compromise? With Harper?

I think the GG is bound to consider SH's claim to be PM to be completely valid until a confidence vote says otherwise. That being the case it would have alarmed me (and yet elated me) to see the request outright denied.

Why do you suppose Harper requested a prorogue? I do not believe he would if he thought he was delaying the inevitable. I would not be surprised if one of the three broke ranks and formed a new coalition with the CPC. (Well, I'd be surprised if the NDP did, and I'd be surprised if the CPC chose the BQ, so that only leaves...)

Failing that, I expect he will bargain with everything he's got, complete capitulation. Then if the coalition does not back down he (or whomever survives him) will hammer them with it in the next election. It will be uglier than even the last two.

James Bowie said...

Great post D. I see you're getting lots of traffic but little response; I think it's because the trolls have nothing to contradict you with.

Skinny Dipper said...

Great post! I'll be in downtown Toronto this Saturday showing my support for the democratic coalition and opposing the Harper régime.

The Nag said...

You've got my vote in the Canadian Blog Awaeds

Scanner said...

Stephen harper is a coward. Everyone can see that. Now the Opposition knows how to break him. Break him they will.
The PR program be damned - he has revealed where he is weak.

Robert Vollman said...

You are right.

The Conservatives are absolutely no better than the Liberals in 2005, who also continued to govern without the confidence of the House. (P.S. I voted Conservative for the first and only time after that.)

Is prorogue any better than ignoring confidence votes and bribing MPs? Not substantially, no.

Anyone who objects to Martin 2005 and not Harper 2008 (or vice versa!) is a hypocrite.

Michael Kalus said...


why did Harper wanted the "delay"? Because he is trying to run a marketing blitz on the average Canadian telling them just how bad a coalition would be and then hopes that the pressure of the public will divide the opposition again.

Will he succeed? A few years ago I would have said: No chance, Canadians are too smart for that.

These days though, I think he has a chance. He's not a leader, but he is one first rate strategist who knows how to win these battles.