Tuesday, January 10, 2006

More majority madness

OK, so I like alliteration. But the 'M' word showed up again today as the banner headline in the Toronto Star. And with the latest poll results, why not?

The question is have Canadians warmed to Harper enough to give him a majority or will all the M talk and rising polls send them holding their nose back to the Liberals, along with the soft NDP vote? The next week will be telling.

I don't want to get too much into the debate performances last night. Overall, I thought Harper tried to play the safe frontrunner too much, and the fake smiles got creepy. Martin, fighting for his life and David Herle's, needed to come out strong and he did, for the most part. Layton lapsed back into his Smiling Jack routine, and Duceppe had some good lines, but has his English gotten worse?

As for the big news of the night, the hail mary, desperation gambit notwithstanding clause go bye promise by Martin. It got the headlines, but will it move the polls? I'm not sure I like the idea of killing it. I don't like the idea of using it, but it's nice to know its there. I've heard two theories of how this could be done and there seems to be some confusion on how the Liberals plan to do it: a simple act of Parliament that could easily be overturned by another act of Parliament (a la Mike Harris balanced budget legislation), or a constitutional amendment and all that entails.

It's laughable though that all these Con bloggers are after Martin for wanting to re-open the constitution. I agree it's a bad idea, but their man minutes later (and out of his ass too, haven't heard this policy announcement from him before) that he would add property-rights to the constitution. Yes, life, liberty, and the pursuit of a cottage in the Laurentians!

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matt said...

1. Paul Wells hit the nail on the head: you don't amend the constitution because you're nine points back in the polls. S. 33 was the sine qua non to getting the Charter passed. It would be clunky to have it available to provinces but not the feds (particularly when that's the effective status quo; this is at best nothing more than breast beating, at worst an awkward academic exercise with unforseen consequences).

2. All that Martin's constitutional ammendment would take is a joint resolution in the House and Senate, same as any other bill, because it only alters federal powers (s. 44 of the Constitution).

3. Property rights in the Charter is oooold news as a conservative policy point. See the constitutional debates from the 60's re. the American Bill of Rights and Constitution (which we modelled the Charter on).

Jason Hickman said...

And just to pile on:

4. Harper made it pretty clear afterwards, in the post-debate press conference, that he'd only go ahead with property rights if there was "provincial consensus". I don't see Lorne Calvert, for one, getting onboard that train anytime soon.

In any event, what Harper said was quite a bit different than turning the Constitution into the football in Martin's Hail Mary play - and that's without even getting into the fact that Martin himself was musing about using the clause (if churches, mosques, etc. were forced by judical fiat to conduct same-sex marriages, as unlikely as that may be) just a few short months ago.

A BCer in Toronto said...

I agree the notwithstanding clause thing is silly. My point was just that both sides are talking about the constitution, and I don't think either issue is worth getting back into that can of worms. Property rights is not an issue I've followed, last night was the first mention I'd heard of it during the campaign.