Friday, July 14, 2006

Call Harper's softwood election bluff: Rae

I've been hard on Bob Rae in this blog over the past few months. I think he's dead wrong on Afghanistan, for example. The sky may be falling, however, as I think I agree with him here. More thoughts later, really must work.

Risk election over softwood, Rae urges Liberals

Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Liberal leadership candidate Bob Rae is urging the party's MPs to vote against the softwood lumber deal, even if it means toppling the minority Conservative government and plunging into an election before the Grits have chosen a new chief.

Mr. Rae, a former Ontario NDP premier and a leading contender for the top federal Liberal job, dared Stephen Harper to call an election over the trade agreement reached on July 1.

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John Lennard said...

Bob Rae is the very definition of leadership. Today's statement on softwood proves he's taking a hard stand against Harper and his games, and we need more of that. I hope Liberals come to this realization before it's too late. We can't afford any more waffling in Ottawa.

burlivespipe said...

This is a bluff by Harpor that we cannot let pass. To put his gov't on the line for this deal would be suicide in both Quebec and BC -- even tho the Grits don't have a leader in place, at first they could have discussions at the time on a possible coalition with the ndp -- if that proved fruitful, they could approach the GG with that option (and coming so soon after another, I believe there is enuf precedent and reasons to support that). But for many that would be not the favourable choice. Force an election -- we would have to pin that blame back on the gov't and use his own words against him. Bad deal is that and should not risk the whole free trade dispute mechanism just to line a few pockets of Emerson's friends. That the industry so far is standing firm in its disapproval of this deal makes our choice all the more obvious.

Anonymous said...

Bring it on . . . and fast. We need a strong majority Conservative government to right the ship that's been listing for over 13 years.

A BCer in Toronto said...

to right the ship that's been listing for over 13 years

Indeed, I know I'm tired of year after year of economic and employment growth. Enough is enough!

ottlib said...


This deal is not popular in Quebec, Ontario or BC.

So how pray tell does having an election where the Conservatives try to defend a deal that is unpopular in the provinces with the most seats translate into a Conservative victory, let alone a Conservative majority?

As you say, if the Conservatives really want to fight an election on this deal, then bring it on.

Anonymous said...

The economy has very little to do with government. It never has and never will. It's a proven fact backed up by economists all around the world. Tell me one policy instituted by the Liberal government that created wealth. And if you want to talk about softwood lumber, Canadians don't give a rats ass about lumber. It's a small minority. Canadians remember governments who screwed them out a billions of dollar and treated their money like it was a lottery. Here are reasons why the Liberals (if they force an election) will be hard pressed to win anymore seats than they currently have.

1. Canadians are happy with the status quo. They don't want another election because things are running fine.

2. The Liberals have no leader to speak of.

3. The Liberals don't have the finances to run a solid election at this time. (unless they socked away some more of our money we don't know about)

4. With no clear front runner for the Liberal leadership, who's going to take the reins? Rae has proven how bad an economist he is. Dryden is boring as hell. Ignatieff is an American. Dion can't speak English and Kennedy is so far left the Conservatives will have a field day with portraying him as "scarry". You remember the word "scarry" don't you. You guys used it for years.

5. Which brings me to my final point. Sponsorship scandal. Just like the "scarry" comment, the Conservatives will keep using the Sponsorship scandal to their advantage for a long time. And well they should. And when you have leadership hopefulls like Volpe doing everything they can to live up to the reputation of the "corrucpt" Liberals, the writing is on the wall.

As I said before. Bring it on!

Luke said...

This is Bob Rae's bluff. He doesn't want an election now anymore than the other Liberals. However, Harper and Layton would love one.

Rae's talking big to people will think he's standing up to the government. He doesn't have to vote, so he can say whatever he wants.

Bud said...

Don't forget about one very important point. The Liberals last year were on the verge of signing a softwood lumber deal that was far less lucrtiative than the one just signed. And Emerson will attest to that if Rae wants to make it an issue. If Rae and the Liberals try to make this an issue, the Liberal party will take an even bigger setback than during the last election. I predict a Conservative majority by at least 20 seats.

wilson61 said...

Too funny. Just like the Emerson affair, the LibDippers get into a frenzy and think the 'rest of Canada' cares.....not

A non-confidence vote may trigger an election, but what after that 2 days of ink do the Libs have?

PMSH has become an international "Man of Steel"

Promises have been kept.

Here's the biggy:
What do you suppose the new Conservative government has found in the 'books' that they have yet to unleash on the Canadian public.

PLEASE, call his bluff, I double dare you.

Brian Appel said...

While I think that an early election may work out, even allow us to retake government sooner than expected, I believe we can gain more by waiting.

To not wait means to either push up the convention in a hurry, or have Graham lead the Liberals into the election. But what happens if the Liberals win government? Would Graham be PM?

The most pragmatic thing would be to abstain for now and bide our time until we have a new leader and a renewed party.

Robert said...

Rae has proven how bad an economist he is.

Care to back that up? Details please, not more smear.

David said...


Scott Tribe said...

Brian Appel:

I would have thought the Liberals would have learned from their Democratic Party cousins to the south that wishy-washyness doesnt wash with the public.

If you think the majority of Canadians are going to vote for a wishy-washy party that refuses to take a stand on an issue where we've been sold down the river, you're sadly mistaken.

I've already berated the Liberals over how they initially handled this issue... now that the Tories have gone one better (or one worse), an abdication of this issue by fearful Liberals would alienate many "progressive" Canadians looking for someone to stand up to a bullying Neo-Con Prime Minister and an arrogant Party that behaves like they have a majority.

No wimpiness please. Vote this deal down.

Manitoba Liberal said...

"Bob Rae is the very definition of leadership"

Man, I need a new dictionary cause mine has Bob Rae listed as the definition of failed socialist.

Manitoba Liberal said...

Is anybody really dumb enough to think that the softwood lumber issue would be the story of the election for more than a few days? We are not talking about conscription or free trade or something that actually matters all Canadians. We're talking about an issue that affects a small minority of Canadians in a few regions.

If the big brain of Bob Rae got his way, the government would fall, their would be an election, the softwood issue would get a day or two of media play and than the voters that are no lumber company executives or loggers would move onto things they cared about and than the Liberals would look like giant idiots, without a leader, pulling a quick election and we would get hammered. Hell, I would'nt vote Liberal over a softwood election.

Maybe Jack Layton is pulling Rae's strings, cause Bob Rae's plan would only result in an NDP offical opposition.

Robert said...

We're talking about an issue that affects a small minority of Canadians in a few regions.

Softwood lumber? Regions like B.C., Quebec and ontario?

than the voters that are no lumber company executives or loggers would move onto things they cared about

Like the gun registry? Wait times? (now dropped from the vaunted 5 priorities), the stellar Tory daycare plan? A Minister of Health who owns a significant stake in a Pharmaceutical company? Going back on their promise to appoint senators? How about wooing a newly elected Liberal to join their ranks?

I'm missing a few I think...

wilson61 said...

And the Liberal platform is....
Harper is scary...
Cons didn't write out tax receipts...
They had 7 months and haven't fixed healthcare...
All parents have to give back the $1200/ year to subsidize other peoples daycare...
Even tho Dion said we couldn't meet Kyoto targets, Harper should honor Kyoto...
Increase GST to 7%...

PMSH has been planning the next election since Jan 24.

Anonymous said...

Here's some numbers for you to digest Robert.

In 1993, Bob Rae introduced one of the largest tax increases in Ontario history, totalling $2.2 billion. (Toronto Sun, February 15, 2004).
When the NDP left office in 1995, Ontario’s deficit had risen from $2.5 billion in 1990 to $11.3 billion. This represents an increase in the annual deficit of 452%.

According to estimates, by the end of Rae’s government, Ontario’s debt was increasing by a million dollars an hour. (Globe and Mail, September 26, 2003)

Add the fact the Rae wants to increase student tuition fee and you have a "scarry" candidate for leadership of the Liberal party. And this is the guy that's going to make a big stink about something that only affects 5% of Canadians?

Anonymous said...

The Liberals may have went for a less "lucrative" deal in terms of money back knowing the States are almost broke, but they never would have signed a deal which gutted NAFTA and put other major trade commodities in jeopardy.
Also, news has come out which Harper and Bernier must have known was coming, that the US just got a smackdown from their own court system regarding how the US has treated Canada and Mexico in trade in softwood.
Let's wait and see how Emerson and Harper spin the deal in light of this news.
Harper is itching for an election now or soon, especially since he and his government have all summer to hoodwink the people.
I personally hope that the opposition governments keep him squirming until after tax time 2007, then call an election over any matter Steve the Peeve throws a hissy-fit about.
By then, the majority of people will have concrete evidence in their tax returns to make a rational decision about the governance of Canada.
And, if the Gods and Goddesses smile upon Canada, the issue will be Environment, Health, Trade or Aboriginal (Human) Rights. And God help Harper and his MP's in any of those portfolios to eke out a win.

Oh, I wanted to mention: who is that guy's handler? He actually touched the Queen!!! Major faux pas. Ol' boy Steve is taking too many lessons from Bush, I figger...
What a rube.

Robert said...

Anon: Here's some numbers for you to digest Robert.

Those might be scary indeed if I weren't already aware of the context of the time (which anon, was a recession, since you seem to have forgotten).

Wilson61, Nope, now we have Harper's and the Conservatives very own hypocracy (Harpocracy) to throw back in their face.

They didn't bother with the wait times, and tried to drop them from the 5 Priorities without anyone noticing.

By the time the election comes, most parents will know exactly how useless the Tory child benefit is, and the press should be picking up on it also.

The GST cut? Wouldn't be surprised if it stayed.

burivespipe said...

For Manitoba fairweather liberal, the softwood lumber industry touches nearly every town and city in BC. It use to be the engine but remains a very vital part of our economy, especially outside the big city. But this deal isn't only about softwood. It's about surrendering more than $1B to the people who've essentially blackmailed us. It's about the mechanisms that solve trade disputes -- some of which hit your part of the country. By surrendering our right to take this to the bodies set up to deal with these disagreements, we are essentially cutting the legs from any dispute we have in the future. Perhaps its canola, more tomatoes, how about hogs? They have unfettered access to our energy yet can still throw up road blocks galore at the whim of some pancake-faced US lobby group, punishing us. All the industry voices I've read say this is a bad deal. But they were willing to accept a loss on this, if they were given a guarantee of a lengthy peace. This doesn't even cover that.
It wouldn't be our election on softwood. It would be Harpor's, having to justify this deal, having to justify why he decided he would govern like a majority on this issue. He'd have to explain why he called off our final press to the courts, where we had won 85% of the battle. We were poised to win this and he scrapped it. If we as a party back away on this, we are essentially telling him he can pass anything he wants. It will also then prove to progressives that the NDP is the party that is opposing this gov't, while us Grits are only about our self interest.
But wait. Even if we vote against this deal, along with the other opposition members, it doesn't put us necessarily into an election just because Harpor says it does. Remember the King-Byng affair? Harpor's minority hold is quite weak in numbers. Although it's not my preference, but the Libs and NDP could discuss forming a coalition, something that would bring detente to Parliament for say 18 months. Its an option. Bully-boy Harpor has his.
Bob Rae is right. Hopefully your candidate is on the right side of this anyways.
So what party did you say you were defecting to if this all comes to pass?