Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Throne speech after dark – No election, says I

While I was watching the pre-game coverage on the CBC it certainly was clear the media think there’s going to be an election. Or, at least, they want there to be an election. The media like covering elections. Its fun. And easier then covering policy, to be sure.

Me, prior to hearing the speech I wasn’t so sure, I was thinking Harper, despite his bluster, is a sager judge of the political landscape than many give him credit for, and doesn’t think it’s in his best interests to go now either.

But then I heard their plans for copyright reform…to the hustings, says I!

But seriously, no. I think the message from this speech is that Harper doesn’t want an election. There’s no poison pill in here. There’s a lot I don’t like, but nothing to vote the government down over. It was a yawner. As Ignatieff said, vague and disappointing. No vision. No energy.

Some of the contentious issues: Afghanistan, spending power, crime, Kyoto, gun registry.

On Afghanistan, they said they’d like to see us stay past 2009, but the majority of parliament will decide in a vote. So, we’ll decide that then. It also mentions the Manley panel, for Harper to spin a vote for the speech as a vote in favour of 2011 would be Harper neutering his own panel, so that’s a non-starter. Legislation to limit the federal spending power? I disagree, but it will be debated in separate legislation. Crime? I guess those are the bills the Cons stalled themselves stalled, right? Let him reintroduce them and if he wants to make them confidence votes, we’ll deal with that then. Kyoto? After Harper shelving the Clean Air legislation of course we can’t meet the commitments now, that’s not a surprise. And the gun registry repealed? They’ve been saying that for years and haven’t tried yet. Why not? Quebec.

The opposition reacts. Dueppe? Whatever. Layton? Please. I give the line of the night to Michael Ignatieff:

“I love getting lessons in principles from the NDP.”

But I laughed heartily at this comment to Smiling Jack from generic CBC reporter #3:

“I appreciate you might need some time to review the finer points of the speech.”

Yeah, he was really back and forth on his talking points until he stepped-up to the microphone, could have gone either way. Fact is, Layton decided how he was going to make his caucus vote before Harper even decided what the GG was going to say. That’s the luxury of not having to be a responsible opposition party, or one with a reasonable chance of ever forming government. You don’t have to think that much, or make hard choices.

Or know much about how our parliamentary system, such as with this line, where he buys the CPC line that voting for the throne speech…

“(Dion) will have given Mr. Harper a mandate to govern.”

No it doesn’t Jack, only an election gives anyone a mandate. Once again, the NDP parrots asinine Conservative talking points. Colour me surprised.

Lastly, my own Liberals. Where was Stephane Dion, pray tell? Why in the frick was he not in front of a camera? I mean, seriously. That’s whack thinking there. They put Iggy up, he tap danced as best he could.

So, what will the Liberals do? Beats me. That’s probably why Dion isn’t showing himself tonight. They’re still trying to figure it out. The media rumour is Dion wants to go/feels he needs to go; but much of the party isn’t onboard.

Since I don’t know what they’ll do, what do I think they should do? I think, at this point it’s up to us. There’s no poison pill so there’s no moral imperative to force an election. We can safely go either way. If the party wasn’t in such a clusterf*** in Quebec I’d say let’s go to the polls. Given the mess we’re in though, some more time would be nice.

So, all things considered, an election now? I vote no. Canadians don’t want an election. The Conservatives don’t want an election. The Liberals don’t want an election. Neither do the BQ or the NDP, they just want to attack the Liberals while they hide behind us. Make no mistake, Jack is stalled in the polls and wouldn’t gain any ground in a vote.

There’s nothing nuclear in this speech, nothing to get overly excited about. It was dull and boring. If they bring in legislation that’s bad for Canada, we’ll deal with it then. Until then, let’s keep parliament working. It would be nice to see the opposition parties take the battle to Harper by getting together on some legislation and amendments for a change.

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Mushroom said...

Remember you said "fall election or bust". Now you changed your mind because you feel that there is no poison pill. However, there is now a difference.

The psychological factor.

Dion wants to go. He believes an election can rally his beleaguered leadership. He can't go into caucus tomorrow and concede to the nervous nellies. Finally, it would be a shock to Harper if Dion says to the Canadian public that he wants an election now.

It is not an optimal solution. But a leader needs political instincts and Dion wants to go to the polls. Like his mentor Chretien, instincts are what make or break successful political leaders. This is why Dion has probably crossed the point of no return this afternoon and he had stake his whole credibility on an election. We should just respect his decision.

A BCer in Toronto said...

I guess we've both evolved our thinking over time. I'd still be fine with going now, I guess what's different now is that I think we have more of a choice then we did before. There's nothing nuclear in this thing to require us to go, so we're not backed into it. And frankly, I think a little more time would benefit us more. If more decisive action been taken on a number of fronts more recently I might think differently. But the response to the whole Carrol affair was weak, dido the situation in Quebec, the shadow cabinet shuffle wasn't all it needed to be, and now today's additional nonsense in Quebec. It's a delicate measurement, but at this point I think the scales have tipped slightly in favour of waiting. Let's just go either way though, none of this symnbic, holding people back bullcrap. Decide which way to go, defend it, and do it together.

900 ft Jesus said...

Dion should vote against the speech. It's a very bad speech, but that aside, he needs to take charge and stop letting Steve set the agenda. Now that Bloc and NDP say they will vote against the speech, Dion and Co. risk being attacked from all sides if they support it. Steve will say he was weak and gave in, and Bloc & NDP will add their voices to that.

An election will bring Dion out where we can see him and hear him, get to know him and the revamped Lib. party. Steve is feeling old and worn, nothing new, so Dion stands a pretty good chance in an election right now.

Even if Steve gets another minority, the Libs will have had a change to set themselves on a fresh track, a chance to define themselves.

Jason Hickman said...

So, all things considered, an election now? I vote no.

Well, *that* is a switch - or an "evolution", I suppose.