Thursday, September 10, 2009

Duceppe dishes: Harper's coalition negotiations with the BQ

For all of Stephen Harper's bluster about how evil coalitions with "socialists and separatists" are, more information continues to emerge about Harper's efforts as opposition leader in 2004 to put a coalition in place should they defeat Paul Martin's Liberal government.

Today, following the release of a secret Harper speech where he again resurrected the coalition bogeyman, BQ leader Gilles Duceppe took a few more skeletons out of Harper's own coalition closet:

Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe said the video demonstrates the hypocrisy of Harper's approach to politics. He noted that Harper, as opposition leader, tried negotiating a deal with the Bloc and the NDP five years ago so that he could become prime minister.

"In 2004, Mr. Harper met me and (NDP Leader) Jack Layton at the Delta Hotel in Montreal to discuss a number of things," said Duceppe in an interview with the French-language LCN television news network.

"It was Mr. Harper who did this with those he called the `evil socialists' and the `evil separatists.' Today he's blaming others of supposedly doing this, which isn't the case."

Duceppe also blasted Harper for criticizing opposition parties for allegedly negotiating "backroom deals," saying that it contradicts what he did in the past and is causing Canadians to lose respect for politicians.

"He came to my office (as opposition leader) saying, `If I become prime minister, what would you like to see in my program to ensure that you'll support me and that I have a majority?"' Duceppe said. This is intolerable in politics. He wants an election at any price, just like Mr. Ignatieff wants and election at any price."

So Harper convened a backroom deal, with the ink still drying on the ballots that elected a Liberal monority government, summoning, in his words, "the separatists and the socialists" to try to negotiate a deal to form government. He was ready and willing to bargain for BQ support.

The three of them even held a joint press conference on Parliament Hill, and co-signed a letter to the Governor-General:
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson,
C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.
Governor General
Rideau Hall
1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A1


As leaders of the opposition parties, we are well aware that, given the Liberal minority government, you could be asked by the Prime Minister to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government's program.

We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice
has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority.

Your attention to this matter is appreciated.


Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
Leader of the Opposition
Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

Gilles Duceppe, M.P.
Leader of the Bloc Quebecois

Jack Layton, M.P.
Leader of the New Democratic Party

Look, just to be clear, my issue isn't with coalitions. You can go back to my archives and read about my clear position through last November/December. My issue is, again, with the breathtaking hypocrisy of Stephen Harper. He says one thing and does another, and he'll do and say anything for political advantage. He seems to have no moral compass to guide him. A coalition will be the bees knees one day and the devil's scourge the next.

The guy just can't be trusted. And that's why he's got to go.

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WesternGrit said...

Trust? It's more like blatant lies. Harper made a deal with the very same people he vitriolicly attacks on the now-famous tape. This points out one (or both) of two points:
1) He wishes to mislead Canadians
2) He thinks Canadians are stupid

Loraine Lamontagne said...

"That isn't the case", says Duceppe.

So in fact Michael Ignatieff is the only leader not to have plotted with the socialists and the separatists!

Mtn Goat said...

While I can't disagree with the general premise of the post, I'd like to add that I doubt hypocrisy is a trait unique to Harper, especially in the political arena. Just in case anyone is tempted to feel smug.