Friday, September 04, 2009

Your deck is good for Quebec: BQ bounces ball to Harper

We're about to see something very telling about Stephen Harper's intentions in the days ahead. I wrote yesterday about how the Conservatives are playing games with your deck, setting up an early and unnecesary confidence vote on the Home Renovation Tax Credit as a way of either triggering an earlier defeat on their own terms, or forcing the Liberals into an embarrassing backdown.

The Conservatives were trying to fool Canadians into thinking the vote would put their already completed home renovations into jeopardy, something which just isn't true. Even the Globe editorial board, which has been quite harsh on the Liberals this week, called BS on the Conservative spin.

The Liberals responded to the Conservative game-playing by saying take a leap, we're voting against you on confidence motions just like we said we would, and we'll reintroduce the credit should we win the next election. Thus, the showdown was set.

All three parties need to vote No to topple the government though, and as Chantal Hebert reports today, the BQ indicates that it has decided your new deck is good for Quebec, and the party will support the ways and means motion:

Yesterday, the Bloc Québécois leader told Radio-Canada that if the government brings forward a supply motion to finance the home renovation program later this month, his party will support it.
Which means that, with BQ support, the motion (which parliamentary procedure wonks tell me is unnecessary to implement a tax decrease already approved in principle in the budget) will pass, the fake tax credit crisis will pass, and, unless Harper pulls another land mine out of his sack, the next trigger will be the Liberal opposition day late in the month.

However, here's the thing. If this wasn't about politics and Harper just wanted the tax credit rubber-stamped (and if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn) then he'll be pleased and that will be that.

But if this was about politics, trying to embarrass the Liberals, trying to avoid being supported by the BQ and NDP and trying to trigger an election on his own terms, Harper will be as livid at Gilles Duceppe for foiling his plans as the villians are in Scooby-Doo.

If Harper is determined to bring himself down on his own terms, he'll need to shake the BQ off. So, if we start to hear that the ways and means motion will also suddenly contain measures the BQ will never support -- I don't know, a declaration that the Maple Leafs are the best original six team or something -- then it will be painfully obvious what Harper's true intentions are.

For the few people for whom it's not already painfully obvious, that is.

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RuralSandi said...

A single securities regulator is a real issue with Duceppe.

The Rational Number said...

This (BQ support for ways and means) is good for the Liberals, NDP and BQ. The BQ is seen by Quebecers as rational and acting in Quebec's interest. The Lib and NDP stick to their message. All 3 can still vote no confidence on Oct 1.

Which is why I think the Conservatives will find a way to poison the ways and means motion (e.g. something like the election funding crisis). The Conservatives know the cost would be too high for continued support. Why, even support from the BQ on the ways and means motion works against Harper, 'supported by separatists'. They want another election to get that majority, and they want someone else blamed for triggering the election.

Geekwad said...

Why's no one talking coalition to follow up on a non-confidence? Why do we need to go into an election?