Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The morning before the throne speech

So, tonight is the big night. Well, the first of two big nights I suppose. First, tonight will be the Speech from the Throne, where the lady the Cons love to hate, Michaelle Jean, will read their plan for forcing an election…er…governing. And, of course, Thursday evening will be the big vote.

It will be interesting to see what’s in there. Not so much for the content, but for the message Harper sends with it. Will he indeed include a poison pill to force an election, or just toss in enough of a wedge to drive the Liberals into a tizzy? Or will he put forward a substantive, policy-based document designed to find consensus in a minority parliament? Hey, it’s possible…

Of course, no one really cares about the policy of it. Which is really kind of sad. But it’s all about the strategy. Which will come into play more so on Thursday than it will tonight. At least tonight though we’ll be able to at least know what we’re talking about voting on.

Not that that has stopped the NDP from deciding its evil and must be voted down, sight-unseen, no ifs, ands or buts. Not that I blame Layton for his strategy here, particularly given the spot the Liberals are in. However, if they really do hope to ever become the main opposition party or, horrors, even govern one day, they may want to try actually reading these bills first. Part of being a responsible opposition means compromise every now and again, not just blind opposition.

But anyway, the spotlight of course is really on the Liberals. While I eagerly await the contents of the speech, I’ve already made clear that, unless it really is a moderate document designed to reach consensus and compromise, we probably need to vote it down. I think Liberal blogging ranks are somewhat divided on that, and messaging from the party mucky mucks seems to be leaning towards voting no but holding back enough people to let it pass, which I’ve already said I think is a horrible idea.

I need to run downtown for an event this morning, so I’ll leave the last word to Paul Wells, who I thought put it well:

Speaking of Liberals, if only a handful of them show up for a vote on the government's basic program, they will be saying, nearly in so many words, that they have convictions but they don't want those convictions to have consequences. Do they believe, given their behaviour since 2002, that such a statement would constitute playing against type? Do they believe it would be honourable? Do they think it would help them politically?

If you believe something, you follow through. A quaint idea, which went out of fashion in the Liberal party shortly before the Liberal party went out of fashion in Canadian politics.

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bigcitylib said...

How far do you think I would have to go back into Paul Well's archives to find him swallowing his convictions for Stephen Harper? Hmm?

Christian Conservative said...

Though I'm obviously a partisan, I think you're right on about this one.

I was just talking to a co-worker, a former long time Liberal supporter, who's not overly political... even she said that if Dion doesn't take a stand one way or the other, he has no hope of recovering... EVER.

(and that's from a Jane Public Canadian, not a partisan hack)

Gayle said...

And yet we have a poll that says that the majority of Canadians will blame the opposition (ie the liberals) if we are forced into an election that same majority says they do not want.

Which is the principled choice then?

Jeff said...

Gayle, the polls always say people don't want an election. But its like going to the dentist. No on ever wants to go. But we will trudge down and do it.

The problem with those polls is they always fail to measure if it will be a ballot box issue. So, let's say they blame the Libs. OK, but will that make them less likely to vote Liberal? Will this issue move their vote? Highly unlikely.

While there are always exceptions if the public feels an election is truly unwarranted and opportunistic, I don't think such circumstances would apply here.