Friday, November 28, 2008

Ed and Jean and coalitions, oh my!

May we live in interesting times. There are certainly interesting times for political junkies, what with talks of coalition governments and negotiations amongst the opposition parties. And with news of Jean Chretien and Ed Broadbent getting involved – interesting times indeed.

There are too many scenarios to speculate on. Let me just, for the record, say this. My ideal scenario would involve Stephane Dion serving as PM in a Liberal/NDP coalition, governing with the support of the BQ from outside the formal coalition. The Liberal leadership race would continue as scheduled, and then the new leader would see if they could continue the coalition, or whether we’d go to election. Dion would still be leaving in May, so I don’t see what issues the NDP or BQ would have with his essentially being a lame-duck caretaker PM, and for our caucus it would be a neutral choice that would allow the leadership process to continue fairly.

Beyond saying that would be my preference, irregardless of its feasibility for various reasons, I don’t care to speculate any further on hypothetical scenarios at this point.

I will say, however, that no matter how fun this speculation is I suspect it may well end up being moot. I firmly believe that Harper will back down here. It’s a bluff, it’s been called. He doesn’t want to leave 24 Sussex.

Harper can put the election financing stuff in a separate, non-confidence matter that he can ridicule the opposition for being self-serving for supporting. He can remove the no-strike poison pill and speed-up some stimulus (maybe toss in some specific stimulus for Quebec to entice the BQ).

If he does all that he’d probably get some opposition support. At the very least, the opposition would find it difficult to publicly justify bringing down the government and forming a coalition if Harper shows genuine willingness to compromise, and address opposition concerns. After all, they did just get a strengthened minority from the electorate.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how it all plays out. It will be a busy weekend for many, I suspect.

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MrvnMouse said...

Even if you believe this is a bluff, it's a clear sign of the type of politics he would play given a majority.

Harper is more than willing to tear our democracy into little pieces in order to guarantee a long-term Conservative majority -- Even if that majority is strongly not supported by most Canadians. This is no different from Tom Delay and the Republicans' redistricting fiascoes in the US.

Note though, the moment it was clear that progressives may unite, he backed down. He knows the best way for the Conservatives to lose their gains is for that to happen.

The key thing is, we cannot risk losing the momentum for a progressive coalition. Otherwise Harper will keep on doing this at every opportunity he gets.

Eugene Forsey Liberal said...

So your ideal scenario doesn't see Dion staying as PM and the Liberals avoiding the madness of another leadership race? If that's your ideal scenario, then logically you're saying you'd rather have Iggy as PM than Dion. Less than 12 hours earlier you said you'd support whatever decision Dion makes but now you're saying your ideal scenario sees Dion, now PM, voluntarily stepping down so Iggy can take over.

You once seemed to support Dion for all the right reasons, idealism instead of cynicism. I refer you back to your own posts. But now you seemed to have drunk the Iggy koolaid to the point that you're contradicting yourself within 12 hours & revising your erstwhile support for Dion in favour of backing the frontrunner in the, at this moment of writing, still extant leadership race.

I don't know what's going on in Toronto, but this all seems rather sad. You were at your best when you played things straight and let your idealism show. Bring our Canada back? I say bring our BCer back!

Jeff said...

Well Eugene, my ideal scenario would be Dion as PM for the next 20 years or so governing over a Liberal majority where we fix the environment, bring peace to the Middle East, and teach all the world to love one another.

As we don't live in fantasy land however, I need to be a little more realistic. And if you can paint me a scenario where everyone agrees to just cancel this leadership race thing, Stephane actually wants to stay on past May despite all the BS, AND the NDP and the BQ agree to let him lead a coalitio under those circumstances, well fine, sign me up. But if you believe that to be a realistic scenario then you are the Mayor of Fantasyland, and your koolaid has been laced with something best left in the 60s.

Say no to drugs, Eugene.

Eugene Forsey Liberal said...

Do you not think Dion wants to remain as PM? What's the point of all the BS he's had to suffer otherwise? C'mon, that's a ridiculous rejoinder. You know very well he'd like to remain as PM. He's only spent the last three years working towards it, after all.

The leadership race has only just started, officially (I know that for Iggy supporters it never ended but for the rest of us, the new one just started). So it's no problem to stop it.

Precedent? Trudeau 1979. (You don't think Turner might have liked to have become PM then?)

BCer, I understand that when you support a leadership candidate, for personal & professional reasons, one has to toe the party line. But really, given your blogging history, this sophism is beneath you. I notice many called you on your new koolaid tendencies a couple of weeks ago as well. C'mon, you're better than that, surely?

Can't you just say to Pablo & your new o-so-loyal Iggy friends "listen , if there's ever a leadership race I'm with Mike, but as you all know, I'm a longtime Dion supporter and I want to Dion to become and remain PM. Given current circumstances, I have to call for Dion to not only become PM but remain so and lead us into the next election. To do any less would be to contradict & dishonour myself."

S.K. said...

If Dion can pull this off and be PM, he should be allowed to stay and the convention in May should return back to the leadership review it was supposed to be. If Dion is PM Liberals need to support him, not back stab him. No leadership race if he is PM. He should always have been given two kicks at the can just like every other leader.

Jeff said...

Eugene, let me say first that this koolaid stuff is insulting. People can hold differing viewpoints without it being a conspiracy, or there being brainwashing involved. You and I have different leadership preferences this time. I may disagree with your choice, that doesn't mean I can't respect your right to hold a differing view.

I looked at all the leadership candidates, considered their pros and cons, and their positions on issues of import to me, and I made my decision. A decision I outlined in full and in length. I'll add I receive no talking points. I hold no position in the campaign. I'm a mere humble blogger. I will continue to call things as I see them, as I always have. Any views and arguments I put forward are my own, and I would never write anything that I didn't fully believe and support.

You are free to disagree with my arguments and opinions. But to ascribe them to koolaid drinking is unnecessary, and is insulting.

Now, as for coalition speculation, and Stephane, let me try one last time to be as clear as possible.

Before Stephane announced his resignation, I said I wanted him to stay on, and that I was prepared to fight by his side in the leadership review contest. He decided to announce his scheduled retirement and not fight, and I supported and understood his decision.

Should Stephane take the helm of this coalition and PM, and decide he wants to take back his resignation and stay as PM and Liberal leader, then I'll support him. And I'll fight by his side against all comers, within and without.

However, do I realistically think Stephane is likely to decide to fight that fight? I'll have his back if he does, but I don't think he will. Frankly, were I him, I'd question whether or not I'd have the energy to put myself through that fight.

But let's just wait and see what transpires before we go crazy in Speculationtown.

Eugene Forsey Liberal said...

Now there's the BCer I know & respect!

Eugene Forsey Liberal said...

Although if you truly think Dion would be best as PM as long as possible, you should write a post to that effect. Perhaps you might want to correct your ideal scenario. Your ideal scenario, if I'm reading you correctly, is not Dion as PM for few months to be replaced by Iggy but Dion as PM as long as possible. Should you not make that clear to all your readers? Otherwise they might think you'd prefer Iggy to become leader & PM. There is nothing inevitable about Dion leaving, as we saw with Trudeau in 1979. It's only if people convince themselves it must be that it becomes so. So you can do your part to prevent that by making it clear Dion can & should be PM as long as possible. Otherwise, silence implies acquiescence, or, given your previous post, active encouragement to see Dion replaced.

Emerson said: simplify, simplify, simplify. I say to you: clarify, clarify, clarify. (Funny how *clarity* always comes up when talking about Dion)