Contemplating a Coalition on the Left and the Potential Destruction of the Liberal Party of Canada

by matttbastard

Today the Stephen Harper Party officially took the helm of Canada’s 40th Parliament, warning of severe economic strife on the horizon–a gloomy forecast that has some Serious commentators hopping on their trusty Magical Unity Ponies Hobby-Horses. Thankfully, in the midst of all the fuzzy-as-a-blue-sweater-vest non-bi-post-partisan sentiment, erstwhile Tyee columnist Murray Dobbin has dared to cut an echoing fart from the left flank, outlining how behind the scenes plans to craft “a parliamentary accord between the Liberals, Bloc and NDP” continue unabated.


[The accord] would take the form of a Liberal minority government, following a non-confidence vote, with a proposal to the Governor General that the three parties would agree to govern for at least two years.

It would be based on a limited policy agenda — for example, child care, climate change, the Kelowna accord, early troop withdrawal from Afghanistan — defined by the considerable overlap in the three parties’ election platforms.

The Liberals’ Bay Street agenda would be put on hold as the price it paid to survive and rebuild.

Unfortunately, the Natural Governing Party isn’t too keen on making any compromises with the separatists and the socialists:

The Liberals are the ones who are holding up such an accord. They simply don’t think it would be in their interests to do so. Many in the party see their future in moving to the right, not the left. And why not let Harper deal with the economic mess, getting badly bruised in the process? The Liberals would then move in, fully refurbished, and govern once again.

But, as Dobbin explains, it ain’t that simple. All the recent placating rhetoric from Harper about putting ideology on the backburner is, to be blunt, horseshit:

…Stephen Harper’s ultimate objective is not just a majority government. It is to destroy the Liberal Party as a contender for power. The Liberals aren’t dead yet but if they’re not careful, they could be after the next election. While Stephen Harper does not relish using government to save the country’s economy, it is in this one area that he will, if he’s smart, actually behave like a minority government and seek co-operation with the opposition. Why? Because he would get the credit if somehow Canada could be saved from the worst ravages of the global recession, but he also would be able to share the blame with the opposition parties if it cannot.

Then would come the death march for the Liberals. Once Parliament has put in place measures to protect the economy, Harper will return to the agenda he prefers: social conservatism, a gradual reduction in federal spending powers, and the devolution of power to the provinces. He intends to launch round two of humiliating the Liberals into oblivion.

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

Related: Video of today’s Speech from the Throne (full text here)

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