This Is What Harper Country Looks Like

by matttbastard

“D’oh Canada” indeed:

A new survey for the Dominion Institute taken in the aftermath of this month’s political crisis in which the word “prorogue” was dusted off political science textbooks suggests a woeful ignorance when it comes to our system of government.

For example, results of the Ipsos Reid survey show 75 per cent of Canadians asked believe the prime minister, or the Governor General, is head of state. Bzzzz – wrong.

It’s actually the Queen.

Only 24 per cent managed to answer correctly, according to the poll provided exclusively to The Canadian Press.

[…]

Given a choice how best to describe the system of government, 25 per cent decided on a “co-operative assembly” while 17 per cent opted for a “representative republic.”

Canada is neither.

Only 59 per cent correctly picked constitutional monarchy.

In a similar vein, 51 per cent wrongly agreed that Canadians elect the prime minister directly.

In fact, Canadians elect local members of Parliament and the leader of the party with the most members by tradition becomes prime minister at the request of the governor general.

Head. Desk.

Please, keep these results in mind the next time y’all wanna rag on our neighbours down south for collective national ignorance.

Srsly.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Return of the Midnight Appointments

by matttbastard

(Current) Prime Minister Stephen Harper is quickly going nuclear, apparently about to play his one possible trump card–18 vacant seats in the Senate just waiting to be filled:

“It’s outrageous,” said New Democrat MP and reform critic David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre), whose party advocates abolishing the Senate. “I can’t believe that the Prime Minister is just literally giving Canadians the finger.”

Christopherson was angry over both Harper’s change of position and his timing.

“This is about a blatant power move by someone who does not have the legitimacy of the Canadian people in terms of the votes he got, nor does he have the confidence of the House,” Christopherson said.

“I can’t believe that the Prime Minister is just literally giving Canadians the finger.”

Why are we still surprised by the depths in which Stephen Harper will sink in order to further his partisan Conservative agenda? Ever since the election, he has comfortably settled into the role of a Nixon-like figure, veering wildly between equally potent expressions of partisan aggression and grievance, his deliberately divisive calculations polarizing the nation and Parliament along increasingly unstable regional and ideological faultlines with apparent disregard to the long term consequences.

This latest maneuver is precisely why Liberals–especially Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff–must remain firm in their commitment to taking down this government.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

A Liberal Government Without a Coalition: Clear, Refreshing and Zero Calories!

by matttbastard

pogge nails it–behold, the birth of the uncoalition:

[CTV News Ottawa Bureau Chief Bob] Fife also said senior Liberals have told him that they may not need a coalition to form a new government.

“If they do defeat the Conservative government… Ignatieff will go to the Governor General and say ‘We think we can form the government but we don’t have to do it with a coalition,'” Fife said.

“In other words we don’t have to give the NDP any seats in a Liberal government.”

He said the NDP and Block (sic) would have to support the Liberals because they already have expressed their hatred towards the Conservative government.

Y’know, I get the impression that this mysterious gaggle of “senior Liberals” who go running to Fife every time a gnat cuts a fart during a caucus meeting have an ongoing bet on who can convince CTV’s 1337 stenographer to breathlessly relay the most outrageous load of horseshit, no matter how absurd. Yes, the NDP will dutifully prop up the Grits without having a say in shaping policy. And Stephen Harper truly has the best interests of the nation at heart.

Tell me another one, Bob.

Anyway, Iggy just reiterated his (tepid) support of the coalition, stating in his first news conference as Liberal interim leader that “the ball is in Mr. Harper’s court” and that the (un)coalition is fully prepared to form a “stable” government, should the Governor General make such a request. So even though pogge’s skepticism is likely warranted (based on both Liberal scuttlebutt and Iggy’s equivocation about whether he will actually invoke the coalition option), I’m not quite ready to write off the coalition as DOA just yet. What Iggy has made abundantly clear is this: over the next several weeks the overtures and maneuvers undertaken by Harper and his minions will determine the fate of this Parliament.

One wonders if the current Prime Minister, based on the hubris he’s displayed over the past several weeks, will be able to resist hanging himself with the rope he’s just been handed.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Harper, Ignatieff and “Big National Parties”

by matttbastard

Stephen Harper, in an interview with Peter Mansbridge, unveils the next stage in the Conservative divide-and-conquer strategy to destroy the Coalition for Change (and cling to power):

Harper called on all the “big national parties” to work together going forward, suggesting that he too was looking forward to a better relationship with Dion’s replacement.

“I hope the next Liberal leader, the first thing he’ll do, will be willing to sit down with me and have that kind of discussion.”

By know you’re all likely aware that “the next Liberal leader” is Michael Ignatieff, who, as many have pointed out, is rumoured to be “lukewarm” at the notion of forming a coalition government with the NDP (despite previously indicating in writing his support for the coalition accord).

Don Martin:

Mr. Ignatieff is better postioned [sic] to debate on serious economic matters, being no fan of interventionist Green Shift carbon tax schemes and more likely to share Harper’s forceful view on military matters and foreign affairs.

He’s expected to surround himself with the younger brasher MPs who rarely got the chance to shine under Mr. Dion and embrace fiscal policies that might not find favor with coalition-partner New Democrats or the Bloc Quebecois.

That’s undoubtedly why Ignatieff’s always been so cagey about the coalition, choosing his words with deliberate precision to ensure they will not come back to haunt him.

He has little intention of bringing the coalition back to life as a shared power grab except in an emergency, opting instead to position the Liberals as a single-party alternative government.

Mr. Ignatieff might even take Prime Minister Harper up on his offer, repeated in a CBC interview Tuesday, to contribute Liberal ideas for inclusion in the budget. OK, perhaps that’s the dreamer gene in me, but Mr. Harper did pledge to “look at different kinds of arrangements” with Mr. Ignatieff. Surely that’s an olive twig, if not a branch.

It should be clear by now that those of us who represent the 62% majority need to fight if we are to have any hope of making Parliament work.  Via The Canadianist, here is a tool to contact your MP and register your support, courtesy of the CLC. Tell your MP that you support the coalition.

It is especially imperative that Liberal coalition supporters make their voices heard.  Don’t kid yourselves: you can’t trust a man who is, as Impolitical puts it, “totally oblivious to and shameless about the turmoil he’s caused” to work with the Opposition (even a “big national party” like the official Opposition) in good faith, “olive twig” or not.  As Murray Dobbin presciently observed prior to the hurling of Flaherty’s now-infamous ‘economic statement’ stuffed in a partisan Molotov cocktail, “Stephen Harper’s ultimate objective is not just a majority government. It is to destroy the Liberal Party as a contender for power [emph. mine].”

One hopes Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal Party will keep that paramount consideration in mind before seriously contemplating any deals with a silver-tongued devil.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Bob Rae Bows Out

by matttbastard

Fuck:

Michael Ignatieff has secured the federal Liberal leadership without a fight after his last remaining rival, longtime friend Bob Rae, bowed out.

Rae informed his supporters of his decision during a conference call this morning and is to make it official at a news conference later today. His decision came just hours after the Liberal national executive rejected his plea to find an expedited way of giving all party members a vote for Stephane Dion’s replacement.

Rae gave his supporters an advance peek at his statement, in which he said he still believes an open process would have been “a vital and healthy process for the party.”

But he vows to accept the party’s choice “without rancour or undue disappointment.”

No, the rancor and disappointment will likely be left to those of us who (perhaps naively) hold faint hope that Iggy will actually do what’s right for Canada, instead of accepting whatever watered down “concessions” Harper offers come January 27th.  

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Can’t Disagree With That One

by matttbastard

Former Dominic LeBlanc supporter John Laforet with the bottom line on what Iggy’s ascension would mean:

Should Ignatieff take the Leadership this Wednesday, the coalition is dead on arrival. He has made it clear through his waffling (my single largest issue past and present with supporting his candidacy) that he will not support working with the NDP to form a progressive government. The Liberal Party will be back to sitting on their hands, red faced and embarrassed or into an election we can’t win because we won’t have had the time to rebuild. 

Here’s hoping the rank-and-file rebellion is successful, otherwise we’re looking at a defacto Conservative majority, propped up by Iggy and the Blue Lib Brigade.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Read This Now: Bob Rae on Ignatieff’s Attempt To Become Liberal Leader Via Caucus Vote

by matttbastard

Must-read post from Liberal leadership candidate (and staunch coalition supporter) Bob Rae: Don’t Let Your Right to Vote be taken Away.

Go.

h/t rgendron via tweet

Related: CP report on Iggy’s attempts to grab the reins of power, a development that might possibly scuttle any chance of the Grits forming a coalition to oust the Harpercons.

Update: Another must-read via rgendron – John Laforet: Closed Door Caucus Decision? – An Affront to Democracy and the Grassroots

Go.

Update 2: From Laforet’s post, an excerpt of a mass email sent to Liberal Party members that outlines the consequences of Ignatieff’s plan:

Riding presidents would have zero votes and only
one third of ridings in Ontario will have even a Caucus member vote.

This means:

No votes for the aboriginal community.

No votes for students.

No votes for Womens’ Clubs.

1 vote for francophones.

1 vote in the Guelph-Windsor corridor.

1 vote for Northern Ontario.

This is anti-democratic, and does not represent the many voices and values of our party!”

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers