How might this government fall?

Stephane Dion won’t return Stephen Harper’s phone calls. The Prime Minister wants to get Dion on the line so the perception can be built that the PM is doing everything he can to make the fall session of Parliament work. Mr. Dion is avoiding the PM’s calls in order to appear to be in the position of power regarding this latest showdown, but of course, Dion risks playing in the narrative that he’s not allowing Parliament to work.

It seems that the Prime Minister wants to go to an election this fall. He doesn’t need to worry about the fixed election date legislation if he wants to do so.

A simple confidence motion by the Conservatives would do the trick:

“This House resolves that a carbon tax would destroy this country and that Canadians do not trust politicians when it comes schemes of tax shifting. This House has confidence in this government to [lower the income tax/introduce tax splitting/decrease the GST to 3%/cut corporate tax] (pick one or two) because such conservative measure(s) are the best way forward for Canadians”

NDP and Bloc would vote against. If Dion abstains, his Green Shift loses any authority and months of campaigning is gone. It would be argued further that Dion would want to go to an election on the issue of his carbon tax so abstaining from this vote would be the end of him as leader of the Liberal Party. If Mr. Dion votes against, we go to an election with Dion defending a carbon tax and the Conservatives proposing tax cuts. The election is then defined on tax policy rather than the environment.



  • stephentaylor

    Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

  • stephentaylor

    Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

  • Taylor Cutforth

    “Conservative-friendly CBC”?

    Since when does the CBC have any conservative biases?
    CBC is hardly conservative. If anything the Conservatives have been having to fight all sorts of up hill battles in the media and everywhere thanks to the ignorant stigmatism(s) attached to the word “conservative”.

    I'm really holding of from breaking out into a rant since its off topic.

  • Gabby in QC

    You're welcome, Liz J.

  • Gayle

    Since there is no evidence he has lost the confidence of the House, the only thing left is the fact that he wants to time election to his advantage.

    Which is contrary to the intent of the Act, and his promise.

    Thanks for helping me prove that.

  • bennji

    Just so long as he is also a Canadian Citizen then yes, I see no problem at all with someone having dual citizenship becoming PM.

  • Gabby in QC

    Mr. Cutforth,

    “Conservative-friendly CBC” was intended to be sarcastic.
    Perhaps I should have enclosed it in “quotes” or used “sarcasm on …. sarcasm off” tags.
    Or maybe someone else has a better suggestion.

  • Gabby in QC

    ” … it does not say anything about how the legislation only applies to majorities …”

    I for one have not said that “the legislation only applies to majorities.”
    Those are YOUR words, YOUR interpretation.
    Read the links I have provided for your perusal and delectation.
    Therein it is specified that fixed election dates should be held every four years.
    «The government’s bill provides that the date for the next general election is Monday, October 19, 2009.
    Of course, this will be the date only if the government is able to retain the confidence of the House until that time. ….

    Mr. Speaker, some Opposition members had concerns that this bill is illusory in that the Prime Minister can call an election at any point up until the fixed date for the election.
    However, Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has to retain his prerogative to advise dissolution to allow for situations ***when the government loses the confidence of the House.***»

    If the government holds a majority, can it be said that the government has lost the confidence of the House? Highly unlikely.
    When is the government in peril of losing the confidence of the House? When it’s in a minority situation.
    If the PM thinks he and his party no longer enjoy the confidence of the House, he can then advise the GG to dissolve Parliament.

    Look, as far as I’m concerned, the Conservatives could go on until Oct. 09. But I am not the PM, AND I can understand the PM’s growing impatience with mr. Dion’s one week saying yes to elections, one week saying no. The government as well as the country needs the stability.

  • Liz J

    Thanks for the info Gabby, much appreciated.

  • bennji

    You meaning the current sitting government that introduced a bill that went through all of the parliamentary requirements to become law.

  • Bob

    Would you accept an American citizen as PM?

  • Bob

    Would you accept an American citizen as PM,Gayle?

  • Taylor Cutforth

    The fact that he's french has nothing to do with it. its the fact that he's a complete buffoon.
    Sorry, but I just gotta come out and say it.
    He just doesn't have any leadership capabilities nor any backbone to be the face of Canada on the world stage.

    I hate having to assault his personal character but his flaws are too true to ignore.

    He may be french but I'm fairly sure that voters from quebec don't share his view of Canada. Nor that of the liberal party especially as it stands now.

  • Taylor Cutforth

    i didn't realize until after I posted but I should of took the time to put two and two together.

  • Peter Puck


    So you or someone you know is on Dion's communications staff and have seen the Harper's communications to Dion. After reading said communications you have determined that they don't convey the same level of urgency that has been reported in the Media?

    Maybe you are but it just seems like you're making stuff up to excuses the fact that Dion is being dysfunctional just like the senate and parliamentary committees.

  • Gayle

    The media is not reporting urgency – they are reporting Harper's lame attempts to argue it is urgent. There is a difference.

  • Gabby in QC

    “Thanks for helping me prove that.”

    Hah! Hah! Hah! Dream on, girl!

    Thank YOU for writing all that “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

  • Faramir

    I am not satisfied Harper has done enough, or anything to address the CHRC's attack on freedom of speech and he wants my support?

  • Honey Pot

    Dion is not a leader, that is just a fact. No one wants a carbon tax, that is another fact. The liberals have no money, and no one dumb enough to donate to them, another fact.The liberal party do not want Dion as their leader, fact. The election is just to get rid of Dion, which it will. The tories are doing the liberal party a favour by calling an election and ridding them of Dion. What is coming up behind him, doesn't have a chance either, but it makes it look like there is an oppostion.

  • Gayle

    Stephen, I am offering to abandon blogs forever if Dion gets a majority.

    Just a little incentive to your readers to vote Dion and rid themselves of Gayle! :)

  • Jonathan

    I have to weigh in to comment on all of those crabbypants that think “breaking” the fixed election date law is going to be a winner on the campaign trail.

    I would be willing to wager that more than 90% of regular joe and jane Canadians were unaware of the law in the first place.

    For instance: A new poll Monday (July 7) said only one in three Canadians has heard about the “green shift” plan and 60 per cent, who can recall anything about it, say it's “a bad idea.”

    So, you're telling me that even though there's been “till you're deaf in the ear” coverage of the Green Shift that a full 3rd of Canadians haven't heard of it, BUT BUT somehow a incredulously boring piece of Parliamentary Procedure is going to light a fire under hordes of Canadians.

    Give me a break.

  • Beer and Popcorn

    I think the PM has very nicely articulated the situation in Canadian politics currently.

    From what I can make of the the 'Green Shift' (although there is a lot of contradictory information out there and many Liberal MP$ from different regions saying it will be customized to their specific region – whatever that means) it is so far away from the economic agenda the PM has for the country in the current economy I think he needs another mandate and I think the Liberal$ need to take their Green Shift to the people of Canada to see what they think of heavy wealth redistribution and taxation during tough economic times.

    How will Western Canada, Rural Canada, Subruban Canada and NFLD enjoy eating Green Tripe while the GTA feasts on prime rib, Dom and Latte's?

    We should see very soon friends..

  • Bocanut

    According to the world of Garth,Harper has been so frightened by the appearance of The Professor Who Couldn't Cry Vote at an Oakville rally that he must immediately call an election to stem the adulation that is begining to overflow for the incoherent Liberal leader.
    Garth says that Harper's scared that Dion's mezmerising charisma , oratorical genius and crystal clear clarity in explaining Green Shift will convince Canadians to vote Liberal so he's been forced to call an election ASAP

    From Garth Turners website:

    “I hate to be modest. But let me try. I know why Stephen Harper is going to call a federal election next week and it’s because, well, of me. “

    “And this is why we’re having an election.

    posted by Garth Turner on 08.26.08 @ 11:04 pm “

  • batb

    Good G*d, Gayle.

    “If a colleague demands I meet with him, at his convenience, without giving me any explanation abuot why I shoudl [sic] drop everything and heed his demands, I tell him to wait until I can fit him into my schedule.”


    The “colleague” you're referring to is the PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA, the office of which the Leader of Her Majesty's “Loyal” (sic) Opposition should have the utmost respect for. Dion has shown absolutely no respect for either the office of Prime Minister or the office holder and, in fact, is treating Prime Minister Stephen Harper with contempt.

    By treating Prime Minister Harper with disrespect, Dion is also holding the Canadian people and Canada's Parliament in contempt.

    I'd like to know who the H*** Stephane Dion thinks he is. If HIS prime minister calls him and asks for a meeting ASAP, to keep him waiting–to keep the Parliament and the people of Canada waiting–is the ultimate in grandstanding, the ultimate act of contempt for our democracy.

    I hope most Canadians see this as a desperate attempt to supposedly embarrass PMSH by an increasingly unprincipled and desperate Liberal Party whose disarray is becoming apparent each and every day. Were it not for their cheerleaders in the MSM who prop them up and apply lots of makeup, they'd be seen as the tattered, ragged, and washed up political party the are. With no leader.

  • Gayle

    Oh, I don't think it will be a “winner”.

    I am simply pointing out the hypocrisy of Harper, and the hypocrisy of those who complain about the hypocrisy of the liberals, while they applaud the hypocrisy of Harper.

  • Liz J

    Exactly right ,batb, well said.

  • Gayle

    Oh believe me, if MY Prime Minister calls me and tells me he wants to meet with me, right now, and I am busy, I will tell him I am busy.

    He is not royalty, he is an elected official. And if he wants MY time he better tell me why.

  • Gayle

    “Dion has shown absolutely no respect for either the office of Prime Minister or the office holder and, in fact, is treating Prime Minister Stephen Harper with contempt.”

    Pardon me? Which party leader wants to circumvent proper parliamentary procedure and meet with the other party leaders to see if they will vote for his bills, while the House is not sitting?

    There is a formal and proper way to determine whether the Government has the confidence of the House, and it is not by calling the guy up on the telephone and asking him to please rubber stamp all your bills during the next sitting.

  • Faramir

    More like Stephen Harper is a stalker, “I hate you Dion and I''m know where you live!”.

  • batb

    You're right, Gayle. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is not Royalty–and neither is Stephane Dion nor anyone else in the LPC. But the way Dion is strutting around, talking big, telling whoppers about the Prime Minister, you'd think he imagines that he's the crowned head of the “natural ruling party.”

    The LPC doesn't like not being in power. The LPC doesn't know quite what to do now that it isn't in power. All it knows how to do is to belittle, to ridicule, and to lay blame. They have stalled the work of Parliament, they stone wall at every opportunity, they show contempt for the democratic process and for ordinary, hardworking Canadians who look to their government for sound and serious leadership.

    The LPC is playing at governance and rather than measuring their platform, their success, by what works for ordinary Canadians, they measure their performance by how bad they can make Canada's Prime Minister look–with the help of their cheerleaders in the privileged and entitled MSM.

    That's not leadership.

  • Taylor Cutforth

    Wow, I didn't realize what an important person you must be to feel that way.


    By your posts on here you certainly don't seem like the bridge building type.

  • Gayle

    Nice to see you have all your talking points.

    Just a few questions:

    “They have stalled the work of Parliament…” Which work would that be?

    “they stone wall at every opportunity…” Examples?

    “they show contempt for the democratic process…” explain this one – particularly in light of the fact Harper apparently wants to avoid parliament alltogether and get the leaders to vote no confidence over the phone.

  • Shawn

    Gayle, shouldn't you stick to the forum?

  • batb

    Gayle, any time I've watched Question Period–shudder–all I see is the attack dogs of the LPC (Goodale, Holland, Coderre, Fry, et al.) yapping incessantly about all the terrible things the CPC has done. The Ethics Committee, too, is a case in point. Szabo doesn't even know how to be an impartial chair, cutting the CPC commenters off, shutting them up, while he allows full play to the Liberal inanities.

    The LPC has elevated (if that's the right word) political puppetry and three-ringed circuses to a fine (if that's the right word) “art” (if that's the right word). They are experts at empty rhetoric and false accusations. 'Anything to get the spotlight off their nefarious schemes and past gaffes and scandals.

    There's still the question of the million$ owed the Canadian public from the AdScam Scandal. There's Mo Strong's involvement with the LPC and ex-PMs Martin's and Chretien's business ventures in China, the Sidewinder Report that was deep-sixed by the Chretien government, etc., etc. 'No shortage of skeletons in the closet that the LPC desperately want to keep there.

    So, their modus operandi is to unmercifully bash the CPC and PMSH, to manufacture scandal after scandal–all of which disappear from the radar a few weeks in, as there is no substance to them, but maximum damage has been done by the LPC cheerleaders in the MSM in the few short weeks they're reporting the bogus bungles.

    It's a disgraceful performance by the “Loyal” (sic) Opposition. Anything the CPC has accomplished–and they have actually accomplished a great deal and certainly have fulfilled their election mandate–has been in spite of the attack dogs on the LPC benches. MPs aren't elected to be relentless rotweilers but to enact the day-to-day business of the nation, business to assist ordinary Canadians live full and productive lives.

    “Ordinary Canadians be damned!” seems to be the rallying cry of the LPC. They seem concerned only to cover their own backsides and the best way they've conceived of doing this is to cast aspersions on and suspicions upon the CPC. Ordinary Canadians are starting to figure this out. They also see a political party in disarray, with near-empty coffers, no grass-roots support, and nasty and unfounded accusations as their only weapons.

    The LPC tactics are wearing mighty thin.

  • Liz J

    Gayle writes “…….Harper apparently wants to avoid parliament alltogether, [sic], and get the leaders to vote no confidence over the phone”. A most incredible statement .

    In minority governments, meeting with the leaders of the opposition parties is not unusual and for obvious reasons.

    Jack Layton has found time to have a meeting with the Prime Minister. He's doing it on behalf of the people who support him and his party.

    Dion appears to be not up to doing the same, he's not doing his job. He hasn't been doing his job from day one. Like a true Liberal, he's all about getting back to power for the sake of power for the Liberal Party of Canada, not the people of Canada.

    How does refusing to meet with the Prime Minister serve those who voted for him and/or his party?

  • Gayle

    Just an ordinary person – as is Stephen Harper.

    I do not worship political leaders like some of you apparently do.

    We are not ruled by an autocracy. When Harper says “jump” I need not ask “how high”. I will not disrupt my life, my family and my responsibilities just because he tells me to.

    All of which is just stupid speculation because the chances of Harper asking me to do anything are, well, absolutely zero. His candidate does not even campaign in my neighborhood so he does not even ask me to vote for him.

  • stephentaylor

    Nah, Gayle makes things interesting here.

  • stephentaylor

    Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

  • Gayle

    Again – it would make your message stronger if you got your facts straight. He is NOT refusing to meet with Harper. In fact, he offered to meet with Harper two days ago, but apparently that did not work out. He is also prepared to do so after September 9.

    I wonder if you could point to any time in history when the sitting PM had a meeting with oppostion leaders to determine if he had the confidence of the House.

    We all know how it is supposed to be done.

  • stephentaylor

    Happens all the time in minority parliaments. You should read Jamey Heath's book 'Dead Centre' to read about Paul Martin's negotiations.

  • Liz J

    Stephen, be straight with us now, you welcome Gayle because she brings your site more hits with her missives, defending the indefensible Liberals more often than not and treating regulars with condescending remarks. Right?

    We can always argue opinions but facts are facts. We've seen facts get skewed by manipulators of all stripes. It's rampant in the media, we all know it. It's a tactic appreciated by the Liberals in their desperate situation. Their apologists are at it full bore.

  • stephentaylor

    Though I have a lot of Conservative friends, I have a number of friends who are Liberal and who are NDP. I find that these people help me think about my own politics from their perspective which doesn't necessarily change my view, but allows me to consider their argument and where their position is and this helps me understand how to defend my positions more strongly.

    Gayle here is helping me understand the other side's position and their spin so that I can appreciate how to better counter it.

    Besides, debate is more interesting than consensus.

  • Gayle

    Yes, they negotiate – but that is not what Harper is talking about. I believe the phrase he used was “fish or cut bait”. He does not want to negotate with the leaders, he wants to know if they will pass all his bills. No one can say that without seeing them and debating them.

  • Gayle

    So, I take it you will not take me up on my offer to disappear if you all vote liberal?


  • Liz J

    Stephen, surely most of us do not choose our friends on the basis of their politics but we tend to gravitate to people of like minds. That doesn't mean we can't have respectful disagreements on any subject including politics.

    With the politics of the day things seem to have regressed to petty gotcha games and false accusations, whether it comes from party operatives and apologists on blogs or in the media. Facts and truth don't seem to matter to some, they'll continue to defend the indefensible.

  • batb

    Gayle: “So, I take it you will not take me up on my offer to disappear if you all vote liberal?”

    You'd better stick around, Gayle, because

    my voting Liberal is about as likely as a snowball's chance in H*ll!
    And I suspect I'm speaking for a few other commenters as well… ;-)

  • stephentaylor

    I pick friends based on who I get along with and I get along with
    people with whom I can have a thoughtful discussion whether we agree
    or not.

    I agree though, rhetoric can ruin a good debate.

  • Jason

    Most people are used to Liberals making promises that won't be kept.

  • Liz J

    Stephen Taylor, you have the right attitude. Sometimes though, we have to be tough in defense of truth.
    Political rhetoric can get off the rails and stray far from the facts.

  • paulsstuff

    “So, I take it you will not take me up on my offer to disappear if you all vote liberal? “

    C'mon now Gayle, if you want us too vote Liberal please stick to the time-honoured Liberal tradition. And please make sure those hundred dollar bills in my brown envelope are untraceable:0)