The trap is set

The latest news is that the potential of Bloc-Liberal-NDP coalition government in waiting is shrinking a bit now that the Conservatives have promised to remove required confidence from the party welfare issue.

This is bait of course.

If the BLN coalition backs down now, Canadians will understand that their opposition to the economic statement really wasn’t about the “lack of stimulus”, the rescue of Canadian jobs, or the “protection of rights of women and workers”.  The opposition and brinkmanship that was threatening a fresh election or constitutional crisis would have been about parties that are so fresh out of ideas, so unable to inspire, that they were ready to go to political war over their $1.95-per-vote handout from the Canadian taxpayer.

So, have we seen crisis averted? Better yet, has the PM been successful in floating a very useful trial balloon over the heads of the opposition? If we don’t see the government fall, or a new one form, will this have instead put the issue of campaign welfare to the fore and have raised the cynical ire of Canadians to know that in an economic crisis, the ones ready to burn the house down were the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc?

Over their entitlements?

Yeah.

UPDATE: Have we seen a crisis averted? No, not yet. The PM has pushed confidence votes back to December 8th and parties will have a chance then to bring down the government.

Comments

comments

  • http://streetadvisorconsulting.blogspot.com markalanwhittle

    We all have to tighten our belts, so political welfare should be the first to go, along with all those perks.
    If that failure Dion wants another election he will be wiped out as us voters are too busy battening down the hatches to want wholesale government change.
    I do find the oppositions hysterics, at having their taxpayer funded meal ticket stopped, cold comfort in light of the facts.
    I'm more worried about what our local councils will be doing to tighten their belts as well?

  • MG

    You're putting on a very brave face, Stephen. I hope you're right, although it's hard to see why the BLN team would be denying that this changes anything if they were not prepared to follow through…

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    A lot of this talk is posturing of course.

  • MikeW

    I think the opposition have misjudged the financial situation here. Demanding a massive stimulus package of what? Handouts to branch plants of U.S. auto cos.& workers when the incoming Obama Gov't has yet to indicate how it will respond. If we go first it does not make sense. Infrastructure? its slated already with Feds, (Minister Baird) ready to fund $6 Billion as soon as Provs. identify items.

  • Liz J

    Right. A better trap was never set and they fell right into it lock, stock and barrel. It looks so bad on them, if shame were a strong point with any of them they'd hang their heads in it. The frenzy was spectacular and the media was salivating at the prospect of the turmoil. Pretty disgraceful behaviour all around.

    What really is irritating is the fact they're talking about Chretien getting involved in some leadership shinanigans, dumping Dion. That should be good for their unity front ! The Raes and Iggys will be at odds.

    Have they gotten that bankrupt for brains in the outfit they have no one to make decisions ? They can't run their own party but think they're good enough to steer the country though economic uncertainty when they don't even want to forfeit their own?

    We also have to remember Chretien brought the idea we should all fund all parties without an debate, he just did it on his own say so.

    It should also give people pause for thought that the Liberals are so desperate for power for power's sake, not the good of the country.

  • Nathalie in Ottawa

    Reports say that the opposition still won't back down, despite the removal of the electoral funding from the confidence motion vote on Monday…

    So what happens next? It is likely that the Liberals and NDP will commit (at least temporarily) to a coalition government, with the support of the Bloc – but not included in the coalition. How long would this coalition last in your opinion?

    Also, would the GG actually accept this coalition government despite the fact that the Liberals and NDP only make up 114 seats (77 Libs, 37 NDP)? I mean they may have the word of the Bloc that they would vote with them, but can this be seriously counted on, to prop up a newly minted coalition government? Not to mention that it disguists me to know the Bloc may be the third prong to this government.

    I hope the opposition votes in favour of the fiscal update motion, but I am starting to be worried… :/

  • ward

    Stephen, that only works if that message can be successfully and broadly disseminated. Media is going to use this to go hard negative on the Conservatives and Harper.

  • whyshouldIsellyourwheat

    The Liberals should defeat the government, and force an election. Appoint Chretien interim Liberal leader, and Chretien visit Paul Martin and ask him to be his finance minister designate, and make the election a referendum on who the public wants to handle the economic crisis. Harper-Flahery, or Chretien-Martin.

  • Ted

    They opposed Harper's fiscal “plan” and they are not backing down.

    Harper was too clever by half this time.

    Even your post inadvertently highlights the problem the Conservatives just do not get.

    We are in an economic crisis right now. The dollar is plunging. Stocks are plunging. Jobs are starting to go.

    And what does Harper do? No plan except political games. Trying to bait the opposition, instead of governing with them in a minority government.

    As some like to say, Harper is playing chess. Canadians are sick and tired of this crap. We don't want him to play games, we want leadership. And Ignatieff and the Liberals showed that they are not just going to continue to take Harper's games.

  • http://www.wernerpatels.com Werner Patels

    Well said, Stephen, this is exactly how normal, common-sensical Canadians would interpret the events — i.e., those with an IQ in the positive, measurable range. The opposition parties simply want to shovel my tax dollars into their pockets at every opportunity they can find. And they would have triggered either another $300-million election over this or created an unstable banana-republic-style “government” that would have been ridiculed by the international community.

    After all, who would take a federal government seriously that included the BQ, a party determined not to have anything to do with Canada?

  • Richard Romano

    It was a real laugher to see Craig Oliver opine that Harper made a political gaffe here — Mr. Oliver can't seem to ever see the wasteful spending this subsidy is for the gigantic leftist mote in his eye.

    Andrew Coyne, and most Canadians it seems (see the CTV and CBC polls), gets it.

  • NeilD

    Of course everybody is going to back down. The only party that would come out of any election looking good so soon after the last one would be the Conservative Party.
    Maybe the reason they'd probably walk away with their desired majority and be hurt least by the elimination of taxpayer subsides is because they are supported by so many more ordinary people all across Canada. They have their finger on our collective pulse.
    As a very ordinary Canadian myself I certainly don't want my tax dollars going to either the Bloc or the Green Party and I'm sure greenies don't like having their tax dollars go to the Conservative Party of Canada. How democratic is it when I find my own money being used to prop up parties that are so opposite to my way of thinking. The Bloc wants to split Canada in two (not counting Quebec) and the greens want to hamstring our ability to compete in a global market based on false hysteria and a desire to send plenty even more of my money to the Third World.
    Let them all hold garage sales so we can at least pick and chose where our money goes.
    NeilD

  • Casual Observer

    Brilliant move by the Conservatives. There is about as much a chance of the left forming a coalition, as there is of Jack Layton's ego shrinking to only the size of a football field. The Liberals can't stand each other, the NDP can't stand the Liberals, and the Bloc just shrug their shoulders, as long as the suckling of the taxpayer largesse continues. The Greens? where the hell are the Greens? oh yeah, they're off counting their welfare from the taxpayers. too.

  • Kat

    I'll admit it…I'm a political junkie. I consider Canadian Politics my reality t.v. These last couple of days/weeks/year has been fun. Harper and his team sure do keep things interesting in a chess game kind of way.

    But enough already. Let's stop playing politics and get down to business. I was looking forward to the withdrawal of taxpayer's money funding political parties on it's own merits.

    I was disappointed when during the election the PM said “no deficits” and then immediately after said “well, there not so bad after all” . Are you not the brilliant economist we all thought? Or did you just say that to play politics? I'll buy the argument that the economy is changing faster that anyone can predict. I'll argue that being flexible in uncertain times is mandatory.

    But all this…as exciting as it is for we political junkies, is pure politics. Enough already.

  • BarryW

    I fear this may have been a Joe Clarke moment – there might be a Lib/NDP government next week – and Harper will have to step down as leader. And this from a long time Harper supporter….

  • Beer and Popcorn

    What a masterful plan this is – Mr Harper has backed the opposition parties into a position where they are scrambling to make a case that it is really the fiscal stimulus that they balk at and not the $1.95 per vote, all while putting together a package that is reasonable, fiscally sound and representative of why they were elected by 38% of Canadians last election.

    I think Blue Liberals must be hanging their head in shame today..

  • Phil

    They should bring in the party public financing bill in a separate bill later in the week, make it a confidence motion, and see if the parties are willing to vote against a party welfare cut. That will interesting.

    Liberal party: 'we can cut $12 billion from the budget…but not $30 million from ours' :)

  • Ted

    Wow thats quite the spin. The Government is humiliated in the press for the last 24 hours, backs down and Stephen Taylor claims “its all part of the master plan”.

    Sure buddy. If you believe that tripe, I have a tower to sell you in Toronto.

  • http://myblahg.com Robert McClelland

    I doubt it. You're misreading the situation. While the public campaign funding was the catalyst the real driving force behind the formation of a coalition is putting an end to the games being played by Harper. While these games have certainly played well with conservatives they've become tiresome for the rest of us. And since the rest of us hold a majority…well, I won't say we're definitely headed for a coalition but I will say that Harper shouldn't be making any long term plans this week.

  • Dan

    Why would it be any worse for the Bloc to prop up a Lib/NDP government then it was for the Bloc to prop up a Conservative government as they did when Stephen Harper was first elected PM?

  • LogicallySpeaking

    Personally, assuming the BLN coalition does back down, I'd call that a victory for minority governments. I think we can all agree that the three opposition parties were strongly opposed to the removal of the public party funding, in fact, I recall several party members commenting specifically on that. Removing this issue from the proposal would really constitue compromise, which is what a minority government should be about.

    I personally think people people calling it 'bait' are idiots, because really, most Canadians outside of bloggers and journalists don't really care – in the same way nobody really cares that Stephen Harper is logically either an idiot economist or a liar regarding his comments on deficit during the elections .

    What this DOES exemplify, however, is Bargaining 101: ask for more than you want, then “compromise” on what you really do. By the same token, the opposition parties will oppose a wide spectrum of issues in the fiscal policy, but ultimately they're only hoping to change or remove a couple. Is everyone completely oblivious to how labour negotiations work?

  • Politically Obsessed

    Having watched this story/scenario evolve over the course of the last 24 hours, I am struck by a couple of things. Firstly I am amazed at the number of people I have spoken with today who are intrigued at the possibility that this could actually play out to what seems an illogical conclusion.

    These folks span right, left and centrist leanings so I wonder if we are seeing a thirst for semi radical change a la the Obama phemonena down south. I am not suggesting that this coalition would have anything resembling new blood at its core but it clearly would provide a system shocking that I believe Canadian's have a hunger for.

    Secondly, I think Harper may have misjudged the powerful winds of change that are blowing, setting himself up for a fall by attempting to play hardball politics. Abandoning the party funding program as a symbol of restraint was a thinly disguised, self serving strategy that I suspect he though the opposition would be too frightened to challenge.

    At a time when we are so in need of real leadership, when there is sand beneath all of our feet, when the opposition parties have never been so vulnerable how could he not have not sensed that the forces of self preservation and the yearning for something new might create the perfect storm of his demise.

    He is way to smart for something like this to spin out of control but he may not left himself sufficient room or time to put the lid back on Pandora's box….god help him if Canadian's get a taste for wanting to watch a train wreck….don't think it could happen?….think about the inevitability of Obama post Iowa.

  • Yukon Gold

    Typical Ted. First, he wants his political parties to get financing they do not deserve, now he's selling buildings he doesn't own.

  • Beer and Popcorn

    Ted,

    Having the opposition parties admit that their core consideration at this time of economic uncertainty is their parties financial well being is spin?

  • Jon

    Mr. McClelland,

    Based on your history of predictions I believe it might be you who is misreading the situation.

  • bec

    What are these 2 parties going to 80 year old men to get advice for ANYWAY? Does that not tell anyone anything?
    It tells me that their ideas are ANCIENT (and yes, I love my Dad too, but..) and not a single NEW idea is bubbling up in the grey matter.
    Gosh lefties, could anyone please tell me where your bleeding hearts were when the Progressive Conservatives were BROKE and decimated? New party comes out of the ashes called Reform….BROKE and guess what built themselves up with real people. Retirees and little folks that do not depend on sucking the Govt, teat, built up a NEW PARTY! WHOA BOY, there is a concept. Get real, please think before you SPIT! Thank you.

  • Nathalie in Ottawa

    As far as I know, the Conservatives were in power no? Not trying to undermind the elected minority government…

    And what is the Bloc's reasoning here? That there is “nothing for Quebeckers” in the economic update. Uhmm… wouldn't the province profit from the following:

    -Maintaining and increasing of provincial tranfers?
    -National infrastructure spending?
    -Strengthening the pension across the country?
    -Increase to the lending power of the EDC, which will help Canadian (and Quebec) companies increase or better manage exports?
    -The same with the BDC for small and medium-sized businesses (which in know there are plenty of in Quebec)?

    I guess not in the eyes of the BQ… That's my problem.

  • Nathalie in Ottawa

    Liberals have decided to defeat the government, reports the CBC:
    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/11/28/fed-g

    Quote:

    “According to the Canadian Press, the Liberal motion, which has the approval of the NDP and Bloc Québécois, reads:

    “In light of the government's failure to recognize the seriousness of Canada's economic situation and its failure in particular to present any credible plan to stimulate the Canadian economy and to help workers and businesses in hard-pressed sectors such as manufacturing, the automotive industry and forestry, this House has lost confidence in this government and is of the opinion that a viable alternative government can be formed within the present House of Commons.”

    A source says the opposition parties have agreed that Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion would lead the government for the next few months.”

  • Liz J

    Does anyone else think this is starting to resemble the tactics used in the politics of Banana Republics?
    This is scary stuff and not a joking matter and it appears it's mainly over entitlements. Liberals think they're entitled to rule with all the entitlements, no consideration given to the pathetic mess they're in as a party.

    The very fact the Liberals are lusting for power like hungry leeches, jumping at any angle they think will get them closer to power should get everyone's attention. Why do they want power when they're in disarray as a party and broke to boot? They're showing no care about the country or the people when they're willing to cause turmoil in an already difficult time. Liberal power for power's sake trumps all.

    A Junta in Canada, who'd have ever thought it?

    Hoping Harper has another trap, one they'll not weasel out of for a very long time.

  • bart

    “Japan spent $516 billion on infrastructure in the 1990s, it didn't stimulate their economy.” Wall Street Journal, November 28, 2008. So how much “stimulus” do the lefties want? Should we throw a gigantic party and let my kids pay for it? Anyone who has children or who plans to have children should be afraid of the left.

  • Jim

    “But Liberals and New Democrats say that dropping the financing measures will not influence their decision to vote against a fiscal update they say provides no economic stimulus at a time when Canada is entering a recession.”

    Where is the part of the article where Coalition Government talk is cooling down. Harper has just led us over the cliff, and he and his Ministers will be losing their jobs around Tuesday or so.

  • Jim

    “But Liberals and New Democrats say that dropping the financing measures will not influence their decision to vote against a fiscal update they say provides no economic stimulus at a time when Canada is entering a recession.”

    Where is the part of the article where Coalition Government talk is cooling down. Harper has just led us over the cliff, and he and his Ministers will be losing their jobs around Tuesday or so.

  • http://myblahg.com Robert McClelland

    The Liberals just tabled a non-confidence motion to be read Monday. You were saying?

  • http://bigcitylib.blogspot.com bigcitylib

    We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.
    We’ve always been at war with Eastasia

  • http://bigcitylib.blogspot.com bigcitylib

    We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.
    We’ve always been at war with Eastasia

  • bert

    Hey Robert McClelland,Who gives a crap what the liberals put before the house.The Conservatives can just ignore it.And they will also ignore the confidence vote if its not in their favour,just like Paul martin did.What you gonna do about it.???C,mon big mouth,WHAT.?Call in the army??

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    Let's keep the tone civil please

  • A non-emu’s opinion

    Uh. Did you read the story you linked to? There’s not a word in it about the potential for a BLN coalition shrinking. In fact, it says that explicitly the removal of the political party subsidy doesn’t change a thing. So nice spin-meistering there. Try sticking with the truth for a change.

    So it was Wishful thinking on your part, but lets now consider what happens on the other side of that “If the BLN coalition backs down”

    If they *don’t* back down, now that Harper has said he’ll separate the party funding issue from the policy, that goes to show Canadians the exact opposite, that the opposition was NOT against this because of the party funding issue, but because of what they said all along. And in fact the opposition can say, “Look, he never intended to take 10 million dollars away from his party, Mr. in-and-out just wanted to make us look bad when he assumed we have the same motivations he does.”

    While an election might not be good for the Liberals, unless Harper comes up with some sort of stimulus package, and fast, there won’t be one. There’ll just be a bunch of unhappy conservatives realizing that Mr. Harper has enabled the first Canadian NDP government.

  • A non-emu’s opinion

    Uh. Did you read the story you linked to? There’s not a word in it about the potential for a BLN coalition shrinking. In fact, it says that explicitly the removal of the political party subsidy doesn’t change a thing. So nice spin-meistering there. Try sticking with the truth for a change.

    So it was Wishful thinking on your part, but lets now consider what happens on the other side of that “If the BLN coalition backs down”

    If they *don’t* back down, now that Harper has said he’ll separate the party funding issue from the policy, that goes to show Canadians the exact opposite, that the opposition was NOT against this because of the party funding issue, but because of what they said all along. And in fact the opposition can say, “Look, he never intended to take 10 million dollars away from his party, Mr. in-and-out just wanted to make us look bad when he assumed we have the same motivations he does.”

    While an election might not be good for the Liberals, unless Harper comes up with some sort of stimulus package, and fast, there won’t be one. There’ll just be a bunch of unhappy conservatives realizing that Mr. Harper has enabled the first Canadian NDP government.

  • jen

    I didn't realize that paul martin will take our money to do such a thing; now I know why the liberals are not to be trusted with our money look what they do with it.

    $133,000 grant to a Toronto film company that used classified ads to search for the “perfect” penis. (National Post, October 14, 2004).

  • Phil

    I heard if the government falls, Dion will be ousted and Ignatieff will be made leader of the Liberal party. Then he’ll be made leader of Canada once the liberals and NDP form a coalition with an outside pledge of support from the Bloc.

    And the Liberals say the Conservatives are a front to democracy? The Liberal/NDP coalition will be 29 seats short of the Conservatives with an unelected party leader being made an unelected Prime Minister. All without an election. Where are the palm trees and beaches cause this must be Cuba.

  • Phil

    I heard if the government falls, Dion will be ousted and Ignatieff will be made leader of the Liberal party. Then he’ll be made leader of Canada once the liberals and NDP form a coalition with an outside pledge of support from the Bloc.

    And the Liberals say the Conservatives are a front to democracy? The Liberal/NDP coalition will be 29 seats short of the Conservatives with an unelected party leader being made an unelected Prime Minister. All without an election. Where are the palm trees and beaches cause this must be Cuba.

  • bert

    And on the same subject.Shouldn,t PM Chretien be arrested for planning for the overthrow of a democratically elected government with the help of Broadbent.Is this not treason or worse fro a former PM to get involved like this.????When will these questions be asked?????

  • bert

    And on the same subject.Shouldn,t PM Chretien be arrested for planning for the overthrow of a democratically elected government with the help of Broadbent.Is this not treason or worse fro a former PM to get involved like this.????When will these questions be asked?????

  • http://www.reneestephen.com/ Renee

    “Banana-republic-style” government like, oh, Switzerland and Denmark? “Shoveling your tax dollars” into party pockets (and let’s dispense with the hyperbole, $1.75 fits on a teaspoon, not a shovel) is an attempt to provide equity – it’s a consumption tax, basically, on the people who voted for a particular party. Look at it this way: they’re donating $1.75 to the Libs or NDP when they voted, not you. You donated $1.75 to the Conservatives. It levels the playing field and puts our money where our mouths are. Seems pretty democratic to me – especially since ability to fundraise is not the mark of a good leader, it’s a mark of a good fundraiser.

  • http://www.reneestephen.com/ Renee

    “Banana-republic-style” government like, oh, Switzerland and Denmark? “Shoveling your tax dollars” into party pockets (and let’s dispense with the hyperbole, $1.75 fits on a teaspoon, not a shovel) is an attempt to provide equity – it’s a consumption tax, basically, on the people who voted for a particular party. Look at it this way: they’re donating $1.75 to the Libs or NDP when they voted, not you. You donated $1.75 to the Conservatives. It levels the playing field and puts our money where our mouths are. Seems pretty democratic to me – especially since ability to fundraise is not the mark of a good leader, it’s a mark of a good fundraiser.

  • http://www.reneestephen.com/ Renee

    Er, actually, that’s because Japan was in a deflationary spiral… because they didn’t provide stimulus fast enough to maintain consumer confidence.

  • http://www.reneestephen.com/ Renee

    Er, actually, that’s because Japan was in a deflationary spiral… because they didn’t provide stimulus fast enough to maintain consumer confidence.

  • Jon

    You have 2 eggs, does that mean you'll have 2 chickens?

  • http://www.reneestephen.com/ Renee

    How come neither of my comments were approved? Granted I am a card-carrying dipper, but I didn’t think that was reason enough…