Rachel Maddow gives thanks for the passing of the Bush administration’s rogue’s gallery of incompetent cronies, crooks, thieves, sexual perverts and liars — “conservatives” all, it has to be noted.

“No More Sitting on Our Hands”

Good. It’s about time.

Make or break, Libs… If you take a fall on this one, you’ll effectively be signing your own death warrant.

Liberal MP Michael Ignatieff, the presumed front runner in the race to succeed Mr. Dion, and his main rival, Bob Rae, refused to speculate about the impact a defeat of the government might have on their leadership aspirations. But both used uncompromising language to denounce the fiscal update.

“One step at a time. But I will tell you that I’ve got ice-water in my veins on this one,” Mr. Ignatieff said in an interview.

“I’m utterly unintimidated and undeterred by this stuff and the caucus is in the same mood . . . . [Harper] has misread the mood if he thinks that the Liberal caucus is going to cave on this matter. No way. No way.”

Similarly, Mr. Rae said the Tories are “deliberately creating a political crisis in order to avoid dealing with an economic crisis.” He said there’s “no public policy benefit at all” to the move to scrap public subsidies for parties.

“It’s just absolute bloody-minded meanness that’s motivating them and it can’t be allowed to stand.”

Trust the Conservatives to leverage an economic crisis for partisan political advantage. How about putting “country first” (to ironically borrow a phrase from John McCain) and just getting on with measures that will help mitigate the effects of the downturn rather than crassly seeking to opportunistically undermine one’s political opponents.


“We needed weenies. Mr. Brown had weenies. It’s as simple as that!”

Tell us more about credit default swaps and subprime derivatives, Mr. Howard!

Is Harper Passing the Buck?

Norman Spector poses a rather interesting question:

In either case, the question must be asked: Is the economic prognosis for Canada so bad that Mr. Harper has concluded that it’s better to be in opposition than to be in power with a minority government at this time?

That seems like a rather dubious theory, but I suppose nothing is outside the realm of possibility.

Poisoning the Well

For someone who just recently was soliciting greater co-operation of all parties in the Commons — vowing that “We are not seeking confrontation in areas that are secondary to the economic focus of this government” — yesterday’s promise to terminate the $30-million public subsidy to the country’s political parties seems like a rather odd way of going about things.

The cut will have almost no appreciable impact on the government’s balance sheet of course — it’s almost purely symbolic. At worst, it may even be an opportunistic gambit to stifle opposition by choking off the life support system of Stephen Harper’s rivals, for while the Conservatives will most certainly take the biggest hit, passing up approximately $10 million dollars in public funding, the net effect will be less immediately significant for them, as this amount only represents 37% of their income and it’s understood that their war chest is still presently flush with money. For the other parties however that are currently mired in debt and struggling to recover from the last (utterly pointless and arguably illegal) election and generally rely more heavily on the public financing system for their funding (the Liberals and NDP, for example, depend on this source of income to the tune of 63% and 57% of their budgets, respectively), changing the rules of the game at this critical juncture could be devastating — at least in the short term. It may even be fatal.

I suppose it could be argued that this move may provide the Liberals and others with the incentive needed to jump-start their moribund fundraising efforts, but as we’re on the verge of heading into a full-blown recession with many people soon to be facing the dole or at the very least tightening their belts, that argument doesn’t hold a lot of water. It’s highly doubtful there will be any great outpouring of cash from small donors over the next year or so — if anything, all the parties will be fortunate to maintain this year’s level of contributions from their respective bases. In the case of the Liberals, this will push them even deeper into a deficit from which they’ll be hard pressed to recover. Not to mention the obvious fact that this cunning maneuver will effectively prevent them from mounting any kind of a challenge to the government in the meantime… which is perhaps an academic point in any case given that they’re also involved in another useless, internecine “leadership” battle that will drag on until almost the middle of next year.

Sad days for Liberals.

Update: As if there was any doubt about the matter:

In this, the Conservatives aim to level a strategic blow to the Liberals as Conservative fundraising efforts — rooted in the Reform tradition of passing the hat in legion halls and church basements — has remained strong. Buoyed by detailed supporter databases, the party is set to compete on an advantageous — despite it’s now mutually diminished — footing with other parties. The Liberal Party still has not mastered grassroots fundraising and with an expensive year ahead with another leadership convention, Liberals will need to determine how to appeal (and fast) if they are to survive as a viable organization.

Time for the Libs, Greens, NDP and Bloc to vote Harper and his incompetent wrecking crew out of office at the first available opportunity and form a progressive coalition government.

Update2: A rather bleak assessment of the Liberals’ prospects. I dare say that it isn’t anything some of us don’t already reluctantly concur with.

Update3: Dan Arnold (“Calgary Grit”) proposes what I’d suggest is a ridiculously long transition period. Ten years? Give me a break. How about one year at a minimum and two at a maximum? That seems eminently fair to me. But then, this isn’t about “fairness” is it? It’s about destroying the LPC.

Update4: Steve V is waging a rather valiant effort over here to arrive at some kind of sensible position on this issue.