Harper Wants a Majority

In other news from the Land of Duh! — the sky is blue and the sun is still hot. I really cannot fathom what all the excitement is about this “bootleg” video of Harper speaking to a closed meeting of the party faithful in the Soo last week. Of course Harper wants a majority… just as I’m sure Michael Ignatieff would like one if he had his druthers.

Not of course that either man should wish too ardently for such a baleful thing, given the present economic circumstances. Consider the news today (another non-startling revelation of the completely obvious) that “Ottawa’s finances are in much worse shape than previously forecast and the Conservatives no longer have any idea when they can balance the books.”

The plain fact of the matter is that whoever wins the forthcoming election (should it happen) will be presiding over the largest deficit in Canadian history, while facing sluggish growth and mounting unemployment for a period of uncertain duration.

Flaherty said the government’s revenue shortfall will total $55.9 billion this year – revising a previous forecast of $50 billion – and $45.3 billion next year.

Yesterday’s update also scrapped an earlier prediction that Ottawa would stop running up debt by 2013-14.

The government will still be saddled with a deficit that year and in 2014-15 – part of revenue shortfalls totalling more than $164 billion over the next five years.

A government official briefing reporters in Ottawa said it’s impossible to predict when the federal accounts can be balanced. It may take five to 10 years to put an end to budget deficits, the official said.

Perhaps those opposed to Harper should almost hope that he’s cursed with a majority victory. At least then the Conservatives will have nobody to blame but themselves for the consequences of their actions. Wouldn’t that be a refreshing change?

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37 Comments

Filed under 2009 Election, STEPHEN HARPER Govrnment of Canada

37 responses to “Harper Wants a Majority

  1. KC

    I can’t figure out why the Liberals think this is a big “gotcha” moment either. Ignatieff is going to have to do better than accusing his opponent and wanting to win and not really being a fan of “socialists and separatists”.

  2. Dean

    Even with a majority, the ConBots will continue to scream and yell about how the Liberals are hurting their feelings and drumming up opposition to anything controversial they do.

    Conservatives are a sentimental bunch.

  3. Joseph

    Red,

    This post falls eerily similar to the vast category of US citizens who said during the lead-up to the 2000 election that “it really didn’t matter who won the election” (recall this was back when times were good and the nation was cursed with peace, prosperity, and surpluses as far as the eye could see).

    Let’s just say that history showed that a lot of people were wrong.

    Harper getting a majority is like that. I don’t want to see how it all turns out. The spectre of an “I told you so moment” just doesn’t have that much appeal.

  4. Whooee! I ain’t sure it’s the idea that harper wants majority that is so “shocking.” Rather, it’s the idea that he is saying a CPC majority is a distinct possibility. He’s been loathe to say such in public because he realizes that the public is afraid of what a CPC majority might do.

    Maybe a Con majority wouldd make cuts to the arts and women’s programs. They might appoint a buncha Con senators and judges and commissioners. They might stop lookin’ out fer Canajuns abroad. They might try to dismantle the wheat board. They might support drug dealers and warlords in Afghanistan.

    There’s no tellin’ what the Con’s might do if they didn’t have Prince Igor and Perfesser Dion holdin’ ’em down.

    JB

  5. Joseph — I’m not actively hoping for a Harper victory by any means — and it’s most certainly not as if he deserves the confidence of the Canadian people that a majority usually implies — but it would almost serve them right to get what they’ve hoped and prayed for…

    It won’t be pretty.

  6. Joseph

    Well, for one it sinks Harper in Quebec, where the conservatives were trying to stage a come-back.

    And, two, it gives them a chance to refute the whole coalition premise now – a month before the election call. Anyone reading this is fully engaged; we’re not the audience here.

    Harper didn’t want this to be an open strategy of their campaign. He wanted to be able to float this phantom “idea” of the horrid spectre throughout the campaign. By releasing the video and then going after it in very vocal statements, it purges the story line of a lot of it’s power in the public media.

    It just gets it out there so when the campaign does begin, it has less power, leaving the Liberals to run the campaign on actual issues and the conservative record.

    It’s pretty smart.

    Do I think this video is a great find. No. But most people don’t pay attention to politics like I do.

    P.S. Have you noticed Harper is seen less and less these days, overall. There is a reason for that. He turns a lot of people off. So anything that gets a video of him being his smarmy self, even if not a surprise to some, reminds the public of just who this character is. The fact that he is sneering is natural, but still not something most Canadians see day to day.

  7. KC

    Joseph – I don’t think Red’s post should be taken as an endorsement of the idea that a Harper majority is not better or worse than an Ignatieff majority. The fact that Red is still a member of “Liblogs” suggests he does not hold that view.

    The point is that this type of faux outrage at the idea that Harper would want a majority is laughable. Of course Harper wants a majority. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, and it certainly doesn’t fly as a line of attack by the Liberals. It isn’t 2000 anymore. Perhaps Iggy has been spending too much time with WK and is borrowing strategies from yesteryear.

    The simple fact is that neither party is going to win a majority and all this talk of “majorities” is nonsense. It would take nothing short of an electoral miracle for either the Liberal or Conservatives to get to 155.

  8. Joseph

    One last thought then must run.

    Lastly, this video provided the opening for Ignatieff to say, “You want to know why I’ve given up hope for this guy? Well, just look at him . . . he’s a jerk.” (paraphrased, as you did much better yesterday).

    That in itself makes it worthwhile. Gets folks (by which I mean media) beyond the tired “but why an election now” meme that they seemed to conveniently ignore last autumn.

  9. Joseph

    alright, one more. KC, and RT. No, I don’t think Red wants Harper to have a majority.

    I didn’t even say that. I certainly didn’t claim this was an endorsement . . . did you even read what I wrote?

    My point was this. Having seen what happened to the US over the past decade, it just touches a nerve anytime I start hearing idle thought that all politicians are the same or it doesn’t matter who wins or it doesn’t matter if someone has a majority.

    I was just pointing out that it does in fact matter. Sometimes the consequences can be very severe.

  10. nitangae

    Less significant than ruminating about a minority is the fact that he is so vocally hostile to the NDP and the Bloc. Hatred of the Bloc plays far better than it should in English Canada, but hurts him badly in Quebec. Demonization of the NDP turns off those many many Canadians who have friends, relatives, etc., who vote NDP. Even if you sometimes vote Conservative, I don’t think you want your NDP-voting friend accused of being a sinister socialist enemy.

    That is how I read it. It is a speech that should only have been heard by his most rabid supporters. Anybody else wonders if they are suddenly unwelcome in Canada. That is also why Iggy’s response was so good: “They are rivals, not enemies.”

    As for the last issue: if he wins a majority, he will without doubt blame all his problems on somebody else, as nothing about Harper suggests that he believes in responsible government.

  11. Ti-Guy

    The point is that this type of faux outrage at the idea that Harper would want a majority is laughable. Of course Harper wants a majority. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, and it certainly doesn’t fly as a line of attack by the Liberals. It isn’t 2000 anymore. Perhaps Iggy has been spending too much time with WK and is borrowing strategies from yesteryear.

    Actually, KC…they’re very contemporary strategies, which the Conservatives use and frankly, they work. The two largest parties are only concerned about that margin of the electorate (the distracted and disengaged voters who only notice shiny things) for whom this kind of thing works.

    Sure, we could all wish for rational politics, but that ain’t gonna happen anytime soon.

  12. Navvy

    Part of me would love to see how the libertarians deal with a quadrillion dollar deficit as a majority. You have to admit it would be a laugh to watch them cut taxes to zero, privatize healthcare, education, infrastructure etc, get rid of the CBC of course, and then stand there scratching their heads, wondering why nothing seems to be working.

    The other, much larger, part of me will do everything he can to make sure we don’t get to that point.

  13. KC

    Joseph – You said “This post falls eerily similar to the vast category of US citizens who said during the lead-up to the 2000 election that “it really didn’t matter who won the election”.

    For me personally, if I actually thought that Harper would win a majority I might think about where my vote goes. But with a minority I’m pretty indifferent ebtween the two parties.–they are both led by big government warmongering drug warriors. Ignatieff has not done much to differentiate from Harper and making him PM impacts my goal of him being removed as Liberal leader and replaced with a truly “progressive” leader.

  14. take_dead_aim

    You know, if Harper hadn’t been PM for the last few years this video would have had a much larger impact. But after seeing that he’s about as dishonest as any other politician that has lived in Susses in the last 25 years has taken alot of the ‘boeyman’ out of the kind of effect this video would have had if Harper had never moved out of Stornoway.

    Red doesn’t appear to be a Harper supporter by any stretch, so i commend the fact that this “what’s the fuss? ” post has been put up. It’s nice to read material somewhere that isn’t 100% partisan in its content.

    I’m somewhat undecided going into a federal election for the first time in 20 years, and so far spoiling my ballot is leading by 10 points in my ‘internal brain poll’………….

  15. “it just touches a nerve anytime I start hearing idle thought that all politicians are the same or it doesn’t matter who wins”

    i’ll echo that.

    KEvron

  16. Joseph

    And in Florida you could have voted for Nader.

    No judgment . . . really. It just reveals our difference of our opinions. I vehemently disagree but respect progressives who feel that way.

    You don’t want Harper to have a majority. But from what you’ve said, it appears to me that you’d be ok if he accidentally gets one as long as long-term it advances what you consider a true progressive movement with real progressive leaders. I’m glad you can monitor the nuances of the electorate just perfectly to calibrate the moment at which it becomes a risk. Please enlighten us when you see the tell-tale signs.

    I just don’t see politics that way. I don’t want to deal with the damage that occurs when passing on the good to get the perfect backfires. That, and I’m not much a believer in the “perfect” when it comes to a business like politics.

    And all of that still doesn’t change the fact that I never accused Red of “endorsing a Harper conservative majority” – which is what you said. I did no such thing, and your quoting me doesn’t change that fact.

  17. Joseph

    And for the record, I suggest everyone think about where there ballot goes and not wait for some “code red” (no offense, RT ; )) moment to really think about it. It just seems like a good idea.

  18. I disagree and believe that there is something here because it is not always what you say but how you say it. I think when Harper is unguarded he demonstrates his utter contempt for anything and anyone that does not conform to his world-view. And it is precisely this attitude that has poisoned the entire political discourse of the nation and is what has turned so many off any kind of organized politics. We need to demand of our politicians that they begin to act in a respectful way because only through mutual respect that we can move forward through meaningful discourse.

  19. Gayle

    Some of thee points have been made, so pardon me for the repetition.

    1. It is indeed obvious that any party would want a majority. Harper, however, has long avoided using that word publicly. I suggest that is because he knows there are a lot of people who would vote strategically to avoid his majority. The beneficiary of the strategic vote would most often be the LPC, so it makes sense for Ignatieff to highlight the fact Harper believes he will win a majority.

    2. The other things he said in the context of the majority angle were references to the gun registry and “leftist judges”. That suggests that whole “hidden agenda” thing has not disappeared yet. I realize the plans for the gun registry are not hidden, but the suggestion is that Harper would do things differently were he to have his majority – and what he would do would play to his right wing base.

    3. Ignatieff has now been able to show why we need an election. Harper clearly has nothing but contempt for the other duly elected members of parliament.

    4. Harper’s comments about the Bloc will hurt him in Quebec- and he cannot afford to take any more losses there.

    The video is not a smoking gun, but the very fact CPC supporters are out in full force trying to spin this as a deliberate leak tells me they really are not happy about it.

  20. Ti-Guy

    We need to demand of our politicians that they begin to act in a respectful way because only through mutual respect that we can move forward through meaningful discourse.

    The time to do that is when they’re in Parliament, not just around election time.

    One of the reasons I vote Liberal is that Liberal politicians can be shamed. Even the NDP knows that. Conservatives irremediable and just need to go.

    Fuck promises, fuck big ideas, fuck policy and fuck predictions. We all make up life as we go along and the only issue that matters is who we can trust to handle the issues honestly and sensibly when they crop up.

    And lastly, fuck the mainstream media. The sooner that goes, the better off we’ll all be.

  21. It’s ovbious to those who pay attention, but I think there’s a lot of people out there comfortable with Harper playing the “centre” and this would be a reminder that if he gets a majority – centre is gone.

  22. EM

    I was very disappointed in the reelection of the H of C Speaker. It was an opportunity for change in that chamber. Zero tolerance for bad behaviour in schoolyard playgrounds …same policy should regulate discourse in the House of Commons.

  23. Northern PoV

    Sanity Check
    This minor video gem is important. Why?
    Most of the evil-hidden-agenda-Harper bits have been well documented …
    * his Canada-is-a-failed-Socialist-republic speech
    * his Alberta firewall letter
    for examples, hey even his 2004 coalition ploy are all on paper, but he was careful before about cameras.
    Canadians, obviously now functional illiterate, need video evidence!

    On this video Harper reals off his litany of “accomplishments” (and hence the evil coalition/impending threat to their continuation)
    * killed court challenges funding (by decree)
    * has been appointing right-wing ideologues to judge-ships at all levels, Senate & other bodies
    * undermining gun registry while waiting for final chance to kill it
    * undermines vulnerable minorities
    * abandons Canandas’ traditional foreign policy

    of course in true Harper fashion – even amongst his brethren – he has to whine about these as an attack on his enemies, he can’t bring himself to boast directly, LOL

    put it together and you get: nasty-angry-man wants to implement a right wing agenda and teach us a lesson –
    their should be plenty of fodder for a good attack ad right here

  24. EM — That refrain never changes and neither will parliament, irrespective of who the Speaker is.

    It would be nice to think that our parliamentarians could rise above their juvenile taunts, catcalls, lame pranks and demonstrations of partisan support (e.g., yelling “Shame!” whilst pounding their desks in unison and other such puerile nonsense), but the sad fact of the matter is that most of them are witless yobs capable of little more in Question Period — which is really just a lot of pointless twaddle for the rubes in any case.

  25. take_dead_aim

    Gayle,

    “3. Ignatieff has now been able to show why we need an election. ”

    We need an election because Harper doesn’t play nice with the other duly elected members of parliment? Really?

    I’m trying to find a reason to vote for Iggy. I really am. But, seriously, that ain’t nearly enough.

    Maybe it’s enough for people who already voted against harper in the last election, but the average voter who’s prone to voting Liberal one election and Conservative in another isn’t going to think that we need another election 12 months after the last one because harper is really really mean and dismissive of the other politicians.

  26. Ti-Guy

    We need an election because Harper doesn’t play nice with the other duly elected members of parliment? Really?

    I’m trying to find a reason to vote for Iggy. I really am. But, seriously, that ain’t nearly enough.

    Well, that’s a shame. We live in a parliamentary democracy functions according to procedure and deliberation in good faith.

    What would you like from Ignatieff? To tell you you’re pretty?

    No seriously. What do you want?

  27. Gayle

    “We need an election because Harper doesn’t play nice with the other duly elected members of parliment? Really?”

    Yes.

    The remaining parties represent 60% of the electorate. They have to represent the people who elected them, and the people who elected them rejected Harper’s agenda.

    Harper is the Prime Minister. It is his job to make parliament work, which means it is incumbent on him to create legislation that is supported by other parties. Instead he says it is “my way or the highway”. He is basically saying screw the 60% who did not vote for me.

    Why should the opposition parties ignore the wishes of their electorate simply to fulfill Harper’s agenda?

  28. Joseph

    Gee, a functional parliament.

    I could vote for that. It is after all the basis of our government.

    Why is wanting a functional parliament of intelligent, respectful MPs, even if they don’t always disagree not “good enough.”

    Better than a bunch of clowns who would kiss Harper’s ass no matter what, which is what he seems to want.

    Sign me up.

  29. Ti-Guy

    The problem is, Harper spread the dysfunction of the largely irrelevant QP into committees, regulatory agencies and commissions, the civil service and even the judiciary (remember Maurice Vellacott and this lies about the chief justice of the SCC?). All on the strength of his puny minorities and his laughable popular support.

    Martinet! Usurper! Tyrant! Off with his head!

  30. take_dead_aim

    I’d prefer that YOU tell me i’m pretty, sweetness. Especially if your anything like that avatar.

    “what do i want?” WHY NOW. Why not over the last budget? Why not over the upcoming budget? I want a compelling reason why we’re going back to the polls 12 months after being there already.

    We haven’t had an election that was actually about something since one of the Mulroney elections.

    Every election since has been based on either the government or the oppositions’ calculation of probability of success (including harpers wins)

    Harper’s first win was a house cleaning exercise. 3 majorities and a minority, and it’s time to assign new seating.

    If he wanted to call an election, call it over the budget. Call it over the next budget. Call it over something MEANINGFUL.

    Right now it looks like he’s calling it because his economic window of opportunity is shutting, and he’s got his party’s house in order.

    In that situation, you’d prefer someone you feel you can shame, and i’d prefer handing someone both reins and letting him run stuff until people are willing to kick him out.

    Gayle,

    The opposition parties don’t have to ignore their electorate. But their electorate isn’t simply comprised of their hardcore partisan supporters, who would vote for them basically no matter what. So, they need to explain “WHY NOW”.

    Until the conservatives split in two or the bloc disintigrates into nothing, we’re going to ALWAYS have 60% of the country who didn’t vote for the sitting government. Whomever is in power will always be at odds with 60% of the electorate, and some of that time those in power will be majority governments with only 40% of the country’s support.

    I don’t necessarily want them to just play nice, because of the 4 political parties in this country, i can’t ever imagine giving my support to two of them.

    They govern as they see fit, and we judge them based on that. We’re all free to judge them by whatever measure we want.

    They’re ability to get along simply isn’t one of mine, because i’ve NEVER seen a minority or majority government get along with its opposition.

  31. Gayle

    So you think the parties that represent the majority of the electorate should shut up and let Harper do whatever he wants?

    The EI panel was the last straw. Instead of negotiating in good faith Harper sent his minions out to lie about the LPC position before they even had their first meeting. Parliament cannot function when the government treats the rest of Canada like they are the enemy.

    Other parties negotiate with each other. Harper does not.

  32. KC

    Joseph – I guess we disagree that Ignatieff is “good”. I haven’t heard much “good” come out of his mouth.

    As for judging when there is a “risk” of a majority, I think I can analyze polls and seats, etc. enough to know when that is a serious risk. It simply isn’t here. The Conservatives are not even competitive in enough ridings to get a majority.

  33. takedeadaim

    Gayle,

    The parties can do whatever they want to do. And the electorate will judge them for their actions, including the conservatives.

    I don’t believe for a second that this is about the EI panel, or that the government isn’t working with the other parties. The government NEVER works with other parties, and in many ways less so in minority parliments.

    Ask Clark/Manning/McDonough/Bouchard how much Chretien worked with them over 12 years. The fact Jeany lead a majority government is completely irrelevant.

    But this is all moot anyway. Let’s see the result of the election. I suspect the conservatives will lose seats, the liberals will gain seats, and we’ll still be sitting here with a conservative minority government.

    Does that result mean that the people have spoken? Does it mean that they don’t mind that parliment is largely frozen by a rigid minority government ?

    Or are the results of modern Canadian elections simply the aggregate of seats won by what has become a collection of geographically confined federal parties that fight over only a handful of seats in play in parts of Ontario, Quebec, and BC, where the concept of a decisive mandate to do ANYTHING is almost out of reach.

    In that reality, even if I’m inclined to support Iggy (which i am), i hear someone who says he’ll be different than harper, but this election is a harper-esque move if i’ve ever seen one.

  34. Gayle

    There is a significant difference between majority and minority parliaments. The government can not survive in a minority without working with the opposition – unless, of course, that opposition is in complete disarray and completely broke…

  35. Tomm

    You guys need to re-focus.

    We desperately need a Harper majority. It is that alone which will make Parliament functional. All of the oppositional posturing by McCallum and his ilk would immediately end as they realize they have either four years of screeching, or four years of finding common ground and working within committee’s. (the Liberal dominated Senate can still be counted on to entertain us). Sadly, anybody elected as a Liberal who is over 60 will retire, without their Senate appointment.

    Also, people keep minimizing Harper’s opportunities in Quebec, but they shouldn’t. Only 50% maximum would vote for the Bloq. That leaves a whole bunch of voters that are embarrassed about the Plains of Abraham re-inactment, and embarrassed about the FLQ reading. People are forgetting that many in Quebec are fervent Canadian’s. Harper can easily raise his numbers in Quebec to 25% by attacking the “separatists” aggressively and asking Quebec to open its eyes to what they have brought to Ottawa.

    So after the smoke clears, Harper may have a 5% bulge for the Tories in Ontario, which cleans up most everything except the Liberal bastion of Canada’s least favourite city, 15 seats in Quebec and he keeps what he has everywhere else. Ergo, Tory majority.

    Ignatieff goes back to vacationing on the Continent, his job in Cambridge, Mass, and visits TO twice a year for the party season.

  36. Okhropir rumiani

    Excuse me, I believe there was going to be an increase in the number of seats allotted to Ontario, Alberta and B.C.. Up to 30 or so.

    Will this be in effect for an election this year? It could be quite significant.

  37. Tomm

    Extra seats in BC, AB, and ON?

    Sweet!

    I don’t think the whole thing received full approval. Perhaps its is stuck in committee…

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