“Hidden Agenda”

Another day, another desperate, fear-mongering attack ad from the Harper Conservatives.

Considering that the “hidden agenda” alluded to involves the possibility that the parties quite probably representing 60 percent or more of Canadian voters might conceivably get together after the election and attempt to work cooperatively in some kind of temporary alliance doesn’t actually strike me as an especially SCARY thing.

That aside, seeing as Ignatieff has already flatly ruled out forming a coalition post-election, at what point does Harper’s incessant fear mongering and negative campaigning against a “reckless Coalition” that exists only as delusional figment of his imagination start to backfire on him? Or will it?


Afghan War Debate

There’s a debate taking place in Congress today over Dennis Kucinich’s bill H. Con. Res. 28 calling for President Obama to remove troops from Afghanistan within 30 days of adoption, or if the president determines such a rapid withdrawal would be jeopardize the safety of U.S. troops, then delay the withdrawal to no later than the end of the year.

This motion will likely go nowhere fast, but here in Canada there isn’t even any debate at all over the issue…

The Harper Government® unilaterally decided to extend the country’s “mission” in Afghanistan to 2014, in doing so breaking promises made in 2006, 2007, and 2010. And it was able to do that because the official “Opposition” led by Michael Ignatieff supported the Conservatives. Just as they routinely have when push comes to shove on almost every key issue over the last several years.

Maybe if (when) the Bloc assumes the LPC’s place as the Official Opposition after the next election, though highly ironic, it wouldn’t really be such a bad thing.

The Conservative Coalition

Jack and Gilles went up the Hill to carry Harper’s water…

Deux Partis-Un Regard

So, the CBC is reporting that the Bloc Québécois has indicated it will support the government’s budget motion on Friday, thereby averting a federal election call and effectively propping up the Conservatives at least until next month. Signals from the NDP suggest they’re likewise expected to vote with the government’s pending financial ways-and-means motion.

In the game of political brinksmanship currently being played out, kudos to Michael Ignatieff for insightfully reading the landscape and correctly wagering that the dreaded “separatists” and “socialists” would predictably buckle at this time, thereby allowing the Liberals to now freely oppose the government without incurring the consequence of an unpopular election.

Well played indeed!

Update: Heh.

A Mental Bloc


Since the idea of a coalition to defeat the Harper government began to seriously take shape last week, by far the loudest and most frequently heard complaint from the usual suspects has been the participation of the Bloc Québécois.

Adding what some might regard as legitimate weight to that objection, it’s reported in the Vancouver Sun this morning that Ted McWhinney, former Liberal MP (John Turner’s successor in Vancouver-Quadra), political scientist, esteemed constitutional lawyer, and sometimes advisor to past Governors General and other notables, apparently thinks that a coalition dependent on the support of the BQ would be “crazy” (to use the good professor’s highly technical legal phraseology).

According to McWhinney (for what it’s worth, an Aussie who believes that once QEII passes on, Canada should simply allow the monarchy to quietly fade away) seems to object to Duceppe effectively being “kingmaker” in the proposed coalition arrangement. “What is the Bloc leader going to demand for his support?” he asks, rather aimlessly. Well, what he always does, I would imagine; specifically, more and better deals for the citizens of Quebec in addition to overarching demands regarding the environment and other issues on which “progressives” (and surveys would have us believe, most Canadians) are in general agreement with.

Actually, there’s not a lot of substance to McWhinney’s speculative objections. Also, you might notice that they already seem to have been outpaced by events. “Unless she is satisfied that there’s a definite prospect of a continuing government, she doesn’t have to go along,” he notes. Indeed. But the accord signed yesterday would seem to resolve uncertainty about that. If anything, the prospect of a continuing government under the opposition’s coalition arrangement is quite literally more “definite” than was the case under the endless brinksmanship of Stephen Harper’s recklessly partisan minority.

At the risk of committing the sin of “shooting the messenger” it might be legitimate to point out that the journalist in this instance has been a rather implacable and strident foe of the Bloc. In past articles Yaffee has called the BQ “an unhealthy blight in the federal Parliament” and has railed indignantly against public subsidies that fund its existence. In this respect, she’s not alone. Many people share that sentiment, even though a good number of others who operate in the reality-based universe have long since moved on from it.