Thursday, June 3, 2010

About This Coalition, Jean Chretien and Liberal Party Destruction

Liberals are officially spinning themselves into self destruction these days.

As a background to all of this, I offer up the Wiki on the last coalition circa 2008.

I tried to avoid the blogging of the "Coalition" here on this site. But yesterday I snapped. I had had just about enough of the redirect and juxtaposing on the issue.

I'm not certain at what point the Liberal Party members will drop the dialogue of the Dipper/Lib/non-Bloc pact, but I am certain that none of dialogue benefits the Liberal Party of Canada.

Jean Chretien said "If it's doable, let's do it." What Jean Chretien didn't say is whether or not he thought "it could be done." You know, like a proof is a proof when you have good proof, then it's a proof. Show me a quote where he said he's persuing any talks of a coalition, then I might believe it. And this quote from 2008 doesn't count:

Former NDP leader Ed Broadbent had confirmed earlier in the day that he had been in talks with former Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien about the possibility of a coalition stemming from disagreement with measures proposed in the government's fiscal update, delivered Thursday.

"I've talked to Mr. Chrétien. He and I both discussed what would be a good situation here for the people of Canada, for Parliament, and we'll see what happens," Broadbent told CBC News. He called the Conservatives' update a "joke."

That was then. It was after a brutal fiscal update taking away party funding and talking about nothing and a brutal election and just before a vote of non-confidence. Harper knew he screwed up and this coalition was a real option for Canadians. He prorogued. We turfed the leader.

The UK argument is beyond lame. First of all, in the UK coalition (which many speculate will not survive for an extended period), all the warring parties rallied their troops and went out to the battlefield. All of them proclaimed their sabres were bigger than the other guys. A whole bunch of sabre-rattling and some sword play ensued and then they asked the civilians how they thought the war was going.

The civilians then said, we have no appetite for a clear victor here and we are going to support all of you, now kiss and make peace. With that in mind and very much a reality, the parties THEN went to work to find out who they could "team up with" as an ally in the field. THEN an election was held and the result was exactly what the civilians were telling the parties.

THEN and only THEN did a coalition agreement come to pass. And, only after much negotiating with WILLING parties. It could still have been a BROWN government for all anybody knew, but smarter minds prevailed and Britain was temporarily appeased.

In addition, the coalition that was formed, was formed with the WINNING party and the third place party, not the second place party and the fourth place party. So Brits could live with that for a bit.

Here, in Canada, we have no such similar scenario. We were close in 2008. But nobody liked that idea. In fact, Liberals hated the idea so much they used it as part and party to get rid of their duly elected leader and skip a leadership battle to install its current leader. That leader immediately distanced himself from the coalition.

Former deputy prime minister John Manley asked that Dion resign immediately, saying it was incomprehensible that the public would accept Dion as prime minister after rejecting him a few weeks earlier in the general election. Manley also said that a leader was needed "whose first job is to rebuild the Liberal party rather than leading a coalition with the NDP."

Several other insiders advocated moving up the date of the party leadership vote, rather than have Dion remain leader for either a potential election or coalition, while leadership contenders Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae both agreed that Dion had to quit immediately. Dion initially scheduled his resignation for the party's leadership convention in May 2009, but on December 8, 2008, he announced that he would step down upon the selection of his successor.

Bob Rae, who helped to persuade the Liberal caucus of the power-sharing deal, took over as the coalition's spokesman and planned to travel throughout the country to promote the coalition. By contrast, Michael Ignatieff, the frontrunner to succeed Dion, was said to be uncomfortable with the idea of sharing power with the NDP and receiving committed support from the Bloc Québécois. Ignatieff said that there would be a "coalition if necessary, but not necessarily a coalition," noting that the coalition served a useful purpose by keeping the Conservatives in check, but warned that the Liberals should look over the budget before deciding.After the withdrawal of his two rivals, Ignatieff was left as the sole declared leadership candidate, so he was appointed interim leader, and his position is was ratified at the May 2009 convention.

On December 12, Ignatieff met with Prime Minister Harper to discuss the budget, with their spokesmen describing it as a "cordial" meeting.

Layton and Duceppe remained committed to ousting the Harper government,pledging that the NDP would vote against the Conservative budget regardless of what it contained. Layton urged Ignatieff's Liberals to topple the Conservatives before the shelf life of the coalition expired; constitutional experts said that four months after the last election, if the government fell, the Governor General would likely grant the Prime Minister's request to dissolve parliament instead of inviting the coalition.

On January 28, 2009, the Liberals agreed to support the budget as long as it included regular accountability reports, and the Conservatives accepted this amendment. This ended the possibility of the coalition, so Layton said "Today we have learned that you can't trust Mr. Ignatieff to oppose Mr. Harper. If you oppose Mr. Harper and you want a new government, I urge you to support the NDP".

Last week that same leader's office issued talking points dismissing any possibility of coalition. In other words, the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada is saying, we are a Liberal Party, we are moving forward as one party focusing on the needs of Canadians. Will he changed his mind? Um, he's been known to so you never know.

The point is this dear Liberals, the perpetuation of the coalition talks from the members - Yes, Sam Lavoie, you ARE now an elected "senior Liberal" in your capacity -
is signalling to Canadians that you are just too damn weak to govern and you are admitting whole-heartedly that the Liberal Party of Canada can NOT beat Stephen Harper's Conservatives. And that, my friends is the reality of the situation.

I didn't sign on to be a member of the Liberal Democrat Party of Canada.

How about if we put together a platform and send it out to Canadians and let them be the judge of who they want. How about not throwing the environment away for another generation by voting down the omnibus budget bill. How about talking about that stuff. Win some seats first.

I have news for you friends, if you go to 40 seats, it ain't gonna matter who you try to make a coalition with, you're done for four more years.

But hey, if you're void of ideas or the notion we can put together something along the lines of Kelowna, Kyoto and Kids, I guess a coalition it is.

Anywho. Carry on.


Big Winnie said...

James, I am a member of the LIBERAL PARTY OF CANADA and I'm damn proud of it!!

Moreover, there should be no coalition, no merger!

Liberals need to stand up for what they believe and finally take down this poor excuse for a government.

James Curran said...

Amen, brother. Amen

crf said...

I think an election is needed as well.

If Harper gets the most seats, but can't form a government, then I think it would be fair to try to form a coalition between the liberals and ndp, because this would be the third election in which voters rejected the current government.

At any rate, Ignatieff cannot let Harper's current budget pass. The killer for me is the sale of AECL, which will doom Canada's nuclear industry completely. Selling AECL will assure Alberta dictates forever the energy policy of Canada, and will consign the country to irrelevancy in providing carbon free energy for the world, and force us to align with on energy and carbon dioxide issues with poor allies, such as Russia.

Killing Canada's atomic energy industry would be the 21st century's AVRO mistake.

Scott Tribe said...

I agree we don't need to spin ourselves into the ground over this pre-election. We run in the election to win.

That said, it is foolish to categorically reject options and painting yourselves into corners, as some are doing "pre-election".

Brent said...

It's not like the options are all that great.

Michael Ignatieff cannot deliver a Liberal government. The Change Commission, the campus tour and the Thinker's Conference have, to my knowledge, amounted to nothing policy-wise and he hasn't been able to maintain the Liberal party's increases in the polls. Replacing him might be a viable option, but the next convention isn't until 2011 and a Fall election looks quite plausible. Furthermore, Bob Rae would be his most likely replacement and he's damaged goods in Ontario. To put it bluntly, expecting the Liberal party to pull its numbers up on its own in time for a possible Fall election is close to delusional.

Right now, the only way to do away with the Conservatives is some sort of agreement with the NDP.

A merger would not be a viable option. It worked with the Conservatives and the Alliance because the Conservative leadership was weak and Stephen Harper was able to bully them into submission. Jack Layton won't agree to fade in the background like Peter MacKay did and neither will Paul Dewar or Thomas Mulcair if Jack Layton has to retire because of his health. Mulcair's seat isn't a sure thing, but he's been blatant enough in his attempts to set himself up as Jack Layton's replacement that he'd probably want to take over the Liberal party himself. Aside all of that, Michael Ignatieff simply isn't forceful enough to make the NDP adopt a hypothetical Liberal platform.

That leaves a coalition for a two-party government.

If they set it up pre-election, I could see some sort of gentlemen's agreement where both parties run candidates against each other while avoiding crass slander and agree on a general configuration of government so that the Liberals handle the money and the NDP handles issues of social justice. The parties make the Conservatives fall on the first budget and the Liberals and the NDP present a viable, stable coalition government with a plurality of seats to the Governor General.

Post-election, I imagine the deal would be similar, except Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton would spend the election campaign pretending they can win.

If the Liberals and the NDP together can't get a plurality of seats, welcome to round 3 of the Harper minority government game! The good news is, a third minority government in a row will likely destroy Stephen Harper's career and it'll just be a matter of time before someone forces him out.

If the Liberals somehow manage to get a plurality of seats on their own, a coalition would still be necessary in order to provide a stable government. Unless Michael Ignatieff decides to copy Stephen Harper and beat his MPs into submission until they have Stockholm's Syndrome and then set them loose on parliamentary committees like a pack of wild animals.

The notion of "Canada's ruling party" has been thoroughly beaten to death at this point.

James Curran said...

Um. The NDP/Liberal coalition to govern is a pipe dream. They'll still need the Bloc. That's the reality and the elephant in the room nobody seems towant to acknowledge.

Today's Ekos has them winning 56 seats. The Liberal NDP merger results in not governing. Period.

Prince said...

Thanks Dear

Your child's birthday party can be as hassle-free as you would like - in Calgary.......
Kids Parties Calgary

Brent said...

At this point, I'm just hoping that the Liberals and the NPD together can get a few more seats than the Conservatives so they can at least make a legitimate claim at a coalition government.

If they can't even pull that off, we're just screwed.

Helli said...

"Jean Chretien said "If it's doable, let's do it." What Jean Chretien didn't say is whether or not he thought "it could be done." "

Chrétien also said in an interview some days ago at Radio-Canada that he regretted not to have formed this coalition when he was prime minister. He said he invited Bob Rae in 2000 in the LPC for this purpose and that if Bob Rae had joined then, Romanow would have come also. I still think he considers it should be done, that forces should be joined to defeat Harper. Also, I would not underestimate his ''flair''.