Monday, September 14, 2009

Dealing with Socialists

I watched Michael Ignatieff in Question Period today, and the part where he accused the Tories of working to form a coalition with socialists was way off the mark. The "Coalition deal" that was proposed last December was to usurp power from the freshly elected government. They would have taken control of the Prime Minister’s Office and NDP ministers would be sitting in some key cabinet posts actually running the government. That is completely different than negotiating a compromise on a confidence motion such as to avoid an election that nobody except the Liberal Party seems to want. I have no problem negotiating compromises on individual pieces of legislation, but a treaty that forms a new government that includes NDP cabinet ministers is a bridge too far.

My only apprehension of negotiating the deal with Layton is his apprehension to move towards the center, especially on fiscal policy. He seems quite dug in to his positions and unwilling to budge. When he extorted that deal with Paul Martin back in the day, Layton was playing the stronger hand and forced Martin to swing way out to the left. But to Martin’s credit, Layton was unable to secure a cabinet seat for himself. You wonder if Layton would have said “put me in cabinet or I vote against your government”, would Martin have caved? This time around, Layton is playing the weakest hand. If we end up in an election and the NDP lose double digit seats as most polls suggest is likely, Lucky Jack may lose his job as party leader. The Tories have been pulled farther to the left in the past 300 days than I ever would have imagined. They may have even crossed the center line into center-left territory. If there is going to be a Tory-NDP treaty, Layton has to move to the center. Thus far he has been unwilling to do so since the Conservatives were elected in Jan 06. The hardest part of playing chicken is knowing when to flinch.

I think the speech that Harper was giving “behind closed doors” is the speech that he should be giving in public in a real campaign. Granted, a few minor alterations to content and docilizing the tones at some key junctures would help improve the overall effectiveness of the speech. I understand that docilizing may not be a real word, and I could have gone with docilize meaning to become more docile. The ballot question, if we are forced into an election should be do you want a majority government, yes or no.


  1. 'If we end up in an election and the NDP lose double digit seats as most polls suggest'

    38% of Dipper seats are in Western Canada,
    so the CPC may be the winner of that exchange.

    PMSH leads a stand alone party.
    He has to work with/around the MPs Canadians delivered into Parliament.

    There are many issues that are not left or right in nature, like EI reforms and healthcare reform.

  2. Michael Ignatieff made a serious tactical error in Sudbury. He gave Jack Layton the "ball" and now the TV camera.

    Jack will not be writing books or thinking thoughts. The Media will be asking Jack and Gilles if they continue to support the government.

    The Liberals will become marginalized and wonder how they lost the Press.

  3. Good point canadiansense.