Thursday, December 04, 2008

Thank you Madame Jean

The decision by the Governor General this afternoon is certainly a blow to those Liberals who were drunk on the possibility of the Liberals taking power from the Conservatives as part of a coalition.

However, Madame Jean has done them and all Liberals a favour, even if that does not appear to be the case right now.

Mr. Harper made a gross political miscalculation by putting no less than three poison pills into the most recent economic update. When the opposition unexpectantly said "Up yours" and pushed back hard Mr. Harper found himself in fatal trouble. He has spent the last week trying to squirm out of that trouble using all sorts of underhanded tactics, including insulting a large number of Quebecers. All of this was unscripted and we all know what happens to the fortunes the Harper Party when it goes off scipt. All of that was great news for the Liberals but the mother lode was Mr. Harper seeking and receiving the shutdown of Parliament.

Mr. Harper ran away.

He faced defeat and instead of taking it like a man he did something absolutely unprecedented to avoid it. This past week culminating in that act has done to the Harper Party what Adscam did to Paul Martin's Liberals. In fact I have been treated to a whole week of people talking about the events of this week around the "water cooler" and on the bus. That has not happened since Adscam broke in 2004. As well, nothing of what people are saying is positive towards Mr. Harper.

Mr. Harper now finds himself completely discredited leading a discredited party at the beginning of a recession. This is particularly true in Quebec where Conservative numbers are probably heading towards single digits and will probably stay there if the much anticipated ad attack on the coalition comes to pass in the coming weeks. By golly, Liberals should be dancing in the street at that prospect.

The added bonus is Mr. Harper my be able to hang on to the leadership of the Conservatives. He has retained the Prime Minister's chair which means that he has all of the power to punish anybody in his caucus who tries to organize against him. I cannot think of one cabinet minister in his cabinet that has the integrity to give up their cabinet post and all of its perks to take on Mr. Harper. However, if he does get booted out who will take his place? He is a one man government. No one else has the same stature as he does or even the same name recognition and those who do might have it for the wrong reasons. Peter MacKay (roll eyes), Stock Day (giggle), Maxime Bernier (LOL). Jim Prentice is named as the most competent minister but most people could not pick him out of a line up. He does not enjoy the stature necessary to bring the Conservatives back as a credible party in the small amount of time between now and the next election.

Contrast that with the Liberals. Both Mr. Ignatieff and Mr. Rae are well known compared to any of the "big guns" in the Conservative Party.

Some have stated they are concerned about the upcoming PR blitz. Unlike the one they had for Mr. Dion this next one is going to be done from a position of weakness. It will also be defensive in nature. As well, I would imagine Canadians would really appreciate a recently discredited political party showering them with political ads during the holiday season. I am certain it will go over very well. All that being said, the Liberals should be preparing themselves to walk away from the coalition idea. It was a long shot to begin with, but its credible threat served its purpose. Now it is time to change gears. The Liberals should keep the pressure on and be prepared to pounce when the Conservatives deliver a budget that has all of the measures in the coalition agreement but they should not try to form another coalition again, unless Mr. Harper is stupid enough to put another poison pill into the January budget.

The Harper Party is going to be at the mercy of the opposition. Gone are the days of confidence motions for anything but money bills. After running away from a confidence vote they were likely to lose any shred of credibility they have left will evaporate if they try to make other measures matters of confidence.

The Conservative Party find themselves with their credibility in tatters, being lead by leader that is now a huge liability, but he will never admit that, at the beginning of a recession that would probably cause major problems for governments in much better shape. The attack on Quebecers will cost them support on Quebec and the recession will cost them support in the big cities and in the suburbs. Today could mark the day when the Liberals begin their march back to majority government.


Blogger MadHacktress said...

I agree with everything that you've said except that the Liberals should be prepared to walk away from the coalition. I think that the notion and the creation of a coalition government in Canada would be exciting for Canada and for Canadians. It could lead to a more permanent union on the political left in Canada, an issue that has been too long unaddressed.

December 04, 2008 6:10 PM  
Blogger WesternGrit said...

We need to keep the coalition as our "trump card"... In the meantime, let's just make sure his next budget jives with all coalition demands. We're holding not just his feet to the fire, but his cajones also... lol...

He's done, and his party is discredited. What Canadians will remember from this is, "why did the coalition form?"

December 04, 2008 6:35 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

I don't think Harper will be harmless until he is gone.

December 04, 2008 10:53 PM  

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