2.16.2006

good news

I took this as a good sign.
Liberals unwilling to prop up Harper
Graham says onus now on Bloc and NDP to support Conservative minority

Opposition Leader Bill Graham said he will not be afraid to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority Conservative government, even though the Liberal Party will spend much of the year in a leadership race.

Mr. Harper must either accommodate Liberal positions on key issues such as child care and income-tax cuts or turn to the New Democratic Party and Bloc Quebecois for support in the House of Commons, Mr. Graham said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

He placed the onus for avoiding a quick election on the New Democrats and the Bloc, saying they triggered the last election out of political opportunism.

"We're not in the business of propping up the government," he said. "We're the Official Opposition. And that is our role, and we will stick to our points where they are important to the future of the country.

"Other parties will have to decide whether they want to compromise on this, because they're the ones — the Canadian public very well knows — that put us in this position. They're the ones that created the Harper government. They're the ones that are going to have to accommodate it."
Yesterday I read this letter to the editor in the Globe And Mail, from an astute man in Vancouver:
My take on Canadian politics is that, every decade or so, Canadians forget how much they dislike the Conservative Party and what it stands for and give it a chance to govern. Given the appalling, but not surprising, arrogance of Stephen Harper since the election, I suspect Canadians' memories will be well refreshed by the time his minority government falls in the next year or two. - Henry Sporn
Sounds good to me.

17 comments:

James said...

Now if only the Democrats in the US would realize that they are the "Official Opposition". Unfortuantely, the Republicans have done an excellent job of adding "Dissent is Treason" to the classic trinity of "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength".

L-girl said...

Now if only the Democrats in the US would realize that they are the "Official Opposition".

Boy is that ever true. It's been a long time since the US had an opposition party.

Ignorance is Strength

This one is particularly apt for the US. :)

Granny said...

So I keep saying to anyone who will listen. Hey USA, anyone paying attention out there?

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

Actually, if the Liberals cause the government to collapse too quickly, it's likely to hurt them.

Most likely, it would strengthen the conservatives (since many people would feel its unfair that the Conservatives didn't even get a chance) and the NDP (since many people also can't/won't vote conservative) at the expense of the Liberals.

Maybe that's not a bad thing. As much as a don't want a conservative majority, I also don't like the idea of being a one-party state.

sharonapple said...

The problem is that the Conservatives appear to be forcing the other parties to support their next budget, even though there are a number of fundemental things the other parties disagree with in it. By playing chicken -- who'll blink first and force an election -- instead of working with the other parties, they're governing as though they have a majority -- no compromise.

Scott M. said...

The parallels with Joe Clark's administration are amazing... if Harper goes through with his promise to cut funding to the province's child care programs, none of the parties will support him. He will fall on his budget, necessitating an election call.

The Liberals won't have elected a new party head yet, and they'll beg Paul Martin to lead them through the next election and... quite possibly... he'll win a majority.

Wrye said...

No matter how deeply Martin has his hooks in the party infrastructure, I don't think the Trudeau scenario is either likely or desirable. The Liberals *need* to do some soul searching.

Scott M. said...

I don't think the Trudeau scenario is either likely or desirable.

Absolutely it's not desirable. Many folks would agree with that. What I'm saying though is that the likelihood it will happen is growing.

Don't forget, Martin's been shrewd... until the convention he will still be party leader (he only delegated his house responsibilities). Either he would have to be willing to step down or there would have to be a coup d'etat to exise him should an early election be called prior to the leadership convention.

sharonapple said...

The real question is -- is it worth proping up a government just to avoid an election even though you disapprove of it's legislation?

The real onus to keeping the government up is on the Conservatives not any other party. With Emerson's defection, the government has the perfect opportunity to work with the NDP now. Combined with the Independent (who appears to be a bit of a nut... judgement based on the quote at the bottom of his wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_Arthur) they would have 155 votes, enough to pass legislation without the Bloc or the Liberals. Why not make the compromises necessary? As what's happened in the last week, they've shown they're flexible.

Scott M. said...

who appears to be a bit of a nut... judgement based on the quote at the bottom of his wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_Arthur

Indeed, he could have said what he said better, but recognizing he's a talk radio host and that's a translation what's wrong with the fundamentals of what he said? Aren't many Africans oppressed? Isn't it just the rich who can send their kids to school in Canada? Aren't the rich the oppressors?

Wrye said...

It's really hard for those of us outside La Belle Province to get a good handle on the personalities there, and Arthur is no exception--Is he more Howard Stern or Bill O'Reilly? I have no idea. But the CRTC hates him, and shut down a radio station because of him. If we judge a man by the quality (or infamy?) of his enemies, that's high praise indeed.

As George Carlin once said,
Well reverend, did anyone tell you there are two knobs on the radio? One turns it off, and the other (smack) changes the channel!

L-girl said...

The real question is -- is it worth proping up a government just to avoid an election even though you disapprove of it's legislation?

As a newcomer, this is certainly how it looks to me.

Andre Arthur sure sounds like a nut case, and not just based on that one quote in Wiki, based on everything I've ever read about him.

I personally don't care if he's more Bill O'Reilly or Howard Stern. It's frightening for someone like that to be taken seriously and elected, either way.

I'm not sure what this means --

what's wrong with the fundamentals of what he said?

-- and I'm almost afraid to ask. I don't see any fundamental truths in that quote. African students are the children of disgusting cannibals? Really?

Scott M. said...

African students are the children of disgusting cannibals? Really?

Actually cannibalize has a few different intonations in French than it does in English.

What he is saying, and indeed he is using strong words to say it, is the rich upperclass elite of Africa tend to be opressors of the powerless and weak. Of course this is a generalization, and I'm sure he's smart enough to realize that it is one.

His job, as an entertainer, is to get people riled up and to make outrageous statements so that they call in.

That being said, he's way to libertarian for my liking and, to that end, I think he's a wing-nut... but not because of what he said on the radio to induce callers.

sharonapple said...

His job, as an entertainer, is to get people riled up and to make outrageous statements so that they call in.

You can say that again. Arthur has a history of making strange comments -- Bouchard's wife's having an affair because she can't stand his leg; Bouchard's having an affair; Johnson has a conflict of interest -- that gets him sued because they're based on nothing but his imagination or rumour.

Arthur also has a record of ... let's say, extreme comments about other races.

A few years ago, Far├Ęs Bou Malhab, then president of Quebec’s Taxi Drivers’ Association, sought to launch a class-action defamation lawsuit on the behalf of around 1,000 Haitian and Arab taxi drivers in Quebec.

The suit claimed defamation based on comments by Arthur in 1998 in which he said, among other things, that he can’t understand taxi drivers because he doesn’t speak “nigger,” and that all the garbage on the streets ends up in taxis driven by Arabs.


http://www.umanitoba.ca/manitoban/2005-2006/0208/2116.king.arthur.enters.politics.php

I'm not saying he should be censored. I just find it depressing that as Wrye's quote from George Carlin, that more people didn't end up changing the station.

L-girl said...

Of course I don't think he should be censored! That would never enter into it for me.

What he is saying, and indeed he is using strong words to say it, is the rich upperclass elite of Africa tend to be opressors of the powerless and weak.

I've read the quote over and over, and this seems to me an incredibly generous interpretation. He's saying a lot more than that.

His job, as an entertainer, is to get people riled up and to make outrageous statements so that they call in.

Of course, but that doesn't make whatever he says perfectly ok. One could still find what the man says offensive and disgusting.

I will never understand why people are willing to give someone a free pass because it's delivered in a package of entertainment. Whether he's acting the part of a racist pig or he actually is a racist pig, what's the difference, if he's spewing racism?

Just my take. And again, I find it depressing that people like this are so popular, to the point where their popularity gets them elected.

Carrie said...

I was glad to see that article. I think it would be fantastic if this blew up in Harper's face and the NDP helped topple his gov't and the Liberals got back in power - this time with a majority.

I hold the NDP responsible for the position Canada is in today with this Harper twit. If they let the Liberal Provincial Daycare thing go in favour of kissing Harper's butt, the NDP is set for a big fall. That's not good because they do keep the major parties in check and at times have good ideas. But the NDP needs to admit their hand in what this is costing Canadians, being lead by someone like Harper.

I think this is going to be fun to watch.

Carrie said...

I meant to add, but posted too soon (sorry!) that the belief that Conservatives have not been given a chance was disproved by Harper himself on his first and second day in power.

The Liberals need to do some soul searching as a party, yes. But so do Canadians. It's about time this country started voting smart and got more involved in holding their government accountable. Canadian citizens bear some responsibility in revamping the Liberal party.