2.19.2008

still no election?!

So now the Liberals are making noises about passing the Conservative budget next week, yet again putting off an election. I had heard this through the grapevine for the past several weeks, but was hoping it wasn't true. Now it looks like it is.

God, these Liberals makes me sick! Still doing nothing, still propping up this Tory government, all the while looking weaker and more foolish by the day. Stephen Harper must be thanking his lucky stars for his secret weapon: St├ęphane Dion.

The silver lining, for me, is that many people in the War Resisters Support Campaign believe it's better for us - that is, for the resisters - if we don't have an election yet. I don't completely agree, but if they're right, then this is welcome news.

About the resisters, there isn't much I can report publicly. Our motion, our entire presence, has been pushed off the Parliamentary map by Afghanistan and election talk. We are working on ways to regain the momentum we had following the Committee vote and the Day of Action. For at least four families, the deportation process looms.

15 comments:

Lone Primate said...

I'd like to think the Grits are holding off to pull the rip cord on a real election issue -- Afghanistan -- rather than on a rather neutral budget hardly anyone has an issue with... even me. No tax cuts? No goodies for the rich? No services slashed? Sail on, o ship of state. But extending Afghanistan so our guys can continue to be killed to defend the values of poppy cultivation and dog fighting? Yeah, waiting for THAT vote might just give the election a point.

Cara said...

It makes no sense for the Liberals to go to the polls if it only succeeds in giving the Tories another victory. And that could very well be the case if the Liberals don't have their finances sorted out, leadership wounds healed, or even a clearly thought out platform. It also makes more sense to wait until after the March 17th by-elections because this would give the party a sense of momentum. Remember how the media spun the last by-elections? Such spinning could work in their favour this time.
I intensely dislike the Harper government and would really, really like to see it a distant memory. But I don't want an election for the sake of one, particularly if it ends up with another Harper government. Do you think that if there had been an election anytime over the past year that the Liberals would have won?

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Cara,

The real question, as Far and Wide points out (a partisan Liberal, incidentally), is WHY aren't their finances sorted out? Why aren't their leadership wounds healed? And worst of all, why the hell don't they have a clearly thought out platform after being in opposition for more than two years? And if they don't have those things by now, what makes them think they can have it for a fall election, or even one next spring?

Cara said...

It's my understanding that one of the reasons why the Liberal finances aren't sorted out is because of the changes in the election financing laws that left the Liberals at a disadvantage. Previously, the Liberals got most of their financing from large donors and in large amounts. With donations capped at $1000 and institutional donors disqualified, it takes time to built up a base of individual donors. The Tories get their donations from individuals. Hence all the hullabaloo about the Tories collecting so much information on people so it can be used in targeted fundraising efforts.
I'd look to these reasons for why the finances may still need work.
I'm not a Liberal partisan, I vote NDP. But I always remember my poli sci profs telling me to look at the 'rules of the game' or the structural underpinnings for why something happens or doesn't.
Regardless of what Far and Wide says in complaint about the Liberals and their finances (and that's all I'm going to focus on right now) it still doesn't make any sense to have an election if you're going to be defeated. It may be brave and make good television but I'd much rather wait and make sure we can get those bastards out. Discretion is the better part of valour.

Steve V said...

IP

I prefer "non-partisan Liberal" if that is possible ;)

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Steve,

Not if you're a party member, sorry. *g* But you can be a sensible partisan who's worth reading, how about that?

L-girl said...

Cara, I would echo IP. WTF have they been doing all this time? And yes, I do think that, had there been an election, closer to their leadership convention, the Liberals would have won a minority, or certainly could have.

LP, I would agree, except that the Libs have been in full waffle mode over Afghanistan. So I don't know if that will be the case.

Cara said...

L-girl
I took a look at some of the polling trends in 2007 paying particular attention to what happened after Dion was elected (in Dec 2006)and I'm not sure why you think the Liberals could have won a general election. For one thing, a glance at Hansard suggests that the House didn't begin sitting until the end of January and that's when the Liberal numbers were going south.

And as to what the Liberals have been doing for the past two years? Well, it certainly seems that for several years the party has been falling apart at the seams. I don't think that a Rae or Ignatieff win would have healed the party. What made me feel optimistic about Dion's election was that he was an outsider chosen by the membership. I got the distinct impression that the rank and file of the party were sick to death with the Martin-Chretien fight.

An awful lot of housecleaning needs to be done and I doubt it would have happened if the Liberals had gotten into office in 2007. If my memory is correct, about a year ago the Liberals looked like they might implode. In 2007 they've either gotten much better at keeping their dirty linen private or, perhaps, they're getting their act together.

Again, if memory is correct, the polls were saying that nobody wanted a third election in less than 3 years. Having an election shortly after the convention would have meant defeating the government with your polling numbers falling. And at the same time that pollsters were saying nobody wanted an election. Add to that the changed financing rules and the huge debt from the leadership convention. To my way of thinking, this could have lead to a Conservative majority -- or at least, a strengthened minority.

Steve V said...

That sounds reasonable :)

L-girl said...

What can I tell ya, I strongly disagree. All this dithering and caving in is a big pile of bullshit.

I'm not suggesting a Rae or (goddess forbid) Ignatieff leadership was the way to go. But Dion is a smart man with good ideas and very little leadership ability. Caving in to the Tory budget over and over is not helping his cause.

redsock said...

I'm amazed at Dion's mealy-mouth excuses:

"... if it's a budget that appears to us as being acceptable or at least not too harmful for the Canadian economy, we could let it pass ..."

Cara said...

Ah yes, but you have to remember that it is very Canadian to equivocate (sp). "Conscription if necessary but not necessarily conscription." or "As Canadian as possible under the circumstances." Politics in this country is seldom about absolutes but compromise and balance. And timing. It's difficult to have a one size fits all in this country because of regionalism. To understand Britain you have to understand class whereas race is a very dominant category in the States. In Canada the tensions that threaten us are regional. Fence sitting can be a national past time. And you know what, given how we've managed to turn out in this country, maybe prevarication, dithering, compromise and the like is the way to go. That and ouiji boards. Did you know that McKenzie King regularly consulted one?
May I suggest that what may appear to be dithering maybe useful strategy? Anyway, my crystal ball/ouiji board is no better than the next persons'. Only time will tell what will happen. But given the history of this country I'm going to give Dion the benefit of the doubt. I'm not a great fan of the 'charge of the light brigade'.

L-girl said...

That's a nice, reasonable excuse for a pathetic politician. At this point, we're in little danger of the charge of the light brigade.

Leaders need to lead. Politicans who appear weak and indecisive are eaten alive, in Canada as anywhere else.

By all reports, the party is in great turmoil, in internal crisis. "Useful strategy" is a convenient but transparent cover.

L-girl said...

Some other prog bloggers on the topic:

Leadership... as long as things don't get "too bad"???

Top Eleven Reasons Why Dion Should Force An Election

Internal Liberal Angst

So Much For That Idea: Liberals Cave Again

L-girl said...

Current polls show Tories and Liberals in statistical dead heat.