The Liberals have bent over to allow the minority Conservatives to force through the most disgusting example of an omnibus bill in Canadian political history. I refer of course to the massive Bill C-9, which was ostensibly a budget enabling bill but was stuffed full of a few dozen pieces of unrelated legislation that they knew would never pass as independent bills or didn’t want to risk exposing to the light of day, such as the plundering of the Employment Insurance account (conveniently backdated to before the recession - any bets that Harper will now start crying about "unaffordable gold-plated EI benefits?), gutting of oil-drilling and other environmental protection in the wake of the BP disaster, and a whole bunch more to the tune of almost 900 pages.
While the Conservatives turned out en masse with 138 of a total 144 members (plus the 2 “independents”) to vote in favour, and the NDP and BQ had 79 of their combined 84 members voting against, only 47 of a total 76 Liberals bothered to show up for the vote, allowing the Opposition to fall a mere 13 votes short of defeating the measure.
I’ve voted Liberal in almost every election of the past 30-odd years, but I think I will be voting for a party with some actual principles in the future.
Would that be this new-fangled Liberal Democrat party I’ve been hearing talked about recently? I mean, way to assure that the Liberals won’t be getting my vote. I could never bring myself to vote NDP, other than matt_mcl or I guy I knew growing up.
I’ve voted in every federal elections since the Trudeau era (early 70s actually) and although I’m from Quebec, I never voted Liberal in my life. If the Tories are vermin in my book, the Grits are worth less than rotten pond scum.
This is really the kind of thing that insures that the Grits will always stay the “natural governing party” here in Canada. The Liberals aren’t really like all the other parties out there. The Conservatives, the NDP, the BQ, and the Greens; are all ideologues.
The Liberals are a party of principals too, but they never let that get in the way of holding/gaining power. As the saying goes “moral victories are for the NDP.”
I agree with the OP; blame the Liberals for not having the balls to call Harper’s bluff and bring down his government because it wasn’t in their best interests right now (and to hell with what’s good for Canada, eh?). He dared them, they backed off, he won. Once again, Harper has played politics better than the other parties, and is being excoriated for being successful at the game.
Yes, just not on the same scale. While US politics is consumed by the role of the US government in the multi billion dollar boondoggle in the Gulf of Mexico, our politics in Canada is consumed by the $56,000 (or 2 million dollars) spent by the Canadian government on a 6 inch wading pool called Fake Lake.
Actually, if they’d had the guts to support the earlier NDP amendments to strip the excess crap out of the budget bill, and then passed the bill as a normal budget enabling act, Harper would almost certainly have accepted it. I doubt that he would have proclaimed it as a non-confidence issue and let his government fall just before his big moment in the limelight as host of the G8/G20 meetings.
If there’s one thing that’s clear, is that the Liberals do not want to take the risk of making the government fall, possibly be blamed for an election Canadians do not want, and (given the current polls) probably not gain anything in the election and maybe hand Harper his majority on a silver platter. I see their dilemma, but on the other hand everytime something like this happens Michael Ignatieff looks even less like a decider. Funny, I thought that was the main reason his predecessor lost his job. (Still, Dion’s last move as Liberal leader, the coalition proposal, might have been his most gutsy and best political move, even though Harper managed to weather that storm.)
The NDP and Bloc do not have anything to lose, so of course they’re going to oppose the Conservatives’ proposals. I’m not giving them any points here, they’re just doing the obvious thing. (I’m not taking any points from them either.)
Actually IMO Dion lost his job, not because he isn’t a ‘decider,’ but only because the Liberals are a pack of wolves who would eat their own mother for a chance at leadership. This is true since being the head of the Liberal party is pretty much a guarantee that you will be prime minister.
Dion wasn’t a “capo.” Chrétien, he was an excellent capo (a true gangster at heart); so was Martin (I was shocked by the way he crushed all his Liberal opposition and purged the party of all the old Chrétien supporters). Dion just wasn’t a capo, he couldn’t keep the blood thirsty wolves at bay. It takes balls of solid brass to be leader of the Grits. I just want to see how long Iggy can keep it up with Bob Rae licking his lips on the side lines…
IMO the only thing a party leader needs, to be loved by the Canadian public, is time in power. We tend to grow found of leaders with time. Through these daily trials Iggy will look more-n-more like a respectable alternative to government.
There’s no doubt that Ignatieff was maneuvering behind (and before!) the scenes to get Dion’s job, same as what Chrétien and Martin were doing to each other during the 90s and early 00s. But Dion was heavily criticized for the fact that he was propping up Harper’s government, either voting with the Conservatives or not showing up to vote when there was a risk he might defeat them. To many observers he seemed unwilling to take risks.
Of course, Dion is more of an intellectual and less of a “politician” like Harper, Martin and Chrétien (a true political beast) and even Ignatieff. He probably didn’t stand a chance. But his unwillingness to take high-risk high-reward political decisions was one of the facets of his lack of political skill.
I can’t imagine that Ignatieff comes out of this duel with Harper looking more prime ministerial.