Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Modest Proposal Addressed to the Harper Government on How to Snare Stephane Dion

With more than a little interest, I've watched your recent efforts to snare Stephane Dion in a trap that will not allow him any choice but to bring down the government and get the election campaign going.

Allowing the cameras into the caucus meeting was a deft touch. The lusty bellowing, while down the hall the Liberals were attired in sack cloth and ashes, drove the point home that you’re ready and they’re not. (I will admit that seeing the Conservative caucus members on their feet did have the feel of a convention of used car salesmen about it, but don’t be deterred. The energy came through. I’m sure that a lot of Canadians are anticipating the day when you elect even more members of this sort, and won’t have to listen to the opposition at all. Hell, your caucus will be the House.)

The Speech from the Throne was a beauty. On climate change, you made it clear that you’re not going to be dictated to by so-called experts who are exaggerating the whole warming thing. (That was a great editorial in the Globe and Mail last week, showing how Nobel Prize winner Al Gore was blowing the issue out of proportion. If Rona Ambrose hadn’t been shifted out of the environment portfolio, I’m sure she would have been up for some kind of award herself. Not that I have anything against John Baird, who oozes sincerity on matters ecological.)

The real crisis is not the environment, as you subtly showed in the speech. It’s crime. You told it like I’m sure you think it is on the unprecedented crime wave that is sweeping the country. (Where did Stats Canada get those numbers about the falling murder rate last year? That’s not the stuff I see on the nightly news.)

Good idea to put all the crime bills into one big omnibus and to warn the Liberals that if they try to shift a comma, we’re into an election. Don’t let yourselves be distracted by the opposition idea that dealing with the bills one at a time could speed up the process and get them into law more quickly. They actually have the nerve to say they support most of this stuff. The point is that where crime is concerned, you need the omnibus to scare the criminal classes. Criminals don’t read the back pages of the paper to find out if this or that bill has passed. But the omnibus is different. They’ll see that on the front page of the Sun, and they’ll take notice.

The vexing trouble is that the Liberals are going to slither and slide and wriggle to do everything they can to avoid their appointment with the voters. This is not the time to grow faint-hearted and to worry too much about the fact that two-thirds of the voters supported other parties in the last election, and that they might think you should pay some attention to the opinions of the members they elected. That’s backwards thinking. This is the moment to get those voters who weren’t on board last time, and to snuff out the Grits for good.

With all the money in the bank, that big communications centre in Ottawa ready, the candidates salivating, the buses idling, and the pack media cheering you on, there is not a moment to be lost.

I’m worried that Stephane Dion is not man enough to take the bait and vote out the government. Maybe the attacks on him have not been personal enough, although the television ads did help. (Dion probably doesn’t watch television.)

Have you considered adding to the omnibus bill a provision that would make it a criminal offence for the Leader of the Opposition to wear those wire glasses Dion affects and to name his dog Kyoto?


tdwebste said...

Dion doesn't appear to be a feisty fighter. How can he ever stand up to a dirty fighter like Harper. If he can't stand up to Harper he also won't be able to stand up to the likes of Bush and gang.

I believe in Dion's moral honestly completely, but Dion needs to fight for what he believes in.

Bill Bell said...

So, the Harper government knows that most Canadians have never heard of Stats Canada and consequently have no idea that crime is not as rampant as is claimed. Unfortunately, that's 'democracy' in the early 21st century.

Joe Hueglin said...

"I’m worried that Stephane Dion is not man enough to take the bait and vote out the government."

Voting out the government has nothing to do with testosterone, "not man enough."

It has to do with having amendment(s) being reported out of committee or from the Senate merchantable to the electorate that the Harperites do not accept.

Correct or not?

Harperites delenda est.

James Laxer said...

Amen to that.

Anonymous said...

The throne speech debate confirms one thing: when push comes to shove, the Liberals are willing to swallow anything to stay alive. It's not that hard really when what that party stands for isn't that different from what Haper and his crowd stand for. So the LIberals are like the salamander adjusting their colour to suit the environment and that colour is yellow.

janfromthebruce said...

I don't agree with "dirty fighting’ tactics either. That said, we have seen similar behaviour or tactics used by the liberals, over their 13 years in power.
To say that Harper's tactics are wrong while ignoring or "removing from sight and mind"
liberal dirty fighting, ensures that liberals are not held to account for similar behaviour, and thus makes them look like victims, and the poor underdog. Please spare me…..
We don't have to worry, as the Toronto Star always fights for and champions the "underdog"
and the "downtrodden."
Wasn't that 'nice' that they gave so much front page ink to Dion, and let the public see his throne speech in this newspaper, as champions of the environment and poor people.
I mean one would think that the widening of 30 year gap in poverty, happening through years of liberal rule, with huge tax cuts to corporations and high end earners, just had nothing to do with the "progressive agenda" of the liberals back then (and not too long ago). Now they are our progressive champions.
Give me a break here, this disconnect is glaring. Liberals are responsible for this state of their own affairs. To cry wolf and pretend to be the great pretenders is enough to make me puke.
I wonder when the Toronto Star will ask Jack and the NDP put their throne speech on the front page.
You would think that the libs are the natural governing party and when we just get back to that, the environment will be saved, poverty will drop, we will have national pharma care, we will get out of Afghanistan, and life will be beautiful, and so on.
As for Dion's moral honesty, let's talk about his speech to the corp boys, as he said the libs wanted to give more tax breaks to corps, and how that fits with his social justice frame.
Moral honesty might have shone through here, if he had given a speech to the boys and said 'enough for you.' We need to share the wealth with all Canadians who helped create this wealth in this great land of ours. Of course, why would I believe it?
I remember back prior to 1993 and prior to libs big win and the whip out of the cons. One should read Chr├ętien’s book ‘straight through the heart,’ and the liberal ‘lie’ book (campaign and famous redbook). Chr├ętien sure had a social justice frame then and there too, and he portrayed himself as the champion of the underdog. Well the rest is history.

That didn't happen. Spare me poor Dion stuff. I want a real progressive party as the official opposition.

James Laxer said...

In this scenario, who do you imagine would be the government and do you expect it to be a majority government?

Ryan said...

Jan speaks the truth. I'm tired of Liberals blaming the NDP for Harper to get into power. If they were truly a progressive opposition, they would have had a majority the last time around and wouldn't be fighting the Conservatives for votes on a corporate tax cut platform like the one James mentioned several entries ago.

Amen, Jan!

Stephen said...

Answer Jame's question, Jan and Ryan.

Bill Bell said...

In a first-past-the-post system such as Canada's, especially one in which individual MPs are weak nonenties, isn't Jan dreaming of the impossible (to ask for what she calls a 'progressive' opposition)? The two principle parties hug the centre of the political spectrum and no-one trusts the NDP to govern the country such that it remains workable.

Collectively we have learned just how bad government systems are. One result is this kind of stalemate.