Monday, September 24, 2007

Should Dion Bring Down The Government?

1) There is still some residual fear and loathing over last week's by-elections, but I would argue that this Harris/Decima poll of issues provides some surprising and encouraging news. Not only is "the environment" the main concern of voters,

Most surveyed — 81 per cent — said Ottawa should try to meet the international targets spelled out under Kyoto, even if they are difficult to meet.

When I say surprising, I mean that this idea has been widely trashed among the media elites (and even to someone like me it is starting to seem impractical). But "out there" it is still a popular idea and Dion has been politically astute to keep pushing it. That given, backing away from Kyoto if the Tories don't attempt to live up to it in the Throne Speech means giving up a signature issue, and raising further questions about what the Liberals stand for.

2) Another Harris-Decima poll (a later poll than the one previously quoted) puts the Tories a mile from a majority, and the Libs essentially tied. Compared to the same time last year, things are looking up. An election at this point--all else being equal--means a much weaker Tory minority or a slim Liberal minority.

3) The only downside is: what is the state of Liberal finances, and what is the state of Liberal "machine", esp. in Quebec?

On the other hand, how much do declining fortunes in Quebec matter? Some have suggested a "Captain Canada" approach in which Dion writes off Quebec and burnishes his Federalist credentials in the ROC. This might be a viable strategy, but also remember that Harper's billion dollar overtures there have bought him exactly one seat. And, come an election, both parties will be constrained in how enthusiastically they can pander to La Belle Province: limiting Federal spending in provincial areas of jurisdiction may play in Que. and Alta. but, generally speaking, it crashes elsewhere.

So, the short answer is: I don't know if Dion should bring down the government. But objectively it seems to me that the party is in much better shape than it was last Spring.

23 comments:

Ti-Guy said...

I have no idea. An election now would seem to be simply an irritating exercise (with hissy Dippers joining Conservatives in ridiculous attacks on Liberals) to wind up exactly where we are now, and won't do anything to attenuate the neocons' delusions that Canadians really are Republicans-in-waiting.

Why don't we try setting the Centre Block on fire and see how that goes instead?

Anonymous said...

Some feel better now than when Harper brings in his next budget - buying spree - more for Quebec, etc.

You know, if people would only hold their noses and vote Harper out in a big way, maybe governments would get the message that the rest of Canada counts - not just Quebec. Break the blackmail pattern - but it would take the rest of Canada.

James Curran said...

I'm up for the possibility of an exercise in futility by Harper with the call of a Fall election. My guess is he's chicken shit and will pander to all of us with a neutral Throne speech. Especially if there's a McGuinty majority.

Grog said...

The HarperCrit needs to go - before he does any more damage to this country.

Anonymous said...

Dion should wait,for this gives him time to do something about his image. He should get contact lenses, smile a lot more, update his wardrobe and use his razor-sharp humour to full advantage.

Anonymous said...

If the Libs take down Harper over the environment, then they may have to look long and hard in the mirror over their own hypocracy of doing nothing themselves while in power.

I don't think Dion has the stomach for an election right...he's still licking his wounds from the thrashing he took in Quebec last week.

Ti-Guy said...

Sorry, anony...the by-election talking point's "sell by date" was Saturday.

Also, since the government itself trashed the latest Harper Green plan, I think that talking point on "NOT GETTING IT DONE!!!!1!" is no longer operative.

Why don't you give Citoyen Dion, Taliban-hugger or NOTALEADERNOTALEADERNOTALEADER another shot? Since Conservatives have the attention span of...well, a Conservative...these might seem fresh again.

I think it's time for some blogger to do a retrospective on the last 18 months, starting with Emerson, Fortier, Vellacott, moving on to Ambrose's international embarrassment on Kyoto, ending up at illegal election campaign financing laws with a side trip to Nekkid Mayorsville.

Sean Cummings said...

The environment may very well be on the lips of voters as a priority, but it is soft support at best. The interesting thing about this poll, go figure, is this:

"less than 50 per cent said they'd cut down on air travel, and 34 per cent said they've turned to public transit."

We live in a "disposable coffee cup nuke yer dinner in a microwave let's order pizza" culture and Canadians are happily addicted to waiting in line at the Tim Horton's Drive Thru for fifteen minutes whilst driving their gas pig SUV's (alone I might add) just to get a stinkin' double-double when they could have happily brewed a pot of coffee for about the same price as a cup of Timmie's finest. This is the same country where Canadians are quite content to drive through gridlock on the Gardiner Expressway or the Deerfoot Trail, one hour and a half to and from work each day... what, no buses running in Canada's large cities?

What this poll tells us is that Canadians are concerned so long as someone else is doing the cleaning up and it doesn't impact them personally.

When I see that 70% of Canadians are willing to hop on the bus or that Tim Hortons (or any other fast food venue) begins to close it's drive thru's, I'll start believing that Canadians REALLY want to get serious about saving the environment.

Until then, have an apple fritter and smile.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happens, you've GOT to keep Dion!

Ti-Guy said...

You can only blame Canadians so much for the poor urban planning that made the car so indispensable, particularly in the suburbs. Going without a car there is a death sentence.

Raze the suburbs!

Tim Webster said...

The Liberals will not be able to explain why they are supporting the Conservatives without losing credibility. And why the Liberal's think Harper should be given another chance, when the Bloc and NDP clear don't.

Clearly the Conservatives have have not provided good government for Canada. Have you forgetten already? If the Liberals support the Conservatives, what credibility will they have?

Clearly the Liberals must join in and vote against the Conservatives. The Liberals need to prepare just as the bloc and the NDP have. The bloc has outline its election platform through points where they cannot support the Conservatives. The Liberals needs to show its governing principles and credibility by explaining why the Conservatives cannot be supported.

Tim Webster said...

The Thrown Speech will layout the Conservative's election platform. How will the Liberals explain why the Conservative's election platform is ok as Thrown Speech and not ok later during a election. The Liberals have no choice.

bigcitylib said...

"Thrown speech"
You meant to, right?

wilson said...

Libs would percipitate an election with:
-NO policy convention, Dion just wings it??
-Bank account not to the max??
-Dippers on a high, having just woke up to the fact that if you attack Libs, you get their seats!???
-the #3 pick from the B Team will be leading the charge....????

Prediction: Dion's Libs will support the Throne Speech, citing enough Conservative compromise that a hugely expensive election is not warranted.
(if I am wrong, the Blue Machine, Tory TV and all, will squash Dion like a bug)
Dippers and seppies will oppose, Dion will discount them as fringe parties that can make irresponsible and uncompromising policy because they have no hope of ever winning government.

Too bad Dion fell for Lizzy May's charms. She will bite back hard when Dion has to trample her.

Anonymous said...

Dion is already bringing down the Liberal party, so don't bother him, he's busy.

Regards,
Paul S

Ti-Guy said...

Dion is already bringing down the Liberal party, so don't bother him, he's busy.

Regards,
Paul S


*shhh*...Adults talking.

Gayle said...

"Dion's Libs will support the Throne Speech, citing enough Conservative compromise that a hugely expensive election is not warranted."

Presuming, of course, Harper acts like the leader of a Minority government, and compromises.

Anonymous said...

"My guess is he's chicken shit and will pander to all of us with a neutral Throne speech. Especially if there's a McGuinty majority."

I don't think he cares who wins the Ontario election. I don't think anybody really cares who wins the Ontario election.

Ti-Guy said...

I don't think anybody really cares who wins the Ontario election

Yes, you don't think. That's abundantly clear.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, you don't think. That's abundantly clear."

Sorry. The contrasts between John Tory and Dalton McGuinty are so striking that the future of the province hangs in the balance. We are truly at a crossroads in Ontario. Never has an election been so important. If McGuinty loses, we will certainly be plummeted back to the dark ages. Oh, please don't let that vile John Tory win.

Better?

tdwebste said...

I met Throne Speech.

I don't think Harper will provide a nice neutral Throne Speech and suddenly conduct himself as a minority leader.

1) Tom Flanagan is preparing for an election.

2) Harper is a gamer and sees Dion as weak. This is an excellent opportunity. Harper will use the fact that the Liberals did not oppose Harper's election platform when it was a Throne Speech.

3) Harper doesn't compromise, he leads. That is a nice trait for despot

Ti-Guy said...

Better?

Yes, and thank you. Was that so hard?

David Elliott said...

Dion doesn't need to bring down the government. Harper will do it nicely, thank you. Conservatives have a tendency to implode. Just look at how many leaders(?) they've had since Mulroney.