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August1991

Incrementalism? Why Harper is a loser tonight

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For all intents and purposes, a Conservative majority last night would have been a monumental victory for Harper, since it was a near majority, his victory was near monumental.

But is Harper satisfied with that? That is why I think he will push for a fast election.

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Harper will not call an election any time soon.

When the Liberals pick their new leader (I'd pick Ignatieff at this time), then they'll pull the plug quickly. Ignatieff is right wing but he's acceptable in Quebec.

If Harper can't win a majority against Dion and can bungle so badly his campaign, he won't be able to face a more formidable opponent.

The liberals do not have the finances. They could not respond to Harpers attacks because they were under financed. You can not run a leadership convention and then run in a federal election. The lose was a much about lack of funds as it is about Dion's leadership. wait for the numbers to come out comparing election expenses. Remember too include all the money Harper spent before the election that will not be included in election expenses. If there is another election in the next four years it will be because Harper calls one again or Harper does something extremely stupid that angers the voters.

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He's hardly going to push for another election any time soon, the voters won't like it any more than they liked this one.

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It was the Yankees (Harper) versus Local Junior School team (Dion). The score was 3-2 Yankees.

You fire the Yankee manager after that display.

Dion was strong in Quebec, no party is winning a majority without replacing the Liberals in Quebec. If the Liberals had an equally incompetent anglophone leader, this would've been an annihilation.

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He's hardly going to push for another election any time soon, the voters won't like it any more than they liked this one.

I agree, however, all that means is less people will show up to vote.

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Harper will in fact act as if he has a majority and play upon the oppositions disorganized approach. Harper will force all kinds of votes. That is his trademark, he wants to govern.

He governed like as if he had a majority in the past two years. What more now, when he's earned several more seats?

Yes, I see him governing as a majority leader. I like that.

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He governed like as if he had a majority in the past two years. What more now, when he's earned several more seats?

Yes, I see him governing as a majority leader. I like that.

I suppose if he wants to make every motion a confidence motion, we'll see how far to the brink he wants to take it. The Liberals will probably not let the NDP and Bloc get a free ride every time by voting to reject bills and the government will have to ask itself if it wants to make it a confidence motion on a non-money bill. Other minorities let those type of bills fail and not call an election in the past.

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I suppose if he wants to make every motion a confidence motion, we'll see how far to the brink he wants to take it. The Liberals will probably not let the NDP and Bloc get a free ride every time by voting to reject bills and the government will have to ask itself if it wants to make it a confidence motion on a non-money bill. Other minorities let those type of bills fail and not call an election in the past.

Having those additional 16 seats gives him more flexibility for maneuvering. It's almost a majority. All it takes is a few votes from the oppositions who happens to agree.

In some legislation in the House of Commons, like the Afghan war if I'm not mistaken some opposition voted with him and against their own party.

Some party members vote with their conscience or what's best for their own constituents.

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Having those additional 16 seats gives him more flexibility for maneuvering. It's almost a majority. All it takes is a few votes from the oppositions who happens to agree.

In some legislation in the House of Commons, like the Afghan war if I'm not mistaken some opposition voted with him and against their own party.

Some party members vote with their conscience or what's best for their own constituents.

It isn't almost like a majority. I still depends on the Opposition to either capitulate, agree or not have enough MPs in the HOuse to vote it down.

In Harper's zero sum politics, he will say that any party that capitulates, agrees or doesn't have enough MPs is cowardly and doesn't deserve to be elected. He will say they are not leaders and goad them to bring his government down by making every bill a confidence motion even if it is not a money bill.

I think the Liberals will have to say they will vote against policies as they come up and if the government calls everything a confidence motion, it is the Tories that will have set the terms for election. Other minority governments have not done this and Harper will have to decide if he wants to put through a crime bill by saying it is a confidence motion.

There is a reason that money bills trigger and election but why would Harper want to trigger and election of something like a crime bill?

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The Conservatives won 36.27% of the vote in 2006.

In 2008, they've won 37.45% (so far). That's an increase of about 1%.

In Quebec, the Conservatives won 24.6% in 2006 and 21.75% in 2008.

Without Quebec, the Conservatives will never be a national party and they will not get the critical support in Ontario. Call this Canada's Quebec leveraged federal system.

-----

Harper faced arguably the weakest Liberal leader ever. He faced a divided opposition. Harper has had the opportunity to build up goodwill, a reputation and confidence over the two years or so. He didn't get a majority.

Harper simply will not face such an ideal situation the next time out.

Anyway, no one wants an election any time soon and Canada's politicians are going to face in all likelihood difficult times.

I don't care about him being a loser.

I care about him wasting my money.

MJ shouldn't have allowed him to call an election. Useless puppet...

Where's the power of the Queen when you need it?

:P

Edited by PoliticalCitizen

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I don't care about him being a loser.

I care about him wasting my money.

MC shouldn't have allowed him to call an election. Useless puppet...

Where's the power of the Queen when you need it?

:P

Those wasteful elections, why bother having them if they don't really change anything? We could do the same with newspapers and political commentators. They just blather on and what difference does it make in the end? Think how much money we could save if we didn't have the political media?

When it comes down to it, there's no difference between the Liberals or the Conservatives. I think we should just abolish all elections and stop all political news reports. They're just a waste of money.

This past election is a perfect example. $300 million and we're exactly back where we were before.

[/ironic tone]

PS. And I always thought (or hoped) that Lenin at least taught Slavic peasants the meaning of irony and sarcasm.

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Those wasteful elections, why bother having them if they don't really change anything? We could do the same with newspapers and political commentators. They just blather on and what difference does it make in the end? Think how much money we could save if we didn't have the political media?

When it comes down to it, there's no difference between the Liberals or the Conservatives. I think we should just abolish all elections and stop all political news reports. They're just a waste of money.

This past election is a perfect example. $300 million and we're exactly back where we were before.

[/ironic tone]

PS. And I always thought (or hoped) that Lenin at least taught Slavic peasants the meaning of irony and sarcasm.

Why don't we hold monthly elections? How about weekly?

Let's see what the voter turnout will be then...

"Slavic peasants" have taught the world a 70-year lesson. It may not be the last one ;)

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Why don't we hold monthly elections? How about weekly?

Let's see what the voter turnout will be then...

"Slavic peasants" have taught the world a 70-year lesson. It may not be the last one ;)

The lesson why communism sucks, the US got an A+ there.

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Why don't we hold monthly elections? How about weekly?
Well, for really important decisions, we make them minute by minute.

And as I said elsewhere, the NYSE has existed for over 200 years - which is almost three times longer than the Soviet Union. Both had ups and downs but it seems the NYSE is a better survivor.

Edited by August1991

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It isn't almost like a majority. I still depends on the Opposition to either capitulate, agree or not have enough MPs in the HOuse to vote it down.

Assuming that all Conservative MPs all agree with him on an issue, how many more MPs does he need to agree with him for it to pass? It's been shown from previous incidents that there were MPs who voted against the dictate of their Party Leader.

If Harper was able to govern before like he had a majority, what more now when he's been given a solid minority?

And this man has a knack for getting his way.

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All this talk of Harper failure is amusing to me. He nearly won a majority, which has only been accomplished in the 20th century by Brian Mulroney. In those days, the PCs were not fractured off into Bloc Quebecois and Reform/Alliance. What's important about last night's victory is that Harper came damn close to a majority even though 50 seats went to the PC spinoff party of the Bloc Quebecois. For all intents and purposes, a Conservative majority last night would have been a monumental victory for Harper, since it was a near majority, his victory was near monumental.

Excellent point. I haven't checked any specific stats for it yet, but Harper may have had the best performance of any PC/CPC federal party leader in English Canada... ever. Brian Mulroney's majorities were achieved with the lack of a Bloc presence. Stephen Harper likely would have won a majority in this latest election if the Bloc had not existed (as they did not exist in Mulroney's time).

It's very clear why Liberal supporters want Stephen Harper gone. It's because he's a winner, and very good at taking seats away from them in elections.

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If Harper was able to govern before like he had a majority, what more now when he's been given a solid minority?

And this man has a knack for getting his way.

The Liberal party can't afford to give the NDP and Bloc a free ride on voting no every time not can it afford to have Harper say every single vote no matter the subject is a confidence motion. If Harper or the other parties want to go to an election right away, they will repeat the previous tactics.

The Liberals might not be able to afford to go an election but they can't afford to what they did last time either. If Harper wants to go an election in a few weeks, he will indicate that every motion is a motion of confidence. I think it will be seen for what it is.

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The Liberal party can't afford to give the NDP and Bloc a free ride on voting no every time not can it afford to have Harper say every single vote no matter the subject is a confidence motion. If Harper or the other parties want to go to an election right away, they will repeat the previous tactics.

The Liberals might not be able to afford to go an election but they can't afford to what they did last time either. If Harper wants to go an election in a few weeks, he will indicate that every motion is a motion of confidence. I think it will be seen for what it is.

I don't think Harper will use the motion of confidence. I'm betting he'll come up with something to get it passed.

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Excellent point. I haven't checked any specific stats for it yet, but Harper may have had the best performance of any PC/CPC federal party leader in English Canada... ever. Brian Mulroney's majorities were achieved with the lack of a Bloc presence. Stephen Harper likely would have won a majority in this latest election if the Bloc had not existed (as they did not exist in Mulroney's time).

It's very clear why Liberal supporters want Stephen Harper gone. It's because he's a winner, and very good at taking seats away from them in elections.

TR, Harper wasn't even close.

Mulroney in 1984 received 50% of the popular vote both in Quebec and in English Canada.

In 2008, Harper received about 43.3% of the popular vote in English Canada (and about 21.7% in Quebec).

---

Anyway, my point above is not about Harper's performance in English-Canada - it's about his performance during the campaign in Quebec. It was worse than his 2004 campaign in English Canada.

It confirmed all the worst fears held by many Quebecers about Harper. I listened to an interview with Maxim Bernier who talked about the campaign and Bernier understood the problem exactly. bernier seems to think that Harper can retrieve this chance but I'm not so certain.

I agree with Yves Pratte if I don't share his optimism for Harper's prospects:

Stephen Harper thought he had done everything possible to seduce the Quebec electorate. At great political risk, he had made the House of Commons recognize that "the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada." He had solved the so-called "fiscal imbalance." He had allowed the government of Quebec to play a specific role in international affairs.

With all that, Harper's Conservatives seemed assured of making important gains in Quebec. That's not what happened at all.

On Tuesday, the voters of Quebec elected 50 Bloc MPs. The Conservatives were left with 10 seats, as in 2006, and a smaller portion of the vote (22 per cent this time vs. 25 per cent in 2006). What's there to understand? Are Quebecers simply ungrateful? Capricious? Separatists all?

These disappointing results reflect both short-term and long-term factors. Short term, the Conservatives' Quebec campaign was badly planned and poorly run. The cuts to programs supporting the arts provoked an uproar in the very articulate and well-organized local artistic community. Harper's advisers did not realize until much too late that trying to drive a wedge between Quebecers and their beloved performers would be counterproductive.

When the Conservative leader promised stiffer sentences for young criminals, it took days for the party to understand what horror this sparked in Quebec households. Because the youth crime rate is comparatively low in Quebec, most voters, especially women, simply could not believe that a responsible political leader would advance such cruel policy.

Seeing the Reform side of Stephen Harper anew, many Quebecers felt safer going back to the familiar and inoffensive Bloc fold.

The long-term trend underlying Tuesday's results is much more disturbing. Quebecers have counted on the Bloc, a party that refuses to compromise on any issue concerning the province, to represent them for 15 years. Quebecers are losing interest in the governance of the country as a whole.

...

Toronto Star

Pratte makes the extremely valid point that concerns of Quebecers are simply not reflected in federal politics. Stephen Harper speaks to them the same way John McCain would speak to English Canadians.

I think Harper has lost his kick at the can. I was embarrassed and appalled at the way the Tories conducted their Quebec campaign. They would never have made so many blunders in Ontario or Alberta.

It is an underlying feature of Canadian federal politics that there are about 30 or so seats available in Ontario and the Maritimes for any federalist party that can perceptibly win seats in Quebec. IOW, a group of Ontario and Maritime voters (usually Catholic) will simply vote for the party that can get along with Quebec and keep the country together.

Mulroney gave Harper the chance to make the Conservatives a viable federal party in Quebec but I fear that Harper has thrown the chance away.

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I highly doubt that Harper can get away with ruling like a majority leader. As Peter Mansbridge pointed out the night of the election, Joe (who?) Clark tried that with what was considered a 'strong minority gov't' and found himself punted within the year. Another minority gov't might be a good thing for Canada, at least until a stronger leader or party manages to get it's act together.

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I highly doubt that Harper can get away with ruling like a majority leader. As Peter Mansbridge pointed out the night of the election, Joe (who?) Clark tried that with what was considered a 'strong minority gov't' and found himself punted within the year. Another minority gov't might be a good thing for Canada, at least until a stronger leader or party manages to get it's act together.
TheloniousMonk, I had a chat with a colleague on this very point today.

When Clark's gambit failed, he faced a shaven Pierre Trudeau brought back to defend Canada.

Harper would face, presumably, a stylish-glasses Stephane Dion brought back to defend a Green Shift.

Your call.

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