Thursday, November 27, 2008

Dion Had Better Blink

The deed is done, and the Tories are going to kill the public funding of political parties.

OR, at least they will if they get the chance.

The NDP, Liberals and Bloc have all indicated they won't support the economic update from the government, which is a confidence motion. Nobody reading this blog needs to be told, if a confidence motion fails, the government is close behind, and it's election-time again.

A grand Harper plot to give Kirk Schmidt another shot at Calgary West? Unlikely... but, I suppose it's possible...

The NDP and Bloc, both feeling they have momentum and room to grow at the cost of the Liberals, will vote against the economic update.

That puts the ball squarely in the court of the Liberals - hemorrhaging money, in the middle of a leadership race. In a weaker position than at any time in the history of their party. But, they DO have options... and I say "they", because anyone who thinks Stephane Dion will make this decision by himself and have the caucus follow his lead is completely out to lunch.

Option 1: Don't show up. This is a tactic they mastered in the last parliament, and it can work here as well. If a dozen or so Liberals come down with the flu the day of the vote, then the party caucus can vote against the update without bringing down the government.

Option 2: Turn over the Prime Minister's chair to Jack Layton. If they decide to bring down the government over the issue, the Liberals can propose a coalition government for the consideration of the Governor General. Since their own leader is on the way out, the Libs would have to support Jack Layton for the leadership of the coalition - because, if they didn't, then the numbers game would result in the coalition selecting the leader of the 2nd biggest party within it as Prime Minister Gilles Duceppe.

Option 3: Amend, amend, amend. The Liberals have a strong enough caucus, and enough in common with the NDP, to make enough amendments to the update to make the Tories want to kill it themselves.

Overall, I suspect the Liberals will try to go for Option 3, and eventually settle for Option 1. But they have the most to lose, and so the onus is on them to figure out what to do to keep their pride without paving the way for their party's electoral annihilation.


Oxford County Liberals said...

You seem to be ignoring the coalition talk. That is the other option.

Anonymous said...

money bills are not amendable.

rww said...

On option 3. If an amendment passes it would be a matter of confidence and the government would fall.

It being so close to the actual election date that would leave it open to the Governor General to ask the Leader of the Opposition if he believed he had the support of the House to form a government.

Enlightened Savage said...

GREAT comments, all. Thanks for them. :)

Scott: I thought I dealt with the coalition idea as Option #2. The Liberals are the Official Opposition, but their leader has announced he's stepping down and a leadership race has been called. Would the Liberals appoint an interim leader, who would serve as Prime Minister until the Liberals made their choice for a new leader, who would then become Prime Minister? Sounds very convoluted and Italian - but never say never in politics, I suppose. I'd still prefer Layton as PM, backed by the Liberals for the short-term, than John McCallum or Ken Dryden on an interim basis, or Duceppe (leader of the third party) for 5 minutes.

Anon: I was unaware. Thanks!

RWW: If that's the case, then so much for that option. If Anon (above you) is correct, it's not an option anyway.

Nevertheless, for all the huffing and puffing, I expect the Liberals to cave, and come down with the "non-confidence motion" flu that plagued them so often in the last parliament. Although, rumour has it Chretien is getting involved now - and if anyone can rival Harper for political strategy, it's the Little General...

Kirk Schmidt said...

So, I was wondering about this today. If an election were indeed called, who would get to run?

The fact is, almost nobody will likely have submitted their expenses to EC. God knows my campaign hasn't. We have until February, and obviously, we're not in any interest to rush it and have a mistake on the books (not that we would necessarily, but due diligence is important)

Now, if someone breached the Elections Act, you wouldn't know until EC gets ahold of the finances and goes through them. You can't run for... I think 10 years... if you've breached.

While I imagine they would have to let people run, I wonder what would happen if, say, someone were to be elected in election #2 and then were found in breach in election #1.

Of course, I haven't looked at the Elections Act since October 14, so there may very well be a good provision. I'm too swamped with work to look right now... Maybe someone knows the answer off the top of their head

Anonymous said...

Dion as current PM.
Layton as Deputy PM.
During the actual leadership convention the Deputy PM serves as PM, until the Liberals elect a new leader/PM.

Has the bonus of encouraging fundraising for the Liberals.. after all, people are more likely to donate if they know their donations have an extremely good chance of choosing the future PM.

Anonymous said...

I guess none of you saw that one coming! Looks like there as a bit of a palace coupe d'interne, where the Reformers got cornered and the progressive C's and those who value their jobs over their convictions won. Do I smell some real drama when next the CPC holds a leadership convention?

This is rather a sad turn of events for those conservative minded Canadians who thought they had elected more of the same.

What you are going to see here people a fully energized Oppostion who will simply unseat the Tories the first time they can.

What I think a lot of people fail to understand is that the Oppostion can act like the Controlling aspect of the government now and positon themselves to topple the government at their whim and them present a strong case to the Governor General that they should form the next government, which is perfectly allowable under our founding Acts and documents. This should happen in the next three months, or there would be no excuse to avoid an election.

Ya, some of you will snicker at this. But then again, NONE of you saw your party retreating in flames quite the way it happened, now did you?


Steve Clemens said...

My $0.02 at

Though this is slightly unrelated, I have a question about a specific election situation: If the two leading parties win the same number of seats, which one gets to form a government?