Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Harper's Latest Promises to Play Nice Have a Familiar Odour

Harper's latest promise to work with the opposition parties to help solve this country's problems, is once again all bluster and no substance.

This man actually has a handbook for making sure that Parliament doesn't work, but the book obviously has a sequel ... 'how to make it look like you want to make Parliament work, when you really just want to keep your job'.

Michael Ignatieff is too smart for that, and so are Gilles Duceppe and Jack Layton.

They've had too much experience with Harper to take him at his word, so he is now forced to address, not only the issues, but how he is going to deal with them.

Vague notions and empty promises are no longer acceptable. Do your job or get out. It's that simple.

Don Martin, whose columns I always enjoy even when I don't agree with them, had an absolute meltdown over the prospect of an election. I'm sending him a can of BS repellent because I think the fumes from the Conservative caucus are making him dizzy.

Don Martin: Stop this election insanity
June 15, 2009,
Don Martin

Compromise, capitulate, opt to sit all dang summer or even prorogue Parliament again if necessary — somebody do something to avoid the madness of inflicting a pointless mid-summer election on a Canada lingering in deep recession.

The lunacy of fighting a vote at the precise moment billions of dollars in construction stimulus spending are ready to roll across Canada is obvious to everybody except the four oversized leadership egos playing chicken in the House of Commons.

The alarming prospect of a late-July vote went from unlikely to unavoidable to merely possible in the space of five hours on Monday after Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff delivered an unexpected warning, demanding more help for the unemployed masses or cautioning Prime Minister Stephen Harper to brace for his government’s defeat.

This time Mr. Martin did not do his homework, because stimulus money will still flow and if necessary the Governor General can approve further spending. I thought he was smarter than that.

I would also agree to let Parliament sit all summer provided the Conservatives actually answered questions. I'm gravely concerned with tax measures put in place that offer no hope for recovery once the recession is over. The cuts to the GST have gone down in Canadian history as one of the STUPIDEST acts ever, and until they admit that and raise it back to 7%, or give us some indication they have an alternate revenue replacement plan, I just want them out.

Another concern are Baby Boomers, who will soon be tapping into the government services they once propped up. Do they have a plan to deal with that? Apparently not because they discuss it.

So the media may see this as a political game, but for now the three opposition parties are using common sense, while the governing party appears to have no sense at all.

Win-win territory for Ignatieff's Liberals
James Travers
June 16, 2009

Federal politicians play chicken more cautiously than Hollywood's testosterone-addled hot-rodders. So in putting the country on a collision course with a summer election, Michael Ignatieff is wearing a seatbelt and crash helmet.

If an accident occurs this week, if Ignatieff provokes the election he almost convincingly says he doesn't want, Liberals figure Conservatives will be hauled away on stretchers. Better still, if the fourth campaign in five years is to be prevented, someone other than the Liberal leader will have to blink. At the moment of impact, or in that bat of an eye, Ignatieff at best becomes prime minister and at worst exorcises the St├ęphane Dion demon.

Liberals are enjoying a reassuring bump in opinion polls even as the recession drags down Conservatives. Those trends, along with Harper's slide from leadership asset to liability, suggest this is a promising, if not yet quite prime time for Ignatieff to give voters a chance to do what they do most often when the economy tanks: Reward the alternative by default while punishing the party in power.

It's that dynamic, not Liberal let's-make-a-deal demands for employment insurance reform and added stimulus accountability, that will decide this test of wills. Compromise may still emerge if Conservatives balk at facing angry voters or the New Democrats decide the risks of an election are too great for them now.

Either way, Liberals improve their position. An election now might reasonably secure them a minority government. An election postponed exposes rivals' weaknesses.

Win-win is good politics, particularly when there's an added bonus. Committing to an election if necessary but not necessarily to an election allows Ignatieff to sound tough but fair, determined but pragmatic. It draws Dion's missing line in the sand while recognizing that an election so soon after the last will be as welcome as swine flu.

Ignatieff, PM play chicken
Leaders to meet today with summer election hanging in the balance
Jun 16, 2009
Tonda MacCharles
Les Whittington

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he's willing to talk, but is unwilling to adopt Liberal proposals to enrich the employment insurance scheme – a declaration that appeared to set the country on course for a summer election.

By the end of a day of brinkmanship, Harper offered to meet Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff in a bid to avoid a campaign that could be triggered as early as Friday, when the final bill on the government's budget is put to a vote in the Commons.

The Liberals accepted the offer to meet today. But the two men appear to agree on only one thing.

"Mr. Ignatieff said he doesn't want an election. I don't want an election," Harper told reporters. "I don't think anybody in Canada wants or expects an election."

Ignatieff said the Liberals would vote against the budget bill unless Harper agrees to provide details on further EI reforms, the amount spent so far on the government's economic stimulus measures, future deficit reduction plans and plans to address a shortage of medical isotopes triggered by the reactor shutdown in Chalk River, Ont.

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