January 21, 2009

Liberals Have Upper Hand in Game of Chicken

The Liberals have the option next week of making a major play for seats across Canada. There is one scenario which is not mentioned that would be the best for Liberals, and we are starting to see the beginnings of it.

The Liberals can propose an alternate budget as an amendment to the budget. This will challenge the BQ and the NDP to vote for it. If they fail to do so, they are solely responsible for the ensuing election.

Harper has the option of passing the Liberal budget, making the amendment a friendly one. However, this time it would cost him Jim Flaherty, who would have no more legitimacy if his budget was replaced.

This scenario places Michael Ignatieff firmly in the driver’s seat. Liberals can still oppose a bad budget. They force Layton and Duceppe to follow their lead, killing a coalition where the two caucuses would merge, or forcing an election.

Duceppe does not want to treat Quebecers to their 5th election since 2006.

Layton is the big loser here, being either relegated to irrelevance or being the goat that caused an election, if only because he wanted a cabinet job and Ignatieff had other ideas.

With Stephen W. Bush’s approval ratings tanking and all the euphoria down south for Barack Obama, an election would probably sweep the Liberals into power anyway.

A shadow budget is already in the works. It is a Liberal silver bullet. If they use it right, they cant lose.


16 Commentaires:

Blogger Steve V a dit...


That's an interesting scenario for sure. I wonder if the Liberals will submit a full alternative budget, it would clearly change things considerably.

1/21/2009 9:08 a.m.  
Blogger bigcitylib a dit...

I would far prefer that the Tories pass a Liberal friendly enough budget that nobody is threatened with election for the next six months.

1/21/2009 9:12 a.m.  
Blogger janfromthebruce a dit...

Way to go liberals - stabbing your coalition partners in the back - et tu brutis?
Nice touch. No wonder progressives attach the monkier to the liberals - can't trust them.
Shows it's always about the liberals, and who cares about Canadians.
Of course, as in the past, and I am thinking about "the cleaned up clean air act", the Harper conservatives just ignored it.
So you would be ok with this alternative liberal budget passing, Harper ignoring it, and thus Canadians being hurt do to "liberal games" of chicken?
So down the road, when the libs - because it is in their best interests - to pull the plug on Harper, the other opposition parties just aren't interests in playing with the libs cause they are untrustworthy.
I must say Antonio, this tells me alot about the New "liberal wing" of the Iggy liberal party - it's all about us and what is in the liberal party interest.
Canada - don't count on us, we are about us, and always have been.

1/21/2009 9:21 a.m.  
Blogger rgl a dit...

Well done! I think it is a great idea! Is there any way for you to make sure that Ignatieff becomes privy to your suggestion? Seriously, there is a lot of potential for Ignatieff to stand out in the eyes of the Canadian public. An amendment which addresses the missing pieces is a perfect way to do this. Harper would have little choice but to accept the amendment or risk losing even bigger than Dion.

Robert G. Longpré

1/21/2009 9:24 a.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

jan save the sanctimony

the budget can be a very plausible one to the NDP, it just means they dont get the cabinet posts.

Surely Layton would not cause an election because he doesnt get a bigger office..

With all the Obamania still fresh in Canadians minds (even more when he is here next month)

the time is now

1/21/2009 9:36 a.m.  
Blogger Andrew P. a dit...

I like the sound of this...a lot.

As for the "stabbing your coalition partners in the back" comment. Sorry if you feel that submitting a alternate budget they feel is best for Canadians is a stab in the back but last time I checked, Liberal MP's are beholden first and foremost to the Canadian people, not the NDP caucus.

Frankly, all this talk that we are somehow beholden to the NDP on any number of issues because of the Accord is growing tiresome. Yes I think we, and all parties for that matter, need to work toegther, but to say that we have to align our policies, be they fiscal, environmental, etc, with the NDP and Block is ridiculous.

1/21/2009 10:11 a.m.  
Blogger Tom a dit...

You still don't get it. The Liberals LOST the last election.
If they have the guts for it, go for another election. If not don't play chicken.

1/21/2009 11:17 a.m.  
Blogger janfromthebruce a dit...

Good, I will be suggesting to the NDP to put forth an alternative budget, and if the liberals don't support it, well we know where their hearts truly lie - what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
By the way, how is all the liberal fundraising going? I hear you are almost bankrupt, and losing that $1.95 per vote would cause a real hardship for the liberals, unlike for the NDP and the cons.
I remember that cons saying how foolish the NDP were here, where we could have worked with Harper and just done away with that. Of course, NDP weren't going for it because of Harper wanting to take away workers' rights and employment equity, but I'm sure we could work out a deal where those 2 were protected, and just let that voting stipend go - now.
Anyone want to buy some "little red & white cupcakes"? LOL

1/21/2009 1:42 p.m.  
Blogger janfromthebruce a dit...

"Michel Arsenault, the FTQ president, voiced strong support for the Liberal-NDP coalition and said his preference would be that it topples Stephen Harper's Conservatives, whom he called "dogmatic people."
The president's warm welcome is for the coalition and not the liberals, putting an alternate budget together and libs playing chicken. http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/574764

1/21/2009 1:50 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

just cause the Liberals lost the last one doesnt mean they cant win the next one.

Last time I checked, since Dion left the NDP has been in the mid-teens and the Liberals are moving closer to being dead even with the Conservatives.

If they are just going to obstruct good progressive government and keep the Tories in power, I dont see how that benefits anybody.

Laytons demands are meaningless anyway. He is the smallest party. Notice nobody is talking about him anymore? It's because in a 2 person showdown, Layton is just the Liberal Party's annoying little brother. Kind of like Roger Clinton

I am not a Liberal. I havent been in 18 months. However, the NDP, BQ and Harper kept playing chicken with Dion and over time it eroded any respect people had for the guy.

If Ignatieff wants to be successful, he has to be in charge. This is a way of doing just that.

1/21/2009 1:59 p.m.  
Blogger Steve V a dit...

"By the way, how is all the liberal fundraising going? I hear you are almost bankrupt, and losing that $1.95 per vote would cause a real hardship for the liberals, unlike for the NDP and the cons."

Going really, really well, thanks for asking. The debt is a 1/3 of what has been reported, and fundraising is up considerably in the past few weeks. A real sense of optimism in the ranks.

How's that drive to become the third biggest party in Parliament coming?

1/21/2009 2:01 p.m.  
Blogger Steve V a dit...

BTW, the difference between the NDP and Liberal reliance on public funding amounts to a paltry 6%, and beyond that it essentially the same, the only difference, because many more people voted for the Liberals, it's a bigger percentage, relative to fundraising. The NDP needs the subsidy every bit as much as the Liberals, and if you don't believe me, look at the reaction of the NDP MP's to this poison pill by Harper, it SAYS IT ALL. Jan, we've been through this mischaracterization before, but you continue to present it. Are you just lying to yourself, or is this more lame spin?

1/21/2009 2:05 p.m.  
Blogger Emerys a dit...

I kind of hope the Libs turn on the NDP, its been painful having to use the kid gloves on Iggy. If Ignatieff wanted to govern then he would do so by coalition, if he wants to go the Martin route of trying to backstab everyone while pleading innocence then he should try that play again because none of the NDP voters I know are any more open to conspiracy stories by Liberals about the NDP than they were in 2006.

1/21/2009 2:15 p.m.  
Blogger Scotian a dit...

Interesting notion Antonio, and a very sensible one at that. If the Liberals put forward an alternate budget which shows good fiscal responsibility and is seen as such by independent economists (especially if the CPC budget is not, which with this crew is not a long shot at all despite the current serious situation) they place the government in exactly the no win scenario you describe for Harper. Now, that budget does have to be seen to be seriously addressing the economic circumstances we are in and not simply as a partisan document, but I can see that being done without too much difficulty.

Indeed by doing so it would draw that much more of a contrast with Harper's non stop partisan approach such as seen last year with the poison pill that not only outraged Parliament but the wider public as well (that really startled me to be honest, I wouldn't have thought so much of the public would react so intently negative to cutting off the public funding to parties that way, I was most impressed by that public reaction) in the last economic update that forced Harper to create what I believe is the shortest session of Parliament in our history to avoid being defeated mere weeks after the election.

Now, as to the whining I am seeing from NDPers that claim this would be treachery, there is nothing to prevent the NDP from doing the same, however the federal NDP does not have any real credibility within the bulk of the electorate on economic issues and as economic managers in the best of times. In a situation as bad as currently exists they are going to be seen as even less desirable, and I have a hard time seeing them putting out a real centrist budget without alienating their core constituency and without that I just don't see how it works to their advantage. So it creates the bind for them, but it is not a "stab in the back", since the Liberals and NDP are not a coalition YET.

Certain Dippers are just as dogmatic and partisanly blind to reality as Harper's ardent supporters, and janfromthebruce has shown a literal pathological hatred of the Liberals. Distrusting them is one thing, but the degree of naked hatred that comes off janfromthebruce is so palpable that it makes obvious that this person is incapable of looking at anything Liberals and the Liberal party say/do in good faith. I've had my own run-ins with this person, and been accused of being a Liberal shill and such, this despite my being anything but, I just have seen the Libs as the best option to defeating the Harper CPC which is and always has been my primary issue/concern. The NDP under Layton have proven three times in a row now that they are incapable of doing so even when the Liberals were dealing with major credibility issues and scandal for the first two (first twice against Martin, then the last two times against a massively weakened and discredited Liberal party leader) of those elections.

Indeed, Layton has yet to beat the record seat count from the 80s, and if he could not manage it in the last two elections when he had maximum advantage to do so, he isn't going to the next time out. One of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, which is how I see the NDP's chances for forming a federal government anytime soon, especially under Layton who rubs a lot of people the wrong way. I've supported the Libs solely because I want Harper gone and they are clearly the best chance for it going on the way the VOTERS act, not based on personal preference or some ideological ground. That though is beyond jftb's ability to grasp, for anyone that does not agree with jftb about the Liberals and dares support them is automatically an evil person who is anti-progressive, treacherous, and too partisanly blind to see reality. Ironically enough I'd say part of jftb's problem is a bad case of projection on that last trait.

In any event, this is a very sharp and sensible idea, and quite honestly I trust the Liberals to be far better economic managers than the Harper CPC, especially given the respective track records of the last two governments. Yes, Martin is not there anymore, but the notion of economic prudence and responsibility was hammered into the Party for 13 years, I don't agree that three short years has suddenly wiped that all away from the party. More importantly, I think the Liberals are more likely to produce a budget that is good for the country in these times, and really that should be the first concern before political gains that can be made from it (although doing so as a secondary and tertiary reason for doing so is perfectly fine and ethical).

We have seen the Layton NDP repeatedly place his partisan ambitions of replacing the Liberals ahead of defeating the real danger to progressiveness in Canadian politics, Stephen Harper's CPC for the past four years, why should he be trusted to act any differently now than he has? I certainly see no reason to do so, and I suspect many other voters would feel the same way, they certainly have shown by their actions that they still trust the Liberals more than Layton and the NDP by a wide margin, and if they could manage that in the last two elections despite the incredibly weak positions they were in both times then to believe suddenly Layton's NDP has a real shot at governing next election cycle is clearly disconnected from reality.

1/22/2009 2:03 a.m.  
Blogger janfromthebruce a dit...

Well Scotian you been drinking lots of liberal koolade but in both recent public opinion polls conducted by EKOS and recent analysis released by AngusReid contradict your opinions. Leadership approval ratings have both Iggy and Layton tied at 44% in the recent EKOS poll.
The AngusReid poll released Jan 17th had these gems:

In the areas of qualities and characteristics Layton is still regarded as a man who cares about the environment (51%), understands the problems of Canadians (45%), is honest and trustworthy (39%), and who generally agrees with Canadians on issues they care about (34%).

Take note of Iggy’s scores in these areas: Iggy ties Harper on trustworthiness at 28% (so his playing chicken and both sides of the fence so to speak isn’t inspiring “trust”. In understanding the problems of Canadians he only scores 27% (-2), while Layton’s score above in the mid 40%. Layton scores higher than Iggy in the strong and decisive leader category, and Iggy only scored 19% in agreement on issues Canadians care about.

Ignatieff is regarded as a politician who inspires confidence (33%), but Layton’s number at 31% has not changed and only 2 off from Iggy. Meanwhile, both Layton and Harper are tied (with 44% each) on having a vision for Canada’s future.

One notes in the analysis that despite positive momentum score, Iggy is struggling in some of the important qualities and characteristics of a leader. He only surpasses the 30% mark on having a vision, understanding complex issues, and inspiring confidence. And on the main topic for Canadians-economic management-the new liberal leader is a 20%, closer to Layton (16%) than to Harper (34%).

But sure Canadians are really warming up to the new Liberal leader, except that the NDP has essentially regained their same numbers in terms of voter intentions from the fall election. Which reminds me, that outside of the GTA area, NDP won a lot more seats in Ontario in comparison to the Libs. And moving from Manitoba and westward, Liberals were mostly 3rd choice.

1/22/2009 10:18 a.m.  
Blogger Emerys a dit...

When Iggy props up the usual Conservative Liberal coalition watch good will amongst centre left voters evaporate faster than you can say Honeymoon...

1/23/2009 11:44 a.m.  

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