BLOGExtra: Is Stephen Harper Just Another Joe Clark
Is our Prime Minister an infallible and brilliant political tactician or merely another Conservative Leader who has been outthought again by the Liberal strategists? Was it sheer arrogance on his part that the Liberals will use against him with voters so that they can form the next Government or a stupid poltical miscalculation as the Tories made under Joe Clark?
While the Liberals may have thought that they might force an election after the budget in the spring, did Santa give them a Christmas present earlly? Will the Senior Liberals stop fighting each other to become the new Leader and grab the opportunity being presented to them even if it means holding their noses and supporting Dion one more time?
Is Jean Chretien who is negotiating with Ed Broadbent of the NDP re a Coalition government really getting his revenge and will run the Canadian Government again but from the backrooms?
Does Stephane Dion really think he is Pierre Trudea?
Consider these five stories:
- "Fall of a government
CBC Broadcast Date: Dec. 13, 1979
Call it a very costly miscalculation. Joe Clark's minority government is facing a vote of confidence in the House of Commons two days after Finance Minister John Crosbie unveils his budget before Parliament. But the Liberals and the NDP aren't having any of it and unite to vote against a government that, they later tell CBC News, has "no credibility." When the votes are tallied, a flurry of flying paper greets the news that the government is defeated.
The nation is facing tough economic times – high inflation, rising unemployment and a spiralling deficit. Crosbie's belt-tightening budget imposes more taxes on energy and will boost the price of Canadian oil closer to levels in the rest of the world. By removing a proposed gas tax of 18 cents per gallon, Crosbie's budget could get support from the House's five Social Credit members. But he refuses, and the five members abstain from voting.
The numbers just don't add up in Joe Clark's favour. With three Tories of 136 out of the House (in hospital and overseas) and five Social Credit abstentions, Clark is up against 112 Liberals and all 27 NDP members. His government is brought down, 139-133. Not seven months after he became prime minister, Clark will be hitting the hustings once more after he sees the Governor General to dissolve Parliament. "
- "Harper blind to blood lust in opposition ranks
Globe and Mail, November 29, 2008
TORONTO, OTTAWA — The game plan was good: Force an early election on the economy that the Conservatives would easily win, or take public subsidy money away from the opposition parties, especially the bankrupt Liberals, who are $3-million in debt.
It was a perfect fit with Stephen Harper's war of attrition. The Prime Minister is known as a man who gets up in the morning with a determination to destroy his political opponents.
The inclusion in the government's economic statement Thursday of a measure to end subsidies to political parties for every vote they earn was as popular inside the Conservatives' parliamentary caucus as it was a red flag to an infuriated opposition.
The miscalculation was that Mr. Harper and his inner circle did not believe that all three opposition parties – the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois – would agree to defeat the Conservative minority government in the House of Commons and offer a coalition as an alternative."
- "THE LIBERAL DILEMMA
Some are worried Dion could prove the undoing of movement to form alternative government
Toronto Star, Nov 29, 2008
OTTAWA–The Liberals could soon find themselves back in power – but not necessarily with Stéphane Dion as prime minister.
With the three opposition parties expected to continue negotiations over the weekend, the big question remains: Who will lead a coalition or some other form of alternative government?
Negotiations had settled on Dion at the helm but that could change quickly if the Liberal leader proves a liability for a new government – and fodder for the Conservatives, one Liberal strategist said.
A senior Liberal said the coalition leader would not be any of the three Liberal leadership contenders – MPs Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae and Dominic LeBlanc.
An organizer for Rae said the three candidates had already talked and agreed to keep a united front with a focus on calling for an economic stimulus package as their party navigates through the next week.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was already framing the possibility of Dion taking power as a negative and undemocratic option.
"They want to take power, not earn it," Harper said at a news conference outside the Commons yesterday evening.
- "Ghosts of leaders past return for a political longshot
Globe and Mail, November 29, 2008
OTTAWA — Jean Chrétien's phone rang in his downtown Ottawa law office Thursday morning. Ed Broadbent, his old friend and political foe, was on the other line.
NDP Leader Jack Layton has asked the party's elder statesman to call the Liberal Party's éminence gris about a Conservative initiative that had angered him and other opposition MPs.
“This is a major attack on our parties and we have to do something about it,” an insider said Friday, characterizing the telephone call between the two political veterans.
Word had begun to leak that the Harper Conservatives were ending the $27-million annual taxpayer subsidy to political parties. The $1.95-per-vote subsidy was introduced by the Chrétien government in 2003 as an attempt to clean up political financing by weaning the parties off big corporate and union donations.
Mr. Chrétien, who had also been receiving calls all day from MPs and other Liberals – which always happens to him when there is a crisis – was clearly engaged, said a long-time friend.
His advice to MPs has always been to stay disciplined. He has always said that being in opposition means to “oppose” not “appease,” the friend said.
Mr. Chrétien was upset that legislation he introduced was being undone. And so the two men, who sat across the aisle of the House of Commons from one another for more than 30 years and battled each other in the chamber, talked it out."
- "Dion should forget about repeating Trudeau's comeback
DON MACPHERSON, The Gazette
Published: Tuesday, October 21
After losing a federal election in 1979, Pierre Trudeau announced that he would resign as Liberal leader as soon as his successor was chosen.
But before that happened, the Conservative minority government was defeated on a budget vote, and Trudeau led the Liberal party to one more election victory.
Does Stéphane Dion think that by hanging on until a new Liberal leader can be chosen, most likely next May, he might get a chance to repeat Trudeau's exploit?
Yesterday's Globe and Mail reported that on the weekend, Dion told one defeated Liberal candidate to "stay strong and trim and be ready," and that the budget the Conservative government is to present in February "is going to be a mess."
But if Dion does have secret fantasies of pulling a Trudeau, his party, in particular the caucus of Liberal members of Parliament, might have other ideas.
That Dion's intentions were not leaked before he announced them yesterday suggests that he had not shared them with many Liberals, let alone obtained widespread approval for them."