NDP-has the "move to the centre" done more harm than good?

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Rokossovsky

swallow wrote:

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

Derrick O'Keefe: [url=http://thelasource.com/en/2014/07/07/with-trudeau-riding-high-its-time-f... Trudeau riding high, it’s time for soul searching on Canada’s left[/url]

The obsession with winning at all costs reflects a long-term depoliticization and withering of the democratic mechanisms within the NDP.

Thanks for the link, interesting stuff! O'Keefe writes:

Quote:
Is it time for people who consider themselves on the left to abandon the NDP? At the very least, it’s time for soul searching about what to do now that the NDP has abandoned us.

Canada solidaire? 

OK wait... obsession with winning electorally "at all costs" has caused a "withering of democratic mechanisms" in the NDP. Fair enough. But isn't it a little contradictory to frame this analysis in terms of the prospects of the NDP winning the next election because "Trudeau is riding high"?

If the strategy were manifestly working, it would be ok if the "democratic mechanisms" withered in the NDP?

Now is the time to consider "Canada Solidaire" not because it is important to form an electoral party with a distinct socialist or social democratic vision, but because the NDP might lose the next election? Talk about framing analysis in terms of electioneering, winning and losing, as opposed to political goals.

Pondering

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

Derrick O'Keefe: [url=http://thelasource.com/en/2014/07/07/with-trudeau-riding-high-its-time-f... Trudeau riding high, it’s time for soul searching on Canada’s left[/url]

The obsession with winning at all costs reflects a long-term depoliticization and withering of the democratic mechanisms within the NDP.

Good essay although I probably think that because it is echoing what I have been saying. It's a delicate balance between keeping the party on message and allowing the membership a voice. Good leadership today means knowing when to give the membership a voice and when to take a stand. Too much of either and the party falters. The Liberals had centralized control too much and treated members as nothing more than fund-raisers. That is what I see happening with the NDP. 

On the other hand, tight control brought the Conservatives to power and has kept them there and given them a majority with which to wreck havoc on us. I agree with Bill C 36 (for the most part) but even if I didn't at least the Conservatives are taking a position and defending it.

Neither the Liberals nor the NDP is treating this issue with the gravity it deserves.  The Liberals and the NDP are refusing to be specific in their criticisms.  They are playing politics with it. 

Rokossovsky

I think its about being clear about objectives.

Either the NDP is a weight that drags the political agenda to the left, and seeks real policy reform that way, without necessarily achieving victory, or it is a party that seeks victory in order to implement policy reform.

In either case compromises will be made, in the first because one of the other parties will water down the agenda to suit its own ideological view when they implement reform, or because the the NDP will water down its agenda to achieve victory.

Slumberjack

Rokossovsky wrote:
Either the NDP is a weight that drags the political agenda to the left, and seeks real policy reform that way, without necessarily achieving victory, or it is a party that seeks victory in order to implement policy reform.

We'd have to absorb talking points from US Democratic party supporters to fall for this one.  This is not the 'either/or' scenario that bears any resemblance to our current reality.

Rokossovsky

That is the truth of electoral politics in western democracies. Maybe the means doesn't match the end?

Pondering

Rokossovsky wrote:

I think its about being clear about objectives.

Either the NDP is a weight that drags the political agenda to the left, and seeks real policy reform that way, without necessarily achieving victory, or it is a party that seeks victory in order to implement policy reform.

In either case compromises will be made, in the first because one of the other parties will water down the agenda to suit its own ideological view when they implement reform, or because the the NDP will water down its agenda to achieve victory.

That assumes that the party can't be honest and win. I don't believe that. I believe that people are receptive to the truth and it is what would inspire people to follow. Speaking the truth is what would bring people to the voting booth. 

Rokossovsky

No. I just don't think that you can have a electoral party with a big enough tent to win that strays far from the mainstream of ideological discourse.

For example, I would call for:

1) Default on the debt.

2) Nationalization of the "commanding heights of the economy".

3) Taxation system that, through whatever means, takes 51% of the profits of the corporations and business.

4) Housing as a right.

5) Healthcare as a right.

That might not appeal to a broad base, as well as I might like.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

What the NDP SHOULD have been doing, over the last three years is saying to the voters who switched to them in 2011"OK, you switched to us because you clearly wanted something different-So we're going to BE different."

"We are going to try new ideas that the old parties WON'T try."

"We are going to represent those of you who feel the old parties no longer speak for you...and those who never felt the old parties did...and those who don't feel, at this point, that any party DOES speak for them."

"If you wanted 'free market' economics, you'd have voted for the Liberals or the Cons...so we won't treat the 'free market' as sacred.  We will build an economy that includes the values the 'free market' won't or can't include...human equality, human solidarity, respect for the value and dignity of all, and consideration for how economic decisions will affect the future of us all, not just the short-term interests of the few.  We respect you enough to work for an economy like that."

"If you wanted a foreign policy based on U.S.-style military interventionism, you'd have voted for the old parties...so we will stand for a better, more humane role for Canada in the world...a role that involves working for freedom, equality, justice and survival for all WITHOUT hanging onto the lethal myth that the West has a 'civilizing mission", rather than conquest of the many by the few and power over the many by the  few.   We respect you enough to work for that world."

"If you wanted a policy towards FN people that retains the worst of the racist and colonial past, again, you'd vote for the old parties.  We will work for a New Canada, with respect for all cultures and traditions, where all are allowed to be proud of their culture and heritage, where all cultures are nurtured, supported, and given the tools they need to heal and revive themselves after what previous governments here did to destroy them."

"If you wanted social values that demean the poor and assign them sole blame for the misery of their condition, then the old parties are for you.  We will work to heal all those who have been crushed in the present system, to give them the chance to live where they wish to live, among those they wish to live with, with the chance for dignified, well-paying work if they wish to do it and are able and with a decent level of benefits if they can work no longer.   We will help those who wish to work create work on ther own terms in their own neighborhoods by helping them create co-ops to employ themselves and give themselves the skills of democratic self-management, so that their economic futures are not dependent from those who don't know them and don't care about them.   We will make sure that all those who wish to have it will have the means of creative expression made available to them, because people who are allowed to create are going to live better and more responsible lives than those whose wish to create is crushed out of someone else's desire to keep them hopeless, self-loathing and despondent.  We will never make those at the bottom sacrifice before those at the top have to do so".

None of that is about "moving left" for the sake of moving left.  None of that is massively ideological.  And it's presented in language that a lot of voters would respond to positively.

Instead of doing that, the party has settled for saying nothing and somehow hoping to win by default...even though winning by default doesn't allow you to do anything of value AFTER you've won.

 

onlinediscountanvils

Sam Gindin and Michael Hurley: [url=http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/1030.php]Working Class Politics After the NDP[/url]

We have, in summary, laid out four steps here. First, activists in the trade union movement must organize themselves to end the NDP's bankrupt lock on the labour movement's politics. Second, we must clearly reject shifting the break with the NDP toward the right (i.e. by supporting the Liberals) and fight to direct the funds formerly contributed to the NDP into mass mobilization campaigns in alliance with social movements organizing on the ground. Third, to also allocate such funds to supporting the capacity of class-based movements supplementing and going beyond the work of unions and to do so in a way that integrates these movements and union activists at the base. Fourth, we've emphasized the need to initiate discussions in workplaces and communities that explicitly address a socialist party.

thorin_bane

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/tom-mulcair-attacks-stephen-harper...

Tom Mulcair attacks Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau at Labour Day Parade

OK can't put much more than that because the article is only 5 tiny paragraphs. So yeah he made the news, or should I say he attacked trudeau. THIS is our MEDIA being fair and balanced. 5 Paragraphs and the headline is attacked to go with the angry tom meme. Simply awful CBC simply awful.

Pondering

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

Sam Gindin and Michael Hurley: [url=http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/1030.php]Working Class Politics After the NDP[/url]

We have, in summary, laid out four steps here. First, activists in the trade union movement must organize themselves to end the NDP's bankrupt lock on the labour movement's politics. Second, we must clearly reject shifting the break with the NDP toward the right (i.e. by supporting the Liberals) and fight to direct the funds formerly contributed to the NDP into mass mobilization campaigns in alliance with social movements organizing on the ground. Third, to also allocate such funds to supporting the capacity of class-based movements supplementing and going beyond the work of unions and to do so in a way that integrates these movements and union activists at the base. Fourth, we've emphasized the need to initiate discussions in workplaces and communities that explicitly address a socialist party.

Great article.

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

Getting some positive policy positions which would get people excited and motivated is for the best. It has to transcend 'leadership politics' which have plagued this board.

Sean in Ottawa

Unionist wrote:

Brachina wrote:

The Martin Budget wouldn't have passed always, the NDP did not have the balance of power, the independents did and they voted against the budget.

If you're going to re-write history, at least take a little time to review it first. The NDP supported the Martin budget of 2005, because they negotiated it with him. Martin's government wasn't defeated on any budget vote.

 

True but that at least is more accurate than the fiction that the NDP brought down Martin in the end.

That non-confidence motion had the NDP without the balance of power. Regardless of how the NDP voted the Martin governemnt was falling. This was known to everyone at the time.

The NDP voted against for several reasons in an empty gesture but had they voted for Martin the governmenet would have fallen on the combined vote of the indepepdents, BQ and Conservatives. Martin knew this was coming and when Layton tried to bargain Martin refused as the NDP did not have the votes to deliver anyway.

Liberals ever since pretend that Layton brought down the so called "progressive" budget of Martin.

The truth was that at the time the Martin government was falling the NDP also understood in the ensuing election had the NDP supported Martin they would have paid dearly and that election could not be prevented. Add to that the anger on the principle that Martin was heading a minoirity government that refused to negotiate for support.

I can't find the context of this Brachina quote-- and the wording suggests there is one. It is true that the Liberal budget would not have passed even if that non-confidence motion had never happened.

Unionist

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Liberals ever since pretend that Layton brought down the so called "progressive" budget of Martin.

Why are you saying this, Sean? I've heard Liberals say Layton brought down the government, but not the budget - that never happened. And the 2005 Liberal budget must have been somewhat progressive, because Layton co-authored it:

NDP.CA wrote:
Months after taking his place in Parliament, Layton displayed his remarkable ability to get things done for families. By rewriting the 2005 budget, Layton successfully diverted $4.6-billion in corporate tax giveaways to important priorities like affordable housing, training and public transit.

 

Sean in Ottawa

Unionist wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Liberals ever since pretend that Layton brought down the so called "progressive" budget of Martin.

Why are you saying this, Sean? I've heard Liberals say Layton brought down the government, but not the budget - that never happened. And the 2005 Liberal budget must have been somewhat progressive, because Layton co-authored it:

NDP.CA wrote:
Months after taking his place in Parliament, Layton displayed his remarkable ability to get things done for families. By rewriting the 2005 budget, Layton successfully diverted $4.6-billion in corporate tax giveaways to important priorities like affordable housing, training and public transit.

This is what we hear. Liberals citing elements of that budget and saying the NDP voted against it. This is not new and it is easy to find examples. Liberals claim it could not be implemented due to the NDP siding with the Conservatives in defeating Martin.

Of course the NDP lost the balance of power when the independents sided with the BQ and Conservatives. The NDP vote was both political and principled in December 2005 but it made no difference to the result. Voting non-confidence in a government with a horrible scandal; a government that would no longer even discuss negotiation (in fairness they told Layton he lacked the votes to deliver); and a government that if the NDP had supported they would have paid a serious price for doing so.

Debater

Chantal Hébert

Sep 05 2014

NDP may not be able to stop tide turning against it

MONTREAL—There is a tide in Ontario political affairs that does not bode well for Thomas Mulcair’s New Democrats in next year’s federal election. And they may be powerless to reverse it to their advantage.

...

To many, the first-place Liberals come across as a safer haven than the third-place NDP, regardless of the comparative skills of their leaders or even their respective policies.

This is a problem that may ultimately be beyond Mulcair’s fixing.

With every passing month, NDP hopes that a barrage of Conservative attack ads will chip away at Trudeau’s credibility are fading. After more than a year, they have yet to make a dent in the Liberal lead in voting intentions.

The New Democrats’ own efforts at portraying the Liberals as Conservatives in disguise are also falling short.

For most voters, equating Justin Trudeau with Harper does not add up. Even among regular NDP supporters, the impact of that message is increasingly questionable.

It did not have the kind of traction the party needed in Trinity-Spadina and Toronto Centre, two Ontario ridings where the Liberals and the NDP essentially went head-to-head in recent federal byelections.

The argument may have even less legs in a general election that will actually offer non-Conservative voters an opportunity to oust Harper from power.

----

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/09/05/ndp_may_not_be_able_to_sto...

Sean in Ottawa

I have to agree with the article-- it also says what I have been saying a long while.

The NDP have to define where they are different from the Liberals rather than continue to sell the idea that the Liberals and the Conservatives are the same. The Liberla party is very much like a Progressive conservative party. The present Conservatives are now very far from that.

There are many things the NDP can do but retooling must be a start.

At some point soon staking out clear policy differences will be essential.

As I have been saying this will be a difficult election for the NDP.

Debater

It could be a challenging election for all the parties.  They all have their own challenges, and none of them have a guaranteed outcome.  Chantal Hébert is pointing out some of the current challenges facing the NDP, and how the anti-Harper vote is coalescing behind the Liberals right now because it wants to get Harper out.  So yes, as I've been saying for a while too, Trudeau is doing a better job than Mulcair at getting voters to rally behind him to get Harper out.

But Trudeau & the Liberals still have to run a good campaign & get through the election.  As Hébert said, Trudeau has been harder for the Conservatives to take down than prior Liberal leaders, because he is better-known & more popular.  But he is not guaranteed to win until we see what happens in the months ahead and how each of the parties perform.

Harper & the Conservatives know this term has turned out worse than they thought and that their support is down.  So they face a tougher fight than they originally expected.  They are desperating lashing out in all directions right now.  Just this week they have tried to accuse Liberal contender Andrew Leslie of being anti-Israei, and Harper got into a battle of words with Brian Mulroney after the latter ripped Harper on CTV's show with Don Martin.

Jacob Two-Two

A difficult election for sure but still a golden opportunity for the NDP. If the party can run a strong attractive campaign and make Mulcair into a charismatic candidate, then I think enough Canadians will care about questions of basic competency to pass over a neophyte like JT. Granted, as others have said, there are a number of important things the NDP needs to do that they have not done so far. They can still throw this away. But I remain hopeful based on their record lately. Obviously somebody in the party knows what they're doing or they wouldn't be in striking distance of government.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

But the NDP cannot prevail if it campaigns on the assumption that it can't change minds...that it can't change the discussion and win the policy arguments...that it must campaign deferentially and defensively.

"Moving the centre to the left" means ACTUALLY DEFENDING THE IDEAS OF THE LEFT...and trying to persuade people that those ideas(including a peaceful foreign policy)are pragmatically the best choices.

At this point, it doesn't look as if Mulcair and Co. get that.

Debater

Jacob, it is very unlikely that the NDP can beat Harper.  That's the point.  I get the sense that some NDPers would rather have Harper in office for another term than acknowledge that Trudeau & the Liberals are more likely to beat him than Mulcair.

Mulcair can't change nearly 150 years of Canadian history by the time of the next election.  There has never been an NDP government elected federally.  Even in 2011, the NDP only won a majority of seats in one province, despite having a charismatic leader who achieved 30% of the vote and an unpopular Liberal leader who fell below 20% of the vote.

The NDP is now lower in support than it was in May 2011.  It is very unlikely it can move all the way up high enough to beat the Conservatives.  The only party that has ever beaten the Conservatives or kept them to a minority is the Liberals.

We either coalesce our votes behind Trudeau & the Liberals, or we risk another Harper government.  To use an idea from Jack Layton, "Lend us your vote".  Vote Liberal just this one time to get Harper out.  After that you can vote against Trudeau as many times as you want.  But if the vote gets split again, it will be Harper who benefits.

Sean in Ottawa

Not that Liberal propaganda crap again.

So long as the Liberals won't support another Harper minority, and their right does not collapse to Harper due to a bad campaign Harper is gone. He is no where near a majority.

The strategy to go after the NDP for the left Liberals as a way of keeping the right Liberals from going Conservative is a bust and has never worked. It always was baloney anyway affecting Liberal seats only in Liberal-NDP races and irrelevant in Conservative-Liberal races.

Debater you know that particular group of talking points will do nothing more than cause a fight. Why go there?

thorin_bane

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Not that Liberal propaganda crap again.

So long as the Liberals won't support another Harper minority, and their right does not collapse to Harper due to a bad campaign Harper is gone. He is no where near a majority.

The strategy to go after the NDP for the left Liberals as a way of keeping the right Liberals from going Conservative is a bust and has never worked. It always was baloney anyway affecting Liberal seats only in Liberal-NDP races and irrelevant in Conservative-Liberal races.

Debater you know that particular group of talking points will do nothing more than cause a fight. Why go there?


To derail the thread same as postin heberts comments in several threads.

Thats not his purpose though. The only reason I don't want to see these two propandist gone is that their arguments can get demolished very easily if an actual neatral party is looking at the tread.

What have been talking about more? All our energy is being sapped responding to this non sense. Every factually wrong post still gets a bunch of to have to go defend or correct or whatever, even though we could discuss something else.

That is there purpose. I know I have been harping about this, but really I don't even have to bother because they aren't even trying to pretend anymore.

Sean in Ottawa

I agree-- look at all the attention spent to their defense of their crackpot idea that the NPD caused Martin's downfall. Only serves to remind people of what actually brought down Martin: Liberal scandal. Everyone but Pondering can see that. Even Debater is clever enough not to engage in this losing battle.

thorin_bane

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I agree-- look at all the attention spent to their defense of their crackpot idea that the NPD caused Martin's downfall. Only serves to remind people of what actually brought down Martin: Liberal scandal. Everyone but Pondering can see that. Even Debater is clever enough not to engage in this losing battle.


I tend to think thats because Debater has been here long enough to know when the winds start to shift. If you aren't playing it subtle, like he did for a long time, then your comments won't come off as naive or just uniformed. Instead it comes off the other way, which tend to make our collective noses wrinkle.

Jacob Two-Two

"Debater you know that particular group of talking points will do nothing more than cause a fight. Why go there?"

Why ask that question? Debater only comes here to start fights. It's important to remember though, when election time comes the board will be overrun with Liberal shills displaying the same backwards, contradictory logic and employing the same diversionary evasive tactics to avoid the truth. It's better we all learn to handle it now. So thanks, Debater. You're providing an essential service by cluttering up this board with your total nonsense.

And speaking of contradictory nonsense:

"Mulcair can't change nearly 150 years of Canadian history by the time of the next election.  There has never been an NDP government elected federally.  Even in 2011, the NDP only won a majority of seats in one province, despite having a charismatic leader who achieved 30% of the vote and an unpopular Liberal leader who fell below 20% of the vote."

You realise that this directly contradicts your frequent assertion that the NDP should be in second place right now since they are the official opposition and historical voting patterns have no relevence to that fact? Of course you do. You just don't care. Any self-serving talking points will do to try to demoralise the NDP supporters here, no matter how convenient or illogical. No matter how much they don't add up with each other. Funny that a person like you, with apparently no sense of shame, can even exist. It takes all kinds to make a right-wing corporate dominated world, I guess.

Pondering

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I agree-- look at all the attention spent to their defense of their crackpot idea that the NPD caused Martin's downfall. Only serves to remind people of what actually brought down Martin: Liberal scandal. Everyone but Pondering can see that. Even Debater is clever enough not to engage in this losing battle.

I have confirmed multiple times that the NDP did not cause Martin's downfall. Adscam did that. I even said it is stupid to suggest the NDP was responsible for Martin's downfall and that no one would believe it. I can't be any more clear than that.

If you persist in repeating the opposite after this I will have no alternative but to believe that it is deliberate.

Sean in Ottawa

Pondering wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I agree-- look at all the attention spent to their defense of their crackpot idea that the NPD caused Martin's downfall. Only serves to remind people of what actually brought down Martin: Liberal scandal. Everyone but Pondering can see that. Even Debater is clever enough not to engage in this losing battle.

I have confirmed multiple times that the NDP did not cause Martin's downfall. Adscam did that. I even said it is stupid to suggest the NDP was responsible for Martin's downfall and that no one would believe it. I can't be any more clear than that.

If you persist in repeating the opposite after this I will have no alternative but to believe that it is deliberate.

Actually this is the first time you ahve admitted that without qualification. About time. Why was that so damn hard?

Debater

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

So long as the Liberals won't support another Harper minority, and their right does not collapse to Harper due to a bad campaign Harper is gone. He is no where near a majority.

In this week's interview with Paul Wells in Maclean's, Mulcair says that if Harper wins the plurality of seats, Mulcair agrees that Harper will still get first chance at facing Parliament.

So we'll have to see what the Liberals & NDP will do.  They may not want to form a coalition or force Harper to step down.  They may wait for him to resign after losing the Majority, and then decide to bring down the government against the new Conservative leader.  We have to wait and see what the discussions between Trudeau & Mulcair will be.

Sean in Ottawa

That is a matter of law. Harper would get to face parliament -- but that does not mean he can govern if he does not have confidence of the House

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Debater wrote:

Jacob, it is very unlikely that the NDP can beat Harper.  That's the point.  I get the sense that some NDPers would rather have Harper in office for another term than acknowledge that Trudeau & the Liberals are more likely to beat him than Mulcair.

Mulcair can't change nearly 150 years of Canadian history by the time of the next election.  There has never been an NDP government elected federally.  Even in 2011, the NDP only won a majority of seats in one province, despite having a charismatic leader who achieved 30% of the vote and an unpopular Liberal leader who fell below 20% of the vote.

The NDP is now lower in support than it was in May 2011.  It is very unlikely it can move all the way up high enough to beat the Conservatives.  The only party that has ever beaten the Conservatives or kept them to a minority is the Liberals.

We either coalesce our votes behind Trudeau & the Liberals, or we risk another Harper government.  To use an idea from Jack Layton, "Lend us your vote".  Vote Liberal just this one time to get Harper out.  After that you can vote against Trudeau as many times as you want.  But if the vote gets split again, it will be Harper who benefits.

You would agree, though, that there couldn't possibly be any good reason for the Liberals to try to take seats currently held BY THE NDP though, wouldn't you?  You would agree that that would be a pointless waste of time and effort and that doing that would do nothing at all to defeat Harper, right?

Debater

Ken Burch wrote:

Debater wrote:

Jacob, it is very unlikely that the NDP can beat Harper.  That's the point.  I get the sense that some NDPers would rather have Harper in office for another term than acknowledge that Trudeau & the Liberals are more likely to beat him than Mulcair.

Mulcair can't change nearly 150 years of Canadian history by the time of the next election.  There has never been an NDP government elected federally.  Even in 2011, the NDP only won a majority of seats in one province, despite having a charismatic leader who achieved 30% of the vote and an unpopular Liberal leader who fell below 20% of the vote.

The NDP is now lower in support than it was in May 2011.  It is very unlikely it can move all the way up high enough to beat the Conservatives.  The only party that has ever beaten the Conservatives or kept them to a minority is the Liberals.

We either coalesce our votes behind Trudeau & the Liberals, or we risk another Harper government.  To use an idea from Jack Layton, "Lend us your vote".  Vote Liberal just this one time to get Harper out.  After that you can vote against Trudeau as many times as you want.  But if the vote gets split again, it will be Harper who benefits.

You would agree, though, that there couldn't possibly be any good reason for the Liberals to try to take seats currently held BY THE NDP though, wouldn't you?  You would agree that that would be a pointless waste of time and effort and that doing that would do nothing at all to defeat Harper, right?

Well, the more seats that go Liberal, the larger a number they would have and the better the chance of them overtaking Harper, yes?

And the NDP has sure targetted a lot of Liberal seats in previous elections.  In fact, in 2011, outside Québec, the NDP only picked up one solitary Conservative seat in the whole country. (Surrey North)

Anyway, that issue can't be resolved.  Obviously both opposition parties are going to try to take seats away from each other.

But getting back to the main point about Harper, we don't really know for sure what he plans for 2015:

1.  Will he make a last minute change and decide not to run?

2.  Will he hold the election in the Spring of 2015 as some analysts think, rather than wait for October 2015?

3.  Will Harper step down if he only gets a Minority, or would he try to fight on?

Sean in Ottawa

1) I think this will be answered in the next few weeks. There is not uch time for that. Harper is interested in history booksand I think he wants to be one of the longest serving PMs -- that would make resigning impossible as it would take him to January. There is not enough time for a new leader to get elected and put any stamp on the party before an election. While it is not impossible, the time to do this without damage to the party has already passed.

2) I see it as extremely unlikely that he could hold out till fall if any more MPs choose not to run again. They will have some difficulty keeping a government without new blood. I don't see Harper paying much of a price to go early that would not be paid later. If the numbers after the budget are reasonable he will have to go then and even if they are not Harper may have little choice.

3) I think if Harper gets a minority he won't be able to govern and if he loses the government he will resign as leader. There is little chance he would be leader of the Conservatives by the end of 2015 unless he won a majority.

Pondering

He's governed fine with a minority before. Why would this time be any different?

Sean in Ottawa

Because I was crediting Trudeau to not be so stupid as to keep Harper in power.

When Harper governed with a minority the dynamics in the House and in national politics were different.

Debater

I think you are right that Harper plans to go for that fourth mandate unless he is hit with another wave of scandals and further declining numbers this fall.  Mike Duffy appears in court next week to be formally charged, and the Dean Del Mastro case is still going, but I don't know if these will cause any more damage unless there are further shocking revelations that we don't know about.

So in the meantime, Harper will try to do what Paul Wells says is Harper's main goal in The Longer I'm Prime Minister - try to stay in office as long as possible and win another term.  Endurance is the goal, Wells writes.

Sean in Ottawa

Yes I think longevity is what he sees as his legacy.

Also I don't think he trusts anyone else to win -- even if he is low in the polls.

We can work back from the election to when Harper would have to resign to give a new leader a reasonable shot.

Leadership convention minimum 5 months

Working time before election minimum 3 months

Time parliament not sitting 2.5 months

Total 10.5 months.

With the fixed election date in October, Harper would have to resign no later than some time in December. This allows him to pass Mulroney as one of the longest serving PMs. Assuming he wants that, the window is only a few weeks before a new leader would have no time to call and prepare for an election. It already is quite late now. If he is PM in January he is on the ballot some time next year.

And this does not even address the issues of a possible need to call an election early -- not just to take advantage of the budget but to avoid losing too many people that governing could get difficult. I expect we will see a number of resignations from the cabinet or from the House.

The issue is not about losing a majority -- the CPC majority presently stands at 17 and without time for byelections that is way more MPs than would resign from politics early. The issue is about losing enough of the MPs that Harper would put in cabinet.

Debater

Some journalists speculate that one of the reasons that Conservatives are rushing through their nominations and hardly allowing any of them to be contested is because they want to have the lead on the Liberals & NDP in terms of candidate selection by 2015.  Kady O'Malley discussed this earlier this Summer.  The Conservatives already have well over 100 candidates nominated for 2015, the Liberals are getting close to 100, and the NDP is behind so far.

Of course just because a party gets its nominations done first doesn't mean they are all better - it depends on the quality of the candidates and whether adequate background checks into areas of danger have been done.

And yes, Harper is about to move up to being the 8th-longest serving PM, I believe.  I think he's about to pass St.Laurent & Mulroney.  He's got to get to the 10-year mark before he beats Chrétien though, so he can't do that unless he wins in 2015 and then stays past 2016.  But unless he wins 2 more elections, it's unlikely he can get to Pierre Trudeau's total of 15 years.

Do you think some cabinet ministers will resign?  I do kind of wonder whether Peter Kent will really continue past 2015 as he claimed last year.  He's over 70, and is no longer in cabinet, and recently recovered from cancer.  You'd think he'd want to retire.  And will ministers in the Maritimes like Gail Shea & Bernard Valcourt risk losing in 2015 considering that the CPC is way behind the Liberals in the Atlantic region, and barely staying ahead of the NDP?

Sean in Ottawa

I think that some ministers won't want to run again -- most will believe that they would win their seats but some would not want a risk of going into opposition and others just becuase they have done it long enough may want a rest -- or to go and make some money in the private sector before retiring. After this it is hard to imagine things getting better and there is nothing more to prove unless you think you can get the leadership and most know they are not leadership material.

Those not running again may not want to be in cabinet-- it is a hard job. And Harper may not want a minister who does not want to run  again-- for one there is no dedication and for two there is no hammer for discipline. This is pretty common that ministers choose to leave cabinet even if they serve out their terms as MPs. Problem is enough replacements may be difficult to find.

The numbers are bleak in Atlantic Canada. A good campaign by the NDP and the Conservatives could be looking at third place in ridings they currently hold. It is not pretty.

There are others who may not want to remain attached to this government that has such a nasty public reputation. Out of loyalty they won't publicly say anything but we know there are grumblings of discontent.

Finally Harper likes to be in control. He no longer controls the October date but he does earlier dates. An election budget followed by a Spring election makes the most sense to me.

I am not worred about the other parties -- this fall I expect both the NDP and the Liberals to nominate in most places- even the Greens will be mostly set by January.

sherpa-finn

Sean wrote: With the fixed election date in October, Harper would have to resign no later than some time in December.

Hmmmm ... isn't it more likely that he would announce his intention to step down, - and stay on as PM until a new leader is chosen at Convention some months later?  I don't see the political mileage in the CPC putting in an interim PM (OK, Jim Flaherty could've pulled it off) - unless Harper is determined to get out of there ASAP for whatever reason!

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