Coalition government: the debate continues!

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enemy_of_capital
Coalition government: the debate continues!

NDP-Liberal Coalition: A Complete Sell-Out

by Fightback

On Monday 1st December, just before 5pm, Dion, Layton and Duceppe presented their agreement for a Liberal-NDP coalition government backed by the Bloc Quebecois.

1) Troops remain in Afghanistan.
2) The $50-billion corporate tax cuts stand.
3) No NDP member to have any influence over Finance.
4) Prime Minister Dion selects which 6 NDP MPs will enter cabinet.

It is hard to imagine a more craven sell-out.

The leaders of the three parties walked awkwardly into the room, signed the agreement and uncomfortably shook hands. Only Duceppe smiled, maybe because he doesn’t have to worry about being in a cabinet with the other two.

The NDP and the Liberals signed an accord that commits the parties to a coalition for 30 months. Reading the accord is like reading the Liberal campaign platform minus Dion’s carbon tax. There was not a single substantive concession on behalf of the Liberals to adopt any of the NDP’s campaign measures. All the NDP leadership got was the honour of six of their number being chosen to enjoy the perks of ministerial life – the limo, the $30,000+ pay hike and expense account, the title of “right-honourable…” etc. The NDP does not even get to choose which of its members will be in cabinet!

Throughout the election campaign Jack Layton assured workers and youth that there was a fundamental dividing line between the Liberals and the NDP. Layton attacked the Liberals for sending troops to Afghanistan and for supporting $50-billion in corporate tax cuts. These are the same Liberals who cut social services by a greater amount than any Conservative government. These are the same Liberals who voted down anti-scab legislation. And now Jack Layton is putting these people back into power.

One of the main reasons for low NDP support is the tactic of vote-splitting. Many people who would support NDP policies vote Liberal to keep the Conservatives out and because the NDP and Liberals “are pretty much the same anyway.” In the last election, to its credit, the NDP was able to partially lessen this tendency. However, with the coalition, all this is ripped up. A vote for the NDP now gets you a Liberal government. A vote for the NDP is a vote for people comfortable implementing Liberal policies. If this coalition goes through, why should anybody bother voting NDP ever again?

The fact is that it was Liberal and Conservative policies of support for the capitalist free market that caused the economic crisis. The only way capitalist governments have ever dealt with crises is to put the burden on the backs of the working class. The coalition is supposedly planning $30-billion of “stimulus” to kick start the economy. But is any of this going to the workers themselves? If we look at the record of the Liberals, and the George Bush/New Labour model of other bailouts, the money is likely to be just big handouts to the auto and forestry corporations without any job guarantees. More likely the opposite, as there is a clause that corporations receiving subsidies must submit a restructuring plan – read, “Massive layoffs.” At current share prices, $30-billion is enough to completely buy out Ford, Chrysler and GM (the entire companies, not just the Canadian arm!) However, it looks like the bosses will receive corporate welfare from the public purse for their mismanagement of the economy, while the rest of us face unemployment. It appears that this will be a socialist coalition after all – but that socialism will be reserved for the millionaire bankers and corporatists.

The tragedy is that, instead of allowing the Liberals and Conservatives to rightly take the blame for the crisis of their system, the NDP leadership is throwing them a life-line in their hour of need. Class-collaboration is a dead-end. Never has there been a better time to propose a socialist alternative. To those who say that will never happen we would ask, “one week ago, did you ever even think for a minute that the Conservatives would be fighting for survival against a Liberal-NDP coalition?” If the events of the last 6 days prove anything, it is that, in the present epoch of capitalist crisis, things can change both massively and with astonishing quickness.

Now every move by the Liberals will be blamed on the NDP. Under cabinet solidarity the NDP MPs will be forced to defend ever counter-reform. The opposition to every attack will be demobilized by a labour bureaucracy shouting, “don’t rock the boat – you’ll bring down the coalition!” If people think the NDP became unpopular after the Rae Days in Ontario, they ain’t seen nothing yet. But all is not lost.

Already there appears to be little enthusiasm for this coalition. Somehow, workers seem to know they are being sold something fishy. Imagine how this opposition will magnify under the impact of the financial crisis and coalition government attacks. Class struggle is on the agenda, not because of the desires of this or that politician but because of the logic of the capitalist system. Those who are not prepared to break with the system and fight for socialism can end up supporting the most reactionary policy. This class struggle must inevitably have its reflection in the unions and in the NDP. The pressure to break the coalition will grow. It is quite likely that some of the present NDP “leaders” will follow the logic of their actions and join the Liberals, just as Bob Rae and Ujjal Dosanjh before them. On the other side will be left millions of workers and youth, who are sick of the status quo.

We ask everybody who opposes both the Conservatives and the Liberals to join with us is mobilizing against this coalition.

Fightback@marxist.ca This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=37782891655&ref=mf

sofun

Presumably the NDP exists as a political party to try and influence the agenda of the Canadian government (preferably by forming the goverment and making policy).  Never before has the NDP had this real of an opportunity to affect goverment policy, namely by having seats at the Cabinet table. 

Your thesis amounts to a child's tantrum - the NDP has never been in the game before, and now it has a chance to play.  You insist if the party can't get everything it wants it should just refuse to participate.

Many Canadians refuse to take the NDP seriously as a prospective national government.  This is the best chance the party has ever had to show competence in leadership and you suggest they take a pass?  It's possible that if there is a coalition and it governs competently the Liberals will get all the credit (there's precedent here, I don't deny), but if the NDP turns town a chance to participate in the government and see some of its agenda enacted then just why does it exist as a political party that seeks office?

enemy_of_capital

No I suggest the NDP aught to have made serious issues like the economy and the imperialist war a deal breaker, Period. why does it exist if important principals are bendable or expendable if only to gert the culture portfolio in cabinet?

Le T Le T's picture

The House of Commons is absolutley committed to maintaining the capitalist class and their rule. Why you would ever consider the NDP above that or in opposition to it? Everytime that they go to work they are giving the system their stamp of approval. The NDP are liberal reformers, they are not radicals they do not support anything but capitalism. As such they mae deals.

People who are truly commited to anti-capitalism should not get tangled in the official channels of opposition constructed for us by capital.

Unionist

enemy_of_capital wrote:
No I suggest the NDP aught to have made serious issues like the economy and the imperialist war a deal breaker, Period. why does it exist if important principals are bendable or expendable if only to gert the culture portfolio in cabinet?

I'm not sure on any given day why the NDP exists or what it stands for. But I generally support it electorally, while never shutting up about what I think it's doing wrong. You apparently are content to leave Harper in power while working for the NDP to adopt some kind of position on the economy (don't know what - stop corporate tax cuts? - that's a non-issue), and make imperialist war a "dealbreaker". There is no prospect of that happening in the short- to medium-term.

But the goal of destroying Harper and his worst excesses (see the almost 200 reasons for reviling Harper that M. Spector and others collected), and inspiring the Canadian people that people of vastly different political stripes are prepared to work together to achieve that goal, is a short-term victory that can be huge if it's handled properly and the right lessons are learned.

The key lesson, to my mind, is that people can actually oust a reigning government which goes too far in attacking them. Once people have tasted that possibility, they will start looking for other ways to flex their parliamentary and extra-parliamentary muscle. They will also start demanding that wavering souls like the NDP stay true to their empty slogans and promises - because the NDP actually may have to take part in government and have their feet to the fire.

This is a great development, and progressives have the choice between trying to influence events in a positive direction, or standing on the sidelines showing by Euclidean logic that "this can't be good because..." and fill in your favourite dogma.

remind remind's picture

Oh for fuck's sake, another thread with the same damn article you used before to start another thread and then there is still this current thread,

http://rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/should-left-split-ndp

Then there is  the "I still need to be convinced" thread too. 

 What a complete fucking waste of; time, space on thread proliiferation, and what has already been said in at least 20 other threads, and moreover you knew that this thread is just a waste as you try and circumvent moderators being called by saying;

 

Quote:
Just want to clarify before old goat or Michelle jum in on this this is
not to discuss dynamics of a coalistion, michelle jean or any other
thing this is to discuss Opposition to the Coalition and what
concessions were mad to achieve it on the part of the NDP using the
above Fightback article as a lead off.

If the marxists want to play politics in a capitalists sytem, by decrying that the NDP are selling out in order to try and gain favour for their party, then they are even fucking worse, as they playing political games in a capitalist system, while charging others with accusations of selling out to the very same capitalist system.

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

Unionist

By the way, enemy_of_capital, you can't have a "thread for the opposers". It doesn't work that way. Debate and disagreement is a sacred right on this board (within the limits expressed in the rules - no racism, sexism, etc. etc.). If you want to decry the coalition, forget about excluding the opposite viewpoint.

Interested Observer Interested Observer's picture

Is there no forum on Marxist.ca for you to agree fully with the participants?

If not, maybe you should make one.  Otherwise, stop creating new threads already. Participate in the current ones or go somewhere else more friendly to your ideas.

 

Brian Topp: Our friends on the blue team seem to mostly focus on sticks, and not so much on carrots. ;)

Cueball Cueball's picture

I guess I have decided that I am neutral on the coalition. I don't see why I should be opposed to it. I am opposed to all of the parties in parliment now. I am marginally sentimental about the bloc, but then that really has nothing to do with me since that is a Quebec party.

My position is that the whole parlimentary structure has been so corrupted that it is simply impossible for it to represent a progressive agenda, aside from tweaking here or there. Notably, the coalition offers us continued war in Afghanistan and the "cap and trade" boondoggle. I am also doubtful that throwing money at the big automakers will do anything but throw a bandaid on some tottering financial behemoths that are long past their best before date. 

There is nothing to get excited about here in terms of progressive agendas, though cutting RRIF's withdrawals to 50% will have some minor benefits to those who have them, and reducing the two week waiting period for EI, as well. But this is all about treading water, with a few baubles attached.

I expected nothing more. So once again, we are offered a government that will tread water on neo-liberal principles or swing the country further to the right, incrementally as opposed to suddenly and forcefully as the Tories seem to want.

The fact is that the whole system is set up now so that "Conservative" policies, such as tax cuts, can be easily legislated, while "progressive" policies, such as the institution of a national child care program, are difficult -- this is mentioned of course but with so many caveats that it can hardly be considered a national program or any kind, nor is it even a firm promise, but one made, "finances permitting".

I feel the same way about this, as if the either of the centerist parties, (the NDP or the Liberals) had actually won a majority.

Not a big deal for me. Kind of interesting in a legal sense, and certainly not worth opposing.

enemy_of_capital

Aggreed I will strike the thread for the opposers part as it is undemocratic, not sure what I was thinking and I assure you I was only trying to attract the opposers to read the article your viewpoint is welcome!

Also Remind, We are not a Party and would never subvert Party rules by creating a new party within it. we are a group of Marxists who have joined the leading Union backed labour oriented party where we put forth our views and work with the party. I have volenteered on 3 campaigns in my lifetime and am active in my riding association. I am a loyal New Democrat. Also this is a different article that reflects on the text of the agreement. Im not a thread proliferator.

How do you change the title of the thread or do I need Old Goat or Michelle to do so?

enemy_of_capital

Just want to clarify before old goat or Michelle come in on this this is not to discuss dynamics of a coalition, michelle jean or any other thing this is to discuss which measures are opposition worthy in respects to the Coalition and what concessions were made to achieve it on the part of the NDP using the above Fightback article as a lead off.

 

edited to reflect Enemy's backtracking due to dumb moment that caused anti-democratice theme that excluded opposing viewpoints.

Cueball Cueball's picture

What I don't get is that since both of the main parties involved in this coalition supposedly backed a "national child care" program, why is it not a firm promise in the deal. One understands that the Bloc will want to be able to ensure that Quebec can "opt out", and that is bad enough but understandable, but Now the NDP seems perfectly happy with "finances permitting", which has more or less been the Liberal line for 10 years: We want to but the finances are not permitting.

With all this talk of infrastructure development as a means of injecting cash into the economy, one has to ask: What is not infrastructural about Child Care? 

enemy_of_capital

verry true cueball and I also point out that it is every bit as much an issue as pay equity as far as equality for women goes.

Fidel

And Bob Rae was a blue meany for not throwing all those insurance industry people out of work during a nagging, nation-wide, Mulroney-induced recession in order to make good on the NDP's promise for public auto come hell or high water. Damn NDP anyway. They'll never get my vote ever again, those evil bastards!@  I hate them I hate them I hate them!!!

Cueball Cueball's picture

Yes, but what is not "infrastructural" about child care?

Both the Liberals and the NDP say they support it, but, now its "finances permitting"? What is up with that?

Housing starts, transport, and roads all create employment in male dominated industries, and there is nothing about "finances permitting" there.

Fidel

Cueball wrote:

Both the Liberals and the NDP say they support it, but, now its "finances permitting"? What is up with that?  

It's what happens when the Neoliberal ideology comes home to roost after 28 glorious laps around the sun. Humpty Dumpty?

Cueball Cueball's picture

The NDP falls for it, and breaks its promise?

Coyote

Well, all commitments are, and should be, finance permitting. Governing is about choosing. I'm sure there are Conservatives who would LOVE to have bought state-of-the-art nuclear subs; alas, it was not to be. That said, I think it's premature to critisize a stimulus package that has yet to be introduced. I'm sure it hasn't even been ironed out yet.

 

But I absolutely agree that, in my view, a national child care program, or the first steps towards one, is absolutely critical infrastructure spending and this coalition government would be an excellent time and place to introduce it.

Unionist

Coyote wrote:

But I absolutely agree that, in my view, a national child care program, or the first steps towards one, is absolutely critical infrastructure spending and this coalition government would be an excellent time and place to introduce it.

I agree with Cueball, and with Coyote. But it is very profoundly wrong to expect that the Liberals or NDP (or Bloc) will do anything the least bit progressive unless they are pushed to the wall by their own supporters, voters, progressives, etc. The NDP has made many bold statements and promises in the past - but "omigod, we're going to be in power now, we'd better leave an escape hatch!" So whether "finances permitting" was the demand of the Libs or the Dips or the consensus of both, matters little. If they come to power, it is up to all of us to tell them that they should abandon hope of ever getting our vote unless they keep such fundamental commitments as this.

The NDP and Liberals both wimped out in the 2005-6 election campaign. When Harper promised his crooked snickering $100 per month, they were afraid to say: "Not one child care penny for stay-at-home parents! Every cent to infrastructure and subsidies!" Why? Because they thought voters are simple and stupid. We must show them that is not the case. We must support this coalition for exactly as long as it is dramatically different from the Harper diktat, and not one second longer.

Brian White

We exist to do our best. Your alternative, (no deal) allows harper free reign. 

You might as well vote conservative as do it your way.

enemy_of_capital wrote:
No I suggest the NDP aught to have made serious issues like the economy and the imperialist war a deal breaker, Period. why does it exist if important principals are bendable or expendable if only to gert the culture portfolio in cabinet?

Summer

According to a www.Bourque.org "exclusive", Senior Iggy advisors say he is rethinking the coalition and "got snookered by Bob Rae on this one". 

 

Does anyone know how reliable Bourque.org is.  On that same page, it says that Dom Leblanc "nixes leadership launch".  No link to that story.

 

It is just the homepage, so it may change after I link here:  http://www.bourque.org/

remind remind's picture

Funny how different minds see things, I saw the "finances permitting" as a statement of notion that Harper may already be well well into the red. So much so that the cooperative government might be constrained severely with what it can do, as remember, money for deficit spending has to be borrowed from somewhere.

And frankly, I believe this deeply in the red perception is correct, there is a serious reason, other than Harper's ego at work, with how they are acting like animals trapped in a corner. So much so they are willing to hurt their future majority prospects by alienating Quebec. It seems to me that there has to be another motivator, or the knives would really be out for Harper and I believe it must be the deep deficit we are already in.

They know this would completely destroy any chance for a small CPC majority, and if it is exposed they are toast from even another minority if they bring the coalition down, they would never be trusted with a collapsing economy. And if they had a couple of more years to hide it, well then they have had 2 more years to destroy Canada.

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

Fidel

Cueball wrote:
The NDP falls for it, and breaks its promise?

I'm hopin the NDP goes for the jugular with electoral reform. One way or another, this coalition will be an improvement over the second coming of R.B. Bennett in Ottawa.

Unionist

Summer wrote:

According to a www.Bourque.org "exclusive", Senior Iggy advisors say he is rethinking the coalition and "got snookered by Bob Rae on this one". 

 

Does anyone know how reliable Bourque.org is.  On that same page, it says that Dom Leblanc "nixes leadership launch".  No link to that story.

 

It is just the homepage, so it may change after I link here:  http://www.bourque.org/

Honestly, where do you find crap like this site? It's pure garbage and lies.

For example, he has:

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/12/02/gg-return.html]POLL: 57% WANT GG TO CALL ELECTION[/url]

Of course, if you click on the link, there's no poll, and there's no 57%. He's counting on people being idiots.

Ok?

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Fidel wrote:

And Bob Rae was a blue meany for not throwing all those insurance industry people out of work during a nagging, nation-wide, Mulroney-induced recession in order to make good on the NDP's promise for public auto come hell or high water. Damn NDP anyway. They'll never get my vote ever again, those evil bastards!@  I hate them I hate them I hate them!!!

Well, couldn't Rae have HIRED a lot of those private insurance company people to work administering public auto insurance?  Wouldn't at least some of them have been precisely the kind of folks you'd need to set up something like that?

Just wondering.

____________________________________________________________________________
Our Demands Most Moderate are/
We Only Want The World!
-James Connolly

Unionist

Ken Burch wrote:

Well, couldn't Rae have HIRED a lot of those private insurance company people to work administering public auto insurance? 

Oh Lord, you're arguing with Fidel?

Couldn't Rae have checked to see if anyone was working in auto insurance before promising to nationalize it and winning an election on that basis?

Can we get back on topic please? Here's the topic IMHO: The NDP has finally done something risky, right, and with potential. Congratulate them for the step they've taken. Defend it, support it. And do not stop, for one lousy second, telling them what they're doing wrong once they're in government. Threaten them with disappearance if they betray this trust. Offer them self-sacrificing support if they keep to their principles.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

What is risky about it? Brazen maybe, but that is not necessarily a bad thing, always. But risk? What is the risk?

Unionist

Ok, it's not risky. I'll watch my adjectives with far more care.

remind remind's picture

Iggy would never admit to being "snookered" by Rae. Bourque is a right wing propagandist, IMV, with his deep connections to the CONservative Party.

The CPC and their henchmen, are trying to create a conceptual framework of cooperative instability in the minds of the Canadian public and nothing more. And thanks, for participating in such propaganda shedding, summer.

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

It is risky. They've attached themselves to the Liberal brand which is tarnished at best and with Iggy -- torture as a human right -- on his way to being crowned PM.

BTW,  I predicted, first, and right here on babble, that Iggy would be Canada's next PM. I guess I should have said "elected" PM. 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Quote:
In opposing the Conservatives’ unconstitutional and anti-democratic attempt to retain power, working people must give no political support to the proposed Liberal-NDP coalition government.

The Liberals are the Canadian bourgeoisie’s traditional party of government. They have repeatedly used their opponents on the right as electoral foils, then in office imposed the policy prescriptions of the right, be it Trudeau’s three-year wage controls in the 1970s or the massive public spending and tax cuts imposed by the Chrétien-Martin Liberal government of 1993-2006.

Canada’s social-democratic party, the NDP, is a no less dependable prop of capitalist rule. When it has formed provincial governments, most notably in Ontario during the recession of the early 1990s, the NDP has come into headlong conflict with the working class, including slashing social spending, promoting “workfare,” and breaking strikes and otherwise attacking workers’ rights.

The BQ’s sister party is the Parti Québécois. When the PQ last held office as Quebec’s provincial government (1994-2003), it carried out a program of social spending and tax cuts strikingly similar to that of its federalist Liberal rivals in Ottawa—a program designed to redistribute wealth from working people to the most privileged sections of society.

None of the three opposition parties have questioned, let alone opposed, the Harper government’s commitment, without any public discussion, of tens of billions of dollars to prop up Canada’s big banks.

Few details of the coalition agreement have been made public. But it is known that the Liberal-NDP government will not “revisit” the Afghanistan issue, i.e., that the Canadian Armed Forces will continue to play a leading role in the Afghan counterinsurgency war through 2011. Also, the Liberal-NDP government will implement the Conservatives’ five-year, $50 billion-plus program of corporate tax cuts.

As for the promised massive economic stimulus package, it will be welcomed, no doubt, by the big manufacturers and politically promoted as a program to “save jobs.” But Ontario’s Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty has let it be known that any federal-provincial assistance to the automakers will be used as a means to extort sweeping new contract concessions from autoworkers. The Canadian Auto Workers union, a strong ally of McGuinty and an early advocate of a federal NDP-Liberal coalition, has already announced its willingness to make further changes in workrules, that is, to impose speed-up and job cuts.

To repeat, the working class must oppose the Conservatives’ power-grab. The attempt of one of the major parties of the Canadian ruling elite, with considerable and quite likely preponderant big business support, to overturn long-established parliamentary and constitutional forms is a frontal attack on democratic rights.

But in opposing the Conservative’s illegal attempt to block the opposition from forming a government, working people should extend no political support to the opposition parties or their alternate government. Rather the struggle to defend democratic rights and workers’ jobs and living standards and against imperialist war is entirely dependent on the development of an independent political movement of the working class in opposition to the entire bourgeois order.

In this respect, there are important parallels with the political and constitutional crisis that erupted in the United States over the outcome of the 2000 president elections. It was incumbent upon socialists to vigorously oppose the attempt of the Republican right, supported by the most powerful and rapacious sections of the US plutocracy, to steal the election on behalf of George W. Bush; but this opposition in no way implied any political support to the Democrat Al Gore.

[url=Source[/url]">http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/dec2008/cana-d03.shtml]Source[/...

Cueball Cueball's picture

Did you write that?

Unionist

M. Spector did not write that. It's obviously written by someone from the U.S. with only a remote familiarity with the Canadian scene. But there's nothing wrong with that. What's wrong is that it says workers must "oppose" the Conservative attempts to block the coalition, but they can't support the coalition nor any of the three individual parties.

I think it was written by Harry Houdini.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

It was written by the national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party of Canada.

Cueball Cueball's picture

I can't find a Harry Houdini at the their web site. Are you sure you are right about that Unionist?

remind remind's picture

Unionist wrote:
What's wrong is that it says workers must "oppose" the Conservative attempts to block the coalition, but they can't support the coalition nor any of the three individual parties.

I think it was written by Harry Houdini.

No shit, they correctly call the fact that what Harper is doing is unconstitutional and anti-democratic, and then they tell the opposition to be equally so. And want Canadians to support anti-democratic actions even.

The only other options to Harper's anti-democratic and unconstitutional actions and the non-confidence is to form, or attempt to form, a government with the House majority. Or force an election. And an election is a blindly stupid action to force.

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

Interested Observer Interested Observer's picture

Summer wrote:

According to a www.Bourque.org "exclusive", Senior Iggy advisors say he is rethinking the coalition and "got snookered by Bob Rae on this one". 

 

Does anyone know how reliable Bourque.org is.  On that same page, it says that Dom Leblanc "nixes leadership launch".  No link to that story.

 

It is just the homepage, so it may change after I link here:  http://www.bourque.org/

Wow, looks like a crappy imitation of Drudge! Laughing

And since Drudge is absolutely terrible, I'm not sure what adjective would fit this situation. Undecided

 
EDIT: His [url=http://www.pierrebourqueart.com/]paintings[/url] could use some improvement as well. Totally off-topic, but apparently he's the nephew of one of the group of 7.

Brian Topp: Our friends on the blue team seem to mostly focus on sticks, and not so much on carrots. ;)

Fidel

M. Spector wrote:

Keith Jones said:

 

Quote:

Canada’s social-democratic party, the NDP, is a no less dependable prop of capitalist rule. When it has formed provincial governments, most notably in Ontario during the recession of the early 1990s, the NDP has come into headlong conflict with the working class, including slashing social spending, promoting “workfare,” and breaking strikes and otherwise attacking workers’ rights.

This is somewhat disappointing coming from a so-called socialist. Yes the NDP reduced working hours of certain employees, which were called Rae days. But they kept their jobs. Mike Harris laid off ten thousand nurses and waged war on unionized teachers and support workers and public education in general. And then he won a phony majority next election as his reward for waging war on workers. So this "workers punishing anti-worker parties" is smelly bullshit

Workfare is second-hand neoliberal voodoo adopted by Mike Harris. If any socialist wants to look it up, the ONDP actually made it easier for people to collect welfare and live off student loans at the same time, which was made illegal during Harris' time in the sun. Look up the tragedies that befell Kimberly Rogers, or Lewis Whelan under real pro capitalist party rule.

I'll debate Keith Jones on the ONDP any time any where if he feels up to it.

Policywonk

Judging from the summary of the agreement I saw in the Journal, if the Liberals had run with that against the campaign Harper ran, even with Dion as Leader, they would have won at least a minority, and probably the support of the NDP in the House if required. Of course Harper would never have called the election, but the Liberals may have been in a position to support a non-confidence vote at a time of their choosing, maybe a few weeks later when the government refused to come up with an economic plan. And Harper would probably not have conducted such a lackluster campaign.

 I think the program is more popular than the coalition itself, but the coalition may have enough support for legitimacy.

 

 

josh

Summer wrote:

According to a www.Bourque.org "exclusive", Senior Iggy advisors say he is rethinking the coalition and "got snookered by Bob Rae on this one". 

 

Does anyone know how reliable Bourque.org is.

 

About as reliable as a Conservative Party press release.  Since that is what it essentially is.  This is a classic right-wing disinformation tacitc.  See Drudge, Matt; Rove, Karl.

 

So perhaps fight disinformation with disinformation?Wink

 

From highly placed Liberal sources:

We're hearing confirmed reports of high level discussions with Conservative MPs regarding joining the Dion/Layton/Duceppe "Grand Coalition. Sources indicate that the MPs are "progressives", and are extremely upset with Harper.


The Conservative "floor crossers" will NOT sit in the Liberal Caucus. They will be part of the "Grand Coalition" as "Independent Conservatives".

http://tinyurl.com/5o22zk

 

KenS

Seems a while since anyone has talked about whether or how this coalition is going to happens. Strikes me as a trifle disconnected to be all over the place on whether the coalition is a good idea when the very idea of it is getting thoroughly creamed and ugly things are being bandied about for all parties concerned- and not by any means just coming from the usual suspects.

Here is where things appear to stand right now.

It appears a given that Harper will prorogue the House and the GG will let him.

Harper is in trouble. But the ensuing 2 months until a confidence vote are a no lose situation for him. Canadians are clearly fed up with Ottawa shennanigans. In the context of the economic crises and nothing getting done- this is really bad. Canadians will be saying "this talk of a coalition for doing better is achieving and will achieve what now?"

A pox on both houses is a sentiment that works in favour of the government.

Early polls show more people in favour of the coalition than you would guess listening to the media. But an even split is not nearly good enough in this climate of worry and uncertainty and with the overlming majority even of those favourably disposed to the coalition definitely not liking the Ottawa scene.

"The coalition needs to fight back." Easier said than done. Rallies and internet petitions are not enough. There has to be an astute, aggressive and coordinated communications strategy. And how is that going to come out of a very new committee process? [Let alone a committee distracted by power sharing detail questions while the new house has been torched.]

Right at the moment I'm thinking it looks like a time to cut losses from what could be serious damage- with overtures that all the Liberals and NDP might vote for the government in January if Harper both eats humble pie and admitts to provoking, and delivers an economic stimulus program that the coalition would have brought itself.

It wouldn't be worded like that of course. Thats the message conveyed. And saying it now would matter even if the vote doesn't come until January- because everyone is desperately looking for assurances that a plan will soon be launched.

 

Such a retreat may not be the desirable or necessary response to the problematic situation, but brave words about it are not enough.

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Personally, I don't see how the sentiment in the opening post is incompatible with Unionist's or Cueball's position. Presumably, the only reason you would fight this coalition from the left is if you are an NDP party member or partisan. If you are not, and say, a member of a socialist or communist party, chances are you don't like any of the major political parties and so it doesn't really matter to you if the Cons are in power or if the NDP have a full majority: such lefties would still espouse their socialist and anti-capitalist views regardless. More power to them, I say. Although I would hazard to say that there is a benefit of degree involved in the choices between the parties.

If you are an NDP supporter and are against the coalition because you think the NDP has yielded too much to the Liberals (popularly known as 'selling out') then you should be doing the same thing you would be doing if the NDP were the opposition, a minority leader or a majority administration: holding their feet to the fire and keeping them honest. In fact, this amounts to what most babblers were criticizing the Liberals for not doing  during their ineffectual term as Official Opposition. As progressives who could consider voting NDP, we should be demanding that they pressure their government to evacuate Afghanistan, to implement indigenous rights, proportional representation and a national child-care plan, to support the arts, fair copyright and a positive social democracy. Support for the coalition does not preclude criticism of it.

Indeed, if the NDP were to win a majority government, there would still be a very good chance they would sell out to the same capitalist interests. The job of NDP members and partisans in that situation would be to level cold criticism and pressure to ensure the NDP remained honest to its espoused principles--exactly the same job they have now. The only difference is, it's almost guaranteed that the NDP will not be able to fulfill as much, since they are a minority party in the new administration. But we want to demand that they demand and win for Canadians as much as possible.

Personaly, I have a mixture of optimism and cynicism about the coalition. The OP is a fair cop, but there is a chance to implement some marginally positive measures before the revolution. Moreover, historically speaking, it's fascinating.

Unionist

Catchfire's post reflects my views pretty much to the letter.

And I agree with Ken to this extent: we need some faces and voices right now to counter Harper's campaign of demagogy and to encourage the coalition to move in the proper direction.

KenS

Fascinating it is.

But I have to say that when this was launched into the worst I thought that could come of it is disspointment and setting back of possibilities for the NDP to move forward internally and publicaly.

But worse is clearly possible. I'm still processing how that makes me feel. IE, I had reservations about this already, and was beginiing to think in terms of what is the 'proactive' approach to those reservations. But now that is seeming to be counting your chickens before they hatched... which you can be doing even if you weren't sure you wanted the chickens.

So leaving aside for the moment the cold water questions I've just raised....

I know that cabinet ministers are constrained from criticising the government- but a whole party? IE, the NDP?

Certainly there will be pressures against ANY criticism even if it is not forbidden. And Canadian politics is way too monolithic when it comes to internal party dynamics. So maybe its unrealistic to expect to overcome that.

 But maybe all that can be deliberately stretched.

Its certainly in the NDPs practical/utilitarian interest as well as substantive and programatic interest to see a coalition government pushed.

If whole sections of the UK Labour Party can openly speak and organize against a PM from their own party [which is not at all unprecedented in the UK], then why can't individual backbench NDP MPs be publicaly pushing on and criticising the government? And to be tacitly supported by facing no Caucus discipline.

Its the Liberals who have the most to lose from the coalition government falling. It would be irresponsible and cavalier to use that as a licensce to push for anything and everything. And many supporters would punish the NDP for that.

But why not some judiciuous pushing that focuses on a few key issues?

Slumberjack

enemy_of_capital wrote:
No I suggest the NDP aught to have made serious issues like the economy and the imperialist war a deal breaker, Period. why does it exist if important principals are bendable or expendable if only to gert the culture portfolio in cabinet?

Because in the case of the usual partisan hackery, even the slightest whiff of power, or the chance at riding on the coat tails of delusional power, has the capacity of turning individuals who usually go about the business of adorning their sleeves with unshakable ideology into malleable bandwagon porters.  What you are witnessing is dogmatic hypocrisy.

martin dufresne

People are invited to join the Facebook group "Harper must surrender".

To see more details
and confirm this group invitation, follow this link.

kim elliott kim elliott's picture

Infoscape Research Lab just released their stats on who is winning the organizing race re: the coalition on Facebook:

http://www.infoscapelab.ca//node/563

 

madmax

martin dufresne wrote:

People are invited to join the Facebook group "Harper must surrender".

To see more details and confirm this group invitation, follow this link.

The picture is offensive. Anyone using references to Hitler is childish and disrepects logical arguments for change.

derrick derrick's picture

In case people missed this story which we published yesterday by Justin Podur, 'A break in the Conservative-Liberal' coalition':

"I have argued before that a better frame for understanding Canadian politics in recent years isn't alternating Liberal and Conservative minorities, but a stable Conservative-Liberal majority."

"Instability in this system is introduced by the Conservatives, who don't want to play by the same rules as their coalition partners. Conservatives and Liberals are in agreement on pro-U.S. foreign policy and economic policies that favour investors and corporations over working people."

 

derrick derrick's picture

And here's the latest opinion piece on the coalition, this one arguing it's 'no solution' to neoliberalism...

pogge

Martin:

Way to be just as childish and offensive as the Conservatives. I'm sure that will win support for the alternative.

Jackass. (ETA: Yes, I appreciate the irony.)

 

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