Canadian parliament prorogued again; Part 3

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Le T Le T's picture

I've been re-calibrating my vacuming for like a month now.

kropotkin1951

Scott Piatkowski wrote:

ottawaobserver wrote:
Peter Milquetoast was pathetic.  He barely even tried on the Afghan detainees question, and didn't touch the production of papers at all.

He's always been the Canadian equivalent of Barbara Walters. But, the reality is that the Cons never would have made Harper available for the interview if they thought it would involve any tough questions.

That is the defining characteristic of a State media.  No one needs to tell them what to report or how to say it, they know their place without being told.  

Chomsky's "Manufacturing Consent" is a must read for anyone wanting to know what has happened at the CBC since the late '80's when it was mandated to compete directly with the MSM.  Based on her performance as BC fiance minister I think Carole Taylor is a Chicago School true believer and she oversaw a major revamping of the network.  

___________________________________________

Soothsayers had a better record of prediction than economists like Harper

Debater

KenS wrote:

Being present means just about nothing. The Caucus meeting they would have anyway is in Ottawa.

Wow.

But at least they are open to having hearings on the detainee issue.

It's not a perfect situation, but at least it means some Liberals are willing to get off their backsides and be in Ottawa ready to do something.

It will also be good if the NDP can be actively involved as well.  If the opposition parties can be seen to be more visible and active than the Conservatives, it will be a positive opportunity to connect with Canadians.

remind remind's picture

The NDP are actively involved in parliament for the people, it is the Liberals who have not been.

ReeferMadness

The figure is now over 71,000.  And still growing rapidly.  What number does it have to reach before it has a real impact?

remind remind's picture

It already has had impact as Harper was on the National last night trying to explain his actions away.

 

Seems that the party MP's must have told him to face the nation, as they are not trying to explain it away on the national news so Harper did not have to sully himself...

 

that Mansbridge did not tie war crimes investigations to the proroguing is shameful, but perhaps they made him sign  an agreement stating that he would not.

Wilf Day

ReeferMadness at 6:41 p.m. wrote:
The figure is now over 71,000.

And at 7:54 p.m. it's 73,003. Keep counting.

Wilf Day

hsfreethinkers wrote:
Wilf Day wrote:

On CBC Power & Politics tonight

Evan Solomon: ". . . 132 top political scientists are calling for changes in the way we vote. But how can electoral reform address concerns over prorogation?"

Interesting, but I'm not seeing this text or the show on this topic at the link. Is this material there?

Yes, on last night's show. On the right, click on Jan. 5, then go to 1:43 (near the end).

I transcribed the key sections:

Quote:
Evan Solomon: ". . . 132 top political scientists are calling for changes in the way we vote. But how can electoral reform address concerns over prorogation?"

Larry Gordon "This is just the latest blow-up, the latest problem that we've been seeing in Ottawa with the constant partisan bickering, the unstable government . . . We are using the world's worst voting system . . . The big parties know that 40% of the votes may be enough to give them 60% of the seats and 100% of the power. It creates a disincentive to work together in constructive co-operative partnerships with other parties to pass legislation that actually reflects the will of the majority of the electorate. . . I think there is a strong visceral anger that Canadian have about politics not working . . . The more we see democratic deficit crises erupt, the more people are going to start connecting the dots between their visceral anger about politics and the fact that we need to reform our democratic instutitions so that politics can work more for the benefit of the people rather than be just a power shell game that the politicians are playing. . . Canadians aren't going to put up with a lot more of this."

Evan Solomon: "If we had a different system, proportional representation, how would this prorogation, would that have been different, Dennis?

Prof. Dennis Pilon: "Oh, absolutely. Our current system creates incentives for the politicians not to co-operate with each other. There's always an incentive to throw the dice and see if you can turn 40% of the vote into 60% of the seats. The thing about a PR system is it would end that. Because now the politicians would know they wouldn't get anything more from going back to the electorate. In fact the electorate would punish them, and say "we elected you to work something out and that's what we want you to do." So all this talk about changing the parliamentary rules, that's not going to make a difference. This is the key institution that will alter the way the politicians act to power."

Michelle

remind wrote:

It already has had impact as Harper was on the National last night trying to explain his actions away.

You are absolutely right.  Paul Wells had a piece saying that the Facebook group is useless and not real action.  It's true that it's not people in the streets, but it has had a real impact.  Not bad for something people just sort of do in their spare time.  And I know tons of activists who do "real life" action who also do a lot of online organizing and socializing using tools like Facebook and other social media.

Not to mention that people ARE organizing street protests on Facebook over this.  I think it has a lot to do with why the Liberals have announced that they'll be going back to work on January 25th or 27th (can't remember which) as well.  It's a way of harnessing and directing public opinion, when something like this FB group happens.  The media play alone is worth the few seconds it takes to join the group and post something on the wall.

remind remind's picture

Paul Wells, is  inkless on this... ;) or trying to damage control for the Cons, or both :D

It is people on the streets, as 70,000+ people are each talking to other people about it, to others perhaps not on Facebook, like myself....

 

and what Facebook people do not function  in real life?

 

Look at how social network sites have been used  everywhere to organize politically like for example Iran and even in Canada with the Sri Lanka demonstrations, they create a critical mass, as well as functioning to inform...

 

 

 

 

Michelle

This is a scream:

Real Dear Abby questions, with answers that Stephen Harper would give.

Quote:

DEAR ABBY: Please settle a disagreement for us. Is a butter knife used to put your butter on your plate, or to spread the butter on your bread? — ETIQUETTE-CHALLENGED

Dear ETIQUETTE-CHALLENGED:

Let me ask you a question: Why do you hate our troops? I mean, you claim to support the soldiers who are fighting in Afghanistan – and yet here you are, devoting precious time to writing letters about butter and utensils when you could be supporting our troops even harder. Why don’t you ask your friends in the Taliban what the butter knife is for, Etiquette-Challenged? They’ll tell you it’s for stabbing into the heart of freedom and slathering it with rich, creamy terror.

It’s a good thing you weren’t around in the ’40s. We’d all be speaking German but, hey, on the upside, we’d know where the fish fork goes. You sicken me.

And it just gets better from there. :D  (It's pretty long too - he did a bunch of questions!)

ottawaobserver

I do think Wells has a point.  His point is that it's easy to join a Facebook group ("slacktivism"), but unless that membership is translated into something a bit *more* active, its impact won't be fully felt by a government that already mobilizes thousands of drooling blog commenters every day with its talking points to go out and defend the government's message.

He's right.  If those rallies don't show decent numbers, the issue is dead.

It feels similar to me to the sudden holiday-inspired surge of donations in the wake of the Thai tsunami.  A lot of people gave one-time donations because of the holiday season, and them feeling all inspired and having time on their hands.  A number of agencies tried to convert those one-time donations into on-going monthly pre-authorized donations, and I don't think were all that successful.

The jury's still out.

Bookish Agrarian

As those on here who know me persoanlly can probably guess I do a lot of visiting of local establishments, like coffee shops just to chat people up and to get the pulse of my area.

Anyway, I have been testing out where this is going with the average person out of curiosity and going to a few more such places.  Now this is of course not scientific, but  I have been very pleasently surprised at the kind of comments I get.  I was into a little coffee shop on the corner of two major roads in our area.  As I was leaving there were people talking about the weather and an expected big snowstorm on the way.  I just innocently said, 'well maybe I will be like Stephen Harper and take an extended vacation that day so I can avoid the whole thing."  I am normally not very funny, but this got a really big laugh and then a bunch of the people, men and women alike, started riffing on the whole prorogue thing.  It went on for rather a long time and it was really biting.  I have to think that a lot of those folks probably voted Conservative in the last election.  (and that is only one such occurance.)

Now it's true they may vote Conservative again, but I think Harper has shown once again that he has put tactics ahead of strategy and managed to do some self-inflicted wounding.  Now lets hope this time though the opposition has its collective act together well enough to capitalize on it.  And for the love of God if you see a Liberal leader sitting down to video a message jump on the camera to save us all.

remind remind's picture

Quote:
He's right.  If those rallies don't show decent numbers, the issue is dead.

 

he may be right but he is not "correct" ;)

 

This issue may have dimmed  if the protests do not turn out, but as we know in Canadian politics, issues simmer then have a large impact/backlash, hence the former distruction of the PC party and the slower ongoing dismantling of the Liberals.

Straws break backs.....when the weight becomes too much...

 

Also, it is winter so low turn outs may not indicate anything...

 

 

ottawaobserver

I agree with you that it certainly has left an imprint.  And I think the straw/camel's back is probably the right analogy.  This may not be the final one, but it's one more adding to the pile.

remind remind's picture

yep, i agree....i do not think it is the final one either....

 

but you know, i am starting to believe Harper does not want the whack a doodle Conservative Party to have a majority.....given how many times he has sabatoged it... ;)

Debater

remind wrote:

The NDP are actively involved in parliament for the people, it is the Liberals who have not been.

Your comment kind of gets off the main point of the topic because you are stating a personal opinion.

All parties are going to say that they are "for the people" and so different people will have an opinion as to which one best does that.  The Conservatives no doubt feel that they are for the people as do the Liberals and NDP, and BQ (for Quebecers).

The main point on this thread is not to debate which party is the most "for the people" but to encourage all the opposition parties to oppose Harper's prorogation of Parliament and to be actually doing something during the prorogation.

That's why I was glad that it appears some members of the Liberals and NDP are trying to do that.

scott scott's picture
Polunatic2

Last year's anti-coalition facebook group had 127,000 members (I was a bit surprised to see). That along with stacking the radio call-in shows (and probably some angry calls and emails to MPS) was enough for the conservatives to claim victory and "prove" that there was some kind of cross-Canada consensus. Hope we can at least beat the 127,000 :) 

remind remind's picture

Fair enough debator....see what you were saying now.

 

 

Wilf Day
Debater

remind wrote:

yep, i agree....i do not think it is the final one either....

 

but you know, i am starting to believe Harper does not want the whack a doodle Conservative Party to have a majority.....given how many times he has sabatoged it... ;)

Yes, I agree that it has happened 3 times now that he or the others in his party have done something to sabotage themselves.  They did it in 2004 by giving the election back to Paul Martin in the last week, they did it again in 2006, and they did it yet again in 2008.

Whereas in 2004 and 2006 it was more of a group effort with rogue Conservatives going off-message and saying bizarre things, in 2008, Harper did it all by himself.  Half way through the campaign he was on his way to a majority, including with good numbers in Quebec, when he decided to make the nasty remarks about the artists, and his majority was gone.

KenS

Well, with this Harper interview, it looks like no election. And the Ekos polls numbers would give an indication of why.

So, whats next?

In a nutshell, I'd say its some parliamentary and extra-parliamentary circuses in March, no election anytime this year, and make sure Harper gets his fall in 2011.

The near term feed in for his fall, is to make what is possible of the prorogation. It really doesn't look to me anymore like this has any all or nothing chance... but I agree that making sure it sticks in peoples minds is important. This is just the sort of thing that keeps Harper from moving into that zone where people are not wary of him.... and the events/incidences like prorogation will not by themselves impact the fence sitters much. Without the noise and kerfufle, Harper could probably put them permanently into snooze mode.

On the circuses end of things I expect Harper to put something nasty and polarizing into the Budget with all the goodies and assurances that economic growth and a little trimming will take care of the growing deficit. Polarizing, as in a poke in the eye for the opposition and their core supporters, but something that wont upset the swing voters the Conservatives continuously court.

Probably some elements in the Budget to embarass the Liberals as they head into their 'thinkers conference'.... so that they vote contrary to things they would like to come out of the conference talking about. And just to keep up the flow of stuff helping the Liberals stay generally off balance. Drag out the debate process for the Throne Speech and budgets, to maximize the effect of Liberal floundering, and stretch it to close to the conference.

But no poison pills like the voter subsidy issue. Even with just semi-attentive swing voters, Harper wears the blame for last year's crisis. So he'd definitely wear the blame for provoking an election now. Not going to happen when he doesn't even want to take the smooth path set up for calling an election in March.

With the Liberals treading water, and then floundering in the extended run up to the votes on the Throne Speech and budgets; and the arrogant performing of the Harper crowd, there must be an opportunity for the NDP to change the channel as much as possible. No knock out blows- building up credibility.

KenS

As if that Harper interview wasn't definitive enough that there will not be an election, Conservative MP Rick Casson announced his retirement today also.

http://www.punditsguide.ca/2010/01/casson-calls-it-quits-third-mp-to.php...

ottawaobserver

He said he "has no desire for an election" not that there wouldn't be one.  Only a month ago there were "no plans for a prorogation".  I think you were right before, Ken; he's just putting a viable option in place, and reserving judgement for now on whether to use it.

KenS

I don't know about that. I also saw wiggle room in what he said- that it was said in a way that it can't be tossed back at him were they to call an election. But right now I think they mean to call off any raised expectations, for good.

We'll see.

But you are right: at a minimum, the threat still exists.

Polunatic2

Quote:
  the threat still exists.
Threat? I'm not sure an election is a bad thing but I expect Iggy (and perhaps the NDP) to support the budget. Or will it be the Bloc's turn to play election spoiler?

Haven't we had enough of Harper already? He didn't do very well in the Angus Reid poll on prorogation

Mojoroad1

IMHO

The Bastard not only turned Canada into a tinpot Banana Republic for real.... Dear Leader actually HELPS splitting the country (again), BIG TIME on this one.

Watch the separatist sentiment grow..... For the BQ, and PQ,  all they have to say is "look at Canada's dysfunctional system!, where a MINORITY government Prime minister can shut down Parliament whenever (S)he pleases? And not just only for political reasons (the Olympics with the Conservative Logo for the official Canadian outfits as they rack up the medals), while stacking the Senate in the mean time ...but also to avoid TORTURE inquiries that could harm the government????...Who in Quebec needs an English Queens representative, A Governor General willing to accept this????"

 

See where this could go?

Sean in Ottawa

remind wrote:

yep, i agree....i do not think it is the final one either....

 

but you know, i am starting to believe Harper does not want the whack a doodle Conservative Party to have a majority.....given how many times he has sabatoged it... ;)

Don't underestimate human stupidity. These people are not as competent as they pretend to be.

Sean in Ottawa

Mojoroad-- this is not knew nobody every accused Harper of being a uniter-- he has always been a divide-and-conquor  kind-of-guy. A very divisive force-- you would not want that character on your workplace team....

remind remind's picture

Polunatic2 wrote:
Haven't we had enough of Harper already? He didn't do very well in the Angus Reid poll on prorogation.

Quote:
In the online survey of a representative national
sample of 1,019 Canadian adults, 53 per cent of
respondents disagree with the decision to
prorogue Parliament.

Conversely, only 19 per cent agree with the move.

it would seem the reformatories in AB did not like is actions only 7% approved strong and 14% moderately, while 26% strongly disagreed and 24% moderately did.

 

It would seem SK and MN are outpacing AB with anti-democratic sentiments these days, with BC not far behind. Though to be fair  in the teens approval of prorogation is not good on any level.

 

No wonder Harper was the CBC shilling his actions.

remind remind's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
remind wrote:
but you know, i am starting to believe Harper does not want the whack a doodle Conservative Party to have a majority.....given how many times he has sabatoged it... ;)

Don't underestimate human stupidity. These people are not as competent as they pretend to be.

Oh I do not prceive them as competant at all,  insular thinking never works in the long run for those who have control issues.

Debater

KenS wrote:

As if that Harper interview wasn't definitive enough that there will not be an election, Conservative MP Rick Casson announced his retirement today also.

http://www.punditsguide.ca/2010/01/casson-calls-it-quits-third-mp-to.php...

Do you think this retirement will have an effect on whether or not Harper will want an election?  I don't see much of a connection.

Fidel

[url=http://www.cfra.com/?cat=3&nid=70459]Conservative Magazine slams Canada's Conservatives[/url] Apparently it's 'naked self-interest' Do they not believe selfish-interest is a good thing?

Debater

Lawrence Martin of The Globe and Mail:

'Harper's given them two months of free target practice'

 

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/harpers-given-them-two-mont...

remind remind's picture

Fidel, it is the naked part they are worried about, not the self interest... ;)

 

Thanks for the link debator, this says much i hope the "press" is listening....

Quote:
For a leader like Mr. Harper, who is so schooled in the game, it's curious. Here is a politician who exists in the realm of tactics. Policy is secondary. He has just offered proof of this again, his prorogation sending long-simmering legislation on his order paper to the dustbin. The degree of cynicism is striking. Governance reduced to a boxing match. But by and large, he has gotten away with it – at least until now.

In part, he's gotten away with it owing to low standards in the media. Many of us in Ottawa share in his unsophisticated approach. We treat politics like sports. What matters is the scoreboard. It dominates the discussion. It doesn't matter if you tear up the rule book, as long as your polling numbers are good.

Our year-end evaluations of Mr. Harper's performance concluded that he had a very good year. We based our judgment not on policy but on political numbers, as if your average Joe trying to make a buck cared about that. The supreme leader, we said, had maintained his lead over his rivals. Ergo, top marks. As for his record on the environment, the war, the economy, the deficit – barely a mention.

Our priorities, like the PM's, are somewhat upside-down and it has suited him just fine. But with his second prorogation in the space of a year, things may be changing. Although the move could easily be seen as an unprincipled manipulation of the democratic process, Mr. Harper likely figured that having gotten away with it before, he could get away with it again.

 

For some it seems 'the scoreboard" no matter what it is, is the only thing matters, frankly, and sadly, it seems to me they do not understand, or cannot conceive, that that is not the reality for the majority of Canadians.

 

Debater

Well at least some Canadians are paying attention - polls show that the majority of people are opposed to the prorogation, and the EKOS poll appears to show a drop in support for the Conservatives.

Wilf Day
Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Debater wrote:

Well at least some Canadians are paying attention - polls show that the majority of people are opposed to the prorogation, and the EKOS poll appears to show a drop in support for the Conservatives.

You might say a collapse back to their base support.  But look at the Libs. They're not gaining. Has Iggy got the message yet? No? I didn't think so.

Michelle

Well into 96,000 now!  Incredible.

Debater

Frustrated Mess wrote:

Debater wrote:

Well at least some Canadians are paying attention - polls show that the majority of people are opposed to the prorogation, and the EKOS poll appears to show a drop in support for the Conservatives.

You might say a collapse back to their base support.  But look at the Libs. They're not gaining. Has Iggy got the message yet? No? I didn't think so.

Well the Liberals have gained in this poll, both nationally and in Ontario and Quebec.  They are now tied with the Conservatives in Ontario and well ahead of them in Quebec.

But I agree that the gains are pretty small - the Liberal Party brand is the strength, not Ignatieff himself.  He is anemic and has yet to register an impact with Canadians.

NorthReport

With all the troubles that Harper is having one would think that the Liberals would be flying high in the polls but they are not not. It is obvious that Canadians do not want to replace Harper with Ignatieff. They see them as one and the same.

Debater

I see you are back to your favourite topic of discussion, NR. Wink

Sean in Ottawa

99,231 and counting!!

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

10017

10023

10037

10053

Man, I've got to learn to type faster!

Diogenes Diogenes's picture

Scott Piatkowski wrote:

10017

10023

10037

10053

Man, I've got to learn to type faster!

I hope you're not an accountant.

Debater

Concern over suspension of Parliament grows, poll finds

Move has unsettled large number of Canadians, eroded support for Tories, and even drawn criticism from foreign press

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/concern-over-suspension-of-...

Fidel

96,000?

Aha! The CIA says 10,000 Cuban signatures should be good enough to put the CIA's issue of concern to a referendum in that sovereign country, or at least a second look by the government. It doesn't work the other way for a transparent and accountable investigation into 9/11 though.

Herr Harper where are you? Yoo hoo?  He's prolly stashed himself away the wolf's lair or eagle's nest for a break from all this democratic manouvering by the oppo to expose die folter, jas?

KenS

Here is the narrative that Harper will play out over the next couple months to continue arming that button for calling an election right after tabling the Budget in the first week of March:

PM "asks" voters for budget advice

And he is going to "ask"- perform- over and over in the coming weeks.

They already are seen as the steady hand for getting us through all the current and coming problems... this is all about bolserting, and cognitively reminding all those swing voters again and again.

"Did we tell you yet that we have issues that urgently need dealing with?" And you know of course who is best equipped to lead that.

I looked again at that Harper interview I linked above.

I agree with OO that there is room in what Harper said for him to say later that an election is required for him to deal with these difficult issues facing Canada.

I also still think he gave a pretty strong answer that if the opposition parties voted for the budget, thats good enough: no election needed.

That said, two months from now if he goes against that, what he said now will not matter.

interview

Which is a segway to what I don't see in the requisite narrative for Harper pushing that button and calling the election.

AFTER the election starts, if it happens, the ballot question will be easy: "do you want me guiding things in these diffcult times, or do you want the Three Stooges running things". And I think he can this time stay away from the 'in bed with separatists' card that hurts them so much in Quebec, and still carry that ballot question very effectively. My hunch is that it won't work all that well in 2 way races with the NDP, but that it would work very well in the races with the Liberals and the Bloc. Thats a lot of seats in play, and they can reasonably expect to at least do OK in holding their western seats.

In spite of being able to see that ballot question working well enough to trump all the concerns about proroguing and not really trusting Harper... my inclination is to still see a sort of 'missing link': since the Liberals have made it clear they are going to vote for the Budget no matter what it says, what is the excuse for calling an election?

If we see one of those excuses being developed, we'll now what's going on. But if that happens, probably only late in the game.

Or maybe Harper Crew can just count on people not really knowing the Liberals are going to rubber stamp the budget. The Liberals are not directly saying they will, and only junkies get the signals.

And/or maybe they can expect the ballot question to be so compelling that it rolls over even swing voters knowing that the 'need' for an election is a transparent scam. "Its here. And I don't want the Three Stooges."

Yibpl

Oh, how I love the chattering classes!

How did they react when Jean Chrétien was auctioning off senate seats to the highest bidding geriatric?  They didn’t.  How do they react when only 2 out of 10 provinces and 3 territories have legislations in place to elect senators?  They don’t.  How do they react when  the un-elected Senate blocked the important anti-crime bill C-15? They don’t.  How did they react when unelected Senators, after meeting with well-heeled lobbyists , subverted  important consumer protection legislation passed unanimously in the House of Commons?  They don't.

But how do the chattering classes react when Stephen Harper prorogues Parliament after about a year, when Parliament is normally prorogued about every, you guessed it,  year?     They’re ready to TAKE IT TO THE  STREETS!!!

Lovely!

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