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Dion hanging around is unusual given the circumstances. He's an unusual and isolated politician, and maybe that is all there is to his decision to hang around so long.
But I can see a plausible means that he could become PM in the coming months.
All he has to do is announce that the Liberals are going to vote no confidence in the Throne Speech, and it is better than a long shot he could pull off bringing down the government, with the GG inviting him to form a new government.
There is a thread going around the technicalities of confidence votes after the Throne Speech- but those are about what COULD happen. All Dion has to do is follow normal procedure: move a vote on confidence in the Throne Speech, and vote it down.
However much the Bloc may not like it, because Harper is their current raison d'etre, I really don't think they could so soon after rallying against Harper, save his governemnt.
The NDP has a zillion substantive and strategic reasons to support a Dion no confidence move. Dion and the NDP could even have an agreement on what comes next- either loose and not formally acknowledged, or publicly acknowledged.
Even without a formal agreement between the Liberals and others, I think precedent clearly establishes that Dion be called to form a government, no election.
So the big hurdle on whether it would work is Dion's own Caucus. Only a minority would like it [though the power of them publicly speaking out is not small], and the rest would freak out and do anything they could to stop him.
The force of that opposition is based in wanting Dion the albatross gone, the various leadership rivals who have 90% of the meaningful support, and the fact that the Liberals REALLY cannot afford another election. The instability of a Dion government would make another election imminent.
But even without a power base, I can see Dion manoevering them all into the position that they have no choice but to support him.
The move would have a lot of popular support. The punditry would love the theatre. The vocal minority of Liberal MPs supporting it would get lots of press.
All it would take to derail the train is for Iggy and Bobby between them to put up enough backbenchers [6-7?] to vote with the government. But that is real risky for all the conspirators. All the potential conspirators would dearly like "someone" to do it... but not me to pay the price. It's the old prisoner's dilemna.
[i]The bottom line of why Dion could do something like this:[/i] it might not work, but what does he have to lose?
He's already everyone's goat.
And he has everything to gain if it works. He'll have a legacy even if he has to follow through and step down as Leader and PM. To continue governing he might even have to step down as PM anyway. There are many ways such a governemnt could work at continuing.
But he does not need to have a plan of how he will stay governing after he pulls off unseating the Harper governemnt. Once again, whether the rest of the Liberal party likes it or not, HE has nothing to lose trying. And he'll have enough of an enthusiastic band to make it work and force the rest of them along.
There would even be a persuasive argument within the Liberal Party that this risky business is prefereable to the sitting duck options they are left with doinf business as usual.
Let alone the visceral draw to Liberals especially of the immediate grasping of the reigns of power. That draw would be enough to do a great deal of glossing over how beholden to the NDP and Bloc they would be, and the price which follows come the next election.
The constitutional scholars among us can speculate whether the Cons could find a way to head off this possibility. But I'll be surprised if a government can put off a Throne Speech and the votes on it.
Some unusual and long stalling may well be possible. But they can't just run out the clock until they get to Clarkson's 6 month rule. That was for 6 months of actual governing, not caretaker adminstrative edicts with the stalling formal governance.
Surviving a Throne Speech has got to be bare minimum.
There could be a connivance between Harper stalling and Bobby and Iggy and friends plotting the means of foiling the no confidence vote.
That might make it less likely Dion would succeed, but not a reason for him not to set this all in motion.
All that said, this is just a possibility, and a speculative one at that.
People should pose others.
Maybe Bobby and Iggy did not commit to paying off Dions' leadership debts, and Dion's ploy about hanging around is just blackmail.
Whatever his motives for hanging around, he can easily 'come to his senses later' and resign immediately. He might have no definite plan at all: just keeping his options open for the time being.
Saying "I'm still thinking" would have not worked. The stepping down in May announcement may have just been what he had to do to buy time.
The punditry must be stunned and afraid to embarass themselves by voicing their guesses.
[ 21 October 2008: Message edited by: KenS ]
The only individual who became Prime Minister after announcing he was resigning was Trudeau when Joe Clark forgot how to count. The Conservatives will not fall on a confidence vote any time in the near future. If they did I'd be laying substantial cash on them being returned with a majority.
For what it's worth, reposting my guess that I don't think the Liberals even have the option of borrowing to run another election anywhere close to the spending limit.
And based on what I know and surmise, I don't think the Liberals will even have the option of borrowing anywhere near what the Cons and NDP can borrow for running another election. They are simply too leveraged already. And election financing rules will likely make it difficult for them to use guarantees from individuals/corporations. Thats new terrain, so they probably could just get the guarantees and the violation charges will come after the election. Its all pretty dicey even if 50% of lawyers think it would work.
But Dion has nothing to lose: not his problem.
And it is not unreasonable that he could increasingly pull Liberals along that the financial side of his risky business is better then the alternatives.
If he forms a government, it lasting is very much at risk. But he can start working on a long term coalition or accord with the NDP. And the Bloc only needs to be able to claim a modest number of things they got for supporting a Lib or Lib/NDP government.
The bulk of his party may not like a formal aggreement with the NDP either. But its not like they have a pretty picture to present as an alternative.
"Sure. 50 to a 100 more confidence votes with a Harper government. No problem. Nasty leadership battle. No problem. Leadership reivals sucking up all the cash and the fundraisers while the party fundaising stays on life support waiting to expire. No problem. Harper having LOADS of time to lay traps for the new Leader. No problem."
The Conservatives will not fall on a confidence vote any time in the near future.
That is a general statement about what is likely. As such, I don't disagree.
But it doesn't speak to whether Dion could pull of a vote against the Throne Speech.
We know he is not your normal politician. And while a tactically adept Leader might have a better chance at pulling it off, the main thing here is pushing people into a position where NOT following him is at a minimum not an easy choice to make. Dion can do that much.
Like I said already, unless someone points out a reason this is just plain doomed [as opposed to only not at all certain to work], then I don't see what Dion has to ose in trying.
He'll have very vocal supporters and the idea will be instantaneously popular. And those vocal supporters might even include Jack Layton.
It would be a gathering snowball rolling against people who do not have a safe position or a unified basis for trying to stop it.
Sure, and Dion throne speech would include "HIS" Carbon Tax approach and big corporate tax cuts.
There isn't alot of common ground, other then trying to leverage power away from the CPC.
Dion already stated prior to Monday that he would work with the Harper government.
Unless "working with" means voting down the throne speech.
What Dion has to lose is it wouldn't fly. He has ver few supporters in caucus. Most caucus members are happy to take their chances in an election with a new leader since there is nowhere to go but up. You don't need Liberal MPs to vote with the Cons, they merely have to be absent from the House. The NDP probably figures the Libs will pick a more Conservative leader than Dion and they have a chance to garner left Lib votes in the next election. The Bloq won 50 seats because the Cons made tactical mistakes re. cultural and Youth justice. The Tories want to grow in Quebec. They are quite likely to bring in policies which are designed to woo votes in Quebec nest time. Can the BQ be seen to propr up one of the authors of the Clarity Act?
I don't know why I am wasting so much ink on your "scenario."
There are good answers to all theose objections, but it is pointless discussing how probable the scenario is.
It is just food for thought.
There is still the question of wondering what Dion is up to. Because if he follows through with what he said yesterday, then he is significantly prolonging the agony of the Liberal party.
It does not seem likely that what he said yesterday is anything close to the last word.
I'll go out on a limb and suggest Dion is up to what he claims to be up to. Now whether his staying on is good for the party is debateable.
I don't doubt that he means nothing more than what he said.
But that doesn't mean his party is going to stand still and let him do it his way. They might give it a couple days for him to change his tune, or the party Exec to propose some kind of face saving measure [plus disspappearing his campaign debts] that has him stepping down sooner.
Id something does not come up moving things in some kind of direction that give people confidence, the knives will soon come back out.
Apparently he didn't even know how doomed he ws to lose that election. He is that isolated. So he probably has no idea how vicious will be the measures people will soon be sayig they will take to get him to leave sooner.
Originally posted by Caissa:[b]Most caucus members are happy to take their chances in an election with a new leader since there is nowhere to go but up.[/b]
Well, we'll see about that. If Liberals make the arrogant presumption that regardless of what they decide the worst has already happened, then they ain't seen nothin' yet.
I expect the party leadership had a talk with Dion about what he could get away with as his own interim leader. But he's unpredictable since he has virtually no base that he's answerable to, though he imagines it must be most Canadians even though they don't know it yet.
Anyone who wants to wager that the Liberal vote will be lower in the next Federal Election is someone I would love to get a little action from.
Not the point Caissa. You said that Liberal MPs as individuals have nowhere to go but up. And that's simply not true.
If you are a Liberal MP survivor the best you can do in the next election is keep your seat- which you already have. On the other hand, you could lose your seat.
What odds are you offering? [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]
The Liberals dropped to 76 seats from 103 in last week's election, winning only 26.2 per cent of the vote. That was the party's second-worst showing, four points better than the worst-ever results during Confederation in 1867.
Let me re-phrase a statement I thought was clear: The Liberal Party will receive a higher percentage of the vote in the next Federal Election. Anyone who wants to bet on that with me is most welcome.
The party itself is in 2nd place in the House. I don't see a scenario where it will drop to third or fourth party status in the next Federal Election. It will either be first or second. Again if anyone wants to wager on this I'm more than happy to.
Parenthetically, I won all the bets I made on the last Federal Election.
I thought the Liberals were Canada's natural governing party.
How many elections now have they been in second place! [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]
Here's why this won't happen in a nut shell....
While the ship sinks, the Liberals have a PARTY.The Pic in the star showing Iggy hugging Rae says it all. Dion will never get the votes from his own caucus to bring down the govment. I can see the appeal (potentially) from Dions perspective, but the fact is even the liberal house organ- the star- came out slamming him the very next day. As for Coalition (or Accord) Green Shift and corporate tax cuts would have to be off the table, for the NDP (and Bloc I think) to play ball. Dion still thinks the green shift - soundly rejected by voters on the right and left - is a good idea. And the tax cuts are something it seems EVERY Liberal wants. So, while theoretically possible, I don't see it happening.
Some quick math and rounding numbers seems to give the following:
Conservatives- approximately 58 years of governing
Liberals- approximately 83 years of governing