Saturday, September 29, 2007

Liberals to duck confidence vote and keep Harper alive

The latest victim of the disastrous drubbing the Liberals took in last week’s federal by-elections in Quebec is their guts to stand up to Harper.

If the counsel of one of Dion’s few remaining supporters in caucus wins the day, the Liberals will abstain on mass from the vote on next month’s throne speech -- in effect, propping-up the Harper government.

Liberal MP Bryon Wilfert telegraphed the Liberals’ duck-and-cover strategy to CanWest News:

“Wilfert proposes an unusual tactic of partial abstention by the Liberals if they have the deciding vote among the opposition parties on a confidence motion over the government’s Oct. 16 speech from the throne. ‘We could register our displeasure without bringing down the government,’ he said.”

The only reason Wilfert gives for denying Canadians the chance to judge the Harper government? The Liberals don’t have “the winning conditions.” News flash for Wilfert: there won’t be any winning conditions while Dion’s leadership is so weak and your party continues to stand for nothing.

The Liberals plan to put themselves before the country. It’s becoming tougher to appear surprised.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mulcair’s victory claims its second victim

The most immediate victim of the NDP’s historic win in Outremont was Stephane Dion’s “think-alike” Jocelyn Coulon who Thomas Mulcair bested by 20% of the vote last week.

But the surprise second victim came today. Former astronaut and erstwhile star Liberal candidate Marc Garneau says he won’t be running for the federal Liberals in Quebec in any future election.

The beleaguered Liberal Party brand takes yet another hit that it couldn’t afford.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Beyond Dion: The old Liberal Party faces the changing politics

A week after the federal by-elections in Quebec which saw the historic election of NDP MP Thomas Mulcair in the long-held Liberal bastion of Outremont, the Liberal Party is showing the strains of a new and uneasy self-awareness.

That unease is evidenced by the fact that Liberals are blaming everyone for their miserable showing last Monday: Michael Ignatieff, Jean Charest, Paul Martin, the Bloc Quebecois, Jack Layton . . . etc. It's just as it was with their loss in the last election: it couldn't be that they had run a series of bad governments and Canadians had tired of them, it had to be someone else's fault.

As this Montreal Gazette article begins to suggest, politics in Canada is growing up but the Liberal Party remains clinging to old dynamics -- old dynamics that ensured that the Liberal Party could win elections by saying what it wasn’t, rather than arguing for and living up to what it actually is.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Drama mounts in Outremont

A NDP win in the Outremont by-election has been a dim prospect from the beginning. Though they share many of the same values overall, Quebecers have always greeted the party's overtures with a polite "non, merci."

Even in the face of this encouraging poll, New Democrats are still unconvinced of stealing only their second Quebec seat in history.

Strangely though, the Liberals seem quite convinced of it.

Liberals near the Outemont campaign are in a panic over the notion that they are on the cusp of losing a stronghold they have held almost without interruption since the second world war.

Stay tuned . . .

Thursday, September 6, 2007

NDP holds Harper to account for "Pod People" plan

For anyone who thought that this had run its course, or that it would just go away now that Harper has unilaterally "locked out" MPs until October . . .

It hasn't.

A thought: If Dick Harris wasn't speaking for the party, why is he still Stephen Harper's BC Caucus Chair? Er, just asking.