Monday, March 28, 2011

Who Really Cares About Harper's Fixation on Coalition

The perpetual, persistent and perverse pejorative about Stephen Harper in this election are his well documented pursuit of personal political power.  His proven Contempt for Parliament, the first time this have ever happened in Canada, reflects badly on his respect for Canadian democracy and his personal integrity.  He is all politics all the time in a single-minded pursuit of absolute political power.  We all know what the consequences of absolute political power has been through history.

His two-faced approach to policy is breath taking, from demanding an elected Senate to personally appointing the most Senators of any Prime Minister in the history of the country.  He demands smaller accountable fiscally responsible government and yet he has created the biggest fiscal deficit in peace time. He talks of tax cuts and he raises taxes on the poorest of Canadians.  He insists on further unnecessary corporate tax cuts in the face of deficits and a recession gripping the nation.

Speaking of the 2008 recession, which we are still in, Harper denied that it was even happening.  He knew better but avoided responding appropriately to the urgency until forced by facts to tell the truth and act responsibly.  He reluctantly put the stimulus spending in place and then took too long to get it out the door as he politically steered funds into seats that his party holds.  Since then Harper has spent unprecedented millions of tax dollars, to advertise his "accomplishments" from the deficit inducing stimulus spending.

Harper is now haranguing and harping on the dire consequences of a coalition government in the early days of the campaign.  It is clear in Harperland any coalition of "second place losers" (like he was in the Martin minority government) is ok if it makes him Prime Minister.  Hypocritically Harper dallied with a coalition with the Bloc and the NDP in 2004 to defeat the Martin minority government in order to make him Prime Minister.  A coalition is not ok in Harper's mind if it results in a collaboration of other political leaders who are looking out for the good of the country and thwarting his lust for the absolute power of a majority government.

I read the Sun newspaper "Exclusive" coverage of their QMI commissioned Leger poll today on the reaction of Canadians to Harpers wall-to-wall coalition rant with great amusement.  It provides some serious insight why Harper is talking about coalitions as a threat.  It is all being done to incite his base to show up and support him even though he has bullied his MPs and repeatedly abused the Conservative party principles.

The Conservative Party wants political power too and this election is their last best hope.  Past and present polls show Harper is only able to eke out another minority election result.  Hence the Leger poll shows the 95% of Conservatives fear a coalition government.  It is their worst fear.  On the other hand about 2/3 of Liberals , NDP and Bloc supporters see coalitions as a normal and legitimate option to govern if the Canadian voters insist that no one leader or party is compelling enough to be given a majority government.

The concern over a coalition is a political wedge issue.  It is not a wedge between Harper and Ignatieff as Stephen would have you believe and the mainstream media promulgate.  It is a wedge issue between Harper and his Caucus and the Conservative Party membership.  This is because Harper has been anything but a true Conservative Prime Minister as this link illustrates.

He has alienated his Reform base by pandering to Quebec.  He betrays fiscal Conservative principles by spending the country into enormous debt and deficits while at the same time he grows government in size and in its role in "interfering" in our lives.  All this stuff fundamentally contrary to his espoused Conservative Principles of the party he leads.  His party base no longer trusts him but they fear another minority government even more, because they risk seeing political power going to a coalition of  "the others."  Harper is playing on those fears in his own party.  Canadians could care less as Christian Bourque of Leger Marketing points out saying "The coalition does not really shake the electorate when it comes to who they support."  It is not a top issue for Canadians and not going to move votes.

It is only Conservatives who are concerned about the consequences of a coalition government.  Harper's top down, command and control centralized imperialist approach to politics concentrates power in himself.  He uses fear of "the others" actually forming a coalition government as a zero sum political game for enforcing compliance and sustaining power for himself and his partisans. If Harper can't get a majority government from the Canadian voters this time, his leadership of the CPC party and role as Prime Minister of Canada is over.  He knows this and his base knows it.  The base is not going to stay behind Harper unless he wins a majority government this time out.  Three minority governments is three strikes and that means Harper is out.

Canadians who care enough about our democracy, our political system, our citizenship, our rights and freedoms to show up an vote will decide if Harper will still be Prime Minister of Canada after this election.  Our decision to accept him continuing a Prime Minister will be based on our collective assessment of his ethics, character, trustworthiness, integrity, accountability, transparency and honesty.  Harper's record shows he had failed us on all counts.

If Canadians decide, in our collective wisdom, to return yet another minority government, it will be the fourth in seven years.  That would be a strong message to the Governor General that "the others" should be given a chance to govern in a coalition.   Cooperation, collaboration and accommodation of different points of view are embedded in the Canadian DNA.  A coalition government is only a crisis for Conservatives not for Canadians.  It is time for the election focus to move on and politicians to start talking about the real issues facing Canada and Canadians.  A real issue is not Harper's artificial angst over "the others" gathering together to run the country collaboratively instead of letting him ruin it unilaterally.


  1. Do you know anything about this story that is getting tweeted and Facebooked around?

    The writer states that Harper is guilty of a federal crime for the contempt of Parliament charge, but I would like to hear this from a more credible source (this is the first time I have ever seen

  2. Unfortunately, Ignatieff and the Liberals have bought into the idea that "coalition" is a dirty word. At the very least, they believe that Harper has convinced Canadians that it is.

    As a result, Iggy has explicitly said no to the idea of a coalition. That doesn't necessarily mean that it won't happen (and, personally, I think that it should happen), but it will certainly make him look back and hurt the credibility not only of the Liberals, but of a coalition as a whole (unless that coalition doesn't involve the Liberals, of course).

  3. Thx for the comment Adam. I sense Ignatieff's response is to be expected. He is saying the choice for Canadians is a blue door or a red door. He can't be running to form a coalition in that case. Besides voters will tell him and Layton if that is what they want by soundly rejecting and defeating Harper then splitting seats between Libs, NDP and Greens with no majority yet - as good result in my books.

  4. Carlos Beca7:00 pm

    Great email that reflects exactly the truth about this North American Mugabe. Stephen Harper is willing to destroy anything in order to be prime minister with a majority. Had he been born in Libya for example and we would be having the same problems they facing. It is astounding to me what he has said about coalitions when he, like you said, was so interested in one to make him PM. The biggest problem is that I do not believe that Mr. Ignatief is any different. We live in a narcissistic era created by excessive individualism. If Jack Layton and Ignatief really wanted to defeat Harper once and for all, they should do like it is common in Europe when parties make coalitions with different temporary names and run under the chosen name. I have witnessed this and the success was mind boggling. I know this will not happen here because unfortunately we tend to follow American agressiveness more than cooperation. Unfortunately one day in the future we will realize what we wasted in the name of individual and power fixation. Canada is already falling behind in most human world indexes and will continue due to lack of good quality governance. A democracy that today still considers the word socialist a sacrilege has a long way to go. The countries today with the highest standards of living and highest human indexes are all social democracies with strong financial regulations and well developed industrial and social policies not developed by one individual but by more consensus. They are certainly not perfect but doing much better than us who are way richer.

  5. The truth is that the Bloc is about the only party that truly represents anything in this country. By representing only Quebec in the House of Commons, they have the ability to sway policy in a way that more closely represents their constituents. However, due to the number of seats that Quebec holds, this is a decent approach for them - it would have far less impact should it be done by a province of fewer seats.

    Should the Canadian system ever be changed to a system of degressive proportionality where seats were numbered so that no 2 provinces could outvote all other regions (which is nonsense, based on economic differences, etc) - all provinces would be better for having such a party represent them.

    There are far too many differences across our great nation to have all citizens represented by a cross-national party; or, to avoid a single region deciding the fate of our nation based on their own interests when considered under a proportionally representative system.

    Our federal governance should focus on interests that are common across Canada and the management thereof (rather than regionalized health care, education, etc) - that way the system could be reformed to give all regions more equal say in the over all management of common issues.

    Until that time - we'll probably be forced to choose between "the lesser of evils" as voters. Of course, that is also when our votes are the most important - for this reason, I encourage all to vote in this election (and all others).

  6. Chuck9:57 pm

    Well written, Ken - but troubling.

    First, your article is almost entirely made up of relentless, dismissive and completely disrespectful comments about the man who - agree with him or not - has been Prime Minister of Canada through a remarkable period of minority Parliaments. You are - as evidenced in your flurry of tweets over the weekend - contributing to a remarkably negative tone to the start of this campaign. So much for "new" ways to politic.

    Second, if the Liberals and NDP want to win as a coalition, they should explicitly run as a coalition, and if the larger number of voters choose to support the two parties as such, they can then form the government. But when they run on the basis of the red versus blue door, the party that gets the most votes forms the government - and to reverse and assert a coalition would be every bit the betrayal that Harper portrayed it in 2008.

    Last, one poll telling us that supposedly Canadians do not care about the issue is much less persuasive than the indications that Harper is within spitting distance of a majority. It is all fine and well to talk about "majorities" of Canadians who do not vote at all, or who vote against Harper. But the cumulative effect of how and where we vote remains that Harper is "winning" this election. One of the reasons is that many people, myself included, are not enamored of the idea of Ottawa being in the hands of Liberals and NDP who think that pretty much everything in this country would be better run from Ottawa - child care, pensions, post-secondary education, health, etc. etc.

    For the record, I hope Harper does not get his majority as I do not trust him and actually agree with many of your criticisms. But you go too far, especially over the past few weeks. It would be a shame if your partisan disdain for Conservatives in Ottawa or PC's in Edmonton led you to repeat the very criticisms you levy.

  7. Anonymous10:23 pm

    Ken, your false bravado does not hide your nutty, pathological fear of a Harper majority. Hilarious watching your reactions and reading your goofy articles!

  8. Gosh Chuck - I have been pulling my punches about what the truly terrifying consequences of a Harper majority government with absolute power in his personal hands.

    It is not the party who gets the most votes that gets to govern in our system - unless they get a majority of seats. It is the combination of MPs that manages to gain and keep the confidence of the House of Commons that gets to govern. Nobody runs to form a minority government in our system - except for the Bloc and they do't aspire to govern Canada - only benefit Quebec.

  9. Maybe that CTV report on Mar 9 was correct, Harper shills being paid to enforce truthspeak on the net.

    You bad man! using facts instead of fear!

    Conservatives are so soft when they get negative fact based info, but so easy to deal irrelevant or fear based negative info.

  10. Good to hear there's still some sanity happening in the land of the Wild Rose. Good comments, Ken.
    That the respondent "anonymous" offers the main disagreement is interesting. There is an ad from a Calgary company (re-posted on March 31 at that gives credence to the comment by another anonymous respondent; they ARE hiring writers to make "right-wing" comments on blogs.
    NOT sure why 'Chuck' is so concerned about the dismissive, disrespectful comments of someone who has done nothing but undermine values, institutions and world perception of Canadians; his contempt for Parliament and the people of Canada does NOT deserve respect.
    Maintaining a minority government under the circumstances would be like respecting Jean Chretien for have a majority when the vote on the right was split for a decade. Why would you?
    Unfortunately, it took the lie by Peter MacKay to David Orchard to coalesce the right, and even then, only a third of Canadians are willing to vote for them. that close to coalition? Is a coalition an alliance? I despair for the children of this country and what they see as acceptable behavior from a Prime Minister. Respect... that's something you earn, and Harper has NOT.