Saturday, November 29, 2008
You have GOT to be kidding - Parliament opts for idiocy...
I've only seen a couple of things on this, but it seems as though the mutterings from some areas of the left about defeating the Conservatives in the House and asking the Governor General to allow a progressive coalition are coming to a head. Apparently what set it off was the Conservatives ill-conceived plan to make the elimination of political subsidies a confidence issue.
Seriously? Are you kidding me? THIS is the issue you're going to risk toppling the government over and force an election on?
The very idea that that should be a confidence motion is ridiculous. The more I think about it, the more the fact that the Conservatives initially said they were going to make it a confidence motion smacks of incompetence and a ridiculous desire to play political chicken. They've reversed themselves now and are only going to introduce it later as a normal motion, but I'm still highly unimpressed.
Now that this isn't going to be a confidence motion I'm going to separate my comments about the virtue of eliminating the subsidy.
It still looks like the Liberals are fantasizing about a coalition government. I'll grant that it is entirely constitutional for them to create one if they can put together a stable coalition. But it's still a terrible idea.
If you combine the Liberal and the NDP seats, they still have 29 fewer seats than the Conservatives. That's not a small number. They absolutely need to rely on the Bloc for it's help. The Bloc wants to break up the country and cares only about the interests of Quebec separatists. And if you want their support, you're going to have to give them something. And it will have to be a big "something" because Gilles Duceppe is no fool and knows that you need him far more than he needs you.
Then there's the differences between the Liberals and the NDP. Being anti-Harper is not a platform. The differences between the Liberals and the NDP are massive and are disguised only by the fact that they both seem to loathe Stephen Harper. If the Liberals want to cede the political centre to the Conservatives and move left this is a good way to do it. There are plenty of people who vote Liberal because they are centrists, not leftists. If you move to the left, you risk losing those people to the Conservatives.
The there's the question of whether or not the coalition would be good for the Liberal party. I just can't see it. The Liberals haven't selected a new leader and Layton and Duceppe will skate circles around Dion.
If you topple the government and get a Liberal Prime Minister over this, you had better do a fantastic job. And I mean the kind of "hands-down fantastic" job that gets you a majority in the next election. If you do this, you're doing something very unusual in Canadian politics. All will be forgiven if you do a fantastic job. But if you do even a mediocre job you'll pay for it.
Cutting poltical subsidies...
The opposition was threatening to topple the government over it's attempt to kill the political subsidies. What on earth is the opposition thinking? And by opposition I mean the Liberals.
What line precisely are you going to use to justify this as your issue to go to the wall over? Here's the few that I can think of:
We need to be paid millions out of tax revenue to make up for the fact that we can't get paid off by big business and big labour anymore.More likely they'll bleat on about how evil Harper is just trying to hurt them, while completely ignoring the fact that if a political party has to force people to give money, that is a problem all by itself.
We can't convince enough people to give us $1.95, so we need to force people to donate by taking it out taxes.
The new donation limits mean that we can't get our funding from a few rich donors, and people with normal incomes don't want to give us money, so again we need to take it out of taxes.
Let's not kid ourselves. The Prime Minister is obviously aware that this move will seriously hurt the Liberals. But it will also save 30 million dollars every single year. That makes it a good thing. The fact is that the Liberals are against it because it will hurt the Liberal party, and not for any other reason. I won't be surprised if the opposition votes this motion down when it comes up, nor will I blame them. But I'm disgusted that they were willing to risk another election over this.
The very idea that tax revenue should be diverted from any department, (health, education, defense, the arts, you name it), to subsidize a political party's war chest is disgusting.