Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Liberals and the Election Risk

Sooner or later progressives in this country are going to have to come to terms with this cold hard fact: only if Michael Ignatieff wins more seats than Stephen Harper will the Con menace be crushed.

Sooner or later Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals are going to have to swallow this hard truth: even if they do manage to win a narrow majority they will only stay in power if the other opposition parties support them.

And that unless at some point they risk an election, as James Travers points out, they risk losing everything.

This country has a problem. It has a ruling party that twists the truth and an Official Opposition that can’t, or won’t, straighten it out.

One unlikely way to end that impasse is for Stephen Harper to come clean about what he doesn’t like about Canada and how Conservatives are changing it by stealth and increment. Another is for Michael Ignatieff to screw Liberal courage to the sticking point and declare enough is enough.

And that includes losing Canada. And hurting themselves.

No party or leader willingly commits political suicide. Instead, they lurk in the shadows, weighing odds and waiting for a promising moment to strike. Still, parties risk everything when what’s good for them is seen to be more important than what’s good for the country.

Ignatieff knows that Liberals have taken too long to discard the tattered cloak of Canada’s natural governing party. Liberals are proving equally slow in grasping that an opposition afraid to oppose is an empty vessel voters will fill with blame when the ruling party goes too far.

I think that moment has come. The Cons have gone too far. I think the Liberals have to take that risk because only by doing that can they make Canadians understand how high the stakes really are.

I think all the opposition parties should ask voters to support them because they think they have the best candidates for the job. But they should stay away from attacking themselves and concentrate all their fire on the Cons who are destroying our country.

Because how else can you send out a clear message that the Cons are the enemies of Canada?

And they should also make it absolutely clear that when the election is over they will work together to repair the damage and make Canada a country we can be proud of again. I believe that Canadians will understand that message and reward them for it. 

How we do this I leave to the professionals who run the opposition parties. But I have no doubt whatsoever that until the day progressives unite, this is the only way to go. 

Because I love Canada. The hideous Cons MUST be defeated. 

And enough is ENOUGH... 


ck said...

I love your pic of Iggy holding a Stevie action figure. Now we need to send a copy to team Iggy, you know, to boost his confidence, because Lawdy knows, the corporate media sure ain't doin' it.

I read Travers' column today too. I didn't really like the tone of it. I felt the timing was inappropriate in light of the tragic death of Mario Lague. Not that iggy can't handle adversity; he continued his scheduled stops from the LPCX, but still...

LibArtsAndMinds posted about this as well and I agree with her on this;

That said, the time to strike would be as soon as parliament sits. Donolo is going to have to hire a new communications director and fast. I'm sure that's what Lague would have wanted.

Also, we can't count on corporate media to be on side neither, if Iggy were to get oppositional like he was last fall, they will no doubt crucify him again and poll numbers will plummet. for that reason, I fear that Iggy may sing the "Canadians don't want an election tune". The only way to counter-act this is to write to our opposition MPs and let them know we want an election ASAP, it's the only way they can know what Canadians really think on the subject.

Anonymous said...

Another excellent post, Simon.

Just wanted to drop a comment.

I am reading that some Libs are unhappy with Travers' views. In my opinion, Travers could not be more correct. Those Libs who disagree with Travers should realize that non-partisan voters likely just want a good government. Thus the first responsibility of an opposition party is to stand against the bad policies of the government of the day. By wagging their fingers at Harper and then voting with him, Ignatieff/Libs are helping to paint themselves as irresponsible, being in it only for themselves and not the interests of the voters.

And it really does not help when the Libs and NDP attack each other because they both lose and Harper wins.

Ignatieff is getting good press on his summer tour so that is very promising. The Libs and NDP should work together, say Enough is enough and bring on an election.

Do not give Harper more opportunities to cause more damage or to recover from his recent big mistakes (second prorogation, census). Thanks.

Kev said...

While I am far from a Liberal supporter, I realize that they are our only hope of getting rid of Harper.

One of the reasons the Liberals numbers remain dismal is their reluctance to oppose the Conservatives based on their belief that they couldn't win an election if they were to force one. This plays into the wide held perception that the Liberals have only one overarching goal,the return to what they believe is their rightful place at the seat of government.Finding ways to counter that perception is imperative if they are to unseat the Harperites.

One way to do this would be to not only call Harpers bluff when he abuses Parliament by making everything a vote of confidence, but also telling Canadians what they would do differently on that particular issue. Simply saying you oppose something without articulating how you you would handle that file, then either voting for or staying away in order to facilitate it's passage paints the Liberals in the worst possible light and disillusions it's base.

The next election is theirs to win, if they could only find the courage to go for it.

ck said...

Anonymous: By wagging their fingers at Harper and then voting with him, Ignatieff/Libs are helping to paint themselves as irresponsible, being in it only for themselves and not the interests of the voters.

Wait a minute, with polling numbers teetering on a Harpercon majority, you're suggesting it was worth having for the Liberals to vote against them?? I have asked that question of many folks. It makes zero sense.

When the LPCX tour stopped in Montreal, I asked a volunteer who works for Team Justin Trudeau about those votes, and he pretty much confirmed what I knew; in it for survival; absolutely; but think of it as our survival. Had they voted against some of those bills, we would more than likely been looking at the Harpercon junta today with much much worse versions of those bills. Would that all have been worth it? Not to me.

My husband & I had been toying with the idea of moving overseas because of fear of a Harpercon majority happening here. Unfortunately, my husband is too old to get a work visa for most of those countries; 45 yr old age cap. So we're stuck. Just saying this to illustrate how frightened we are at the idea of a Harpercon majority.

And then, there's the media, which is Harpercon friendly for the most part. Whenever Iggy tried to do something, well, oppositional, he was crucified by the mainstream media; here are just a few mainstream media reactions he got:

Well, I would ask that he too step back a bit and reflect on how the media treated the Liberals every time there was a move to topple. Headlines went something like:

- Arrogant Liberals believe they deserve power
- Liberals still have not rebuilt
- Liberals misguided
- Liberal leadership woes
- Lib's still think they are the natural governing party
- Lib's haven't cleaned house

Not exactly confidence inspiring.

The time to strike is now, but the media will be working overtime, far more feverishly to slam the bus tour and paint King Steve as Gawd, to which Jane and Joe Canuck at Timmy Horton's who are content to swallow without thinking. So, the only way is for folks like us to write our opposition MPs, as well as the opposition leaders.

We want Harpercons out of office? Bitching about the Liberals ain't helpful, not with a media in lockstep with Steve. It will be up to us to involve ourselves somehow, and writing our Mps is a start.

After all, those polling numbers and media are all they have to work with for the most part.

Simon said...

hi CK...I'm glad you like the Stevie action figure, now I'm looking for a Stevie mask so I can scare the shit out of people on Halloween. :)
As for Travers, he may have been a bit harsh on the Liberals, but I totally agree with the point he was trying to make. In the past I have urged our side not to risk an election lest we end up with a Harper majority. But now, like Travers, I'm starting to believe that strategy may be misguided. How can you argue that Harper is destroying the country, as he is, if you are not prepared to try to stop him. I'm not saying the Liberals should find any excuse to go for an election. But the next time Harper does something really outrageous they should be prepared to call him on it, instead of just rolling over and looking weak.
I think that by the fall there should be enough momentum going for us to tell the Canadian people enough is enough.
Either the tyrant is toppled or the country is doomed...

Simon said...

hi anonymous, thanks I'm glad you liked the post and I agree with you completely. I can understand why some Liberals might be upset with Travers, but I don't agree with them. I believe the old guy only has the best interests of Canada at heart. And that he's offering the Liberals some good advice.i.e. you may think you are doing yourselves a favour, but your fear of an election may very well be hurting both you and Canada. As I said to ck I think that what happened this summer has provided some very good reasons to stand up to Harper. As you point out Ignatieff has been doing quite well on his cross Canada tour. So although I'm not suggesting we act like lemmings, I believe we're very close to the moment when we can finally mount a challenge.
As for the Liberals and the NDP, as I said in my post, I think they have a lot to gain from concentrating on the values they share rather than on their differences. If the message is the Harper government must go, it only confuses Canadians when they spend their time attacking each other.
At this critical moment in Canadian history I expect the opposition to put the interests of the country FIRST.
If they don't they'll just look cheap, and history will never forgive them...

Simon said...

hi you I'm not a huge Liberal supporter, but I also recognize reality, and I have no time for those who say that Ignatieff is as bad as Harper.
And I totally agree with you that rolling over and playing dead while the country is being vandalized plays into the perception that it's still all about them instead of about the future of Canada.
As I told ck in the past I have been among the ones urging caution, but the situation is so desperate, I honestly believe that there are now some benefits to be had from being seen to take a risk. The opposition parties should be blunt, and tell Canadians that they are taking a risk. But that they are taking that risk in the best interests of Canada. If they do that I think it might focus the minds of a lot of Canadians, improve the Liberal's chances in Quebec, and give us a new Liberal-NDP government.
And yes criticizing the Cons isn't enough, both the Liberals and the NDP should prepare a list of reasons and values they agree on, and sell it to the population as a Joint Agreement to save Canada.
Am I dreaming? Maybe. But until someone convinces me there is a better way to rid the country of those hideous Cons I expect to be beating this drum a LOT... :)