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Monday, November 07, 2005

Harper's Reaction

Given the NDP's reaction today, you'd think Stephen Harper would be overjoyed at the prospect of his comments. At the very least, his initial reaction must surely be an optimistic one, urging Layton to meet with him and discuss strategy on forcing a confidence vote at a mutually beneficial time. Right? Er, not so much:
Meanwhile, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper appeared unimpressed by Layton's address. Harper said he expects Layton is continuing to negotiate with the Liberals.

"I'm not sure anything has changed yet today," he said. "If Mr. Layton is really serious about opposing this government, he can take the initiative."

However, Harper refused to provide details about a motion the Conservatives have scheduled for November 15, but he did say, "it's not a confidence motion.

"We're not going to bring forward our own confidence motion before Christmas," he said. "If there is a consensus of all parties ... then we'll have a vote."
Talk about gun shy. I understand he wants to be cautious, but he is already fully on record as supporting an election call. Someone tell him that this reaction from Layton is *good* news for him, eh?

UPDATE: Or as Wells puts it, much more succinctly, he just "seriously, seriously needs to stop looking gift horses in the mouth."

5 Comments:

Blogger Mike said...

James,

As a member of an NDP riding association, I know that there exists internal polls that show that which ever party triggers a Christmas election will get walloped, despite the anger over Gomery.

So Harper want's his cake and to eat it to - he want's to have an election but he doesn't want the CPC to trigger it. He wants the NDP to do its dirty work and take the hit.

Sorry, but that won't happen.


It actually must be terrible to have such a gift and not be able to open it....

4:21 PM  
Blogger James MacDuff said...

I guess I just don't believe that kind of polling will hold up. I don't believe that Harper (or Layton) should either. It just doesn't make much sense that this minor issue would much matter by the end of an election campaign, especially when it will ultimately take all 3 opposition parties to "trigger" the fall of the government anyway, regardless of the procedural point on who introduces the motion.

This applies especially given the several legitimate answers to that complaint that will be repeated ad nauseum throughout the campaign: when Martin made his initial promise to hold an election, we all only thought there would be one report; the election was ultimately triggered by the sponsorship scandal, etc...

And EVEN IF you take the position that the party that introduces the motion will somehow be "walloped" for triggering the election, it doesn't change the fact that Harper would be foolish not to work with Layton for one now if he could get it. He may not want to take the public risk of failure again, but why send such antagonistic signals to a potential ally? Why reinforce a climate where the opposition parties stare each other down over it? Why not set the stage for a meeting where you can emerge with a bipartisan consensus?

Such tentative, poll-driven political leaders, we have.

4:38 PM  
Blogger Lord Kitchener's Own said...

I really think Harper has ceded his responsibility to, oh I don't know, LEAD here. If I hear him say that it's up to the NDP whether we have an election one more time, I swear, my head will explode. The BQ and CPC have enough votes to force and election without the NDP RIGHT NOW. That they refuse to do so is a legitimate political strategy, but I'm getting sick to death of Harper acting like Layton has all the cards and he's powerless without Layton. He and Duceppe could force an election on the very next confidence vote, if they wanted to, but they've decided for political reasons not to force an election without unanimity from all three opposition parties. And that's probably a good strategy. But the decision to call an election or not is only in Jack Layton's hands to the extent that Harper has PUT the issue in his hands. Passing the buck is fine, but don't yell at the person you pass it to for not doing with it what you could have just done yourself. It's infuriating.

You want an election so bad Stephen? You've got the votes. Force one. Otherwise stop yelping about it.

Do, or do not Stephen. There is no try.

5:00 PM  
Blogger The Tiger said...

Christmas election or not, if Harper can't win one now, he's never going to.

For all the reasons he's given before, he's got to go for it.

He asked for Layton to come on-side. Apparently, Layton has. This is the time for the rubber to hit the road.

8:08 PM  
Blogger Candace said...

Layton was "on side" once before and bailed, making the CPC & Bloc scramble and, in the end, Layton et al participated in the farce that was the late-Friday-night vote.

I wouldn't trust the weasel farther than I could throw him, and I can't say I blame Harper or Duceppe. Layton needs to put up or shut up. Besides, he has still left the door open for PMPM to cave (speaking of wanting your cake & to eat it too).

You guys must have really short memories or something.

2:32 AM  

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