Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stephen Harper on Coalitions





September 9, 2004

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson,
C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.
Governor General
Rideau Hall
1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A1

Excellency,

As leaders of the opposition parties, we are well aware that, given the Liberal minority government, you could be asked by the Prime Minister to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government’s program.

We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority.

Your attention to this matter is appreciated.

Sincerely,

Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
Leader of the Opposition
Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

Gilles Duceppe, M.P.
Leader of the Bloc Quebecois

Jack Layton, M.P.
Leader of the New Democratic Party


[Hat Tip: Ryan Gregory]

9 comments :

  1. Politics: anything to get in power - anything to stay in power.

    I'm glad the government has fallen, but I'm angry that none of the parties bothered coming up with a platform that differentiates them in any meaningful way.

    "We're not the conservatives" isn't exactly a "policy" that'll draw my vote.

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  2. Bayesian Bouffant, FCDMonday, March 28, 2011 4:06:00 PM

    That is one ugly necktie being worn by the news reader.

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  3. Yes, because This Hour Has 22 Mintues is the king of good reporting. Lowering your standards a bit when it makes your point?

    Why don't we look at what all three leaders said at a news conference in 2004:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkdXycwDUxA&feature=player_embedded

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  4. @Babylon5v,

    It's interesting that you want to split hairs. Let's play that game. Here's what Stephen Harper said a few days ago,

    "Canadians need to understand clearly, without any ambiguity: unless Canadians elect a stable, national majority, Mr. Ignatieff will form a coalition with the NDP and Bloc Québécois," Harper said. "They tried it before. It is clear they will try it again. And, next time, if given the chance, they will do it in a way that no one will be able to stop."

    Did Michael Ignatieff ever propose forming a COALITION with the Bloc?

    In 2008, Stephen Harper addressed the nation on television and said,

    At a time of global economic instability, Canada’s Government must stand unequivocally for keeping the country together. At a time like this, a coalition with the separatists cannot help Canada. And the Opposition does not have the democratic right to impose a coalition with the separatists they promised voters would never happen.

    The Opposition is attempting to impose this deal without your say, without your consent, and without your vote. This is no time for backroom deals with the separatists; it is the time for Canada’s government to focus on the economy and specifically on measures for the upcoming budget. This is a pivotal moment in our history.


    Do you think that Harper was being truthful when he talked about a COALITION with the Bloc?

    Do you think he was being honest when he condemned "backroom deals" with the Bloc?

    I'm curious to see how you respond.

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  5. @Larry Moran,
    Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comment.



    "It's interesting that you want to split hairs. Let's play that game. Here's what Stephen Harper said a few days ago,"

    I'm not really trying to split hairs. I just wanted to point out that the 2004 letter was in no way supporting a Coalition. You were implying it as such, using This Hour as your proof followed by the letter This Hour quoted. That's less splitting hairs and more pointing out that you were in error by your implication.

    

"Canadians need to understand clearly, without any ambiguity: unless Canadians elect a stable, national majority, Mr. Ignatieff will form a coalition with the NDP and Bloc Québécois," Harper said. "They tried it before. It is clear they will try it again. And, next time, if given the chance, they will do it in a way that no one will be able to stop."

    

"Did Michael Ignatieff ever propose forming a COALITION with the Bloc?"

    No, not during this election, nor after the last. What he did do though was sign a formal agreement that created a formal coalition between the Liberals and the NDP with official formal support from the Bloc in 2008. That document is still technically in effect until June.

    "Do you think that Harper was being truthful when he talked about a COALITION with the Bloc?"

    You're implication is right, Michael Ignatieff has never proposed including the Bloc in an actual Coalition government where he gives ministry positions to a Bloc member. Harper is being a little ambiguous in his claims to support his own partisan agenda.

    

"Do you think he was being honest when he condemned "backroom deals" with the Bloc?"

    Well, I think he was being honest. But is he being a little hypocritical when he himself has made back room dealings with the Bloc? Yes, I think so. Though, I think the context of the particular back room deal he is talking about in that quote adds some credibility to his statement. 



    Is Harper being a little disingenuous when he says the Liberals will form a Coalition government with the Bloc? Yes. But even if the Bloc is not in the Coalition government, if the Liberals and NDP combined do not have more seats than the Conservatives, and the Liberals and NDP enter into a similar agreement such as the 2008 one, odds are the Bloc will have a little too much power than most Canadians feel comfortable with and Harper is keying into that.

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  6. Thank you Babylon5v for the link to the video that shows that Harper was not talking about a coalition in 2004.

    I am getting tired of Moran trying to fool us with his comments.

    And then trying to wiggle off with a comment about "splitting hairs".
    I am not sure which is more distasteful. His original falsehood or his trying afterwards to distract from his falsehood.

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  7. Anonymous said:
    I am getting tired of Moran trying to fool us with his comments.

    I'm getting tired or Anonymous having no name, particularly if it is the same Anonymous in comments to several posts. Bit cowardly, isn't it?

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  8. Anonymous said:
    I am getting tired of Moran trying to fool us with his comments.
    I am getting tired of Anonymous being anonymous.

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  9. I just wanted to point out that the 2004 letter was in no way supporting a Coalition.

    This is highly disingenuous of you if you know anything about the basics of our government.

    Harper was advising the GG, on the fall of the government, to consider another option to dissolution and election. There is only one other option in that case: to turn the government over to the opposition. While strictly possible, that's not a viable option in the absence of a workable coalition structure (what would be the point if Parliament just fell again at the next budget vote?). For you say, after Harper moots the "consultation" of the "opposition parties" to a GG considering the dissolution of Parliament, that this isn't want Harper was getting at, is risible. It's clearly an invitation to turn the keys over to a set of opposition parties with a working agreement on governing -- a tacit coalition if not a formal one. Otherwise, why mention other parties, for which he does not presumably speak, at all? And one of those is, of course, the dreaded Bloc. Harper didn't seem to mind making this suggestion to the GG not only "without [our] vote", but actually in lieu of our vote, in 2004...

    The long and the short of it is, Harper has abrogated any right, whatsoever, to oppose the idea of a coalition, formal or informal, to govern this country, and has had no such moral right for over six years now.

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