Thursday, April 29, 2010

Of Lights And Roaches

Stephen Harper, always the bully, is trying to cow the opposition by holding an election over their heads. Jack Layton, for once, was having none of it:
So when NDP Leader Jack Layton pursued a similar line of questioning to Mr. Ignatieff, Mr. Harper seemed to dare the opposition parties to force an election on the issue.

“We are seeking to respect the decision as well as our legal obligations,” he replied. “... It is still the case that the government depends on the confidence of the House” – a phrase he repeated for emphasis when Mr. Layton asked a follow-up question on the same topic.

The NDP Leader demanded a clarification. “Is the Prime Minister telling us today that he is going to defy the ruling of the Speaker and the will of the House in order to go to an election? Is that what he is saying he is going to do? Is he going to defy the will of the House and go to the people on a vote? Is that what he is putting forward today?”
Only then did Mr. Harper appear to soften.

“I do not think I said any of those things,” he said. “In fact, I think I said quite the contrary. The government seeks at all times to respect all of its obligations. To the extent that some of those obligations may be in conflict, there are reasonable ways to accommodate that and we are open to reasonable suggestions in that regard.”
Layton's "Hold on a minute" moment needs to be the approach taken by the opposition as a whole. They all need to bluntly ask the PM if he is going to continue his games playing rather than seriously attempt to follow the will of the House. Harper knows that if he is seen as the one who refused to cooperate and instead forced an election, the people of this country will crucify him. The opposition must consistently shine a bright spotlight on Harper's intentions so as to limit them to cooperation. Otherwise, like any good cockroach, Harper will make his play, in the dark.
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  1. Moot point. People didn't blame Harper and Layton for the 2006 election, as much as the Liberals tried to get them to, and although they did blame Harper for the 2008 election, it didn't affect their votes in the end.

    It's been more than 18 months since the last election -- it's already a longer-than-average minority parliament.

    I like elections. I always like elections. Let's go.

  2. The thing is, Harper's whole strategy is to blame the "coalition" for an election. He can't be allowed to frame it like that. The opposition frame is and should be "Here is a guy who just doesn't get it. This is a democracy, not his kingdom."

  3. He'll frame it whichever way he wants to. Doesn't mean your guys can't present your own frame, when the election comes (whether it be now or in fall 2012). The phrase "culture of deceit" seems to have come into vogue.

  4. Dueling frames at dawn!