Crawl Across the Ocean

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

What a Difference a Year Makes

May 10, 2006:

"The minority Conservative government has won approval in principle for its first budget in the House of Commons, with a helping hand from the separatist Bloc Quebecois. In a key confidence test today, the budget passed handily by a vote of 175 to 113. The Bloc support, announced before Finance Minister Jim Flaherty had even finished his budget speech last week, was more than enough to outweigh opposition from the Liberals and NDP."


June 28, 2005:

"Conservative Leader Stephen Harper says the government's same-sex legislation will make it through the House of Commons only because of support from the Bloc Quebecois, and that, says Harper, means the legislation "lacks legitimacy."

17 Comments:

  • Ha! I thought the budget was a bastard. This seems to clinch it.

    By Blogger KevinG, at 6:39 PM  

  • But you see, this time, the people who voted for the BQ are losing ground to the Conservatives, so the Bloc MPs are sort of like Tories.

    By Blogger wolfa, at 6:49 PM  

  • Either the budget is a bastard or the Conservatives and the Bloc are married (in what would presumably be a shotgun wedding).

    But I'm guessing Harper might get nervous before consummating that union.

    By Blogger Declan, at 6:50 PM  

  • Ah yes Wolfangel, it is all clear now. Kind of. Not really.

    By Blogger Declan, at 6:51 PM  

  • Yes that was an incredibly stupid comment from Harper a year ago. Nice to see how he has grown, isn't it?
    -Yawn-
    Shouldn't you be out picketing Emerson's office or something?

    By Blogger deaner, at 9:19 PM  

  • Heh, nice try Dean. If it's so boring why did you feel compelled to comment - just so you could type 'yawn'? :)

    --
    Not sure what the evidence of Harper's growth is. He said what was politically expedient then, and does what is politically expedient now. Not shocking for a politician of course, but hardly growth.

    Still, it's a nice clean example of how Harper is a politician who says one thing and does another when it suits him better. But maybe you are right and this is old news - just like people getting elected under false pretenses.

    By Blogger Declan, at 10:24 PM  

  • "Still, it's a nice clean example of how Harper is a politician who says one thing and does another when it suits him better. But maybe you are right and this is old news - just like people getting elected under false pretenses."

    Gosh, he sounds just like the Liberals he replaced and so vehmently hated.

    Shucks, so much for all that "Canadians voted for change" stuff we heard about January 24. Sound more like the same old same old...

    By Blogger Mike, at 6:04 AM  

  • Well, it's either my reasoning or we'd have to claim that Harper is just a hypocrite who is hoping no one will call him on this, perhaps because they're too busy trying to figure out why "accountability" means "accountable to Harper, but not the rest of the country.

    I cannot believe I figured that Harper heading a weak minority would mean he couldn't actually do much.

    By Blogger wolfa, at 8:49 AM  

  • "Still, it's a nice clean example of how Harper is a politician who says one thing and does another..."

    Face it - if Harper said today "I welcome the support of the Bloc" you'd be jumping up and down about his "hypocrisy" - just as you are now. If Harper said "I reject the support of the Boc, and I will not pass a budget unless the NDP and Liberals support it" (essentially the same dumb position he espoused last year) you'd be on him for not being able to manage Parliament, etc.

    You guys don't like him - I get it: everything he does is wrong; he is going to ruin the country, and whatever he said or did this morning is proof of that - proof I tell you!!!! The problem, though, is that when everything he does is wrong it makes it difficult to tell legitimate criticism from a simple reflex.

    Sure - Harper's statement last year was stupid, even if he said it within weeks of Liberals asserting that any attempt to vote out their government was illegitimate for precisely the same reason. Two fundamentally stupid statements to not offset one another, they compound - between them Harper and Martin dramatically lowered the intellectual level of discussion on that issue. But it is hardly criticism when a guy is acting halfway intelligently that he is inconsistent with a previous stupid statement, except in bizarro-world where scoring points against Harper is more important than understanding what he is doing and what it means for the government and the country.

    "If it's so boring why did you feel compelled to comment...?"
    Frankly, because I expect better. And that's a compliment, Declan

    By Blogger deaner, at 9:39 AM  

  • What Harper said at the time was stupid - but could have been a statement of principle all the same.

    Yesterday's vote was just the bookend on his remarks, the action which demonstrated that his original complaint about the Bloc was not, in fact, a point of principle.

    It is as if I said that I was never going to write another 1,000 word post. You might say it was a dumb remark because I am bound to write another long post as some point, but until I actually write such a post, the question remains open whether I actually meant what I said or not.

    So it is reasonable for someone to bring up my previous remark on the occasion of my next 1,000+ word post, even if they already commented at the time I made it that it was a dumb thing to promise.

    By Blogger Declan, at 10:24 AM  

  • Declan: if you made such a promise, would writing a 1,000 word post today indicate that you were:
    >"...a politician who says one thing and does another when it suits him better."
    >"...just a hypocrite who is hoping no one will call him on this..."
    >someone who thought that ..." 'accountability' means 'accountable to[Declan], but not the rest of the country.' "
    >or just someone who said a dumb thing, that he either didn't believe, or no longer believes?

    I'm pretty sure that there will be some real issues on which to criticize Harper. I'm equally sure that for some of the participants here, their real criticism will be lost in their mock-outrage. I'd keep my powder dry.

    By Blogger deaner, at 10:38 AM  

  • The problem, though, is that when everything he does is wrong it makes it difficult to tell legitimate criticism from a simple reflex.

    Wha? You think noting a change in position, and a pretty important one in minority parliaments, not to mention the seperatist aspect, is 'illegitimate' criticism?

    A year ago, Harper echoed the thoughts of many Canadians when he suggested that laws passed only by the grace of a party whose ultimate goal is the dissolution of the country might not be a good thing. This year, we find the budget, generally the most important bill passed in any given year, passing only with the support of the Bloc.

    It's worth questioning whether what's good for the Bloc is really what's good for the country.

    By Anonymous famousringo, at 10:48 AM  

  • famousringo:

    You have to be careful when you decide to systematically disenfranchise anyone. Last year both the Liberals and Tories relied on support from the Bloc to pass Bills or Motions they had brought to the House. We also saw both of them suggesting that this reliance made the Bill or Motion illegitimate. Given that MPs from the Bloc were duly elected by voters in their ridings and thereby entitled to sit in the House (and no one has suggested otherwise) then both the Liberals and the Tories were dead bloody wrong.

    By Blogger deaner, at 11:02 AM  

  • "You have to be careful when you decide to systematically disenfranchise anyone"

    Is that comment directed at Harper?

    By Anonymous richard, at 2:15 PM  

  • I'm confused by that sentence as well, Richard.

    My post had nothing to do with enfranchisement of Bloc voters or legitimacy of their movement. I'm concerned that if Harper is dependant on Bloc support to pass bills of confidence, he will find himself beholden, at least partially, to promoting their interests.

    While it's quite possible for a bill to be in the interests of both Quebec nationalists and the broader Canadian society, I think it's a dangerous alliance to forge. Even if no bill directly advancing the seperatist cause comes from it, it makes the Bloc look effective and powerful in much the same way the last budget did for the NDP.

    The "Bloc budget" will be a fantastic boon to the Bloc campaign in the next election. Harper has decided he would rather bolster the seperatists in Quebec than negotiate a budget to court votes from the other parties.

    By Anonymous famousringo, at 9:48 PM  

  • "I'm confused by that sentence as well, Richard."
    The whole issue around the Bloc voting for or against Bills and Motions last summer was framed in terms of their support being "illegitimate" and that a Motion that passed with their support should not be considered "really passed." That suggestion is equivalent to saying that the Bloc should not have a voice in Parliament, which effectively disenfranchises those in Quebec who wish to vote for them.

    "I think it's a dangerous alliance to forge."
    So I guess the passage of ssm really bothered you, then - or is it only dangerous when it also makes the Liberals look ineffective?

    "...it makes the Bloc look effective and powerful in much the same way the last budget did for the NDP."
    That worked out well for them, didn't it?

    By Blogger deaner, at 11:23 AM  

  • So I guess the passage of ssm really bothered you, then - or is it only dangerous when it also makes the Liberals look ineffective?

    That bill also enjoyed support from the NDP and was not a confidence motion. Since there was never a risk of the Liberal government being defeated over the bill, there is no way that a yea vote from the Bloc could be construed as propping up the Liberal government. Nice try.

    That worked out well for them, didn't it?

    It did, actually. Unlike the Bloc, the NDP saw an increase in their popular vote and the largest proportional increase in seats of all the parties. Touting their budget influence was a major part of their campaign. You're a fool if you think effectiveness in parliament isn't a serious selling point at election time. And so is Harper.

    By Anonymous famousringo, at 3:27 PM  

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