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Shades of Joe Clark in 1979.

You know, I think I’m going to go with Steve on this one – yesterday’s speech of Harper’s as far as I’m concerned is bluster and bullying, and it reminds me of the strategy Joe Clark tried to do in 1979 when he in effect tried to govern his minority government as if it were a majority, and dared the opposition to bring down his government. He too, thought the opposition Liberals were in a weak position, and wouldn’t dare to bring the government down in their supposed weak state. We all know how that turned out for him.

Harper has quite outrageously declared that if the Throne Speech passes, he will consider that a mandate, and that every bill he attempts to pass beyond that vote he is declaring will be a no-confidence motion in his government – quite a departure from his 2006 election promise only to declare votes of non-confidence when money bills or of supply are before the House.

As yesterday’s poll #’s show, he is surprisingly weak, despite the troubles the Liberals have had in the past month, and like Steve, I don’t see where he’s going to get the seats to get a majority. Quite frankly, I think unless the BQ vote falls completely apart in Quebec, he stands to lose seats in 3 regions, based on yesterday’s poll #’s.

Despite the bluster of some Blogging Tories, I see this as very similar to 1979. I say we call his bluff – if he wants to run on Afghanistan for instance, I say knock yourself out Harper. We’ve also got the environment issue, where a recent poll showed a strong 2/3 of Canadians believe more needs to be done then what Canada is currently doing, and then the sleeper issue – income trusts, where he totally flip-flopped on that. He is very vulnerable in several key policy areas.

I say, bring it on.


10 comments to Shades of Joe Clark in 1979.

  • I’d be delighted to see Dion defeat Harper in a general election but there seems to be a certain rigorous logic in Harper’s stance about bringing down his government.  He asserts that if the op position supports the Throne Speech they should not turn around and defeat bills that implement the Throne Speech.  Sound pretty logical to me.

  • Harper may be in a position similar to Joe Clark’s but he going to run against Stephen Dion, not Pierre Trudeau. Dion may be better than the media currently give him credit for (he’d have to be) but he’s no PET.

  • Angelle Desrochers

     Harper had very few actionable words in this press conference in my opinion, other than all of those words that were used to set the stage and remind people I am in charge, ready for a fight and by the way I am righteous. Veiled threats, bullying words, and being oh so clever and dismissive of what the people of Canada are saying is Mr. Harper’s style.I was more interested in his body language while he was talking, and had a very good chuckle at some of media who when on camera could be almost salivating at the great opportunity that the benevolent father has come to visit. Mr. Harper and company are as clever as they are manipulative. I was not aware that a new and improved version of "Father Knows Best" had been cast with Mr. Harper as the lead. Is the pilot for the new and improved series we can now call “Harper the Father Knows Best". (Reference to the fact that he called the provinces kids)
    Once again, the mission (war) in Afghanistan, the environment, and the wishes and needs of all the people in Canada are far too important to be use in an attempt to show that Mr. Harper has grown some balls over the summer.All the polling in the world cannot change the fact the people will get their chance to vote on his performance and his arrogance that cannot be masked by a slick new approach to facing the media.Bring it on, there are a lot of us who may not be speaking to loudly but are watching and want our country back so that our government can get to work on all of the issues.    

  • Scott, come on. If the numbers are currently equal, all that means is that the campaign will be decisive. We know that Harper can run a disciplined campaign. Can Dion with his party in its current state of near rebellion? We know that the Tories have an enormous war chest and that the LPC is scrounging for pennies. We know that the BQ is, at the very least, in a state of slow decline and that it is the Tories that are in a position to pick up non-Montreal seats. Can the LPC, when it can’t win a Montreal stronghold like Outremont.

    Forget Joe Clark. Force an election now and Dion could become your Stockwell Day. An ill-prepared bad campaigner leading a fractious party against a confident, well-funded incumbent government.

  • David E Toronto

    I remember the fact that Joe Clark failed to obtain the support of the Social Credit.  They voted against him in the non-confidence motion.  Their 6 votes would have save Clark’s government. Harper had better do his homework.

  • ALW

    As I said, I guess we’ll just have to see.  But that bravado you refer to? We just call that ‘confidence’.

  • The biggest concern for me right now is that we keep our heads. I don’t want us to go to an election out of fear or because we were bullied or intimidated. I want us to go because we feel it’s time to knock this government off.

    This being said, I see many problems for Harper in seeking an election now. Seeking an extension for the mission in Afghanistan in the throne speech is not going to help much in winning over the electorate. If anything, I think it’ll hurt his chances, especially in Quebec. Then there’s the "war on drugs" stance he took only a few days ago. How many people will that piss off? Then there’s the complete disdain for any sort of action on Climate Change that Harper has shown, and along with that, the fact that we’ve got Elizabeth May, Al Gore, and other prominent environmentalists on our side. There’s the equalization fight that’s on-going. The vow by Danny Williams to fight against Harper being re-elected and the recent court papers put in by Sask Premier Lorne Calvert. There’s the income trusts debacle, the hardline stance on crime and punishment, the consistently low poll numbers, the meltdown in Ontario and the demoralized volunteers there. On and on. 

    If Harper wants an election, he must really underestimate Dion. That’s a fatal flaw. We’ve seen Dion campaign and we know that he can deliver bold and innovative policy. I also think that once we get into an election, Dion’s stance on climate change will be heard more because people will be paying attention.

    At the end though, I want to repeat, we should be going to an election based on cool rational thinking. We cannot let Harper bully or intimidate us into an election. We choose how we are going to react. We choose the time to strike back. If Dion sees this to be the time, then I’ll be right there standing alongside him.  

  • "All those polls you seem to spend all day poring over?  We’ll see how much they matter when people have to put that X on their ballots."

    If they don’t matter, why is your party spending all kinds of money polling Canadians?  Seems to me Harper openly muses about "looks like a minority", what is basing that assumption on?  You guys have been ready to roll since the beginning of the year, the only reason you didn’t pull the plug is because you believe the polls.  PERIOD.

  • I’m comparing the scenario to Joe Clark’s, ALW – big difference.

    As for the rest of your bravado, when we continue to point out where Harper has failed  in several of these issues, I’m quite confident that when that happens, it wont be the Tories with the most seats in the Commons for the next session, after the election.

  • ALW

    If you are comparing Stephen Harper to Joe Clark…oh my.

    We’re ready to roll Scotty.  All those polls you seem to spend all day poring over?  We’ll see how much they matter when people have to put that X on their ballots.

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