Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Way Forward

Now that Dion has done the sensible thing, lets look at how should the Liberal Party should respond to each of Harper's Five Themes (plus one or two) in the upcoming session of Parliament:


Arctic Sovereignty

As it happens, there is a convergence of compelling issues around Arctic sovereignty, largely due to climate change. The melting of the polar ice cap raises such issues as the navigation of Arctic waters, notably the fabled Northwest Passage, and the sustainable development of the treasure trove of oil and gas beneath it, to say nothing of sustaining a way of life for the First Nations.

If the Americans claim the Northwest Passage as open sea, and the Russians are dropping flags onto the floor of the Arctic Ocean, Canada needs to protect its territorial, environmental and commercial interests aggressively.

My opinion: let Stephen Harper go for it, and support him. Call it the "militarization of the North", if you like. I am for building as many ice-breakers, posting as many soldiers, and building as many shiny research facilities up there as the nation possibily can. The fact is, Afghanistan is a pathetic side-show detracting Canada from our #1 security interest, which is keeping foreigners off Canadian lands and resources in the Far North. We own about four thousand miles of coastline that just became valuable. We might end up fighting the Russkies, we might end up fighting the Yankees, over it.

This is our great existential threat over the next 30 years or so. The nation needs to be prepared for it (more in an upcoming post).


Taxes

Let the GST cut go through, stupid policy though it is. You never fight an election over a tax cut.


Law & Order Platform

Mostly, it passes and the nutty stuff dies in the Senate.

But won't such obstructionism inflame the electorate? No, because while you may wonder about the sound of a tree falling in a forest when nobody is around, I bet that you've never wondered about the sound of a tree NOT falling in the forest! What kind of sound does THAT make? None! Exactly! NOBODY NOTICES WHEN NOTHING HAPPENS!!!!!!

So the Senate convenes a sub-committee to appoint a sub-comittie to choose a committee to study the legislation. And if Harper rattles his saber? Appoint a committee to draft a response!

It all dies silently down the road when Joe Canada is cooking steaks on the BBQ and doesn't give a shit.

(And, remember, Harper is secretly ready to let this stuff go. It's not like he really believes any of these "get tough" measures are going to work. He EXPECTS them to die in the Senate. That's the point. Then next year he can use the same issue again to inflame the base, as Boob Bait For Bubba, and we go through the same routine again. The SoCons get screwed repeatedly but are too dumb to know it)

Senate Reform

...dies in the Senate.


The Anti-Veiled-Muslim-Woman-Act

If it includes a blanket demand that ALL voters show their faces/ID at the voting station, and solves the problem of mail-in voting, it passes. If its just an effort to hassle traditional Muslim women, fight it. Canada is not Quebec, and blatent racism will not play.


Environmenal Initiatives

Repeat last year's performance. Take any Conservative initiatives, partner with the other Oppo parties to give them some real teeth, and then send it back to the Harperites with the message to stuff it up their ass or call an election. Harper STILL doesn't want to fall over this.


Afghanistan

Harper's strategy at the moment is delay, which signifies weakness. If he does bring it back to the House, kill the current mission and fight an election over it.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Canada is not Quebec, and blatent racism will not play."

tell that to Dulton who played the anti-madrassah card in the last election to a T.

Multiculti liberalism is dead. The body is still just twitching, but its dead.

bigcitylib said...

Still bitter about J. Tory getting his ass whumped, are we?

Anonymous said...

Must be nice to have all of your partisan agendas supported by an unelected, unaccountable body of appointees from prior Liberal governments. Unbelievable how you think 'democracy' is served by only Liberal views and policies ever being passed through Parliament.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! Good boogin' MJ. I ain't sure it was the sensible thing that Dion done but it's done an' we can move on to the next round.

Arctic? Right on. We gotta quit protectin' the warlord Karzai and his narco-state an' start protectin' Canada. I don't figger we can afford to do both an' Karzai sure as hell ain't worth any more Canajun lives.

The anti-Earthers an' the Clean Air Act is problematic. Sure, it would be great if Mother Earth-lovers could amend the CAA. That's exactly what Happy Jack sed he'd do last time but where's the new, improved CAA? Nobuddy's gettin' the job done an' it needs doin' fast.

Was John Tory pro-madrassah? Anon's comment sure makes it sound that way. I reckon Tory's all washed up in politics.

JB

I remember back in 1993 said...

Anonymous

Where was your complaining and whining after the cons fell in 1993 and the senate was stacked with conservative senators? Very htpocritical.

Alberta Senator said...

BCL ...good comments. One thing though: you may not want to fall into the PM's rhetoric regarding Senate delay. The facts do not support his allegations. Check out my blog from July 2, For the Record. You'll find it at www.albertasenator.ca/hullabaloos.

wilson said...

Harper addressed the Senate obstructing the will of parliament.
He said Cons will be forced onside with those who want to abolish the Senate (Ontarians want to abolish it) if the Liberal Senate obstructs the crime bills.
Like the Liberals in the HoC, nothing is more important to a Liberal than keeping that seat, the Senate will do a Dion, pass it kicking and screaming.

bigcitylib said...

Alberta Senator,

Thank you for your kind words. You are officially the most famous person to comment on this blog. Let me just say that I am for the Senate's aggresively pursuing its role as chamber of sober second thought.

Wilson,

Good luck with abolishing the Senate. But if it comes to it, Triple-E is mostly a Western concern. Ontario's position re Senate Reform, as I recall, has always been to have it abolished. So I don't know who Harper thinks he's scaring. It's like he's holding a knife to his own throat.

Anonymous said...

"Let the GST cut go through, stupid policy though it is. You never fight an election over a tax cut."

If it's wrong, it's wrong. This argument is such a cop-out it's ridiculous. If Stephen Harper were to win another minority and propose tax cuts all the time would your advice be to never bring him down and wait until he's forced to call an election? I hope not.

"What kind of sound does THAT make? None! Exactly! NOBODY NOTICES WHEN NOTHING HAPPENS!!!!!!"

I think people will notice, I think the real argument is whether they care.

"Repeat last year's performance. Take any Conservative initiatives, partner with the other Oppo parties to give them some real teeth, and then send it back to the Harperites with the message to stuff it up their ass or call an election. Harper STILL doesn't want to fall over this."

What makes you think the next round of environmental initiatives are going to be weak or perceived as such by the electorate? You're hoping that'll be the case much like Martin hoped the 2006 election would be a repeat of 2004.

I would argue that this is the one file that's been holding the Conservatives in the mid-30s. Don't think that someone in the Conservative warroom with all their polls hasn't pointed that out either. The Conservatives have already changed their position once on GHGs, I wouldn't be shocked if they did it again.

"Harper's strategy at the moment is delay, which signifies weakness. If he does bring it back to the House, kill the current mission and fight an election over it."

Having the Liberal Party fight an election over Afghanistan is borderline insane. This is one issue where the Liberal Party has no consensus. Do you really want to have Dion call for an end to the mission and have the media run over to Ignatieff the next day (a man who supports the mission, wants to be leader, and has every incentive for a humiliating Dion loss) and ask him what he thinks?

Ti-Guy said...

"What kind of sound does THAT make? None! Exactly! NOBODY NOTICES WHEN NOTHING HAPPENS!!!!!!"

I think people will notice,


If nothing happens, the media won't notice. And if the media don't notice, the people don't notice. That's the way it works.

This law-and-order dodge really is a solution in search of a problem...which, for Conservatives, seems to be that too many brown and beige people are walking around, unincarcerated.

On the militirisation of the Arctic: Nuke Murmansk! No special reason, really...it's just an incredibly ugly city.

Off-topic...the Liberals need to cultivate a bad boy or a rat-pack, if only to start teasing some of the tubbos in the CPC.

Anonymous said...

"If nothing happens, the media won't notice. And if the media don't notice, the people don't notice. That's the way it works."

No, that's not the way it works. The Liberals have been arguing that the Conservatives have been doing nothing on climate change. If the Conservatives are doing nothing, using this logic the media wouldn't notice, wouldn't report it, and the people wouldn't know. The exact opposite is actually the case.

Doing nothing gets reported when you do nothing on an issue people care about. Why? Because the media responds to public demands to being informed on the issue and reports that nothing is happening and why nothing is happening.

If Liberals want to hold up the crime bills, they're really banking on the public not caring because they almost certainly know that Harper's going to make sure people notice that they're holding it up. They're hoping it'll get play in the media for a day or two but ultimately it will have no legs and that the issue will not resonate with swing voters who didn't vote Conservative last time around.

Ti-Guy said...

The Liberals have been arguing that the Conservatives have been doing nothing on climate change. If the Conservatives are doing nothing, using this logic the media wouldn't notice, wouldn't report it, and the people wouldn't know. The exact opposite is actually the case.

The Conservatives haven't been doing nothing on climate change...they've been lying, deflecting and distracting...and that is juicy enough for our media.

Sorry, you're really mistaken. Ask yourself this...in the absence of any direct observation, how do you know anything? It's usually through the media.

Now, if the media gets sufficiently motivated by a public that is sensing a real problem through another mechanism besides information (such as noticeable climate change or a disaster), it will act.

Anonymous said...

Harper could balance the senate more if he chose to - he's got approx 14 seats available to him which he could stack with Conservatives.

Considering our current parliament and the clowns in it - we DO NEED the senate - desperately.

Remember - Harper promised that Canadians were safe voting for him in the last election because the senate would keep him in line. How ungrateful of Harper to not appreciate that that was the line that made Canadians give him a chance - what an ungrateful asshole he is.

Without the senate he wouldn't be PM today.

Anonymous said...

"Ask yourself this...in the absence of any direct observation, how do you know anything? It's usually through the media."

Yes, I agree.

"The Conservatives haven't been doing nothing on climate change...they've been lying, deflecting and distracting...and that is juicy enough for our media."

Yet, I also know that the Liberals did essentially nothing on climate change. I wouldn't go so far as to accuse them of lying, deflecting or distracting but they definitely didn't act and the media keeps reminding us of that fact. Why? It's because enough people care about and it sells newspapers.

"Now, if the media gets sufficiently motivated by a public that is sensing a real problem through another mechanism besides information (such as noticeable climate change or a disaster), it will act."

Yes, they will. And did so in the last election. What's happened since then on the justice file again? Nothing. What could the Liberals then be accused of doing by stalling the crime bills? Lying, deflecting or distracting perhaps? Would that storyline not be juicy enough for our media? Afterall, the public's safety is at stake. The story almost writes itself.

Just so you know I'm not really for all this tough on crime stuff and I get the impression you aren't either but just because it doesn't appeal to us doesn't mean it doesn't appeal to a different demographic. And media will respond if that demographic is large enough. That's all I was really getting at.

Ti-Guy said...

I'm not big on the "tough-on-crime" stuff, not because I like coddling criminals (I don't). I think (and all evidence suggests this is the case) that it's not a priority, and that making it so is pandering to the hysterical, the incurious and people who like the idea that someone else is "gettin' what he's got comin' to 'em"...which would be rednecks/Conservatives, similar to how they only feel prosperous if others are poor, only feel satisfied when other's are miserable.

I don't feel my tax dollars should be wasted on indulging that demographic's delusions.

Gayle said...

I am not sure how much Harper wants to press this liberal delay on the crime bills. After all, it was the conservatives who delayed the passage of several crime bills for months during the last session. They only passed them near the end of the session when they knew they would be killed by proroguing parliament. It was all smoke and mirrors, designed to make it look like the senate was holding them up.

By the way, I thought I was the most famous person who posted here. Believe me, if you knew my real name you would know I am famous. Just ask my dad :).

Ti-Guy said...

Actually, the most famous people posting here have always been BCL's trolls. Most of them are Conservative MP's...the really stupid ones are Maurice Vellacott's sock-puppets.

Anonymous said...

When you wrote that Dion did the sensible thing, I prayed that you didn't mean he quit! Canada needs Dion if we're ever going to get out of this socialist hell-hole that you leftards have put us in over the last 40 years!

Gayle said...

Speaking of Conservate MP trolls...

Gayle said...

(That would be Conservative...)

Ti-Guy said...

Yeah, that was Poilievre. No doubt about it. I can smell the zit medication from here.

Holly Stick said...

alberta senator, Alan Gregg was on Calgary's CBC radio phone in, and he said something about the Senate holding up the crime bills. I wondered if he was just repeating the Conservative line without having checked to see if it was true.

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