Saturday, March 29, 2008

Try A Little Political JuJitsu Instead

Scott Tribe is still banging the drum for an early election. He finds this quote from the Star in support of his position:

"How can this party portray itself as the party of immigration, the Trudeau era of multiculturalism, and here you have this dangerous piece of legislation and you might let it pass because you're not organized enough or your leader isn't charismatic enough to go in an election?" [ Mohamed Boudjenane] said. "People would be more supportive of a gutsy party who will go . . . on a principled position than a party that will stay there until they're in better shape."

What I would tell Mr. Boudjenane (and Scott) is: there are more effective ways for the Liberals to oppose this and other Tory proposals than by forcing an election they would (most probably) lose. Kady "The Blogging Wonderbabe" O'Malley talks of some of the possible stratagems here. In brief, they involve a copious use of the fact that the Libs and other opposition parties have a majority on the various committees, including the Finance Committee where these proposals are (apparently) likely to wind-up. Once in committee, who knows what might be done to change, delay, or discredit them?

And of course in other cases the Libs Senate majority can be used to defuse dangerous legislation.

Now, people might argue that its better to win these things in a stand-up fight, but my opinion is that, at the end of the day, if some piece of junk law disappears in the Senate or is modified beyond recognition and then handed back to the ruling party, that's fine. Victory is Victory.

Because, no matter what you may have heard, Stephen Harper does not have a majority and is not governing as though he did. The Tory agenda as it has developed over the past couple of years is intensely minimalist, and is only about two-thirds accomplished. You want to see what a Tory majority looks like? Then rush into an election for which the Libs are ill-prepared and you may well get a chance.

My bet is it will look like Mike Harris writ large. Who wants that? Anyone? ANYONE???

Have patience, grasshopper! as the old guy in Kung Fu! used to say.

(NOTE: For the time being I have turned anonymous comments off. We shall see how long that has to be for, and it may be permanent. Cheers and apologies to the "good" anons)


Scott Tribe said...

You make it sound like I'm the only one out there that's calling for or urging this to happen.

bigcitylib said...

No, just the first post I saw on the topic this morning. I realize there are many others with the same opinion.

bigcitylib said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ti-Guy said...

You make it sound like I'm the only one out there that's calling for or urging this to happen.

It's not a completely unreasonable position to take but have a look around at the powerful interests jockeying for position...they're in complete disarray...who knows what they'll do right now if they see an opportunity for power?

Nothing is going to change substantively for the next year even if the Liberals won and a bit more time is needed for reality to assert itself for people to realise that all the posturing and grandiosity is irrelevant.

The Conservatives did a good job of turning-off Ontarians in the last few weeks...they'll find others to irritate because that's all they can do. I say, let them, for the next while.

bigcitylib said...

Just as a note: I've turned anon comments off. Sorry, but that may have to be a permanant condition.

RuralSandi said...

It's tricky - if Harper gets his majority then all you believe in will be gone, gone, gone.

Harper will do whatever he wants then - one has to be careful.

Ti-Guy said...

Just as a note: I've turned anon comments off. Sorry, but that may have to be a permanant condition.

It's the obvious sock-puppetting. I'm sure half your trolls are just one person. I'd hazard a guess, but it could be literally hundreds any of The Blogging Tories or their commenters.

...Even Conservative MP's and Party Officials.

I doubt they'd sound any less ignorant and classless even with the cloak of anonymity.

Steve V said...

It's fine to call for patience, but I would like someone to articulate how you achieve the winning conditions within this environment? Seems mostly to be about waiting for the unknown, but nobody seems to recognize the hard reality of reinforcing a negative impression. The new La Presse poll found Dion has lost another 3 points on the leadership question, going from abysmal to unheard of.

All I'm asking, tell me how it gets better? And, nobody should grab the "inside the beltway" security blanket, because the Conservatives 16% drop in Ontario over the past month proves that, yes, egads, people do notice things.

Ti-Guy said...

All I'm asking, tell me how it gets better?

I don't think the Liberals can do anything much to improve their conditions all on their own.

Surely you must have noticed that Dion has been framed in a particular way and that the Conservatives will engage in any degree of churlish attacks and lying to maintain that frame. Dion and the Liberals have obviously decided to rise above that kind of thing, so we are not going to get much of a change in that direction.

You have to acknowledge that the Conservatives are not able to address the real issues with relation to governance (the only reason they've persisted this long is that conditions have been relatively advantageous for them...thanks to over a decade of Liberal governance and thanks to a base of hate-filled, idiotic rage-filled Conservative supporters), and are descending into a panic that is being manifested by increasing levels of shrillness and beligerence.

Looks good on them, and I think we should let them continue for a while longer. Many more people are simply becoming exhausted by the dreariness of the whole thing.

biff said...

In other words, abuse the house for purely partisan reasons, and waste taxpayer dollars in the process,

by trying to smear Harper any chance you get, rather than on, truly opposing, which is what the official role of the opposition should be.

Gee, it's going over so well so far (losing a twenty point spread to the CPC in heart of Cadmanistan).

Good luck with that.

bigcitylib said...


Well for one thing the economic news is going to get dismal, certainly in TO. And in some sectors of the economy that will almost certainly extend into '09.

They used to say that elections are referendums on the state of the business cycle. I say let the Tories wear the business cycle for awhile.

Steve V said...

"Well for one thing the economic news is going to get dismal"

Again, waiting for the unknown, which is debatable. Our economy keeps surprising the pundits, just look at retail sales the past month, which was jaw dropping, or job growth, which baffled everyone. Some argue we have already hit bottom in Ontario, others say it may get worse, but what you say is just wishful thinking, nothing concrete moving forward.


I think you actually show in your comment why things stay the same.

biff said...

As for any "conservative drop" in Ontario, you should look a little deeper.

Yes in the Downtown Toronto core, the conservatives are nowhere.

But the Cons will never take those seats. It would be like the libs losing ground in Calgary.

But the Cons are gaining in both rural Ontario, the small cities, like Thunder Bay, and in the coveted 905 belt.

The internals show that. The larger sample press polls show that. And a comparison of the spreads in the polls versus the Toronto by-elections show it.

Right now, downtown Toronto is the Liberal's only safe ridings.

Vancouver's teetering, to gone. Montreal is even lost.

An election in the next few months would most certainly result in a Harper majority. The only problem is that in ten months from now it will go from a slight majority, to a supermajority.

Scott's picking the right poison.

Dante said...

A Liberal government with Dion cannot ever win.
The problem is that there will likely be a lot of Liberal MPs who will also lose their job after the next election so the Grits are between a rock and a hard place. There is no mechanism to remove Dion until after an election.

Steve V said...

"They used to say that elections are referendums on the state of the business cycle. I say let the Tories wear the business cycle for awhile."

Which will be cancelled out by our wearing egg on our face. The argument isn't logical, Harper will hang himself, but those same voters who turn, aren't paying attention to anything that casts us in a bad light. It's an inherent contradiction, you don't get it both ways. Voters never move to perceived weakness.

Anonymous said...

Prime Minister Harper is busy getting an island in Northern Quebec named after him, and welcoming more immigrants to Canada than Martin, Chretien, or Trudeau ever did, and is not available at this time for comment.

Steve V said...


"But the Cons are gaining in both rural Ontario, the small cities, like Thunder Bay, and in the coveted 905 belt.

The internals show that. The larger sample press polls show that."

Um, no they don't. As a matter of fact, the Cons are below their 06 numbers. You're delusional at the moment my friend. There is no breakthrough in Ontario when you are down to your core 30% number, in fact there are LOSES.

Nice try with the outdate spin though.

bigcitylib said...

Steve V,

I don't usually like to admit to any measure of expertise on any subject. But believe me, things are going to get dismal. You'll start seeing the numbers in about two months, at least here in Ont.

That's why Flaherty is bashing McGuinty so hard. They're trying to shift blame for what they see coming. Won't work for them; might work down the road for John Tory (again, a la Mike Harris)

biff said...

As for waiting,

and letting the public "get to know" Dion a little better, you may wish to consider the fact that those who know him best appear to like him least. He's hated in his native province, and he wasn't well liked among the MP caucus during the convention, as per the voting.

In the last few months, Dion's personal numbers continue to go down.

Steve V said...


Every polling outfit has shown the Cons fading in Ontario, in fact we are talking core support now. Their momentum has evaporated, which is why I believe things never get better than right now. Sure, the economy might go south, the degree debatable, but measuring the effect of that is hard, whereas we have a concrete situation right now, the Flah-Harp clusterfuck that blew up in their faces. I honestly believe this is a golden opportunity, because it's real, as opposed to might be's.

All this said, I've resigned myself to no election anytime soon, if it happens I'll be pleasantly surprised.

biff said...


I posted here two weeks before the by-elections. I believe I was an "anon".

I told BCL that:

the Libs in Quadra will be dropping their spread by about 20 points, that it would be close but that the Libs appeared ready to lose by a thread, and

the Libs will lose the Sask seat by a significant margin,

based on the information that I had.

(BCL summarily deleted the post, but he knows it was posted.)

You don't have to trust me, Stevie boy, I'll be back here though after it happens.

biff said...

Press polling is not nearly as accurate as internals, which is why I recommended comparing the press polls with the by-elections in Ontario and extrapolating.

The press polls had the Liberals up in Outremont 20 points higher than the actual vote.

Sorry to bring you the bad news Steve, but the internals are dreadful for the Libs, pretty much everywhere but downtown Toronto.

Dion know that. They have their own internals.

The problem is they are dropping.

Scott's got the right poison picked.

biff said...

Press polls capture general leanings.

They also tend to oversample urban areas.

In times when general party affiliation is closely tied to voter intention they aren't bad. In times when there's significant voter apathy within a party (like the Conservative downfall under Kim Cambell - where the polls showed her down, but nowhere near the dismal results), press polls over count party support.

The reason being press polls don't drill down to voter intention, which is expensive.

Currently there is deep discontent/apathy within the Liberal party, and particularily for Dion himself. The Liberals are also concentrated in several urban ridings (in the Toronto area).

Hence, the under counting, as was the case with Outremont.

Today's class on internals and polling is concluded.

Steve V said...


Keep telling yourself that, with NO PROOF to back it up. Here's the deal, which should be able to pierce your Con mind. If, internals were so positive, why did Harper come out and start praising McGuinty??? Harper never does anything, that isn't part of a strategy, in this case clearly damage control. And, you will notice, not one peep from Flaherty, Poll, anyone, since that press release. It's called backtracking Biff, and your intuitive powers should see that ;)

You're just spouting off, "sorry Steve, but the internals show". You've got nothing. I just heard yesterday that the Con candidate in Guelph, which is the next by-election, the "swing" seat, can't raise any money locally, the party is being forced to pour in money. If that doesn't tell there is a lack of momentum, I don't know what does.

Anyways, carry on, facts are irrelevant to your partisan delusions.

Steve V said...

"They also tend to oversample urban areas."

Oops, wrong again (at least you are consistent). Toronto tends to get under-reported, this is problematic for all polling companies, a condition they freely admit.

Ti-Guy said...

You notice the registered "Biff" shows up just after BCL shuts off the anonymous commenting. You can pretty much guess who was doing all the sock-puppeting and trolling.

Given the disruption he's caused on so many progressive blogs, I don't think he should be allowed to comment on progressive blogs at all. I don't think Blogger permits you to ban registered users (does it?) but it should be something to think about.

Steve V said...

ti guy

I like the Biff nic, it really fits the visual. I guess Beavis was taken.

Ti-Guy said...

I like the Biff nic, it really fits the visual. I guess Beavis was taken.

It's not amusing, Steve. He's a disruptive sock-puppet who alternates between reasonably sensible and ignorant and distracting (which is in fact his natural condition) just to prevent progressive discussions from going anywhere. He may think this all in fun, but it's not.

One thing he is is a liar: he'll pull facts straight out of his arse and fabricate any assertion he thinks will support whatever he's argument he's making.

I think it's been a disgrace that, as a whole, progressive bloggers have been willing to entertain that level of disruption for as long as they have.

Anonymous said...

I thought I was Biff?

On topic: Flanagan lays the bricks to comically inept push-poller Michael Adams in the Globe:

To start with, Mr. Adams's facts are shaky. He claims the Conservatives were shut out of Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver in the last election. That may be true for the first two cities, but it applies only to the legally defined city of Vancouver, which makes up less than 30 per cent of the greater Vancouver area. In fact, the Tories won seven of 20 seats there, compared to eight for the Liberals and five for the NDP.

Moreover, the Conservatives won every seat in Calgary and Edmonton, seven of eight in Regina and Saskatoon, half of the seats in Winnipeg and Ottawa, all but two in Quebec City, and both seats in St. John's. These are important Canadian cities, not rural villages.
...The Liberals were dominant in Toronto, English-speaking Montreal, and downtown Vancouver - not because these are urban areas, but because they are heavily populated by ethnic groups who are Liberal core supporters. If the Liberals were truly the party of urban Canada, they would also sweep Calgary, Edmonton, Quebec City, etc. - but they aren't, and they don't.


Urbanites, in Mr. Adams's portrayal, are younger, see themselves as global citizens and feel connected to other countries, experience "greater comfort with change and complexity," love "seizing on new technologies," and are big on diversity. Needless to say, he depicts rural people as deficient in all these wonderful characteristics.

Mr. Adams's not-so-subtle subtext is that Conservatives aren't cool because they're not urban...

Canada's most dominant political scientist has spoken.

Ti-Guy said...

Canada's most dominant political scientist has spoken.

Heh. You mean that racist and corrupt American hasn't been deported back to Chicago and water-boarded yet?

I saw that latest fudgy of his in The Globe the other day. God, it was embarrassing.

bigcitylib said...

Biff, if you hadn't posted anonymously your words be there for all to hear. Let that be a lesson to you.

Anonymous said...

"God, it was embarrassing."

Not as embarrassing as Flanagan's fisking of Adams and his serious number fudge. Packer quarterback Brett Farve has retired.

Ti-Guy said...

Not as embarrassing as Flanagan's fisking of Adams...

That's what I meant...Flanagan's work was embarrassing. Glad you agree.

Does Tom Flanagan give exceptionally good head or something? Every time he opens his mouth, the Conserva-boys go all gushy and weak in the knees.

Anyway, Albertans better nuke the University of Calgary soon before the rest of Canada decides to do it for them. It is a nest of Big Oil money and intellectual/moral corruption that needs to be obliterated.

Anonymous said...

No need to let your jealousy turn you all Wiebo Ludwig, try to channel it into something more positive, such reading one of Flanagan's many excellent books.

Did you know more people are leaving Alberta than moving there, for the first time since 1994?

"Alberta, which has led the provinces in population growth for the last few years, has started to lose more people to other regions than it has received.

Over the third quarter, Alberta recorded a net interprovincial migration outflow estimated at 3,300 people. The last time the province recorded a net outflow to other jurisdictions occurred in the fourth quarter of 1994."

Jaytoo said...

"The Tory agenda as it has developed over the past couple of years is intensely minimalist..."

Really, BCL? Minimalist?

I see more years of misguided war. More years of inaction on global warming. Nearly $190-billion lost to tax cuts over six years. A permanent loss of $15-billion per year after that -- hobbling any future government's capacity to invest in social programs. All rubber-stamped by this Liberal caucus.

Turtling to wait for "winning conditions" is certainly a strategy. Folks like Scott and Steve have made a good case that it's a bad one -- and as a Dipper, I've found their integrity heartening. But if you still want to promote turtling as better for the long-term, it's hard to take you seriously until you admit and own the COSTS, which have already been punishing and permanent.

Ti-Guy said...

This is all anyone needs to know about Tom Flanagan.

I don't know what characterises Flanagan more accurately ; the ahistorical and deceptive interpretation of reality that is typical of the neoconservative or the sheer dullness and solipsism that characterises American "head up yer arse" Republicanism.

Ti-Guy said...

I've found their integrity heartening.

That's nice. Of course, if the Liberals win the next election, you'll be calling them class traitors the very next day.

Anonymous said...

Flanagan is every bit the Canadian citizen that Las Vegas born Americo-Canadian Judy Rebick is, notwithstanding your shocking and outrageous xenophobia.

bigcitylib said...


Ahh, an NDPer. What is it to live without hope and, therefore, without responsibility?

Ti-Guy said...

Flanagan is every bit the Canadian citizen that Las Vegas born Americo-Canadian Judy Rebick is, notwithstanding your shocking and outrageous xenophobia.

Not at all. Rebick (whose socialism I don't care for) embraces Canadianism while Flanagan rejects it...even rewrites history to do so. He represents the worst of America...racism, assimilation, expansionism, chauvinism and moral corruption. And he's here, in Canada, fouling our public discourse and violating our body politic.

And I'm not xenophobic, I'm anti-American. And proud of it.

biff said...

Quite the scandalous accusations directed at me.

It appears that BCL has confirmed it. Given that I would be the only person who would know about it (since BCL deleted it so fast).

I called the last by elections to within half a percentage point.

Both ridings - bang on.

I don't believe its my credibility that has some here so bothered, but precisely the opposite.

Ti-guy, you shouldn't fear me the way you do. I can't affect the election. Well not that much.

But as is now evident I do have information that you don't like very much, and for that I have been castigated by you (and Steve).

BTW, BCL I don't really feel that I need any lesson learned. At the time you had anon comments open, and so I passed on some information.

It is your readers who were denied, what is belatedly obvious, superior information about an upcoming election.

You deleted it. I suspect for the same reason ti-guy lashes out. I'm telling you something you don't want to hear.

You should listen to your colleague Scott.

If one were to plot the "likely liberal vote" on a graph since the inception of Dion's reign, it would look like a ski slope.

And the fundamentals are showing that it will only get worse.

Lucky for you all, Iggy's people are not about to let Rae get a foothold and are currently putting the finishing touches on a move to vote down Harper. Iggy's finally got Dion on side, and it appears all but inevitable this spring.

The only problem now is the Bloc and the NDP may want to wait it out till 09.

biff said...

Come towards the light of truth ti-guy.


one step at a time.

It'll be alright.

Gayle said...


TG is right about biff.

S/he always trolls, mostly lies, and really only posts in order to derail discussions.

If things were so rosey for the cons right now there would be an election. There is no way Harper would not call one if he honestly believed he could win a majority.

My personal opinion is that Harper is posturing for an election, not because he thinks he can win a majority, but because he knows the cons can afford to have another election in a few months, when the liberals clearly cannot.

If there were an election now there would be another minority government. Even if the libs formed that minority government, they would be forced back into an election long before they could afford one.

Ti-Guy said...

Gayle, quite honestly, I don't think Harper knows what the hell he's doing anymore. Remember, this guy has only had to fool Conservatives, who, let's face it, can support and maintain any illusions about reality as long as the economy allows that reality to be ignored. I really don't think he can pull that off much longer and Canadians do need to see neoconservatism fail on its own merits in order for it to be removed permanently from the politics of this country.

Anonymous said...

"Gayle, quite honestly, I don't think Harper knows what the hell he's doing anymore."

$37 billion in debt repayment, taxes cut, softwood deal done, Inuit land claims completed, no Muslim countries invaded, strong economic growth, fiscal imbalance solved, national unity at all time high, and perhaps most importantly, zero cabinet minister resignations due to impropriety and no major scandals.

Harper is going to clobber Dion whenever the writ is dropped.

Ti-Guy said...