By macleans.ca - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - 0 Comments
Quebec seems headed for an election. Retiring cabinet ministers are making their exit and…
Quebec seems headed for an election. Retiring cabinet ministers are making their exit and Premier Jean Charest has returned from vacation looking ready to rumble. But the date is up in the air.
“Elections, we’ve had elections on all kinds of dates,” Charest said on Monday, according to the Globe and Mail. Charest has won the past three provincial elections in 2003, 2007 and 2008. “Whatever the date of the election, Quebeckers will be able to handle it, and make their choice,” he added.
Recent polls showed the governing Liberals at about even support with the Parti Québécois. With an inquiry into corruption in the construction industry set to re-commence its hearings in mid-September, Charest seems eager to get out of the starting blocks.
Half a dozen Ministers have stepped down in anticipation of the election, including the Education minister, Michelle Courchesne, who has been handling negotiations with student protesters. The protestors have quieted down recently, but have promised to hound the Liberals during any election.
By macleans.ca - Friday, January 28, 2011 at 10:44 AM - 45 Comments
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 3:19 PM - 40 Comments
By Paul Wells - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 11:53 AM - 146 Comments
“That doesn’t necessarily mean the Harper government is legislating less. Franks said the government pushed about half of a normal year’s legislation through in a single bill — this year’s massive budget implementation bill which included varied measures dealing with all manner of subjects from environmental assessments to the post office to the future of Canada’s atomic energy industry…
“‘What they’ve done is in this (budget implementation bill) is just whop, whop, whop, whop, whop, a whole bunch (of measures),’ he said.
“‘The country didn’t even know what happened.’”
— Canadian Press, today
As is so often the case, the prime minister isn’t even trying to hide what he’s up to. Before the G-20 this summer Stephen Harper sat down with reporters from Reuters. One of their questions was about his skimpy record of legislative achievement. Hey, big shot, didn’t you promise to recalibrate after you prorogued? Where’s the new direction?
“I think in the end we actually got some pretty good results,” Harper replied. “Particularly in the closing days. As you know, we got the budget implementation bill through.”
One bill? “The budget bill was wide-ranging legislation that had a lot, not just of important budgetary measures, but important measures for the Canadian economy. So I think the passage of the budget bill, in and of itself, made the parliamentary sessions productive.”
What I need to emphasize here is that Harper wasn’t waving around the one bit of work he’d got done to claim he’d implemented a lot of change. He had actually implemented a lot of change. As Ned Franks notes in Joan Bryden’s story above, this budget implementation bill was a whopper: 900 pages, with amendments to five dozen laws. It changed environmental assessment of energy projects. It provided for the sale of AECL. It ended the Canada Post monopoly on overseas mail. And more more more.
At the time, Michael Ignatieff was stinging from his autumn 2009 attempt to “bring the government down,” something the Liberals have never been able to do without other parties’ help. As a direct result he had a new OLO senior staff who had come on board expressing a strong preference that he give them a year to fix up his office and platform. So he was out of the business of voting against the government on confidence bills. Knowing this, the New Democrats launched a little campaign against the budget bill. They kept at it. And at it, soon making the Liberals as much the target of their critique as the Conservatives. They put together a video of Jack Layton’s critiques of the “Trojan Horse” bill:
But that was last year. Times change. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, August 28, 2009 at 12:26 PM - 5 Comments
Three days ago, Blair Robertson posted a video to YouTube with his predictions for the next few months of political events in Canada. Among his prognostications: that a fall election would be disastrous for the Liberals and that the number two would somehow factor into the fortunes of Michael Ignatieff and Stephen Harper, possibly in the form of floor-crossing MPs.
What’s happened since then? Well, the Liberals dispatched Senator David Smith to cast doubt on the conventional wisdom that his party would force a fall election. And two Conservative MPs broke with the government’s position on asbestos mining, putting themselves in line with Mr. Ignatieff’s stated position.
My bold prediction: by end of business today, Blair Robertson will be the newest member of the Globe and Mail’s Ottawa bureau or Evan Soloman’s first hire for CBC’s new evening politics show.
By Philippe Gohier - Monday, August 17, 2009 at 2:31 PM - 13 Comments
Gilles Duceppe double dog dares Michael Ignatieff to bring down the Conservatives in a…
Gilles Duceppe double dog dares Michael Ignatieff to bring down the Conservatives in a speech to the BQ’s youth wing in Quebec City:
“We’re going to get this report on employment insurance. If Harper refuses to change his policy and if Ignatieff stops giving in, we’ll be in elections. But these are big ‘ifs’. I’d be surprised if Harper changed his position. I’d be less surprised if Ignatieff gave in once again.”
I’m hoping Ignatieff replies with the always devastating “I know you are but what am I?”
By Philippe Gohier - Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 12:35 PM - 17 Comments
Today’s edition of Le Devoir has what it bills as an “exclusive interview” with…
Today’s edition of Le Devoir has what it bills as an “exclusive interview” with Michael Ignatieff in which the Liberal leader waxes politic about everything from the coalition to the upcoming budget. It’s hard to conceive of a situation in which he’d follow through on his threat to bring down the government, but Ignatieff certainly seems to have gotten the requisite pre-budget posturing routine down pat anyway.
Here’s what he had to say:
-On the budget: “Mr. Harper is talking about broad-based tax cuts for the middle class, while I’m talking about targetting tax cuts for the less-fortunate… If I see in the budget a permanent reduction in the government’s fiscal capacity to create conditions of equality for everyone, I will vote against it… I’m afraid that broad-based tax cuts might put us in a deficit situation from which we wouldn’t be able to emerge.”
-On going into an election: “I could lead the Liberal party in an election campaign at the end of January. The problem isn’t the Liberal party’s capacity to run a campaign. Our problems aren’t as big as people think.”
-On the coalition: “No one wants an election. That’s why we have agreed to a coalition that provides a credible and viable alternative.”
-On the Bloc: “I am a federalist, a proud Canadian, and I will never compromise the unity of my country. But I want to add that Bloc MPs are colleagues. They have been duly elected by the voters of Quebec. They are not traitors; they are not enemies of Canada. I profoundly disagree with their [goal of an independent Quebec] and always will. But to say, like Mr. Harper did, that you can’t negotiate make deals with them, that’s hypocritical, because he himself has often negotiated made deals with the Bloc. That made me really angry.”
By Philippe Gohier - Thursday, October 23, 2008 at 5:40 PM - 1 Comment
The gamesmanship is certainly picking up in the National Assembly. Earlier this week, a…
The gamesmanship is certainly picking up in the National Assembly. Earlier this week, a furious Charest denounced the PQ and the ADQ for sandbagging his pick for the Speaker and installing the PQ’s François Gendron instead. But Charest didn’t wait long before exacting his revenge. He swiped two MNAs from the ADQ’s dispirited ranks today.
The Globe‘s Rhéal Séguin suggests the mounting animosity can mean only one thing: It’s election speculation season in Quebec.
By Andrew Coyne - Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 10:19 AM - 0 Comments
A federal election looms ever closer after Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion told Prime…
A federal election looms ever closer after Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion told Prime Minister Stephen Harper he’s too busy to meet for two weeks, a delay a government official said could be the trigger for a vote…
Harper has been seeking to meet with the other leaders to discuss common ground on policy issues before the minority Parliament resumes sitting on Sept. 15. NDP Leader Jack Layton has a tentative meeting with Harper set for Saturday. Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe said yesterday he couldn’t meet with Harper until Sept. 5 at the earliest.
But it was Dion and the Liberals who were in the crosshairs yesterday as the Tories claimed frustration at their inability to meet with the Opposition leader…
“It stretches all credibility to say that one doesn’t have time in a three-week period to take a phone call,” the official said in an interview yesterday…
A source close to the Prime Minister said Dion was, like, totally avoiding him in the halls and stuff. “Ohmigod, it’s like sooo obvious. He can deny it, but it’s all over school.”
A Liberal offiicial, speaking on condition of anonymity, was like “no way.” The Prime Minister, according to the source, was like “yes way.”
At a hastily convened press conference, Dion suggested he had math fifth period and could see the Prime Minister then, but that after that he had a chem lab that he was “totally freaked out about.”
Harper countered that there was no way he was going to end it, that if Dion wanted to end it he should call him…
By Paul Wells - Monday, August 25, 2008 at 3:06 PM - 0 Comments
Oooh these next few weeks are going to be SO exciting.
We have all just received a news release from the Bloc Québécois (official slogan: “It’s Taking a While. Stop Giggling”) which reveals that Mr. Gilles Duceppe will be pleased to meet Mr. Stephen Harper on the 5th, 6th, or 7th of September.
But not before. Too busy. So sorry.
This is huge. Why is it huge? It just is. Huge. It is huge because it means that, since the prime minister cannot call an election until he has met with all the opposition leaders in search of The One with whom he can continue to govern in peace and hard-negotiated legislative agenda, then he cannot call an election until after a Sept. 5 meeting, at the earliest. So an election is at least 11 days away. You could almost call it a “fixed election date,” although that would guarantee it would mean nothing, wouldn’t it?
UPDATE: in the comments, Inkless Irregular Boudica speculates, persuasively, that a busy schedule may not be M. Duceppe’s only consideration.
By Andrew Coyne - Friday, August 22, 2008 at 2:19 PM - 56 Comments
Elsewhere on this site you will find commentators shrugging indifferently at, if not actually…
Elsewhere on this site you will find commentators shrugging indifferently at, if not actually cheering on the Tories for their casual subversion of their own fixed-election-dates law. As usual, I find myself in the minority.
As I argue in the column, I think the Governor General would be well within her rights to prefer her First Minister’s initial advice, as duly considered and enacted into law — that Parliament should not be treated as a plaything, that lives or dies at the Prime Minister’s pleasure; that elections should not be rigged to the governing party’s advantage, in timing as in any other respect; that the public should not be deprived of fair and open competition among the various contenders for power — rather than submit to his later fit of expediency. If the law does not constrain her discretion, it plainly does his, which constraint he now pretends she must ignore. To collaborate in this would make nonsense of legislation she herself has signed, and as such would bring the Royal Prerogative into disrepute.
That’s assuming any of this means anything — that this is not just another Tory bluff. Since they are so at pains to convince everyone that they mean it this time, I can only assume that they don’t.
By kadyomalley - Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 10:48 PM - 0 Comments
… has snared another victim.
That’s not to say that he’s wrong, of course. In fact, he’s probably right, if only because he has managed thus far to stay clear of the will-he-or-won’t-he-or-will-that-other-guy-do-it-first-and-wait-what-did-I-say-last-time tangle of bluffs and counterbluffs and counting backwards from every Monday in October. ITQ, however, has made a conscious decision to be a Conscientious Objector. As of now, we’re on the wagon – no more election speculation. We’re teetotalling it from here on in – not only will it save us from the stress of viewing everything that happens through an electoral prism, but when the writ finally does drop, it will be a surprise. We love surprises.