The Coalition that never was

It’s over. Coyne has the best analysis and Simpson is on his game as well. The key fact: everyone overplayed their hand. Badly.

Harper overplayed his hand – that’s what launched this mess.

Then there was an opportunity on the part of the opposition to not be greedy. They could have demand a better stimulus package and Harper’s resignation in exchange for not bringing down the government. I believe it was viable option. But that window is closing fast – if it is still open. Dion was too inept and, once again, proved unable to understand that he was in a position of weakness – he will now likely be remembered not as a tragic, stoic figure and more likely as simply inept and stubborn. It isn’t fair – but it is hard to see him being remembered otherwise.

Layton won’t lose his job – but his party should consider bouncing him. The NDP overplayed its hand in the same manner that Dion did. Layton’s drive for power (and relevancy) meant the NDP didn’t push for splitting Harper from his caucus and trying to just take the leader down. A Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition was always going to be tenuous – the opportunity for any party to defect in order to gain political advantage would have made it highly unstable, and unpopular. Moreover, after Layton brought down the house in 2006 I’m not sure many Liberals see Layton as someone who they can work with – further increasing any coalitions instability.

Indeed, I only thought the opposition announced they were going to bring down the house in order to achieve negotiating leverage to demand Harper’s resignation. Now I don’t know what they were thinking. I suspect that Layton, DIon and Harper could all be gone within 12 months. Each party (except the bloc) is going to need to blame someone for these series of fiascoes – given how centralized decision making has become, it’s hard to believe it won’t be the leaders. That said, I say Harper has the best odds of survival.

Finally, Simpson nails it with the fact that the Bloc are the only clear winners. There job is simple: stay relevant. Doesn’t matter who they are working with or against, as long as they have some excuse to be in Ottawa, they win. It was a big week for them.

19 thoughts on “The Coalition that never was

  1. Bruce

    “I suspect that Layton, DIon and Harper could all be gone within 12 months.”Dion definately, Layton possibly, Harper no.

    Reply
  2. scott a ross

    Care to make a bet if your so confident? Coyne and Simpson have been wrong so many times it's a joke to think they're credible predictors of any political organization.

    Reply
  3. david_a_eaves

    Uh, not sure why Coyne and Simpon's past record is relevant. No one does well predicting politics – but I suspect they are both (especially Coyne) batting far above the average.Either way, what are we betting on. That the coalition is dead? I'll take that bet – what stakes are you proposing?On the future of the leaders? I'm happy to admit to being less sure (can anyone be confident on this?). Dion is definitely gone, I think Layton and Harper will depend on the blowback from all of this. It could get ugly, or it may end up being a blip.

    Reply
  4. wilson

    How relevent would the Bloc be, if Dueceppe was asked to submit his ideas (done) but not consulted on the final negotiations of this budget, because Quebecers are well represented by the 26 federalist elected MPs…???

    Reply
  5. Scott Tribe

    Uh. Coyne is also on record as wanting John Manley to enter the Liberal leadership race and believing he'd win from the “massive disenchantment” at the coalition Liberals have.Anyone who thinks Manley has a hope in Hades of winning the leadership race has to have his judgement questioned, David… and anyone who thinks there aren't a lot of Liberals who still support coalition is also letting their biases cloud their judgement.Even Iggy said today in interviews that the coalition isn't dead. It still needs to be in place come Budget day to present to the G-G a a viable alternative government if the Budget is a no-go.

    Reply
  6. scott a ross

    Let's do a positive bet instead of a negative one where neither one would really lose. I just thought of this because we're all liberals here. How about the winner of the bet gets a button put on the others blog that would just serve as link. It would be put in a prominent spot and last say two weeks?

    Reply
  7. david_a_eaves

    Hi Peter, no a resignation by Harper would not end the government. The Conservatives would simply elect a new leader who would then be PM. Such as Kim Campbell or John Turner taking over from Mulroney and Trudeau.

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  8. david_a_eaves

    Hi Scott, not sure we disagree a ton. I think the coalition is dead. It was always far more effective as a threat to curb the excesses of the PM than as reality – which is how it is now being spun – sadly, too late.

    Reply
  9. CuriosityCat

    Nonsense!The Coaltition is alive and well and will be so come January because it is in the interests of the majority of Canadians.And the LPC-NDP Coalition will become the next government early next year.

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  10. Scott Tribe

    Actually.. I do disagree.. the coalition isn't dead.. nor should it be. If there's a new Liberal leader.. he of course should review the options.. but it should be there ready to firm an alternative govt and presented to the G-G if Harper blows this Budget.

    Reply
  11. janfromthebruce

    “Layton won’t lose his job – but his party should consider bouncing him.” Considering that NDPers don't consider either Coyne or Simpson as commenters who they would consider talking progressively, I know there is no call out for Layton to be bounced. NDP have always been committed to working across difference in the best interests of Canadians, the majority who work on main street and on the shop floor, and not Bay Street. So Coyne might like to see a new NDP leader, perhaps one who is less articulate and popular. Remember Jack's leadership numbers during the last election were 2nd only to Harper and he wasn't the one who made the opposition so mad that it was coalition or bust. No Mr. Dithers there.

    Reply
  12. Rikia

    Dave, great analysis. As much as I would love to see Harper gone, I worry that if the coalition had demanded it, Conservatives might have actually rallied to Harper's defence (“no damned Liberal is going to tell me who my leader should be…”)

    Reply
  13. Brenton

    I'm with Rikia on this one. There's no way the Conservatives would have yanked Harper in the midst of this. It was more likely that Flaherty would be thrown to the wolves than Harper.

    Reply
  14. Ben

    The opposition wants to form a coalition for one reason only. The planned cuts to the subsidies of political parties. They stand to lose a great deal without those subsidies, because obviously their members and followers are not willing to support them financially. The liberal party has been so mismanaged that without these subsidies it stands to go bankrupt. Think about that for one second – they cannot manage a budget for their own political party but wish to do so for all of Canada.It reaps of fascism when the people, the electorate, despite voting for any political party, are forced and obligated to pay for something he or she does not believe in. It's morally, socially and economically wrong, but here in Canada it is not politically wrong. Tell me what other Western country has a program where political parties get subsidies from tax payers? Answer: Only one, Québec. What a surprise. It was introduced by René Lévesque and then in Federal Canada by Chrétien.No wonder the headline reads: “Bloc-NDP-Grit government a coalition for Canada: Layton”. The extreme left is happy; if that is not scary, well I guess you support them…Remember that this coalition was put on the table prior to the last election but each party leader thought it to be ludicrous to work with the other. Their political views, platforms and ideals were so different that they found it insulting that they would alter their beliefs to align a party they strictly oppose.What a (expletive) farce?

    Reply
  15. david_a_eaves

    Ok, after some offline emailing Scott and I have settled on a bet. Scott is betting that a coalition will bring down the government on the 27th. I'm betting that it won't.The bet will be settled on the 28th – because either there will or will not be a new government.The loser of this (very friendly) bet agrees to put a button linking to the winner's blog on a prominent part of their website (likely at the top of the blog).

    Reply
  16. david_a_eaves

    Ok, after some offline emailing Scott and I have settled on a bet. Scott is betting that a coalition will bring down the government on the 27th. I'm betting that it won't.The bet will be settled on the 28th – because either there will or will not be a new government.The loser of this (very friendly) bet agrees to put a button linking to the winner's blog on a prominent part of their website (likely at the top of the blog).

    Reply
  17. Pingback: To the victor go the spoils… | eaves.ca

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