Apr 21, 2011

Anatomy of a Coup

The following is my view, and my view alone, of this travestry to Canadian democracy.

I believe we owe many thanks to poster "DBSmith" who, in the comment thread of a Globe & Mail article by Jane Taber dated April 21, 2011, succinctly wrote:
"Premier Wall has stepped into the fray, He, like us, has had enough.

Ignatieff is plotting a coup, and this reality so incensed the Saskatchewan premier he was moved to publicly condemn Ignatieff for his treachery.

"The notion that Mr. Ignatieff may choose to not recognize the democratic result of the election and may try to seize power with the support of the other parties, including a party dedicated to the breakup of Canada, is offensive to me and, I believe, to most fair-minded Canadians," said Wall. "Voters should choose the government, not separatist MPs.

"This election" he added, "was caused by a confidence vote over 'contempt for Parliament,' (and) I can think of no greater contempt for Parliament or for Canadian voters than the spectre of a party leader refusing to recognize the democratic outcome of the election."

Despite stating categorically he would not seek a coalition to overthrow another minority under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Ignatieff was talking overthrow which, if successful, would still need a coalition.

So let's call a spade a spade and not a shovel."
But there is something that Premier Wall did not go on to say. He left that for us to work out for ourselves. You and I know that it takes two (or more) to tango, so I believe that Premier Wall's last paragraph could easily have said:
"This election" he added, "was caused by a confidence vote over 'contempt for Parliament,' (and) I can think of no greater contempt for Parliament or for Canadian voters than opposition parties, including a separatist party, plotting and executing a coup to overthrow a government".
There. It is said. A real scandal of epic proportions ... the shameless, attempted hijacking of a Canadian election. Forget AdScam. This is immensely more serious.

How did we get here, to this point in time ... to this watershed in manipulation of Canadian voters? I believe that this all started before the first coalition was announced in December 2008, after that year's election. The seeds for today's coup were certainly planted then, if not before.

We were lucky that the December coup failed. Just lucky, that's all. They had hoped to stampede it through the electorate and Parliament, but they made a fatal optics and communication mistake. They included a grinning Gilles Duceppe in their cabal photograph. And that set off the (proper) hue and cry that has persisted to this day. And made "coalition" a dirty word.

For this election in 2011, though, the conspirators' tactics were sneakier. Even at the onset, polling showed that absent a disaster during the campaign, the Conservatives would be returned with a minimum of 135 seats. This was known to everyone with an IQ greater than a fence post. No matter, if either the Liberals or NDP couldn't obtain a minority themselves, there was always Plan B. A coalition to hijack the result of a Conservative minority on May 2nd.

So the phony issue of "contempt of parliament" was manufactured and broadcast to Canadians as the greatest travesty of parliament since, well, since something. But there was this pesky "coalition thingy" that Mr. Harper kept reminding Canadians of. No problem.

First poo-poo it, then deny it in less than convincing terms, then craft an official position that could have been written by a firm that manufactures Swiss cheese. Finally, the messaging changed to, "it's perfectly legal, very parliamentary". But this only raised the suspicion that while it might be in the best parliamentary tradition, it certainly wasn't the moral outcome that many Canadians had come to expect in THEIR vision of democracy.

Harper wouldn't let the coalition concern go, and neither did Peter Mansbridge in his interview with Michael Ignatieff. And finally the other shoe dropped this week. It wasn't a "coalition", said Ignatieff; it would be an informal agreement, a more formal agreement, a less formal agreement, an issue-by-issue agreement, a handshake, whatever, just don't call it a coalition ... that will scare Canadians. It sure does, Ignatieff, when one of the parties by necessity, in order to make the scheme work, is the Bloc. We've heard that song before, and it grates on our ears.

So here we are today. The coup conspiracy ... long time in the making ... exposed. Laid out in all its ugliness, its self-centeredness, its presumption of entitlement to the crown by hook or by crook. With at least three co-conspirators, probably more. For this scheme to work, at least three parties had to be onside and committed from the beginning. So replacing Ignatieff with Layton as the object of affection only rewards Plan C of the conspiracy. There is no Plan D (Duceppe) in their grand vision, I hope.

It's not the first time that the Liberal Party has engaged in outright manipulation of votes. In the 2008 election it was quite obvious that Stephane Dion and the Liberals had entered into an "informal agreement" with Elizabeth May of the Greens by not running a Liberal candidate against her in her attempt to gain a seat in Peter McKay's riding. In the late stages of the election, when it was apparent that another Conservative minority government might result, well, let's see what the thoroughly incensed National Post wrote on October 16, 2008 regarding "May's delusions of grandeur", or betrayal of Canadian voters:
"... In the campaign's final days, Ms. May shamelessly shilled for the Liberals, pleading with voters to cast ballots for Mr. Dion's party if that would stop the Conservatives from being re-elected. She turned her party into a false front for a competitor, in other words. It was a disgraceful move, one that made fools of all those (such as this editorial board) who argued she should be admitted to the televised debates ...".
Do they really think that Canadians are so stupid, so easy to manipulate and gull, that they can do this a second time, on an immensely grander scale, and think they can get away with it?

And get us to pay for it, over and over again, at $300 million a pop per election? Well, sure, it's not as if it's their money, you know. It's "other people's money", the best kind. Augmented by those wonderful $2/vote subsidies lifted from Canadians wallets each year, in the name of democracy. And they nearly got away with it.

But doesn't a conspiracy require a broad range of members to pull all this off? In my mind it does and, looking at the overall picture, it's apparent to me that a significant portion of the highly-concentrated media in Canada may have been prime contributors to this conspiracy. It's even possible that the Ghosts of Buzz Hardgrove Past may be involved too, since the CAW are targeting 50 ridings of the Conservatives with some gusto and determination. Not to mention other vested-interest groups such as the old "Think Twice" brigade in current incarnations.

In past elections, the Toronto Star has been unabashedly pro-Liberal, and the CBC has just been its normal pro-left, "progressive view of the world, all Canadians should think like us" broadcaster.

This time, however, the Globe and Mail has been obscenely pro-Liberal from the onset in my estimation. Every Liberal talking point and "expose" breathlessly announced and dissected and approved. Every Conservative action and announcement cast negatively, with occasional dispatches from the field about the NDP injected so as to provide some semblance of "balance". Of course, when the Liberals began to crash and burn after the debates, the Globe's coverage and promotion of the Liberal brand intensified greatly, it seemed, and became more shrill and obviously more silly.

Now, it appears, the Globe may have decided to throw the losing Liberals under the bus, and to move to Plan C (Layton) to shill for the NDP, since Ignatieff and his strategists have made a mess of what should have been your average, run-of-the-mill coup. This may be only a fleeting impression, and Jane Taber's article which I reference at the commencement of this post may only be a one-off. Time will tell if it's an anomaly, or a shift in support to the back-up member of the coup/coalition.

CTV NewsNet also is culpable in my view, as is the obnoxious and biased Evan Solomon on CBC. Much less so than the Globe, though, which takes the cake as the unofficial newsletter of the Liberal Party of Canada. Also complicit may be The Canadian Press, a "news-gathering/shaping" organ jointly owned by the Globe & Mail, TorStar and, I believe, LaPresse.

Only the National Post, and Sun chain with it's newest baby SunTV, has been able to shed light on the edges of this conspiracy. SunTV's creation and start-up was viciously opposed by existing broadcasters, media giants, the "intelligencia" like Margaret Atwood and others ... as the greatest catastrophe that could possibly befall Canada (translation: a viewpoint that wasn't "progressive"). Scratch a "progressive" and you will always find an intolerant bigot. Sorry that the NP and SunTV spoiled your "coup party", folks.

And remember, TV (and therefore political reporting and biases) propagates across all regions of Canada. As do many of their print/media stories. It's the price we have paid, and are now paying in spades, to have allowed a very select number of companies to control the creation, distribution and presentation of news (including political) reporting across our nation. It doesn't take much thinking to realize the implication of this concentration on our lives and on our votes. The next government should clean up this cabal of incestuous "news" shapers or manipulators.

So be careful who you vote for on May 2nd. It may not be the party that you think you are supporting. You may be voting for Uncle Gilles.

[Update: Take a gander at who has registered as a Third-Party, so far. Yup, the CAW, Catch 22 Campaign, Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada, Public Service Alliance of Canada, The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, etc. Shades of the old anti-Conservative Think Twice Coalition, of which Elizabeth May was a member, I believe. Nothing like vested interests to spur on the Liberals ... or the NDP.]


Omar W said...

Outstanding analysis ... you must have been reading my mind :)
Thanks for speaking out.

Fay said...

Thankyou! You spell out this election and our choices perfectly!

R. G. Harvie said...

Excellent post - but, while I have a massive aborration for the idea of a coalition led by the Liberals - I think the post, and with respect, Premier Wall, over simplifies the problem somewhat.

As posted in my response to your post on my blog - http://bit.ly/ey9x9F

- If the PM ignores the need to secure the "confidence" of Parliament - he can't just sit back if it occurs again and say, "look what THEY did."

If he tables legislation he knows they will not support in a budget bill (say defunding political parties again) - he can't expect the Libs, NDP and Bloc to vote in support of it.

And if they don't - there are only three alternatives according to Parliamentary procedure:

a) Form a coalition with another party (presumeably the Libs);

b) Call an election;

c) Do neither - in which case, I believe that Parliamentary process would REQUIRE a proposal to the speaker by another party to take over government IF they hold the confidence of the majority of the house - a "coalition" if you will.

And if that happens - Harper will be no less responsible for the "coup" than they are.

Sometimes a good leader needs to understand where his flank is exposed and acts accordingly. Only a fool ignores his weakness and welcomes an attack there to "make a point".

burpnrun said...

@R.G.Harvie: Yes, I agree completely. But, two things to remember:
1. We may never get to that situation if the coup is successful.
2. Harper has managed to stick-handle his way through the rat-pack for 5 years, because he always finds a method or partner for his initiatives. I would expect this pattern to continue if he forms the next government.

Otherwise, your view is very perceptive.

Paul A.S. Ward said...

In 1985 The PC Party of Ontario, under then premier Frank Miller, won the most seats in the Ontario election. The Lieutenant Governor, per tradition, asked Mr. Miller to try to form a government. He failed, as was predictable, given that the Liberals and NDP said they would vote against such a government. The Lieutenant Governor then asked David Peterson if he could form a government. HE did, and the Peterson government ran Ontario till the '87 election (when Peterson then won a majority Liberal government).

Summary: this is the Westminster Parliamentary tradition; you may not like it, but (a) it has happened before in Canada (b) it is not a coup. In fact, just because the guy you vote for doesn't win, doesn't make it a coup. Please tone down the rhetoric.

burpnrun said...

@Paul A.S. Ward: You are absolutely right. But the electoral system, which is convention and not hard-and-fast, is being purposefully "gamed" by the Coalition.

In advance, on purpose. If they think "so alike", lay out for us now what their combined platform or major initiatives are. No later via "pig-in-a-poke" manner, fait accompli.

One great question would be immediate loan guarantees for Nfld/Lab Lower Churchill. Do you think the Bloc would let that happen? Don't you think that subject might be of some interest to Nfld/Lab citizens and voters, let alone the provincial government there? And the rest of the Maritimes?

It's not all cut-and-dried, sweet dreams as you make out. The coalition is a bunch of deceivers, traitors and opportunists, pure and simple.

Anonymous said...

"....this whole thing would not have happened if the moves hadn’t have been made with the Bloc to lock them in early, because you couldn’t put three people together in one, in three hours. The first part was done a long time ago, I won’t go into details, and the managing expectations, lists from groups, actually, the wisest people in the groups are already coming to the conclusion, some of them are in direct contact, saying probably wouldn’t be too helpful if we had long lists of stuff, right? What we really want is just to get Harper out and get the new group in because it’s going to be a hell of a lot better for everything we believe in, correct? Correct. So let’s stay on that track, and not start debating whether or not it’s twenty five percent change or fifteen percent change over here, let’s get them out, on the basis of unity not the basis of division."

".....What about the legitimacy of the democratic process, yeah, what about it?"

Jack Layton 2008:

Anonymous said...

The 1985 Ontario case isn't comparable. In that election, the Liberals were only 4 seats shy of the PC total (4 seats representing 3% of the total of 125), and actually won the popular vote. On May 2, the Liberals, in a best case scenario, will win 50% of the Conservative seat total, and will lose the popular vote by somewhere between 9-13%.

Indiana Homez said...

Sorry Harvie you've got it all wrong.

Harper has campaigned on THIS very budget. PMSH is obligated to put forth this budget after May 2 else he has betrayed those he's voted for.

Paul A.S. Ward said...

In a representative democracy you are electing a representative for your riding, nothing more, nothing less. The prime minister is whoever can claim the support of parliament. If you can get 155 MPs to decide you should be PM, you get to be PM. I suggest you think carefully about who should represent your riding, and let others do the same in their ridings. And then relax: we get to do the whole thing all over again in the next election, which, by the constitution, has to be held within (slightly less than) six years.

Paul A.S. Ward said...

On, and one other point: whoever you elect has no obligation to say or do anything in particular prior to the election; you get to take that into account when you choose who you wish to vote for; you don't get to complain after the fact that they did/did not do something that they said the wouldn't/would do during the election campaign (well, you can, but legally it does nothing for you). Feel free to try to get the system changed; there are lots of arguments to change it, but as a simple matter of legality, this is the system under which we operate.

bertie said...

The three amigos and their try for a SEPARATIST BACKED coalition fooled us once in 2008..SHAME ON THEM...If they fool us again in 2011..SHAME ON US

Anonymous said...

Paul no one is saying this is illegal. We all know it's legal and constitutional. What is being said is there are two choices : conservative or coalition please vote accordingly. That is all that is being said. Iggy already attempted to school us on what we already know. Yes in our system the loser can win we know this the question is do you want this? If you don't then vote conservative.

Bart Lansing said...

I don't get it. I really don't. What I don't get is how the Liberals, Bloc, and NDP are scum who are hijacking democracy and the same was nto true of the triad of the Conservatives. Bloc, and NDP in 2004.

Are your memories all equally short, are you all in denial, or are there simply a different set of rules that apply to the Conservatives than to anyone else?

Lest we forget:

September 9, 2004

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson,

C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.

Governor General

Rideau Hall

1 Sussex Drive

Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A1


As leaders of the opposition parties, we are well aware that, given the Liberal minority government, you could be asked by the Prime Minister to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government's program.

We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority.

Your attention to this matter is appreciated.


Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.

Leader of the Opposition

Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

Gilles Duceppe, M.P.

Leader of the Bloc Quebecois

Jack Layton, M.P.

Leader of the New Democratic Party

liberal supporter said...

Suppose this election produces exactly the same result as 2008:
5,209,069 CPC votes
3,633,185 Liberal votes
2,515,288 NDP votes

If the arithmetic is too hard for you, the Liberals and NDP put together got more votes than the CPC.

How is it a "coup" with the Liberals governing with the NDP agreeing not to vote against them for a couple of years? Such a government has more of a mandate than the CPC ever did. The NDP could easily renege on such an agreement without too many repercussions if it was over say, the Liberals deciding to repeal the Canada Health Act.

A coalition means other parties have Cabinet posts. Anything else is not a coalition, and is simply a minority government, which is exactly what Iggy will provide.

I consider majority power for Harper more of a "coup" than any of the above.

Compare a government that can be defeated at any time, with one that cannot be defeated for 5 years, and can pass whatever legislation it wants, no matter how extreme, such as repealing the Canada Health Act, reinstating the coat hanger, and reinstating the rope. Naturally these changes would all be through "private member's bills", to give the Leader plausible deniability.

Which is the real junta here?

As for the $300 million cost for this necessary election, I think democracy is worth $30 per voter. I suppose if elections are so tiresome, we can give Steve his majority, and maybe we won't have any more pesky elections at all. The Soviet argument was, "you voted for us once, why do you need to vote again?"

So many irreversible steps await, when majority Steve introduces Bill C-1. There will only be one omnibus bill, right?

Norma said...

Coalition is about co-operation & compromise, Stephen was unable to play by the rules of parliament & his government was found in contempt of parliament for not providing the cost of crime legislation to the Federal & provincial governments.
Coalition is not a four letter word:
Towards a Progressive Coalition Government in Canada

Anonymous said...

The Cons already ran as a "coalition", between the progressive Conservatives, reform and Alliance. One vote, one riding. They "won" in 2006 w/o having to come in by the back door, after three separate parties didn't get a plurality of seats against the usual suspects. The Libs probably woulda won!

The Libs, Dips and BLOC should have run as a coalition, one vote one combined seat, one riding, othewise they are just crying over spilt milk 'cause they split their vote separately.

They want a "do over" if they lose singly. Call another election, losers!

liberal supporter said...

So you consider the Government of Israel, a coalition of losers, to be somehow not legitimate? Netanyahoo's party was second after Kadima which is not in the governing coalition.
So the real question is, why do you hate the Israeli government?

Jan said...

The real reasons that the coalition of losers did not declare themselves is because they still get the per vote subsidies as separate parties.

With the introduction of the Coalition's cap and trade/carbon tax, watch our economic engine in the west shut down as all corporate and consumer taxes are funnelled to Ottawa. It is Trudeau's National Energy Plan all over again that took Alberta and the west a decade to recover from. Now B.C. and Sask. will have to endure the same oppression.

The trillion dollar resource industry that was anticipated over the next ten years will be sacrificed for billions spent on "social programs". Provincial authority in health care, education, and resources in our Confederation will be usurped by The People's Republic of Canada.

We will be ruled by Prime Minister Duceppe from the country of Quebec. To think otherwise is foolish.

Whatever each Opposition party is promising in their individual policies is a lie. Won't happen. The 3 headed coalition will come out with their own brand of policy __AFTER the election. How do I know this? Because we don't know the price of what Duceppe will blackmail the Liberals and NDP for and that could vastly affect their promises.

There is nothing democratic this.

If there is a coalition, the next fire to put out will be Western Separation -- good luck with that!

Norma said...

At least Duceppe is an honest man.
Stephen harper has done much to destroy Canada and what we value as Canadians.

Observant said...

If Iggy, Jack & Gilles came clean during the election and admitted they intend to form a coalition to defeat another minority Harper gov't and then attempt to form a coalition gov't, they might earn the respect of voting Canadians.

However if they hide their intentions behind parliamentary rules and suddenly spring a Coalition Troika Junta on Canadiasns, that could literaly cause the country to go up in flames. Of course the BQ separatists would welcome Canada tearing itself apart.

However since recent polls suggest the NDP could become the OOP in the next Parliament, Canadians might tolerate a PM Layton as opposed to a PM "Iggy".

Ah .. the tangled webs we weave ....

Anonymous said...

Glad to see other voters have noticed the same media slant against the Conservatives. The Star and CBC are a given, but the Globe & Mail (who endorsed Harper in the last election) have been very biased against him this time. Often their pro-liberal headlines bear no relation to the facts of the accompanying story. The CTV seems anti-conservative this election also, giving the coalition parties a "soft-ride". Even the National Post has published a string of anti-Tory stories over the past few days. We don't have the Sun newspaper chain in B.C., but Vancouver's two major daily newspapers are firmly in the liberal camp. My belief is this constant haranguing against the Conservatives in the media has help limit the Tory growth to their core supporters. I just hope voters can see through this media campaign to smear the Conservatives.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for yet another throw-away, fearful, drive-by libleft slur. Please list for us all the things Steven Harper has done to 'destroy Canada and what we value as Canadians'. Whatever nonsense you can cobble together in such a list will pale in comparison to what the balkanizing, destructive and corrupt trudeauopian regimes this country has had under successive liberal governments have done. And as to your fawning admiration for Duceppe? At least he's an honest man? Well, at least Mussolini got the trains running on time.

Anonymous said...

You need to have a closer look at the constitution. A coalition government is not a coup, but a way to govern the country when the party with the most seats cannot get the confidence of the house. The house, you may recall, represents the majority of Canadian voters. If they don't support the Prime Minister, then the opposition has a right to suggest somebody who can win their support.

The Grey Lady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Grey Lady said...

Yes Norma please expand your breathlessly hyper rhetoric to include examples of how Prime Minister Harper has "destroyed" Canada and Canadian values. I mustn't have been paying attention that day, because I totally missed it.

The sun still rises, we still have jobs, interest rates are still low, women aren't chained to the kitchen, cows still moo and not meow.