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Accidental Deliberations: On partial answers

Having posted earlier on the message we should expect from our opposition leaders when it comes to ensuring change, let’s make clear exactly what Justin Trudeau has now said – and most notably, what he hasn’t said. “There are no circumstances” under which the Liberals would prop up Harper should the Tories emerge with only . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On partial answers

Accidental Deliberations: On simplified procedures

Following up on this post, let’s also note how the right answer from Canada’s opposition parties could combine with the seeming agreement between the major party leaders as to the “most seats first” principle to take nearly all of the guesswork out of a post-election minority Parliament.

Again, the range of possible outcomes absent some . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On simplified procedures

Accidental Deliberations: On basic questions

The National Post’s editorial board offers the latest reminder as to how confidence is won and lost in Canada’s Parliament. And it only highlights the need for our candidates – particularly those promising change – to offer a clear indication as to their post-election plans.

But while it’s worth discussing what types of agreement might . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On basic questions

Accidental Deliberations: Juxtaposition

On the one hand, there’s what Canadian voters actually want… (N)early 60 per cent of respondents support the idea of two or more parties forming a coalition government, if no party gains a majority of seats in October’s election.

And this: By a margin of almost two-to-one, the voters of today would send Mr. Harper . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Juxtaposition

Accidental Deliberations: On settled issues

As Dan Gardner points out, Stephen Harper is continuing to misrepresent the nature of Canada’s system of government. But he’s nonetheless made a noteworthy concession in doing so: PM: HERE’S THE QUESTION THOUGH. UM IS IT A CORRECT ASSUMPTION TO MAKE THAT WHICHEVER PARTY ENDS UP, IF WE’RE IN A MINORITY SITUATION, WHICHEVER PARTY ENDS . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On settled issues

Accidental Deliberations: On changed messages

Paul Wells highlights the major change from the Cons’ messaging in 2011 compared to today, as the party which spent years doing nothing about obsessing over (and demonizing) the possibility of a coalition has suddenly gone mum except in front of the most partisan of crowds. But it’s worth noting that there’s another factor beyond . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On changed messages

Accidental Deliberations: On transitions

Bob Hepburn makes clear that while the Libs may still be in denial about the importance of cooperating to remove the Harper Cons from power, their best friends in the media are under no such illusions. But the most noteworthy contribution to Canada’s discussion about post-election options comes from Aaron Wherry – particularly in highlighting . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On transitions

Accidental Deliberations: On cautionary tales

I’ve previously offered my take on why all opposition parties – including the Libs – should and will ultimately vote the Harper Cons out of power when given the chance. But I’ll note that Don Lenihan’s argument toward the same conclusion actually offers a reminder why there’s reason for concern.

Whatever lesson one wants . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On cautionary tales

Accidental Deliberations: On trust issues

Susan Delacourt’s take on what we should expect to see happen if there’s a minority Parliament following this fall’s election covers most of the bases. But it’s worth expanding on one point: It’s true that Harper, by constitutional convention, would have first shot at forming a government if the Conservatives win the largest number of . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On trust issues

Accidental Deliberations: On cooperative options

I’ve previously excoriated the Libs for the connection between their refusal to talk about cooperation with other parties and their complete lack of any idea what they supposedly stand for. And nothing in the campaign to date changes that analysis.

By the same token, I’ll give credit where due to Elizabeth May for being . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On cooperative options

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

– Robin Sears discusses the hubris behind the Cons’ early election call, while Tim Naumetz notes that the extended campaign is just one more issue where the Cons are offside of the vast majority of the public. And the Guardian comments on the reasons for optimism that we’re nearing . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: On end goals

We can fully expect Canada’s election campaign to feature plenty more talk about possible coalition outcomes – which are favoured by the public, and may represent the best way to ensure the Cons’ replacement if Stephen Harper again tries to cling to power. And as I’ve noted before, there remains little reason to take the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On end goals

Accidental Deliberations: Change for the better

It seems so long ago when it was conventional wisdom that no party in contention for government in Canada would dare talk about cooperating to get things done, no matter how many voters wanted to see it happen.

But if there was any doubt that the NDP can change Ottawa’s underlying assumptions, we can put . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Change for the better

Accidental Deliberations: On cooperative priorities

As part of their new “Hope and Wild Flailing” campaign theme, plenty of Libs are looking for any pretext – however lacking in reality – to attack Tom Mulcair. And Mulcair’s latest comments on a coalition offer the latest flimsy excuse. So let’s look at how there’s still a huge difference between the NDP and . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On cooperative priorities

Accidental Deliberations: Working across the aisle

Among the other lessons learned from Alberta’s recent election, let’s point out one more with implications for the federal scene.

While the main opposition parties recognized that they were too far apart in their general policy orientation to justify a formal coalition, both the NDP and the Wildrose Party were happy to point out some . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Working across the aisle

Accidental Deliberations: Choosing the wrong side

Following up on this morning’s column, let’s note that there’s another area where the Libs are stubbornly sticking to a previous position whose underpinnings have been even more thoroughly destroyed.

The Libs have been at pains to at least offer the perception of changing their direction from nearly everything done by both Stephane Dion and . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Choosing the wrong side

Accidental Deliberations: On guesswork

Shorter Bob Rae: Some people actually believe voters deserve a meaningful idea what political parties plan to do before choosing between them? That’s crazy talk.

Accidental Deliberations: The democratic alternative

Some time ago, I put together this list of principles worth considering when talking about structured cooperation between political parties. And consistent with Ian Gill’s own warning about his lack of connection to party structures, his proposal for a secret pre-election pact manages to fail on nearly every front.

But while there’s some reason for . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: The democratic alternative

Accidental Deliberations: The petulant son

Shorter Justin Trudeau: When I say I plan to do politics differently, what I mean is that I’m willing to leave Stephen Harper in power based on the most petty and frivolous excuses anybody’s ever heard.

No longer is there any pretense that a flat “no” to a coalition with the NDP is based . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: The petulant son

Accidental Deliberations: On transition planning

I’ve previously highlighted the need for media and citizens alike to press our opposition parties on how they’re willing to cooperate to replace the Harper Cons after the next federal election. But let’s note that there’s a similar question which still needs to be directed at Stephen Harper at every available opportunity – even if . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On transition planning

Accidental Deliberations: History repeating

2008, pre-election: Liberal bigwigs make a ridiculous spectacle of themselves proclaiming that they’ll never deign to cooperate with the likes of the NDP.

2008, post-election: Having spent the campaign echoing Stephen Harper’s desperate message that a coalition would be illegitimate, the Liberals conclude that they’re willing to cooperate after all, only to botch the job.

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: History repeating

Accidental Deliberations: On prospects for change

The latest round of discussion about the possibility of a coalition to offer something better than the Harper Cons seems to have taken an noteworthy turn. At this point, everybody but the Libs seems to have settled on the position that there’s no real obstacle to a coalition government – and the Libs’ spin machine . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On prospects for change

Accidental Deliberations: On needless concessions

Shorter Dougald Lamont: The only way to win against Stephen Harper’s Conservatives is to let the Conservatives define both the significance of Stephen Harper, and what it means to “win”.

Accidental Deliberations: On simple questions

Gerald Caplan goes far beyond what’s necessary in proposing that the NDP and Libs develop a pre-election cooperation pact intended to lead to a party merger. But as highlighted by the conversation started by Fern Hill’s Tweet, we can take his suggestion as a starting point in discussing what we expect from Canada’s opposition parties.

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On simple questions

Accidental Deliberations: On common messaging

It shouldn’t come as much surprise that the new election year is bringing out the usual, tiresome round of calls for strategic voting and candidate withdrawals.

In the past, I’ve responded by suggesting that if Canada’s opposition parties have enough common ground to cooperate, they should consider working with joint messages rather than trying to . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On common messaging