Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Coalition Is Good, Ignatieff Leading It Is Not.

The Liberal-NDP coalition formed in reaction to a Conservative government that had lost the confidence of the house; and though the alliance of sorts is itself democratic, if Michael Ignatieff was to lead it and become Prime Minister our country's democracy would be severely threatened.

Now the notion of a coalition in Canada is intrinsically democratic, after all we have a parliamentary system that is not only conducive to coalitions, but promotes them. In electing members of parliament, and not Prime Ministers, governments are legitimated from their ability to maintain a majority of those MPs' support. This in turn enables the principle of responsible government, one of our greatest democratic achievements; without it, our Prime Minister would not be held accountable to Parliament and to the people.

Our country also has a great history of coalitions, the most famous being The Great Coalition that immediately followed the 1864 election in the Province of Canada which united founding fathers John A. MacDonald of the Liberal-Conservatives, George Brown of the Clear Grits, and Etienne Cartier of the Parti Bleu and necessitated the creation of our country. This proves that not only are coalitions Canadian, but Canada owes its existence to the greatest coalition of them all.

Coalitions are democratic in Canada, however in the current Liberal-NDP configuration, because Michael Ignatieff was appointed by a very small group of Liberal officials; if the coalition was to form government our tradition of democracy would be in danger.

When one considers that the current and newly appointed Liberal Leader was selected only by the caucus and the National Executive, if this Liberal-NDP coalition was to form government, our country, our Canada would have a Prime Minister that was literally put in office by no more than 200 party elites, that is including those MPs from other parties that would have to support the coalition in Parliament.

Imagine if this was the case in 1968 after Lester B. Pearson retired from politics, instead of being left to the thousands upon thousands of Liberal Party members to select the next Prime Minister, it was left to less than a hundred Party elites. A country in the millions having its most powerful office determined by less than a hundred Liberal officials; that is not democracy. And as it would have been undemocratic then, it would be now.

Adding to the undemocratic nature of this current situation is the fact Stephane Dion, the elected leader of the Liberal Party was recently forced to resign by those very same party officials who chose Michael Ignatieff as the interim leader and the eventual Liberal leader. For it was just a few days ago where the Liberal caucus met and pressured Dion to resign, and almost within hours drafted rules that left no chance for Ignatieff's competitor, Bob Rae to become interim leader; and thus effectively made Ignatieff leader.

How Michael Ignatieff became interim leader and how he will become eventual leader is a problem the Liberal Party must answer. If Michael Ignatieff becomes leader of Canada through the Liberal-NDP coalition, the problem is far more grave and the consequences could be all the more irreparable to our country and to our democracy. With Michael Ignatieff as leader of the Liberal Party, the coalition must not form government. We cannot have a Prime Minister that was created and selected by less than two hundred poltical party elites. For the sake of our democracy, this coalition cannot form government.

14 comments:

BCLiberal said...

First off, I don't know what kind of d-bag refers to themselves as "The". Get over yourself buddy.

Second, it takes you many words to repeat your mantra that Ignatieff's selection as leader was undemocratic and a violation of Liberal members' rights.

As you may understand, it is perfectly constitutional for the National Executive to appoint an interim leader; no one has appointed Ignatieff permanent leader. May's leadership convention is going ahead. You may run against him if you'd like, or even carry out a write-in campaign -- I guarantee you Ignatieff has enough grass-roots support to win over 90% of the votes.

Unlike you, most Liberals have realised that we absolutely need to unite behind one leader (whether Rae or Ignatieff, the consensus came to be Ignatieff), and leave no uncertainty in the minds of the public as to who would be leading a potential coalition in the future.

As great a person as Dion is, he is a damaged good. He is no longer saleable to the public. This precluded him from remaining Liberal leader indefinitely, and the urgency of the parliamentary crisis necessitates a Liberal leader who will serve indefinitey.

Dion was "forced to resign" by nobody but the grassroots Liberals. It is perfectly democratic for a party leader to see they have lost the support of the party, that they would lose a leadership review vote, and thus tender their resignation. Dion simply recognised the necessity of selecting a permanent leader, and sped up his decision that was made because of grassroots Liberals.

Your populist assertions about this "undemocratic" process where our rights as Party members are denied to us are inane. In no definition of democracy is an opponent required; merely, the ability of opposition to run in a fair election is required. You have this in the May leadership convention. Go ahead and run chump.

You cannot allege a process is undemocratic simply because the vast majority of Liberals favour an outcome that is not to your liking.

Is Gordon Brown's Labour leadership and UK Premiership undemocratic because no one ran against him for Labour leader?

You are a fool who needs to get off his high horse.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

BCLiberal: Do you expect to be taken seriously by name-calling? That shows immaturity.

I fully acknowledge Ignatieff will win and he'll win because the National Executive wrote the rules to make him Interim Leader. And as Interim Leader he is guarenteed by support by the organization to become leader.

As for most Liberals supporting ignatieff before Dion resigned thats untrue. As for for most Liberals wanting Dion to resign that too is untrue.

Again I suggest you refrain from your name-calling, and provide reasons and arguments instead of mere opinion.

Mala Fides said...

Scott,

I don't know what world you are in if you think the majority of Liberals continue to support Stephane Dion.

Even his strongest, most loyal, long-term supporters recognized after his performance in response to Harper's televised message that Stephane needed to step down immediately.

And please don't get this wrong the grassroots spoke out loud and clear to Mr. Dion, telling him that he had to go. Many of these people felt awful about the situation, because they wanted Stephane to succeed given his previous heroic performances on the environment and on the the post Referendum battle.

There should be no argument about it Stephane won the Leadership in 2006 based on grassroots support, but two years later that support has evaporated.

With respect to Ignatieff's leadership, the Liberal Party Constitution is clear, Caucus chooses interim leaders.

Bob Rae and his team did the math and realized that the numbers were not going to be in his favour. I'm sure it was a difficult decision for him to make, but he has chosen to put Party unity in front of continuing a good fight. Everyone, and I mean everyone respects Bob.

If you are having problems with the situation, I suggest that you look at how Bob has handled himself and what he has done following his withdrawal from the race. If that doesn't help you get behind the new Leader, then I suggest you call up Bob Rae and talk to him personally and see what kind of advice he has for you.


What you shouldn't do (although it is a free country) is freak out online about how upset you are and call Ignatieff's leadership illegitimate.


Enjoy your holidays. Take some time off and then come back. The Party needs your energy and convictions and support.


And this is all coming from someone who has been one of Stephane's biggest supporters.

RuralSandi said...

I think you're in never, neverland fella.

In my area, our papers are loaded daily with letters to the editor against the coalition.

Polls show it's not popular.

You really need to get a grip on yourself.

So, use it if needed, but the people speak in an election and it may destroy the parties involved - think about it.

The likelihood of the GG allowing it are slim, no guarantees there.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Mala Fides: Please don't make things up. When you say, "And please don't get this wrong the grassroots spoke out loud and clear to Mr. Dion, telling him that he had to go." show me one poll that supports you're illusion.

Also you pride yourself on being a Dion supporter but then use some blogspot account that doesn't give your name.

You think people take you seriously when you use a pseudonym, I don't.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

RuralSandi: Letters to the editor against the coalition are meaningless. The possibility of a coalition rests strictly on our constitution and our conventions.

If a coalition was so unlikely please explain what Harper is so afraid of that he will introduce one of the most stimulating budgets? That is if Ignatieff doesn't show his hand of not supporting the coalition.

Antonio said...

The Liberal Party was really between a rock and hard place scott.

Bob Rae's plans to change the LPC constitution in order to give him a slightly better chance of winning would have dragged out the process and trampled over the document the party ws founded on.

Every party has its kinks. OMOV is a way to ensure that urban centres dominate the Liberal Party. That is why Liberals, including Bob Rae himself, voted against it.

Both Rae and Ignatieff agreed the leader needed to be chosen beore May. Rae realised he couldnt win a quicker vote, so he gave up. Did the right thing. What do you suggest he do given the circumstances.

RuralSandi said...

Scott - are you forgetting that the people that write letters to the editor are VOTERS.

You sound like a kid at a rebellious age.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Antonio: I suggest Ignatieff AND Rae were wrong to force Dion to resign, as I noted in a previous post.

I would then say, the National Executive and both candidates were wrong for allowing each to run for interim leader.

The National Exec and Caucus were wrong in drawing up the rules to favour one candidate over another.

What should have done is not allowing the above to happen as there was no reason for any of the above except partisan self-interest.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

RuralSandi- The coalition wouldn't go to voters. It would immediately form government.

If you are suggesting this would hurt the party in the long run, I would counter unpopular governments can and do become popular in power, as did Harpers.

And don't belittle people because they disagree with you.

Antonio said...

All 3 leadership aspirants had various proposals to eelct a leader before January 27th. In all scenarios, a new leader would have been found.

Dion said he would stay until another leader was found. Once the other two knew they were not gonna win, they decided that it was better to come back with Ignatieff than fight and risk Dion leading the Liberals into another election.

With a new leader found, Dion had no choice but to step aside.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Antonio: Dion should not have been forced out. The Convention should have been moved up. The Leadership candidates should not have ran for interim leader. The National Executive should have drawn the rues up fairly (and they could have).

You have not responded as to why Dion was forced out.

Why we needed a leadership candidate as interim leader.

Why the rules were biased.

Why the convention wasn't moved up.

etc.

Mala Fides said...

Hey kid,

How about the poll of just about every Liberal that I have spoken to across the country and every Liberal that I talked to going door to door during the election and how about just about every Liberal blogger that once upon a time was loyal to the Leader and helped him get the Leadership in 2006. How about the Leader himself, who resigned because after the horrendous video had lost even the tiniest glimmer of support from even the most remote reaches of the Liberal party. How about riding executives and riding presidents across the country.

Kid, why don't you show me one poll that demonstrates that Dion has more than 5% support today? TODAY!!

If you can do that, I'll concede.

You know there are still people out there that pine for Diefenbaker. Go figure.

Antonio said...

the executive CAN move up the convention

they CANNOT change the way the delegates are elected.

the rules were approved by Liberals in 2006. They are not biased.

All 3 aspirants to the leadership did not want an interim leader they wanted a permanent one. All 3 figured that would be the best way to help the party prepare for an eventual election. It was in their hands because without their candidacies, there would be no race and a new leader could be installedimmediately.

Once Leblanc was out, a super weekend would easily have determined the winner since with 2 options, someone would have had over 50%. Rae decided that the present system would not allow him to get that 50% so he made a strategic decision. Rae dropping out forced Dion's hand.

If there still was a race, Dion would have never resigned. The video served as a catalyst to get party members on board. Everybody knew the only way Dion would leave was if his replacement was found.