Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tory majority or, heaven help us, Liberal-NDP government

As the federal election campaign passes its halfway mark and enters the stretch run, it looks more likely that the Conservatives will win. What’s less clear, of course, it whether they will win a majority. And this is a crucial point, for coalitionwithout a majority we’ll very likely have a Liberal minority government— once we’ve gone through the formality of a Conservative throne speech and, perhaps, a budget.

Michael Ignatieff insists that his party will not form a coalition, but so what. If his party sees a coalition as the only means to power, they’ll join one—even if they have to dump Ignatieff as leader to do so. They will probably dump him anyway, but that’s another matter.

I can see no future whatsoever for a non-majority Conservative government. Any observer of this election must see that there are only two adversaries: the Tories and the opposition. The campaign has become an anybody-but-the-Conservatives contest. We saw that played out on the leaders’ debates this week: one-on-one segments between the opposition leaders were pretty tame stuff and quickly became bash-Harper routines with opposition leaders trying to outdo each other.

So election-41 will, very likely, produce a Conservative majority for the next four years or a Liberal minority with formal support from the NDP and the Bloc Québécois. NDP-Bloc support of the Liberals may not come in the form of a coalition with non-Grit membership in the Liberal cabinet, but the effect will be the same: Tories will form the official opposition. Personally, I believe the NDP—though not the Bloc—will officially be part of the government, with Jack Layton having a seat at the cabinet table.

The prospect of the NDP being part of the new government is driving a significant segment of NDP support in this campaign: voters from the left believe they can stop the Conservatives without having to vote for the Liberals.

If the Tories fail to gain a majority, we’ll be dialing the clock back to the 1970s with that era’s high deficits, high taxes, high inflation and rapidly expanding social programs.

Oh, the Grits like to tell voters they are the party that balanced the budget after several years of budget deficits under Tory rule. But that was a very different Liberal Party. Can any senior member of the current Liberals be considered as fiscally conservative as Paul Martin was?

When Paul Martin left the finance portfolio in 2002, so too did fiscal prudence. Following his departure, John Manley’s federal budget allocated billions of dollars in new spending on a broad front, putting a stake through the heart of the last vestiges of fiscal conservatism remaining in the Liberal Party.

An Ignatieff-Rae-Layton government will greatly expand social spending and pay for it with increased taxes and ongoing deficits:

  • the Liberals-NDP will increase corporate income taxes—they have promised to do this;
  • they will increase payroll taxes—the NDP is proposing this in their platform;
  • they will increase GST to former levels—they all have said the reductions made by the Tories were a big mistake;
  • they will raise new taxes through cap-and-trade/carbon tax schemes, increasing the prices of virtually every consumer product we buy—it’s in the Liberals’ current platform buried on about page 46; and
  • they will give God knows what and how much to Quebec as the quid pro quo for the Bloc’s support.

But they will not balance the budget, because socialist elements within their ranks won’t stand for such a move. This influential force will point to the United States and Europe and tell us those countries run deficits so it’s okay for us to do so.

It’s happened before under the Liberals-NDP, it’ll happen again.


© 2011 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.


  1. I see nothing wrong with Parties co-operating . The Liberals have said "No" to a formal coalition and I believe them .
    Here's Stephen's view in 2004.
    Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Stephen Harper Makes a Compelling Argument in Favour of Minority Governments
    It would be nice if the 200 page manual was shredded and people listened to and respected dissenting views. Let's have open debates .

  2. "In a news conference today, Finance Minister Jack Layton stated that..."

    I don't like the sound of that.

  3. Susan Riley (Ottawa Citizen's version of Jane Taber) said today on CPAC that the way for the Liberals to turn the campaign around is use Paul Martin in the campaign.
    Joel-Denis Bellevance seemed to agree. I seem to want to vomit at the thought! However, I rejoice if they really are that desperate.

  4. Unless the results are really close, I doubt a coalition will happen. The backlash would be too big and the Liberals would likely get destroyed in the following election so I doubt they are that stupid to attempt such a thing. The may leave that on the table to keep in Harper in line, but I really cannot see it happening.

  5. Norma,
    Stephane Dion said "NO" to a coalition just days before the 2008 election. That lasted a few weeks. The Liberals are even less credible now as they will NOT respect the will of Canadians for the Conservative party that may win a minority. This is the question that Ignatieff REFUSES to answer.
    There is video of both Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe denying vehemently that there was any "coalition" in 2004. If you like I can email you the links --it is available on public domain on U-tube. Paul Martin was attempting another election after only three months since the previous one and the letter to the GG requests that she speak to the Opposition leaders.
    This is clearly different from the 2008 coalition agreement.
    The 2008 coalition allowed NO Conservative representation, although they were the winning party. In it there are 16 cabinet posts for Liberals, 8 for the NDP with a permanent mechanism for the Bloc (who advocate separating from Canada) to influence legislation for the rest of Canada. Surely you can see how wrong this would be.
    I notice your references to Emily. I have read her posts many times and appreciate that she is for the most part respectful and thoughtful in her opinion, as we all should be. Like myself, she consistently advocates for the "left" as I do for the "right". This is good for democracy as each one should have a voice to "sharpen" the dialogue.
    My concern is for Western Canada. With the "cap and trade"/carbon tax which the U.S. has rejected as harmful to economic growth, we are vulnerable. B.C. Alta and Sask. particularly are "energy-rich" provinces who would be unfairly taxed per population. The Liberals and NDP have already voted against adding 7 Mp's to B.C. in order to have fair representation in Ottawa. In B.C. we already (like Ontario) have 2 separate "carbon" taxes. The cap and trade addition would be a third.
    Western Separatism is not loudly spoken about YET, but the reality is there. The thought of a coalition of the left, especially to subsidize Quebec (which the cap and trade would do) produces palpable anger. Also the 2008 coalition would have meant that from Ontario west, there would virtually be no representation in Ottawa. Aside from ideology, there are far-reaching effects that we would feel as a nation. As a Canadian, my heart feels deep concern. Thanks for hearing my view.

  6. We have two choices with this election. Four years with a Conservative government that has kept our economy stable while the rest of the world is in financial chaos, or a tax hungry Socialist coalition led by "Larry, Mo, and Curly Joe" that intend to spend us into a black hole of debt?
    Please pinch me and wake me up ... I'm having a horrible nightmare!

  7. I don't get conservatives, you grew up in this country, so why so angry? There are medicines. Your policies are like tea partiers intended to turn Canada to USA, cut taxes until pressure on public programs mounts to reduce great public institutions. Shallow-minded black or white ideas and hatred for institutions developing intelligent thinking, like CBC. You child care policies suck, your $100 gift to me for my kids hockey is a cheap trick, I'd rather have day cares so there are fewer kids from environment where kids don't have bare basics. I'd rather have society that sends strong message - we won't let you rot, just because its below our dignity and civility. Your economics are flawed, you cut taxes to companies that are sitting on cash. Companies will not hire just because their taxes are lower by 3%, its about their market and consumers demand. Ireland had low flat taxes and that policy success was short lived and attracted opportunists that left despite low taxes. Canadians always gave hand to the neighbour who was poor, why such agenda to dismantle great democracy, why do you want to make American elections system by removing subsidies to political parties, why do you want allow money to shut down democracy, do you hate this country? is it just greed? we can live peacefully as neighbours, I don't hate you. I will buy you a pie or a beer. Your liberal-ndp neighbour.

  8. Yes, Anon 1:43, ALL conservatives hate everything about democracy, Canada and wish to make us an American state--you implied this so it must be true.

    And thank you so much for not hating me.

    I just wish you'd find yourself a leader who understands Canada more and one who isn't an internationalist.

    Yes, the left is very peaceful, I've been caught (at Queen's Park) in the middle of one of your "peaceful" demonstrations when you used marbles and ballpoint pens so effectively against those evil police and their horses.

    Have a nice day.

  9. Jan,it would nice if we could have a respectful government that had real debate & listened to the will of the people.
    Under Stephen harper the government was dictated from the Prime Minister's Office {PMO} They refused to provide the cost of the bills that parliament was being asked to vote on.This lack of cooperation led to them being in Contempt of parliament.
    In 2004 Stephen did not see coalition as a bad thing when he crafted the following letter to the GG & asked for co-operation from the NDP & the Bloc-
    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