Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Breaking News: Stephen Harper is an Asshole

Ladies and gents, I have a stunning revelation for you: Stephen Harper is an asshole.

He has decided to shove custom and courtesy to the side, replacing it with cynicism and opportunism.

There exists in Canada a tradition of letting new leaders run unopposed in by-elections. No one wants to give their political enemy an upper hand, but it is recognized that in a parliamentary democracy like Canada's, it is imperative that party leaders - especially the leader of the opposition and the prime minister - hold seats in the House of Commons. It was a courtesy the Liberals extended to Joe Clark and Stockwell Day in 2000, and Stephen Harper himself in 2002. How has Steve decided to show his gratitude for that gracious act?

Well for starters, he's scheduled two by-elections - the only ones that will happen in the near future - for just days before the Liberals elect a leader. Obviously, it would be best for that new leader to hold a seat in the House of Commons. If Stephane Dion or Michael Ignatieff wins, this will not be a problem. However, if the next leader of the Liberal party is either Bob Rae or Gerard Kennedy, they will have to ask a sitting MP to step down in order to make room for them, and even then Harper could put off calling the by-election for months if he wanted to (and you better believe that's exactly what he's got planned).

Not only that, but Harper is planning on running candidates in both of the by-elections, despite the fact that Gerard Kennedy or Bob Rae could run in the London one (the Quebec by-election is a lost cause for any party except for the Bloc, as it is in a safe Bloc seat) and thus already hold a seat in the Commons. Meanwhile, Green Party leader Elizabeth May is planning on running in London as well.

There are arguments for not allowing May to run unopposed. After all, she is not the leader of a party with representation in the House, thus, she should not necessarily be afforded that courtesy. However, Harper is blatantly abusing his power to call by-elections for crass political gain. Putting political affiliation aside, it is impossible to disagree that this smacks of poor sportsmanship and the worst kind of cynicism. Harper is deliberately flouting Canadian custom for no other reason than his pathological hatred of all things Liberal.

It's utterly shameful, and it does not bode well for the future of this practice - the Liberals are going to be quite reluctant now to let any new Conservative party leader run unopposed, and are going to be much more inclined to schedule by-elections at the most inconvenient times for the Conservatives - say, a day of their next leadership convention (if the Liberals are in power when that happens). The Ontario Liberals have already poisoned the atmosphere of provincial politics by not allowing John Tory to run unopposed in his by-election, and now the Conservatives are poisoning the federal political atmosphere, too. In a time when we need a bit more courtesy and collegiality, Stephen Harper is using dirty tricks to try and kick the Liberals with a cheap-shot you-know-where. I can't think of an incident of a prime minister acting in a more classless way.


At 10/25/2006 6:38 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

substitute cretin & libs and "oh my God" we have the same senerio the libs did to the cons.What hiprocritical bunkum,but it does permit a liberal to sneak up the middle,so thats OK.

At 10/25/2006 7:13 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

This tradition is an unwritten one. The Canadian Alliance and the NDP have never followed it. Further, I would find it unfair and undemocratic if I coudn't vote for the candidate of my party of choice!

At 10/25/2006 7:20 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more seat for the conservative party.Woo Hoo!!!

At 10/25/2006 8:00 p.m., Blogger Toronto Tory said...

You're being intentionally dishonest here.

The tradition is for a member of the that leader's party to resign and allow the leader to run in the by-election. In that situation, the have often ran unopposed. The net impact on the standings in the house has generally been 0.

There is no tradition of letting the leader run unopposed in a contestable seat.

When Joe Clark ran as PC leader, a member of his party (Scott Brison, ironically enough) resigned to allow him to run.

When Stockwell Day ran as CA leader, a member of his party (Jim Hart) stepped down.

Following with tradition, if the next Liberal leader requires a seat (keep in mind, the frontrunner already has one), a current Liberal MP in a safe Liberal riding will step down and allow the new leader to run in a by-election.

Also, the NDP always runs a candidate. This was a PC-Liberal tradition only.

At 10/25/2006 11:27 p.m., Blogger Scott said...

toronto tory is right - you have to be leader of the party to get that privilege, not a potential leader.

Although, he could have, and should have, set the date for the by-elections after the leadership convention. I admit, that was a pretty assholic thing for him to do.

At 10/26/2006 5:13 p.m., Blogger Clear Grit said...

You're being intentionally dishonest here.

What proof do you have that I was being intentionally dishonest? Absolutely none, of course, which means that if anyone is being intentionally dishonest here, it's you.

The fact of the matter is, I was not aware of that second part of the tradition, which you explained, that a leader is allowed to run unopposed only in the instance of another member stepping down. Thus I was not being dishonest, and the mistake was certainly not intentional, no more so than any other mistake.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that scheduling those by-elections just days before the convention was a very deliberate, and extremely classless thing of the prime minister to do.

At 10/27/2006 3:48 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 10/26/2010 3:50 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it.... some of you nail it right on, and hopefuly the ones who do are known by those with a double digit IQ. As for the rest, I get a big kick watching you pass the buck on each other. The famous NO FAULT argument. No! You did, I didn't! No you're the liar! No, you're the idiot! Blah blah whine whine (with cheese anybody?). So laughable.

For all the clueless ones, shut the hell up okay? Get's annoying to see adolescents pretend to know how to ge a point across, when they have zero diplomacy skills.

In terms of who's who? I'll leave that single digit IQ stuff up to you, to decide. :P

At 10/26/2010 4:14 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just remember, most of you kiddies weren't even a twinkle in your father's eye, or if you were alive then as rugrats, when lyin' brian (the cash stuffed envelope criminal)attempted a third mandate...his party came back to Ottawa with TWO whole seats. Buloney didn't even win his own seat then.

Canada finally learned that a Conservative government was a very BAD move, hence why the Libs won a landslide majority victory, three times.

When Chretien finally decided to call it, he left Canada with a SURPLUS. Then all you brainwashed kids elected the worst possible candidate (Canada's version of george bush) into the PMO, and he's still there....although never in a majority setting... GOOD THING, or he would've completed Lyin' Brian's vision of selling Canada COMPLETELY lock, stock, and barrel to America for a song... (Anyone remember Meech Lake? For those kids who don't even know what it is, should go research it).

harper (I refuse to even capitalize his name) WILL finish it, if you keep him IN... he's practically already bankrupted us, and surely will SOONer then later.

This is only ONE small Blog... but people have to put the word out. harper has to go. Ignatieff probably isn't the answer either....but if you start doing some research... Bob Rae took a bankrupt Ontario, created a new Toll Highway and SAVED Ontario...then PC Mike (the drunkard) harris got in, and LEASED that highway to Quebec, who sold it to Spaniards. Then he bankrupted Ontario again!! Those PCs are Destroyers of Worlds. Spend spend spend... and never anything for the PEOPLE. WAKE the hell up CANADA!! NDP has never sat in the PMO... the only PM we ever had saved Ontario from ruin. It's time to give NDP a shot at the top job... and a MAJORITY so they can DO it properly!

At 2/19/2011 7:50 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...



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