Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The political implications of yesterday's budget - With gossipy update

The vast majority of media pundits and bloggers seem to be suggesting that the Federal budget is basically a snoozer. It's a safe proposal with no 'poison pill' to infuriate the Liberals - and not a whole lot to either cheer or jeer about.

In today's Sun, Christina Blizzard moves on to the underlying political ramifications of the budget, such as Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan's pronouncement that it was a 'missed opportunity' (Flaherty has little for Ontario).

So what, you ask? Well according to Blizzard, the big deal here is that he said it en fran├žais. Good French in fact. This from a man who had previously declined to comment in anything but English. She sees this as a sign that Duncan is readying himself for a provincial leadership joust.

Which may put more credence in the rumour that Dalton is planning to move on to Federal politics at some point within his present mandate as Premier of Ontario.

...Federal Liberal Leader Stephane Dion said he will not force an election on the budget. So he gets to hang on to his job longer. I suspect there are more people in Canada who believe the Earth is flat than who are likely to vote for Dion. So once he disappears over the edge of that aforementioned flat Earth, there is wild speculation McGuinty will move to federal politics to restore federal Liberal fortunes...

One can only hope. (That he will move on - and share the misery)

...But if Flaherty's budget was really such a "missed opportunity," then Dion could surely force the issue and vote against it. Sure, he'd precipitate an election, but he'd send a message to voters in this province that he cares about us. Then again, since most ridings in this province -- especially the cities -- vote Liberal with knee-jerk regularity, perhaps he takes our affection for granted....

Did you hear that Ontario? Federal Liberals don't care about us and take us for granted!!!

The more Stephane Dion sits on his hands, the more Dalton McGuinty is going to look like a knight on a white charger poised to deliver the Federal Liberal party from the throes of political impotence.

It may end up as the big battle of two former Ontario premiers for the country's most coveted Liberal position.

* * * *

: Check this out courtesy of National Newswatch! Liberal decision comes after long, testy meeting - by Globe's Jane Taber:

...Mr. Ignatieff is on the "hawk" side of the caucus. Many of his supporters want to go to the polls now so as not to be seen continually supporting the Tory economic agenda.

But he was shot down, most significantly by national campaign co-chair David Smith, a veteran organizer and senator from Ontario. Mr. Smith said simply that the party wasn't ready to mount a national campaign, one insider said.

Others argued that they should not acquiesce to Mr. Harper by triggering an election that he seems to want; the election should be called on their terms and timing.

"It's a mess," said one MP about the state of play in the caucus over triggering the government's defeat. Some MPs believe that if the campaign team is not ready, after being put on notice as far back as the fall, then the leader should fire them all...

Of course, any regular readers of this blog know who's really pulling the strings.

* * * *
Excellent post here by A BCer in Toronto: If not now, when?...


Swift said...

I have been critical of Flaherty before, both in his provincial career and during his time in Ottawa. This time I'll give him an A for the economical implications of the budget, and an A+ for the political implications if the budget passes.

Calgary Junkie said...

Meanwhile,if you check Sections 61 and 64 of the Liberal Party Constitution, you will see that there is indeed a way for the LPC to dump Dion before the next general election.

Basically, these Sections say that the LPC must hold their biennial convention between Dec 2008 and June 2009. Also,
the Party may hold an extraordinary convention, (but it must be prior to June 2008)," to deal with any issues of extraordinary importance"

Prior to the biennial convention (and also, presumably, the extraordinary convention) the LPC may hold a "Leadership Endorsement Ballot"

So let's see if the Rae and/or Ignatieff camps manouver to force some kind of official Leadership review ASAP. As some pundits were saying last night, after the Liberal MPs no longer have their minds focused on dodging the three upcoming non-confidence traps, it will be that much harder for Dion to keep the caucus united.

Note: The rules for the Leadership Endorsement Ballot are similar to the rules we used to elect Harper as CPC leader--i.e. each riding has 100 points, allocated based on what percentage of members vote for/against the Leader.

OMMAG said...

Mr. Smith said simply that the party wasn't ready to mount a national campaign, one insider said....

Laughable ... since when did the Liberals ever have to campaign outside of Ontario and Quebec?

Could it be that their Quebec 'Oie' is cooked?
Perhaps BC can help ... nope not enough seats to help.
AB - ain't gonna happen
SK - Nope Ralph and Co. are done like dinner.
NB - still not enough seats.
All the other Maritimers? Ha....

Even with the MSM working very hard to carry their water the party of Lies Theft and Arrogance has little hope of regaining their former glory without a COMPLETE overhaul.

Guys like Ignatief know that and so push for election knowing full well that this will result in the necessary demolition and ground clearing that precedes redevelopment.

What they can't do yet is convince the spineless pack of weasels to take the big risk.

Anonymous said...

we heard it here first sports fans....I think even before the provincial election.

It's all about paving the way for McGuinty to move to federal politics.

Under Kinsella's superivision, it's not a matter of "if" but "when".