Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« Beaverhill Lake fire: exclusive Western Standard photos and interview | Main | Defending William Whatcott: pro-life, anti-gay activist pushes freedom of expression to the limit »

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Endorsing Dion for Leader of the Opposition

There are a lot of Conservatives out there that are rubbing their chins in glee at the idea of the Liberals becoming a third place party. I'd rather groan in agony at the thought of the NDP becoming the official opposition. Why should it matter? If the NDP are the second party, chances are that the Conservatives have a majority government, the opposition can whistle to the wind after that, right?

People underestimate the power of the official opposition. They have power not in what they can do but in what they attack. Few would deny that Manning had an influence on Chretien's policies. Governments usually design their policy in a way that makes it difficult to attack. By doing so they often reach into the middle ground between the parties, and sometimes they reverse long standing policies to preempt an attack. Do you really want to see the NDP getting even this much influence?

The leader of the second party can set the tone of the debate in numerous ways. Most importantly, the leader of the second party can bring up issues and get more attention than the leaders of the smaller parties. What sort of issues will Jack Layton bring into federal politics? Higher corporate taxes and proportional representation are not things I want to see Parliament debating. With a Liberal official opposition it is not likely that these things will be seriously talked about. With a NDP official opposition they are almost certainly going to be issues.

The bottom line, be careful what you wish for.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on September 28, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d834515b5d69e2010534dc73ca970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Endorsing Dion for Leader of the Opposition:

Comments

Weren't you "indorsing" Dion a while ago?

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-09-28 8:14:18 PM


One other thing to remember: two Parliamentary committees -- Public Accounts and Scrutiny of Regulations -- *have* to be chaired by members of the Opposition. As well, each Parliamentary Committee *must* have one vice-chair from the opposition. And because these are positions of responsibility, people will need to think very long -- and very hard -- about which party has the most responsible members.

Posted by: PhantomObserver | 2008-09-28 8:21:39 PM


Indorsing? That's not a word. Only an idiot would write that he was 'indorsing' something. Certinly a rwighter off mye calibre woldn't mke a misteak liek htat.

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2008-09-28 8:22:27 PM


As well, each Parliamentary Committee *must* have one vice-chair from the opposition.And because these are positions of responsibility, people will need to think very long -- and very hard -- about which party has the most responsible members.
Posted by: PhantomObserver | 28-Sep-08 8:21:39 PM

Interesting idea if I got two votes. One for the party I believe is best suited to run the country and one who would make the best opposition.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-09-28 8:35:32 PM


Stig, what I think Phantom meant is that if you don't support the Conservatives you should consider the type of opposition you want for the government (assuming, as everyone is, that the Tories win).

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2008-09-28 8:38:25 PM


Stig, what I think Phantom meant is that if you don't support the Conservatives you should consider the type of opposition you want for the government (assuming, as everyone is, that the Tories win).
Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 28-Sep-08 8:38:25 PM

In other words strategic voting. I don't see it happening.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-09-28 8:49:51 PM


Not strategic voting (which I think is a silly practice), its more a matter of being fully aware of the consequences of your vote. Canadians elect the opposition not just the government.

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2008-09-28 8:53:05 PM


Not strategic voting (which I think is a silly practice), its more a matter of being fully aware of the consequences of your vote. Canadians elect the opposition not just the government.
Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 28-Sep-08 8:53:05 PM

I don't know many NDP voters who will switch to the Libs, or Libs switching to the NDP to ensure the other party will be the official opposition.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-09-28 9:31:08 PM


Neither do I, that doesn't mean that they shouldn't.

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2008-09-28 9:49:35 PM


Fair point, Hugh. But don't you think there might be a virtue in a sharper right-left divide. We might actually have a real debate about the issues without the smothering embrace of the Liberals' centrism.

Posted by: Craig | 2008-09-28 10:04:41 PM


Yes, we certainly don't want to talk about making my vote in Vancouver count as much as a vote in PEI or rural Alberta. That would be an affront to democracy!

Posted by: Voice of Reason | 2008-09-28 10:39:54 PM


"If the NDP are the second party, chances are that the Conservatives have a majority government, the opposition can whistle to the wind after that, right?"

This is the distinguishing characteristic of our current system. It give unlimited, monopoly power to a party that gets as little as 38% of the votes.

The Opposition can "whistle to the wind", and the Government is not accountable to Parliament.

How come you guys who like "less government" aren't concerned about that?

How many of us will cast wasted votes on October 14? Guess right and win cash prizes!

www.OrphanVoters.ca

Posted by: Wayne Smith | 2008-09-29 1:13:31 AM


What does less government have to do with more puristic democracy? The one does not necessarily follow the other.

Voice,

That was a little out of left field. What was that connected to?

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2008-09-29 5:23:18 AM


Hugh-- you said proportional representation isn't something you want to see discussed in Parliament. I think it's a pretty major issue, but like you said, a Harper (or Dion) majority would rather not talk about it since it works so well for them.

Posted by: Voice of Reason | 2008-09-29 2:09:52 PM


Oh I see what you mean. Believe me I feel your pain, I live in Trinity-Spadina. The truth is though that there are waisted votes in every system.

Posted by: hughmacintyre | 2008-09-29 2:18:36 PM



The comments to this entry are closed.