As we speak, Liberal leader Stephane Dion is meeting his caucus to decide how to respond to yesterday’s Throne Speech. This afternoon at 3:15 Dion will rise in the Commons to give his answer. Will he support the Speech and move on or will he defeat the Speech, bring down the government and plunge Canada into its third federal election in less than four years? It’s up to Dion because both the Bloc and the NDP have signalled they will be voting against the Speech.

Dion and the Liberals are between a rock and a hard place. Suppose Dion decides to support the Throne Speech in principle. That will buy him a little time to try to rebuild his party. But not much time. Because every time the Harper government introduces legislation to implement the Throne Speech, Dion will be faced with the same dilemma. Could he continue to prop up a government he doesn’t believe in? It would be a pitiable sight.

For example, in the next couple of weeks Harper will bring down crime legislation that will throw the book at young offenders and force judges to use mandatory sentences. TheLiberals opposed such legislation in the last Parliament. Can they afford to reverse themselves now?

Or take climate change. The Harper governmentnow acknowledges that the old emission reduction targets are unattainable in the Kyoto timeline. Could Dion, who wants to make the envirornment issue his own, officially repudiate Kyoto.

Furthermore, the Liberal party is in no shape to fight an election. Dion’s office in Ottawa is in turmoil and just yesterday two senior Liberals from Quebec resigned their electoral posts. Why in the world would Dion want to precipitate an election now?

Well, consider this scenario. Many of the Ignatieff people have never really accepted Dion’s leadership. Wouldn’t they be happy for the party to go now, lose the election, then force Dion out and Ignatieff takes over? Neat isn’t it?

Meanwhile, do you think Dion should bring down the government and force an election?


In his speech on the Throne Speech this afternoon, Opposition Leader Stephane Dion proposed an amendment involving the restoration of income trusts that certainly the NDP and perhaps the Bloc too could not support.  Therefore it would seem that  Dion who argued that Canadians do not want an election, will not precipitate one.



  1. 1
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Considering his past positions and declarations and in accordance with his stated principles Dion should vote against the throne speech. Realpolitik though could prevail over principles. At any rate whichever way he goes he torpedoes himself in Québec or in the ROC.

  2. 2
    Chimera Says:

    Here’s an interesting scenario: Dion votes against the john speech…and Layton and Duceppe do an instant re-evalutation and they both vote for it! Because none of the parties actually has the cash to fight an election right now (except the ruling party, who owns the wallets of the taxpayers). And none of the party leaders want to be seen as being the « cause » of the next election!

    We should know in a few hours.

    Meanwhile, I seriously have to wonder what’s missing from the anatomy of these guys. Nobody wants Harper to continue his reign, but nobody is willing to be the one to pull the plug.

    Do I have to do everything myself?

  3. 3

    Sometimes you have to put water in your wine. Or to change the image, keep your powder dry. I expect Mr. Dion to do that later this afternoon.

    Of course if the Bloc and the NDP eventually voted against the Throne Speech, Harper would carry the day if supported by the Liberals.
    I’m afraid nobody wants Harper to continue his reign except the voters. Whether you agree with him or not, Harper is coming across as a decisive substantial leader. The latest polls show him moving toward majority government territory.

  4. 4
    Chimera Says:

    Neil, the only polls I trust are the final election results. I have too much experience with public-opinion polling to believe what any of them say. Every single one of them is skewed to tell the client what he wants to hear!

    As for Harper’s being a decisive, substantial leader — it’s not difficult to look substantial when everyone around you is a mere shadow; and it’s not hard to look decisive when you’re the only one allowed to make decisions.

  5. 5
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    That Chimera person and I may be living a continent apart…but there must be some kind of an immaterial link between our brains.

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