Thursday, September 27, 2007

Justify Rebellion?

John Locke had a hard time specifying what would justify a citizen to rebel against his or her government; eventually he basically left the power of judgment in the sole hands those who make the decision.

John Locke explored such questions, because as he wrote, governments were being threatened with upheaval. I am no John Locke, but right now the Liberal Party is being threatened with rebellion. The question I ask is, are these people justified?

The Liberal members I am talking about who wish to change the leadership are numerous, they range from bloggers, to possible liberal candidates, to MPs; the force they are wishing to rebel against is their leader, Stephane Dion.

Strong evident reasons to justify a rebellion would be failure by Mr. Dion to fulfill his duties as Leader; in effect he would be breaking the contractual agreement that is the constitution of the Liberal Party. The Constitution of the Party states:

I see that Stephane Dion has met these particular responsibilities.

It could be argued there are other duties or responsibilities of the Leader that are conventional or unspoken. Breach of these responsibilities would be more difficult to use as justification unless they are universally agreed upon or historically evident.

One could argue that a responsibility of the Leader is to ensure election victory or to be in essence a leader with good chances of winning an election; though not in the constitution, this responsibility could be abstracted from the fact a political party needs to win an election to affect it's vision.

If indeed someone did pose such an argument, it would not relate to the present circumstances, and therefore would be invalid. The point that would make the argument invalid, is that no one could say with any evidence that the Liberal Party will lose the next election. It could be argued that the Liberal Party is weak in Quebec and is partly demoralized, but that is only the present circumstances; extrapolation would be a logical error. In fact, one would think the situation would only improve as the Party becomes more cognizant of the problems it faces. Therefore if one is to attempt to justify rebellion because of Stephane Dion's inelectability or problems in Quebec, they are using a weak argument that is based on even weaker extrapolation.

I have attempted to answer, at least in part, when Liberal members are justified to rebel. I pointed out that it they would have a stronger argument if the Leader did not fulfill his written contractual duties, I also illustrated that their argument must not be based on extrapolations.

I have stated I am no John Locke, but I do agree with him. All those who wish to rebel against Stephane Dion, you do so with only yourself to judge your actions right or wrong.


Conservatives Break Another Promise

In the 2006 Conservative Election Platform, viewable here, the Conservatives denounced the Liberal Party for its unscheduled surpluses, and promised the establishment of an independent Parliamentary Budget Authority so as to be able to forecast such surpluses and maximize public dollars.

19 months after being in office there is still no such office.

And today the Conservatives have announced a 14 million dollar surplus, one of the largest surpluses in Canadian history.

If the Conservatives believed the Liberals were wrong in using surpluses as a political maneuver, the Conservatives are not only hypocrites, but liars for not upholding an election promise they had in the first few pages of their platform.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Conservatives Make History - At Breaking The Law

Elections Canada has the ability to revoke a Member of Parliament's power to vote in the House of Commons if that member refuses to give information or refuses to open his or her financial books. The independent body never has had to do this. It has threatened to do this though, a Liberal in 2005, but he then gladly submitted. With the Conservative Party however, because Elections Canada is investigating them for elections fraud, they seem a little more hesitant.

In addition, at present, it's not just one Conservative MP that is refusing, it's 17. The Toronto Star gives a great examination of the situation here. Of the notable Conservatives, there's Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier, Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon and Heritage Minister Josée Verner, and chief party whip Jay Hill. Of the lesser Conservatives, of which there are many, there is Quebec MPs Sylvie Boucher, Daniel Petit, Steven Blaney, Jacques Gourde, Luc Harvey, and Christian Paradis; B.C. MPs Ron Cannan, Dick Harris, Jim Abbott and Colin Mayes; Ontario MP Patricia Davidson; and Saskatchewan MP David Anderson.

Later today Elections Canada will make it's decision known. It could be that these Conservative MPs may be made useless and not be allowed to continue voting, or they may resume being useless and continue to vote. Either way, the scope of the Elections Canada investigation and the threat to 17 sitting MPs, makes the current Conservative Party historically criminal.


Monday, September 17, 2007

What Does Outremont Mean?

For about a month, pundits on television have been spewing that Outremont is a litmus test, a referendum, a Leadership vote, and whatever other terms that convey some form of judgment upon Stephane Dion. I did hear from various Liberals the same thing. I heard that as Dion was elected over Kennedy because of his Quebec connections, the pressure was on Dion to turn out the vote.

Within the last few weeks, polls have come out showing the Liberals will lose. Within the last few weeks, I've ceased hearing such talk within the Party of a test for Dion. Within the last few weeks rumours have begun to be milled.

The most disturbing is the rumour Ignatieff supporters are throwing the election there on the understanding it would reflect horribly on Dion, perhaps to the extent of ousting him from office. The rumour was given "legs" by Steve Mahar in the Herald, the article can be read here. However it wasn't until Justin Tetreault gave empirical evidence to the support of the rumour that it could be speculated such a rumour is not a rumour at all.

As Justin notes, and quite rightly, that if anything, it is most likely not connected to Ignatieff. Michael has shown immense support for Liberals in that riding, visiting it 5 times thus far, not to mention his other supporting MPs. If I had to, I would assume that there were some Ignatieff supporters, unto themselves, who have decided to throw the election.

Besides Justin's observations, there are various other features that would lead me to such a conclusion.

1.The riding has been Liberal for 80 years (losing it but once).
2.In 2006, the Liberals won the election with over 3,000 votes over the Bloc.
3. In 2006, the NDP had been third, over 7,000 votes behind the Liberals.
4. Ignatieff had the most delegates from that riding (here)

Cerberus in Justin's comments had suggested it was just incompetance and a weak party structure. I would think a weak party structure could not have pulled off 80 years of dominance, nor does it explain how the NDP has become number one in the polls.

What does Outremont mean? I believe in some shape and form Outremont is a vote on Dion's leadership. Dion appointed Coulon, that says it right there. Dion thought Coulon was the best bet, therefore if Liberals lose in Outremont, he should take at least responsibility for the appointment. I personally believe all apointments in a riding are wrong when the riding association is competent. It is by that sentiment that I would hold Dion perhaps even more accountable for any result, win or lose.