December 18, 2006

NDP Might Give The Liberals Their Election Call

(updated @ 8:20pm)
Jack Layton held a press conference today and followed this up with an interview on Politics with Don Newman. In both instances Layton talked about the work the NDP are doing through the environmental committee to deliver a real environmental and climate change program. He also said that he would like to see the bill come before the House sometime in February, prior to a budget being presented. While Newman questioned the likeliness of this happening, Layton replied that he believes if the opposition parties push for it to happen then it will.

This is something the Liberals need to get behind. Dion has already stated that he won't bring down the House over Afghanistan, which is probably wise. However, bringing down the House over the budget after it has been presented to the public (and most likely contains lots of 'gifts') is a risky move. Bringing down the House over the environment prior to the budget is both the perfect issue and time.

If the NDP, who gives the impression their spear-heading the whole process, are as serious about the environment as they say they are then what will be proposed will be incompatible with the agenda and the coming budget of the Conservatives. A new bill, with real teeth, will most likely include new (or restored) federal funding and grants for research and retrofitting programs (i.e. Energuide). There should be a real commitment to meeting Canada's Kyoto targets and will involve demands on and changes to policy regarding industry. However, since it's doubtful that the Conservatives even believe there is an environmental problem in the first place, that they disagree with and withdrew from Kyoto, and that the new bill will reverse cuts that the Conservatives made, there should be no way the Conservatives will agree with the bill. And in that case, this could be the issue that brings down the government.

All three opposition parties have pledged to fight for the environment. However, it's the Liberals that are currently making the biggest impression with Canadians (and the Green Party) in that area. While Layton is obviously trying to get himself back in the game with his comments today, he is really just going to boost the fortunes of the Liberals. It remains to see how committed the NDP really are to the environment. Not that there is any reason to not believe them but with their poll numbers I can't imagine they're looking to get into an election any time soon. But that may be where we're headed if they follow through with their environmental pledge and get the Liberals and Bloc to push it through the House prior to the budget.

Pushing it through early will probably lead to one of two scenarios:

  1. All the opposition parties back the plan but the Conservatives do not and make it an issue of confidence. Thus the House will fall. Or;
  2. The Conservatives do not back the bill nor make it an issue of confidence. However, since all the opposition parties back it they then have grounds to bring the Conservatives down.

However, all this depends on the strength of the bill and strength of the commitment of the opposition parties to this issue (and the Conservatives pulling a quick one). If the opposition comes through and the bill is the real thing then this could be good for the Liberals. They definitely need to get behind the bill and it's introduction into the House prior to the budget.

6 comments:

Tyler said...

How about instead of concentrating on the strategy of bringing down the house, the Liberals actually work on a climate bill that will work, and then if the Conservatives don't support it, bring them down. This is exactly why I don't vote Liberal, there number one priority is getting voted in, not working on the issues that they are paid to work on.

Kyle said...

I don't think the Liberals will look to vote down the government while not supporting the bill.

My point is that if the bill is the real thing, then the Conservatives won't support it while the opposition parties (including the Liberals) will. This will then get played out one of two ways.

1) the Conservatives will make it an issue of confidence and lose, thus bringing down the House; or

2) the Conservatives will not support it but also not make it an issue of confidence, while all the oppostion do. this gives them the ground to bring the Conservatives down for not supporting it.

If the bill is crap and the Conservatives can get behind it, then the Liberals will have to continue on with their plan to bring down the House over the budget.

Tyler said...

This is not taking into account the fact that the Conservatives may support a good bill, just because they are power hungry. But maybe they wont.

Stop playing around in politics and work on the issues you are given... It seems the Liberals need to be in opposition a little bit longer because they are not a good or effective opposition right now.

Kyle said...

Yeah, it's a possibility that the Conservatives may just support it. But like I said, I can't imagine that if the bill calls for real solutions and includes reinstating funding that the Cons have already cut out, they won't support it because it will drastically effect their budget, run contrary to their ideology and will essentially take away some control, which Harper has an obvious need for.

If they do support it, well then we will have a real environmental policy in place and the Liberals will be back to dealing with the Cons at budget time.

Tyler said...

But even if they don't support it, it is still a minority government and can be passed without the governments support. Unless Harper makes it a non-confidence bill, and we lose it all...

But there are so many ifs. Why not just work on it, and see where it takes you. Thats one thing about politics, you never know what will happen. Stop trying to predict things, and just get down to work.

Kyle said...

You're right. Even if they don't support it, then things can pretty much just continue. I just have my doubts they will and I hope they don't. Just because an election is called doesn't mean the bill will die. It will only die if an election is called while it's still in reading. Even in the case of non-confidence. In that happens then we just get a good environmental policy and our election in one shot.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'work on it'. I'm in full support of a strong environmental policy. Just do a search of my site about my views on energy, waste disposal, the environment, etc. If by 'work on it' you mean work on supportin the environment. I've done that.

In terms of predicting what may happen or what something may mean or expressing what I think would work, etc. That's what my and others' blogs are all about. They're about making sense and creating dialogue on issues and events.

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