Another Call For Food and Drink

Huether Hotel

Last year at this time, I made a promise. Jennie at Idealistic Pragmatist had previously been responsible for the past two years’ annual gathering of bloggers from the Waterloo-Wellington area. Last year, she warned us that she would not be returning to the area this year, and she demanded that we still organize the gathering on our own and lift a glass in her honour. After all, she was visiting from Edmonton, Alberta, and it was a little silly for the bloggers of Waterloo and Wellington to rely on her to show a little local spirit.

With this in mind, I would like to invite all bloggers and blog readers within the Region of Waterloo and County Wellington out to an afternoon of food, drink and fine conversation on Saturday, June 27 at 4 p.m. We will go to our usual haunt: the pub at the Heuther Hotel, where we will likely sit outside and listen to some live music and try to shout over all the noise. Everyone reading this is invited, and I know for a fact that Greg Staples of the former blog Political Staples will be there, so you can be assured that this will be a multi-partisan gathering.

So, how about it? Who’s up for some good company? See you a week from this Saturday!

Going Green for Iran

Iranian Protester

Not that it’s much, but as the protests against the suspicious election results in Iran continue and strengthen, I’m changing the background of this blog from its usual blue to green — a meme that some bloggers are doing these days to show their support for a true democracy within Iran.

Good luck, guys. I fear that the odds are stacked against you, but the world is watching, and hoping…

No Summer Election

I have to confess I wanted one. The issue of the government’s mishandling of medical isotopes, and its spiteful actions against Mr. Abdelrazik make me eager to vote this government down. So I am a little miffed that Michael Ignatieff has deprived me of this opportunity.

However, I will say this: he’s pulled no Dion, here. Back a few months ago, when the Liberals were doing all they could to try and avoid an election, Dion would huff and puff, rail against the flaws in various Conservative legislation, and then have his entire caucus walk out to abstain against various motions which could have defeated the Conservative government and brought the matter to the voters. The Liberals looked cowardly and hypocritical every time they did that — to the point where I seriously suggested that Stephen Harper should turn the tables on the Liberals; rather than break his own election date law, the next time the Liberals rolled over and tried to abstain their way out of an election, the Conservatives should abstain too, and force the Liberals to decide whether they wanted to take a stand in supporting the government rather than avoid the voters.

Ignatieff hasn’t done this. The fact that he negotiated with Harper, and the fact that Harper negotiated with him, puts a very different complexion on this. True, it’s more like a Conservative-Liberal coalition government here, but that’s not a bad thing, unless you’re in a particularly partisan mood. This is how coalition governments are supposed to work, and the Liberals are showing some spine, here, making it clear that they are negotiating from some position of strength. Indeed, this week’s events are win-win for both Ignatieff and Harper. Harper gets to look like a conciliator (something that is quite unlike him) and Ignatieff gets to look like a serious leader holding the government to account. No, this is probably not what actually happened, but this is the perception. And for the voters, perception is 9/10ths of reality.

While I’m on the subject, you should check out this post by Pario of Talk Talk Talk where he wonders why Ignatieff has been so cold to the idea of a coalition with the NDP. Pario’s take on the Ontario situation in 1985 is accurate. Although not a formal coalition, the deal reached by the Petersen Liberals and Rae’s NDP did produce a stable minority which governed for two years, during which time Ontario’s economy shook itself free from the early eighties recession. Being such a marked change from 42 years of Conservative rule, the voters were so grateful, they spent the next eight years trying to reward the coalition partner most responsible for those two years of good government. Petersen went first, receiving a landslide majority in 1987, which he promptly squandered. The people, unsatisfied with Liberal majority rule in Queen’s Park, remembered that between 1985 and 1987, the NDP had shown itself capable of governing, turned to the NDP in a big way in 1990. The rest, as they say, is history.

While Layton’s numbers now seem unlikely to make either Harper or Ignatieff nervous, it is worth noting that the Conservatives and Liberals continue to flirt with the lowest level of combined popular support between their two parties in the history of Confederation. There remains a definite sense of ‘a plague on all your houses’ among the electorate. It’s quite possible that, if any party outside of the Conservative/Liberal dichotomy shows itself remotely competent at governing, they may be rewarded with a historic electoral upset.

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