Tuesday, September 22, 2015

On partial answers

Having posted earlier on the message we should expect from our opposition leaders when it comes to ensuring change, let's make clear exactly what Justin Trudeau has now said - and most notably, what he hasn't said.
“There are no circumstances” under which the Liberals would prop up Harper should the Tories emerge with only a narrow plurality of seats, Trudeau said Tuesday in his strongest statements to date on the possibility of a Tory minority.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has long maintained that his goal is to ensure Harper doesn’t win government. He has also said he would be willing to work with the Liberals to ensure that happens.

Although he has said he would be “willing to work with others,” Trudeau has already rejected the notion of any formal coalitions, including with the NDP.

On Tuesday, he sidestepped the question of whether he would support a NDP minority.
Which means Trudeau's answers to the two questions I'd raised now look to be as follows:

A. Will you commit to voting non-confidence in Stephen Harper at the earliest opportunity?

Not exactly. Trudeau's promise is to not vote confidence in a Harper government - but that's different from committing to vote non-confidence, leaving open the possibility the Libs might again simply sit on their hands rather than voting one way or the other. But it's at least something more than Trudeau had offered before.

But then we get to...

B. Will you commit to voting confidence in a government led by the leader of a current opposition party at the earliest opportunity?

Not at all. And this is just as crucial a decision point as the first question: if the Libs fail to offer support for an alternative government, then we could well end up in the second election campaign the Cons seem to be hoping for - with Harper continuing to hold power on a caretaker basis for lack of anybody able to take power.

Which is to say even if one takes him at his ever-changing word, Trudeau has a long way to go before committing to the basic process needed to ensure a change in government.


  1. Anonymous10:55 p.m.

    It won't matter either way if Harper wins another majority. Which looks more and more likely to me these past few days. I'm worried that the Liberals and the Dippers are spending so much time attacking each other they'll allow Harper to win again.

    1. We'll certainly have to watch the campaign closely - nobody (except arguably the NDP some time ago) has been anywhere near majority territory so far, but there's certainly a danger of the Cons sneaking in that direction if the opposition parties don't remind voters why change is needed in the first place.

  2. I certainly can't speak for Trudeau. But I'd think the wording of the second question makes my view clear: the expectation should be non-confidence in any Conservative leader, and support for an alternative government led by an opposition leader.