I spy with my little eye behind Ignatieff’s “red door”

It’s time to play the “Red Door/Blue Door” federal election endgame, based on actual or proposed fiscal and other policies. Although unintentional, the game was introduced yesterday by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff during his media scrum in the foyer of the House of Commons. Surrounded by his fawning and adoring caucus — what Mark Bonokowki of the Toronto Sun refers to as his “props” — Ignatieff told us how Canadians had to decide which door to open, the red door or the blue door.

So, let’s play “I spy with my little eye” and think about what we might expect to find behind Ignatieff’s red door.

I know, for instance, that I would find a political party that was arrogant and felt so entitled to power that they found it necessary to remind me continually that only they were the natural governing party in Canada.

I know I would also find a huge pile of money — money that represented the millions upon millions of dollars that was misused or stolen during the Sponsorship Scandal.

As well, I know I would find a table with three politicians behind it — a Liberal, an NDP and a Bloc Member of Parliament — and their signed coalition agreement

And, no amount of Liberal pre-election spin will change what I and other Canadians imagine we would find behind Ignatieff’s red door.

Now, what might I find behind the blue door?

I would find a government who has managed the economy so well that the country is the envy of the G7 and beyond.

I would also find a government that has dozens upon dozens of accomplishments.

And, I would find a prime minister in Stephen Harper who is respected, both domestically and internationally.

Has the Conservative government been perfect? No. Can they do better? Absolutely. But, the Red Door/Blue Door game really does concentrate the mind. Now, what do my readers think they would find behind those doors?


Endnote: This post was published for at least 30 minutes this morning before it suddenly disappeared when I was updating it to correct a typo — as I often do — the first time that has happened in the four years I have had a blog on the WordPress.com server.

What happened I have no idea, but the post here now is a complete replacement. That said, while it is not word for word as the original text, the meaning and intent is the same. By using the Red Door/Blue Door analogy, Michael Ignatieff has thrown down the gauntlet without realizing its implications — something he would likely never have done had he actually lived in Canada during the Sponsorship Scandal.

31 thoughts on “I spy with my little eye behind Ignatieff’s “red door”

  1. If the cost of $ 300 million and delays in passing legislation $( 500 bills will die on order paper) were not enough to give the clowns pause we can assume they are in it for themselves.

    Pollsters find at least 60% are for waiting until full term 2012 is served before another election. At least 30% of the liberal-ndp voters feel the same way.

    Did the succession planning for the Liberals-NDP push Ignatieff-Layton to go now before the economy improves?


  2. Canadiansense — Right after you left your comment, my entire just disappeared. I tried to update and poof, it was gone. That is the first time in five years that has ever happened, so it smells very fishy.


  3. That was strange, you should possibly look at making a copy before posting it next time to save you time if it happens again.

    I put you back on the blog roll now that you are posting again more frequently. Your insight is greatly appreciated.


  4. To Skinny — Harper never got involved in a coalition. He was clear about that many times and his words are on record. He suggested a working arrangement, nothing more and actually said it would NOT be a coaltion. So, stop making things up.

    Frankly, I would have no problem with a coalition as long as the parties ran on that possibility and as long as the winning party with the most seats was the main party of that coalition.

    You can’t have the parties with the fewest seats making up a legitimate coalition. They tried that in the U.K. and the public wouldn’t go for it. So, now there is a U.K. coalition made up of the Conservatives and the equivalent to our NDP.

    So, no, a Liberal/NDP/Bloc coalition is not the only option and the voters need to be the ones to decide — not Liberal officials.


  5. The other thing is if the coalition is such a good idea then why run from the subject? Why not run the election out in the open about it? We all know the answer to that question and it’s disturbing. The answer of course is that Canadians wouldn’t vote for it. So in fact the coalition is trying to pull a fast one here ok. That’s not what I’d call democracy at all.


  6. I like the game Sandy! Behind the red door you would find sneering bully boys that disrespect women who happen to be Conservative and attempt to intimidate them in committees.

    Regarding your problems today, I’ve had one or two posts completely disappear for no apparent reason. Not lately but it has happened and is incredibly frustrating.

    Server’s been fairly stable but I did have a brief outage yesterday.


  7. In business there are only two colors – red and black. If you want the country to remain in the black, don’t open the red door.


  8. what`s behind the red door,
    -high corporate taxes,
    -high personal income taxes
    -less private investment
    -more corporations heading out of the country
    -higher unemployment
    -guting the EI Fund for god only knows what reason.
    -Money funneled to liberal friendly ad firms.
    -more equalization payments to Quebec
    -carbon tax aimed at the Alberta economy


  9. The leftie dream (what else do lefties do, really?) of a coalition sees a smooth, simple takeover. The reality of actually governing with the Bloc pulling strings is considerably trickier, if not impossible. When the reality sets in of buying Bloc support, over and over again, an enormous Tory majority will follow. I dare them to form a coalition.


  10. I’m sorry Sandy, but you’re wrong. There is a document with Harper’s signature, the bloc’s and the ndp suggesting a coalition to the GG.

    You can try to gloss this over, but it just blows your credibility out of the water.

    Harper absolutely, tried to do a coalition. Period. And now the bunch of you suddenly want to pretend it ain’t so, which makes you all, very very gullible.

    Don’t get me wrong, I want no coalition, regardless of who is involved, but don’t play us for idiots k?


  11. The point cannot be overstated that Canada has had but one coalition government in 140 years. The Union government of Robert Borden was a form of coalition, but the Liberal party did not formally join, some Liberals left their party to join in the cabinet. This government certainly included members of the largest party. A government of 2nd and 3rd parties was formed by WL King in 1925, but the Liberals held all cabinet positions so it was not a coalition. The King experiment did not work well and has never been attempted since, untill the present troika.
    Clearly a coalition without the largest party is a non-starter with Canadians.
    Whatever happens in Israel, or Italy, it is not acceptable here.


  12. A successful coalition *could* be formed between the “Blue” Liberals and the CPC as a “Coalition of the Winners”, somewhat in the manner of the recent UK election. This would be far more palatable than a “Coalition of the Losers”, which is what Ignatieff would represent. The real trick would be how to woo dissociated Liberal MP’s to cross the floor; perhaps as part of a “National Unity Government” dedicated to keeping Canada on an even keel as the global economy continues its turmoil?


  13. Sorry Skinny, but you are the one who is wrong. I intend to find the 2004 document and get a post up and on the search engines because I suspect the claim you are making will be loud and clear in this election — in fact I heard the error on the CBC’s “At Issue” panel last night. Actually, I have seen an interview where Harper said “it was definitely not” a coalition.

    The difference is that coalition partners are in Cabinet together governing the country together, not that they simply work together to pass legislation, etc.

    Stay tuned.


  14. In other words Skinny, it’s important we all define our terms and when we say coalition, we are talking about the same thing. What happened in 2004 during the Martin minority, was NOT the same as what was proposed in December 2008. The former was a coalition in the sense that it was a letter saying the parties would work together. That is no different than what has happened over the past five years to keep the Harper minority in power. Voting on a case by case basis. Whereas in 2008, the NDP were to be in Cabinet, running the country. And, the Bloc had veto power over every single thing that the Liberal/NDP did. Now, that’s scary indeed.

    So, yes, I hope the CPC gets those “terms” out there so that there is no confusion regarding the full meaning of the term “coalition.”


  15. Sandy: I copied this copy of the letter from a NP comment:

    September 9, 2004

    Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson,
    C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.
    Governor General
    Rideau Hall
    1 Sussex Drive
    Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A1


    As leaders of the opposition parties, we are well aware that, given the Liberal minority government, you could be asked by the Prime Minister
    to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government’s program.

    We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We
    believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the
    opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority.

    Your attention to this matter is appreciated.


    Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
    Leader of the Opposition
    Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

    Note that the term coalition is never mentioned. A coalition clearly involves cabinet positions for the supporting parties. There is no way Harper was considering sharing cabinet with the Bloc.
    This letter merely suggests cooperation in defeating the government, and some sort of support afterward. Something similar occured when the NDP supported Trudeau’s government in 1972; this was not a coalition. See my above post for a definition.


  16. Well Skinny, I am going to eat a bit of crow here. I was wrong about the 2004 letter and am quite chagrined that I was wrong. I have just done a complete reading of the two documents and while the 2004 letter is very fuzzy in its intention, it was signed by all three opposition party leaders and leaves how their majority would work in question. Clearly, the PM and the CPC are going to have to clarify things before this issue is put to bed. That doesn’t change the reality that the NDP could govern this country, with the Liberals. But, it does mean, that we Conservatives should not be on our high horse on this issue.


  17. I am currently doing a post comparing the 2004 letter of intention and the 2008 coalition agreement. The differences are only in how the 2004 intention would have been operationalized, not that the NDP and Bloc would not have had a role — because it is clear they would have had to have a role because the letter refers to the opposition “as a majority in the House of Commons.”


  18. Well Joanne, I’m afraid the 2004 letter WAS a letter of intention. Had the GG asked the leaders to explain how they would carry out their majority arrangement, the only option was a coalition. Otherwise, it would have been changing a Liberal minority with a Conservative minority — and she would never have considered that, nor did it relate to the notion that the opposition parties were had a majority in the HOC.

    The reality is I have been working all day on this post. It is not long but I have revised it twenty times already. I am concerned that by publishing it I might do more harm than good. So, I shall leave it in draft form for the time being.

    However, I will say a couple of things here.

    The parties who wrote the letter were also the losers. Therefore, the only real difference is that it was intention and not a final agreement. For example, the letter states:

    We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority.”

    So, there is nothing bogus about the implications of those two sentences. Only the stage at which things had gotten.

    Meaning, we conservatives can question how much damage a Liberal/NDP coalition gov’t might be to the country but we can’t question the notion that a coalition of losers is legitimate. It is. Canadians are just going to have to face the reality that when they vote, they have to consider all the possible outcomes to their vote.

    I know this view is not going to make me popular but it is the reality we are being faced with and, as such, I feel we need to fight this election knowing that reality — and getting that reality across to voters.


  19. I accept your arguments since you spent a lot of time looking at this, but I am still puzzled by a couple of points.
    For me, clearly a coalition means cabinet posts for 2 or more parties. Since Harper (99) needed Bloc (54) support, this would imply that he contemplated Bloc cabinet members? I cnnot believe that he intended to do this, hence I would argue it was not a coalition proposal.
    You mention that the GG would never have considered exchanging one minority for another; this is exactly how I thought the system would work. If Martin was defeated, rather than simply have another election, Harper would meet parliament and try to form a government, even if it lasted only a short while. He would rely on support from others on a bill by bill basis

    I guess we are not in a position to know what Harper intended by his Sept 2004 letter, but I am sure he had thought it through.


  20. And Martin, therein is exactly what we need to hear. The letter of intent never got as far as an agreement. Gilles Duceppe’s signature is second, immediately under Mr. Harper’s. What HAD he intended?


  21. Martin, I don’t know why but your duplicate comments ended up in the spam filter. I have approved the first — which is also quoted in my latest post.


  22. Meaning, we conservatives can question how much damage a Liberal/NDP coalition gov’t might be to the country but we can’t question the notion that a coalition of losers is legitimate

    Perhaps voters need to be re-educated that when you vote for your local candidate you’re voting for his or her place in Parliament and not for a party or a leader.


  23. A reminder, this post is not about the Liberals. I couldn’t care less other than I don’t plan to use my blog to ridicule anyone. My point was only to deal with the 2004 intention and move on. Instead, most conservatives are continuing to deny the issue, which I feel is counterproductive. But, this is my only post on this topic. I plan to move on even if others stay stuck in 2004.

    Communications 101 — deal with a negative issue hard and fast. Then move on. Don’t deal with it and it will haunt you.


  24. “After listening to the PM at Rideau Hall this morning, I am going to remove this post”.
    Why Sandy? I thought he was quite clear….maybe not?


  25. Sandy:

    In 2008 the coalition was set up to overthrow an elected government – as it will be in 2011

    In 2004 the misnamed “coalition” was set to step in if asked, when an elected government chose to abrogate its responsibility to govern (Martin was going to pull the plug on his newly elected government.)

    In both cases the desired outcome was to have the Liberals govern.


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