The bully analogy extended to its logical conclusion

Three situations, selected not entirely at random.

1. The government releases an economic statement that includes plans to revoke the per vote subsidy for political parties and eliminate the public service’s right to strike. The opposition parties object. The government is steadfast. The opposition parties begin to negotiate a coalition. The government withdraws the aforementioned proposals.

2. Within the economic statement, the government forecasts economic growth in 2009 and a budgetary surplus in 2009-2010. The Prime Minister gets the Governor General to prorogue Parliament, but the Liberals continue to threaten a coalition. John McCallum and Scott Brison meet with the Finance Minister and publicly demand he release an accurate accounting of the nation’s finances. Two days later, Jim Flaherty releases new projections. The economy will shrink in 2009, the surplus is now a deficit.

3. The government announces plans to redistribute federal seats in Parliament. Dalton McGuinty objects to the formula used. Government house leader Peter Van Loan calls him as the “small man of Confederation.” Flaherty says Ontario is the “last place” to invest. A year later, at a press conference, McGuinty announces the Prime Minister has capitulated to his demands.


Perhaps one of the identifiable lessons of this month in politics is that, for all the yelling and screaming and frothing-at-the-mouth and arm-waving and and chair-kicking and name-calling and obviously very manly posturing, those willing to stick a metaphorical finger in Stephen Harper’s chest might find his reputed toughness to be somewhat overstated.

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