In 40 words or more explain why Chantal Hébert should resign.

She has never really had anything interesting to say about the NDP or the Bloc albeit for different reasons.  In fact, I would be happy if she just resigned from «jase  a propos de rien» about both parties.  She has been shrill for years on the NDP and thoroughly under-interested  in making a serious analysis of the Bloc (at least in her reports to English Canada).

In any case, I suppose she does provide readers with yet another unadulterated look into the mind of the official opinion shaping class.  Her recent TorStar article is confused.  She has been Hammering on Layton for how long about how his principled opposition to the Cons is silly and evidence that the NDP is not pragmatic enough to lead?  Then she uses the NDPs support for the Cons EI reform as evidence that they are too opportunistic to be trusted.

So which is it Chantal? Are the NDP too principled / idealist or too pragmatic / opportunistic?  Or do you really just wish the NDP would go away and die already?

That the Bloc gets a pass on supporting the Cons under the auspices that the home reno (Potvin et Bouchard) tax credit (a weak one at that) to the petty proprietor class is somehow straightforwardly  in the interests of Quebec is unbelievable.  Talk about a double double of opportunism.  No matter it is the Bloc… Chantal`s supposed incisiveness gets firmly checked at the door.

On her blogue  Chantal is so careful to point out that the bloc knows that it can both get the popular tax credit passed and have another kick at the can at the end of the month when the Liberal confidence motion comes to the floor. Why she does not afford the NDP the same latitude is not much of a mystery.  We get it Chantal you, like many others in the opinion shaping class, just wish the NDP would die already.  But that is hardly incisive political journalism.

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10 thoughts on “In 40 words or more explain why Chantal Hébert should resign.

  1. Hebert is hoping people don’t get her hypercrisy – I have never seen her write one thing positive of the NDP – so writing is taken with a grain of salt.
    but that that was a great post.

  2. 1. Reporters don’t resign, they retire… usually to write books, or in the case of Conservative ones become Senators.

    2. You’re the NDP. Anytime a reporter decides you’re worth mentioning I presume there’s cake and streamers out at party HQ. Chantal Hebert is a major columnist. If she’s talking about you, good or bad, that means there’s still an off chance you’re relevant. If you find this problematic though still you can always take out a Green membership for a few weeks and see what total obscurity feels like. Heberts jeers may even become conforting.

  3. The NDP are having money issues, and have stated today that they will let the Conservatives hang on so they can make sure the EI money is actually spent. Problem is, if the NDP really wasn’t afraid of an election, they’d actually negotiate something rather than taking whatever Harper hands them. Pat Martin called the new EI provisions ‘paltry’ and they are. The NDP have no leverage, and Harper knows it.

    Hebert is not confused here. She is simply holding the NDP up to their own standard, and is pointing out the problems that will cause them. Fact is, because the NDP have not been pragmatic is one of the things which causes them problems when they need to be. People watch a party apparently abandon something it stands for, and hold it against them. Opposing Harper was an NDP virtue. No longer. And in exchange for what?

    A paltry EI modification.

    Lipstick on a pig.

  4. Mark sure but the Bloc is on the record of being fundamentally against the Conservatives economic plan and on the record as saying they don’t trust the Cons but will work with them if it suits what the Bloc deems to be in the interest of Quebec (read what makes sense given their polling numbers). The NDP is on record as saying that they would support the conservatives if they worked with parliament rather than dictating terms. Ostensibly the proposed alliance was about bringing down the cons because the cons not only refused to deal but actually put poison pills into the first budget. Do you remember that? Then we got a prorogue. Then we got Iggy proclaiming no alliance was possible. Now we have the Cons with some movement on EI (60 – 160 thousand workers is not a trivial number and more than many economists would like to see) and a very popular home reno tax rebate.

    There was and is little to no chance that the NDP could get exactly or even substantially the changes they would have liked to have had to the EI program, but it would be even more bleak if the cons were returned with a minority. But more to the point the NDP is on record as saying they would work with the cons if cons made some concessions. And the Cons did.

    Are you trying to pretend that a full capitulation on EI to the NDP would constitute the only meaningful form of cooperation that the NDP could tolerate? And are you really arguing that the Canadian electorate would reward the NDP for that in a general election?

    If your looking at the poll numbers that show that a general election would likely bring back a conservative minority would you try to take what you could now or try reach a deal with an emboldened conservative minority after the election. This game has more than one move to it. Add to that the fact that Canadians already are not very keen election how credible would the threat of another one be after a con minority were returned in a general election?

    So yea it is clear the NDP has little bargaining power with the Cons right now but looking at the different dimensions of the polling data they will have even less if the Cons were to be returned with a minority again.

  5. The NDP is a party that garners the votes of about 1 in 6 or 1 in 5 voters. It is a block of voters that will not elect a government, but by continuing to organize it, they can make their weight felt in minority situations. The EI compromise can be seen as quite minor compared to long-term NDP demands, or to the sorts of needed changes that Osberg suggests in his recent CCPA report. But ultimately it is the first expansion of the program in a decade or decade and a half (depending on how we treat the minor Liberal tweaks at the turn of the century), after a quarter century of cuts to the program.
    Small potatoes for some, but given the balance of power between a cash rich Conservative party and a smaller NDP exhausted by 3 elections in 5 years, it is not nothing. Certainly much more than the Liberals got for 8 months of cooperation. I have often criticized the NDP for not having a bottom line or a backbone, but the difference with Ignatieff on this one is that they did have a bottom line, so Harper did have to give some ground.

  6. Thanks. I saw the link off Julian’s FB profile. I liked the piece on the WITB, it made me see them in a new light — do you have figures for the provincial programs, and can we say the same thing about the child tax benefits?

  7. I think people should completely forget the idea that Harper capitulated or gave on anything. The game plan was always to not allow the liberals any credit, and then introduce a paltry EI reforms and take credit for themselves. The current situation has made the CONs power share that credit; but there were not concessions here.

    I would expect the NDP to involve itself in some public posturing and extract some sort of concession. They didn’t even try. Why? Because they have no leverage with Harper. Harper knows the NDP can not afford an election, so the NDP has nothing to bargain
    with.

    If Harper was to give Layton a gun, send him into a dark room and order him to shoot a stranger, else he calls an election, I have to wonder who Jack would shoot.

  8. MArk let us assume you are right that the Cons came up with EI extensions all on their own (we would have to ignore the standing committee on EI, and the fact that all the opposition parties had been hammering the Cons on it) but let us just leave that reality to the side and go with your version of reality.

    How would the NDP be better off or the bloc or even the Libs be better off with an election which returned an emboldened con majority? There is only so much political reality you can deny before you become like an economist.

    The facts are these:

    The Cons extended the EI program. The rest is conjecture.

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