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Five days: Canada and the mess…

2008/12/05

Ok, first off… I am going to talk politics here. The nasty mess that is Canadian politics. So if you don’t want to read that Jerry Springer-style drama (and I, personally, don’t care for it much myself) that is currently taking place, please find another blog.

Second off… a little thing called disclosure. I voted Liberal for the last 5 years, the reason being that I generally agreed with their platform for the two times that I when to the poles. That said this is my rather small attempt at having an open mind about this unfolding ‘crisis’ and be neutral on my opinion. That said, here we go.

So, if you have been living under a rock for the last five days, or just don’t care. The Canadian political scene suddenly got really, really interesting among the den of wolves. Apparently, the elected Prime Minister Steven Harper seems to be staring down the political barrel of a gun. Ok, let me explain if you not getting the analogies….
5 days ago, the Conservative government released it’s economic statement review for the upcoming budget. To say that it was bad is an understatement… It more or less shot at a few ideological demons of the ruling minority party and provided little to no provisions for the coming global recession (If you really want to look up the details of it, try one of the Canadian papers.[The Globe and Mail is good]… I will not post it here since this a personal blog, not a report). It was presented to the Parliament (what we call the House of Commons, which I tend to call the Den of Wolves) and the opposition parties (The Liberal’s, the NDP, The Bloc Quebecoi), ahem… ALL THREE OF THEM, simply could not stand for what was happening. Now keep in mind that for anything to be voted on it that den of wolves requires support from either one of these parties during a minority government to have the Majority of the House and then move on to the Senate, so you can see the problem of what happens when they all collectively disagree… and BOY did they.
The result is chaos… The three parties formed a coalition (Liberal and NDP, with the Bloc’s support for an 18 month period. All signed in) to from a government once a ‘vote of no confidence’ is issued, and Harper retaliated as loudly as he could for the last few days. He says that this coalition is illegal (and it’s not, I’ll get to that). He said that Bloc are still separatists and continue to seek to divide the county (and to a point he is right on that one, and I’ll get to this as well). He says that St├ęphane Dion and Jack Layton happen to be robing the voice of Canada over this matter (which they are not), etc. All parties have been spitting bile at each other for the last few days, which has ended since they are on extended recess till the 27 of Jan.

My thoughts on this are really simple… Holy crap, politics is interesting in Canada!
This is probably the most engaged I have seen the county in politics for a while. Now with that said, it’s really divided in Canada if the coalition is a right path or not.
Me, it’s already stated… we elected Prime Minister Steven Harper and Conservatives on the premises that he could and should be able to work with the other elected officials to guide Canada. It’s why a Majority Government continues to elude him, we aren’t completely trusting him to run the county ALONE… and it seem to be a note that he overlooked in the election that has passed, we wanted all parties on the same page when it concerned the economy and other areas of interest.
What that economic statement showed was that simply put, Mr. Harper didn’t think that we could or would be hit my the economic crisis in housing and credit that has hit the US, European, and the Asian markets. This despite the rather known fact that we are slowly moving into a recession and that we are simple not immune to this global effect in housing markets and in the credit markets. On top of that, Mr. Harper seemed to have the gall of suggesting that we refuse the right for federal civil workers to strike, that we strike at the woman’s right for equal pay, etc. on the basis that it costs too much money to keep them in place. I can see where the lost in confidence comes from, and personally agree that given what the Conservatives approach to this is (a take-it-or-leave-it stratagem) demonstrates that they are unfit to govern.

After that, it all get ify… The coalition is set up in a matter that the one with the most seats in the house gets to the most ministers and the Prime Minister-ship (that said, it’s all proportional, the Bloc isn’t really in this so they get nothing out of the coalition; and the seats that the NDP get will be in relation to their total seats in the house… so it’s not unfair). Like it or not, by that clause, Liberals lead… Dion will be Prime Minister.
Really, I don’t know how that is going to work for the 18 months they are tied in for, when you consider that the Liberals will be getting a new leader come the Summer. If anything, what Dion does after the vote will be interesting… and depending on what happens, VERY bitter. That said as much I do like Dion for his passion, the fact that he’s something of a lame-duck leader being given the Prime Minister-ship is disturbing.
That said, their mandate should fix some of that uneasiness that I have for the leader. It’s extremely focused in on the economy and will be there first and really only concern for the next 18 months. I’ll give them credit for this, they saw the writing on the wall since the last election that we are asking for action with this coming recession. It’s the very reason that the Conservatives got to form a government, and it outlines that since Harper doesn’t seem to get it, they do and will continue to work towards that. That makes me happy.
Aside from that, meh… this is legal… the Conservatives don’t have a majority government (where they have 45% + seats in the house). Despite the concessions that they have made to make the other parties happy, it seems rather clear that the Conservatives seem to have the idea that this session of parliament will continue to go on like the last with no one really doing anything if they pulls something that is not in the interest of the country. With a coming motion of confidence on the eighth, they would have lost the house on their actions since the other parties completely lost trust that the Conservatives are doing the right thing by ignore what is likely to come, and since we are not in the mood for another election so soon (lest than two months since the last)… this would be an alternative, by using the majority of elected officials to form an government at the request of the Queen (or her representative in the Governor General) with a focused mandate and set time-frame. It not common place for this to happen (in fact it’s VERY rare), but it does happen… and is completely constitutional if their is a lack of confidence in the current government and there is a will not to seek election.

Mr. Harper, on the other hand, seem to have brought all guns to bare in the PR game and rightfully so, because in one fail swoop he loses EVERYTHING if he can’t stop this. If anything, his actions lately are not of a calm man in control of the government, it’s that of a very desperate man clinging to power (that said, the coalition is a power grab as well but given it’s limited scope, it something that I do agree with). The fact that he expected to see the opposition squabble among themselves despite having no real power himself is quite funny since that didn’t happen. Now reacting, Harper has managed to do something that is a Canadian politics no-no… he opened the national unity debate.
Why, rather simple… the Bloc is agreeing with the Lib-NDP and have signed into supporting them (but not merging with them) for the next 18 months, and their prior history of seeking separation from the county. That said, lately the Bloc don’t really care about separation… so long as the Federal government of Canada are working in the best interests of Quebec as well as the rest of the county, and since then have been slowly closing the book on their days as hard-line separatists days since at the moment separation is not in the best interests of Quebec.
That said, Mr. Harper will rue opening this can of worms solely to save his career if this doesn’t work. And even if it does, and the coalition does end, then he is stuck cleaning up one of the messiest debates Canada as ever known. 40 years and counting, you are taking about subject that will always be fraught with anger… and if the coalition does succeed or not, it might not be isolated to just Quebec. Alberta and BC are known to have rumblings of this manner, they has not be as great as the one in Quebec (which started out VERY violently) but they are their and this mess seems to has stirred this. Mr. Harper has, regardless of the success of the coalition, successfully opened up the VERY heart of this county in a salted wound that was healing for the last 10 years… all in a bit to keep his job as Prime Minister. Good job, man… Good job.

That aside, he’s been attacking the coalition’s weakest link, it’s leader Dion. I really wonder if there has been any though on the attacks, since he need to really address the matter that happening in parliament and the economy. He has warmed up the PR machine in his party, he has been on TV to address the nation in the last two days instead of simply talking to the other parties or even the Governor General as a mediator to this crisis. He has warmed the campaign machine as well, with Conservative MP’s now looking for donations, talking to others, having rallies, instead of simply getting to work on this impasse. He’s requested and gotten a prorogue from our Governor but I doubt that he’s getting the time that he wanted. It’s a sad seven weeks, and all signs from the coalition, seven weeks isn’t enough to drag them away from this… we’ll see what happens then but again, with this much anger at the hill, the Den of Wolves just got a whole lot meaner and they are out for one man’s blood, his.
And yes, it shows… since somehow, the Conservatives, are back in election campaign mode in a time where they really shouldn’t be. I really have to wonder if the Conservative Party of Canada just outwardly assumes that most Canadians are stupid, Since if one thing about the anger among the country over this is clear… is that they should be working at this impasse than just making some noise. Some Conservatives are already disturb by this, and has begun whispering about an new leader. So really if this is how they are going to react, by dodging the issues and acting in a manner that will drag Canadians into another expensive election, you really have to ask yourself, is this a government that I can be confident is looking out for the well being of Canada? A Government that seem to be in the hands of a dictative, and equally as lame-ducked Steven Harper that just can’t seem to listen to the word NO for an answer?
If I am to answer that, the answer it NO and NO on both counts. How about you?

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