While this is not intended to be a political blog, I find that I cannot resist saying something on the latest political shenanigans here in the frozen North.
As a bit of background for my non-Canadian readers, we seem to be headed towards what might be termed ‘interesting times’ in the political sense. Our political system is based on the British model, i.e. a parliamentary democracy. Voters in districts vote for a member of parliament, generally from one party or another, and the party with the largest numbers of MPs gets to try to form the next government. There are generally two types of government; majority (party holds >50% of MPs) and minority (party holds <50% of MPs). The latter, by nature tend to be unstable and often do not run for the full 4 years. There are four parties with MPs in the current parliment – Conservative (right wing), Liberal (left wing), NDP (far left) and the Bloc (Quebec seperatists).
We have had three minority governments in a row here in Canada, Liberals (2004-6), Conservative (2006-8) and Conservative (2008-now). The last election was 6 weeks ago and returned the Conservatives with an increased number of MPs, but still 10 or so shy of a majority.
This is where is gets interesting, and I use that term under advisement. For, six weeks after the election the opposition have now hatched a plan that I have never seen happen before in such a parlimentary democracy. The Liberals, NDP and Bloc have entered an accord where they will bring down the current Conservative government and replace it with three party coalition.
From what I have seen so far, the reaction to this stunt has been synchophantic fawning (that would be the MSM), immature posturing on behalf of some, and a real sense of anger and greivance amongst others.
What they are proposing is not illegal, it is not a coup d’état. However, it is highly irregular, and extremely dubious ethically. I have never seen this occur before, and I believe this has only happened before in Canda during the First World War.
The point is, it does not matter whether you voted Conservative, Liberal, or NDP – exactly 0% of the population voted for a coalition. If this was on the cards, it should have been mentioned 6 weeks ago when the voters would have been able to give their opinion on it. As it is, the dust has barely settled on the election and it becomes apparent that a dirty political game is in progress. Now, not many people expect ethical or moral behaviour from politicians en-masse. However, this is lowering the tone to new and unheard-of depths.
Note too, the Liberals and NDP (who are planning on becoming the government) together come 30 or so MPs short of the Conservative tally. So, how are they to make this work? Well, they will rely on the Quebec seperatists. They will place their political survival in the hands of a party dedicated to the break-up of Canada. I personally have no problem with the Bloc, but doesn’t anybody see the problem here?
Let’s spell it out. I think the Liberals and the NDP are going to realise (if they do not already know) how the majority of Canadians feel about this stunt. Therefore, the last thing they are going to want is another election. It will, if you like, be a Coalition of Fear. The Bloc has got to be laughing all the way to the bank, as they know they are going to be able to exact a high price to ensure the Liberal / NDPs political survival. Of all the parties, I think they have their heads screwed on right!
But is this good for Canada? In the midst of a financial crisis, to pull a stunt like this where two losing parties (that don’t really like each other overmuch) bind themselves together under the Damoclese sword of seperatist ambition and grab power over the heads of the electorate. I can’t see it, myself.
Who was it who said a country gets the government it deserves? It seems that we deserve a train wreck in slow motion!
I totally agree with you
God bless you too 🙂
It wasn’t a coalition of three that was opposed. The Bloc only agreed not to vote against the coalition in a non confidence vote, they wouldn’t have sat on the government side of the house. I am more scandalized by the GG’s decision to prorogue parliament. For an appointed official to save the PM’s rear from a non confidence vote is just wrong.
Heh, it probably looks different out East 🙂
Though the Bloc wasn’t part of the Coalition, I don’t think they were going along out of the goodness of their hearts. They would have had their pound of flesh and then some.
About the proroging of parliment, I’m a little more sanguine. Perhaps it will give time for cooler heads to prevail. What I would really like to see in Jan on a non-confidence vote is a new election. Then we can all vote on this coalition thing.
That should say “proposed”. Another election? Please, NO. If the government falls the GG should ask the other parties if they can form a government. This is the parliament we elected, they have a duty to try to make it work, and we don’t need to be spending another gazillion dollars on another election so soon.
I think we are going to have to agree to disagree here. 🙂
We never voted thinking of an NDP/Liberal coalition (those parties even like each other?) with the Bloc getting billion dollar handouts as the price to keep them in power. In fact, both parties explicitly ruled out a coalition in this last election.
Out West, it is seen as an immoral power grab by parties with a sense of entitlement, looking to overrule an election result through dishonest tactics.
If there were not a new election in Jan on a non-confidence vote, provinces West of Ontario will be extremely unhappy, feeling that ‘their’ party (for better or worse) had the election stolen from them.
I’m no great fan of the Tories, but these shenanigans just stink. If all parties want to make parliament work, then don’t vote it down 6 weeks after the elections! I would vote again (albeit reluctantly) as we would be presented with these coalition plans up front, not through the back door after the fact.