Is this really necessary?

I’m not going to call it a coup, or even illegitimate or undemocratic, because apparently Canada’s democratic tradition allows for coalition governments.

However I have a hard time buying the argument that a change of government is necessary at this time.

8 Responses to “Is this really necessary?”

  1. Eric says:

    I have to agree with you on the timing part of your statement. However, the tradition of parliamentary democracy not only allows but, if you look around the world, could be said to encourage this sort of thing. The Swiss have been doing it for 50 years or so, (so have the Italians, although I don’t know if we’d want to go that rout). In any case, this is simply Harper acting as if he had a majority government and failing to act resonably. What happened to all the talk of “working together” of a week or so ago. Harper chose to put partisinship before good government at a time when good government is what is desperately needed. Harper was just stupid to bait the opposition parties, who combined have more seats in the house than the Concervatives, and who decided that they weren’t going to take it anymore. Call it a more representative government if you will. After all, only 36% voted CPC nationally.

  2. Phil L says:

    But Eric, you are overlooking the fact that the Conservatives backed down on the $1.95 subsidy. That’s how minority governments work. At that point the Conservatives had lost face and probably lost voter support. Now with this power play the opposition members are looking far worse, IMHO.

    Incidentally, it’s interesting that if this proceeds, the Prime Minister of Canada will be someone whom even his own party doesn’t want as its leader. Talk about a lame duck – not someone to inspire our confidence if the economic crisis is indeed going to get worse than the GDP growth we saw last quarter.

    And of course being held hostage by the Bloc separatists doesn’t sit well with me.

  3. Eric says:

    True, but if Harper had been smart – or collegial – that would never have been included in the update, which he decided to make a confidence matter. As for the lame duck issue, while I personally thought Dion was a poor choice by the liberals for their leader, he remains so until a new one is chosen. As such, as head of the party that would front the coalition he is the only choice really, lame duck or not. He at least would have the confidence of the house, which is the prerequisite. Ah, the joys of a parliamentary democracty where only the MP’s are elected and the PM is but a party leader. While I agree that this is far from ideal, the alternative is having a partisan megalomaniac as prime minister, who clearly is incapable of compromise untill his back is against the wall, despite knowing that stability is what is needed at this time – not exactly confidence inspiring in my books either. As for the Bloc, despite what many in the west would think, they are a legitimate party, have been the official opposition, represent a significant number of canadian’s (although many westerners don’t consider Quebecers to be canadian for some odd reason), and who pursue their agenda in accordance with the law and parliamentary tradition of the land. Besides, Harper himself attempted to ally himself with them to upend the Martin Liberals – so any complaints about their involevment is, well, ingenuous posturing by the Harper government. To me, that the three leaders were able to put their own agendas aside is astounding – and proof to me that they at least are ready to put posturing aside during this trying period. Harper has shown that he is not, and I think he signed his own walking papers this week.

  4. Eric says:

    Nevertheless, this is incredibly bad timing for these types of shenanegans. Unfortunately, it looks like everyone is too far down the road to turn back now, so an alternative must be sought. The PM MUST have the confidence of the house – if he/she does not there is no legitimacy. That leaves 2 real options, have another election, or have a coalition government. Since we just finished having an election that changed nothing of significance, do we really need to have another? After all, the majority of canadians did vote for the thre parties involved in the coalition, and not the CPC. At least the coalition would provide a hand at the tiller right now, and not after another campaign, which is arguably what we need at the moment to steady economic jitters.

  5. Phil L says:

    I believe that there is a 3rd option, which is to prorogue Parliament until the new year, at which time they could present a budget to be supported or shot down by the house. The advantage of that option would be that it would provide a “time out” for cooler heads to prevail, and for MPs to talk to their constituents.

    On the statement that “the majority of Canadians” didn’t vote for the CPC, how many governments in Canada in recent decades, including Chretien and Martin, received a majority vote? Were they legitimate governments?

    When I consider Dion’s hand at the tiller I get very afraid, especially when he will need the separatists’ blessing for any decision.

    Andrew Coyne has a good analysis in Macleans
    http://blog.macleans.ca/2008/11/30/the-tories-made-them-do-it/

  6. Eric says:

    Prorogation is an option, but one that will simply prolong the inevitable. It hard to see how canada would benefit from having a government that has no mandate to do anything at all, which would leave the ship rudderless in a gale, so to speak. If anything at all it will only illustrate further that Harper is not fit to be PM…how can running from difficulty be viewed as a leadership trait? Here’s an interesting comparison with teh Devine government and prorogation http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/story.html?id=607822f0-e497-4740-aa9b-07ff3f5aa467

    The issue of the BLOC is in my view a dead one, given this revelation about the willingness of the conservatives to unite with them when it suited their purposes. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081203.wquebec1203/BNStory/National/?page=rss&id=RTGAM.20081203.wquebec1203

    My problem with Harper now is that he is just fighting to stay in power, even though he has lost it. Very Mugabe esq. As for having Dion at the helm, he cannot be worse than harper. Harper has shown himself to be arrogant, untruthful, decietful and useless. Most importantly, he has lost the confidence of parliament, which means he cannot continue to govern. I like this assessment of Harpers recent performance http://blog.macleans.ca/2008/11/27/harpers-new-tack-change-you-cant-believe-in/

    The statement regarding pecentage of votes is merely a reference to the incomprehensible idea that “Harper was elected to govern”. He was elected by his constituents, and happens to be the leader of the CPC. The CPC was elected in more ridings than anyone else and as a result formed the government. The CPC was not elected in a majority of constituents across canada. As for the sepetatists, what harper is doing now, with all of the BS rhetoric and whining about western alienation is only going to exacerbate that problem. Quite an about face from sucking up to them duting the last parliament, eh? Dion, for all his faults is the only one of the leaders who has real credentials regarding canadian federalism.

  7. Roger Loseth says:

    When I was but a young lad my brother and I would have peeing contests, this latest thing is but a peeing contest. Unfortunatly it is happening at a really bad time. But I’m told that peeing contests are sanctioned under the charter even when the timing isn’t perfect.

  8. Phil L says:

    It looks as though Harper intends to go with Option #3.

    Personally I would prefer that he allow the confidence motion to proceed on Monday, and allow the Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition to seize power. Their coalition would dissolve within months, and the ensuing election would see them spanked by the electorate. Except in Quebec where they would be handsomely rewarded for the goodies sent that way. And probably in Ontario where bags of cash would have been distributed. Wait a minute, that’s where most of the votes are. OK so maybe they would get away with their power grab.

    Unfortunately this power grab means big gains for the western separatist movement. Sigh.