Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Canadian, huh?

Don't those three look smug, and pleased with themselves? This picture is front and centre on newspapers Canada-wide under the huge header: "It's a Done Deal." Those three men, Jack Layton on the left, Stephan Dion in the middle, and Gilles Duceppe are all leaders of the main political parties who have just signed an 'agreement' to form a coalition government in Canada.

These are strange times in Canadian politics. Just six weeks ago, Canadians trudged to the polls for a federal election that nobody wanted; nobody, that is except the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, who declared an election necessary because his minority government decided that parliament was unworkable. So off we all went to do our civic duty. Well, some of us did as we saw one of the lowest voter turnouts in history. The results of the millions of dollars spent saw Harper's Conservative Party STILL in a minority position, albeit with more seats. To form a majority government (and then, in theory have free rein to run the country according to their own philosophy) Harper needed 155 seats. He got 143.

Now those three gems pictured above have decided that THEY are more qualified to run this country. Did any of them win a mandate to do that? No, of course not. What has brought the country to this precipice is an overload of arrogance on the part of ALL party leaders.

As everybody must know by now, we are in the grips of a global economic crisis. If I recall correctly, Stephen Harper is an economist by education. He, in his usual usual arrogance, told anyone who would listen that Canada was well placed to weather this crisis, because HIS government had already put in place - a year ago - measures to weather the storm. Uhuh. Eventually after bruising sessions in the House of Commons, I heard Harper declare that Canada would, in fact, bear the brunt of a "technical recession." I guess a "technical recession" is meant to sound less serious than a full blown, all out actual recession. I laughed when I heard that. In the rest of the world, countries are collapsing - Iceland, anyone? - and throwing gazillion dollars, seemingly in panic mode, at various and sundry glad-handers who come a-calling. Canadians only have to look to the south to hear comments like "$700 billion may not be enough."

As major banking institutions scream "show me the money" and the governments not only show them the money, but GIVE them the money, (yes, in England too) we hear of auto industries on both sides of the border crying the blues as they step right up to the taxpayers trough.

Ironic really, since not one of the supplicants is proving that they understand that the business models they have followed obviously do not work, and make no efforts to fix or change the historical courses that got them into the mess in the first place. Never mind that: just throw more money at it, and money can flow freely again. Money flowing too freely and in the most fiscally unsound direction, is the basis of the current economical woes, anywhere. And nobody is proving immune. Not even Stephen Harper who insisted a few weeks ago that here in Canada we have no reason to panic. He really did say that.

What appears to be the ultimate metaphorical straw that has broken the camels back, was Mr Harper last week presenting a sort of economic blueprint in lieu of an actual Budget. He rose in the House and presented spending cuts that he believed would go some ways to addressing this "technical recession." Two items on that statement are what seem to have caused the three people above to believe they can wrest power from the elected minority Harper government. One was to be the abolition of the right of any civil servants to strike. If that wasn't enough of a red rag to a bull, (the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the union of civil servants is a very strong, well-financed and vocal union; believe me, I know this), Harper also intended to stop that funding to all political parties which is based on the number of votes each party gets at the polls. I think my vote is worth $1.75 (Canadian) to the party I voted for. As the howls of outrage echoed through the House of Commons, Harper back-pedalled furiously. Too little action, too late. The jackals in the photo above smelled blood, and they attacked.

Now they have signed an agreement to form a coalition government, because, as Dion and Layton keep repeating: "This government has lost the confidence of the House." They even wrote a letter to "all" Canadians, which states in part:

To our fellow citizens,

Canada is facing a global economic crisis. Since the recent federal election, it has become clear that the government headed by Stephen Harper has no plan, no competence and, no will to effectively address this crisis. Therefore, the majority of Parliament has lost confidence in Mr. Harper's government, and believes that the formation of a new Government that will effectively, prudently, promptly and competently address these critical economic times is necessary.

The contrast between the inaction of Mr. Harper's government and the common action taken by all other Western democracies is striking. We cannot accept this.

A majority of Canadians and Quebecers voted for our parties on October 14, 2008. Our Members of Parliament make up 55 percent of the House of Commons.

In light of the critical situation facing our citizens, and the Harper government's unwillingness and inability to address the crisis, we are resolved to support a new government that will address the interests of the people.

Today we respectfully inform the Governor General that, as soon as the appropriate opportunity arises, she should call on the Leader of the Official Opposition to form a new government, supported as set out in the accompanying accords by all three of our parties.[link:

There is more, lots more, of course. When have we ever seen any politician be anything but overly verbose? Never!

Only a couple of problems with their political coup. The major one of course is that none of those three stooges was elected with a majority to act as our employees in Parliament. Yes, they are our employees, paid for by our tax dollars. They seem to forget this, especially now as they play their power-grabbing games.

Not one of the three in the picture above is qualified, together or alone, to govern this country. If Canadians thought so, why, we would have given one of them a majority to do exactly that. We did not.

Neither Jack Layton, nor his party, has ever been elected as the government of Canada. Voters have never given him enough at the ballot box to give him that priviledge. And here he is now, ignoring what the voters have repeatedly told him, and ready to assume power based on a backroom deal and a public handshake. Not so fast, Jack!

Stephan Dion? During this last election, Dion not only had to contend with Harper's long time vicious campaign ads against him; he also is still trying to dislodge the knives that his own colleagues stabbed him in the back with. Following his party's defeat, Dion resigned as party leader, but said he would stay on unt6il the next Leadership convention, scheduled for May 2009 in Vancouver. No wonder he looks smug in the picture above.

Then we come to Gilles Duceppe, the third of the amigos. Out of the three, he just might have the most gall, signing agreements to form a coalition government charged to run this country. The party he represents has as their stated goal to have his province - Quebec - separate from Canada. Really! His party has been through a number of referendums trying to garner enough votes to have Quebec be considered not part of this country called Canada; strictly on their own terms, of course. To date, the numbers have been against him, but still his party follow their goal. Apart from that, Duceppe's party only ever runs candidates within Quebec, so he has NO claim to be part of any governing coalition of this country. Non! He has no authority to speak on national issues when his party has elected MP's only in his own province. Every other party does run candidates nationally, so they therefore have legitimacy as national parties. They can, indeed, speak on national issues.

Let me be clear: I did not vote for Stephen Harper's party, but I find myself agreeing with him when he says in the House of Commons that it is only his party that was elected with a mandate to govern Canada. That is the truth, even though he will never get my vote. He is too much of a control freak, seeminlgy unable to think outside any box, and come up with creative, workable solutions for Canada. Be that as it may, when this new session of parliament began, all parties said in public that they would work harder to make this government work. They promised that they would work together to keep government civil and workable for the Canadian people. There goes that idea.

The Governor General (the Queen's representative in Canada) has cut short a trip in Europe to return to deal with this latest fiasco. Protocol demands that, in the event a government is unworkable, the Prime Minister must ask the GG to dissolve parliament. An election is then usually called.

I do not envy Michaelle Jean's position right now. I am sure many constitutional experts are advising her, so that she has an appropriate response when the trio above go to tell her they are ready to govern as a coalition. Goodness knows, the airwaves these days are overflowing with talking heads pontificating on the repercussions on the current twists and turns. Meanwhile, the raucous antics continue in Ottawa.

I know what I would do with all these power-mad boys. I would remind them that they work for Canadians, and that the best interests of Canada trump any and all political ambitions any of them may have. We do not pay them to play these ego-driven games with the destiny of our country. They are all saying they are acting out like this for the sake of the Canadian economy. Could have fooled me. Maybe Canadians can ask for a refund, since from where I sit, they are certainly not earning their pay - or perks. Just sayin'.

I do not want another federal election. Canada certainly has better things to be spending those millions of dollars on. No, I do not think one dime should go in bail-outs, but that's another topic for another day. But, if an election is the alternative to a coalition of the willing above, then I say: let's have an election. To give in to these guys is to set a precedent for all of us that I think is onerous. If we allow this, it tells me that MY vote means less than zero. To allow them to form a government which we did not elect, makes a mockery of democracy, Last I looked, Canada is still a democracy.

I do have one suggestion for this country. Instead of continuously rewarding these ridiculous manoeuvers by the old boys club in Ottawa, how about we make a whole new model of government? Why not elect one woman from every province and territory - including representation of Canada's First nations - and have THEM form the government. Goodness knows, they could not be any worse, and would I believe, be far more effective at running this country. By having an elected parliament of women, we could reverse the age old strangle-hold these guys have on the nation's business. Let's break the glass ceiling once and for all. "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the country."

Interesting times we live in here in Canada, and I expect the days ahead to be more of the same temper tantrums.

I have but one message for the good ol' boys:

Make this government work. GET.BACK.TO.WORK. Now!

1 comment:

Faultline USA said...

Thanks for helping us to understand a little more about Canadian politics!