Friday, December 05, 2008
Only in Canada You Say?
(Picture of Prime Minister Harper and Governor General Michaelle Jean taken today courtesy of Canadian Press)
Yep, we’re not leaving all the political shenigans to our neighbour in the south of us anymore.
We’ve had our own parliamentary crisis up here in the Great White North.
Briefly, our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper (Bush-lite with an IQ), head of a minority Conservative government in spite of the recent election in which he had hoped to gain a majority, lost the confidence of the House when it came to dealing with the current economic crisis and was challenged by the three opposition parties who added up their seats and in a breathtaking attempt at a Canadian coup announced they wanted to form a new government.
The total number of seats in the House of Commons is 308 of which the Conservatives have 143. 2 are held by independents.
Now these three opposition parties would make extremely uneasy bedfellows as follows:
Liberals, the party of Pierre Trudeau, are slightly to the left of the Conservatives and have 76 seats. This is headed by the well-meaning but hopeless should-be-permanently-a-back-bencher Stephane Dion. He is, well, milque-toastish in the extreme and speaks an unfortunate form of English. One wag had it he was the kid that was constantly bullied in school.
The New Democratic Party, with 37 seats, headed by Jack Leyton, is very much left of the Liberals and off the horizon compared to the Conservatives. Jack is highly personable, matinee idol good-looking and pro every right you can think of. His wife, Olivia Chow, has also a seat in parliament. Power couple. Clintonesque.
Then we come to the Bloc Quebecois, with 50 seats, the wild card in the bunch, pushing for autonomy for Quebec, feeling very hard done by surrounded by the cesspool of us Anglos who keep shoving English culture down their throats.
A total of 163 seats between them, enough to form a solid opposition to the Conservatives.
Since the Governor General, Michaelle Jean, has to appoint the new government under advisement from the Prime Minister, there is a certain perceived lack of her detachment from the process.
You see where all this is going.
Mr. Harper went to see her cap in hand today and gave her unbiased (ahem!) advice alright. She has prorogued (suspended) Parliament until January 26th. An unprecedented step and one obviously in Mr. Harper’s best interests. If Parliament were to remain open, he and his party would have been at the receiving end of a no-confidence vote and he would be out on his arse as PM.
He is spinning it by telling us all this suspension is only because he needs to put a budget in place. No one in the country believes him.
However a reliable poll is showing 68% of us Canadians are very concerned as to the future of our country.
Everyone one meets or talks to on the street is engaged politically like I’ve never seen them since the October crisis so long, long ago.
Not so dull here in the hinterlands anymore, our radio and TV stations are full of the excitement of it all.
Naomi Klein has a marvellous article on the whole situation here.