Politics - Federal

Picking a Prime Minister: A Parliamentary Primer

By Ryan McGreal
Published December 02, 2008

We will use all legal means to resist this undemocratic seizure of power.

-- Prime Minister Stephen Harper

With the Liberals and NDP agreeing to a coalition with the support of the Bloc Quebecois and planning a motion of no confidence this coming Monday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has responded by calling the coalition an "illegitimate government" and claiming that it would be "a catastrophe, for our democracy, our unity and our economy, especially at a time of global instability." (Now Harper cares about "unity"?)

Members of the Conservative Party have been seen wearing buttons that read, "No to the coup". The government has stated that it is considering every option to prevent the "coup", and may even ask the Governor General to prorogue (suspend) Parliament until it releases its 2009 budget in late January.

The Conservative Party's claim that the Liberal-NDP plan to wrest control of the government from the Conservative Party is somehow "undemocratic" certainly has some currency among Canadians who are sympathetic - or at least confused about parliamentary procedure.

But surely Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada's premiere policy wonk, knows our parliamentary system better than that. After all, his skillful handling of parliamentary process over the past years has been nothing short of brilliant - his recent catastrophic over-reach notwithstanding.

Prime Ministers are Appointed

The simple fact is that strictly speaking, Stephen Harper was not elected Prime Minister in the recent federal election, all casual claims to the contrary.

It is a long tradition among political commentators and voters alike to equate a party winning the most seats in Parliament with that party winning the election, and most of the time the equation is true enough. In practical terms, it is also approximate to the American system, in which voters actually choose their President as well as their Congressional representatives.

However, it is in the rare edge cases that this approximation breaks down - edge cases like the situation in Ottawa today.

What really happens in a Parliamentary system is this: the federal election is an aggregation of 308 individual constituency (riding) elections, and the House of Commons is comprised of the 308 candidates who won their respective ridings.

You did not vote for the Prime Minister. In fact, unless you lived in the riding of Calgary Southwest during the election, Stephen Harper's name did not appear anywhere on your ballot.

Rather, the Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor General, who picks the Member of Parliament with the confidence of the House of Commons, which means the Prime Minister is able to get a majority of MPs to support his or her legislative agenda.

Motions of Confidence and No Confidence

The government in a Parliamentary system refers to the Prime Minister and his or her appointed Cabinet of Ministers, who decide the country's legislative agenda and oversee the various federal ministries. The government can continue to govern as long as it enjoys the confidence of the House of Commons.

The formal way that the House of Commons reaffirms its confidence in the Prime Minister is by voting in favour of a motion of confidence, a motion that the MPs still have confidence in the leadership of the Prime Minister. Alternately, the House can show its confidence by rejecting a motion of no confidence.

Again, in practical terms the member who is most likely to hold the confidence of the house is the leader of the party of which the largest number of MPs are members, simply because the members of a political party are expected to vote along party lines on confidence motions or risk expulsion from the party.

If one party has a clear majority of seats in the House of Commons, the leader of that party clearly has the most legitimate claim to the confidence of the House, and it's a no-brainer that the G-G will appoint him or her as the Prime Minister.

It's critical to understand the litmus test for being appointed Prime Minister: not being the leader of the party with the most seats, but rather being the Member who has the confidence of the House.

Minority Governments are Unstable

In most elections, the leader of the winnnig party is the Member who has the confidence of the house. That's why we're usually safe to speak about elections as if this or that leader "won" the election. (This is the sense in which Harper claims that the coalition would be "undemocratic".)

However, the situation changes when no single party wins more than half the total seats in the House of Commons. In that case, it is no longer guaranteed that the leader of the party with the most seats has the confidence of the House.

This is why so-called minority governments are inherently unstable: because the opposition parties collectively make up more than half the seats in the House, they have enough votes to reject a motion of confidence or pass a motion of no confidence.

Normally when this happens, the Governor General dissolves Parliament and calls a general election. (In the 2008 election, it was actually Harper who declared that the House of Commons had become "dysfunctional" and asked the Governor General to dissolve Parliament and call an election.)

New Prime Minister, No Election

But the Governor General has another option: if another Member can credibly claim the confidence of the House of Commons, the the Governor General can dismiss the existing Prime Minister and appoint a new Prime Minister without calling an election.

By signing a coalition agreement with the NDP as a partner and the Bloc Quebecois as a supporter, the Liberals are attempting to demonstrate that their leader, Stéphane Dion, has the confidence of the House, since the Liberals, NDP and Bloc together control more than half the seats in the House. (The coalition agreement commits the parties to a two-and-a-half year accord.)

This coming Monday, the opposition parties plan to introduce a motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Stephen Harper and ask Governor General Michaëlle Jean to give Dion and his cabinet an opportunity to govern with the confidence of the House.

If Jean decides to give the coalition this opportunity, Dion will be Prime Minister until May, when the Liberal Party chooses a new leader. The coalition cabinet will have 18 Ministers from the Liberals and six Ministers from the NDP.

Highly Irregular

This is definitely not standard operating procedure in Parliamentary politics. In fact, the last time something similar happened in Canada - and the only time it has happened since Confederation in 1867 - was the "Union Government" of 1917-20, when several Liberal and independent Members joined a coalition with the Conservative Party, led by Prime Minister Robert Borden, to support his controversial conscription policy during World War I.

Unlike today, the Union Government coalition actually ran as such during the 1917 federal election and won. If the Bloc-supported Liberal-NDP coalition takes over the government next Monday, it will be the first time in Canadian history that a coalition has taken over mid-Parliament.

As a result, it carries a tinge of illegitimacy, which Harper is exploiting in a PR campaign that has less than a week to pull out all the stops. This is especially true given the results of the the last election. It seems bizarre that the unpopular Liberal leader, Stéphane Dion, could become the Prime Minister after his poor standing among votes.

Harper Overplayed His Hand

Harper has no one but himself to blame for this bizarre state of affairs. Quite simply, by reverting to the worst partisanship after promising cooperation and rushing to crush his opposition rather than responding to the financial crisis, Harper has lost the confidence of the House of Commons.

Granted, he has backtracked on some elements of the plan - albeit temporarily - but his proposed response to the financial crisis runs directly contrary to what a majority of Members want to see.

By making his divisive plan a confidence motion, Harper has forced the opposition parties into a corner and left them with only two alternatives:

Harper gambled that the opposition would choose the former option, especially given that the Liberal Party is debt-ridden from the recent election and effectively leaderless, given that Dion is a lame duck who has already announced that he will step down as leader this coming May.

It probably seemed like a safe assumption. After all, Harper governed like he had a majority for the past three years, counting on the Liberals to abstain from confidence motions or to hold their noses and vote along with him.

However, he seems to have gone too far this time, and provoked a backlash that may well cost him his government.

If you're worried that the latter option still sounds undemocratic, consider that the opposition parties command more than half the seats in the House of Commons and represent more than half of the popular vote. Even in commonsense terms, the coalition has more democratic legitimacy than the Conservative government.

As for why the opposition parties waited until after an unpopular election to get together ... that's an essay for another day.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 12:08:47

How can a prideful Liberal leader named Stephane Dion be held responsible for the catastrophe that the Liberal campaign was and yet somehow have the "confidence of teh House" while the Canadian public gave the Liberal party the thumping it deserved this past election? How can ANY federal party cooperated with a separatist party and still talk about the best for Canada? (as an aside, what business does a separatist party have running in a federal election).

My point is this, as an informed voter, I put the 'x' on my ballot in front of the name of the individual I felt represented my interests in the most appropriate manner. I didn't vote for two parties. Saying that Canadians want a left of centre government is probably correct, however, problems arise in the deal making of coalition governments. How much money or what has the Bloc received as a consequence of this deal? What kind of legislation will now be tabled and in essence strong armed through parliament (something not possible in a minority government, bully or not) whether or not it's something Canadians want? What kind of insane bill are we now going to have to foot for Stephane and Jack's power hungry struggle? If Canadians wanted a left of centre government, then they would've voted for whichever left of centre party they wanted in. In this case they didn't....so no, a coalition government with the ability to strong arm policy and enact laws which could very well be in direct opposition to what Canadians actually want because of a coalition agreement between parties is not what Canadians want.

Don't give me that bunk.

P.S.- not one person I've talked to about it actually thinks it's a good idea. I think I'd rather have an election, no matter what it costs.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 12:10:05

I also didn't vote for 3 parties nor was my vote a "left of centre" vote. It was a vote for A particular party, not an ideal.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 02, 2008 at 12:28:27

Frank,

You did not vote for a party. You voted for an MP. The government is composed of a Prime Minister and Cabinet who retain the confidence of a majority of MPs in the House of Commons. If Stéphane Dion can do this and Harper can't, then Dion is fit to be Prime Minister and Harper is not. That's how Parliament works.

a coalition government with the ability to strong arm policy and enact laws which could very well be in direct opposition to what Canadians actually want because of a coalition agreement between parties is not what Canadians want.

Notwithstanding that the Parliamentary system has some serious problems from a strictly democratic point of view (problems we have highlighted in various RTH articles), what the coalition advocates is much closer to what most Canadians want than what the Conservative government advocates: from infrastructure spending to economic stimulus to the fiscal prudence of Paul Martin when he was the finance minister.

I would argue that the coalition is a case of the Parliament trying really hard to represent what most Canadians support within the confines of the current rules. For example, the composition of the coalition government more closely represents how the government would look if we had a system in which seats were distributed proportionate to the popular vote (in my opinion a more democratic arrangement than the current first-past-the-post system).

The Conservative government, by contrast, was elected with the support of only a third of Canadian voters and yet chose to govern as if they had the support of a majority. That's why the Conservatives lost the confidence of the house, and that's why the coalition may get a chance to govern.

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By Rob (anonymous) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 12:32:43

I completely agree with Frank on all points...scary. It's as if he posted my exact thoughts on the subject!

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By Earnest (anonymous) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 12:35:29

=====
How can a prideful Liberal leader named Stephane Dion be held responsible for the catastrophe that the Liberal campaign was and yet somehow have the "confidence of teh House"
=====

Frank everyone knows Dion will be out the door in May. He's got the confidence of the house because he's only going to be in charge for a few months, and he won't be able to do anything radical without breaking up the coalition and triggering an election.

The globe and mail got it right in there editorial - if Harper wants to undercut the coalition and regain his party's confidence he should step down. Even his own party members are grousing (quietly for now) that he pushed the button on this blowup.

"If Mr. Harper wishes to act in the best interests of the country, it may be time for him to consider removing that imperative from the table.

"With a different Conservative leader in place, the coalition could lose some of its lustre – or at least its urgency – for the opposition parties."

theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081201.weCoalition02/BNStory/politics/home

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By Wig Standard (anonymous) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 12:41:09

Frank >> My point is this, as an informed voter, I put the 'x' on my ballot in front of the name of the individual I felt represented my interests in the most appropriate manner <<

EXACTLY. You didn't vote for a party or a prime minister. You voted for an MP. Whatever MP your riding sent to Ottawa is still the same person, infact all the people last month's election sent to Ottawa are still in ottawa and their votes all still count for the same amount. The election was to pick what people went to ottawa to be in the Commons and your electoral wishes are still respected if this coalition goes ahead. The difference is that the other three parties agreed to get together and form the governmnt. They have more votes AND more seats than the Conservatives, it just makes sense that they should be the government and pass laws they can all agree on (what the Conservatives would be doing if THEY stay in charge), I'm just surprised (and disappointed) they didn't do it sooner, they could've saved a lot of bother.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 12:42:37

I also didn't vote for 3 parties nor was my vote a "left of centre" vote. It was a vote for A particular party, not an ideal.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 12:45:08

Actually Ryan, although I checked off a box in front of an MP, I voted for a party. I didn't vote for him because I liked his haircut, I voted for him because I read his party platform and felt it worked best for my interests.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 12:48:33

@ both Wig and Ryan, if it were a singular party with the same interests that'd be the truth. However, it's a 3-in-1 party that is each pushing for their best interests as best as they can and that will definately be shown. In NZ, the coalitions are built out of two nearly identical parties...(read the platforms) while here, we're talking about 3 parties with entirely different agendas!

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By Frank (registered) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 12:49:35

oops...Definitely, not definately.

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By political mayhem (anonymous) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 13:03:58

Harper should ask the Queen to dismiss Michaelle Jean and appoint a Conservative partisan as the GG.

Hey, you read it here first...

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 02, 2008 at 13:07:13

Frank wrote:

Actually Ryan, although I checked off a box in front of an MP, I voted for a party.

Strictly speaking, no you didn't. You voted for a person, though the reason for your vote may have been his or her membership in a particular party.

That's a very fine distinction, and in ordinary circumstances it's a distinction that only insufferable pedants would make - but we're in extra-ordinary political circumstances right now, and the distinction is suddenly very important from a Constitutional point of view.

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By Chris (registered) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 13:58:40

Frank >>Actually Ryan, although I checked off a box in front of an MP, I voted for a party. I didn't vote for him because I liked his haircut, I voted for him because I read his party platform and felt it worked best for my interests.<<

Simply because you chose to vote that way doesn't change the way our country is governed.

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By politics junkie (anonymous) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 14:01:55

Sorry Frank and Rob but Ryan's right. Here's Nelson Wiseman, poli-sci professor at U of T on the CBC... ''The Conservatives are arguing it's undemocratic, but actually elections don't elect governments. They elect Parliaments. Parliaments make a government. Parliaments can break a government.''

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By Rusty (registered) - website | Posted December 02, 2008 at 14:25:42

Well one thing is happening for certain in all of this - the whole show is helping people understand our democratic system a whole lot better :) And it's making our politics a bit more interesting for a change... Let's face it, our parliamentary system has needed a shake up for a while. If nothing else we will get to see how well this coalition can work. God knows it's got practically everything going against it.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 15:10:32

wow...a blog posted at mid-day has this huge response at 3pm and the topic is Canadian politics??? I guess this is what it takes to get Canadians interested again. I for one have no interest in PM Dion. The guy has overseen the worst showing by the Liberal party in decades and now we're going to call him the man that the house has the most 'confidence' in?? Confidence to do what?? Turn Canada into a laughingstock like his party?? Get real. All of these guys are power hungry egomaniacs. But at least if we end up going back to the polls, you can be sure that more people will show up this time and that's a good thing. Seeing all of their true colours come out makes me glad that we've got a minority government. I wouldn't want any of these guys to have carte blanche in my country.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 15:40:48

oops...Definitely, not definately.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 02, 2008 at 15:40:55

I look at this as an opportunity for 3 parties (who admittedly have some major differences) to look beyond their own interests, find some common ground, and act on that common ground for the good of all of the people who support any one of these parties.

Think about it -if any of the 3 of them got so arrogant as to put one of their differences above the collective common ground, they would be out of the alliance.

This kind of arrogance is what keeps the conservatives on the edge of power - they cannot and seemingly will not compromise. If the conservatives had any ability to compromise, then THEY would be the ones in a position to form a coalition and gain true power to make decisions.

The fact that they cannot, and the other 3 can, speaks volumes.

http://neenerneet.net/coalition/

I say we give it a try. It's got to be better than the go-nowhere conservative minority we've been stuck with lately.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 15:44:31

Well Jason, say hello to carte blanche for the power egomaniacs in the opposition parties.

Also Ryan, by implying that I voted for a person that'd mean I'd have voted for said individual no matter what party they were running hence NO I didn't vote for a person. I voted for representation in the party that I felt would represent me the best. Had it been a vote for a dog, or a cat or probably a rock that represented my party, I would've done exactly the same. I re iterate, I didn't vote for a person...

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By Frank (registered) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 15:52:43

Can and will not? They did... in the face of opposition none the less, but they did compromise. Several times in fact. The reason there's been a go no-where minority parliament is because no party can seem to put the good of Canadians above their own desire for sitting in the pilot's seat. Since when did cracking down on criminals especially those preying on Canadian youth actually need a thought? Well it met some pretty stiff "constitutional" uproar.

Canadian political parties are like a pack of yapping dogs. Everyone wants attention. Everyone wants to be heard better than the other and if it means biting or forgive the term, bitching, it gets done.

I don't believe for a second that the reason the Liberals and NDP are doing this is because of the economic crisis that their doom and gloom media spin has generated...despite statistics. The Conservative budget in the new year is set to release a stimulus package (most likely a much better thought out plan than anything Dion can come up with). It's something muuuuch deeper than that. A Liberal is never satisfied unless he's in power, and that's at stake especially in today's Liberal party. If somehow Stephane can pull out mediocre leadership skills while being propped up by people like Layton and Duceppe, perhaps maybe possibly there's a future for his party in the next election - that is what I believe is at stake. If Canadians can forget that some settlement or concession must've taken place with the PQ, that is.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 02, 2008 at 15:58:18

Everything you say can ring equally true if we switch the party names around.

The reality is, the conservatives cannot form a coalition with anyone else because they do not understand how to compromise - and they simply do not represent enough Canadians in order to put their policies through.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 02, 2008 at 16:10:07

Frank wrote:

Ryan, by implying that I voted for a person that'd mean I'd have voted for said individual no matter what party they were running hence NO I didn't vote for a person.

Not at all. I have no doubt that are being entirely honest when you say that you made your choice of who to vote for based on their party affiliation. I did the same when I voted.

My point is that right or wrong, as far as Parliamentary process is concerned the reason why you voted for this or that candidate is irrelevant. The hard fact is that you voted for a candidate, not a party, and Parliamentary process works the same whether voters understand it or not.

Canada does not have a system like the USA, in which electors vote for a President as well as a constituency representative. The Canadian system does not split the executive and legislative branches.

Instead, the Prime Minister (the 'executive') is appointed from the House of Commons (the 'legislative') based on which Member of Parliament has the support of a majority of MPs on matters of confidence.

Normally that MP is the leader of the party that has the most MPs elected, but in a Parliament where no party has more than half the seats, this is no longer true.

Stephen Harper does not have the confidence of the House, but thanks to an agreement between the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc, Stéphane Dion does have the confidence of the house.

Therefore, unless the Governor General agrees to prorogue Parliament until the Conservative budget in late January, Stephen Harper will likely be dismissed as Prime Minister and Stéphane Dion will be appointed Prime Minister - at least until he quits next May or his coalition government breaks up, whichever comes first.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 16:14:48

and so we're back to square one - a minority government in which the leaders need to start acting like mature adults and doing whats best for the NATION, not their billion dollar corporations called political parties. Even if they pull off this coup, it won't last long. And it won't get anything done. All sides need to have a private meeting together, let cooler heads prevail and develop a framework to move forward and govern the nation. Layton was big on suggesting all sorts of meetings and conferences during the campaign. I hope he'll show the same teamwork now with a crisis on our hands and suggest a meeting of all parties for the purpose of coming to an agreement. Of course, political leaders are all power hungry, so I'm sure that ideology is getting in the way of any common sense at this point.
Political ideology is never good. It always leads to problems and power struggles like this.

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By Andrew O (anonymous) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 16:22:32

I'm not a Canadian citizen (yet!), but I have been enjoying the hospitality of this country since 1989. The explanation above was very clear and illuminating. THANKS!

What I don't understand is how in this particular case the Governor General could entrust the government to a national coаlition, which includes a party, whose very purpose of existence is the dismembership of Canada and whose interest is solely the Province of Quebec.

Knowing that "agreements" in politics come and go and are about as stable as lukewarm Jello, wouldn't such a coalition effectively find itself in a permanent state of blackmail by the separatists? With this in mind, I just can't see how a Governor General could give the proposed "national" coalition a governing mandate.

I would also note the following: had the Liberals and NDP openly proposed to form a coalition with the Bloc in the recent election, they would have indeed been wiped off the electoral map!

It would seem that someone has put a Chinese curse on us... we certainly are living in interesting times!

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By Andrew O (anonymous) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 16:24:43

I'm not a Canadian citizen (yet!), but I have been enjoying the hospitality of this country since 1989. The explanation above was very clear and illuminating. THANKS!

What I don't understand is how in this particular case the Governor General could entrust the government to a national coаlition, which includes a party, whose very purpose of existence is the dismembership of Canada and whose interest is solely the Province of Quebec.

Knowing that "agreements" in politics come and go and are about as stable as lukewarm Jello, wouldn't such a coalition effectively find itself in a permanent state of blackmail by the separatists? With this in mind, I just can't see how a Governor General could give the proposed "national" coalition a governing mandate.

I would also note the following: had the Liberals and NDP openly proposed to form a coalition with the Bloc in the recent election, they would have indeed been wiped off the electoral map!

It would seem that someone has put a Chinese curse on us... we certainly are living in interesting times!

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By square three (anonymous) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 16:35:25

From "jason" -> "Layton was big on suggesting all sorts of meetings and conferences during the campaign. I hope he'll show the same teamwork now with a crisis on our hands and suggest a meeting of all parties for the purpose of coming to an agreement. "

Um, why do you think there is a coalition of the three opposition parties that's ready to take over the government with the confidence of the house? It's because Jack Layton organized meetings of the parties, showed teamwork and came to agreement on a course for Canada that the three parties can vote for. There's only one reason for why the Cons are not in this coalition and it's because the Cons do. not. share. power.

Just a couple of weeks ago Harper promised that he was going to show teamwork and all that stuff and instead he took the first opportunity to put the screws to the otehr parties when Canada needs it's government to work as a team. So instead of going quietly into that good night the other parties got together and stood up to him. Guess what they've got more seats than him, they win. That's democracy.

The coalition is doing EXACTLY what you're saying they should be doing but you still accuse them of being "power hungry" make up you're mind. This coalition is the opposite of "political ideology" that is 3 out of 4 parties all coming together to do something about the economy while the other 1 party does nothing.

Also to "Andrew O" -> nice to see you participating in your adopted country even if you're not a citizen (yet!) that's great to see. 1 way I see the BQ not having so much power is that if they try to dismember canada by forcing the coalition to do something the other parties can't accept it will just throw into another election and they'll go back to not having any influence again.

Same with the NDP that's why they're going along with Paul Martin as the economic advisor if they get stubborn now they'll lose there only shot at having a piece of the government.

It's like the old saying keep your friends close and your enemies closer the 3 parties in the coalition won't let each other do any thing radical that's how moderate coalitions work in european countries where they're alot more common than in Canada.

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By TMC13 (anonymous) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 16:45:46

"During the election the opposition leaders promised they would not entertain the idea of a coalition, with the Liberal leader expressly rejecting such a move as being bad for the economy."

So you are Mr Dion et al and you go to the GG and say "Yes we blatantly lied during the election but you should let us govern because we have the confidence of the house". Hmmmm. The GG could very well say "no we'll just have another election".

While technically the opposition could do this it is as stupid a move as Harper's ramming his agenda down their throats.

Why not try this on for size:

We will support the Conservatives if they promise these issues are put into the first session and put to an open vote:

1) Label all genetically modified foods for what they are.
2) Prevent all MPs from getting their MP pension until they are 65 and eliminate double/triple dipping.
3) All troops out of Afghanistan in Feb 2009.
4) No "stealth" implementation of the North American Union. All items must be voted on.
5) Ban all Canadian soldiers from serving in areas where depleted uranium has been used.
6) A resource efficiency program to stimulate the economy in these down times.
7) Fair and balanced copyright reform not something dictated to them by the RIAA.

How about some real leadership on real issues?

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 18:01:10

square three, you're getting ahead of yourself now trying to pin the economic statement as the reason for this coup. The update doesn't come until January.

Yes, the Cons made a mistake by trying to yank funding for political parties right after the election, but have since said they won't proceed with that agenda. So what's the big deal?? Why do we need a coup? I happen to agree with the concept of no public funding for private, multi-billion dollar political corporations. I'd much rather see leaders "go it alone" like Obama did instead of rely on taxpayers to foot their bills all the time. Of course, I'd also like to see no union or corporate donations either, but I realize the parties wouldn't go for that - it might open up politics to regular people, not just greedy elites.

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By Pusher Man (anonymous) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 22:24:05

@TMC13 -- The situation changed. Harper went from being a bully PM to being politically homicidal. This coalition is mainly (maybe not mostly) about Harper wanting to cut public funding of parties, the last straw for the opposition who otherwise might have 'closed there eyes and think of the queen'. I say about damn' time the other parties stand up to him. They're more of the country than the Tories.

@jason -- They said they won't do it RIGHT AWAY but they still plan to do it eventually. The fact that Harper would do this crap at all when he just promised he would put partisanship aside proves he can't be trusted. He's also failed on economic front every other industrialized country has a stimulus plan but Harper just wants to do cuts.

Jason who do you think is better for cities, Harper or a Lib-ndp coalition? How fast do you think you'll get your light-rail system if you have to wait for Harper to pay for it???

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By square three (anonymous) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 22:53:15

from "jason" -> "you're getting ahead of yourself now trying to pin the economic statement as the reason for this coup. The update doesn't come until January." Thats just the point Harper is sitting on his hands while the other national leaders are taking quick action to stimulate there economies and not have a repeat of the Depression.

"I happen to agree with the concept of no public funding for private, multi-billion dollar political corporations." So you want to go back to the good old days of the parties all beholden to their big business (Con, Lib) and union (NDP) backers? Democracy's not supposed to be about who raises the most money, if so the parties will just bend their policies to appeal to the richest doners.

"it might open up politics to regular people, not just greedy elites." Public financing does just that, it means parties get money based on how many votes they got from REGULAR PEOPLE. Once again you seem to be complaining about the solution to the problems you've pointed out???

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By arienc (registered) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 23:02:52

I just don't understand how the Conservative leader could be such a complete ignoramus as to think he had the ability to govern without a majority, and without building bridges to the other members of the House.

It's no wonder that a majority of our Members of Parliament have lost confidence in his leadership.

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By Grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 23:24:49

TMC13: While the points you bring up are valid, I do not think I remember the conservative candidate running in my area, speak about any of these issues.

The NDP did hold a forum a while back on the NAU and SPP and some of the underlying implications but then so have other parties such as Canadian Action Party, spoken about the issues you talk about.

The people need to get more involved and a start would be at a local level, go to the forums, speak your mind, say your opinions, you never know, someone in the audience may agree with what you are saying.

Maybe if people turned off their TV's and stop listening to the sound bites and started actually getting out and seeing and hearing the candidates and their platforms in person, it would be better.

It is suppose to be about the people but if the people are not involved then we see the repercussions.

Remember, 41% of Canadians did not vote, their voices are being heard by those at the top.

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By Grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 23:28:11

Correction: Remeber, 41% of Canadians did not vote, their voices are "not" being heard by those, the political elite.

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By Meville (anonymous) | Posted December 03, 2008 at 02:03:37

To those saying they didn't vote for a coalition: well, you're going to have to get used to it. The days of majorities is over, and the only way governments function after that is coalitions, or at least, de facto coalitions (such as when the Libs sit back and let the Cons do whatever).

What this all means is when you voted NDP, you helped put a potential # of NDP cabinet ministers into parliament (if things go ahead). If you voted Liberal, same deal, and if you voted Conservative, you were giving them a fighting chance at least. But they blew it on acting as if they had some sort of majority.

We are not going to see majorities for a long while. We'll need to get used to Coalitions, and that's not a bad thing, because more voices will need to be heard. I'm not worried about seperatism getting in, since any idiot knows that the Liberals and NDP don't swing that way, and so does the Bloc. The Bloc knows they can't leverage seperatism, the NDP and Libs would rather call an election than do that.

The reason I'm not terribly worried about the Bloc is that they know they've been able to bring down the government whenever they want, and they haven't -- they could refuse to support any party, and challenge all legislature, and be a real pain, but they are not. At best, they are just a party that's more focused on their real job (representing their constituents) than attempting to build a nation on ideologies. Seriously, that's why they are elected, not because Québecois want to separate, its because the MPs that are Bloc are actually pretty good MPs and get things done for their constituents.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 03, 2008 at 08:42:22

pusher man - possibly this coalition would be better for cities, although the Liberals did nothing for years in power. Why should I believe they will now. That still doesn't change the fact that I'd prefer to vote for a new PM. I didn't like it when Harper signed a coalition agreement with Layton and Duceppe in 2005 and still don't like it today.

Square Three - read all of my post re: financing for elections.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2008 at 08:56:08

Jason wrote:

the Liberals did nothing for years in power

That's true when the Liberals had a majority, but the story changed once they were reduced to a minority in 2004 and needed the NDP to stay in power. It was Paul Martin's minority government that launched the New Deal for Cities and the gas tax transfer. The NDP forced him to cancel his planned corporate tax cuts and put the money into cities instead.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted December 03, 2008 at 10:04:06

Can and will not? They did... in the face of opposition none the less, but they did compromise. Several times in fact. The reason there's been a go no-where minority parliament is because no party can seem to put the good of Canadians above their own desire for sitting in the pilot's seat. Since when did cracking down on criminals especially those preying on Canadian youth actually need a thought? Well it met some pretty stiff "constitutional" uproar.

Canadian political parties are like a pack of yapping dogs. Everyone wants attention. Everyone wants to be heard better than the other and if it means biting or forgive the term, bitching, it gets done.

I don't believe for a second that the reason the Liberals and NDP are doing this is because of the economic crisis that their doom and gloom media spin has generated...despite statistics. The Conservative budget in the new year is set to release a stimulus package (most likely a much better thought out plan than anything Dion can come up with). It's something muuuuch deeper than that. A Liberal is never satisfied unless he's in power, and that's at stake especially in today's Liberal party. If somehow Stephane can pull out mediocre leadership skills while being propped up by people like Layton and Duceppe, perhaps maybe possibly there's a future for his party in the next election - that is what I believe is at stake. If Canadians can forget that some settlement or concession must've taken place with the PQ, that is.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted December 03, 2008 at 10:08:57

Let's put it this way. Parties in support of the coalition government like to say that it's for democracy or that it's democracy in action... I have only one question to ask you and it's this:

If the choices in the last election were twofold, one being a vote for the conservative party and one being a vote for a Liberal-NDP coalition with Bloc backing, what would your choice have been?

If you choice is the latter, then I don't think there's even a discussion worth having because your skewed logic endangers Canada.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted December 03, 2008 at 10:27:17

While that may be true. It took 13 years of Liberal rule to get the mess we have. Minority governments force people to work together. When one leader decides to push buttons instead of working together, they get what they get. However, the solution in this case is an immediate power grab without weighing any other options. Has anyone asked me if I want an election? Nope. How about you, has anyone asked you? Of course not. The Liberal's only recourse at this point is a power grab because of their own self mutilation in the last election. At no point have a heard counter arguments from the Liberals either like TMC13 posted.

Politics in Canada has turned into power at all costs and if you're not in power, you don't try to be part of the solution. Have the Liberals taken the high road? or the NDP for that matter? Nope. Liberals are never happy unless they're in power and they'll do anything, including colluding with a separatist party to get what they want.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2008 at 10:27:55

So, Frank, only those who voted (or would vote in your imaginary scenario) for Conservatives are correct, everyone else is wrong, undemocratic, and wants to rip Canada apart?

This is your idea of democracy? This is sound logic? Can you hear yourself?

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By Frank (registered) | Posted December 03, 2008 at 10:29:43

Please don't take my posts as all out, unthinking support for the Conservatives either. Had Stephen Harper done this, I'd be saying the same thing. I'd like to see a ground up restructuring of ALL parties in Canada.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2008 at 10:38:23

Frank wrote:

The reason there's been a go no-where minority parliament is because no party can seem to put the good of Canadians above their own desire for sitting in the pilot's seat.

Not true. Three parties have committed to doing this. One refuses.

Since when did cracking down on criminals especially those preying on Canadian youth actually need a thought?

Since it's been demonstrated that "cracking down on criminals" is an expensive and ineffective way of deterring crime, when cheaper and more effective ways are available.

Canadian political parties are like a pack of yapping dogs. Everyone wants attention.

Three parties are willing to cooperate and share power. One party is not.

If the choices in the last election were twofold, one being a vote for the conservative party and one being a vote for a Liberal-NDP coalition with Bloc backing, what would your choice have been?

If the centre-left parties had managed to unite and present a single coalition party, they would almost certainly have won a clear majority in the last election.

The only reason we don't have a centre-left government today is that their votes were split between three parties (four in Quebec) under Canada's first-past-the-post system. (In contrast, the two centre-right parties managed to unite in 2004, under pressure from big business to do so.)


The bottom line is that Canadian voters elect the House of Commons, and the government is formed around whichever member has the confidence of the House. Under the current House of Commons, which Canadians elected just a couple of months ago, one MP has the confidence of the house. For better or worse that MP is Stéphane Dion, thanks to an agreement among the three opposition parties.

They're doing exactly what you claim you want the parties to do: set aside their own partisan bickering long enough to cooperate with each other on legislation to address the crises facing Canada.

Harper had a chance to do this - to set aside partisan bickering long enough to cooperate with other parties - and he failed immediately and catastrophically at this.

He blew it. Constitutionally, it now falls to Stéphane Dion to attempt to form a government with the cooperation of the other two parties. Since they will be doing this with the House of Commons that Canadians just elected into office, this is entirely democratic and representative.

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By Rusty (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2008 at 11:17:25

"Politics in Canada has turned into power at all costs and if you're not in power, you don't try to be part of the solution."

The Libs and NDPs worked with the last minority parliament for nearly 2 years, and the one before that too (when the Libs were the minority government). During that time they managed to negotiate numerous amendments to proposed bills. I would say that this is a prime example of 'being part of the solution'. The difference this time is that the Libs and Dems don't have enough confidence in Harper to keep on working with him.

The Torys weren't elected with a mandate to quash political party funding, but they tried it anyway. They promised to work with the other parties to get the country through the economic crisis. They didn't do that. They haven't listened to the other parties and in fact they're trying to squash them - it's the Tory's who are no longer part of the solution.

I have many reservations about the proposed coalition but I can perfectly understand why it is being proposed and it has nothing to do with a grab for power.

The good news to come out of all this is that Harper will surely be put out to pasture now, and the Conservatives can elect a more reasonable person to represent them.

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted December 03, 2008 at 11:18:20

I'm just furious that while they are all playing political games average people are losing their jobs, or working longer and harder to keep the ones they have while seeing their savings shrink. Six months ago my better half and I were planning on buying a house in 2009, now we aren't so sure. In the last election more people chose not to vote then vote for any one party. That exemplifies the apathy most Canadians felt towards our political process. While I am glad to see the opposition finally stand up to Harper's bullying tactics, I fear this will only further the divide between left and right and lead to more ideological bickering rather then getting anything useful done. I hate to compare us to the Americans (especially since now more than ever we are seeing how different our political systems are), but we are now where the Americans were a couple years ago. The left and right bitterly divided through vitriolic partisan politics, the economy tanking and regular people feeling powerless to do anything about it. Now they have a man in charge who goes out of his way to bring former enemies onto his team, who's pledging to work together with all sides to accomplish was needs to be done to save his country, and who reinvigorated politics for a generation of young people. Why can't we get Canadian politicians to act like this? Why is it that while Barrack Obama now has Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State and the American Congress has the CEOs of the "Big" Three car markers saying they'll take a $1 a year salary, our politicians are taking pages from the Rove/Nixon play book or making the Canadian government look less stable than Zimbabwe's? These MPs need to pull their heads out of their asses and do the job we're paying them to do. If they keep acting like this whoever wins will find himself Captain of a sinking ship.

But that's just my .02

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By Frank (registered) | Posted December 03, 2008 at 12:33:34

Nope, Sean but those who support a coalition backed by a separatist party have to have their heads checked. When Duceppe stands up and says that this agreement is good for Quebec and as such a sovereign Quebec, if that doesn't make your head spin, then you do have major issues.

Also, Ryan...no three parties have agreed to work together provided the 4th follows suit. One could construe this as bullying as well. I suppose the cheaper more effective ways of dealing with criminals is years of social programs and attempted rehabilitation at the tax payers' expense? And I like how you seem to include NDP as centre left when their policies in actual fact are far left. However, given your assumption that they are...no, they didn't win a majority which is why they need the bloc. And that really pisses me off! Your bottom line is more like a dotted line. The three opposition parties have agreed to work together (despite all election time suggestions to the opposite) in order to form a coalition that overthrows a party who by definition can't agree with everything the opposition asks. That's not working together, that's collusion. The problem doesn't exist with the coalition government. The problem exists in that one of it's supporting parties should most certainly not be a federal party, a party which Canadians have again and again shown they don't want in power, and finaly a party that has caused so many Canadians to become disengaged from the political process that voter turnout was the lowest it's ever been in the election. So no, if they'd banded together, they wouldn't have generated a majority government. They'd have received exactly the same votes as they got. Canadians just finished handing the Liberal party the thumping it needed to restructure itself and instead of taking the opportunity to do so, it's crying foul and trying to show it's got the balls that it doesn't have.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted December 03, 2008 at 12:40:50

Rusty, the mini budget no longer includes cuts to party funding yet that's now still an issue? And if it weren't a power grab why have no other solutions been addressed before this power grab? Did I hear any other proposal? Nope, as soon as the Liberals and NDP found out that their pocket book might be hit, they cried foul, cast accusations and began working together to wrest "power" from the party that clearly received a mandate to govern at least, for lack of a better term, conservatively over it's next term.

Blind eyes aren't solutions either. Calling or assuming that someone's less intelligent for not supporting your viewpoint demonstrates a certain level of intellect. I for one will never ever ever ever (ever ever ever) support ANY coalition government that includes the Bloc and neither should anyone who has an interest in seeing a country stay together. Definitely time to get your heads out of your asses.

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By Earnest (anonymous) | Posted December 03, 2008 at 12:55:23

Frank, the other parties have lost confidence in Harper's ability to govern. The fact that he would try this stuff at all when he just promised more cooperation tells you all you need to know about his agenda. Also he never said he wouldn't do those things, only that he wouldn't do them YET so it's still on the table - even though he didn't campaign on any of these things during the election you're being so precious about.

It's kind of embarrassing that you keep flogging this dead horse. Harper cut himself off at the knees by trying to run a minority like he had a majority, and Parliament is now trying to do it's constitutional duty by relieving him of power and offering a more stable majority of MPs to support a new Prime Minister.

Finally re your fear of the BQ, they have NO CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY to break up the country. None. Zip. Nada. Zilch. Only the provincial government has that power and the PQ are widely dispised in Quebec with no power in the Assembly. The BQ are a social democratic regional party representing the citizens of Quebec the way those citizens want to be represented in the Commons.

Why don't you think Quebecers should be allowed to have the representation in parliament they voted for? Why don't you think the government should reflect the values of Canadian citizens living in Quebec? Are the Quebecers who voted for the BQ but AGAINST the PQ less Canadian than you or I?

I think not. Anyway they're not even in the coalition, they've only agreed to support it for 18 months.

Free advice -- Harper backed himself in to a corner by being stubborn and refusing to change his mind or his ways. Your comments are usually smart and thought provoking but right now you're acting a bit Harper-like on this thread, don't make his same mistake he did and lose your credibility. :))

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By highwater (registered) | Posted December 03, 2008 at 12:58:28

You my not like what the Bloc stands for, but that doesn't change the fact that they are duly elected representatives of the people, and as such there is nothing illegitimate about working with them. It wasn't illegitimate when Harper did it, and it isn't illegitimate now.

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By Rusty (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2008 at 13:31:56

Couple of points...

  1. The Star is reporting that Harper is set to address the nation on television tonight. I'm assuming this would be a press conference...? (Canada doesn't do Oval Office type infomercials does it?)

  2. Interesting Constitution overview in today's Star: http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/5...

The author ends it with, "I am greatly concerned that there is so little public knowledge of the constitutional rules that govern our parliamentary system of government." A quick look at some of the Star's letters to the Ed today certainly bear out that concern...

  1. Frank, I have to second Earnest's rejoinder. I don't mind a rant but seriously, did you even read Ryan's post? "they cried foul, cast accusations and began working together to wrest "power" from the party that clearly received a mandate to govern" Re-read the blog - the Conservatives didn't receive a mandate to govern. And as for, "Calling or assuming that someone's less intelligent for not supporting your viewpoint demonstrates a certain level of intellect." Perhaps you can be specific. The whole idea of this discussion is that we're all trying to become more intelligent about this.

  2. Finally, about the Bloc, I read an article a while back that suggested that all provinces should form a local federal party that could represent their interests at the federal level. Canada is just a 'coalition' of regions after all. As has been noted in other comments, the Bloc are not going to force any seperatist motions so they just become a regional party. That's great for Quebec and perhaps it's something that other regions should think about getting in on.

Cheers

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2008 at 14:19:02

Ben wrote:

the Bloc are not going to force any seperatist motions so they just become a regional party. That's great for Quebec and perhaps it's something that other regions should think about getting in on.

That's essentially what the Reform Party was.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted December 03, 2008 at 14:25:52

Well, well, well.

www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081203.wquebec1203/BNStory/National/home

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By need civics classes (anonymous) | Posted December 03, 2008 at 14:29:32

BREAKING NEWS: politicians of all stripes make deals to achieve their political agenda, film at 11.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted December 03, 2008 at 14:38:16

According to Harper, it's only ok when the Conservatives do it.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted December 03, 2008 at 19:17:56

I find it ironic that Dion and Layton are being derided as being power hungry when it was Harper's attempt to destroy the two parties that led to this situation.

Didn't he just finish promising to work better with the opposition? And now people want them to trust him again? They really aren't the idiots that they're accused of being.

That's a "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, well, you'll never fool me again" sort of situation.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted December 04, 2008 at 08:30:09

Brandon, if that were the case, there'd be no non-confidence motion right now. The crippling part of that mini budget is now gone. And you talk about promises and trust. Here's a direct quote from Mr. Dion during his campaign: "We cannot have a coalition with a party that has a platform that would be damaging for the economy. Period." Yet what's he doing today? Apparently the NDP platform isn't as damaging as he thought. Also, I guess the Bloc isn't so bad for Canada after all...

Fool me one shame on you, fool me twice shame on me??? How about fool me for 13 years? 13 years and running that is. It seems whatever party gets in power does whatever's best for itself not what's best for Canadians and I quite frankly am sick of that.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted December 04, 2008 at 08:38:01

Ben... Every province has a provincial government and supposedly is also represented by MPs based on the number of electorate in said province...hence they're all supposedly represented in parliament.

Yes, I read his post and I continually think you're thinking I'm blindly supporting Harper...in fact, I'm not. I don't think he deserves to be in power either. But that doesn't mean the kiddies can get together and hammer out a deal to take over. That means it should go back to the Canadian people and let them decide who should be there. And if the Conservative party is smart, they'd appoint a new leader to.

As far as the Bloc are concerned, if you followed the last election campaign, you'd have heard GD say that he had no interest in governing Canada and that if the Bloc got voted in, he wouldn't stay as prime minister. Granted, in a deal like this he'd have no authority to separate anything however, he's in a great position to get funding or representation or whatever he wants for his own province. Something his province is already getting way to much of...

So in conclusion, me thinking a coalition is a bad idea isn't me supporting the Conservative party. It's me saying I don't think it should be allowed...and trust me, there are MANY like me.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted December 04, 2008 at 09:35:48

An interesting editorial...

http://www.nationalpost.com/most_popular...

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted December 04, 2008 at 09:51:14

Whether you like the conservatives or not, I think we can all agree that Stephen Harper has poor skills at managing a minority government. Even members of his own party are grumbling that this is his fault.

He spent his time in the last government mocking and daring the opposition to vote him down and call an election. Then he starts out this session of parliament with a proposal that all the opposition parties find unpalatable for a variety of reasons including:

Removing government funding of political parties, which is a trivial amount of government spending and helps ensure that all parties can compete on a more equal footing, regardless of whether they appeal to people with significant wealth or not.

Eliminating the rights of public unions to strike for a period of time.

Reducing the ability of women to sue for pay equity (this one wasn't reported much, and I've only found one reference to it so far.).

He backed off on these when faced with a coalition, but it seems to me that he is clearly intending to continue this parliament trying to push through a majority agenda with a minority parliament. That is exactly what made parliament unworkable before the election.

Minority governments are a careful balancing act of compromise, and Harper is not good at compromise.

Whatever you think of the coalition, I think many of us can agree on that.

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By Rebel Alliance (anonymous) | Posted December 04, 2008 at 10:15:54

@Frank--

What a load of crap editorial, they're just channeling Harper's Rovian spin e.g. "the separatists".

"ah, "elections" -- who else remembers that quaint method we once used to pick prime ministers?"

That quaint method is NOT, NOT, NOT what we use to pick the prime minister, it's what we use to pick the house of commons. There's no way the editors of the a major national newspaper are ignorant of how our parliament works, so I can only assume they're lying deliberately.

"Now, he will be remembered as the man who gave the Bloc Quebecois their greatest triumph"

How is this different than when Harper had to lean on Bloc support to get his legislation passed during his own minority government.

Or back further to when his party (the Alliance), the PCs and the Bloc negotiated a secret coalition to take over in case Chretien won a minority in 2000.

Remember that?

It isn't different at all. The Post editors are just being a bunch of hypocrites.

The bloc are a major party representing 49 votes in the house of commons and representing the legitimate democratic will of the people of quebec. Any minority government needs their support, that's how parliamentary democracy works.

Do you think the bloc shouldn't have a say in whether legislation gets passed or whether the government has the confidence of the house? How democatic is that?

The rest of the editorial is just partisan blah blah blah about Liberal/NDP intentions and whether economic stimulus is a good idea.

They're welcome to their right wing boilerplate opinions, but they're not "interesting" to this discussion about whether the coalition has a legitimate right to try and form the government.

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By BlueBerry Pick'n (anonymous) | Posted December 04, 2008 at 14:40:26

Oh NO!!

the "tyranny of the MAJORITY!!" shrieks Harper...

"I WANNA BE MORE AMERICAN! I WANNA BE MORE LIKE TEXAS!!"

then he scuttles off for the second time in a year & runs the the tried & true parliamentary policies of a traditional, Canadian government to cover his ass under pressure of the People...

I find that man simply repugnant.

If he could sell everyone east of Saskatchewan into slavery, throw out human rights, womens' rights & bring on the AmeriKan Kreepy Khristian republiK... he would do so...

Its to Canada's peril that they allow Harper's slash & burn American-style politics to destroy the basis of Canadian democratic representation to save his OWN foreign-corporate cronyism...

would be a disaster of horrific proportions.

"BRING ON THE SPP!... we don't need no stinking sovereign Canada... nah... sovereignty & privacy is for losers, right?"


It is to our detriment that we decide that the social solutions Canada has crafted over generations to address our concerns be flushed simply to oppose Harper.

Harper must be opposed *within* the system we've created. Its worked for generations... we simply need to let cooler heads, respectful coalitions of true democracy function.

Throwing out Canadian tradition is *exactly* what Harper wants.

When NeoCons want to fight, they lie, cheat & CHANGE THE RULES IN THEIR FAVOUR...

letting NeoCons change the established rulebooks on their own terms is as dangerous as letting humanist progressives hand the rulebook to Harper to change it.

Harper is effectively driving liberalism in Canada to take stances which **are actually the basis for NeoCon advantage**... much like implying that the BQ is hot to separate.

The BQ isn't actually interested in separation, they use it as a tool of power to appropriately represent their population within the Canadian traditional structures.

If Canadians remain unsophisticated thinkers, Harper will continue to play us like drum into further AmeriKanized defeats.

Spread Love, not corporate dependence...

BlueBerry Pick'n
can be found @
ThisCanadian
~~~
"... tolerance of intolerance is cowardice..." ~ Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
"We, two, form a Multitude" ~ Ovid.
"Violence can only be concealed by a Lie, & the Lie can only be maintained by Violence." ... "Any man, who has once proclaimed Violence as his Method, is inevitably forced to take the Lie as his Principle" – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire
~~~
"Silent Freedom is Freedom Silenced"

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