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Canadian coalition? politics thread (Fearless Blue)

Simcountry: Simcountry Bulletin Board  Canadian coalition? politics thread (Fearless Blue)

Almohad117 (White Giant)

Saturday, December 6, 2008 - 09:14 pm Click here to edit this post

One of the criticisms of Harper's leadership is that he has not been good at compromising with other parties and has been pretty heavy-handed in how he and the Conservatives (also called "Tories") have behaved. Even some Tory members of Parliament (MPs) have said that "a bit of humility" would be nice from their leader.
When the Tory budget was introduced, the opposition Liberal Party (the main opposition party) and the smaller New Democratic Party (NDP - social democrats or "socialists" depending on your political viewpoint) signed a deal to vote Harper out. They agreed to vote together on a non-confidence vote scheduled for Dec 8. They also got the Quebec separatist party, the Bloc Quebecois (BQ), to guarantee that they would chip in their votes to help kick Harper out, and that when the Libs and NDP went on to form a new government, the BQ promised to support its first Throne Speech (where a new government lays out its legislative agenda for the coming term of office) and its first two budgets. Beyond that it can vote any way it wants, and after supporting the government's Throne Speech and two budgets it doesn't have to support the coalition any more.
Harper had two choices. Let the scheduled Mon Dec 8 no-confidence vote go ahead, or go to the Governor General Michaelle Jean and ask her to prorogue/suspend Parliament, giving Harper a bit of time, and a chance to introduce a new and presumably less provocative budget that could win a vote in Parliament. He decided to ask for suspension, and she complied (she could have refused and forced Harper to face the Dec 8 vote and go down to defeat).
Parliament has been prorogued in the past, but never to save a government from defeat. The opposition parties are furious about it, saying that Harper has suspended democracy to save his skin. At a time when Parliament should be hammering out a budget that will soften the economic blows many Canadians are going to face, it instead has been suspended. But there's nothing unconstitutional or illegal as far as I can understand it. During the lull, the Tories are now working out a new budget.
To add to all of this, there's a Quebec provincial election on Monday. Also, the Liberal Party will be choosing a new leader in May/ The present leader, Stephane Dion, is really seen as a lame duck. He fumbled the last election, when the Tories did well and won back some seats, emerging with a stronger minority when a lot of people felt Dion should have been able to beat them. His English isn't great, and he just doesn't present himself well. Last Monday, when he and Harper separately addressed the nation in taped speeches to explain how their parties would handle this crisis, Stephane Dion's presentation was late, his face was out of focus and off-centre. One news anchor said it looked as if it had been recorded on a cellphone! Apparently even the NDP was pissed off by the poor presentation. Now the Liberals are more and more divided about the coalition altogether. Some of them have openly come out and said it was a bad idea to try it when the party has such a weak leader. The frontrunning candidate to replace Dion as Liberal leader in May was apparently opposed to the idea of a coalition from the start. The other main candidate says he'll be going on a cross-country tour to promote the coalition... and of course the tour won't hurt his chances to win the leadership in May! Some are saying they should move to replace Dion now instead of waiting until then, because they feel that having a weak leader who's about to be replaced doesn't make them look like much of an alternative.
So the coalition could fall apart even before Harper brings in his new budget.

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