While this is not intended to be a political blog, I find that I cannot resist saying something on the latest political shenanigans here in the frozen North.
As a bit of background for my non-Canadian readers, we seem to be headed towards what might be termed ‘interesting times’ in the political sense. Our political system is based on the British model, i.e. a parliamentary democracy. Voters in districts vote for a member of parliament, generally from one party or another, and the party with the largest numbers of MPs gets to try to form the next government. There are generally two types of government; majority (party holds >50% of MPs) and minority (party holds <50% of MPs). The latter, by nature tend to be unstable and often do not run for the full 4 years. There are four parties with MPs in the current parliment – Conservative (right wing), Liberal (left wing), NDP (far left) and the Bloc (Quebec seperatists).
We have had three minority governments in a row here in Canada, Liberals (2004-6), Conservative (2006-8) and Conservative (2008-now). The last election was 6 weeks ago and returned the Conservatives with an increased number of MPs, but still 10 or so shy of a majority.
This is where is gets interesting, and I use that term under advisement. For, six weeks after the election the opposition have now hatched a plan that I have never seen happen before in such a parlimentary democracy. The Liberals, NDP and Bloc have entered an accord where they will bring down the current Conservative government and replace it with three party coalition.
From what I have seen so far, the reaction to this stunt has been synchophantic fawning (that would be the MSM), immature posturing on behalf of some, and a real sense of anger and greivance amongst others.
What they are proposing is not illegal, it is not a coup d’état. However, it is highly irregular, and extremely dubious ethically. I have never seen this occur before, and I believe this has only happened before in Canda during the First World War.
The point is, it does not matter whether you voted Conservative, Liberal, or NDP – exactly 0% of the population voted for a coalition. If this was on the cards, it should have been mentioned 6 weeks ago when the voters would have been able to give their opinion on it. As it is, the dust has barely settled on the election and it becomes apparent that a dirty political game is in progress. Now, not many people expect ethical or moral behaviour from politicians en-masse. However, this is lowering the tone to new and unheard-of depths.
Note too, the Liberals and NDP (who are planning on becoming the government) together come 30 or so MPs short of the Conservative tally. So, how are they to make this work? Well, they will rely on the Quebec seperatists. They will place their political survival in the hands of a party dedicated to the break-up of Canada. I personally have no problem with the Bloc, but doesn’t anybody see the problem here?
Let’s spell it out. I think the Liberals and the NDP are going to realise (if they do not already know) how the majority of Canadians feel about this stunt. Therefore, the last thing they are going to want is another election. It will, if you like, be a Coalition of Fear. The Bloc has got to be laughing all the way to the bank, as they know they are going to be able to exact a high price to ensure the Liberal / NDPs political survival. Of all the parties, I think they have their heads screwed on right!
But is this good for Canada? In the midst of a financial crisis, to pull a stunt like this where two losing parties (that don’t really like each other overmuch) bind themselves together under the Damoclese sword of seperatist ambition and grab power over the heads of the electorate. I can’t see it, myself.
Who was it who said a country gets the government it deserves? It seems that we deserve a train wreck in slow motion!