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As this is written the Prime Minister of Canada is or ought to be crossing the street from the official residence of the Prime Minister at 24 Sussex Drive to the official residence of the Governor General at Rideau Hall.

It is widely anticipated that he is going there to advise the Governor General to prorogue Parliament until early in 2009.  It is widely speculated that she may refuse - or that she may impose restrictions - or that it doesn't matter much whether she agrees because as soon as Parliament reconvenes the Conservative minority government will fall.

This is all spectacularly interesting stuff (really).  Governors-General almost always accept the advice of their Prime Minister.  In this case, at least one past Governor-General is publicly commenting that the current Governor General should refuse the Prime Minister's request.

How did this come to pass and where is the Parliament of Canada going in the near future?  See below the fold.

Approximately six weeks ago, Canada had federal general election.  The Conservatives returned with a slightly larger plurality in the house than they had going into the election.  In short, they have the most seats in the House of Commons but do not command a majority. The real current economic meltdown really only became apparent to most people in the waning days of the election campaign.

A overwhelming amount of commentary and punditry and, in fact, the comments of our own Prime Minister who ought to know better fundamentally misapprehend how Canadian elections work.

Canadians do not vote for their Prime Minister.  The Prime Minister is a member of parliament and the only people who actually vote for him do so in the course of selecting him as their member of parliament.  Stephen Harper is the member of parliament for Calgary Southwest.  Stephen Harper became Prime Minister because he was the leader of the largest party in the House of Commons and was invited to form a government and act a Prime Minister.

Harper's government then had a throne speech (which in fairness passed).  A vote on a throne speech is traditionally a confidence vote and his government could have fallen if the opposition parties had voted against the throne speech.

Most of us up here are pretty nervous about the economy like people are everywhere else.  Harper's Minister of Finance presented an "economic statement" but not a budget.

That statement indicated that the government was of the view that Canada would weather the recession well and that the federal government would, in fact, have a small surplus.  Absolutely no one believed this.  The three opposition parties (the Liberals, New Democratic Parti and Bloc Quebecois) were all seeking indications of a significant economic stimulus plan from the government.  They got none of that.

What they did get was a poke in the eye with respect to some of their core constituencies.  The Conservatives said they would suspend the right to strike for federal public servants for two years - although there was no looming negotiation or strike problem at all.  The Conservatives said they would suspend the right of appeal of pay equity tribunal decisions -apparently on the theory that the cost savings from the Federal Court of Appeal and not having to pay women fair wages would stimulate the economy.  Also, the Conservatives said they would end a specific program of public financing for political parties.  The Conservatives are far less dependent on that program than any other party.  

The result of all of this was to put some spine into opposition parties that had been previously been extremely reluctant to put up anything more than a rhetorical fight against the governing COnservatives in the previous parliament.  

The Liberals and NDP announced something that has never happened before at the federal level - they were forming a coalition for the purposes of forming a government.  Remember that the rivalry between these parties and their contest for the hearts and minds of overlapping constituencies has often made relations worse between those two parties than it is between either of them and the Conservatives.

Within days, the Liberals and NDP had hammered out the broad outlines of their coalition and had a signed agreement setting out relative numbers of Cabinet positions.  The Bloc Quebecois (a regional party present in parliament to advance the interests of Quebec francophones) stated that it would not join the coalition but also would support it on confidence votes for 2.5 years.

Since then - all hell has broken loose.

Harper - without any attempt to sound conciliatory - promptly dumped all the offensive initiatives from the economic update.

He also cancelled and rescheduled an opposition day which would have allowed a confidence vote to bring down his government.  It is currently scheduled for December 8, 2008.

Harper and his ministers then started ranting about the will of the people and at least one Conservative member has accused the opposition parties of "treason" and "sedition."

The Liberals, NDP and Bloc made it very clear that dumping the stupid policies didn't change a damn thing, that Harper had lost the confidence of the majority of Parliament and that they didn't trust him to govern in an economic crises.  

The LIberals and NDP wrote the Governor General advising her that they were prepared to form a government and that the Conservatives no longer enjoyed the confidence of Parliament (although as yet there has been no formal vote to that effect).

Last night, Prime Minister Harper took to the airwaves to appeal to the public for support for his government.  Dion had a (not particularly well executed) rebuttal.

The current Conservative plan appears to be to tag the Coalition with being attached to "separatists."  The Bloc is, of course, a party with separatists goals and aspirations.  That said, they are quite sensible and progressive on economic and social issues.  The Conservatives have, of course, conveniently forgotten that the Bloc was founded by a former Conservative cabinent member named Lucien Bouchard and are frantically trying to explain away correspondence from 2000 (edit) suggesting that they themselves had made overtures to the Bloc for their support to form a government.  While the Bloc makes a great bogeyman the truth is there is pretty much bugger all a regional party can do in a federal parliament to advance separatism.  It's not the right forum and isn't particularly conducive to advancing their cause.  The Parti Quebecois - the provincial Quebec party - is a much more substantial threat to Canadian federalism because it can (and has in the past) amassed enough strength to form the provincial government and pass laws authorizing referendums on sovereingty.

So. . . here's what to look for over the next couple of days.

Harper will request the Governor General to prorogue Parliament.  Nobody but her knows what she will do.  No Governor General has ever been asked to prorogue Parliament so early in a session.  There is no real precedent.  She may grant his request in which case Parliament's new session will begin in January - the Conservatives will introduce their budget and unless there is major attrition in the coalition ranks - the budget will fail.

Or, the Governor General may refuse to prorogue Parliament.  In that case, the government will likely fall on December 8 on a vote of non-confidence.

Or, the Governor General may prorogue Parliament - but strip the government of the ability to conduct any significant government business while Parliament is not in session.  This could mean for example that the Conservatives could not appoint Senators, authorize significant spending or generally govern as if it was an executive independent from the Legislature.  In my view, if she does progrogue Parliament she should certainly limit the government's powers.

If the government falls - whether now or later - the next question is whether to have another general election.  We just had one.  In fact, due to a succession of Conservative and LIberal minority governments we've had a few in the last little while.

Harper will push to go back to the electorate and hope that there is enough anger against the Coalition to push him into majority territory.

However, I believe the Governor General will refuse.  Instead, she will invite the coalition to form a government.  

In 1987 [correction in 1985 to and including 1987], the Ontario Conservative Party won the most seats in a Provincial Election.  However, the Conservative Premier Frank Miller did not enjoy the confidence of the Provincial legislature.  The NDP promised to support the Liberals on confidence motions - although they did not themselves join the government or take cabinent positions.  The Lieutenant Governor John Black Aird invited the LIberals to form a government and they did.  In fact, they governed until 1990 [correction 1987- the LIberals governed alone from 87-90] in what was an extremely popular government.

That legislative session did all sorts of useful things - it ended extra billing for medical services (some doctors were billing both the provincial medical plan OHIP and also charging patients fees).  In fact, it all worked very well.  I had the privilege of working as a legislative page for part of that time and can confirm that particular coalition worked extremely well.  So well that many Ontarians have been wishing for it to happen again ever since and were extremely disappointed when the coalition collapsed in 1990.  (We won't go into the King-Byng affair of 1926 right now - this diary is long enough already).

In short.  Our Conservatives blew it.  They blew it because they were petty and vindictive.  They were so outrageously assholish about everything that they managed to galvanize the opposition into action.  Now they will likely pay for that by losing the government.  Their response will be (and is) to engage in dirty tricks.  They will tell everyone that opposition parties have handed the keys to the federal government to party dedicated to the break up of Canada.  They will try very hard to steal members of parliament from the Liberals.  They will misrepresent the role of Parliament, its members, the Prime Minister and the Governor General to anyone who will listen.  They will describe what is going on as an unconsitutional "coup."

All of this merely confirms that they have lost the moral authority to govern as well having lost the confidence of Parliament.

Many people will say that during a time of economic crisis that this sort of chaos is bad for the Canada.  I say that idiots in the government instigated the crisis for no reason other than petty partisanship.  They can no longer be trusted to lead and it is better that Parliament speak now than remain silent while the same gang mismanages every other aspect of the governance of Canada.

Oh.  and now that Canadian politics is being something other than completely boring (now we are only slightly boring) I hope to see some coverage of this in US news media.  Please?  Pretty please?  We're a little insecure up here and attention makes us feel good.

UPDATE 1 - thank you for the rec list.  It is good to see stories up there about Canada and I hope to see more.

UPDATE 2 - the Governor General has, in fact, prorogued Parliament.  We don't know on what terms yet - although it appears Harper has 7 weeks to get a budget together.  Harper - interviewed on radio - asked what authority he has to govern and make expenditures in interim - doesn't really answer the question.  

UPDATE 2- I'm sure there will be plenty of interesting stuff in the meantime but mark January 27, 2009 on your calendar that's when Harper faces the music.  In the meantime Dion should be careful in the portico around the honourable men (members) of his own party.

Originally posted to Childofexpats on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:18 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  NPR had something about it this morning (18+ / 0-)

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:23:28 AM PST

  •  A most excellent explanation (18+ / 0-)

    of what is going on. Are we likely to get the G-G's decision today?

    You fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is "Never get involved in a land war in Asia".

    by yellowdog on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:24:58 AM PST

    •  we are waiting on "on tenterhooks"! (7+ / 0-)

      The PM and the G.G. are talking and the doors are open........
      The announcement is eminent.

      http://www.collegescholarships.org/blog/2008/11/06/vote-for-the-winner-of-the-2008-blogging-scholars hip/

      by TexMex on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:29:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good Question (51+ / 0-)

      The Governor General is in a bit of an awkward spot.  She just returned from Europe.  She is meeting Harper this morning and - apparently - the Liberal leader this afternoon.  She will no doubt want time to pause and reflect and to consult.  In any event, she will want to appear to pause and reflect and consult!

      Harper is "her" Prime Minister constitutionally speaking and I doubt she has any desire to embarass him or anyone else.

      I don't know to what degree the conversations held today will be made public.  I'm not sure that the Governor-General's office will want to make them public unless she is forced to.  I wouldn't be suprised to hear her say - "Look Steve, if you formally ask me to respond to your request I am likely to refuse or to impose sever restrictions - although I haven't finished my considerations - now, are you formally asking me?  If so, I will answer by correspondence giving my decision."

      Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Marx.

      by Childofexpats on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:29:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not sure what you mean (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mattman

        Harper is "her" Prime Minister constitutionally speaking and I doubt she has any desire to embarass him or anyone else.

        No GG should want to embarrass the PM, but in no way should the GG give up their responsibilities.

        It seems you could also be saying that Harper is her PM as he recommended her, which would be incorrect, as Martin was the recommender, IIRC?

        Hate must not stand. Reverse Prop 8 by any means necessary.

        by MahFellaMerkins on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:30:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No. That is not what I mean. (0+ / 0-)

          Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Marx.

          by Childofexpats on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:30:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  damn. forgot the reason why (8+ / 0-)

            No - Harper isn't "her" prime minister because of how she was appointed.

            He is "her" prime minister because - pursuant to the Constitution and convention he had been selected as the Prime Minister - he is the Prime Minister to the Governor General.

            She can't and won't give up on her constitutional duties.  What I was trying to say is that I doubt very much she will embarass him or try to politicize her role in any way (although he may try and do so).  One of the roles of the Prime Minister is to "advise" the Governor-General on certain issues.  That is what he is doing this morning.  She doesn't have to take his advice - but if she chooses to reject it she will be very careful in the manner in which she rejects it.  This would be the first time a G-G has ever rejected the advice of a Prime Minister to prorogue Parliament and she won't go over the top if she chooses to do so.

            Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Marx.

            by Childofexpats on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:34:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  IMHO he (Harper) has been trying madly (8+ / 0-)

              to politicize her role for the last few days.

              When I heard there was to be a demonstration by Conservatives in front of the GG's residence today in support of Harper's position my first thought was - when did we become a banana republic.

              Harper - to my great dismay, but not to my surprise - has been fomenting regional divisiveness to a shocking extent for the last few days. How the GG saw fit to grant him a prorogue is beyond me.

              He has poisoned the atmosphere in the House beyond belief and there is no way the opposition is going to back down. How can they?

              I don't understand why he's been granted an opportunity to make things work. He's amply proven he can't.

              Interestingly enough a former GG, Shreyer, was quite vocal over the last couple of days. In a couple of interviews he made quite clear that he didn't think that suspending parliament to avoid a vote of confidence was a kosher activity.

              To  my mind Jean has set a bad precendent.

              "Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence; Conservatism is distrust of the people, tempered by fear" Wm. Gladstone

              by lcbo on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:54:57 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Maybe it's the King/Byng Thing (0+ / 0-)

                A couple of Our Northern Neighbors posting last night mentioned that in the 1920s, the Liberal PM King got into some legal trouble, and tried to short-circuit the legal process by going to GG Byng and calling an election.

                The GG, who was still literally a representative of the British Crown (and supervised by folks in Westminister) did what was probably the right thing as far as governance went -- he refused, and told King to go back to the House of Commons and deal with it.

                This led to a confrontation over constitutional issues, and while Byng was probably right, King won out in the end, and the GG's connection with the UK was formally severed.

                So she may have decided that she did not have the constitutional authority to say no.  This may be correct as a matter of law.

                "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

                by mbayrob on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 02:27:12 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Please Clarify A Point For Me (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              thingamabob, doinaheckuvanutjob

              if you will.   While all this is going on, what is happening with the day to day governance of Canada?

              If Michaelle Jean decides to take say, two weeks, to decide the fate of the Harper Government, who is running the governmental duties of Parliament?

              Same with if she grants his request to "prorogue" what happens then?

              Sorry, if my question is clumsy or unclear, but I love Canada and find this absolutely fascinating.

              TIA

              You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can always be honest.

              by mattman on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:52:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Day to day will run as per usual (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mattman, doinaheckuvanutjob

                The government will still function as per normal.  Just like the summer break, govt departments still keep going, but no new bills will be debated or passed while Parliament is out of session.

              •  in a nutshell... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mattman

                In effect, it's not all that different from the standard parliamentary recess periods, such as summer or the Christmas holidays, when Parliament isn't actually sitting. Day-to-day government business still proceeds normally -- but because the House chamber isn't in session, there isn't legislation coming forward or debate taking place.

                Basically, it's just a more formal version of adjournment. It doesn't mean that the government is dissolved, it just means that the legislature isn't in session.

        •  He is her PM because she is the (0+ / 0-)

          representative of Her Majesty in Canada.  Stephen Harper heads Her Majesty's Government in Canada, as Queen Elizabeth is the head of state in Canada.

          It takes a movement to change the world, and the Oval Office just can't hold all of us --- me, in a moment of pithy pique.

          by oxon on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:52:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  My Parliamentary ignorance was enlightened... (8+ / 0-)

      ...both here. And from a knitting blog. Canada's (possibly the world's) most famous knitter - Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot-- interrupted her wildly popular blog yesterday to give a complete civics lesson on how Canadian government works. I was fascinated, and embarrassed how little I knew.

      Here's her summary:
      http://www.yarnharlot.ca/...

  •  Canada will only become significant to the US (30+ / 0-)

    when we down here run out of water.  

    The fact that Canada is our largest importer of American manufactured goods (Thank you Canada!) and the fact that we get most of our oil from Canada at ridiculously low prices (Thank you, Canada!) means nothing to us.  

    Wait until we're just about to die of thirst.  Then we'll care what goes on up there.

    Dailykos members excepted, of course.  We in this community are untypically interested in people all over the world.  But we're the exception in America, not the rule.

    "The other folks are voting!" Rep. Chambliss (R-GA)

    by keeplaughing on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:28:41 AM PST

  •  Excellent analysis, Childofexpats. (8+ / 0-)

    For anyone interested, there's a liveblog here.

    I know diary pimping is frowned on, but it is related.

    "If I can't dance, I don't want to be in your revolution." -- Emma Goldman; -8.38, -8.36

    by seenaymah on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:29:08 AM PST

  •  yup (14+ / 0-)

    petty partisanship indeed!

    And did you notice, Harper was wearing a rather fetching shade of blush, in his pre-recorded 5 minute speech on the networks last night? Which told us nothing. AND at 7 p.m., when Coronation Street should be on! That alone makes me hate him.

    I go so far back, I recall when the ballots did not print the political party affiliation of the local candidate beside his/her name. Many Canadians do not even realise that they are electing a Parliament, not a Prime Minister.

  •  Thanks for explaining our northern neighbor (9+ / 0-)

    great diary - tipped and rec'ed

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:29:39 AM PST

  •  Very interesting (9+ / 0-)

    Thank you for the well written analysis; it's extremely helpful for those of us who know little about Canadian politics.

    "The object of life is not be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." Marcus Aurelius

    by CanyonWren on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:32:29 AM PST

  •  the missing point here seems to be (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hazey, mattman, wdrath, deepfish, csquared

    that parliament is normally 'prorogued' when it is not in session--and that for parliament to be 'out of session' in Canada has a slightly different meaning than it does in the U.S.  If I understand this, bills and motions vanish once parliament is out of session (prorogued).

    So what's on the table is a moving up of the normal schedule to prorogue parliament, not some extraordinary measure (e.g., like an 'impeachment')--and Harper is seeking to end session early in order to prevent this new coalition from bringing down his government.  It's like a high stakes game of chess.

    Did I get that right?

    ---
    Tired of violent language from right-wing pundits? Buy my book: Outright Barbarous

    by Jeffrey Feldman on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:33:58 AM PST

    •  Proroguing Parliament. (17+ / 0-)

      Is fairly unsual.  You are correct that proroguing parliament kills everything on the order paper (bills etc.) with the exception of certain opposition or private members bills.

      Currently, there is nothing or virtually nothing on the order paper which makes these circumstances highly unusual.  Usually when parliament is prorogued it is because of an impending election or because parliament has been in session for a long time - is very mature - and the government was a clean start.  There is no precedent whatsoever for proroguing so early in a parliamentary session so in that sense it is extraordinary.

      While the Prime Minister can request or advise the Governor General to prorogue Parliament it requires her action.  No Governor-General has refused a request but none has received a request in these circumstances.

      Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Marx.

      by Childofexpats on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:43:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  GG has NO reason to Prorogue. (7+ / 0-)

        The only reason she would do that is to assist the Consevatives by buying them some time to think.  That is NOT her job.  She is to determine if there is someone in the house who commands the confidence of parliament.  Strictly speaking, if Harper has lost the confidence of the house, and Dion can demonstrate that he can pass a vote of confidence in the House, then Dion becomes PM.  No "coup", no "putsch", no "overthrow".  The most undemocratic thing would be to ignore the wishes of the 70% of Canadians who DID NOT vote for a Conservative candidate to prop up a wobbly leader who's party represents only 1/3 of Canadians.  Canadian voters assembled this House of Commons barely a month ago.  If someone in the house is able to cobble together a majority of the members (which Harper at this point clearly cannot), they get a chance to govern.  That's the way the parliamentary system works.

        Right-wingers who clamor for war and oppose universal health care are not "pro-life" and don't get to say they're "pro-life." It's a lie. Night Train

        by peterborocanuck on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:59:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But she did, to look uncontroversial. (0+ / 0-)
          •  Heh (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mattman

            Harper might have been too smart for his own good. The Liberals now have enough time for a new leader.

            On s'engage, et puis, on voit. (Napoleon)

            by sagesource on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:45:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ignatieff or Rae (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              OldGrammy

              you think?

              Ignatieff's intellect impresses me but he sure comes off as arrogant.  Rae seems nicer but he screwed up the Darlington nuke plant issue royally as Ontario PM.

              Seek first and final principles at The Mean Free Path.

              by Cream Puff on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:17:59 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I personally think Rae has baggage (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lcbo

                ... that'll keep him off the big seat. As much as I find Ignatieff's "Bomb the Darkies" attitude distasteful, the dude does have no small amount of charisma and is scary smart. So long as Obama's in power to the south, his itchy trigger finger shouldn't be that big a concern.

                IMO, had Dion lost the leadership convention last time around, we wouldn't be discussing this right now. Canadians would have been musing over the fact that the conservative minority had lost seats and wondering when the next election would be called.

                --
                Plot your political compass scores at KosCompass

                by Hatamoto on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:35:27 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Much as I like Stephane Dion (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mattman, Hatamoto

                  as a person - I agree with you. He was the wrong choice for leader.

                  I do like Bob Rae - and think he's learned a lot since his premiership of Ontario. I don't care for Ignatieff but I think he's the front runner. Most of the conversation in the media seems to assume that he'll win.

                  "Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence; Conservatism is distrust of the people, tempered by fear" Wm. Gladstone

                  by lcbo on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:50:41 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  To be honest, I detested "Dialtone" Dion (5+ / 0-)

                    As soon as I saw him win I knew it would be a washout for the Liberals. He is the most singularly uninspiring party leader the Liberals have had since... well, ever, in my awareness. Even John Turner had more presence.

                    You know who has been impressing me through this whole thing? Jack Layton. He's been scrumming with some powerful language. Simple declarative sentences that cut through the bullshit and lay it all out with no sugar coating. I'm not a fan of his "used car salesman" feel from the elections, but he's earning some currency with me through his recent approach.

                    He's looking surprisingly... Prime Ministerial.

                    Don't get me wrong, I know that possibility is nil in this reality or any others nearby, but what can I say... he's on his game.

                    --
                    Plot your political compass scores at KosCompass

                    by Hatamoto on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:54:59 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the info, neighbor. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mattman, peraspera, Rosemary

    We should pay more attention to Canadian politics. You'd think we would have learned that from the whole NAFTA leak fiasco. But, since the multiparty system doesn't give us simple conservative/liberal dualities it may be hard for Americans to folow.

  •  Great Diary (13+ / 0-)

    I'm rec'ing because:

    1. its always good news to hear of a conservative government collapsing
    1. this is a well-written highly informative diary about an issue that we here on DKos should be aware of
    1. out of my own shame that I am so woefully ignorant of Canadian polictics despite being so close to the country and the fact that a good size chunk of my family is in Canada (Owen Sound, Ontario) that I had to open a separate browser window just to lookup the definition of "Prorogue".

    Thinking men can not be ruled. --Ayn Rand

    by Wisper on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:37:24 AM PST

  •  There was a theory that Harper (17+ / 0-)

    had set the Canadian federal election date to be before US elections, in order to get ahead of a possible Obama wave (if Obama was elected, the theory was that would inspire more Canadians to vote against Harper, whose ruling style has some strong Bushian elements). An election now could easily swing the other way.

    Go Canada!

    •  Remember, Harper also tried to backstab Obama (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mattman, mrkvica, Cream Puff, fiddlingnero

      ...in the Ohio primaries, with that NAFTA leak.

      On s'engage, et puis, on voit. (Napoleon)

      by sagesource on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:45:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  So a real reason for the proroguing? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mattman

      Stevie wanted to have the seat in Washington for the Obama inauguration ;-)?

      "now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." W. Churchill

      by Thor Heyerdahl on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:59:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  He set the date to do two things -- (5+ / 0-)

      to fly the election under the radar given all the US noise [he didn't even put out a platform until 48 hours before the vote, which, itself, came the day after a three-day weekend], suppressing turnout successfully, and to hide an emerging scandal that would have got bigger if the House had remained in session.

      It takes a movement to change the world, and the Oval Office just can't hold all of us --- me, in a moment of pithy pique.

      by oxon on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:00:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Harper Scandal? (0+ / 0-)

        Do tell.

        You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can always be honest.

        by mattman on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 01:45:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cadman (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mattman

          There are outstanding questions about how much personal involvement Harper had in an attempt to bribe independent MP Chuck Cadman to help vote down Paul Martin's government over the 2005 budget.

          Background: prior to the 2004 election, Cadman was a Tory -- however, he was outhustled in his own riding's nomination contest for that election. So he ran as an independent, and was re-elected. However, by this time he had inoperable and terminal cancer, and was thus not planning to run again in a new election if the government fell.

          The government at that time was such a closely divided minority that the votes of the three independent MPs (Cadman, Pat O'Brien and Carolyn Parrish) were critical.

          Parrish, a former Liberal MP who was booted from the caucus for making controversial comments about George Bush but was still a reliably Liberal vote ideologically, was guaranteed to vote for the budget (at one point during that crisis she was hospitalized with what was believed at the time to be an ovarian cyst, but dragged herself in to the vote anyway with the quip that she "wasn't going to let one ovary bring down the government".) O'Brien, also a former Liberal MP who left the party in protest against same-sex marriage, was likely to vote against. So they cancelled each other out -- and thus it all depended on Cadman.

          So two Conservative staffers tried to bribe Cadman with a $1 million life insurance policy to provide for his financial needs once he was no longer an MP. Cadman, for the record, didn't bite, voted in favour of the budget and the government survived. He then died just over two months later.

          Right now, however, the issue is that Harper has been stonewalling on the question of whether he knew about and/or authorized the bribe. There are tapes, which have been disputed, but there's also the testimony of Cadman's widow Dona that the bribe did indeed happen -- and Dona Cadman's now a Conservative MP herself, believe it or not.

          •  Thank You So Much For (0+ / 0-)

            taking the time to describe this for me.  It's seems incredible that I remember most of this from my time in Canada.

            What I did NOT know at all was Harper's possible involvement in the nasty bits.

            I remember Cadman's courageous appearance at that session of Parliament that kept the Liberal government from falling.

            Also, I did not know Cadmman's widow had become an MP.  Surprising that she's a Conservative. The nasty part of my mind wonders if she regrets.....oh nevermind.

            Many thanks, again.

            You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can always be honest.

            by mattman on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 06:40:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  So this new coalition (9+ / 0-)

    a) How stable is it?

    b) what progressive agenda items are on their radar prominently enough to reasonably expect they will act on them?

    c) is there specific policy damage done by the Conservatives (and isn't there always?) that we need to be quickly reversed?

    d) Who will be the new Prime Minister of Canada?

    e) What is the next furry woodland creature that you plan to put on some kind of coin or dollar bill?

    Thinking men can not be ruled. --Ayn Rand

    by Wisper on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:39:48 AM PST

    •  e) (3+ / 0-)

      hey, some of them have feathers.

    •  The Coalition (14+ / 0-)

      a) leaving aside the wild-card that the COnservatives are able to attract defectors from teh Liberal caucus, the coalition should be stable.  The three opposition leaders have promised the Governor-General that the coalition government will not fall on a confidence motion for (I believe) at least 18 months.

      b) good question.  in all honesty, right now the agenda is defined as not being Conservatives.  Generally speaking I would expect a detailed policy statement in the near future.  I am confident that there is one already hammered out between the official coalition partners.  I would expect details to be leaked and contained in any Throne Speech and the first budget.  Generally, I'd expect signficant economic stimulus and, in particular, infrastructure spending, increased transfers of federal money to provinces and targeted aid to certain industries.  I'd expect a deliberate and considered decision to engage in deficit spending.

      c) another good question.  The current primary Conservative sin (other than the offensive stuff now dropped) is inaction on the economy - if the coalition takes power i'd expect them to spend more time doing things the Conservatives refused to do than reversing things the Conservatives have done.

      d) The Prime Minister would be Stephane Dion the leader of the Liberal Party until approximately May.  Fairly or not Dion is perceived as a weak leader unpopular with Canadians and his own party.  He had previously indicated an intent to resign and there is a Liberal leadership contest going on in the background.  

      The coalition parties have agreed that he would be Prime Minister until next LIberal leader is selected who would then become Prime Minister.

      e) my money is on the platypus.  We ain't go any here except in zoos but they're pretty freaking neat.  Did you know the male has a poisonous stinger.  Damn near killed Stephen Maturin in a Patrick O'Brian novel although I'm told the toxin isn't really enough to be fatal.

      Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Marx.

      by Childofexpats on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:50:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Some thoughts (8+ / 0-)

      If the coalition forms the government, the new Prime Minister will be Dion, since he is the Liberal leader. When the new leader is chosen on May 1 (or thereabouts), then Dion will hand over his job to the new leader.

      The three parties have somewhat different points of view. The agreement between them focuses on taking effective action in light of the economic crisis. They are downplaying suggestions that they will put forward their own party's positions on a range of other issues. For example, the BQ--which agrees to support but not join the coalition--has agreed to support the coalition on economic/budget matters, but that it will not expect support on its views on Quebec sovereignty.

      What the coalition is saying is that they are committed to working together, for the good of Canada, to achieve solutions the country needs.

      So don't expect that this will be a full-fledged "progressive" government.

      I suspect that the coalition government will not adopt any legislation regarding what animals are depicted on the currency. This might raise regional sensitivities. Here in Alberta, for example, we don't see that many loons. I think we might take it amiss if another eastern critter was chosen, at least for important currency. On the other hand, perhaps Parliament will consider choosing a western critter for the currency so as to soothe wounded feelings. Hard to say.

      As to what has to be reversed: I imagine there will be a lot to work on there. For example, I bet there will be some movement for immigration reform. However, that discussion will be grounded in the needs of the country, given the current economic mess the world is in.

      •  Oh there are plenty of loons in Alberta (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sagesource, Hatamoto, lcbo, csquared

        Just visit 97th Avenue and 108th Street in Edmonton ;-)

        http://maps.google.com/...

        I used to go loon watching all the time when I lived there :-p

        "now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." W. Churchill

        by Thor Heyerdahl on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 10:59:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Is there any chance that the prorogue (0+ / 0-)

        will move the leadership contest up for the Liberals?

        •  realistically, no, but there's a loophole... (0+ / 0-)

          For all the differences between the Canadian and American systems, the basic process for choosing a party leader is the same: local party members vote for delegates to an organized convention. Logistically, moving up the formal contest would be about as easy as suddenly rescheduling the Democratic convention for four or five months earlier than planned -- and doing so at a time when delegate selection has barely even started yet. It would be a logistical nightmare, basically.

          What can happen if a leader dies or announces an immediate resignation, however, is that the party caucus can choose an interim leader from among its own ranks as a temporary measure. This doesn't forestall a leadership contest, however, but merely ensures that the party has someone to lead it until the convention takes place. And under most normal circumstances the interim leader would have to be someone who isn't a candidate in the actual leadership race.

    •  Answer to b) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      doinaheckuvanutjob, Sleepwalkr

      Not a good answer but it is all I have that has any source.  This is the highlights of what the coalition has said they will do.  It is an article in the CanWest group of newspapers.  The coalition is mostly looking at economic measures at this time.  Sorry, you did ask about progressive issues.  I can't add much there.

      - Reversing cuts announced by the Conservative government to cultural programs.

      - Immigration reform.

      - New spending on child benefits and a child-care program if federal money is available.

      - Absolute reductions on greenhouse-gas emissions from industry, using 1990 as the base year, to create a North American-wide cap-and-trade system.

      There is no 'off' position on the genius switch. - David Letterman

      by willy be frantic on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 03:11:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In all of this Harper has come across (13+ / 0-)

    like an amalgam of Karl Rove, Herbert Hoover and Sarah Palin. What me worry about the financial crisis combined with wild personal accusations about his political opponents and an attempt to turn election finance over to the oil companies by killing public contributions to parties.

    I do not envy Michelle Jean. Your suggestion is actually a good one because it would give something to both sides and force the Conservatives to do popular things in the January budget. Everyone would then see the possible power of coalitions -- the left does still command the vote majority by far and cooperation is the way back to power.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:41:21 AM PST

  •  I'm starting to get pretty worried (7+ / 0-)

    that this is all going to backfire in a huge way and the next government we'll see is a Tory majority :(

    Dion, while a great man, is probablythe worst leader in Liberal history.

  •  Michaëlle Jean = Sir John Kerr? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thor Heyerdahl, Chi, Hoya90

    cf. Australia 1975

    I would be surprised if she intervened, even if invited to do so.  Talk about setting off a republican firestorm like that which still continues in Australia, except that Australia doesn't have the separatist tensions which still simmer like in Canada vis-a-vis Québec.  They might as well eliminate the governor-general figurehead/middleperson post and let Queen Elizabeth II weigh in directly. ;)

  •  Agreed (6+ / 0-)

    Our Conservatives blew it.  They blew it because they were petty and vindictive.

    A direct result of the Reform Party. It is no wonder that some of the old PC, like Orchard, are now Grits.

    Hate must not stand. Reverse Prop 8 by any means necessary.

    by MahFellaMerkins on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:49:05 AM PST

  •  No Mountie pics, but (6+ / 0-)

    Our GG's beeyotiful, btw

    Here's a few of the Governor General, Michaele Jean.
    Not bad, eh?

     title=

    the blue sea seethes with reason

    by howth of murph on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:55:46 AM PST

  •  Auto-Runoff voting for members of Parliament? (0+ / 0-)

        I wonder how many seats the Liberals and/or NDP would have taken from the Conservatives if Canada used auto-runoff voting, in which voters ranked their preferred candidates.

    •  Assuming Voter Preferences Didn't Change (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gray, deepfish, Sleepwalkr, OldGrammy

      many.  Very many.

      Of course, that all assumes that voters' would not vary their preferences if such a system were imposed.

      THat said, you'd be surprised (especially in the Western provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan) how many people say that their first preference is the Conservatives and their second the NDP or vice-versa- antipathy to the LIberals runs strong in certain areas regardless of the actual policies of parties.  This is a relic of the status of both the Conservatives (and their predecessors) and the NDP as regional protest parties.

      Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Marx.

      by Childofexpats on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:02:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If it were proportional representation... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sleepwalkr

        ... by province, Alberta's caucus in the House of Commons would go from 27 Conservatives and 1 NDP to roughly 18 Conservatives, 3 Liberals, 4 NDP and 3 Greens.

        Which would be a nice change.

        ... Where is Baldwin?
        ... Où est Lafontaine?

        by Wisewood on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 01:59:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I made a diary about that (0+ / 0-)

      ... a few days back, with various scenarios of "what if". The ultimate upshot was that the only reason the conservatives have a government was due to increased vote splitting on the left, not because of anything he's done to garner more conservative votes.

      IRV or proportional representation would essentially mean a permanent minority status for the conservatives.

      --
      Plot your political compass scores at KosCompass

      by Hatamoto on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:42:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some of us are watching.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hazey

    I'm Exxon John and I approve this message---McCain's Scumbags

    by Obamacrat on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:00:57 AM PST

  •  Harper's craven efforts to demonize (6+ / 0-)

    The Bloc Quebecois and "separatists" in his address last night will probably not sit well with the GG. She is French-Canadian and her husband is an eminent Quebec activist/long-time separatist.

    She should hand Harper his ass, IMHO.

    the blue sea seethes with reason

    by howth of murph on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:08:04 AM PST

  •  Canada is a great country (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fladem, deepfish

    but from its inception very fragile.

    Whatever the outcome of this debacle, the fires of separatism - the further provocation against Quebec (whose separarists are wrong-headed, but always around) and/or Alberta and much of the west (which will see barely concealed calls for secession if the coalition gains power) - will grow.

    Canada is far more regional than the US, and its provincial governments more autonomous and powerful than our states. Harper is as much a hothead as the Quebec separaritist leaders, and thrown out of office could be a real wild-card.

    This could turn out yet to be an unexpected and major headache for our new president.

    •  The US is even more regional (0+ / 0-)

      Countries should be divided into north/south regions not east/west regions. Look at Canada on the map, it is a horizontal country spanning the continent. But the people of BC have more in common with the people of Washington DC than they do with the people of Quebec or Nova Scotia.

      Canada is more stable as a country than its leadership would reveal. Don't judge Canada by the ineptness of its leaders. I did not judge the USA by the failed President Bush.

      This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

      by Agathena on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:46:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You mean BC + Washington state? (0+ / 0-)

        Otherwise known as "Cascadia" in the regionalist parlance?

        --
        Plot your political compass scores at KosCompass

        by Hatamoto on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:43:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  In 1995 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sleepwalkr

        Canada came within a point of breaking up.  The Canadian political process is held hostage to the PQ and the threat that the seperatists might win.  

      •  Well, we did elect him. Twice. (nt) (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mrkvica, Sleepwalkr
        •  Bush was appointed once (0+ / 0-)

          and then there was the fix in Ohio for the second time.

          If you mean Harper, he got a minority government both times. Being the arrogant a------ that he is, I would truly hate to see him with a majority.

          This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

          by Agathena on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 03:44:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Doesn't matter (0+ / 0-)

            If the 'real' winner depended on the weather or how many voting machines broke down in one district, then we elected him.  (His opponent too, admittedly.  But that doesn't make the US less culpable.)

            If 3000 people are too smart to elect Bush, and 2999 are dumb enough to elect Bush, this does not make us a materially different nation than if 3000 are too smart and 3001 are dumb enough.

            -fred

      •  thought experiment (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Agathena, Sleepwalkr

        I've thought sometimes that in some ways, it would almost make more sense to break both Canada and the United States up into seven or eight smaller countries organized along more natural lines of regional interest, and then those smaller countries could participate in an EU-style body for issues of more broadly continental impact.

        •  Gore Vidal wrote about this (0+ / 0-)

          idea that countries should be bounded by geography and climate. He complained about the impossibility of properly governing the USA because of it's enormous geographical size. He proposed a breakdown into manageable regions.

          It sure makes sense. Think of the arrogance of the white settlers to this continent proposing to govern from sea to sea.

          I'm all for de-centralized regionalism even though some might call that treason.

          This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

          by Agathena on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 03:42:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  This post @ Yarn Harlot is great: (4+ / 0-)

    <div style="color: green">"The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add an useful plant to its culture" -- Thomas Jefferson</div>

    by tommurphy on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:16:52 AM PST

  •  Will be interesting (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thor Heyerdahl, fladem, hazey

    Just to see how long Layton and Dion can get along with the Duceppe, let alone themselves.  I really don't think there is much in the way of long term stability in this coalition with Dion being a lame duck within his own party, and teaming up with NDP and Bloc has a definite chance of backfiring, but if the LIBs wish to risk it seems they will get their opportunity.

    Have honestly been surprised as well how bad Harper has done in damage control.  Should of offered up the head of Jim Flaherty immediately.  Also, trying to turn the BQ into the FLQ is likely the only way to stay in power, but also runs the risk of killing the PCs chances in Quebec for a generation.  

    Hey you, dont tell me theres no hope at all Together we stand, divided we fall.

    by marcvstraianvs on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:34:03 AM PST

    •  People voted for the MP of their choice.... (0+ / 0-)

      and the party of their choice. Nowhere was 'coalition' on the ballot. If they want a coalition then run on it. Dion, in fact, said During the campaign that he would NOT enter into a coalition. Was he lying? You can't tell with Dion. And he can't tell you either. A classic case of being in way over his head.

      it tastes like burning...

      by eastvan on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 06:12:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Western separation is back on the table. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hazey

    Albertans are PISSED and believe that they are witnessing a coup.  They are buyiung into this Conservative line of bullshit.  A Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition government is perfectly legal.

    •  They are good at talking... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Thor Heyerdahl, hazey

      ...but they'll do nothing. In the past, I think some of them would have liked to join the US. But I doubt if that's true now the US has elected a black president.

      On s'engage, et puis, on voit. (Napoleon)

      by sagesource on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:54:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can tell you that Albertans want to become (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jazzizbest, Gray

        an independent Republic.  British Columbians would reject the idea, I think.  Harper is a fucking idiot, fanning the flames of intolerance towards Quebec.  He MUST go.  

        However, Canadians have no confidence in Dion.  If they are going to make this coalition viable, Dion has to go NOW and Michael Ignatieff has to take over the Liberals.  This is vital if the coalition is going to work.

        •  Manage Alberta separatism... (6+ / 0-)

          ...with one of the same tactics that has been used against Quebec separatism: the federal relationship with First Nations. First Nations treaties are with the Crown, not Alberta. They can instantly shred any province that tries to secede by refusing to go along.

          On s'engage, et puis, on voit. (Napoleon)

          by sagesource on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 09:27:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Dion said he was only in for a few months. (0+ / 0-)

          This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

          by Agathena on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:47:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  SOME albertans want it (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Thor Heyerdahl, csquared, Wisewood

          I remember having a "Republic of Alberta" hat given to me as a child by one of my father's more... colorful... welder buddies.

          The extremist "Screw you gahs I'm goin' home" mouth breathing knuckledraggers have been there for decades, and have accomplished nothing more than looking like a bunch of freaks and douchebags. I can't see that substantively changing any time soon.

          --
          Plot your political compass scores at KosCompass

          by Hatamoto on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:46:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  In last March's provincial election.... (5+ / 0-)

            ... in Alberta, there was exactly 1 separatist on the ballot in the whole province, in the riding of Rocky Mountain House.  For reference's sake, RMH was one of the last places in Alberta to vote out the very conservative, religious-based Social Credit Party in the 1980s.

            But the separatist candidate was the one I told you about a few days ago, Hatamoto - the one who wanted Alberta to have nuclear submarines?  Yeah.  Exactly.

            Anyway, he came in last with a whopping 120 votes.

            Let's not give these guys too much credit -- Actually, no credit at all sounds about right, considering.

            ... Where is Baldwin?
            ... Où est Lafontaine?

            by Wisewood on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 01:12:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Maybe he could park 'em in WEM ;) (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Thor Heyerdahl, Wisewood

              Yeah, we went over this, and you'll notice that our discussion has moderated my stance on that issue. Full credit to you for that ;)

              And I remember the SoCreds. I was in Victoria when Wee Willy Woodenshoes got drummed out of BC.

              --
              Plot your political compass scores at KosCompass

              by Hatamoto on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 01:59:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's appreciated. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Thor Heyerdahl, Hatamoto

                Yeah, we went over this, and you'll notice that our discussion has moderated my stance on that issue. Full credit to you for that ;)

                I appreciate that.  There seems to be a lack of understanding as to what Albertans are actually thinking and what they really want as the current squabble in Parliament carries on.  Despite the noise, I would bet money that separation still isn't one of those things.  

                And especially not, if push came to shove.  I know there's a lot of huffing and puffing right now - I hear it too - but I'd chalk that up more to a temper tantrum over the "home team" getting a bloody nose in Parliament than an actual statement of intent.  Think of it like a hockey game, and it makes a lot more sense - and is a lot less a cause for concern.

                It will blow over.  I know from experience that people are very wary of change, out here... much less substantial change, and that cuts both ways with regards to both the Coalition for Change and provincial secession.  Hell, we've had the same party in government, provincially, for almost forty years!

                And I remember the SoCreds. I was in Victoria when Wee Willy Woodenshoes got drummed out of BC.

                I'm a bit too young to remember their tenure, here.  But that's not to say I haven't heard plenty about them -- My grandmother's brother was a die-hard Socred and was a right-hand man of Ernest Manning in the party and at the Prophetic Bible Institute.  He even filled in for Mr. Manning on the Back to the Bible Hour radio show.

                My Dad was, once, an Alberta Liquor Control man in the late 1960s - when Alberta still hadn't fully exorcised Prohibition - and a young supporter of Peter Lougheed's.  He worked for his campaign in '71, when they finally kicked the Socreds out after 36 years of government.... so I heard stories from that perspective, too, as a kid.

                ... Where is Baldwin?
                ... Où est Lafontaine?

                by Wisewood on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 02:29:03 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  and Social Credit begat Reform... n/t (0+ / 0-)
        •  Still BS. (0+ / 0-)

          Reference this comment I made less than a week ago about the Alberta separatist "movement."

          Alberta separatists are a fringe element.  They have absolutely no support - even when resentment towards Canada was at it's high-water mark in the early 1980s, Alberta separatists only managed to win a byelection seat in the Legislature.  Once.  And they held it for nine months before being obliterated in a general election.

          Secessionist groups in Alberta have been typified by hard right-wingers, religious extremists and out-and-out racists who are marginal players at worst, dismissed out of hand at best.

          I wouldn't get too worried or worked up about them.

          ... Where is Baldwin?
          ... Où est Lafontaine?

          by Wisewood on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 01:41:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Michael (Sometimes Torture Might be Ok)Ignatieff? (0+ / 0-)

          (With All respect to a fellow Kos User)

          Is a Semi-Canuk scumbag who can blow me. He's a sanctimonious Liberman Liberal in name alone and thinks he knows something , a genuinely dangerous prick .
          I read Ignatieff books and listened to his lectures and thought he was a thinking person,but since his bizarre appearance on the Canadian National Stage he's done little to inspire me or anyone I know . He's fairly clueless and doesn't represent any Canadian Tradition I'm familiar with. He's a Harvard Neo-Liberal which means a weak-spined conservative who doesn't know anything about peacekeeping.

          Thankfully , Bob Rae has come to the foreground in all this as a uniquely Canadian Voice of outrage and I'd welcome his leadership along with old school friend Layton,as Loyal Opposition; they'd work well in any future Government and secure the destruction of Canadian Western neo-conservatism once and for all time.

          IMHO

      •  actually... (6+ / 0-)

        There were public opinion polls conducted by the Canadian media on Obama vs. McCain, and even Alberta was about 75 per cent in the Obama column. Seriously.

    •  the west has (0+ / 0-)

      always been furious with the east especially ontario.  However, what harper did to steal the party away from Preston Manning was unbelievable. the NDP when they got into power under Ed Broadbent discovered that they did not know how to run a government.  It was a harrowing experience.  Neither the public nor the NDP themselves want total power and they are better as a loyal opposition or in a coalition. believe me canadian politics are very interesting.  But watch out for the separatists from either end of the country, they always threaten to join the US or France.

      •  Hunh? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Thor Heyerdahl, Gray

        There is not much factual content to this post.

        Ed Broadbent was the federal leader of the NDP.  He never gained power at the federal level (or any other level) - the poster may have been referring to Bob Rae who was the NDP Premier of ONtario from 1990-1995 and is now a prominent Liberal MP seeking the leadership of the LIberal party.

        The separatists have never threatened to join the US or France.  First, Quebec nationalists have a deeply ambivalent feeling about France which more or less abandoned them 240 years ago.  They see themselves as distinct - from the rest of the francophone world, distict from anglophone Canada and certainly distinct from the US.  They are an island of francophones in surrounded by english speaking peoples.  They want to preserve their language, history and culture.  Those goals are not served by joining either France or the US but by outright independence of a form of loose affiliation with Canada.

        Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Marx.

        by Childofexpats on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 10:12:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Some nuances are needed (0+ / 0-)

          As one member of the "Gaulois" village in North America, I would somewhat dispute your understanding of the Québécois identity, especially with regards to its relationship with the mother country, France.

          One one side, as you correctly pointed out, the Québécois felt abandonned when the French monarchy surrendered New France to George III, back in the 18th century. But, the large influence of France and continental views on cultural, political, social and economic issues is a key difference in the current discourse.

          Since the Quiet Revolution of the early 60s and the "Vive le Québec libre" speech by General De Gaulle on the balcony of Montreal's City Hall, Quebec's bilateral relationship with France has been strengthened immensely since then, with a diplomatic representation and regular schedule of heads of government.

          You're right in saying that Quebec sovereigntists do not ask for the reattachment of their territory to its former colonial master, but there is a clear case to be made that they're more in tune with what is discussed in parisian salons than in Toronto's.

          •  Sure (0+ / 0-)

            and Quebec is part of the francophonie world wide.  I don't dispute that.  I disputed the blatant misrepresentation that Quebec nationalists have indicated they wish to join the US or France.  And as you are well aware - France's various Prime Ministers and Presidents have been considerably more diplomatic post De Gaulle who isn't exactly the last word in France's official view of sovereingty or sovereignty association in Canada.

            Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Marx.

            by Childofexpats on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:07:58 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  you are correct (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hatamoto

          that Ed Broadbent was not the federal leader of the NDP but he became the national identified voice of the NDP.
          Bob Rae was the leader of the NDP in ontario and when they came into power, it was a disaster.  They can not run a government.  this is not to demean their very effective and important role as a loyal opposition but they proved they were inept in governance. Unfortunately, the OHIP system (Ontario Health Care) suffered the most.  I speak from personal experience.

          You are also right to correct my somewhat flip statements about separatism.  However, in my defense, i will remind you of the very real experiences once in the eighties and again in the nineties when the quebecquois went to the polls to vote on separation.  It was very serious.  There were political threats hurled around on all sides and the last one involve bus loads of people from ontario going to quebec to ask them to remain.  It was a very close vote. In the eighties, the west, Alberta in particular and sometimes Calgary made noises about ceding from the east -i agree not real threats but they reflected how disconnected they felt and still feel from ottawa.

          So I make my apology  and stand corrected  

          •  Very Fair. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hatamoto

            I don't agree with you about the Rae government - but most people do and your views are quite reasonable.

            I was one of those people who got on a bus to go to Quebec.  In retrospect it was a mistake.  A bunch of young rowdies with the arrogance to go to downtown Montreal and tell others what to do.  I'd have resented me.  It was a scarily close vote and I spent it thinking "I'm not sure I helped by demonstrating and telling people what to do."

            Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Marx.

            by Childofexpats on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:15:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I followed the referendum (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              csquared

              pretty closely from Vermont, and I think the demonstration may have helped.

              A week out from the referendum I thought it would pass: the polling certainly suggested it would.  At the time I would listen to a Montreal Radio Station, and a week out they all thought the "No" forces were out of bullets.

              •  I don't think it did, long term (0+ / 0-)

                It may have helped short term. After all the Oui side lost by 50,000 votes in 1995.

                But every time there is an episode of Quebec bashing, they're still talk derisively about this "love-in" in Quebec. On top of that, the eventprobably contravened to the Referendum Act, since in order to contribute to a provincial poll in Quebec, one has to be registered as a voter in Quebec.

          •  You're basing this on one experience 10 years ago (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            csquared

            Wow.

            Bob Rae was the leader of the NDP in ontario and when they came into power, it was a disaster.  They can not run a government.

            You're like the guy who tried marriage once, 20 years ago, and based on that says all women are mean and manipulative.

            Come on! We're talking about almost an entirely different group of people here than the mid-90s Ontario NDP. Parties change, people change, and certainly leadership and governing abilities change.

            Remember the "Permanent Republican Majority" of 2004? That worked out REAL well...

          •  one bad experience != never again (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sleepwalkr

            Bob Rae was the leader of the NDP in ontario and when they came into power, it was a disaster.  They can not run a government.

            Granted, Bob Rae didn't exactly lead the most effective government Ontario ever had. But:
            (1) a worse disaster than Mike Harris, he certainly wasn't, and,
            (2) the NDP has maintained very effective and solid governments in other provinces, under other people who weren't named Bob Rae or Glen Clark: do names like Mike Harcourt, Roy Romanow, Allan Blakeney, Tony Penikett and Gary Doer ring a bell?

            What I see all too often is that when an NDP government performs poorly, people hold it against the entire party across the entire country, but the same people don't do anything of the sort when a Liberal or Conservative government performs poorly (as many have).

            A bad Liberal or Conservative government just discredits the individuals involved, but a bad NDP government discredits the entire concept of the NDP, and I don't understand why that is.

          •  What about Manitoba? (0+ / 0-)

            The NDP have been in charge in Manitoba for what, a decade now?  More?  Gary Doer's done an excellent job there.  So, to say that the NDP can't govern based on one example is a too-limited worldview, I'm afraid.

        •  I had thought (0+ / 0-)

          the the origins of the modern PQ came from De Gaulle's visit in '67.  In that sense I do think there has been a tie from the PQ to France, though their intest has always been to form a new country.

          I have heard speculation of the Atlantic Provinces joining the US in the aftermath of successful referendum, though I tend to doubt it.  

      •  also... (0+ / 0-)

        Harper didn't "steal" the party away from Preston Manning. The CA leadership contest in 2000 was between Manning and Stockwell Day -- Harper became the leader after Day's resignation (which came because he was a spectacularly incompetent leader who had trouble maintaining the loyalty of his own party), and Manning wasn't part of that contest at all.

        •  I think it was mostly because noone wanted... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fiddlingnero

          ... to be ruled over by a guy named "Doris". ;)

          But seriously, Day is the worst example of the most extreme bigotry endemic to the Reform party. He and Strom Thurmond would have set up a regular poker game, given half the chance.

          --
          Plot your political compass scores at KosCompass

          by Hatamoto on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:51:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Which is interesting because... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sagesource, csquared

        ...NDP seemed to do an okayish job (based on what I've read anyways) when they've had the provincial governments of British Columbia and Saskatewan (spelling is wrong, but oh well).  

        "An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot." - Thomas Paine

        by Mister Gloom on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:39:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Wrong...... (0+ / 0-)

        the NDP when they got into power under Ed Broadbent discovered that they did not know how to run a government.

        broadbent was never elected to power any where, anytime. He did, however, lead the party to it's best showing ever, 44 seats. You must be thinking of another inept NDP'er like Glen Clark or Bob Rae.

        it tastes like burning...

        by eastvan on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 06:19:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  CTV is reporting that the GC has (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Derfel

    approved Harper's request to suspend parliament.

  •  When Liberals form a government, it is a coup (7+ / 0-)

    But when Conservatives do it, it is a liberation!

    Well? Shall we go? Yes, let's go - a new dawn rises.

    by whenwego on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:45:05 AM PST

  •  So glad (9+ / 0-)

    To see a rec'd diary on this on DKos.

    Of course, hollers of "coup" are stupid - this is our system. You don't win a majority, blame the electorate, not the opposition. Better yet, blame yourself.

    Harper has never enjoyed the full confidence of Canadians - two minorities in a row speak loud and clear. Sadly, I personally don't have confidence in Dion, and while I don't think having the BQ supporting the coalition is the Separatist Apocalypse, the idea does make my skin crawl a bit.

    The bottom line for me is the economy. Harper has made it clear - it's Milton Friedman all the way. That just won't cut it - even the Great Centre Right Nation (nudge wink) to our south is going Keynes, and it's the right decision.

    There will be more hollers about how undemocratic it is that the Governor General - one appointed by Liberals, no less - is making such crucial decisions. Again, this is our system. You want the GG elected? Or abolished? Fine, I might even agree. But this isn't the case now, and Jean deserves the chance to make the right decision. Lord Byng was wrong because his bias was palpable. Is there anybody who really thinks the same will be true for Jean?

    Minority governments exist because the electorate has decided that the opposition should be able, if necessary, to defeat the government. This is what's happening; it's democracy at work, not subverted.

    Thy hand, great Anarch! lets the curtain fall: And universal Darkness buries All.

    by Dunciad on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:46:33 AM PST

  •  Some questions for Canadians: (4+ / 0-)
    1. Is it impossible for the Liberals to replace Dion before end of January (I assume it is at best difficult)
    1. Is it possible that some within the PC will try to get Harper to step down? (This I assume would be strongly fought).
    1. What happens, as easily could happen, there is a major economic international meltdown during the prorogue? Does Harper have the ability to act without parliament? Could it be recalled?
    1. What impact if any is there from the Obama inauguration as a counterpoint to the resumption of Parliament?
    •  Sean, yes Dion can be replaced. (4+ / 0-)

      He must be replaced.  Canadians have zero confidence in him.

      The Conservatives will hold strong.  Harper represents the heart of Conservatism in Canada and any move for his ouster from within the Party by Red Tories would rip the Party apart.

      Parliament can and would be recalled.  All Canadian law must be passed by Parliament.

      Canadians recognize the importance of the Obama Presidency, and his election is favoring the centre-left coalition.

      •  How unusual is it (0+ / 0-)

        for the party leader to be replaced by MPs as opposed to a party conference (which I understand was the plan for May?)

        Has a party leader named by MPs rather than a party conference ever become PM, and if so, for reasons other than death (or something otherwise unanticipated)? I guess this goes to the question of legitimacy).

        Would the Libs if they do choose a leader be less willing to fight calling a new election if the gov't falls?

        And might the Libs and NDP - if there is a snap election - agree to support a single candidate in ridings where their divided support gives the PC a win? I assume if they did, the coalition would easily win.

        I ask these questions because I have seen little about all these scenarios either on the G&M or CBC websites.

        •  A snap election is not a good option. (0+ / 0-)

          It would be logistically impossible for the NDP and Liberals to run a single candidate in most ridings.  The NDP would be decimated if they agreed to such a plan.

          An election is not an option in this scenario.

          Dion can step down immediately for the good of the Party, and the Party executive could name an interim leader.  

          This is turning into a disaster for Canada on so many levels.

          •  I fear for the country (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sagesource, good aint it vern

            I fear for mine as well - if the economy collapses, there will also be secessionist movements here as well. I could see some people in Idaho and Alaska having common purpose with Alberta (and part of BC) to form a separate country.

            The prorogue turns this back to Harper and actually could be a pyrrhic (sp?) victory for him, right? I suspect Dion as PM (if that even happened - might some Lib PMs deserted on the vote/) would have also been pyrrhic.

          •  An election is the last thing the 'coalition' (0+ / 0-)

            wants. After all, this whole thing started over a party funding issue. The NDP has done better than the Liberals in the fund raising. The CPC took a page from the Obama book ( 3/4 of a billion dollars ) and are just fine in that department. The Liberals have huge debt and no fund raising mechanism.

            An election would be an unmitigated disaster for these guys.

            it tastes like burning...

            by eastvan on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 06:27:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  All parties (including the Conservatives) (0+ / 0-)

              are scared of an election.

              If Harper was confident he could win he would have let his government fall on a confidence vote = blamed the opposition parties and asked the governor general for an election and tried to get a majority.

              He is neither certain that a) he would get the election at all or b) that he would get the majority.

              I assure you - remove Dion from the equation and the Conservatives have very, very deep problems.  Plus now they've managed to piss off major portions of Quebec who were previously somewhat sympathetic to them.

              Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Marx.

              by Childofexpats on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 06:35:59 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  He didn't (0+ / 0-)

                he would have let his government fall on a confidence vote

                do that because he knew of the triad plot. It took that option off the table. And, the one thing the 'coalition' might have got right --- knowing that.

                facts are, the CPC could go into an election tomorrow....no other party can say that, except maybe the NDP can say that. The NDP can, and does have effeciant ways of raising money a la the modern era. The CPC has somewhat of the Obama model -- and they have been successful in the fundraising game. They are probably GTG.

                The Liberals have failed entirely in adapting to the way things are now. They have had 5 years to adopt to the rules they put in place. And are broke and in debt.

                And that is why this whole coalition thing is destined to fail. Individual MP's, in certain parts of the country, are getting twitchy. They don't want an election. They know that if it were to happen -- and make no mistake, there are only two real outcomes here, at the end of the day: an election or Harper governs.

                A return to the paddock is preferable.

                it tastes like burning...

                by eastvan on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:43:20 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  I believe (5+ / 0-)

          There are mechanisms in the Liberal party constitution where Dion could step aside and an interim leader would take over until the leadership convention.

          Probably Ralph Goodale or another senior Liberal not known to be a partisan of the existing leadership candidates.  

          Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

          by Scientician on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 09:32:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Fascinating diary! Thanks! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, Randall Sherman

    I'm a child of expats too -- in reverse.  My parents came to the U.S. from Saskatchewan in the 1930s.  

    Your political situation right now is juicier than a soap opera!  Love it.

  •  O Canada! (6+ / 0-)

    Fascinating, thanks for the diary.  I always knew I liked Canada, but who knew it would be this much.  

    Glad Canadians can see what a difference the Obama administration can make even before it takes office.  People need to have faith in the ability of its government to do something that builds confidence in a shaky economic time, and continuing with a Conservative government which has done nothing positive economically is sheer national suicide.  

    "Out of Many, One." This is the great promise of our nation.

    by Uncle Moji on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:52:51 AM PST

  •  Idiot Conservatives (7+ / 0-)

    are fanning the flames of hatred in Canada.  Don't be surprised, if this carries out to further extremes, to see pockets of violence in the country.  The GC acted cowardly this morning by granting Harper permission to prorogue Parliament.  

    This move is strictly to give the Conservatives time to fan the flames of intolerance against Quebec in the west and Ontario.  I guarantee you that Quebec separation is going to see a resurgence in the months ahead.

    Way to go, you idiot Harper.  

    Btw, the Liberals have to oust Dion NOW and put Ignatieff in as leader of the Party.

  •  I must say (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hazey

    with the lull between now and Jan. 20, I find myself reading the diaries about Canadian politics more than the others. As an American who is interested in international politics, I find the Canadian political diaries fascinating and interesting. Plus, the drama keeps changing every minute, and every hour. Also, I'm eagerly awaiting what GG Jean will do next.

    Continue writing your excelling diaries, my Canadian diarists. Keep up the good work!

  •  the problem seems to be (5+ / 0-)

    that unless the liberals and NDP figure out a way to merge the way the right of Canada has then the conservatives will generally win elections.
    Western Canada is basically the same as our deepSouth/northern Rockies. Imagine if Hillary and Obama both ran against Mccain in the general, McCain would win. The "left" can't afford to be split like this in Canada anymore.

    After Obama's eighth straight victory, Penn told reporters: "Winning Democratic primaries is not a qualification or a sign of who can win the general election.

    by nevadadem on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 09:04:05 AM PST

    •  not at all... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Thor Heyerdahl, sagesource

      In both its current form and the prior CCF, the NDP has been consistently represented in the House of Commons since 1935, and the Liberals have still managed to hold power for the majority of that time.

    •  But the "right" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Thor Heyerdahl, fieldmarshal

      by American standards, is tiny.  Evangelical % is in the low single digits.  There is nowhere near the racial strife of the American south (or even anywhere in the US).  Government-drowning tax haters get drummed out of politics everywhere but Alberta, where the oil boom actually lets them not have any provincial individual income tax.

      The bickering in Canada is almost all over nuts-and-bolts issues like how to tweak healthcare and equalization payments.  Harper lost significant ground in the polls in 2002 just for mentioning the word "abortion".

      The Liberals had become somewhat corrupt after being in power for 12 years, and many Conservative votes were a protest against that.  The left can afford to split the vote up here.  The minute a conservative like Harper tries to act like a Republican, he gets hit with a political two-by-four.

      Seek first and final principles at The Mean Free Path.

      by Cream Puff on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:45:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Alberta income tax. (2+ / 0-)

        Government-drowning tax haters get drummed out of politics everywhere but Alberta, where the oil boom actually lets them  not have any provincial individual income tax.

        No, that's incorrect.  Alberta does have personal income tax - at a flat rate of 10% - but we do not have a provincial sales tax.  Perhaps you got those two confused?

        And Albertans do love government, and occasionally lots of it.  Peter Lougheed, our first Progressive Conservative Premier, left a legacy of scores of public hospitals and schools, arts and museum funding, and miles upon miles of highways.  

        Even Ralph Klein's later slash-and-burn legacy didn't manage to negate those accomplishments;  I mean, Alberta still has the largest provincial spending per capita, in Canada.  

        That doesn't fit the narrative you infer.

        ... Where is Baldwin?
        ... Où est Lafontaine?

        by Wisewood on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 01:34:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And Lougheed bought an airline in 1974 (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Wisewood

          "now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." W. Churchill

          by Thor Heyerdahl on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:43:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I was lied to! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Wisewood

          Thanks for the correction about which tax it is.  That darn hippie Banff lab partner couldn't get his facts straight.  I absolve myself of all blame for not looking it up.

          I'm not inferring any narrative.  My whole point is that anti-government politicians do better in Alberta than other provinces, most likely because of economic conditions.

          As for the most spending thing, well, Alberta is rolling in dough at the moment and still has a relatively small population.  That's hardly surprising.

          Seek first and final principles at The Mean Free Path.

          by Cream Puff on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 01:40:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nah.... (0+ / 0-)

            I'm not inferring any narrative.  My whole point is that anti-government politicians do better in Alberta than other provinces, most likely because of economic conditions.

            If you're talking about the Progressive Conservatives that have held power for the past 40 years or so, then you're not quite right - partly yes, partly no - as they aren't overwhelming quite the "drown government in a bathtub" sort of folks.  The most vocal of those type would be in the Wildrose Alliance -- which is a far-right fringe party (like, 7% of the vote) even by Albertan standards.  

            The PCs, as their name suggests, are a conflicted bunch - they love to spend lavishly on all sorts of programs and infrastructure when times are good and as petrodollars roll into the Treasury by the truck-load -- and then slash-and-burn the budget when those increased programs begin to run up a deficit, as our economy cools and revenues go down.  

            There's no long-term planning in Alberta, it seems.  It's a vicious cycle.

            As for the most spending thing, well, Alberta is rolling in dough at the moment and still has a relatively small population.  That's hardly surprising.

            We're at a high point right now, but I have no doubt we'll begin rolling back the spending as the provincial revenues go down.  

            Sadly, the loads of money and surpluses the Province has rolled in for the past decade or so weren't invested in long-term 'savings' like the Petroleum Funds of other countries are;  meaning, when things get tougher, they're no doubt going to hurt us a lot more as the Provincial government hasn't planned for that contingency.

            Sigh....

            ... Where is Baldwin?
            ... Où est Lafontaine?

            by Wisewood on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 05:08:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I'd like to think you're right, but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wisewood

        I don't think the numbers bear that out.

        I've been playing with them, and there's going to be problems in a lot of ridings if the vote continues to be split on the left.

        The last election had 143 Conservatives, 77 Liberals, 49 Bloc, 37 NDP and 2 Independants. If you folded the green vote into the Liberals, the libs would have pulled out 97 seats, mostly at the cost of the cons and bloc.

        There are 82 seats where the conservative vote is 50%+ of the voters in NB (3), QC (2), ON (20), MB (7), SK (10), AB (26), BC(14).

        By comparison, there are 19 ridings where the liberal has 50%+ support, 10 for the NDP, and 15 for the Bloc.

        Remove the Greens from the equation, and that number jumps to 39 ridings with liberal 50%+, 16 for the NDP, and 19 for the Bloc.

        Vote splitting on the left is extremely dangerous with our current electoral makeup. With the conservative vote concentrated as much as it is, I don't see how the left could regain power without coalition, and in many cases how they could ward off a majority conservative government. As it sits presently, if the conservatives can GOTV to the tune of 10% more people voting, EVEN WITHOUT ADDITONAL VOTE SPLITTING, they're in majority territory. An additional 12 ridings would fall:

        Vancouver South (22 votes!)
        Burnaby-Douglas (798 votes)
        Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca (68 votes!)
        New Westminster-Coquitlam (1488 votes)
        Edmonton-Strathcona (463 votes)
        Brampton West (231 votes)
        Brampton-Springdale (773 votes)
        Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe (1500 votes)
        Guelph (1788 votes)
        Sault Ste. Marie (1111 votes)
        Welland (300 votes)
        Western Arctic (523 votes)

        Expect to see particularly vigorous GOTV in these ridings at the next election.

        --
        Plot your political compass scores at KosCompass

        by Hatamoto on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 01:57:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If... (0+ / 0-)

          ... there were a mixed system, where constituencies could still exist, but only for the nomination of party candidates, yet the actual distribution of seats were determined on a PR-by-province basis, then we might be getting somewhere.  

          And, hopefully, break the back of regionalism, at the same time.

          As a purely intellectual exercise - and because I had lots of time on my hands ;) - I worked out how things could look under such a system.  This is real rough, so I'm not about to claim it's perfect.  But I think it looks better than what we've got, now...

          So let's say that this were the case in this last election.  According to the votes and a PR-by-province system, we might have had a Parliament that looked like this;

          118 Conservatives
          81 Liberals
          60 NDP
          30 Bloc Quebecois
          20 Greens
          1 Independent

          Total: 310 (308+2)

          Now, the 'extra' two seats I included are based on a formula I used to calculate this, which I don't think is unreasonable;  there would be 1% of the seats in the Commons - 3 seats, in other words - set aside for those party candidates who received more than 5% of the vote in any one province, but there were not enough seats in that province's delegation for them to be seated in the House.  I think that's fair.

          Each party has to break a 5% threshold in a Province order to win seats, there.  This is the same threshold used to determine whether parties receive public financing.

          But every vote would count, or close;  the regional 'character' of our politics could be maintained but the playing of regions off each other likely could not;  the distribution across the country seems to point to more "national" perspective for each of the 3 big parties; and, Quebec could still elect a substantial Bloc Quebecois caucus.

          The provincial caucuses would look like this;

          BC:  
          16 Conservatives
          7 Liberals
          9 NDP
          4 Greens

          Total: 36  (Unchanged)

          Alberta:
          18 Conservatives
          3 Liberals
          4 NDP
          3 Greens

          Total: 28  (Unchanged)

          Saskatchewan:
          8 Conservatives
          2 Liberals
          4 NDP
          1 Green (Extra Seat)

          Total: 15 (14+1)

          Manitoba:
          7 Conservatives
          3 Liberals
          4 NDP
          1 Green (Extra Seat)

          Total: 15 (14+1)

          Ontario:
          42 Conservatives
          36 Liberals
          19 NDP
          9 Green (rounded up)

          Total: 106  (Unchanged)

          Quebec:
          17 Conservatives
          18 Liberals
          30 Bloc Quebecois
          10 NDP
          0 Green (not enough votes to break 5% threshold)

          Total:  75 (Unchanged)

          New Brunswick:
          4 Conservatives
          3 Liberals
          2 NDP
          1 Green (rounded up)

          Total: 10 (Unchanged)

          Nova Scotia:
          3 Conservatives
          3 Liberals
          3 NDP
          1 Green
          1 Independent (Bill Casey)

          Total: 11 (Unchanged)

          Prince Edward Island:
          1 Conservative
          2 Liberal
          1 NDP (rounded up)
          0 Green (did not break 5% threshold)

          Total:  4 (unchanged)

          Newfoundland & Labrador:
          1 Conservative
          3 Liberals
          3 NDP
          0 Green (did not break 5% threshold)

          Total:  7 (Unchanged)

          Nunavut:  1 Conservative
          Northwest Territories:  1 NDP
          Yukon Territory: 1 Liberal

          Not perfect, no.  But maybe better - and perhaps more acceptable than the other proportional representation proposals I've seen.

          ... Where is Baldwin?
          ... Où est Lafontaine?

          by Wisewood on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 03:03:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  red/orange mixing (0+ / 0-)

          Keep in mind that the Liberals don't only draw from the NDP pool -- there's also a rather sizeable contingent of voters in the centre-to-centre-right who are currently voting Conservative but can be wooed back to the Liberals under the right circumstances.

          In fact, that group represents a significantly larger pool of voters than the Liberals stand to gain by poaching from the NDP.

  •  Wither prorogue? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thor Heyerdahl, hazey, javelina

    What a fascinating word!

    Joe Lieberman is a Chode.

    by dnamj on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 09:12:56 AM PST

  •  Looks like the GG give it to the conservatives: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    javelina

    Quick to judge, Quick to anger, Slow to understand; Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand. -- Neil Peart

    by JRandomPoster on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 09:18:47 AM PST

    •  It's a tactical victory for Harper (10+ / 0-)

      But it may be a strategic defeat for the Conservatives.  If it looks like Harper is strong-arming the Governor-General to gain maximal political benefit for his own government, this may create a backlash against his party.  Certainly his action is perceived as unprecedented, and with Parliamentary business hardly begun, it is hard to see it as other than a political manœuvre.

      And while the ensuing 7-8 weeks will certainly be used by Harper to try to strengthen his position with the Canadian people, he has also given time -- which may or may not be used wisely -- for the other parties to gather support and agitate (on the issue of prorogation, among other things) against him.  Harper's government will need to take strong and successful action in order to regain Parliamentary confidence, and that is now very difficult for Harper to do unilaterally.

      •  All in all, it's a reasonable outcome (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hazey, Ed Tracey, ThomasB

        It buys Harper some time but it comes with a risk: if the Liberals and NDP hold it together for the next month and a half and go into the new session with the will to bring down the government, it means that they are serious about doing it and have the wherewithal, which means there will be more confidence in them by the public.

        If, on the other hand, they quickly fall apart, that suggests that the coalition may have been doomed to begin with, which is also useful to know.

        •  How is this not the worst possible outcome? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Chacounne

          It leads to no action on any economic stimulus or anything else for almost two months (at least!), and just extends the confusion and instability while we wait for the inevitable.

          The coalition members have already signed an agreement, so how could they not hold this together?

          •  The *Leaders* signed an agreement (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Thor Heyerdahl, sagesource

            There's no guarantee that all the members would have gone along with it.

            The worst thing that could have happened is for the coalition to have fallen apart on their first confidence motion, which would have resulted in an election and probably a guaranteed Conservative majority as people would have been absolutely disgusted that the other parties couldn't get their act together.

            If they hold together until January with no defections in the ranks, with a confidence vote guaranteed to happen, that means they'll likely survive their first major test, their firtst vote.

            •  For the Liberals maybe (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Thor Heyerdahl, csquared

              When Duceppe signs for the Bloc, it means that their 49 MPs will go along. Party discipline inside the Bloc caucus is very strong. Some of his adversaries say that Duceppe learned the discipline thing while flirting with the maoists, back in his crazy youth.

              •  I don't think that party discipline will be a (0+ / 0-)

                problem for the Liberals or NDP, either.  All of the members know that failing to prop up the coalition ensures another election, where the Conservatives will almost certainly have huge gains.

                MP coalition members would have to be complete idiots to vote no confidence in the coalition.

                •  I'm not exactly sure about the Libs (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Gray

                  They're in a leadership contest and the caucus is not united behind the current lame duck leader. I don't think it is very likely, but there could be a scenario where one of the leadership candidates might want to seize a tactical advantage by talking or making a deal with Harper, "in the country's best interest". Harper is counting on it and it could happen given the wrong set of circumstances.

        •  it is a reasonable outcome (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sagesource

          I share your doubts about the viability of this coalition under the leadership of Dion. I will be pleasantly surprised if he can keep it together in face of the assault he will face in the coming month. It will be a happier day when he is replaced as leader of the Liberal Party.

        •  If they go into the session.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hatamoto

          ...with a new Liberal leader, Harper will have his ass handed to him. Dion needs to resign now. Harper has just made another massive mistake and the Liberals need to exploit it.

          I mean, did they need seven weeks to do a budget? Can anyone on the Conservative side count?

          On s'engage, et puis, on voit. (Napoleon)

          by sagesource on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:39:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  From your mouth to "Dialtone" Dion's ears. (0+ / 0-)

            I don't know if they can find a way to make it happen, but it surely would be a good thing if they did.

            IMO, the best plan right now would be to try to fast-track the liberal convention and make a "shadow budget". On the 26th, they get on the floor, and say "The coalition is strong, we have the budget we want passed. Pass it, or fall, we make the new government and we pass it." For extra flavour, toss something in that'll really twist wee stevie's jigglies personally but wouldn't matter a spit to the rest of Canada.

            Whereupon Harper's little goes all asplode.

            --
            Plot your political compass scores at KosCompass

            by Hatamoto on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 02:10:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I like your optimism... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ThomasB

        ... and admit that I, as a US citizen and not completely informed, but from what I can see, this appears to be an abuse of the spirit if not the letter of the law.

        You indicate that Harper will use the 7-8 weeks to attempt to strengthen his government.  How much do you think he will be able to accomplish toward this end if parliament has been prorogued?  

        Quick to judge, Quick to anger, Slow to understand; Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand. -- Neil Peart

        by JRandomPoster on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 09:38:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It depends (0+ / 0-)

          Conservative pockets appear to be deeper than liberal/ndp pockets. Almost certainly they'll use that money to dump a metric asstonne of political ads on us over christmas (class act, stevie) and probably work a few deals where various people's houses get new decks and whatnot.

          Keep in mind that the "R.Hon." Harper was caught on tape trying to bribe an MP a couple years ago, a scandal that was made to go away in some fashion that noone really knows. This time around he's broadcasted private phone conversations between the NDP and Bloc members to butress his case (which is pretty damned illegal, as any ham radio operator in the country will tell you.)

          It's really going to come down to seeing if Dion, not being the most inspirational choice to begin with, can keep the liberal MPs in line while they're all off at their individual ridings. NDP party unity shouldn't be an issue considering they stand to win BIG on this, so most of the wedges will be applied to cracks in liberal unity.

          And if he can't, it'll pretty much enshrine Dion as the most useless tool ever to be regurgitated from the bowels of the old guard liberal establishment.

          --
          Plot your political compass scores at KosCompass

          by Hatamoto on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 02:16:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  What happens next ..... (0+ / 0-)

      ..... when the Parliament reconvenes? If the status quo is in place, could this process be repeated? Or would Harper have to ask for a dissolution of Parliament - and, if he didn't get it - have to face that looming no-confidence vote?

       The plot thickens, I suppose ....    

      "We should pay attention to that man behind the curtain."

      by Ed Tracey on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 09:40:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  fuck! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fiddlingnero

      god damn conservatives! get rid of them!

  •  I miss the old PC party (7+ / 0-)

    Fiscally conservative, socially reasonably liberal. Once they lost power in the disastrous election due to the hate for Brian Mulroney and had to merge with the western far right party that gained ascendancy they've essentially been the Canadian wing of the Republican party.

  •  Powers of the world unite! (0+ / 0-)

    42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot. A Wrightism

    by publicv on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 09:28:48 AM PST

  •  Jeebus Effin - (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rufusthedog, whytwolf

    Well, I though that Canadians had more respect for their Constitution than Americans did.  I mean half the American population consented to Bush's gutting of the Bill of Rights and Congress went merrily along, but, lo and behold, Harper and Jean decide to trash the entire Canadian constitutional process in one fell swoop.

    What will they do next?
    Create a Rump Parliament after January?
    I hope to hell that there are new elections and that the Conservatives get post-Mulroney results.  I know that a new election is the last thing that Canadians want or need, but the Conservatives need to get an immediate trouncing.

    Harper really is scary.
    The outrage has to be deafening!

    •  It is within Parliamentary tradition (3+ / 0-)

      The GG was in a difficult position -- while Harper's request was extraordinary, by tradition of a parliamentary system the GG is expected to take the advice of the PM on issues of proroguing Parliament. While a case could be made that Michaelle Jean should have refused the request, there would have been very little parliamentary precedent to support a refusal.

      I think it is unacceptable that Harper is refusing to accept the fact that he does not have the support of Parliament  -- but it is within the bounds of Parliamentary law and tradition to do this (although 2 months is an abuse of prorogation, and doing it more than once would require the GG to refuse a second request).

      Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

      by terjeanderson on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 10:50:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  THIS IS WHY DailyKos needs a Canadian... (10+ / 0-)

    ... section. We probably represent 1.5% of his reading population...

  •  "My Name Is Steve", new sitcom on CBC... (4+ / 0-)

    Following the success of "My Name is Earl":  PM Harper is hit by a snowmobile after watching George Strombolopoulos' show, where the topic is 'kharma', and experiences a moment of revelation about his entire tenure as PM.  He is determined to shed his arrogant, prideful persona, and to attempt to undo all of his blunders.  
       Hilarity ensues in the pilot episode, when he tries to make it all up to Peter Mackay (for stabbing him in the back during the negotiations to unite the Alliance and the PCs) by drugging and kidnapping Belinda Stronach, and sending them on a "date" to the National Archives.
     Check your local listings!  

    A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. FDR

    by rufusthedog on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 09:44:17 AM PST

  •  Muzzling Parliament (9+ / 0-)

    Harper's decision to seek prorogation means that he retains executive authority without having shown that he has the confidence of Parliament.

    This decision sets a terrible precedent, because other PMs will also seek to rule without the consent of Parliament.

    You can do a lot of damage in seven weeks. The Governor-General has just given us a lengthy lame-duck period, the kind the US wishes it doesn't have.

    •  In seven weeks, you can also... (0+ / 0-)

      ...elect a new Liberal leader.

      Harper is a bit too "smart" for his own good.

      On s'engage, et puis, on voit. (Napoleon)

      by sagesource on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:37:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He knows he's f***ed and wants another election. (0+ / 0-)

        The only way he survives this is by peeling off some Liberal support in order to compromise the coalition. He needs about 10 votes. My guess is that he will be working hard, ala Chuck Cadman, to buy any Libs for sale. Keep an eye on the ridings where Libs defeated Cons by narrow margins - Cabinet spots for all!

        I'm speculating that the GG told Harper that if he goes into full campaign mode, she will hand the government over to the coalition when the no-confidence vote comes. In other words, if Harper cannot regain the confidence of the House between now and Jan 27, he is finished as PM.

        -6.38/-3.79::'A man is incapable of comprehending any argument that interferes with his revenues.' Descartes

        by skrymir on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:59:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That would be illegal (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skrymir

          Enticing MPs to cross the floor with promises of perks is against the law.  And that, of course, will stop Stephen Harper.
          </snark>

          "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

          by fishhead on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 04:58:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I bet he'll start filling Senate vacancies (0+ / 0-)

      The GG really dropped the ball on this.

  •  GG Jean made the prudent move (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dwellscho, terjeanderson

    The prorogue was expected by most.  'Twould be a wack and fractious holiday season with the "coalition" then needing to seek the GG's assent, while regionalist west-east mudslinging would go ballistic. It would be confusing and ugly.

    This is a chance to recoup and strategize.  I think the coalition idea will work, and the Harper Tories will be replaced by it in Jan-Feb.

    I like cheese and potato prorogues fried with butter and onion, btw.

    the blue sea seethes with reason

    by howth of murph on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 09:51:18 AM PST

    •  Harper is already paying big price for this (5+ / 0-)

      I think the Governor-General took the prudent course, too. Harper's people are counting on  media blitz to scare a few liberals into breaking with the caucus.  The problem here is that there will almost certainly be another election next fall at the latest, because the Liberals will have a new leader, most probably Ignatief.  Ignatief is on board with the programme.  That means any Liberal MP who jumps ship will not be running for office in the next general election as a liberal.  It's one thing to jump out of conviction, and there might be some who do that, but jumping out of fear will just give other people something for them to be even more fearful of.

      As to Harper, the Conservatives are furious at his having fucked this up so badly.  He prematurely exposed their programme to undo the Canadian welfare state.  It was to be done under the guise of 'austerity' cuts.  That little con has now been exposed, and the Lib-NDP alternative programme having been aired at least in its general form, cuts them off at the knees for a spending programme in extremis that they would otherwise take credit for.

      The economy up here is going to worsen with a lag behind the worsening US economy.  Time is not on Harper's side.  

  •  Canada is Not Boring (8+ / 0-)

    Mind experiment:  The economic situation, and the Conservative response to it, is what's driving this turmoil in Canadian politics.  If this were occuring in the USA, Americans would have no recourse, but to wait four years to eject the leadership, or possibly two years to change the Congress.  In other words, the Canadian system is much more responsive to events than the American one.

    This was evident during the Great Depression.  It's been said that the Great Depression was Great only because Republicans did nothing about it, for so long.  Americans had to wait till 1932 and FDR's New Deal for relief, three years after the stock market crashed.

  •  meanwhile the Greens are busy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thor Heyerdahl, Scoopster

    Since the Canadian government has ceased to exist, I thought I would post a way to get involved in Canadian politics:

    Just got this from Elizabeth May, Canada's Green Party leader:

    Dear supporters,

    my former press secretary, Camille Labchuk, is one of the leading contestants in CBC TV's annual "Canada's Next Great Prime Minister" contest.

    With your help, we can ensure Camille makes the semi-finals and has a chance to advance the policy solutions Canada needs to hear. One of the eight semi-finalists is selected based on the number of positive ratings her entry video receives, and Camille is currently among the top-rated candidates.

    To help Camille win, please follow these steps:

    1. Register your name with CBC so you can rate her video: http://membercentre.cbc.ca/...
    1. You will be sent an e-mail about 30 seconds later – click on the confirmation link
    1. Watch Camille’s entry video and give her 5 stars (or what you think she deserves): http://www.cbc.ca/...

    You can also join her Facebook group to receive campaign updates: http://www.facebook.com/...

    Thank you for helping Camille!

    Elizabeth May, O.C.
    Leader, Green Party of Canada

  •  A prorogation of a few weeks... (4+ / 0-)

    ...would have been hard to argue with, on the grounds that an undefeated PM still shouldn't be bossed around by the GG's views of confidence.

    But TWO MONTHS?  There was no rational whatsoever for such a long prorogation!  It's an obscenity!

  •  Without King-Byng, this makes no sense. (0+ / 0-)

    I think. What is King-Byng?

    You kids behave or I'm turning this universe around RIGHT NOW! - god

    by Clem Yeobright on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 10:22:50 AM PST

  •  Canada Swings !! Every now and then anyway. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    junta0201

    Pierre Elliot Trudeau and his lovely wife were adored by the entire world and the Rolling Stones.  Carnaby Street meet Yonge Street.

    Rene Levecque could stir up shit equally as well as the best American demagogues and made things interesting in Canada with secession as the agenda.

    But, my favorite Canadian political history gem came from my next door neighbor, an 80 year old ex pat Canadian who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II.  Over the summer, during a political chat he informed me that the Provincial Government of Quebec had formal diplomat relations with Vichy, France.  The Nazi collaborationist government of half of France.  The other half being directly run by the occupying Germans.  Now that's some interesting shit.  What a country.  I love Canada.  French and English.

  •  Canadians are now ruled by decree (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terjeanderson, Derfel

    Face it: the will of our elected Parliament has just been overruled by the British Queen's ceremonial representative. There has never been a stronger argument for a republic than this.

    •  Bull! (5+ / 0-)

      As a progressive it sucks.  But she was in a bad spot either way.  The Queen had nothing to do with this - and by the way - QE2 is also Queen Elizabeth of Canada.

      And Steven Harper, like it or not, is still the leader of the House of Commons - aka the Prime Minister.  Through all of his powers and legal loopholes - as sneaky and underhanded as they are - he still technically has confidence (since he hasn't lost it yet).

      GGs take the advice of the PM under notice and only on extremely rare situations refuse the request.  I think she believed her government (that's everyone in the HoC) was becoming untenable.  

      So she accepted the prorogue request to try to get all to chill out and try again in Jan to be reasonable adults (but it likely won't be with Harper in charge).  Had the coalition of Lib/NDP been with a greater number of seats than the Conservatives - before Bloc support, I believe she might have declined the prorogue request.  But since the Tories alone had a higher number of seats and that the Lib/NDP required 3rd party support of someone not active in the coalition, she may have seen the Tories as a "little" more stable.

      I do not want a presidential system for Canada.  If we changed anything, it might be the way we allot votes.  This is a once in a century situation, hyperinflated by the immediacy of today's media.  Now if the USA wasn't our neighbour, I might consider a Republic...but I'll keep this Westminsterian quirk thank you very much!

      The last week though has helped Canadians pick up some well needed refreshers on how our system actually works.  It's a pity that the GG couldn't have installed what appeared to be Canadians #1 choice from the last election as PM - "none of the above" ;-)

      "now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." W. Churchill

      by Thor Heyerdahl on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:28:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Harper is an asshole. (5+ / 0-)

    I can't believe he had the gall to call a coalition government "undemocratic," when he's been attempting to govern with a minority of the seats.

    And now they're going to suspend Parliament just when immediate action is needed, instead of letting the coalition get to work immediately on the necessary economic measures?  I can't believe the GG went along with this.

    This is absolutely the worst that could have happened.  Why couldn't the GG demand that the Conservatives present a budget in the next couple of weeks?  As it is, nothing will be done when it's needed, and we're just prolonging the inevitable, since Harper effectively pissed off everyone and completely poisoned the whole process.

    •  Not a point in dispute. Everyone knows he's an (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Thor Heyerdahl

      asshole, even the Cons and ex-Reformers I know think he's an asshole. That makes it unanimous.

      -6.38/-3.79::'A man is incapable of comprehending any argument that interferes with his revenues.' Descartes

      by skrymir on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:09:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is the Governor General appointed? (0+ / 0-)

    Elected?  I haven't seen any mention of where she actually came from.

  •  Too bad for Harper that Pelosi (3+ / 0-)

    is not the head of the Liberal Party. A new government would be "off the table." Not to mention not wanting to expend political capital replacing the Prime Minister.

    •  That's ridiculous (0+ / 0-)

      If you are referring to impeachment, it would have zero chances of working and could easily have led to a Repub winning the presidency.

      Amazing that some people still need to believe this nonsense

      •  Yes, much better message to send is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        doinaheckuvanutjob

        ... you can engage in the wanton and criminal actions of a unitary executive unbound by any known law of man or god, and in the end get away completely without arrest, impeachment or censure.

        Way to discourage bad behaviour. :-/

        Sometimes the bad guys need a punch to the throat to get them to smarten the fuck up. Sadly, Pelosi and Reid lacked the fortitude to inflict some very much needed cautionary violence.

        --
        Plot your political compass scores at KosCompass

        by Hatamoto on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 02:29:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Weakness and timidity (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hatamoto, doinaheckuvanutjob

        should not be mistaken for shrewdness. Not even the threat of accountability has been help up to Bush and his cohorts. You are speculating that principled strength would have given away the presidency. If by working, you mean a successful impeachment and removal from office, you may be correct. However, there were many other outcomes, including the curtailing of the abuse of power, that could have taken place. There was a much greater, and in fact a likely chance, of that taking place.

        •  Where's all that subpeana power Pelosi talked (0+ / 0-)

          about before the '06 election??

          Nada. Zilch. Lip service.

          Pelosi and Reid are collosall failures, and worst of all, they have enriched the Bush admin's criminal/unconstitutional activities as merely another set of policy choices for future admins. Had they done something, anything, to hold them accountable, we wouldn't need to worry so much about the future. Now we've set a precedent for future admins to be as lawless or moreso. Thanks Nancy and Harry!!

          Children in the U.S... detained [against] intl. & domestic standards." --Amnesty Internati

          by doinaheckuvanutjob on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 06:08:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Preposterous (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sagesource, Sleepwalkr

    What a terrible precedent.  Harper's actions demonstrate his unworthiness and the necessity of removing him from power.

  •  Here's what's really happening: (13+ / 0-)

    First, a note: the Peterson/Rae Liberal/NDP accord in Ontario occurred in 1985, not 1987.

    Second, analysis of Her Excellency (for some real monarchist flavour--notice the Canadian spelling?) Mme. Jean's decision. [NB She agreed with the Prime Minister to allow adjournment of the House until January 26, 2009]:

    1. The "it was stupidity" option. In this case, Mme. Jean recognized that her decision would be not only fateful and historic, but would place her legacy (if not her person) in jeopardy with a substantial portion of the Canadian population. Her husband was at one point an avowed separatist. She was thought to be a bit of an intellectual lightweight. She may have acted in the belief that refusing Harper's request would be seen (as it surely would have in some quarters) as an attempt to advance Quebec separation. If so, this is a gross misunderstanding of her role--namely, to make a decision according to established constitutional procedures and the best advice of predecessors, scholars and others with relevant experience. There is only one possible decision which addressed the current situation and established a meaningful precedent, and that would have been to demand that Mr. Harper find a way to work in the House, or submit his government to a confidence motion. If she acted because of considerations of optics, legacy, etc. it was sheer stupidity.
    1. The "it was crafty" option. Alternatively, Mme. Jean might have recognized her role, and the requirements for this decision, but acted thoughtfully according to what she thought might be the best result in the long run. Adjourning parliament for 7 weeks at such a time seriously undermines any remaining credibility Mr. Harper had. How can he or his party be taken seriously when they talk about acting with urgency, since they acted to not act for 7 weeks? How can they be taken seriously about working collaboratively, when they have taken steps to prevent the Opposition from being heard? Yes, it's bad for the country, but then Harper had already guaranteed that any outcome would be "bad"; meanwhile, despite the opportunity to play to bigotry for 7 weeks, I don't think this is going to help the Conservatives with anyone other than their radicalized base. However, it will provide 7 weeks of breathing room for the coalition partners to get their own acts together, and this is probably a very good thing, even if the end result is that the coalition breaks apart. Getting rid of Dion is one likely side effect, and much as I like the man, his campaign, and last night's worse-than-amateur production of a video have made him the key liability for Liberals. All of these suggest that this may be the right decision in the long run. After all, Harper has one less tool at his disposal: fanning outrage at being refused his prorogation.
    1. The "I don't want to get whacked" option. Given what I know of Harper, I raise this possibility (either literally or figuratively) from 0% to perhaps less than 5%. I simply have come to believe that he is our Dick Cheney, and would be unable to approach Mme. Jean with anything other than sheer combativeness and more brinkmanship. I suspect Mr. Harper may have laid at her feet the possibility that she would go down in history as responsible for the break-up of the country, the sufferings of Canadians or some other such thing. Again, I only give this a less than 5% likelihood, but it's impossible to discount it entirely.

    So where does this leave things? Bob Rae, a Liberal MP, and Ed Broadbent, a former NDP leader, went on national radio calling Mr. Harper a "liar", "destructive", "untrustworthy" and "despised". Mr. Rae went so far as to say he chosen those words carefully. I think this captures the feeling of the House (probably including a few Conservatives, as well!) and of many Canadians. There is therefore virtually no chance the Conservatives can survive. So we get to look forward to almost two months of inaction, followed by an election campaign we don't want or need, unless by some miracle the coalition hangs together or is re-made come January 27. I do not see Mr. Harper saving his behind, though I see him capable of causing much mischief. Given the need to be ready for an election in February, I expect Liberals to be working on Stephane Dion's departure as I write this. If he wants to help, Dion could do nothing better than step aside as soon as possible, and lend help behind the scenes. Again, I like Dion as a person, and a politician, but not as a leader.

    Hope this helps.

    -8.38, -4.97 "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

    by thingamabob on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 10:47:36 AM PST

    •  good post (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MahFellaMerkins

      you are correct about the time periods for the NDP/Liberal coalition in Ontario - I've corrected that.

      Although I'm not feeling very fair to Stephen Harper right now it is true that Parliament would not normally have been sitting for all the next 7 weeks regardless of this current problem.  I believe it was scheduled to break on December 12 in any event

      Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Marx.

      by Childofexpats on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:05:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sagesource, OldGrammy

        But that adjournment on December 12 would have come only after allowing the Opposition to comment on and vote on the Government's priorities. This is a huge difference.

        The Conservatives will be mentioning this as a talking point--there's only 5 days difference. That's simply not true, since those 5 days would have changed the government.

        -8.38, -4.97 "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

        by thingamabob on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:09:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Absolutely -Right Back atya (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sagesource, thingamabob

          Oh, I agree entirely.  The government would have fallen December 8 absent some extra-ordinary rebellions in Liberal ranks.  THe only point I was making was that for those who are concerned about the effect of delay in forming a budget or making serious economic proposals there probably isn't much practical difference in the timing.  THere is a BIG practical difference in WHO is forming the budget or proposing the economic proposals.

          Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Marx.

          by Childofexpats on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:12:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  It's a game-changer in the Quebec election (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sagesource, thingamabob, RageKage

      There is a general election scheduled in Quebec for next Monday. Since the federal crisis erupted, the fortunes of the Parti québécois (the Bloc sister party in Quebec politics) have improved quite a bit. The péquistes were trailing badly in the polls (by double-digits), but there is some movement according to internal polls and call-in shows.

      So there could be some immediate blowback to Harper's scapegoating Quebec, as early as Monday night.

      •  Charest's electoral fortunes (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ClaudeB, sagesource, OldGrammy

        Are just the most immediate thing that Harper has destroyed. The only question now is how much will he destroy before some grownups takeover?

        -8.38, -4.97 "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

        by thingamabob on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:13:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  One other thing (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ClaudeB, sagesource

          Mario Dumont proved that being "little Harper" isn't too productive, didn't he?

          -8.38, -4.97 "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

          by thingamabob on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:16:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Interesting point (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            thingamabob

            I'm not sure on what effect it will have on Dumont's ADQ performance in the polls. One one hand, his "relationship" with Harper will hurt him, but he was so low in the polls to start with (12-15% in recent ones if I'm not mistaken), that he could paradoxically go up by a few points. Not enough to keep his Official opposition status, but enough to survive to fight another day.

      •  So another minority gov't in Quebec? (0+ / 0-)

        (Overheard at the Charest's office)

        "Tabernac!"

        "now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." W. Churchill

        by Thor Heyerdahl on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:34:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Quite possible (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          thingamabob

          Although Charest has a smaller lead, he could still get the 63 MNAs needed for a majority, but it's no longer as sure a bet as it was two weeks ago.

          The former PC federal leader keeps very quiet these days, figuring that a low turnout is the best scenario for a majority in Monday's poll.

        •  I prefer "tabernouche" (0+ / 0-)

          Or "tabarouette". Invective, but essentially meaningless and funny.

          -8.38, -4.97 "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

          by thingamabob on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:11:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The Liberal Caucus is meeting right now (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thingamabob, yuriwho

      There are conflicting reports of the degree to which the knives are out for Dion.

      I think we need to feed the "Dump Dion Now" beast starting with the leadership candidates.

      I emailed all three this morning:

      info@michaelignatieff.ca

      info@bobrae.ca

      leblanc.d@parl.gc.ca

      •  I prefer "Respectfully Dump Dion (with dignity)" (0+ / 0-)

        He has to go. That video was an absolute embarrassment and probably helped Mme. Jean make up her mind. ("Do I really want a Prime Minister who gets his 11-year-old nephew to produce national emergency videos on his cellphone?" or something like that.)

        I was happy when he became leader, but he's had more than enough time to make a difference, and he's shown that the power of his ideas is not sufficient to make up for his lack of personal charisma or leadership intuition. He can't be there in January.

        -8.38, -4.97 "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

        by thingamabob on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:56:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ruby (0+ / 0-)

        Whatever happened to Ruby Dhalla?  I remember her mooting a leadership bid.  She could be a great Liberal leader, and maybe Canada's Obama :)

        "I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him." - Booker T. Washington

        by ajbender on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 02:46:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  So the Governor General (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sagesource, Lynwaz, Sleepwalkr

    allowed Harper to prorogue the parliament. This wasn't completely unexpected. It's very important for the coalition not to implode.

    Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

    by dpc on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 10:47:42 AM PST

  •  And I thought that our system of governance was (0+ / 0-)

    ..convoluted.

    Thanks for the informative diary.

    "I'd like to be a president [known] as somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace." -- George W. Bush

    by SecondComing on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:00:15 AM PST

  •  I want to post this where I can (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sagesource, rufusthedog, newview88

    One point we Canadians should all be pounding on: Harper is clearly either a psychopath or a sociopath (if there is even any difference between the two).
    The few snap polls I've seen show support for the coalition at around 40% and support for the Conservatives at around 35%.  Nearly all of the undecided are people who voted for the coalition partners in the last election.  While, no doubt, a good percentage of those are Bloc supporters who aren't sure they want any part in 'being' in government, most of the rest are obviously Liberals or New Democats.

    Some of those, are some of the people here, those who don't want to see the two parties get into bed with each other.  But, many others are the wushy moderates who want a 'fair outcome for all involved' to be the result.  The talking point from them seems to be 'Harper backtracked on the budget, so hasn't he shown he should be given one more chance'.
    Harper is clearly either a psychopath or a sociopath.  I'm not a psychologist but I've read enough to know that these sorts of people feed on the wushy moderates.  They get caught, promise to behave better, and then go back to their standard behaviour the moment attention has moved on.  The answer is to the line "shouldn't he be given one more chance" is he's already been given a ton of chances.
    He promised to be contrite after he failed to get a majority and went back to his old self immediately thereafter with the budget.  He promised after the budget fiasco to be more conciliatory and then immediately after began to engage in behaviour that could very well split the country apart because he perceives it to be in his short term advantage.
    Canada deserves better than to be governed by a psycopath.

    •  Article addressing Harper's personality... (5+ / 0-)

      ...in detail here... including such creepy facts as we know essentially nothing about his childhood, and he's a very quiet member of a nutjob church like Palin's.

      On s'engage, et puis, on voit. (Napoleon)

      by sagesource on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:30:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bloc voters and the coalition (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sagesource

      Some sovereigntists and Quebec nationalists have a problem with the coalition and it's not the one you mention, since a poll released earlier this week shows that 76% Quebeckers would support the coalition. The problem for some is the (temporary) head of the coalition, Stéphane Dion.

      He's one of the most unpopular politician in the province and his role in schemes to undercut Quebec's right to self-determination has not been forgotten here.

      However, the majority of people here are pragmatists and agree with the need for a coalition to alleviate the immediate economic crisis. The coalition agreement main planks are much more in line with the political tradition in Quebec than  Harper's "laisser-faire" extreme monetarist policy.  

      •  Fair point (0+ / 0-)

        I should have thought of that too.

        I support the coalition because I can't stand Harper, because as I said, I'm convinced he's a psychopath.

        That said, I actually come closer to his view on the budget than the coalitions.

        Canada's financial situation is one of the strongest in the world, and while things are likely to get worse before they start to turn around, there is nothing wrong with waiting awhile to see what the U.S does first.

        I'd like to see more infrastructure spending, but I'm very concerned that $30 billion in spending could lead back to permanent deficits and spike other problems (such as raising long term interest rates which would lead to an even bigger recession or possibly lead to an inflationary spiral, though I think that is a remote concern at this time.)

        •  I'm not all that worried about deficits right now (0+ / 0-)

          Canada's fiscal position is enviable if you compare it to most OECD countries. And, as Keynes famously said, "in the long run we are all dead"

          Canada's output has been skewed by the oil and gas boom in Alberta and Saskatchewan and the temporary rise of the currency and some industries have been hurting badly in the last few years. We're also seeing the cyclical unemployment  numbers rising and confidence dropping. Oh, and the Bank of Canada target rate is now 2.25% and the consumption is weak.

          What does it mean? In theory, a lower value for the loonie should help the trade balance, but the worlds' economy (and the US economy in particular) is weak. Consumption is also weak because households are afraid about the future. Investment is low because businesses do not believe there will be an increase in demand. What's left? Government spending.

          •  Yes but, (0+ / 0-)

            You make it sound like everything is going to completely dry up.  GDP according to some predictions may not drop by more than 0.5%

            Things may get much worse, but Canada may not face anything worse than a fairly mild recession (as painful as that will still be for many people).  Governments should act if necessary, but I see no need to rush into anything at this time, and I certainly think $30 billion is more spending than needed.  That is nearly 2% of GDP to face off a decline that may be no more than 0.5%.

            •  I think that estimate is VERY optimistic (0+ / 0-)

              Canada may be situated the best to weather the oncoming storm, but aside from the natural resource exports (the price of which are falling dramatically of late, particularly oil) our exports are almost certainly going to take a heavy hit by the southward-turning US economy.

              Moreover, that $30bil isn't going to just disappear. Much like the suggested stimulus for the US, a lot of that would be going directly to infrastructure upgrades. So long as they're not building 6 lane highways to Cold Lake I can't see that being at all a bad thing.

              --
              Plot your political compass scores at KosCompass

              by Hatamoto on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 03:06:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Seeing as I have a minute to respond (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Hatamoto, Childofexpats

                There was an article in our newspaper The Vancouver Sun of some economic forecasting group that  supports the coalition's proposed stimulus package outline (although I think only if the $30 billion is spread over 2 years) and also predicts the Canadian economy will contract by 0.1% for 2009. Of course, given the (small) population growth, GDP per capita will decrease by somewhat more.

                Things may turn out horrible, but a lot of people tend to underappreciate  the overall scale of the economy and the fact that good parts of it tend to keep growing except in the most extreme of downturns.

                •  It will depend on a couple factors (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Adam T, Childofexpats, Wisewood
                  1. Whether our cross border trade tanks hard. Given the current state of things to the south, I rather suspect trade will drop pretty sharply, even despite our currently weaker dollar.
                  1. The true extent that international trade makes up in our GDP. Last estimates I've seen put our trade as high as 30% of GDP. Personally, I think that's rather inflated... but if it IS high, our economy is going to feel the effects of slowdowns elsewhere much more acutely. If, however, it's relatively small compared to inter- and intra-provincial trade, then we'll be in for a comparatively soft landing... so long as consumer spending can be maintained.

                  I will put money on our GDP taking a hit harder than 0.1%. The recent report of 71k jobs lost on the last month should be an indicator of how hard interprovincial trade will be hit.

                  One of the huge advantages Canada DOES have was our resistance to the banking deregulatory shenanigans of the late 90s. Say what you will about Chretien and Martin, they kept things sane and we're going to reap the rewards now. Our banks don't seem to be particularly worried about lending cash to small businesses to make payroll and so on.

                  --
                  Plot your political compass scores at KosCompass

                  by Hatamoto on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 10:52:14 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Question... (0+ / 0-)

        ...how are Ignatioff, Rae, and Bob Layton viewed in Quebec?  I know the NDP is actually trying to make inroads into QUebec (well, when you go from 0 to anything, the increase is quite large...) so just curious.

        "An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot." - Thomas Paine

        by Mister Gloom on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:03:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Partial answer (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ClaudeB, yuriwho, terjeanderson

          I live way out in B.C (the other side of the country) so, I'm far from an expert, I do follow Liberal Party politics though.

          First of all though, it's Jack Layton, Bob Layton was Jack's father and a former Conservative M.P (and cabinet minister) from Quebec.

          Jack Layton is the most popular federalist leader in Quebec but I think that support is quite soft, most Quebecers don't really know him all that well.  The NDP share of the vote in Quebec has gone from something like 2% in 2000 to 5% in 2004 to 9% in 2006 and 12% in the last election.

          The key player for the NDP in Quebec is their lone M.P in the province, former Provincial Liberal cabinet minister Thomas Mulcair, who is apparently very popular.

          As to the Liberals.  I don't know about people generally throughout the province, but amongst Liberals, both Ignatieff and Rae have a fair degree of support.  Ignatieff has most of the Liberal Party organizers behind him, while Rae has some of the 'grassroots' support that would otherwise have backed former Canadian Liberal Attorney General Martin Cauchon.  In the last leadership convention Ignatieff got around 30% of the Quebec elected delegates (and probably over half of the 'ex officio' delegates) while Rae and Dion both received around 25%.

          Rae's support goes back years due to his time as Premier of Ontario. I'm not 100% sure why Liberal Party organizers like Ignatieff given his defense of the Iraq war which is an anathema in Quebec other than I suppose that they think he is a winner.

        •  Another answer (4+ / 0-)

          Ignatieff got the lion share of Quebec Liberal supporters in the last leadership race for his seemingly more moderate views on Quebec's nation status. Rae was way behind because he defended a hard line against Quebec. Dion trailed badly in his home province, because of his role in trying to quash Quebec's right to self-determination.

          As for Jack Layton, many Quebeckers like the guy («C'est un bon Jack» is used in colloquial French to say that some one is a "good chap") but there has always been some misunderstanding between the NDP and Quebec, since the NDP's traditional vision of a strong central government is not very popular here. During the last election campaign, many commentators noted Layton's propensity to propose large social initiatives (federal standards on daycare and healthcare), while these two issues are clearly not in the purview of the Canadian federal government.

          •  Yes good point (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ClaudeB, terjeanderson

            I forgot about that nationalism debate.  That said, there are many Quebecers, especially the English Quebecers who clearly are less supportive of some of the 'soft nationalism' stuff, people like Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien.  It would be a mistake to say they don't have any support in Quebec.  Bob Rae was, more or less, their heir. While Ignatieff played up the nationalism stuff.

            We're both a bit off on the numbers.   I actually wrote them down at the time.
            Elected delegates in Quebec:
            Michael Igantieff 360 39.2%
            Stephane Dion 271 29.5%
            Bob Rae 222 24.2%
            All others 66

            You are likely correct that on the last ballot most of the Quebec Rae supporters went to Ignatieff while everywhere else they overwhelmingly went to Dion.

        •  NDP not zero in Quebec (0+ / 0-)

          Not quite at least.

          They hold one parliamentary seat -- Thomas Mulcair from the Montreal riding of Outremount. He won the seat in a bye-election (special election for a vacant seat), and then managed to hold it in the October election. This made him the first NDP MP ever elected in a general election in Quebec. (The NDP also won a bye-election with consumer advocate Phil Edminston on the south shore Montreal suburbs 20 years ago, but he never won a general election seat).

          The NDP didn't have a breakthrough in Quebec this year, but they almost won a couple of seats in Hull and Gatineau, and were competitive in a number of others.

          The NDP's biggest problem in Quebec is that they are going after the same urban progressive vote that is already pretty solidly behind the Bloc -- they would be extremely competitive in about 12 Montreal area ridings held by the Bloc if the electoral landscape changed, and could probably build a base in places like Quebec City, the Saguenay and north, Sherbrooke, Trois Rivieres, and the Outaouais.

          Layton is viewed positively in Quebec, he has better French than any previous NDP leader  (and better than Harper or Elizabeth May). He still struggles with the reputation of the NDP as a strong central-government force in a province that prefers decentralisation, and with the general lack of familiarity in a province with no history of voting NDP.

          If the nationalist issue were off the table (or if the Bloc was led by a right wing nationalist instead of the ex-Communist Gilles Duceppe), Quebec would be prime territory for a social democratic party -- but there is a lot of work to do.

          Many people think Mulcair is a likely future federal NDP leader, which could help the NDP significantly in breaking through here.

          Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

          by terjeanderson on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 02:12:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Oh yeah (0+ / 0-)

        Just wanted to add, that poll showing 76% or so would support the coalition, I believe that poll measured "would you prefer the coalition or would you prefer another election?"

        If the poll were, "would you prefer the coalition or would you prefer the Conservatives?" the answer might well have been different.

        And, if almost certainly like the Angus Reid poll, it also gave the option of 'none of the above' I suspect support for the coalition would be much lower than that 76%

  •  Crisis? What crisis? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sagesource, Chacounne, newview88

    Parliament out of action for seven weeks..Harper must resign! Canada needs a real leader who understands teamwork.

    Think Tank. "A place where people are paid to think by the makers of tanks" Naomi Klein.

    by ohcanada on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:12:23 AM PST

    •  The upside for the coalition (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sagesource, ohcanada, Derfel

      is that the liberals have time to elect a new leader.

      A lovely little thinker, But a bugger when he's pissed

      by yuriwho on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:45:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why does Canada put up with (0+ / 0-)

      this last vestige of the British Empire?

      Why does a foreign Governor General have the authority to permit the PM to shut down Parliament or to permit or forbid the Canadian government from doing anything at all?

      As a result, the national government is largely paralyzed at a time of national crisis.

      Though your election of Conservatives to power makes me wonder about this, by and large, Canada has proved its ability to govern itself.

      IMO, the question of whether Canada needs to be part of the Commonwealth of Nations really ought to be taken up after the question over who will govern Canada is settled. It appears that Canada needs a Governor General even less than a fish needs a bicycle.

      At minimum, the new PM (assuming it is not Harper) should deport the Governor General.  

      Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

      by alizard on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 04:51:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because constitutional reform is impossible (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        alizard

        A bona fide constitutional amendment would be needed to strike the link to the British monarchy from the constitution. It would need the unanimity of both houses of parliament and the unanimity of all provincial legislatures.

        If someone tries to open the constitution, you can be sure that Quebec will have its demands to sign on a document it has never approved to this day. You can also be certain that whatever Quebec asks will be rejected by the rest of Canada and the end result will be another national unity crisis with unknown consequences.

  •  From the Babble website (5+ / 0-)

    www.rabble.ca

    Steven Harper wants to shut down
    parliament just because he does not agree with it.
    Some say this is unprecedented.
    In fact, Harper is following
    parliamentary tradition.
    Consider the following precedents:
    1629 King Charles I in England
    1799 Napoleon in France

    1. Victoriano Huerta in Mexico
    1. Adolf Hitler in Germany

    1936 Fransisco Franco in Spain

    1. Benito Mussolini in Italy
    1. Augusto Pinochet in Chile
    1. Steven Harper in Canada
  •  One correction (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terjeanderson, Derfel, rufusthedog

    Canada has had one other coalition government, the Union Government of Sir Robert Borden during World War I. See this wiki link for reference.

    A lovely little thinker, But a bugger when he's pissed

    by yuriwho on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:28:02 AM PST

  •  Who would the new governemtn form under? (0+ / 0-)

    I heard somewhere that Dion stepped down as leader of the Liberal party, has anyone else taken their place?   Would the coalition form under the liberals?

    Anyone know?

    You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

    by DawnG on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:30:43 AM PST

    •  Dion has tendered his resignation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terjeanderson, Derfel

      pending the vote by the Liberal party for a new leader. The convention is scheduled for May in Vancouver. Mr. Dion would, should the coalition be given power, be Prime Minister until then.

           Just my two cents,
              Heather

      •  He needs to go NOW.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chacounne, Sleepwalkr

        ...not because he is a bad man, but because Harper, to save his own posterior, has handed the Liberals a long enough window for a leadership convention. Such a convention would also suck some of the air out of Harper's Nuremberg reenactment, ein Volk ein Reich ein Fuehrer.

        On s'engage, et puis, on voit. (Napoleon)

        by sagesource on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:50:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If they can put the convention together in time, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sagesource, fiddlingnero

          I don't disagree.

          I'm appalled by the actions of the Governor General.

             Just my two cents,
                 Heather

        •  Plus, and no diss to him... (0+ / 0-)

          ...he really isn't a very good spokesperson for the party.

          And it's not because he's French, he just comes across as being very out of synch.

          I saw that video he floated of himself TRYING to play street hockey.  OMG.  But that's what he's been putting out there.

          You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

          by DawnG on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 03:55:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Stepping down once a successor is chosen (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DawnG

      When Dion announced, he said he would stay on as Liberal Leader until the leadership convention in May.

      The agreement is that the coalition would be led by Dion as Prime Minister until the new Liberal leader is chosen in May - then that leader would become Prime Minister.  The Liberals would have 3/4ers of the Cabinet posts, the NDP would have 1/4. The Bloc wouldn't have any spots in Cabinet (they wouldn't want them anyway), but they will be consulted on policy decisions.

      Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

      by terjeanderson on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 01:54:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  put that jack fellow with the NDP... (0+ / 0-)

        ..in a medical or public health cabinet post.  He was the one running on "not enough Doctors in Canada" platform.

        You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

        by DawnG on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 03:56:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Problem is (0+ / 0-)

          Healthcare is a provincial jurisdiction in Canada. The department of Health manages some health care facilities for veterans and natives, and does regulate prescription drugs, and epidemics. At the federal level, Health is basically an empty portfolio.

          •  So why was he promising to hire... (0+ / 0-)

            ...more doctors as Prime Minister?  Are you telling me he made a promise he had no power to keep?

            You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

            by DawnG on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 04:36:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's right (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DawnG

              Of course, the Federal government has the power, with the transfer payments system, to send more money to provinces towards improving health care or to facilitate the upgrade of medical schools (education is another provincial jurisdiction), but the feds in Canada can't allocate doctors.

              The provinces manage hospitals, the single-payer insurance and the supply of medical personnel.

  •  Seven weeks.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yuriwho, rufusthedog, samalex

    ...is long enough to hold a Liberal leadership convention.

    Harper may have just shot himself in his other foot.

    On s'engage, et puis, on voit. (Napoleon)

    by sagesource on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:36:12 AM PST

    •  Not really (0+ / 0-)

      If it was just MPs, yes. But since it involves having riding associations elect delegates, and making the arrangements for hotels, meeting halls, funding, etc for thousands of delegates, it would be a huge task (especially with the holidays intervening and slowing things down quite a bit).

      Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

      by terjeanderson on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 01:49:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Harper has suspended parliament during a (13+ / 0-)

    global financial crisis. He has alienated the province of Quebec and he can never win a majority government without Quebec. He has suspended parliament so that he can devote himself to campaigning for 7 weeks.

    As a minority leader, he never made attempts to negotiate with the opposition but continued his arrogant petty tyrant way of governing.

    He has failed as a leader because a real leader would put his country above his own ambition and he has failed as a person because he lied yesterday in his talk to Canadians. Contrary to what he said, the Bloc was never part of the coalition and coalition governments are not unprecedented. He is a liar.

    He should resign and go the way of his friend Bush, walk away into historical ignomy.

    Oh, did I forget to mention that I hate him?

    This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

    by Agathena on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:41:52 AM PST

  •  Worst. Prime. Minister. Ever. (13+ / 0-)

    Harper now replaces Mulroney in my estimation of most arrogant SOB ever in Canadian politics.  At least Trudeau had something to be arrogant about, i.e. a brain.

    A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. FDR

    by rufusthedog on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:42:48 AM PST

  •  Harper to suspend Parliament Until next month (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Derfel
  •  Can the Liberals pick a leader now? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sagesource
    They have seven weeks.  Why not use that time to get the stupid leadership fight out of the way?

    And of course work on the coalition budget proposal, but that should presumably be in the works already.

    •  Jeffrey Simpson (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gray, terjeanderson

      a prominent Canadian writer did a q&a at the G&M website.

      He said it would be nearly impossible for the Libs to name a new leader until may. If Dion resigns, then someone temporary would of course be named, but he indicated it would have to be due to Dion acting.

    •  Would be hard to make happen (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gray

      Party leaders are elected in a national convention, involving the steps of electing delegates from riding associations across the country, and then assembling thousands of delegates together to cast the votes.

      Can you imagine if last December someone had asked if the Democrats could just get their leadership fight out of the way and hold the Denver convention before the end of January? Whatever the merits of the argument, it couldn't be done logistically.

      The remaining Liberal members of Parliament could select someone to be the leader on an interim basis, but given the rivalries between MPs who want to be leaders, it is probably a better idea to let Dion serve as a lame duck PM until May (although I personally think Dion is a disaster).

      Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

      by terjeanderson on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 01:44:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ha ha. (4+ / 0-)

    Your leader is crazier than ours soon will be.

    Tonight I'm going to party like it's 1929.

    by Bensdad on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:12:58 PM PST

  •  Canadian leader shuts Parliament to keep power (6+ / 0-)

    Stephen Harper channeling his inner Perez Musharaff.

    If this is a center-right country, why did the people just elect a left of center government

    by Paleo on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:35:41 PM PST

  •  ohhh, so its' all your gus' fault (0+ / 0-)

    We apologize for this sig line. Those responsible have been sacked.

    by bnasley on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:39:49 PM PST

  •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thor Heyerdahl

    My ignorance of Canadan politics is embrassingly large for someone who lives in a border state, (VT) but I have been learning a lot in the last couple days.
    By prorouging Parliment does that now mean that Harper has a fairly free hand to govern for the next few weeks? Just what are the limits imposed on him by this procedure?
    How stable do you think this new liberal coalition will be? Is it going to last or will it hold together just long enugh to toss out the Conservatives and then begin self destructing?
    Thanks to all our bloggers from Canada, this has been a fascinating education.

    •  No free hand per se (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terjeanderson, fat old man

      Existing funds, programs and laws that have been voted on and given assent may go on - but anything new is held up - since there is not a sitting House of Commons to give bills 3 readings.

      "now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." W. Churchill

      by Thor Heyerdahl on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:48:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Stability of a coalition government? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fat old man

      Hard to say if the coalition would hold together. The NDP and the Liberals have signed a 3 year pact, but the Bloc has only agreed to an 18 month period of support for the coalition.

      Generally minority and coalition governments have a life span of under 2 years, but there is no constitutional reason they couldn't govern for a full term (up to five years between elections, although the Conservative passed - and then ignored - a fixed election date law that could make it a shorter term)

      In May the Liberals will select a new leader (probably Michael Igantieff, maybe Bob Rae or Romeo LeBlanc ) who will become prime minister. The NDP has issues with both Rae and Ignatieff - but they would probably remain in a coalition despite that.

      Assuming the Liberals and NDP can come to terms on policy issues, the Bloc would be the biggest risk to a coalition government -- the coalition would have to walk a fine line between keeping the Bloc happy and being seen by the rest of the country as kowtowing to the wishes of a sovereignist party.

      At some point the coalition would probably decide they needed to hold an election to consolidate their position -- but that would only work if, in addition to a governing pact, the NDP and Liberals could also agree to an electorate pact to take out Conservative held seats.

      Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

      by terjeanderson on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 01:39:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think you mean Dominic LeBlanc (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fat old man

        Romeo was his father who was GG from 1995-1999 (and also held numerous cabinet posts with the libs over the years).

        "now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." W. Churchill

        by Thor Heyerdahl on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 10:09:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this update (0+ / 0-)

    I'm another one who is embarrassed to know next to nothing about the Canadian government.

    •  I'm with you. (0+ / 0-)

      This is all very interesting information to me.  I have admittedly been far too intrigued by the American election to give a rat's ass about the Canadian one, it was quite obvious to me the conservatives would remain in power.  Of course I did vote and have always voted NDP.  However I have always known Stephen Harper to be the wrong choice for PM...doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.  I'm glad the coalition is finally getting there act together and doing something about it.  I say bring on the election.

  •  Love your humor!!! Or is it humour.... (0+ / 0-)

    Actually, all heads or states, or "wanna be"s, should watch their backs in the portico.

    •  Glad somebody thought it was funny (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Temmoku

      errr. you did think it was funny right?  You were making your own little joke about humor/humour?  Or were you saying "or is it funny. . . "  Don't mind me - while I act Canadian and try and debate what you meant even though it is perfectly obvious.  Mmmmm.  Navel gazing. . (not to be confused with naval gazing).

      Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Marx.

      by Childofexpats on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 01:56:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  woah (0+ / 0-)

    hate the whole set up they got going on over there in canada. sounds effing confusing and not exactly the picture of true democracy.

    •  And what pray tell is "true democracy" (0+ / 0-)

      'Cause it sure as hell isn't the American form.

      I happen to like our quirks...thank you very much

      "now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." W. Churchill

      by Thor Heyerdahl on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:58:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hmm if there was an election now woudl the Cs... (0+ / 0-)

    ...still win? It seems the Liberals haven't learned a thing in their time on the outs yet. Still the same party that screwed up before.

    There's something attractive about invincible ignorance... for the first 5 seconds.

    by MNPundit on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 02:11:06 PM PST

    •  The Liberals/NDP need an electoral pact (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hatamoto, slyle

      In  a large part the Conservatives had the largest number of seats because in many ridings the Liberals, NDP and Green votes allowed the Conservatives to win the seat with vote totals in the 32-40% range (lower in some cases).

      In order to avoid the same fate this time, the parties would need to work out at least an informal electoral pact - dividing up vulnerable Conservative seats as targets and agreeing to back off in those ridings in terms of campaign resources. (The parties would still be free to go after each other in ridings the other holds, as well as places where the Conservative incumbent isn't viewed as particularly vulnerable.)

      There is always a lot of talk about "strategic voting" during campaigns, but most observers question the impact it actually has. The parties would need to signal to their loyal supporters that they would actually prefer to switch their vote in key racesi.

      If that happened, the Conservatives would lose a truck load of seats across the country, both the Liberals and the NDP would see their seat totals increase dramatically, and the problem of a split opposition vote might be addressed.

      Whether the parties are able/willing to reach this kind of agreement is highly questionable though.

      Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

      by terjeanderson on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 02:20:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I actually did a spreadsheet on this. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        terjeanderson, slyle

        If the Liberals, NDP and Greens "uncleft the left" and ran a single candidate against the Tories, (even excluding the Bloc) assuming no loss in Left-leaning votes, the seats would be distributed as follows:

        89 - Conservative
        41 - Bloc
        178 - Left-leaners

        However, such unanimity would be unlikely, so assume that the Left-leaning parties lost, say 15% of those who would have voted for any single party. Then the results would be:

        115 - Conservatives
        45 - Bloc
        148 - Left-leaners

        Even at a 25% loss of votes, the Lib-NDP-Green coalition would get 135 seats to 125 for the Tories. This is based on Statistics Canada riding-by-riding results.

        •  probably couldn't be that universal (0+ / 0-)

          The NDP, Liberals and Greens are not in a state of mind to merge or form a grand electoral coalition -- too much history and differences in their bases (although some would argue that under Elizabeth May the Greens have come close to merging with the Liberals). Part of the reason is that there are huge incentives ($) in the Canadian system to run a full slate of candidates (spending limits are based on the number of candidates a party has, and the parties receive a subsidy of about $1.75 for each vote they receive).

          Instead, it seems to me more feasible that the parties pick +/- 50 Conservative seats where one of the parties was competitive and the others polled very low (say under +/- 25%). This would end up ruling out places with authentic 3 way races, but would open up a bunch of ridings (in Ontario and parts of the Maritimes largely to the benefit of the Liberals, in the Prairies and BC largely to the benefit of the NDP) to have a clear shot at winning. Both parties would still be free to run aggressively against each other's incumbents as well.

          There is a great Canadian political blog called "Democratic Space" - sort of the Canadian equivalent of Nate Silver -- that gives a fantastic explanation of strategic voting.  Democratic Space Strategic Voting Guide  

          The approach they take would be roughly what would define this kind of electoral cooperation.   (Unfortunately their 2008 election guide is off line now due to technical problems, but the 2006 strategic voting section shows how it works. They've also got great coverage of the December 8th Quebec Assemble Nationale elections).

          As I long time NDPer, I'd object to proposals to merge the two parties - there are some fundamental differences that make that undesirable. But a temporary arrangement to get rid of the Conservatives -- and some form of electoral reform -- like modified PR, or transferable ballot -- could correct this situation in the long term.

          by focusing on these ridiings, the parties could still contest seats where they are competitive (even in a 3 way races, and run against each other's incumbents)

          Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

          by terjeanderson on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 03:50:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Ready for this now (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        terjeanderson

        I have always had the opinion that democracy works best when people vote their first choice. But extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures. So I agree that the Liberals and the NDP (the party I belong to) now need to work together to defeat the Conservatives. The situation demands it.

      •  So why did the Canadian Right unite...? (0+ / 0-)

        ...and not the left? Are all liberals just so busy being pure that they can't stomach anything but 100% orthodoxy?

        In other words: like being inside of Open Left's mind?

        There's something attractive about invincible ignorance... for the first 5 seconds.

        by MNPundit on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 03:40:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are real differences (0+ / 0-)

          I would oppose a permanent merger of the Liberals/NDP/Greens, but a short term coalition is certainly called for right now.

          Longer term is the need to address electoral reform to deal with this situation and produce more representative election outcomes.

          Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

          by terjeanderson on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 03:52:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You mean proportional representation? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            terjeanderson

            Leading to more majority coalitions instead of plurality governments?

            There's something attractive about invincible ignorance... for the first 5 seconds.

            by MNPundit on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:00:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, modified PR of some form (0+ / 0-)

              I think it is still important to have elections in ridings, to allow a sense of local/ geographic/ regional representation -- but there are ways of supplementing that with additional seats based on popular votes.

              Other possibilities are a transferable ballot (sometimes called Instant Run-off Voting), ranked/weighted voting options, multi-member ridings utilizing PR,   etc).

              The first past the post system in a multi-party parliamentary system often distorts popular votes based on geographic distribution of votes -- over-representing some parties (the BQ got 9% of the vote but has 17% of Parliamentary seats), or underrepresenting (the NDP got 20% of votes but only 11% of Parliamentary seats).

              Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

              by terjeanderson on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 07:27:59 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  The Right united because... (0+ / 0-)

          ... there was a complete demolition of the conservative party that ALLOWED for the reformation of the economic conservatives and the social conservatives to forge their coalition.

          For the left to do the same, it would have to suffer the same level of utter devastation. It still hasn't endured that, which is both good and bad... bad, because we still have splits and increasing balkanization of the left, good because Canada hasn't been completely gutted by the regressive conservative agenda.

          --
          Plot your political compass scores at KosCompass

          by Hatamoto on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 04:55:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The Conservatives would have a majority next time (0+ / 0-)

      According to a new Ekos poll, the Tories are twenty points ahead of the second-place Liberals.

      Thankfully, an election is not being held today.

  •  A request to Obama. (5+ / 0-)

    IF Harper survives this (the Parliament must be recalled on Jan 26th so he can try to pass his Budget on Jan 27th. He could fall either on the Throne Speech (which outlines the governments objectives) or on the Budget), I have a request for the Obama administration.. please do not sign a cap and trade environmental agreement on GHG that excludes set target on the Alberta Tarsands - the chief contributor of GHG in Canada, and probably a significant one in North America.

    Harper was going on about trying to set something up in that vein with Obama after he won the election.. but I'm hoping Obama remembers that he's not only trying to get rid of dependence on oil from untrustworthy nations, but dirty oil as well. Harper is trying to seduce Obama into guaranteeing a supply of oil to the US (more then they have already)and forgetting about the dirty oil part.

    Given that Harper's officials tried to screw Obama in the Ohio primary, I hope Obama politely tells him "thanks but no thanks" (if he's still PM, or the Conservatives still in government).

  •  My personal concern is that by the time... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ceti

    ...that Parliament reconvenes, there may not be a GM Canada or Chrysler Canada left to bail out.

    Harper is a playground bully, who, when his victims finally cry "enough!" takes his ball off the field and says "If I can't win, nobody gets to play!"

  •  Unite the Left (0+ / 0-)

    Not being Canadian, I might be a little ignorant of potential problems, but the left in Canada really needs to follow the example of the right and unite.  The NDP and the Liberals, and I suppose the Greens need to get their act together and stop hurting one another.  A "Liberal Democratic Party" could do very well in the Great White North.

    "I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him." - Booker T. Washington

    by ajbender on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 02:45:09 PM PST

    •  UNCLEFT the Left (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alizard

      When the Tories and Alliance parties joined up, they used the slogan "Unite the Right!" We should use "Uncleft the Left!"

    •  the point (0+ / 0-)

      The point of a parliamentary system is that many parties can come together on issues they find important to their parties.

      The entire point OF a parliamentary system is that smaller parties will get influence because the big parties will need them to reach majorities. They have to make concessions to the farther left and farther right, instead of everyone being lumped in the middle.

      This design is what is so great about a parliamentary system, not what the problem is.

      carpe diem,
      jeremy n mendonsa

      by jmendonsa on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 03:00:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ummm... (0+ / 0-)

        wrong.  No one designed the Westminster system with a view of making sure small parties had influence.  It's a natural result of a system where the head of state is unelected.  The parliamentary system is absolutely a majoritarian system.  The biggest party gets to form a government.  Sure, small parties have more influence in parliamentary systems where they exist, but this is only because they then cause coalitions to be necessary.  It's a side effect of the design, not the point of the design.

        "I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him." - Booker T. Washington

        by ajbender on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 04:44:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I am heading off to a unite the right Coalition (0+ / 0-)

      rally tonight, they will happen all over Canada tonight.  Hopefully people still decide to show up with Harper proroguing Parliament.

  •  Harper should resign... (0+ / 0-)

    This is a total humiliation of him and his "leadership"--others would have resigned already instead of fighting to keep on being PM.  Harper and his cronies have dragged the Progressive Conservative Party into being a Right-Wing Conservative Party.  There are some PC's who are getting a bit restless over this (especially in Ontario) and Harper needs to resign now in order to keep the PC's united and following their historic path which is to be center-right instead of just plain right.  Even the Liberal Party swung a bit to the right because of the influence of the rightists.  The NDP is not ready to govern and no one likes the idea of Dion as PM.  If Harper resigned, it would go a long way toward healing this situation.  I like Tony Clement for PM--he's very popular in his riding and doesn't have the rightist stink about him coming from Ontario.

    •  Agreed... (0+ / 0-)

      He had a chance to work with the opposition and pissed it away.  

      He should indeed resign.  It's the only chance the cons have to get a majority.  

      I will make a bargain with the Republicans. If they will stop telling lies about Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them. -- Adlai Stevenson

      by DrWolfy on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 04:38:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Harper pulled what the Republicans did in the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard, terjeanderson

    US election, an extreme fear and smear campaign. "The Socialists" run for your lives, are teaming up with the "Separatists" to steal your country away in a coup.

    And his anti-Quebec rhetoric has just given the real Separatists, the PQ, the lead in the Quebec provincial election.  

    Harper just put Canada back 20 years in one week and tore the country apart to save his political ass, Good on you Harper.

    •  PQ in the lead? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terjeanderson

      No, not as far as I know. They're getting closer to the Liberals, but they're not there yet and there are 4 days to go before the Dec. 8 election.

      •  Not in any poll I've seen (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ClaudeB, kanuk

        Of course the PLQ's problem in Quebec is that so much of their vote is concentrated on the West Island and Anglo-Allophone ridings -- the PQ would probably get a majority if they run 5% behind the PLQ since their vote is much more spread out (especially with the ADQ in freefall).

        I think Jean Charest's hopes for a majority government now has the chance to result in a PQ government - but it is going to be close on election night.

        Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

        by terjeanderson on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 04:00:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Absolutely (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          terjeanderson

          I agree with you on that one. According to Pierre Drouilly, a UQAM mathematician who comments regularly on Quebec polling, the 5-point split is well established.

          This morning, Le Devoir had a small piece about an internal poll commissioned by the PQ, showing a 40% - 34.5% lead for the Liberals. The ADQ was third with 17%.

    •  He may very well create a PQ victory (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ClaudeB, kanuk

      The reaction to his Quebec bashing has definitely impacted opinion before next week's election.

      How ironic -- the Liberal Premier Jean Charest used to be federal leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, and was part of the federalist coalition  campaign that defeated the last sovereignty referendum. Now Harper may manage to cost Charest his job -- when a week ago it looked liked he the PLQ was headed for a majority government.

      Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

      by terjeanderson on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 03:57:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Where did you see a PQ lead in quebec? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ClaudeB

      and BTW I voted Liberal (in spite of Forrest Dion Gump) but would never have voted that way if I knew that they would join forces with Jack Layton.  I do think that Harper is an asshole but there is enough blame to go around for all the posturing, fearmongering  and bullshit that all of these kids are showing.

      •  I heard it on CBC news this morning, they had (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mattman, terjeanderson

        a Quebec pollster talking about the impact of Harper's rhetoric.

      •  No PQ lead (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ClaudeB

        But if this is helping the PQ (and I suspect it is) , it could put them within shot of winning.

        ClaudeB above referenced the item in today's Le Devoir saying that a PQ internal poll showing the race 40% PLQ, 34.5% PQ, 17% ADQ.

        Because the PLQ routinely roll up 70-80% margins in so many Anglophone/ Allophone ridings on the island of Montreal, their vote is too concentrated. The PQ has a much more geographically wide base, they can win more seats even if they lose the popular vote.

        The general consensus is that if the PQ is within 5% of the PLQ, they will end up with approximately the same number of seats. (Of course that depends a lot on quirks of individual riding races, ADQ performance, etc).

        I suspect that things are right about at that point now.

        Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

        by terjeanderson on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 04:19:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I completely disagree with you, Harper was really (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mattman, terjeanderson

        pushing the rhetoric too far, and I think he should resign over this mess.

  •  CBC POll (0+ / 0-)

    Support for Tories up amid House crisis, CBC-EKOS poll suggests
    Last Updated: Thursday, December 4, 2008 | 6:18 PM ET Comments233Recommend78
    CBC News
    The Conservatives appear to have won the initial public relations battle surrounding the impasse on Parliament Hill, during one of the most chaotic weeks in Canadian political history, an EKOS poll conducted for the CBC suggests.

    Respondents in the two-day automated telephone survey conducted Tuesday and Wednesday were asked: "If an election were held tomorrow, which party would you vote for?"

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives received 44 per cent of respondents' support, up from the 37.6 per cent support the Tories received in the federal election that returned them to Ottawa with another minority government just seven weeks ago.

    The results suggest support for Stéphane Dion's Liberals was down two percentage points from the election, with 24 per cent of respondents' support, while the New Democrats were down almost four percentage points at 14.5 per cent support.

    Meanwhile, the Bloc Québécois was at nine per cent and the Greens at eight per cent.

    "It does appear that in this period, right out of the gates, the Conservatives have done a much better job of getting their message out to Canadians who are making up their minds about who to blame for this current mess," Frank Graves, president of EKOS Research, told CBC News on Thursday.

    Harper was also the favoured leader to deal with the economic crisis.

    Forty-seven per cent of respondents selected a Conservative government led by Harper as better able to manage the financial crunch, compared with 34 per cent who supported a proposed Liberal-NDP coalition government led by Dion.

    But the overall message of the numbers appears to be that Canadians are deeply divided on the political future of the country, Graves said.

    "I think the overall response from the public is one of being flummoxed, angry and confused," he said.

    "They don't really know what the issues are. They just know something's wrong and it shouldn't be."

    The poll results also suggest that as angry as some Canadians are about political inaction in Ottawa, Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean may have gauged public opinion correctly when she approved the prime minister's request to suspend, or prorogue, Parliament on Thursday.

    16 per cent want another election: poll

    Some 37 per cent of respondents in the survey said they wanted MPs to take a month off to see whether the Conservative minority government can get the confidence of Parliament when it comes back into session.

    Twenty-eight per cent said they wanted a Liberal-NDP coalition, with the support of the Bloc Québécois, to replace the government in the next few weeks, while 16 per cent said they wanted another election within the next few weeks.

    The survey was largely conducted ahead of the speeches Harper and the three opposition leaders gave Wednesday night, EKOS said.

    It also asked whether respondents had confidence in the Governor General's ability to make decisions about the political impasse. Forty-eight per cent of respondents said they were confident in Jean's ability, while 16 per cent said they were moderately confident.

    But 36 per cent said they were not very confident. The answers broke along party lines, Graves said.

    "Conservatives were much more likely to express low levels of confidence, particularly those out west, whereas Liberals and NDP express much greater levels of confidence," he said.

    The survey was conducted using interactive voice recognition (IVR) technology, which allows respondents to state their preferences over the phone without talking to an interviewer.

    In total, a random sample of 2,536 Canadians aged 18 and over responded to the survey. A sample of this size provides a margin of error of plus or minus 1.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

    EKOS said the data were statistically weighted to ensure the sample reflected the Canadian population according to census data.

    •  Wouldn't trust polling right now (0+ / 0-)
      In the midst of the "crisis", opinion is going to be very fluid and very much in formation as events evolve. I'm always suspicious  of snap polls for a news event, especially one that is still playing out.

      If nothing else, perhaps this will remind Harper that he has a minority, not a majority, and that he needs to govern in a way that brings in the opposition, not his arrogant my way or the highway confrontational approach. And I assume this will force him to bring down a budget in January that will either get BQ buy-in (not likely after the heated rhetoric of the last few days), or that causes the Liberals to decide to wait until their new leader is in place before bringing down a government.

      Let's watch things settle out and see where public opinion lands - after the speeches have set in, after the Dec 8th election in Quebec, and after the opposition and the Conservatives figure out their next steps.

      Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

      by terjeanderson on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 04:31:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Heh, I responded to that poll (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ClaudeB

      EKOS robopolled me on that last night.

      For poll detail wonks, I was paying attention to the nature of the questions they asked and impressed how it came across. There was no push polling evident, the language was very carefully neutral regarding the questions. I wish I'd recorded it (in retrospect) as an example of how a poll should be conducted to deliberately avoid as much bias as possible.

      On the plus side, I opted into being one of their focus group and they called me back tonight with information, so looks like I'll be giving my opinion on Canadian politics for a while to come. :)

      --
      Plot your political compass scores at KosCompass

      by Hatamoto on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 05:04:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  the GG gives Harper (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard
    an early Xmas present.

    What will Harper do with it?  Piss it away no doubt.

    GG just kicked the can down the street until Jan 27.  There will be another election and the next 7 weeks will be about who to blame for having to go back to the polls.

    I will make a bargain with the Republicans. If they will stop telling lies about Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them. -- Adlai Stevenson

    by DrWolfy on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 04:32:45 PM PST

  •  FWIW (0+ / 0-)

    On Newman they reported the prorogation option as, quote

    "Take a break,"

    as the poll option.  That sounds a lot fluffier than "lock the doors of parliament and rule like a drunken Russian President or Stuart monarch who was beheaded for it later," which is what this 2 month prorogation is.  

    A break indeed.  I guess the Romans 'took a break' when they appointed a dictator for a fixed term.

  •  Muzzling Parliament as the Ecomony Fails (0+ / 0-)

    The poll doesn't tell you anything except that, at the moment the PM called a crisis, 44% of the population would support him.

    Yet, once again, more would support the leaders of the coalition, when the supportive Green vote is included.

    This 44% was also complied before Harper pulled the fire alarm and exited the building to avoid defeat.

    The truth is that he saved his butt at the expense of the country, which desparately needs action NOW.

    (Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian employment fell by the most since 1982 in November, led by manufacturing, a sign the world’s eighth-largest economy is falling victim to a global recession.

    Employers shed a net 70,600 workers, almost three times as many as economists anticipated, after a gain of 9,500 in October. The unemployment rate rose to a two-year high of 6.3 percent from 6.2 percent the month before. )

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