In my life in Canadian politics I have worked as a volunteer, scrutineer, and organizer for Federal and Provincial Liberal parties and for the NDP as well. I have never voted any farther right than the Grits.
I was once refused a ballot in an election in Alberta because the CRO thought I would "vote for the wrong party". (People who know the political history of Alberta will see the implications - I even LOOK like a lefty).
Yet I welcome the thought that this May 2nd, no matter how much the NDP is surging, the almost certain outcome is a Harper win. See on the flip why I feel this way.
Imagine if George Bush in 2006 had had to sit, every day, as a member of the House of Representatives in a congress where the Democrats were the least of his worries. Where he would be faced with REAL socialists with subpoena power and axes to grind.
Imagine that committees of congress (with real teeth!) were due to report on Abu Ghraib, the lies that lead to war in Iraq, Gitmo, and a host of other high crimes and misdemeanours...
Could you have stood the schadenfreude?
This is what Canadian Conservative Party Leader Harper faces. A steady drip of weeks of reporting in detail on just how bloody terrible he has been as a PM...
The conventional wisdom has been that Harper presented an embarassment of a budget this spring because he saw the opportunity to force an election and get a majority government. What most might have been missing is that Harper didn't just WANT a majority - he desperately NEEDED one.
With a majority government he would have had the power to sit on pending investigations and reports until they got squashed. Failing that he'd have five years to spin the problems till they disappeared. In five years he could do a lot of damage to the system. After all, he's oon the record as boasting that after he got through people would not recognize Canada.
So, after May 2, when his Cons are reduced by 20 seats or so, he has all this to look forward to:
The Afghan Detainee Report
Short synopsis: Afghan prisoners were tortured. The Defence Minister lied about knowing about it. The Cons have sat on the report for more than a year. Here is a link to a Guardian article from a year ago.
The Cons found the scandal so explosive that they suspended parliament rather than deal with it. A Defence Minister was shuffled off to another caabinet post after lying about it (usually ministers have the good grace to resign cabinet entirely after getting caught lying like that).
The mess was handed off to a judicial enquiry which ended in February. Read about that here. The government lawyers were conspicuous in that proceeding by the way they tried to limit the scope to just the investigators of the initial alleged incidents. They wanted to avoid "political entanglements".
Like a dog trying to hide its sick.
The report comes out soon and is bound to be filled with "political entanglements".
The Auditor General's Report
We have an institutional watch dog on spending and waste - the Auditor General. She or he is non-political and her/his reports have historically been a source of embarassment to the governing party.
Last summer Canada hosted the G8 and G20 summits. While the G 20 was foisted on Liberal stronghold Toronto (over policed -complete with a police riot - and denial of civil rights), the G8 was held up in the Muskokas...
The Muskokas is where the corporate elite of our branch plant economy gop to get away from the mere millionaires.
Its also in "Landslide" Tony Clement's riding. Tony is a slimy bit of work who enabled the proto-fascist Mike Harris to exercise power over Ontario a few years ago. He was elected by a plurality of a few hundred votes in the election of 2008.
The G 8 was put in his riding on purpose. Roads and sidewalks were repaved, kilometres away from where any summit attendee would venture. Community centres were expanded. All of this with very large billboards with Tony's smiling mug and moniker on them...
The AG's report is said to be quite a piece of work. Read about it here. One of the juicier bits is that the Cons tried to hide the breadth of their spending in the riding by folding the funding under an authorization for border spending.
Muskoka is hundreds of kilometres from any border.
The report was delayed when parliament was recessed for the election.
You see what I mean? Harper really needs a majority, or this report will bite him in his tight little ass.
- a court case where several high placed Cons (including two senators) are being charged with playing fast and loose with election spending;
- an investigation of just how Bev Oda came to feel that she could alter a ministry recommendation this one is REALLY worth looking at.
You see, up here in Canada, the civil service is almost all career. When they are tasked with something they generally follow established guidelines and ignore politics.
The funding report that Bev Oda got recommended that funding be continued for KAIROS, a multi-denominational Church non-Government Org that is active in the Mid East.
The Cons were on the outs with KAIROS, mostly because KAIROS did not automatically dip a knee at the mention of Israel and its prerogatives. The Cons accused KAIROS of "supporting terrorists". Bev reversed the recommendation after the document's authors had already signed off on it. She did this by inserting "^NOT" in pen at the critical point in the recommendation. Neat eh?
She then lied to parliament about it - claiming that she had no idea how the doc was altered.
- also many, many more rotten fruit just waiting to fall... a former close advisor trying to use his position to benefit a prostitute girl friend,
Harper will start off after May 2 as Prime Minister of a government with minority support in the House. All of the parliamentary committees will be more than half full of Liberals, Socialist NDP'ers and Separatist Bloc MP's. The headlines!
Harper may well try to force a confidence vote in order to avoid the shitstorms - but that's why we're having this election now, and its not working out too well for Stevie Sweatervest...
And there is no guarantee that if he forces a confidence loss to get an election that he will get one. Tradition has it that elections are at least six months apart here. The Governor General might just turn to the opposition and ask them to form a government.
And that would be REALLY bad.
One almost feels bad for Stephen the Helmethead...
Except the guy is such a dickhead.