Tuesday, December 02, 2008

So Let me Get this Right

Right now it appears the Harper government will lose the vote of confidence and he will have to pay a visit to the Governor General. At that moment he will advice the Governor General to dissolve Parliament and call for an election. Of course the Governor General has the right to call the leader of the second largest party and ask if he can form a new government. As you have read the Liberal, the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois have signed an accord.

The details of the deal are as follows:
# 4 members of cabinet and Dion as prime minister
# 18 Liberal cabinet ministers (including a yet-to-be-named Liberal finance minister)
# 6 NDP cabinet ministers
# 6 NDP parliamentary secretaries
# The 2 caucuses would sit side by side in the House of Commons
# The agreement between the NDP and Liberals would expire on June 30, 2011, unless renewed. The Bloc is only committed to 18 months.

Certainly it could be said coalition governments are not a new experience for most of the western world. Indeed, an examination of Western Europe reveals a number of coalition governments. They are rare in the experience of the Westminster system of Parliament. Historically speaking, Canada did experience a coalition government during the First World War. Sir Robert Borden established a Union Government which existed from 1917 to 1920.

Let's consider some issues, of course the members of the coalition have pointed out they 'represent' the majority of Canadians, since if one combines the Liberals 26% with the NDP's 18% means that a total of 44% of Canadians supported the two parties, include the BQ's 9.97% means over 50% voted for the 'coalition' partners. Of course if one considers that the two main partners were rejected by 74% of Canadians as it pertains to the Liberals and 82% rejected the NDP's.

Then there is the potential PM, Stephane Dion, just before the election 36% of Canadians thought he could be trusted to lead Canada throught the economic problems. So that means the new government may be lead by a person to whom Canadians have no support towards, good idea.

The partner that will make this all happen, the stick that stirs the drink if you wish, is the BQ. One wonders what sort of grocery list has been given to the Liberals for the support. Let's remind ourselves of one of the goals of the BQ- they want to separate from Canada. They believe Quebec is a nation.

Don Martin wrote an interesting comment on the 'three headed monster'.

It could be argued, and perhaps rightly, the present government has not taken the issues of the economic meltdown with the gravity deserved. They point to the Finance Ministers 'economic statement' as proof of their contention. It could also be argued that it was simply a statement and not a budget and the government is waiting for the new American government to decide what to do with the auto industry.

However, all this wasn't enough, so the coalition happened and now we face some 'interesting' times. Right now, the war is being fought in the House and now in cyberspace. For example, in Twitter there is LiberalHQ that will pump information to you with a Liberal slant. I'm sure there will be a special Conservative and NDP twitter soon enough.

Then there's this article, the Liberals are not united behind Dion with this coalition partnership. The contenders for the Liberal leadership are not pleased they've been kept out of the loop. Again, the Party does not support Dion. Read the article here.

Let's remember, this is a weak and divided party and they will give Canada the stablity it needs during this time of uncertainty. Plus, let's not forget this is a global problem and not limited to one country. So how much can be done?

Now as I studied all that has happened, I came across this article. It seems the leader of the Green Party, Elizabeth May has said she supports the coalition and has:
And Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is endorsing the proposed coalition government and says she has spoken with Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion about the possibility of her being appointed to the Senate.

You can read her blog on the issue. My problem is that it reeks of opportunism. Then again I suppose supporters of the potential Prime Minister expect a few perks to be sent their way. But, for a party that supports Proportional Representation wants to be a part of an unelection body, doesn't sit well with me. And to think, I got my membership card today.

So we wait to see what happens.

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