A comedy and tragedy of errors
It started last week when Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in his infinite wisdom, decided to cut off public funding for all registered and qualifying political parties. This has been calculated to date as $1.95 for every vote received during the last election. On that basis taxpayer subsidized funding amounted to $10.3 million for the Conservatives, $7.1 million for the Liberals, $4.9 million for the New Democratic Party, $2.7 million for the Bloc Québécois and $1.8 million for the Green Party.
Fair should be fair - except for the fact that the Conservatives are flush with money and the other parties are not. Some are mired in debt. The choice to hamstring Canada’s national political parties isn't a good idea if you have a majority, and totally silly if you have a minority. Uncle Stephen, what were you thinking?
The opposition parties finally had something to unite them against the Conservatives and they did so immediately. They had to, as all accounts indicate that after the last election they were out of money. Remember, Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in his infinite wisdom during good times, had cut off political donations from corporations when he set up this means of public funding.
The three opposition parties, Liberals, NDP and Bloc, drew up an agreement to form a coalition government led by Liberal leader Stéphane Dion, planning to lead a cabinet that, on paper, would include six NDP members with the Bloc having veto power on anything to do with Québec. Dion would be prime minister until the Liberal leadership convention of May 2009, (honest!). Seeing the three leaders together reminded many observers of the "Three Stooges.” Concerns have been voiced – the same as during the general election, of having Dion as Prime Minister, backed by silver-spoon "Red" Jack Layton (NDP), who wants to Canada to be turned into a socialist paradise and separatist Gilles Duceppe of the Bloc Québécois, leader of the party wishing to tear apart Canada. The confidence vote, as of writing will be held on Tuesday December 9, 2008, unless Harper prorogues Parliament.
The Conservatives are not about to give up either. "Even though the Governor General Michaëlle Jean can allow a coalition government, she might not [do so] if one of the members wants to destroy Canada," said the Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of Public Safety. "We are hoping [that GG Jean] will prorogue, which means suspend government now and then start all over again, with a new throne speech, in January 2009. This way the confidence vote will not be held until January 26, 2009."
As this paper went to press on Thursday, December 4, polling showed that most Canadians would prefer another election (rather than the proposed three opposition party coalition) and most Canadians (by far) would prefer to have the Conservatives handling the current economic crisis.
On Thursday, December 4, at 9:30am, Harper met with Governor General Michaëlle Jean at her official residence at Rideau Hall to request for prorogation, which was granted after a consultation, which lasted for more than two hours. During the period between writing and January 26 concentration on the economy will be the issue and a budget will be prepared and presented.
During the period up to January 26 PM Stephen Harper and the Conservative brain trust are expected to go to the Canadian people with a massive advertising campaign aimed at pointing out the folly of a coalition government that includes separatists, socialists and left-of-centre parties during a serious global economic downturn.
Overthrow of a minority government