Prorogue Her? I Hardly Know Her!

Some thoughts on the recent mess:

1) After an election with one of the lowest voter turnout, the reaction by the public has been heartening. People have been divided either way, but, everyone seems to have an opinion. There's been a renewed interest in the government and in particular the parliamentary system, which has brought up other ancillary issues, including the lack of education on these matters. Sad to say that most Canadians could probably explain the American system much better than their own.

2) The Governor General should be replaced by a popularly elected President. Having this much power in the hands of an unelected official grates against what most Canadians would consider democratic. Of course getting rid of the G-G would mean getting rid of the British Monarchy (or a very delicate tap dance on the edge of the waterfall in order to keep it) A major undertaking and not going to be happening anytime soon, but it's the direction Canada should move towards.

3) The Liberals need to fire their communications people. All of them. The Dion web cam response to Harper's televised address was amateur hour at the Mickey Mouse club on volunteer night. There are three explanations: i) all of them are incompetent ii) the communications team hates Dion and is secretly working against him or iii) i and ii.
That particular move sunk the Coalition, which was on shaky ground with Dion at the helm. Could he have looked any less Prime Ministerial? Answer: No, no he could not have.

4) We should have never allowed the Bloc to sit in the House of Commons. That horse has left the gate (and then died and was turned into glue that was used to fix the gate) but most of the vitriol directed at the coalition has been the inclusion of the Separatists. The photo op on Monday of Dion, Layton and Duceppe shaking hands over usurping the elected government will go down in the history books. Of course the BQ signed on in order to get what it wanted for Quebec, and if the Coalition did take power, it would have been a disaster. Forget about Quebec succession, the West would have packed up their oil fields and potash and formed their own country.

Without a Bloc, The political landscape of the last 20 years would have been very different, and without the BQ to divy up the votes, we wouldn't have had a minority government at all and wouldn't have been in this mess.

5) Dion is done. Iggy and Bobby Rae missed a great chance to rise above this partisan bickering and say that they would be willing to work with the Tories, so they are done too.

The Liberals have come very close to extinction, both with the severe loss in the last election and this partisan putsch, and there needs to be a serious examination of what to do next. Merging with the NDP, as the PCs did with the Reform party, seems unfeasible, but they could get the Green party back. The Liberals need to figure out what they stand for, other than being not the Tories and being in power. At least with the Tories you know what they stand for - fiscal conservatism, slightly right-leaning social policies. The fact that they have won two minority governments in the past few years means that Canadians know what they stand for (unlike the Liberals) but aren't too keen on that message, but it's better than voting for a party that has no message (Liberals)

6) Layton will survive this. Of course he will - his mustache makes him invulnerable. The Dippers are so far out of the mainstream that no matter what they do, they will still maintain that nub of support. If they were smart they would move to the centre and take over the space that the Liberals used to occupy, and transform themselves into a centre-left party, instead of a wacky-left party. Layton would never let this happen, but if someone could sneak into his room one night and shave that mustache, his power would be drained.

7) Harper will survive this - for now. I thought he was done on Monday, but his request to prorogue the parliament means he gets to run a mini-campaign, come back with a budget and a stimulus package, and watch the coalition fall apart. He might not be the leader of the Tories in the next election (due in 2009, I would guess) but that would be a respectable run as PM.

8) This is a sad time for Canadian politics. This was all politics instead of government at a time when the country, particularly the economy, needs leadership and direction. The fall of the TSX (the worst drop since 1987) was no coincidence. The country could have put up with these kind of shenanigans with things are good, but with the layoffs and the apparent end of the American auto industry, the collapse of the lumber industry and the overall loss of consumer confidence meant that people were in no mood for these backroom deals and partisan bickering. The blame is big enough to go around: Harper for kicking the Liberals when they were down (taking away government funding for political parties), Dion, Laytong and Duceppe for trying to deny the will of the voters and take control of the government.

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