Canadian Politics Update

To get a little pomo for a second, here’s me (quoting me) on October 16th:

Here’s what I wrote yesterday regarding the Liberals in Canada time out of power:

What all those scenarios have in common is that the left was fractured. What that means is that Canada is built so that the Liberals will always rule the country minus a scenario in which they are totally corrupt and/or lose their left flank.

From the NyTimes this morning:

But as the election post-mortems got under way on Wednesday, some Liberals were suggesting that the only way to take on Mr. Harper may be to adopt one of his own strategies. In the same way that Mr. Harper rebuilt right-of-center politics in Canada through political party mergers, some Liberals are now considering the idea of an alliance, formal or otherwise, between their centrist party and the left-of-center New Democratic Party, which is known as the N.D.P. and is led by Jack Layton.

And look what could be taking shape before our very eyes:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has temporarily stymied a Liberal plan to bring down the government and propose a governing coalition with the New Democrats, delaying the opportunity for a no-confidence vote by one week.

Now the cynic in me can not help but point to these two issues:

1. The separatists exist only to suck up taxpayer money and are pathetic (either grow a pair or you don’t get any, that’s how it works fellas)

The Bloc Québécois would not be part of any coalition government, but has expressed support for the idea as long as the coalition provides economic help for Quebec’s forest and manufacturing sectors.

2. Politicians can not rally to do anything in this country unless their tax-payer sponsored existences are on the line:

Also at issue was a proposal to save money by cutting public subsidies for political parties, but Kory Teneycke, director of communications for the Prime Minister’s Office, said Friday that the subsidies won’t be tied to the fiscal update set for a vote on Monday.

That measure would cut the $1.95-per-vote each party gets to fund such things as staffing and research. Removal of the subsidies would harm the opposition parties more than the ruling Conservatives, who have been more successful at raising money privately.

This analysis however seems quite sharp:

Strangely, removing the political funding component of the bill actually helps the opposition maintain momentum. The Conservative argument that the attempt to bring down the government is about crass political advantage is removed. Now the three “progressive” parties can say with a straight face that this is about the government’s policy, not its dollars.

The coalition-to-be (possibly) is now going to rally hard around the notion of a fiscal stimulus….a la the US Democrats, trying to pin Harper as Bush/Reagan-like and out of touch on the economy in a worldwide mini-depression (deflationary recession period of worldwide stagflation). It could work I suppose.  But the Liberals I still believe have to think long term about governing as a party with a vision, not an ad hoc temporary power grab.

We just had the lowest turnout in recent memory in our election just 2 months ago, and the Liberals after having received their lowest percentage vote total since I believe Confederation (1860s) could be in power?  Honestly?  How does this not further corrode the political system?

Clearly Harper’s plan was buffoonish with only a minority government.  He may be past his prime already–his election call was wrong, the arts comment he made as well as the hardline punishment stance for juveniles both of which killed his chances for a majority in Quebec, and now this.

The Liberals, whether in a coalition with ministries for the NDP or not, could come back but boy oh boy would they be headed for a fiscal and governmental crash.  The only thing worse than a fractured left out of power might be a fractured left in power.

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  1. […] Chris also has an excellent post on the […]


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