Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ottawa machinations make for a case of Political calculation, or a Political coup?

The Nation’s capital is all abuzz this weekend over a potential opposition bid to become the government by next week, sooner if they could find a way.

The Liberals and NDP, all with cabinet positions dancing in their heads are mobilizing the forces to potentially take their case to the Governor General, offering up themselves as our humble servants over the current government of the day the Conservatives.

The incubation of the political calculations came about during the recent financial statement by the Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty, a little fireside chat in the Commons that has lit a fire under the combined opposition benches, providing for the possibility of a rather rare thing in Canadian politics these days, a coalition government, with the currently ruling Conservatives standing on the outside.

From a bit of political grandstanding by Stephen Harper to eliminate public funding of election campaigns, the fires of political revolution have been stoked. The plan, a poorly timed bit of bar knuckle politicking that has surely backfired on him, has proven to be a rather derided bit of politics, finding political observers and commentators bemoaning the prospect of another election, based on a non confidence motion to come over the financial statement.

While that would be the normal course of action after a successful non confidence motion, the Governor General may decide that these far too frequent trips to the polls of late are causing irreparable harm to the fabric of the nation and give her cause to call upon the Opposition Liberals to form a government, aided by their new friends of the NDP and the always eager to throw a wrench into things Bloc Quebecois.

To that possibility word has come that a few voices of the past have entered the debate, as Ed Broadbent and Jean Chretien have apparently been negotiating the terms of coalition between the two parties, a trip down memory lane (and a shotgun wedding aisle) that many Canadians might have thought had ended back in the eighties.

Having apparently realized that he’s put his foot in it, the Prime Minister (for today and tomorrow anyways) has been busy backtracking, advising that the controversial political funding issue won’t be added onto the Bill when it comes up for debate, and going a bit further by delaying the debate on the Bill and any further opposition days until December 8th, hoping we suspect to avoid the need to book movers for the month of December.

Not to be outflanked by Harper, the Liberatic coalition is now suggesting that other parts of Flaherty’s statement are equally odious, from the smack around offered up by the political funding debate, they also don't like his stimulus package and aren't thrilled with the government's bid to ban public service strikes among other items of note.

The only problem with the whole change of command scenario being proposed by the Liberatics, besides that lack of electoral participation in deciding who shall govern us, is the fact that the Liberals are a rather disorganized mess in the leadership department these days.

Stephane Dion has become a lame duck leader that nobody seems to want to have hanging around. There are but two serious contenders for the leadership Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae, how the Liberals decide who will be our Prime Minister come revolution day is one of the great mysteries of politics, perhaps out of er, left field, Jack Layton will actually get to live that slogan he was quite fond of repeating during the most recent campaign “When I’m Prime Minister.....”.

It’s all rather banana republish if you give it a thought, two parties that couldn’t win enough votes to form a government and spent a good portion of the last campaign bad mouthing each other, suddenly find common ground and start measuring for drapes.

One of them, trying to throw the old leader out the door while still trying to figure out who should lead them into the next era of Liberalism, this crew can't figure out what they want to be as a party, yet they feel they can lead the nation at a moment's notice, it all is to make you shake your head.

The Prime Minister too has proven to be less than on the ball, instead of fixing his gaze on the economic crisis that is starting to grip the nation, he instead decides to play a little hard ball politics and to kick some sand at his opponent’s at the most inopportune time. His political blunder does deserve all the embarrassment that is coming his way, but with such huge issues to be taken care, of one would have thought that political opportunism would have been put on the shelf from all sides.

For this kind of nonsense we pay them their generous salaries and entitlements?

One feels sorry for the Governor General currently on a tour of Eastern Europe but reportedly keeping the constitutional monarchy jet fueled and ready to return if the crisis turns into a larger farce.

It’s hard to say how this will all play out over the next eight days, whether the Harper Conservatives manage to survive, or if the fanciful dreams of power of the Liberals and NDP (and incredibly a few Bloquistes as well) come to pass.

Personally, if the government falls we should be asked to go back to the polls, it’s damn inconvenient and will only lead to more disillusionment with the way our government works, but no government should be formed by backroom alliances and a craven lust for power.

The voters should always have the final say, as annoying as it will be to trudge through the winter cold and as childish as our elected representatives seem to be. The last word, as always should belong to the Canadian public.

The folks we send to Ottawa sometimes seem to forget that they are working for us, more interested in their own self interests than in the greater good of the nation at times. And if asked once again, perhaps we can send a stronger message to all that seek our vote. After all when you think about, we’re the boss as they say, and it should be up to us to decide who gets hired or fired…

Any other way of doing business isn’t particularly right for a democracy and is making our brand of it rather a farce at the moment.

We're tempted to quote Forrest Gump on all of this, for all our politicians making a mess of things in Ottawa these days we offer up the astute observation that , "Stupid is, as stupid does", that seems to sum it all up quite nicely.

Below, some reading material to help you get up to speed and cover the days to come of our dance with political anarchy.

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