Sunday, December 28, 2008

Parliament is in an Election Way

Oh no, Parliament!

With Globe & Mail strategist Scott Reid predicting a possible election in as few as nine months, we honestly can't say that we didn't kind of see this coming. An election is always joyful news when Parliament has decided it is ready to have one, but unplanned elections -- eesh. This all could have been prevented with some minority government control. Shame on you, Stephen Harper. Everyone knows that pulling out doesn't work!

Of course, one strategist prediction does not an election make. Maybe the house should consider pissing on a few other strategists and see what they say. But let's assume the worst. Canada's been having elections left, right, and centre (mostly right) lately; we are poised to burst out into a chorus of Every Confidence Vote Is Sacred. But if we were responsible, we would at least use the rhythm method or something to keep these elections at bay until we could afford them. Elections are expensive, and what with the economic downturn at all, now is really not an optimal time. A federal election held right now would be an unhappy one, poorly neglected, and so ugly that even the social workers wouldn't take it away from us. We're all too busy cooing over our neighbour's beautiful recent election. (Really, isn't that Obama just the cutest thing?)

It's really too bad that we can't enjoy this election and celebrate the miracle of democracy. Ours is a particularly sweet brand (usually). Isn't it great that we can just dissolve the government whenever we -- well, okay, our MP(P)s -- want and elect a new one? Isn't it great that we don't have to sit around grumbling for four-plus years when our elected leader is being a huge douchebag? Maybe the current situation isn't the best example, but pretend it was a year or two ago and think about what your answer would have been. Jon Stewart certainly was impressed by it.

Now is the shitty-depressing-time-immediately-after- Christmas of our discontent, yes. But not all is lost. It is not too late to have a coalition government and terminate this election, if only we can get past the (apparent) moral issues. This could all be just a bad memory of a dumb mistake, and hopefully a lesson learned about making sure we practice safe minority governments. Canada, keep in mind that this is merely a rough patch. If we hold tight for a bit, we too may produce a shining beacon of a leader around whom we can all rally, an Obama to end our Bush administration. A knight in shining armour who won't get our country in trouble and then try to kick us down the stairs when they find out.

I'm just sayin' ... if I were a bettin' woman ...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Yet More Coalition Banter

A handful of things have been preventing me from blogging lately, namely school work and personal frustration. But I have definitely been feeling guilty about it, and I seem to be arguing politics fairly regularly through Facebook and e-mail anyway, so I suppose I may as well do it on my blog (isn't loudly trumpeting one's views and the exclusive validity thereof the reason anyone even gets a blog, anyway?)

I doubt I have anything very original to say re: the coalition, given the plethora of discourse that already exists on the topic, but I feel compelled nonetheless. Canadians discuss politics when they aren't exciting, so this shouldn't be at all surprising. So. The Coalition. A coup d'état spearheaded by the scattered and discordant left plus the evil separatists, that is bent on deposing the democratically-elected right and sending Canada straight to hell, of course. It couldn't be simpler*!

*Valid only for right-wing media.

Where to even begin? A coup d'état is a sudden and decisive action in politics, esp. one resulting in a change of government illegally or by force1, or at least the "illegally or by force" is what is usually implied when the term is used. A coalition, on the other hand, is a group of usually two to six male lions that drive off and replace the male lions in a pride in order to mate with the females and protect the resulting offspring. Ooops, wrong definition. I meant to say, a coalition is completely legal, and they happen in Europe all the time. As I'm sure anyone who has heard the phrase "62% Majority" (i.e. Canadians who read or watch the news, or exit their houses from time to time) is aware, the general argument contre the "coup" and "democratically elected" defense is that 62% of Canadians who voted said "I'd prefer someone other than the Tories to be in power." Now, this doesn't necessarily mean that 62% of Canadians support a coalition government, but, well, there are certain implications . . .

So, let's say that the left gets its shit together and does this thing. There is still the issue of the evil, soul-sucking Bloc whose main goal is to fuck up Canada as much as possible. I hear they eat kittens, too.

Bloc MPs, as depicted by the English media. Lucky for Harper that his patronus was a prorogue!

Wait, NEWSFLASH! It turns out that the Bloc is not made of evil and darkness, nor are they actually this poorly Photoshopped in real life. They are just regular MPs, elected by (whether anyone likes it or not) regular Canadians, and are a regular part of the House. The only difference is that they are epically disinterested in anything outside of their own province. In fact, the Bloc hasn't been running on a platform of separation for a while now. See for yourself.

Contrary to what the ROC seems to fear, a coalition with support from the Bloc does not mean that Quebec will be setting up boarders and issuing passports tomorrow, nor will they be holding a referendum, nor will the rest of Canada be forced to speak French, join unions, and close stores at 5 PM on weekdays. What those who rant and rave about the Bloc wanting to "hurt" Canada don't realize is that the Bloc simply doesn't care enough about the rest of Canada to "hurt" it. All they care about is Quebec getting a sweeter deal.

Interestingly enough, I take Bloc-related complaints from the Québécois more seriously than those coming from the ROC. One of my friends (interestingly enough, a federalist) is baffled that the Bloc, who of course did start out on the whole idea that Quebec should be independent, should be taking the side of the guy responsible for the Clarity Act. (This conversation took place before the Iggy Takeover.) "They are either dumb, or hypocrites," he said. He was no more supportive of Dion teaming up with his "mortal enemies" (and this is where the credibility stops for me).
"So basically you are against them putting aside their differences for the good of parliament?"
Welp, there you have it. Partisanship is the biggest barrier to national functioning.

Speaking of partisanship. I would have no problem with the Tories governing for a while -- I mean, they are the party that the fewest Canadian voters hate, fair and square -- if Harper was willing to play nice and share. The Conservatives got 38% of the vote, you can't argue with the facts. But that means that they did not get 62% of the vote, and the fact of a minority government is that you actually cannot just flip the bird at those who did not vote for you (or else you risk losing the confidence of the House, surprisingly enough). Harper, your buddy Charest just won a majority in Quebec and he's willing to play nice with Pauline Marois, or at least he says he is. Did you not think, "Hey, maybe stacking the senate with conservatives might piss off liberal and even centrist Canadians"? Or "Re-opening the gay marriage debate would be really cool, except that the vast majority of Canadians don't really seem at all interested in that"? If you're going to pretend that an election is winner-take-all, well, don't be surprised if the kids in second and third place decide to beat your ass.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Coalition Rally on Parliament Hill - Video

As rallies go, this one had all the makings of a good one: clever signs, lousy weather, counter-protesters, and upbeat fiddle music.

This was slapped together a bit rapidly, but is still decent. Unfortunately, I arrived a bit late and didn't get any decent footage of anyone saying anything good. But there is plenty of clever sign footage!

(I apologize for the quality. I am still getting used to iMovie. I'll post something of higher quality within the next 24 hours.)