Monday, December 01, 2008

Holy Cow!! There's a bloodless coup going on in Canada!!!

OK - I follow politics - not a whole lot and I may be missing out on a lot here and getting it wrong, but it seems the will of the people in Canada is being ignored and there is a coup going on in this country. It's confusing and I'll try and make it simple - 'cause it makes it better for me to understand too. So this is Canadian politics ABC

There are 3 main parties in this country. Unlike the US which has only the Republicans and the Democrats, Canada has more parties
The Conservatives (though they have a longer name - I'm keeping it simple)
The Liberals
The New Democratic Party (known more as the NDP)

Then there are much smaller parties - the biggest of the little parties is the Green Party
The province of Quebec also has it's own party, the Bloc Quebecois - which somehow and beats me how they did it - is another Federal (meaning the whole country) party - even though they only run in Quebec and their core goal is to separate from the rest of Canada. They have no interest in the rest of the country and they're only concern is the province of Quebec - so how they became a 'Federal' party has never really been understood by me.

Anyway we recently had an election and the Progressive party got the most seats - or members of Parliament. But they didn't get a majority of the seats. So if all the other parties combined together, they would have more seats than Conservatives.
A number of years ago, the Conservatives broke into two parties, thus weakening their base so for years, the Liberals were the only real party and they were in power way to long. As with anything, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely and the Liberal party got away with many an unethical thing. But finally the Conservative party melded their two separate parties and once again became a united alternative to the Liberal party. Through all of this the NDP party has a lot of way out there ideas and has never been trusted by the majority of Canadians. Mind you, they have some good things going for them too and to me, they've always helped offer that counterbalance that is needed in the dirty world of politics.

The leader of the Conservative party, Stephen Harper, is the Prime Minister and though in tough times, I think he is the right man for the job, still he comes across as arrogant and very autocratic - something no appreciated by a lot of people - myself included. You need to listen to the people of the country and I'm not so sure he gets an A in that job.
In this present time in the world, where everything is going to hell economically, so far Canada isn't in as bad a shape as many countries. I think we are in a much better position than in the US for example. But still - this is a global situation and every country in the world either is, or will be affected by what's going on economically. So far Stephen Harper and the Conservative party haven't done a lot. Now at the present time, this is OK. We aren't as bad off as many countries and since so much of what happens here will depend on what happens in the US and with the US having just elected Barack Obama as president and since he's not going to be taking over until January, it makes sense to me to wait and have the two countries on the same page since we are each others biggest trading partners and what affects one country will affect the other. We are in December now and it's not that long a wait for the new American administration to come to power.

But - Stephen Harper has angered the other party leaders in Canada with his arrogance and they are banding together to create a coalition government to take over. This is NOT what Canadians voted for. We voted in a minority Conservative government. We saw what happened with the Liberal party for years when they had a majority; the incredible corruption that we saw happen and we are leery of that happening again.
But what is truly scary in what's happening today is the Liberal and the NDP party are getting into bed with the Bloc Quebecois who don't give a damn about the rest of the country and are only concerned about what happens with Quebec - and their own agenda of eventually separating from the rest of Canada.

What's even funnier in a very scary way, is the leader of this "coalition" will be Stefan Dion, the leader of the Liberal party. In the recent election we had, the Liberals lost the most seats and the Liberal party cried for the head of Stephane Dion. He agreed to step down as party leader next May.

Here's an article that explains it a little better than my feeble attempt to explain Canadian politics.

But good heavens I hope this doesn't come about.

See what happens when I have a day off?


nath said...

Is it really happening? Haven't kept up with it today... I know it was a possibility. Well you know, Canadians might have voted for a minority Conservative government, but to me, all I beg is that there are NO federal elections again. I mean, seriously, it's getting ridiculous...

and you know what? Quebec is currently in election.. yep, provincial government... the different parties are fighting out there, low and dirty. Basically, it's pretty much the same as federal... Liberals are in power here and they want to be in majority, so that's why we're having elections... and guess what, just like federal, it's only been 2 years since we've got our last provincial elections. Seriously, this is just getting ridiculous...

I don't know how Bloc Quebecois got to be a national party (probably because after Ontario, there's the most ppl in Quebec)... but they won't separate Quebec on the federal level until it's agreed at the provincial level... and for that, the Parti Quebecois (the provincial party) has to win... which seriously, at this point, not many Quebecois care about separation.

You know, I wouldn't worry too much about Liberals, NPD and Block Quebecois uniting together. I mean, a couple years ago, Bloc Quebecois was actually the main opposition no?

Question though... I thought that Dion was going to step down. So are the Liberals still going to choose a new leader?

This is just crazy...

Kristie (J) said...

Nath: They agreed to leave him in power until at least May. And not meaning to sound rude or anything - but the man can't even speak English!!!!
The thing that's horrifying about it all is none of them give a damn about what the average person is going through - the TSE took a nose dive like you wouldn't believe today. Harper brought a lot of this on himself with his arrogance and unwillingness to listen to anyone - but at the heart of it all, Canadian voted him as the leader of Canada and for the unholy trio of Dion, Layton an (mind boggling) Gilles Duceppe to take over the running of the country is beyond belief!!! And yes I'm sick and tired of elections. The money is costs!!!! And the waste of time. Canada has spoken - they don't trust anyone at this point with a majority and if the leaders gave a damn, they would realize this and work together for the country instead of doing whatever the hell they wanted or staging coups.
I was off so I was tuned to the news stations most of the day.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused, probably due to ignorance.

But isn't minority coalitions getting together to rule the very definition of the parlimentary system?

I don't want to make you angry or be rude -- I'm truly trying to understand your concerns what is going on.

Kristie (J) said...

essica: LOL - I'm not going to get angry. And I'm confused myself - and I live here *g*. I have good friends who support all 3 of the main parties.
But we need a bit of history. What had happened for 12 years (or more - it's sketchy) we had a majority Liberal government. They pretty much ruled unchecked because the main opposition they had - the Conservatives were split into 2 parties - with voters who didn't support the Liberals without a party to vote for. By the end, the Liberals were an embarrassment - at least to me in their corruption and arrogance. The NDP is VERY socialist and VERY pro-union in their ideology - it was the NDP who came up with universal health care in Canada for example. But if they were ever to come into power with their socialist ideas I think it could very possibly destroy the country (much apologies to a very good friend who reads my blog and is a very strong proponent of the NDP party - I know we disagree on this point *g*). There's no doubt we NEED the NDP party - they are like a social conscious, but if they were to RULE - not so good I think. But then the Conservatives got their shit together and merged back together into one party again and there was an election. The results - the Liberals held a minority government. And then they had another election and this time the end result was a minority Conservative government. And then we recently (six weeks ago) had ANOTHER election. In the one that just passed, the Conservatives gained MORE seats than before, while the Liberals were decimated and lost quite a few more seats than they held before. The people spoke. While they weren't comfortable with a majority government after what we experienced when the Liberals were in power for so many years, they trusted the Conservatives a more than the Liberals. Even in the area of the country I live in which had ALWAYS voted Liberal voted in a number of Conservatives - the first time in decades.
So in order for this new 'coalition' to work, the NDP, the Liberals are in bed together. The Liberals have LESS seats than they had BEFORE the most recent election. But the real scary thing - and what I think will outrage most Canadians is the third person in bed with them - the leader of the Bloc Quebcois. He has NO use for the country of Canada. He wants to basically destroy Canada as we know it. So in order to keep this 'coalition' together and in power, the Liberals and the NDP are going to have to WHORE themselves to a man who wants to tear the country apart. The name of their supporter are SEPARTISTS.
We AREN'T in the same terrible economic situation as the US - yet. The Canadian banking system has been declared the best in the world. Our banks aren't going to the government looking for handouts. They just recently announced their last quarter and putting it simplistically what it came down to was they only MADE MILLIONS instead of BILLIONS!! Canada ISN'T in the same situation as the rest of the world. We will be I'm sure because this is a GLOBAL crisis. I know that all the money I have from Ron's pension and my investments have probably tanked and I'm no longer planning on working part time next year because of what's going on. But I don't blame the Conservative government. And I've no doubt the Conservatives plan on doing something - but they are waiting for what the new US government. What they, the 3 party leaders and their 'coalition' are planning is not because they care about the country - it's a grab for power where they are all selling out. You see - what really sparked this was when the Conservative government said that the government (meaning us taxpayers) would no longer supplement the federal parties with taxpayer money. THIS is what really riled them up - not concern for the country. Keep in mind during the election we just had SIX WEEKS AGO - our fourth in about 6 years - the Liberals and the NDP spent gleeful amounts of time disparaging each other. The Liberals have a proven track record of corruption, the NDP will give out all kinds of money, thus causing taxes being raised - and we already pay an unholy amount of taxes and the Bloc Quebecois who want to destroy the country DO NOT a good 'coalition' make. Instead - give the Conservatives the four years with appropriate checks and balances, to see what they can do. That what the recent vote said to me.
Wow - I got long winded there didn't I?

Nikki said...

I hate to sound like a hick Texan (which is basically what I am), but it appears that there are a lot of elections going on. And this sounds really confusing. I had no idea.

Kristie (J) said...

Nikki: LOL - There ARE a lot of elections!! Way to many! I wish we had it here like in the US where there was only an election once every four years instead of one each year for four years *g*. We have federal (for the country), provincial (for the province and what is going on right now in Quebec where Nath is) and municipal (city)elections - all at different times. And the shame is - with this many silly elections, people are getting more and more turned off turning out to vote.
And now......why vote when who you vote for can be turfed by a group of power hungry madmen willing to sell their souls for power - cause that's what Dion and Layton are doing - selling their souls to the devil Duceppe.

azteclady said...

I'm going to be reading a lot to edumacate meself... and lighting a few candles to go with my prayers for you guys tonight (((Kristie)))

sula said...

Well I guess on the bright side, it appears that your democracy is in fact working. At least, the rules that have been set up are being followed. So that's good right? I mean, transition of power without a bloodletting in the streets is something many in other countries would strive towards. And maybe a new coalition could mean positive change? Idk. Trying to remain positive in a very difficult economy. But I have faith that things will work out. They always do somehow. :)


(now if only someone could explain to me the whole "riding" (sp?) thing...)

Mary M. said...

Eeeek! Since when has Duceppe accepted to be part of the coalition? Last I was told the Bloc had sad it didn't want to be part of any coalition, ever, which made sense to me because it doesn't have any kind of global perspective for Canada and cares only about Quebec. (I want to point out that at this point, Quebeckers who vote for the Bloc do it mostly so someone will more specifically protect their interests within Canada, not because they want separation - which I don't think is going to happen)

Anyway, the whole situation is weird as hell and feels eerily like a coup to me too. Overthrowing a government that was just elected to replace it with a coalition government?? Until lsst Friday I didn't even know such a thing was possible in our political system. And while coalition governments are frequent in Europe, but I think this would be only the second in our whole history and the previous one was definitely not in my lifetime. I wonder what possessed Flaherty to think the opposition parties would let go of 50 to 80% of their financing resources like that. *shaking head* Anyway. I don't know what to think. I don't want any more elections (huge waste of time and money, and result would probably be the same) but I don't want Stephane Dion as PM either. He doesn't have the strenght, the confidence and rght kind of thinking. If only he'd agreed to step down at the last assembly or something, the liberals would have chosen a new chief by now and maybe that man would have rallied the population. The whole thing sucks.

Kristie (J) said...

AL: to me, it's terrifying what they are doing - absolutely terrifying in it's implications.

Sula: Correction - the democracy thing IS NOT working. We voted in a minority CONSERVATIVE government. We REJECTED Stephane Dion and the Liberal party six weeks ago - even stronger than we rejected the Liberal government - what - 2 years ago? Instead the 2 leaders are using fear mongering over the economy which I emphasize is NOT THAT BAD - YET - in Canada to overthrow the government that the Canadian people ELECTED. The Conservative government are (or were before this OVERTHROW of the government attempt) planning a budget in January to address the economic meltdown which will hit - because it's a GLOBAL meltdown. And in order to do it, they are bringing in someone whose goal is to DESTROY Canada. No bloodletting on the streets true - but we aren't a military country.

MaryM: The only reason I can figure that Duceppe agreed is because he's been promised all kinds of concessions and promises for Quebec - at the expense of the other provinces. And as far as Flaherty - I'm sure it was the arrogance of Harper that did it. I was looking at the numbers and the Conservative party stood to lose the most money - but they have the deeper pockets to withstand it. And this was brought in by Chretien - the most evil (IMO) leader Canada has ever had. It's not like it was in place for years and years.
I think the only hope we have is that the people of Canada rise up in outrage over what is being done. But even that might not work.
And what is all this going to do to our economy? Speed up the downfall is all I can think of.

Anonymous said...

I'm not happy about the situation we're in right now either, KristieJ. We've been thru non-confidence votes before...Joe Clark anyone? The current situation is much the same, and the way our system works. It makes me more uncomfortable right now becasue of the world economy, and we really have been doing okay as a country. However, Harper and his team have been making some poor decisions and they got called on it. I'd be okay with Harper staying on as Prime Minister as he will have to compromise. I was extremely happy in the last election that the New Consevatives were held to a minority gov't again. These New Consevatives were born out of the Reform Party(Preston Manning, Stockwell Day)...and that is truly a scary thing. Dion would not be my choice for Liberal leader, but let's be fair here, he does speak English.


nath said...

So yes, this was on the news last night and there was this interview with Duceppe. Yes, it is surprising that the Bloc Quebecois accepted to be part of the coalition... but you know what? At the same time, it was extremely arrogant from Harper not to take the threat seriously just because he was sure that the Bloc Quebecois would never ally with the other two parties. Well surprise, surprise.

Okay, so the jest of what Duceppe said during the interview is that the Bloc was unhappy with the Conservators (duh). I don't think he's been promised anything outrageous or at the expense of other provinces(I mean, seriously, he could have asked to be the leader of this coalition thingie and then, we'd be all dead.) Basically, he just wants to protect the interest of Quebec - selfish, but not a bad goal and I'm not saying that because I'm a Quebecker. Truth is, the Bloc Quebecois has some powers... He's been criticized a lot for doing nothing... so I guess he's making a move. Basically, the Bloc is unhappy with something about culture (new law that Harper wants to implement?), unhappy about Harper wanting to take away the public subvention to the parties (I think that each vote for a party is 1.95$?), unhappy that Harper wants to move something to Toronto. Also, he says that Harper so far has just been spouting ideologic ideas, but haven't done anything concrete.

By the way, in their defenses, Dion, Layton and Duceppe are saying that they are just doing the same to Harper than what Harper did to Martin - only difference is that with Martin, we went to elections...

Anonymous said...

Personally I'm kind of relieved that they are standing up to the Conservative government and Harper. I agree that he is arrogant and he does not fit my idea of a PM at all. I don't pay a ton of attention to Canadian politics even though I live here, but if this coalition gets the Conservatives out of power I'm all for it. I don't agree with any of their policies so for me, the Liberals are a better choice ;) Just my 2 cents!

Kristie (J) said...

Alie: There's no doubt Harper's arrogance and incredible stupidity has led to the situation we are in now. But the Liberals had a chance SIX WEEKS ago - and the people spoke!! They (meaning The People) gave them LESS seats than they held BEFORE the vote. I don't care what party is doing what - it's wrong, wrong, wrong. Stand up to Harper - oh yes, I'm all for that!! Even though I voted for him, I HAVE NOT been a happy camper with the way he has acted in many areas. But for Dion and Layton to take over with Duceppe as an accomplice at this point in time, with the economy headed the way it is - well I don't think anything could be worse for the country then what they are doing!! This is not the time to play power games.

Nath: You don't think he's going to admit that he's been offered anything at this point in time do you?? That would scuttle this unholy deal the three have cooked up. It won't be unless the pull this off that we will see what he's really been offered.
And the reason Harper hasn't done anything yet is it's not the time. We were - at least until yesterday - in a position that we could wait and work with the new US administration.
As for your other point - that Harper did the same thing. Yes, he did BUT!!! Then there was an election - and what happened? The Liberals were ousted. And then we had another one and they were ousted further!! So that argument doesn't wash in this case. The People CLEARLY spoke in that they DID NOT want Stephane Dion as Prime Minister by giving him LESS seats then he held before.
What these 3 are trying to pull CLEARLY shows they don't give a damn about the country. Think of the timing. If they pull it off - that won't be until at least next week. The Conservatives will stall it as long as they can. Then they will break for Christmas. And you know how long they take for Christmas. Then they have to meet and establish a cabinet. Then they have to draft their 'proposal'. All this will take them to about (maybe) a week before the Conservatives come out with their plan. And how will the US factor into this?? They are our biggest trading partners. How can they come up with something without consultation with the US??

Margaret: There's no question in my mind whatsoever that Harper has made some colossal errors. HUGE, MIND NUMBINGLY STUPID. But stupid as they are, what the others plan is totally ignoring what the Canadian people voted for.
And yes *g* Dion can speak English, but I have a hard enough time understanding accents - any accents at the best of times and the way he emphasizes different syllables, unless I'm paying very strict attention, I often think 'what the heck did he just say?'

Anonymous said...

Since Harper didn't get the majority gov't he desperately wanted in the recent election, the other 3 parties do have the authority to oust him with a no-confidence vote. So we, the voters, did decide this. Harper is witin his rights to avoid the budget vote, which he is doing, and it seems it will be up to the Governor Gerneral to make the next move. I believe she has cut her European visit short and is returning now to deal with the situation. Personally, I don't think it's time for this kind of turmoil...I was happy they forced him to offer a new budget and throne speech....again Harper brought it on himself with poor leadership, poor decision making and I don't think it's fair to only blame the other parties for not putting the interests of Canada first. I think everyone here has agreed that Harper has mucked many things long did he expect he could keep running the country like that. I have agreed with a few of his decisions (protecting Canada's waterways in the the north for one). Hang on tight, it's going to be a bumpy ride. :(


Kristie (J) said...

Margaret: LOL - Oh I don't excuse Harper at all!! He has made some good decisions but he's definitely the author of his own misfortune in this one - but not for a nanosecond do I think the other three are doing this for 'the interest of the Canadian people'. And if it does go through - we end up with a prime minister who clearly the Canadian people did not want.
IMO ALL politicians with a VERY few exceptions are corrupt. We just have to try and vote for the least corrupt of the bunch. And while I think Harper needs some major humbling - I do still think he is the best of what we have - at the moment. Down the line - and I hate to say this 'cause I did have hopes when he first got elected, I'd like to see him turfed because of his arrogance, stupidity in this situation and his autocratic way of governing. But in the coming months we are going to need strong leadership and we aren't going to get it with this 'coalition'

CindyS said...

I'm surprised by the 'coup' also. I knew that a minority government would be forced to work with the other parties to bring about change. That's what Canada voted for. We don't trust any of them with too much power so we made it a government where the parties would be forced to work together.

I did know that the three parties could vote together and knock the conservative plans down but I didn't know they could put up 'their' person for the PM job.

I know that Dion can speak English but it's clear that Canada did not want him as a leader. I also found his 'sour grapes' routine after the election to be pathetic and to not step down immediately? He knew something was in the works.

I also have to say that just sitting and waiting to see what the US does over the next few months is not helpful for Canada. This IS the time for strong leadership and instead of Harper getting his shit together I've heard nothing.

See, if Obama gives money to the Car companies you realize there will be conditions - like the jobs have to be in the US. We will lose jobs if this comes to fruition - we (Canadians) should be forcing the car companies to deal with us at this point since we have a government. We could ensure jobs in Canada. I don't agree with bailouts at all but seeing an opportunity and grabbing it seems like a good idea.

This wait and see is driving me crazy.

And like Bob said, what a friggin' waste of money the last election was. What 100 million dollars (not sure it's that much but it ain't cheap) to do an election? I guess we burned that money.


nath said...

Hey Cindy :) an election actually costs 300M$$ LOL, so it's freaking expensive!!!

Didn't Dion say he was going to step down right after the end of the elections? I think he did... the only thing is, even if he steps down, then the Liberals has to choose a new leader and that's not done overnight. That's why he's still up there. Word is, he's going to be there till May when the Liberals choose a new leader.

Anonymous said...

First I'd like to thank KristieJ for putting this issue up on her blog. It's great to be able to talk with everyone about this.

I'm trying to remember what happened after Joe Clark was ousted...did we go right to an election? My understanding is that the Governor General can ask if the gov't has lost confidence, and if so, ask the opposition leader if he can secure the confidence of parliment. The opposition parties were so well prepared that Dion can do this. Harper could also prorogue (new word to remember when playing scrabble). :) If the Libreals are given power wouldn't it still be a minority gov't? Hopefully they can work better with others than Harper did. My greatest fear is that if we do go to election AGAIN the New Conservative will get a majority and then we'll be in big trouble. An unchecked Harper scares me. Bush anyone? I completely agree that not one of the 3 choices (Dion, Layton, Harper) can provide strong leadership...not a coalition (sounds like an episode of Survivor) and not Harper. Harper was given the opportunity and blew it...but I still hope things can be resolved without switching leaders.

If nothing else this has been a great refresher on Canadian history and political system.


Anonymous said...

Hi Kristie,

I'm in the middle on a lot of this, but do have to make one correction. I don't think the Liberals have a lock on the scandal or corruption thing in Canadian politics.

According to one source, "Pity poor Brian Mulroney. The Progressive Conservative prime minister lost an average of one cabinet minister to allegations of wrongdoing during each year of his 1984-1993 reign."

I'm just sayin'... corruption and scandal seem to be a part of politics on all party sides.


Kristie (J) said...

DonnaLea: Sadly I have to confess I'm old enough to remember those Mulroney years - and yep - it was corruption at it's finest. I think that's what happens when you get one party with a majority in for so many years - they lose focus on why they are there and the power and the greed gets to them. I'm not in any way shape or form excusing Harper and the "new and improved" Conservative party. It's like Harper looked for the most foolish man he could find and took lessons - and then tried to beat him in foolishness and idiocy. And he CONTINUES to make mistakes. He's just not 'getting' it - which is why I think he has to go.
But what upsets me, is the combination of the three 'coalition' leaders thinking they have the 'right' to just take over.
The most astonishing thing happened last night - I was talking to my oldest son about it the other day. He's on afternoons and missed what was going on. He called me last night and said I was right in what I was saying. Him - telling me I was right about something! It was truly the kind of moment mothers live for *g*.

Margaret: It does make for fascinating conversation doesn't it? But could any of them - including Harper - be any more distanced from the reality of the average Canadian and what we are concerned, scared, upset about what we ALL know is coming? It' like they all live in an alternate universe or something!!!!

Nath: $300 million!!! Just think of what else could be done with that money. And one reason why I don't do my taxes!! Shhhh - don't tell anyone I said that.