Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Harper Stumbles

Canadians for Democracy?

Look at this website and ask yourself (1) whether it accurately describes the nature of the coalition being proposed by Stephane Dion and Jack Layton; or (2) whether the coalition constitutes "the overthrow of a democratically-elected government?" This is the kind of misinformation that is rapidly being disseminated all over the country.

Re: The Conventions of Parliamentary Government....

As someone who tries to educate people about the logic of parliamentary government as part of his job, it is frustrating to have a prime minister and a governing party aggressively running ads that play upon people's lack of familiarity with parliamentary coalitions and vague familiarity with American style government in order to paint a deliberately misleading picture of the Liberal-NDP 's supposedly "undemocratic takeover". And probably exacerbating regional tensions in the process.

Prime Minister Harper's televised address of December 3rd made made 4 or 5 references to a "power-sharing coalition with a separatist party", when in fact the Bloc is not part of the coalition government. All the Bloc did was agree not to vote against the coalition in a non-confidence motion for 18 months. This is quite similar to what Mr. Harper was contemplating when he sent a letter to the Governor General trying to replace the Martin government when the Tories were in Opposition in 2004. Mr. Harper has relied on the Bloc for confidence motions (at last count) 14 times, and if he remains in power he will likely do so again.

Mr. Harper should just admit that he blundered, and in addition to withdrawing his ill-timed cancellation of political party subsidies (a strange priority for a budget update by a new government ostensibly trying to set the tone for a conciliatory parliament), he should commit to a program of aggressive fiscal stimulus in line with what Barack Obama and most of the G-20 are already committed to.

Speaking of the Economy.....

Facing the Worst Recession since the 1930s? A country with an ageing, crumbling infrastructure? A financial crisis and shortage of liquidity in the private sector?

It should be obvious to anyone what, in general terms, needs to be done. It is what the leaders of practically every G20 country have already agreed to do--commit at least 2% of GDP to good, old-fashioned Keynesian economic stimulus, even if it means running a temporary deficit.

Obvious to anyone, except perhaps a right-wing ideologue with a Master's Degree in Economics. Proof once again, that a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing......


Canadian said...

Day lied about his attempt at an accord with BQ.

Harper lied about Canadian flags not being present at Coalition signing ceremony.

Harper lied about his attempt at a coalition with the BQ.

Harper recorded opposition caucus meeting.

Harper uses major economic crisis as a chance to crush opposition.

The question isn't why does any one support the coalition. The question is why doesn't everyone?

Jeremy Stewart said...

I have been perplexed by the response to the coalition from people I know (even though I live in a true blue area) because without a TV in my home, I have missed a lot of the disinformation surrounding it. Why doesn't everyone instead breath a sigh of relief, realizing that the Canadian parliament has been all but paralyzed for almost three years?

Oh, and Mark: thank you for posting on your other blog about Mary Margaret O'Hara. I picked up a copy of Miss America and it's so beautiful. She is a true original.

Mark Crawford said...

Jeremy: Thanks for your comment and I am glad you picked up Miss America. "Not Be All Right" is good title for the current political situation. Mr. Harper is again showing his frustration at not having a majority government, while acting in such a way (alienating Quebeckers for example) so as to ensure that he will continue not to gain a majority. A Liberal-NDP coaltion might be a way out of this mess, although it is unfortunate that they too lack the numbers for a mojority and must reoly on the Bloc for support.