What the heck is going on in Canada?

Makalakumu

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081204/wl_canada_nm/canada_us_politics

OTTAWA (Reuters) Prime Minister Stephen Harper won a rare suspension of Parliament on Thursday, managing to avoid being ousted by opposition parties angry over the minority Conservative government's economic plans and an attempt to cut off party financing.

Governor General Michaelle Jean -- the representative of Queen Elizabeth, Canada's head of state -- agreed to Harper's request to shut down Parliament until Jan 26. Parliament was reconvened just weeks ago after the October 14 election.

Harper's request for suspension was unprecedented. No prime minister had asked for Parliament to be suspended to avoid a confidence vote in the House of Commons.

Apparently this was unprecedented and controversial.

Harper's gambit was the latest development in a constitutional battle that erupted last week after he tried to eliminate direct subsidies of political parties, a move that would have hit the opposition particularly hard.

In my opinion, this is starting to sound downright fascist. What do some of our Canadian members think?
 

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081204/wl_canada_nm/canada_us_politics



Apparently this was unprecedented and controversial.



In my opinion, this is starting to sound downright fascist. What do some of our Canadian members think?

This Canadian member hates it. It's the most craven kind of abuse of the rules... and our estimable Governor-General is totally complicit in this. Basically, the Tories knew they were going to get bounced, so they appealed to brute force to shut down the democratic operations of government. The G-G isn't elected, but has authority only by virtue of being the Queen of England's representative (and the formal, official Head of State of Canada).

It's going to really boost the anti-monarchist cause in Canada. And come January, I strongly suspect there will punative damages exacted when the no-confidence vote is finally taken and the elections are set. A lot of people are going to want to teach Harper a lesson.

Still, it's been worse. For real facism in Canada, you have to go back to Pierre Trudeau and the October Crisis of 1970. This is definitely a couple of orders of magnitude not-as-bad...
 

Gordon Nore

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This Canadian member hates it. It's the most craven kind of abuse of the rules... and our estimable Governor-General is totally complicit in this. Basically, the Tories knew they were going to get bounced, so they appealed to brute force to shut down the democratic operations of government. The G-G isn't elected, but has authority only by virtue of being the Queen of England's representative (and the formal, official Head of State of Canada).

It's going to really boost the anti-monarchist cause in Canada. And come January, I strongly suspect there will punative damages exacted when the no-confidence vote is finally taken and the elections are set. A lot of people are going to want to teach Harper a lesson.

Still, it's been worse. For real facism in Canada, you have to go back to Pierre Trudeau and the October Crisis of 1970. This is definitely a couple of orders of magnitude not-as-bad...

Exile, I didn't know you were Canadian!

This story absolutely blind-sided me last week, and I'm still trying to piece it together.

The part of this coalition that concerned me was that I thought Dion (Lib) and Layton (NDP) were going to take over the House, as it stands now, and declare themselves in charge. That, surely, is unprecedented. A minority leader, like Harper, is PM nonetheless and forms the gov't. Period. He can play it stupid, like Joe Clark back in 79-80, and get brought down by opposition for not playing nicely in the sandbox. Or he can for alliances with other parties, compromise, and get the government's business done.

Harper picked stupid.

I was simply expecting a non-confidence vote. But I guess the coalition was designed to get Canadians upset about cuts to parliamentary funding for official parties. When I think about it more clearly, I suspect the average Canadian doesn't care about this, so it needed to be amped up.

Harper using the GG to hideout for a few weeks... Wouldn't have pegged her as a Tory supporter, though her partisan views should be kept to herself anyway, given her office. Maybe Governor-General Jean is crazy like a fox. By giving Harper his parole, she's guaranteed Canadians are going to be mad as hell.

{What I can be fairly sure of...}

  • We just had a federal election.
  • Quebec just had a provincial election.
  • The entire country just spent two years watching the USA have an election.
  • Election fatigue and resentment will be a factor.
  • This could end badly, not just for Harper.
{A mixture of truth and speculation}

Liberal Opposition Leader Stefan Dion is at the helm of the worst Liberal showing ever as of the last election, and his credibility is sinking. Now he's being pushed out, and we're back to Bob Rae (who may not do well in Ontario) and Michael Ignatieff. This could be really bad for the Liberal Party.

Maybe NDP Leader Jack Layton is hoping to split the vote and sneak up the middle in a new election, like Ed Broadbent almost did in his last run. What was that? 89? But that could be a gamble that costs my beloved party.

Lurking in the background is the Green Party which is poised to take seats -- they've made strong, competitive showings in the last two elections. That might be good news.

Conservatives. They've had two insurgencies in the last twenty years, one which lead to the formation of the Bloc party which fields candidates only in Quebec and wants to separate. They made up with the Reform (Alliance) party, but that's turned out to be essentially a Reform Alliance takeover of the Progressive Conservative Party. It's not even remotely the Conservative Party that I grew up, have never voted for, and likely never will. But it seems really unstable right now.

We could be back to five parties.

Quite right, though. This could mean a big bloody constitutional battle over the office of the Governor-General. This could ricochet for years.

This is off the top of my head. I could be entirely wrong, as I have never seen this much drama in my voting lifetime as a Canadian.
 

exile

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Exile, I didn't know you were Canadian!

Naturalized, but still Canajen, eh? ;) I lived almost twenty years in the Great White North(west coast/Southern BC) and worked for most of that time for the British Columbia Provincial Museum... some glorious days in Victoria, before the malignant Socreds came roaring back under Bills Van der Zalm and Bennett.


Harper picked stupid.

I was simply expecting a non-confidence vote. But I guess the coalition was designed to get Canadians upset about cuts to parliamentary funding for official parties. When I think about it more clearly, I suspect the average Canadian doesn't care about this, so it needed to be amped up.

Harper using the GG to hideout for a few weeks... Wouldn't have pegged her as a Tory supporter, though her partisan views should be kept to herself anyway, given her office. Maybe Governor-General Jean is crazy like a fox. By giving Harper his parole, she's guaranteed Canadians are going to be mad as hell.

Dead right, I think. People used to talk in horror about the time that the GG of Australia dissolved Parliament there over a budget gridlock, and worried that that might one day happen to us. Then they'd say.... nahhhh, not here—not in Canada! Well, it happened. Not the same, but close enough as makes no difference, at least for a lot of people.

{What I can be fairly sure of...}

  • We just had a federal election.
  • Quebec just had a provincial election.
  • The entire country just spent two years watching the USA have an election.
  • Election fatigue and resentment will be a factor.
  • This could end badly, not just for Harper.
{A mixture of truth and speculation}

Liberal Opposition Leader Stefan Dion is at the helm of the worst Liberal showing ever as of the last election, and his credibility is sinking. Now he's being pushed out, and we're back to Bob Rae (who may not do well in Ontario) and Michael Ignatieff. This could be really bad for the Liberal Party.

Maybe NDP Leader Jack Layton is hoping to split the vote and sneak up the middle in a new election, like Ed Broadbent almost did in his last run. What was that? 89? But that could be a gamble that costs my beloved party.

Lurking in the background is the Green Party which is poised to take seats -- they've made strong, competitive showings in the last two elections. That might be good news.

Hard to say. My guess is, the NDP is in a very cautious mode; they sense opportunity but don't want to do anything to appear excessively power-hungry ('radical' is how the Tories would spin it). The Greens, on the other hand, have 'loose cannon' exemption privileges, so they can do pretty much anything they like. They aren't yet in a position to be a 'respectable' and credible enough party to have to tone down go-for-broke recklessness. It could happen one day... but not just now; they're still the enfant terrible. So yes, they may play the situation very aggressively. And for some people, a Green vote would be a shot across the bows to the major parties, saying, you guys suck, you have no good ideas, smarten up or next time the Greenies are going to get a majority. I'll believe it when I see it, but... we know what Canadian politics is like!

Conservatives. They've had two insurgencies in the last twenty years, one which lead to the formation of the Bloc party which fields candidates only in Quebec and wants to separate. They made up with the Reform (Alliance) party, but that's turned out to be essentially a Reform Alliance takeover of the Progressive Conservative Party.

:lol: Yet another illustration of the need to be careful what you wish for, 'cause you may get it!


It's not even remotely the Conservative Party that I grew up, have never voted for, and likely never will. But it seems really unstable right now.

We could be back to five parties.

Quite right, though. This could mean a big bloody constitutional battle over the office of the Governor-General. This could ricochet for years.

This is off the top of my head. I could be entirely wrong, as I have never seen this much drama in my voting lifetime as a Canadian.

I know. It's absolutely crazy... this kind of thing only happens in other countries!!
 

MA-Caver

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Well, I do hope that things work out for the best for our great friends to the north. Hopefully we'll be able to help without mucking it up for you eh?
Best wishes and keep us posted, nice to hear a non-media version of what's going on.
 

Gordon Nore

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...Apparently this was unprecedented and controversial...

maunakumu,

This is the current make up of parliament in Canada -- see link at bottom. Being PM is a tricky deal because the whole country doesn't vote for you directly, like they do for a US President. Everyone votes for a member of parliament in their electoral riding. The leader of the party with the most seats gets to be PM, forms a Cabinet made up of members of the House, and leads the government.

His plan reduce funds to opposition parties is not inconsequential. This money goes to office space, staff, research, and so the opposition is prepped and ready to function in the House. This is a monumental change in how we are governed.

Harper is a minority leader. His party has the single largest number of seats (143 of 308), but not an overall majority. His political survival and effectiveness depend on him dealing with opposition leaders. The last minority gov't leader who attempted to rule as if he had majority was Joe Clark, whose gov't fell in six months around 1980, I think.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_House_of_Commons#Current_composition

He has basically double-dog-dared the opposition to declare a non-confidence vote and defeat him in the House, then has hidden behind the robes of the Governor-General, seeking a reprieve. What adds absurdity to this, in my view, is that the opposition is so badly organized. The Liberal Leader Stefan Dion, who is "Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition" is in a leadership crisis in his own party and has had terrible time communicating his message. The article you linked indicated that Dion said might concede if Harper changes his tune, but now other opposition leaders are saying different.

Adding to the flames, the Bloc Quebecois is one of the opposition parties -- the Bloc, though a national federal party (splintered from the former Progressive Conservative party years ago), fields candidates only in Quebec and is a Quebec separatist or nationalist movement. Many Canadians are leary of any sort of coalition of traditional Canadian federalists with this party.

The way I see it all kinds of Canadians are going to PO'd for a myriad of reasons, and they would be all be right.

Nobody light a match.
 

Gordon Nore

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Naturalized, but still Canajen, eh? ;) I lived almost twenty years in the Great White North(west coast/Southern BC) and worked for most of that time for the British Columbia Provincial Museum... some glorious days in Victoria, before the malignant Socreds came roaring back under Bills Van der Zalm and Bennett.

That takes me back. The Social Credit Party (Scocreds) I think were another western conservative offshoot. I remember when they lost too many seats and lost official party status, government funds, and the right to time in Question Period.

I'm an NDP voter, but my grandma used to call the NDP PM of British Columbia
that "a - hole" Barrett.

Hard to say. My guess is, the NDP is in a very cautious mode; they sense opportunity but don't want to do anything to appear excessively power-hungry ('radical' is how the Tories would spin it). The Greens, on the other hand, have 'loose cannon' exemption privileges, so they can do pretty much anything they like. They aren't yet in a position to be a 'respectable' and credible enough party to have to tone down go-for-broke recklessness. It could happen one day... but not just now; they're still the enfant terrible. So yes, they may play the situation very aggressively. And for some people, a Green vote would be a shot across the bows to the major parties, saying, you guys suck, you have no good ideas, smarten up or next time the Greenies are going to get a majority. I'll believe it when I see it, but... we know what Canadian politics is like!

Hope they play it right. This might be the second time in my life that I don't vote NDP (Audrey McLaughlin was the first.) I fled to Mel Hurtig's ill-fated National Party that election for a whiff of fresh air. This time out, I might be voting for the NDP, the Greenies, or possibly the Marijuana Party.

I hear they have a nice after election party.
 

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That takes me back. The Social Credit Party (Scocreds) I think were another western conservative offshoot. I remember when they lost too many seats and lost official party status, government funds, and the right to time in Question Period.

Remember Flying Phil Gagliardi? Migod, some of those used car salesmen-cum-MLAs were such obvious scam-artist classic politicians, they were were almost worth their weight in gold!

I'm an NDP voter, but my grandma used to call the NDP PM of British Columbia
that "a - hole" Barrett.

What people didn't realize about Dave Barrett was, he really didn't care if he was reelected for another termthe Agricultural Land Bank, the provincial control of the auto insurance business and a bunch of other stuff were much more important to him.

I used to see him with his family in some of the small Chinese restaurants up there on Fisgard Street, in his big bulky Cowichan sweater... just another guy, absolutely no pretence, no affectation, but a ferociously sharp debater, could think on his feet faster than almost anyone in politics I'd ever seen. You could tell that for him it was all about some moral imperative. He was like a visitor from another planet, in that context....



Hope they play it right. This might be the second time in my life that I don't vote NDP (Audrey McLaughlin was the first.) I fled to Mel Hurtig's ill-fated National Party that election for a whiff of fresh air. This time out, I might be voting for the NDP, the Greenies, or possibly the Marijuana Party.

I hear they have a nice after election party.

I agreeI really liked Mel H's take on things. But the time wasn't right, for them. I wonder if it'll ever be...
 

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Gordon Nore said:
I'm an NDP voter, but my grandma used to call the NDP Premier of British Columbia that "a - hole" Barrett.

What people didn't realize about Dave Barrett was, he really didn't care if he was reelected for another termthe Agricultural Land Bank, the provincial control of the auto insurance business and a bunch of other stuff were much more important to him.

I think Grandma called every politician an "a-hole" at one time or another. She grew up dirt poor and raised four children, practically alone, through the Depression and War years. Barrett's auto insurance plan, I've heard, worked out well; though I'd be curious to hear from Westerners what state it's currenlty in.

Bob Rae, before becoming Premier of Ontario, promised provincial auto insurance but never delivered.

I agreeI really liked Mel H's take on things. But the time wasn't right, for them. I wonder if it'll ever be...

The issue with the National Party, from what I've heard, was they didn't begin with a grassroots groundswell. A wealthy business person donated several million and they just started the thing. They might have won seats, but the media consortium rules blocked them from the televised debate, as they had not held seats in the previous parliament.

I remember Mel, being a perfect gentleman, participating in the alternative party debate, with the Marijuana Party, Christian Heritiage Party, and the lengthy cast of candidates who don't get to sit at the grown ups table. Then of course after the election, there was a battle for party leadership, and they disbanded. It was a shame -- Mel brought a more expansive intellect and a long career in business, the arts, and public service, to the table.
 

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Gentlemen, let's keep things in perspective. How will this affect the legendary Canadian strippers?



:uhyeah:
 

Gordon Nore

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Gentlemen, let's keep things in perspective. How will this affect the legendary Canadian strippers?

:uhyeah:

They have "distinct society status" and are protected under The Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
 

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Gentlemen, let's keep things in perspective. How will this affect the legendary Canadian strippers?



:uhyeah:

I have been generously lending them my lap and consoling them. Actually at least in Toronto the strip clubs are dead (err....I know this from a friend of mine). Montreal is likely in better shape.
 

Gordon Nore

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Mark,

Do you have any other thoughts on the current state of affairs? I'm still at a loss to understand it all, let alone explain it to anyone else.
 

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Hey Gordon, my view..
1) this all started as a cynical attempt by Harper to hobble the opposing parties by cutting their public subsidy...his economic statement had little to do with economics and all to do with trying to shaft the opposition. Faced with that they had little choice but to set up the coalition or vote to screw themselves over in the next election.

Some may argue that the public subsidy should be abolished but it was originally set up to prevent anyone from having too much influence in the government as was obvious when the Liberals were owned and operated by Bay Street when they were in power.

Let's face it the the Conservatives appeal to the wealthy oil patch, and the wealthier parts of society, meaning they always have an advantage over the opposition when it comes to public donations particularly the NDP whose main appeal is to the lower income strata of the public who have little disposable income to contribute to the party.

So the fricking a-hole Harper is really a totalitarian masquerading as a Prime Minister.

Now for the opposition, it has been obvious that Rae has wanted to fold the NDP into the Liberals for a while, and if Liberal fortunes don't improve under Ignatieff that just may happen or the Liberals and NDP will be consigned to perpetual opposition.

However, don't underestimate Layton, he is shrewd a politician as I have ever seen, some say he was the one that laid a trap that Harper walked into, I wouldn't be surprised to find out he has his own scheme to unite the Lib and NDP with him at the helm. Even Broadbent says Jack understands that the NDP need to achieve power to accomplish anything.
 

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I think Grandma called every politician an "a-hole" at one time or another. She grew up dirt poor and raised four children, practically alone, through the Depression and War years. Barrett's auto insurance plan, I've heard, worked out well; though I'd be curious to hear from Westerners what state it's currenlty in.

Gordon Campbell has probably privatized it long time gone... BC liberalism is Social Credit that doesn't move its lips while it reads. :rolleyes:



The issue with the National Party, from what I've heard, was they didn't begin with a grassroots groundswell. A wealthy business person donated several million and they just started the thing. They might have won seats, but the media consortium rules blocked them from the televised debate, as they had not held seats in the previous parliament.

Top-down rarely works. Witness the essential impotence of the various very wealthy right-wing 527s that wound up striking out in the face of Obama's huge grass-roots activism (mind you, they were taking a real financial beating at around the same time...). It doesn't always work that way, but there has to be some kind of ground-level energy to jump-start the conversion of a social vision into effective political action.

I remember Mel, being a perfect gentleman, participating in the alternative party debate, with the Marijuana Party, Christian Heritiage Party, and the lengthy cast of candidates who don't get to sit at the grown ups table. Then of course after the election, there was a battle for party leadership, and they disbanded. It was a shame -- Mel brought a more expansive intellect and a long career in business, the arts, and public service, to the table.

He did. I always thought that had things been a little different, he could have done some brilliant political work... the way Tommy Douglas did, way before. In both cases, their ultimate weapon was their fundamental warmth and decency.
 

Andrew Green

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Canadian Politics 101

The head of State is the Queen of Canada, not the Queen of England. There is no Queen of England, there is a Queen of the UK, and she happens to be the same person, but the two roles are seperate and she is also Queen of 14 other independent countries.

That said, she doesn't actually interfer in Canadian Politics beyond a cermonial role.

She is represented by the Governer General, who again doesn't really do much except rubber stamp things and take part in ceremonies. The governer General is appointed by the Queen, but it is on the reccomendation of the Prime Minister. In fact pretty much everything the GG does is follow the recomendation of the PM.

Now, on paper the GG has a lot of power, she is head of state. In practice she is more a puppet of the Prime Minister. However, only the GG can do things like dissolve parliment (call an election), but again this is generally done on the advice of the PM.

The PM is not elected, he is appointed by the GG. She doesn't really pick him, the leader of the party that wins the most seats in the house of commons is asked to form a government. This does not neccessarily mean they hold a majority of the seats, we have 4 parties with seats in the house of commons. So if the "winning" party does not hold a majority of the seats they require the support of at least one of the other parties in order to pass anything.

Now, we don't have elections on a fixed schedule, although Stephen Harper attempted to make that the case, but then broke his own rule. The PM can advice the Governer General to call an election at any time, or they can be forced out by losing a confidence vote.

If they are defeated on certain types of bills, they have lost the confidence of the house of commons, which is required to maintain a government and two things can happen, parliment is dissolved and a new election called (generally this is what happens) or the gov. gen. can ask the leader of the opposition to attempt to form a government if he has the support of the house of commons (this has not actually happened in a long time here)

So, now what did happen here:

In the last election the Conservative party won a minority goverment. Meaning they won, but didn't win enough seats to pass anything without the support of one of the other 3 parties.

They then presented a fiscal update which did a number of things that really annoyed the other parties. There was no stimulus package to help the economy get out of the current rut, and they planned to cut federal funding of political parties. Currently each party recieves $1.95 for every vote they recieve. For the other parties this is the majority of their funding, where as the conservatives have a strong fund raising core. The result would have been a huge blow to the resources of the other parties.

So the 3 other parties made a deal, the Liberal party (the opposition) and the NDP (about 20% of the vote) would form a coalition government following a no confidence vote that saw the conservatives kicked out of power. They would also have the Bloc Quebecois agree to not vote against them on a confidence vote for at least 18 months. This was then presented to the Gov Gen as a option.

The PM went to the Gov Gen and asked far parliment to be prorogued until the end of January, when they present there budget.

Then everything went in the crapper.

This is uncharted waters in Canadian politics, parliment is usually only prorogued when everything is done, for the time, not before it is started and never before as a means of avoiding a confidence vote.

So she had 3 choices:
1 - allow the no conifidence vote and ask the opposition to form a government if the conservative one fell
2 - allow the no confidence vote and call a new election if it fell, second one in only a couple months.
3 - agree to the PM's request and prorogue parliment until the budget is presented.

She choose 3. Now generally the GG is not expected to have to make any real decissions that effect the country, but this one got unlucky.

Now to make things even more messy, our PM, Stephen Harper, has been throwing a lot of mud at the other parties and calling the coalition undemocratic and claiming the people elected him. Which it isn't, and we didn't.

The PM is allowed to be PM based on the support of the House of Commons, which he does not have. No one elected him into office, we elect local MP's to the House, and the house gives the PM his power. He has also been blasting the coalition for getting the Bloc to support them, saying they are tied to seperatists. The Bloc is not really about seperatism anymore, but more about less federal influence over the provinces, specifically giving Quebec (and the other provinces) more power to govern itself and preserve its unique culture.

And the icing on the cake, the conservatives have depended on the Bloc to help them pass many bills, and even where considering a coalition of there own with the Bloc if one of the previous liberal victories had been a minority government. Not to mention he shut down parliment for almost 2 months in the middle of a economic crisis and is calling the other parties "undemocratic."

The whole thing is annoying just about everyone in some way.

Harper has people mad at him for the above actions.
Dion (leader of the liberals) has very poor support and just stepped down
The Liberals had promised before the election that they would not form a coalition with the NDP
The NDP has people seeing them as attempting a power grab, as they have never had cabinet seats before which the coalition would give them, and they are probably too left wing to win in the near future.
The Bloc are being painted in a pretty bad picture by the Harper government, and are stirring up a lot of resentment from within towards the outside, and from the outside at them based on the smear ads of the Harper government.

So things are interesting up here right now.
 

Gordon Nore

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Andrew,
Thank you full pulling all this together. I must confess to a partisan filter that is blocking my objectivity.

Canadian Politics 101
The head of State is the Queen of Canada, not the Queen of England. There is no Queen of England, there is a Queen of the UK, and she happens to be the same person, but the two roles are seperate and she is also Queen of 14 other independent countries.

I wasn't aware of these distinctions; however, I have always understood the Queen's role to be ceremonial and symbolic. Since the repatriation of the British North America act from the House of Lords to Canada, and the subsequent creation of our Constitution, my understanding is that any legal ties to GB were severed then -- 1982.

Now, on paper the GG has a lot of power, she is head of state. In practice she is more a puppet of the Prime Minister. However, only the GG can do things like dissolve parliment (call an election), but again this is generally done on the advice of the PM.

Right again!

The PM is not elected, he is appointed by the GG. She doesn't really pick him, the leader of the party that wins the most seats in the house of commons is asked to form a government. This does not neccessarily mean they hold a majority of the seats, we have 4 parties with seats in the house of commons. So if the "winning" party does not hold a majority of the seats they require the support of at least one of the other parties in order to pass anything.

This is an important point. I might say that I'm voting for Jack Layton of the NDP, but the reality is, I don't live in his riding. In fact I live one riding over and thus might vote for that NDP candidate. Similarly, I might choose to vote with a more local sensibility, figuring out who would best represent the interests of me and the area I live in.

If they are defeated on certain types of bills, they have lost the confidence of the house of commons, which is required to maintain a government and two things can happen, parliment is dissolved and a new election called (generally this is what happens) or the gov. gen. can ask the leader of the opposition to attempt to form a government if he has the support of the house of commons (this has not actually happened in a long time here)

This clarified something for me. As I recall, Joe Clark's minority Progressive Conservative governemnt was defeated on its budget legislation, and an election was called on that basis. There wasn't an actual non-confidence vote, was there?

So, now what did happen here:

For the other parties this is the majority of their funding, where as the conservatives have a strong fund raising core. The result would have been a huge blow to the resources of the other parties.

Interesting that Harper does this after getting pretty much spanked in the pre-election debate by the leader of the Green Party. However expensive this fund might be, I see it as being very healthy for maintaining a strong opposition. Wioth our multi-party system, the opposition can be the majority, and all of those voices have to be represented in the House.

So the 3 other parties made a deal, the Liberal party (the opposition) and the NDP (about 20% of the vote) would form a coalition government following a no confidence vote that saw the conservatives kicked out of power. They would also have the Bloc Quebecois agree to not vote against them on a confidence vote for at least 18 months. This was then presented to the Gov Gen as a option.

Here's where I'm confused. Can the opposition approach the Governor General?

Then everything went in the crapper...

She choose 3. Now generally the GG is not expected to have to make any real decissions that effect the country, but this one got unlucky.

While I don't like the GG's decision, I don't see her as having conspired with Harper. My guess is, the government is going down in the new year no matter what -- would that be assessment, Andrew?

The PM is allowed to be PM based on the support of the House of Commons, which he does not have. No one elected him into office, we elect local MP's to the House, and the house gives the PM his power. He has also been blasting the coalition for getting the Bloc to support them, saying they are tied to seperatists. The Bloc is not really about seperatism anymore, but more about less federal influence over the provinces, specifically giving Quebec (and the other provinces) more power to govern itself and preserve its unique culture.

Interesting assessment of the Bloc. Reality is, they are duly elected and have the constitutional right to exist. Forming an alliance / coalition / agreement with them can be a tricky move PR-wise for some parties or candidates, but there is nothing illegal about it.

The whole thing is annoying just about everyone in some way.

Andrew. Any predictions?
 

Andrew Green

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This clarified something for me. As I recall, Joe Clark's minority Progressive Conservative governemnt was defeated on its budget legislation, and an election was called on that basis. There wasn't an actual non-confidence vote, was there?

Any money bill is a confidence vote.

Here's where I'm confused. Can the opposition approach the Governor General?


As far as I know, but I believe all they did was send her a letter stating that they had the support of the house should the conservative government fall.

While I don't like the GG's decision, I don't see her as having conspired with Harper. My guess is, the government is going down in the new year no matter what -- would that be assessment, Andrew?

She was a reporter, not a lawyer or politician or anything. Her job was meant to be rubber stamp things when the PM told her too. I doubt she was conspiring with Harper, she was put in the job by a liberal PM.

[/quote]
Andrew. Any predictions?[/quote]

I suspect the Harper government is doing one of two things, trying to find support from one of the other parties by making concessions, or trying to delay long enough that they can force a election rather then allow the coalition to take power, with the intent of using the coalition to blast the Liberals and the NDP and try once again to win a majority.
 

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