12.03.2008

Canada's constitutional crisis

In this morning’s inbox: insight into what’s happening north of the border from “Airth” in Toronto, Ontario, Canada:

BJ,

You would be very interested in what is happening in Canadian politics. (Generally, Canadian politics is boring.) Our prime minister, Stephen Harper, is very much a “Bush” person. He is a control freak, secretive and more interested in ideology than in the interest of the country as a whole - like Bush.

Anyway, there is sort of a constitutional crisis. Canada has a
parliamentary system. The prime minister and his party have a minority in parliament. That means that it can be defeated by a non-confidence vote in parliament. Well, last week it was on the verge of defeat because the opposition parties did not like the budget the governing party brought down. (Canada is also suffering from a weak economy that needs stimulus.) The opposition parties want to form a new government, but the present government is fighting tooth and nail to retain power.

The whole thing is very divisive for the country, especially in this time of much needed leadership. Next week we should know more, if not sooner. The governor general, the head of state like the Queen in Britain, will probable make the ultimate decision as to who will form the next government.

And, all this after just having an election seven weeks ago!

Airth10

***

Thanks, Airth! We’re pretty bogged down in our own mess down here and sometimes forget to check on our neighbors. Keep us posted.

6 comments:

airth10 said...

There is one political oddity I didn't mention that mirrors the saying "politics makes strange bedfellows.

The two opposition parties that want to form a government do not have enough seats in parliament to do so. So they have alined themselves with the 'Bloc Quebecois'. The irony is that the Bloc party is just representative of the province of Quebec and its raison d'être is Quebec's independence. The party in power, the Conservatives, have used this as an opportunity to bludgeon the opposition to stay in power. After all, this is an odd coalition which includes a party that wants to break up Canada and is still committed to that idea. (Theoretically the Bloc party is treasonous.)

BJ talked earlier about propaganda. Well, the Conservatives and its leader Stephen Harper are excellent at this, like Bush&Co.

B.J. said...

Déjà vu all over again! Why am I reminded of William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany? I swear this sounds like the multi-party manipulation in the Reichstag which finally resulted in the rise of the Nazi Party and Hitler being named chancellor. I hope Canadians are on their toes! BJ

airth10 said...

BJ, your analogy is interesting. But there is no doubt that in the political landscape in Canada, like in other mature democracies around the world, there is no fertile ground for the likes of Hitler.

Democracy is a messy business at best. What we see occurring in Canada is democracy behaving at its best. The messiness of democracy that is occurring in Canada is what keeps dictators like Hitler at bay.

B.J. said...

I did not mean to suggest that fascism or a Hitler are on the rise in Canada. I was merely pointing out that strange things can happen when “strange bedfellows” hop into bed together – particularly in a legislative or parliamentary body – and was giving an example. I should have made myself clearer. I do have to add, though, that democracy - and a financial crisis - in post-WWI Germany were very much involved in Hitler’s rise to power. People always get antsy when you mention Hitler, but he is part of history, and what happened in Germany is a lesson for the world for the ages – one we should never ignore or forget. Thank you for all the interesting insight about your country’s present affairs! I wish more readers had visited today. BJ

FrodoLikesCanadaDry said...

Eh?
(You have to have been there).

airth10 said...

The Governor General of Canada ruled in favor of the present minority
government of Stephen Harper. She granted Harper's wish that
parliament (read Congress) postponed until Jan. 27th. In that way the government has breathing space and will not have to face a non-confidence vote next week that could topple the government.

Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times wrote about the importance of iodized salt in children's diet for developing the brain and IQ. It is lacking in the developing world. The thing is, he said, is that the world in general has not done much about promoting this, except Canada. And he did say that it was boring, sedate, often ignored Canada that was ahead on this, promoting iodized salt in developing countries. (Muslims are suspicious of iodized salt because they think it is a contraceptive.)

Raising the World’s I.Q.