Okay, So What Now? #54
Sometimes you gotta suck back and reload.
Perhaps Governor-General Jean's accession to Harper is an opportunity for all parties to have a time-out.
Unfortunately I don't believe Harper will learn the lesson here. I believe he sees this as a win, even though the country loses greatly.
Mr Harper tried to get through an economic crisis sure to cost jobs by doing nothing at all, followed by a ruthless attempt to neuter the opposition parties in Parliament.
When they stood up to him, he first demonized them, using the code-loaded words "socialists" (defined as anyone left of Rupert Murdoch) and "separatists" (an accurate description of Bloc members). Though it was noticed that he used, in French, the word "severeigntiste (English: sovereigntist) for the Bloc.
Having failed to defang the grand coalition, he has run and hidden. Presumably plotting how to demonize and demoralize further, and we're drifting rudderless into what Mr. Harper lately called the worst economic crisis in seventy years.
Worse, Mr. Harper ignited the Canadian unity debate. Quebecers are furious at the broad smears against themselves and their (poorly, I feel) chosen representatives. Albertans are fulminating about the Bloc gaining influence in a government coalition that might oust their golden boy in the new year and claiming that "The West" (which doesn't seem to include BC) is being somehow marginalized--a ridiculous sentiment.
But in short, Canadians have been poorly served by Mr. Harper's hubris and lust for power at any price. The coalition was taking desperate measures, surely for their own gain, but also in support of Canada's democracy.
There are a couple of things we need to do in this country. First, encourage the parties to keep meeting--even the Conservatives should be included. This country will still need governing in six weeks, so if some compromise could be worked out, that'd be good.
Second: I feel that Stephane Dion and Stephen Harper should resign from the leadership of their parties forthwith. Harper no longer brings anything to the table but a track record of poison pills and astoundingly small-minded meaness, and Dion, though he had better ideas, was incapable of inspiring the voters to back him up. Gilles Duceppe and Jack Laytons' departures would be nice too, but are too much to hope for and not neccesary.
They've got six weeks to find interim leadership. Surely there's someone better out there?
Meantime, I'm still on the side of the coalition, and I hope the Conservatives lose the next confidence vote. But I'd feel a lot better if they saw the error of their ways and replaced Mr. Harper.
Speaking of sucking back and reloading: For a while I've felt this blog needed a bit of maintenance. But I hardly have time these days. So I'm going to work on that over the next few days. Of course we know how successful I am at that sort of thing.
Meanwhile, I declare the comment thread open for any discussion anyone might feel like raising about the current political crisis, or anything at all.