Now that Harper - with the support of the Governor General - has decided to call a timeout, Easterners are up in arms about him again being influenced by the needs and the culture of western Canada and invoking one of the West's traditional dishes. He keeps trashing and pushing the opposition, and promoting his own worth, with the hope of next election topping up his results with even more seats, like added on bacon bits and sour cream. While many are upset with him, in particular the Bloq sees this as a direct attempt to corner the market on potatoes and cause a poutine shortage in Quebec. PEI, although mostly Conservative, is happy either way.
But seriously, for all the hue and cry over who is being the more (or less) democratic, the decision of the GG to allow a prorogue is the least democratic of all. I agree there needs to be a tie-breaker role at the top of any organization for when the processes stops working but there should be more openness about it. Give us the reasons - we may not all agree but at least we would know there was a pause in the ongoing bullying and stretching the truth. And, come to think of it, had the process really stopped working? There was a lot of work done in spite of Harper's ongoing bluster. If a timeout was less likely and the risks of a new election more so, would there have been more cooperation on both sides? Less arrogance?
The Coalition of the Unwary have now huffily stated they still intend to bring the government down following the January 27th budget - no matter what the content of it. Stephane Dion (former cinematographer for The Blair Witch Project) seemed to leave the door open a crack by saying only a "monumental change" by Harper (and his bobble-headed yes men) would have any hope of altering that. Stephane may well need to compromise, especially since his party currently has little hope of getting more seats in a snap election - mostly due to a lack of clear and forceful leadership. I'm not sure who I would pick for my vote this time, but I am engaged and enraged, like most of the normally complacent electorate. Where is the Rhinoceros Party when you need them?
Meanwhile, there are rallies across the country, for and against this coalition. The only thing they seem to have in common - other than believing their way is the only true way - is a belief that only they are for Canadian democracy. And to show it, rallies on both sides sporadically break out into "Oh Canada".
Quote of the day had to go to Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe I think. When he was asked about the chances of Harper having a sudden change of heart (or finally getting one) he confused and amused the media with: "Well, I would say if my grandma had wheels she'd be a tractor."
Some related articles I've seen lately:
- Rick Salutin in the G&M (Dec 6/08) writes "it's just Harper's nature.. he's an ideologue. It's that he's one of those people who only feels truly alive when voicing hostility and contempt for his 'enemies'.
- Ed Broadbent, in the same issue, talks of Harper "fanning the fires of national disunity... Beginning last week, Mr. Harper has sought to avoid a legitimate vote of confidence and its unpleasant consequences not by sober or even merely partisan constitutional arguments but, culminating in Wednesday's television address, by a barrage of deliberately gross distortions. He is turning a serious dispute over the need for immediate economic stimulus into an unrelated and dangerous matter of national unity. " In this article Ed also picks five from many examples of distortions, and easily refutes all of them. During the CBC coverage this past week, one commentator spoke of the challenge of remaining - and looking - impartial. The CBC and the press in general do not have a good relationship with Harper and his spin machine, but it's getting harder (or easier) for them, the comment was made that never before have there been so many misquotes and misstated facts by a government.