The True North strong and free!

Some interesting things happening in Canada this week, to say the least.  I don’t pretend to understand their parliamentary system (can I get a “Hey-Lo”??), but it appears that the ruling Conservative Party is about to get the bum’s rush by a coalition of rival parties.  Let me see if I can break this down…

  • Canada has 4 main political parties: Conservative, Liberal, New Democratic, and Bloc Québécois
  • The party with the most elected members to the House of Commons typically becomes the ruling party, and their leader is named (not elected) Prime Minister
  • The Conservatives won a plurality (but not majority) of seats in 2006, elevating Stephen Harper to the role of Prime Minister (I’ve read he’s a lot like Bush, only smarter and nastier if that tells you anything)
  • In early September, hoping to cash in his popularity and obtain a clear majority, Harper decrees that a new round of national elections will occur in Octoberone month later – effectively pushing them up by a year (just imagine for a moment if that happened in the US… Chris Matthews’ head might explode)
  • One week later, Lehman Brothers files for bankruptcy, and shit hits the economic fan
  • After the election, Conservatives manage to gain a few seats but still come up 12 short of a clear majority (with 143 but needing 155 seats out of a total 308)

OK, the bullet points are getting out of hand… suffice it to say, Harper seemingly strengthened his hand but still came up shy of the majority government mandate he sought.  Under normal circumstances that wouldn’t be a huge deal, but the Wall Street panic touched off by the irresponsible minority homeowners of America hit Canadian shores, and the people anxiously awaited the post-election government response.  But because he’s a true “conservative” (unlike the drunken sailor who ran our ship aground) Harper’s response to the economic crisis was to cut spending and balance the budget.  This is, of course, dangerous and asinine.

As a result, the other three parties have taken the remarkable step of banding together to form a majority coalition to challenge the Conservatives.  If the vote on Harper’s economic plan goes ahead next Monday as scheduled (he may yet pull some shenanigans), it will amount to a no-confidence vote that could very well lead to Harper’s ouster.

* * * * *

All of which is an overlong way of saying that I hate George Bush and wish we had some way of doing the same thing here.  (What’s that you say… “impeachment”?… perish the thought!)  Instead, we have our chief nitwit this week being awarded the “International Medal of PEACE” from Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church.  Recall that this is the same church that hosted the first “townhall” meeting between Obama and McCain under the guise of being a non-partisan religious group.  If anybody still harbors any doubts about their being a front for Republican outreach, I hope this puts it to rest.

One last rip on Bush… Think Progress noted that Fox News host Chris Wallace recently defended Bush against comparisons to Richard Nixon by (of all people) Ron Howard:

Richard Nixon’s crimes were committed purely in the interest of his own political gain,” Mr. Wallace told Mr. Howard before an audience of a few hundred after viewing the filmmakers new film “Frost/Nixon,” which is about the only U.S. president to resign from office.

As opposed to Bush’s crimes, which were committed, what, purely in the interest of corporate gain?  (Depends on which crimes you’re talking about I suppose…)

(How’d I do, Lo?)

  • M.Uila

    Well whaddaya know… SHENANIGANS!

    Canadian 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.