A (Canadian) Coalition of the Willing

Or perhaps the title should be, A Coalition of the Willingly Stupid. Canadian politics, normally a nice and relaxing reprieve from the politics to the south of us, has suddenly taken an unexpected ride on the rollercoaster, with talk of a “constitutional crisis” and “undemocratic seizures of power”. (You’d think this was an underdeveloped country ruled by a despot) It seems as though the opposition parties are intent on removing the current Federal Conservative minority government from power, using any means possible.

Non sequitur

I, for one, am completely stumped at this move by the opposition parties. Not because I am upset at what they are doing, or think it’s unfair, but rather because it makes no logical sense. If politics is the pursuit of power, then what this coalition is doing is the exact opposite. If they had any foresight, any long-term strategic plans they simply would not have put in the motion the events we’ve seen in the past few days.

Assessing the situation

This coalition may very well seize power; however what it has won in the short term will quickly be lost int the long term. It is abundantly clear to me that this is nothing more than a coalition of convenience with a very singular purpose: To remove the Conservatives from power. The mere presence of the Bloc in this three-way partnership confirms this. Following this, it’s easy to see that the pact will break up soon after they form their government.

Why is a breakup inevitable? For one, it’s clear that the coalition has no effective leadership, since it is being headed by St├ęphane Dion, a person who is not even trusted to run his own party in the future! This fact alone is enough to worry me about the unity of the coalition. Add the Bloc to the mix, and you have a recipe for disaster.

The long term effects of this are clear: Their support will erode and Harper’s support will increase as a result. And thus, their plans to increase their power will have backfired on them.

For Harper, his options basically boil down to good and better. He simply could not be in a better situation. While he may likely lose the upcoming battle, he will emerge stronger and his party will be in a great position to obtain a majority in the future. Now, I’m no expert on constitutional law, but these are the situations that I understand could happen:

  1. Delay

    Harper could simply “prorogue Parliament”. (Yes, I learned a new word today) This effectively means his government could not be defeated in the current session of Parliament, and any no-confidence votes would have to wait until next year. Harper’s Conservative government stays in power; this is good for him. However, I don’t believe he’ll do this.

  2. Call the bluff

    This option, which is seeming increasingly likely, would see Harper allow the no-confidence vote to go through, knowing full well that it would allow the coalition to form the government, pending the Governor General’s approval.

    I believe this to be the likely option because the Conservatives stand to benefit the most from it. Under this scenario, the coalition would likely do an awful job of running Canada, and furthermore, would likely breakup, triggering another election in the not-too-distant future. In this hypothetical election, Canadians would vent their frustration at the ineptitude of government by giving the Conservatives a stronger mandate, likely the majority that Harper so desperately craves.

  3. Call an Election

    Alternatively, Harper could just ask the Governor General to dissolve parliament and call an election right now, but I don’t think he’d do that. I’ve only included this option for the sake of being thorough.

    An election right now would leave too much up to to chance, something no real strategy can allow.

Grand Strategy

Harper is no idiot. In fact, he’s probably quite smart and adept at politics and strategy. Whether you like him or his party’s policies, you cannot deny this. The coalition doesn’t seem to respect or understand this, and has basically thrown Harper a dream scenario where he needs to do little to benefit. He can try his best to keep his government in power during this current crisis, maybe even feigning a little, and then play the role of victim when the coalition dethrones him. After their eventual downfall, he can make his glorious comeback. The corresponding lack of strategic vision in the coalition is why they are doomed to fail.

I’ve voted Liberal during the past elections, but these sorts of actions leave me with little faith in the party, or the all of the opposition as a whole. They seemed to be focused almost entirely on politics instead of the functions of government; not only that, they can’t even seem to get the “politics” part right! There is a time for battle and a time for rest and recuperation. Getting the timing wrong may still allow you to win the battle, but ultimately, you’ll end up losing the war.

Interestingly, a pro-coalition site has already been set up. Strangely, the colours on the silhouette of the Peace Tower include those of the Green Party – perhaps this has something to do with the Green Party’s expressed support of the coalition? Perhaps they too believe they can also benefit from this outcome, somehow? How strange for all four opposition parties to share the same misunderstanding.

2 Comments »

  1. Hello, and sorry for the off-topic comment.

    In your wonderful review for the Aspire One, you mentioned that you removed most of the pre-installed software. Since I am an ignorant in all computer matters, could you tell me if you just uninstalled them, or if you actually removed them? If the latter, how did you do it?

    Thank you!

  2. Canada is a democratic nation and it’s citizens have the right to choose who leads the country. Let the government govern. We cannot aford a coalition, here’s why:

    http://www.fordemocracy.ca

    Lets put in our petition to the Governor General of Canada.

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