Author Topic: Canada's leadership in crisis  (Read 17609 times)

Offline Sheriff Roland

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Canada's leadership in crisis
« on: November 30, 2008, 06:12:19 am »
We may be heading for real rocky times here in Canada.

Seems like all three opposition parties are ready to bring down the governing Conservatives.

And Harper seems to believe that that will mean there will be another election. I thought he knew his History better than that.

Of couse it's possible for a coalition to govern. His statement that (paraphrasing here) 'Liberal leader Dion doesn't have the right to become Prime Minister because the electorate didn't give him a mandate to do so' - is full of sh!t.

Mind you it's not going to be an easy coalition - which will include the Block Québecois (and the New Democratic Party). But at least it will have the support of more than 60% of the electorate - unlike the current Conservatives that got about 35% of the vote.

Stay tuned. We're in for very interesting times.
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Offline oilgun

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Canada's leadership in crisis
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2008, 09:32:46 am »
What were you doing up so early, Sheriff?
I don't know my history either  :-\  so if the opposition parties bring down the government, it doesn't mean another election?

Offline Sheriff Roland

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Canada's leadership in crisis
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2008, 12:52:39 pm »
Whatchu mean realy early. EVERY one's up at 5 these days aren't they?  ;D

In the mid 80's Ontario voted in a minority government in which the 2nd and 3rd parties (Liberals and NPD) combined to form a coalition government under Peterson as PPM even though the Conservatives got the largest share of seats.

Bringing down the Conservatives so early after an election leaves the Governor General with the option of asking another party to try and form a coalition government rather than sending us back into an election. Since that's exactly what the three opposition paries are planning, Harper will have no say in a coalition government (except as leader of the opposition). He can ASK the Governor General to call an election but he doesn't call it himself. The Governor General has the option of asking another party to try and form a coalition.

Somehow Harper doesn't GET that no party's gotten a majority in the past 4 elections and anyone who wants to lead the country has to share the stage. He ran the last election saying (and reiterating after getting yet another minority) that he would run the country as though he had a majority.

Well all I got to say to him is ... don't let the door hit you on your way out. (Think he has a chance of staying on a leader if all this develops as I believe it will?)
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Offline oilgun

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Canada's leadership in crisis
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2008, 07:00:11 pm »
Thanks Roland!  I hope your prediction is right.  Michaëlle Jean disappointed me last time because she could have refused to call an election because there really was no evidence that Harper's government couldn't function.  Let's hope she does the right thing now. 

Offline Sheriff Roland

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Canada's leadership in crisis
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2008, 10:03:31 pm »
Here's a pretty concise article about the situation in Canada, 7 weeks after our last elections.

It's in french though ...

http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5gO-NUDZSoEtBfoAEzMl2c3K6jEow
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Offline Sheriff Roland

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Canada's leadership in crisis
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2008, 05:13:35 pm »
Here's an english version of things - the way they presently stand, as per the Globe & Mail

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081201.wdionleadersub1201/BNStory/National/home?cid=al_gam_mostemail

Dion will lead coalition

Globe and Mail Update and Canadian Press

December 1, 2008 at 2:02 PM EST

Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion will be prime minister of an unprecedented coalition government if Parliament defeats the Conservatives next week.

Liberal MPs announced the decision after a caucus meeting to review plans for the coalition, which reportedly include a pledge to pump billions of dollars into the economy

The three opposition leaders are drafting a letter to Governor-General Michaëlle Jean in which they formally call on her to allow the formation of a coalition government if the Conservatives are defeated on a confidence motion Dec. 8.

Opposition sources said Monday the drafting of the letter is at an advanced stage, and will be made public with the agreement of the leadership of the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party and the Bloc Québécois.

The goal is to inform Ms. Jean that a viable alternative to the current government exists within the current Parliament, in the form of a coalition between the Liberal Party and the NDP. The Bloc is expected to promise to support the coalition to survive for at least a year, which would allow for the passage of two budgets.

"We've decided that the only person and the best person to lead and form a coalition government is the elected leader of our party ... Stéphane Dion," said leadership hopeful Dominic LeBlanc.

"We are comfortable with that, we support that and we think that's right."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has raised doubts about the legitimacy of a coalition government, and is expected to urge Ms. Jean to call an election in the event of a defeat in the House.

The opposition letter, in that context, is designed to persuade Ms. Jean to reject the Tory push to send Canada to the polls for a second time in three months.

"She has to be ready to say 'no' to Mr. Harper's request to call an election," an opposition strategist said. "We want to demonstrate that the new Prime Minister would have the confidence of the House."

On Friday, Mr. Harper went before television cameras to slam a potential Stéphane Dion-led government as illegitimate because he lost the Oct. 14 election.

But the Liberals and NDP said those arguments were undercut by Mr. Harper's 2004 letter to then-governor-general Adrienne Clarkson, which requested that she turn to him if Paul Martin's newly elected government were defeated in the Commons
.

"We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority," the 2004 letter stated.

Over the weekend, the Liberals and NDP reached a deal to bring down the Conservative government and form an unprecedented coalition to take its place that would include cabinet seats for both parties — 18 Liberals and six NDP.

The two parties held emergency caucus meetings Monday to lay out the plan under which the Tories would lose power to Canada's first coalition government in 91 years.

The key question of who would lead the first coalition government of modern times remained unsettled, as Liberals differed over whether Mr. Dion should take over as interim prime minister, or a new leader be chosen — and leadership contenders Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae and Dominic LeBlanc met Sunday to discuss how to proceed.

That meeting took place against the backdrop of frantic efforts to avert the downfall of the Conservatives, who announced they will withdraw measures that would have banned civil-service strikes for three years and eliminated the $1.95-a-vote subsidy for political parties, which the opposition relies on.

The Tories also unveiled a surreptitiously recorded tape of a New Democratic Party caucus meeting, alleging it showed a long-existing cabal with the Bloc Québécois to defeat the government — and there were rumours that as a last resort, Mr. Harper might seek to prorogue Parliament, ending the session to avoid defeat in the Commons.


(all highlights are mine - Sheriff)
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Offline Sheriff Roland

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Canada's leadership in crisis
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2008, 06:09:35 pm »
And this, from the UK - Guardian: (It's becoming an international story!)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/8107788

Liberal leader would head Canadian coalition gov't

AP foreign, Monday December 1 2008 By ROB GILLIES

Associated Press Writer= TORONTO (AP) - Canada's Liberal Party said Monday that its leader will be the next prime minister under a deal with other opposition parties if they succeed in toppling the Conservative government in a no-confidence vote next week.

A loss by current Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government in the Dec. 8. vote could set the stage for another parliamentary election just weeks after the last ballot, or more likely give the opposition a chance to form a government.

The Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois contend Harper has not come up with a solid plan for dealing with the global economic crisis, and they have agreed to a coalition government structure that would give them a majority of seats in Parliament.

Harper's party won the most seats in the Oct. 14 election and handed the once dominant Liberals one of their worst defeats ever after Liberal leader Stephane Dion campaigned on an unpopular environmental tax during slowing economic times.

But the Conservatives' hold on power is tenuous because the party again did not win a majority of Parliament's 308 seats and must rely on opposition support to pass budgets and legislation.

The Liberals, the biggest party in the opposition alliance, are in the midst of a leadership race after Dion said he would step down in May following his election loss. But all three leadership candidates said Monday that they would support Dion as leader of a coalition government.

If Harper loses the confidence vote, Governor General Michaelle Jean would have to decided whether to call another election or ask the opposition to form a government.

Constitutional experts say that Jean,
who is the representative of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and whose position is mostly ceremonial, would likely allow the opposition to form a coalition government since an election was held less than two months ago.
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Offline Sheriff Roland

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Canada's leadership in crisis
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2008, 02:39:45 pm »
Talk about a power grab. At least, a word that less than 1% of the population knew it's meaning is now understood by - maybe 2% of the population  ::)

Prime Minister Harper has asked for and received from the Governor General, the suspension of Parliament (what 'prorogue' means) - until he presents a new budget in late January.

He'll (supposedly) consult with the opposition in preparing his budget, but the leaders of the opposition are saying he's just delaying the inevitable - that he's lost the confidence of the House (of Parliament).

In the meantime we have a government that won't allow the elected members of Parliament to govern. He's basically grabbed power for the next 7 weeks.

Wanna bet we're now going to be exposed to a lot of propaganda ads from the Conservatives - that will make last summer's pre-electioneering 'Dion-bashing' look like a picnic. After all, they have a 'healthy' war chest.
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Offline Sheriff Roland

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Canada's leadership in crisis
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2008, 02:45:37 pm »
GG approves PM's request to suspend Parliament

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20081204/GG_decision_081204/20081204?hub=Canada

CTV.ca News Staff

Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean has approved Prime Minister Stephen Harper's request to suspend Parliament, agreeing to put the government on hold until the end of January.

Harper addressed the media at just before noon after about two-and-a-half hours of meetings at Rideau Hall.

"Following my advice, the Governor General has agreed to prorogue Parliament," Harper told reporters from the front steps of the building.

He said the decision reflects the will of Canadians.

"Last Friday I asked Canadians to give us their opinion on the parliamentary situation. That feedback has been overwhelming and very clear. They want Canada's government to continue to work on the agenda they voted for -- our plan to strengthen the economy."

Harper also said that when Parliament resumes, the first item on the agenda will be the presentation of the federal budget and he will spend his time working almost exclusively between now and then on the fiscal blueprint.

He opened the door to co-operating with the opposition parties on the budget, saying Canadians expect all parties "to get on with it."

"It's the opportunity to work in the next six weeks on these measures, and I invite all the opposition parties, especially those that have a responsibility to the whole of Canada, to work with us, to inform us of their detailed position and we will be there to listen," Harper said in French.

Harper was seeking a suspension of Parliament in order to avoid a confidence motion scheduled for Monday that would have likely toppled his government.

The Liberals and NDP have agreed to form a coalition, with the support of the Bloc Quebecois, and have signaled their intention to bring down the government over the fiscal update that was introduced last week and would have come before Commons for a vote on Monday.

They had hoped Jean would deny the prorogation request and let the confidence motion go ahead. If it did, and the government fell, Jean would have to decide whether to send Canadians to the polls for another election, or grant the coalition the chance to win the confidence of the House of Commons and possibly take over government.

Jean returned home early from a central European tour on Wednesday to deal with the political crisis that has gripped the nation.

The decision Thursday followed a rare nationally televised address by Harper on Wednesday night.

In the five-minute pre-taped broadcast Harper said the opposition plans to oust his government and seize power would cripple the country's economy.

Harper also signaled he would be willing to work with the opposition parties in order to deliver an economic plan that will help Canada navigate perilous economic times.

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion also took to the airwaves Wednesday, though only after a major delay that saw national networks filling time as they waited for the tape to arrive.

"Stephen Harper still refuses to propose measures to stimulate the Canadian economy," said Dion. "His mini-budget last week demonstrated that his priority is partisanship and settling ideological scores.

The NDP's Jack Layton said Wednesday that the Conservatives have been wasting time with partisan politics instead of dealing with the economy.

"Stephen Harper simply refused to act," he said, adding the Conservatives also attacked the rights of workers and women.

The opposition began to cobble together their coalition after the Tories proposed last week to cut public funding for political parties as a part of their fall economic update.

The update also lacked a sufficient stimulus package, the opposition has said.
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Offline Sheriff Roland

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Canada's leadership in crisis
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2008, 03:07:21 pm »
Harper hangs on as PM, shuts Parliament

http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5hsWCWQwAlsJNxzi0bVvj3XuJ5wlw

Excerpts:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has won a stay of political execution - at least until January.

Harper convinced Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean to suspend Parliament on Thursday, delaying a non-confidence vote scheduled for Monday that would have brought down his beleaguered minority Conservative government.

The House of Commons has gone dark until Jan. 26, when Harper will return and present a federal budget the next day - followed by a confidence vote. ...

"We must realize the enormity of what has happened here today," said Liberal Leader Stephane Dion, standing in the foyer of the Commons.

"For the first time in the history of Canada, the prime minister of Canada is running away from the Parliament of Canada." ...

(NDP leader) Layton said ..."I cannot have confidence in a prime minister who would throw the locks on the door of this place, knowing that he's about to lose a vote in the House of Commons. That's denying about as fundamental a right as one has in a democracy."

The Bloc's Gilles Duceppe had a similar reaction. "We don't believe him and we don't have confidence in him." ...

The New York Times, moments after Thursday morning's announcement, reflected that sentiment: "Canadian leader shuts Parliament in bid to keep power", said the newspaper's online headline.
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