We haven't seen a majority government situation during this blog's existance (even if this one is with just 38% of the population's support) - so this site faces a long hiatus. 

Rather than let it sit for years, I will likely come back with posts related to thoughts on any glimmer of movement towards electoral reform, and perhaps the odd "I told you so" rant as the continued erosions of our system of government's checks and balances advances.


Final Thoughts

Well it's been a couple of weeks, and I can finally make a quick note here. It went pretty sour. The manipulation and deceit sadly worked for them. So now we have to live with a Conservative majority government. The Liberal party has been decimated as well - so that change of leadership will at least be coming about. Dr. Ignatief has already resigned. The executive appears to be continuing to mess up the party's path forward, and we may well see Rae decide to take a pass on the mess too.

Jack Layton and the NDP scored a huge burst in seats, with an unexpected gain in popularity. The main gains were at the expense of the now nearly defunct BQ. Their leader, M Duceppe is out of his seat, and leadership role as well.

Happily the Greens got a seat in the house, sadly though, it was their leader, so we won't be seeing a change in that position for more than 4 years. Ms. May has worked a long time to get there, but I think they should be much further along than they are, mostly due to some poor riding choices in previous elections. They should have won a seat a couple of elections back, and be working on 3 or 4 by now.

Where does that bring us? Well over the next four years we can expect some catastrophic impacts on our freedoms, our position on the world stage and our progressiveness. We can expect:

Elimination of Gun Control - Our police will lose the ability to track who has a gun in their house, and the extra checking associated with gun ownership will be eroded. Apparently while we can license a car or register a dinnerware pattern, registering your gun makes hunting impossible, and oh so terribly unpleasant.

Anti-abortion legislation - say good-bye to a woman's right to choose. A predominantly male government will be able to push through legislation that pushes us back to the 70's.

A Big Prison agenda - now, this is not big prisons versus little prisons. This is a corporatization of prisons that has been on the agenda for a while. Remove rehab programs, and ignore the fact that 3/4 of all inmates are illiterate, and well over half suffer from mental illness. I would be all for a simple enhancement to the conditions in which we incarcerate prisoners to make it easier for the guards and management of the inmates, but this will be capacity increases at the expense of rehab, and in support of an incarcerate without judicial flexibility, which will directly result in an increase in crime rates, as we take minor offenders and train them to be hard-core offenders. Great.

Religion meet Government. The core evangelical sky-god worshippers who run the Conservative party will begin to re-route funding away from secular NGO's and into the hands of their evangelical pals. We will see increased corruption, reduced tolerance for diverse thought, and a further polarization of our society.

Our position in the UN, and on Green treaties. We missed out on broader participation on the security council, and are near pariahs at international meetings on the environment. We can expect that to continue.

I could go on, but isn't that bad enough? Oh, and open government? access to information? Those things were bad enough in the minority parliament, just wait to see what we've called upon ourselves now.

If there is one thing we need to do over the next four years, it's focus on revisions to our electoral system. We have an authoritarian regime lining up their ducks based on approval of 24% of the voting eligible population at best. We need an instant run-off style voting system that preserves our existing parliamentary system, but ensures that broad consensus about which government we DON'T want is as well captured as the one we DO want.

So you won't see election news here until 2015... but in the meantime, I'll try to share occasional thoughts and events relevant to the predictions above, and hopes for progress on the latter point regarding the electoral system.

Keep strong Canada, these will be trying times for democracy and freedom.


Framing the State of the Parties - Ripe for Change

As the campaigns get into full gear, I can't help but think about the one positive outcome we face here - Regardless of who wins this, we are surely about to see four of the five party leaders change this year.

The guy who gets in - and it will be a guy - will stick around, but surely the rest will be sent packing. We're seeing the Liberal's Ignatief make his first attempt at a real campaign. But he hasn't wowed us so far, running up to this event, and with a failure to take the party to a government, he would certainly be out. I will return to him in a moment.

The PM Harper is said to be losing support in his party too. I'm not sure how long you can muzzle adults before they get a little hot under the collar, so I'm sure losing this election (which I hope does happen) will bring his number up as well. I suspect the CPC would string him along for 6months before announcing an convention, but he would be gone.

Jack Layton has had a bad string of health issues, and has been in place with the NDP for a long time now. He's done a reasonable job for that party, pulling little bits of value out of CPC budgets - one might say propping them up with an informal coalition - for quite a while. But I suspect he might be motivated to let go at a post election review.

Elizabeth May generally gets good things said about her from her audience, but I think she hasn't done the Green party any favours. For some reason she thought it appropriate to go up against a government strong-hold seat, rather than pick of a nobody seat. That seems to me like a HUGE mistake. What better way to advance your party than to get into the friggin' house of commons. It's been too long without progress for them, and surely there will finally be an effort to replace her as well.

Returning for a moment to Ignatief, it seems possible that even with a minority win for his party that a leadership review might oust him. The Liberals are doing a very poor job of holding their party together as a cohesive unit this past decade, since all the animosity of the Cretienites versus Martinites, and those camps are said to still be in place.


When it fell nobody was surprised anymore

The contempt of parliament motion passed the house fell, and the Prime Minister was off to see the Governor General on the weekend. It took until Friday, rather than the Monday for the opposition to have control of the agenda. But so it was. With that we are on our way to Election 41.

The issue does indeed seem an undeniable case of contempt for parliament, as per the motion. When a government in power refuses to deliver to parliament fundamental documents that clarify its spending, to back up its budgeted numbers for major billion dollar purchase plans, it does in fact seem contemptuous of the very foundation of our government system.

Its sad that so many contemptuous actions of that government had been allowed to pile up. Rules broken right and left without repercussions have left me flabbergasted.

Immediately the PM also began a diatribe that fits right in with his approach to communications - flood the conversation with some irrelevant story to take over the discussion. With the word coalition appearing several times per sentence, the media (and apparently here I go too) immediately chatted up the word as well.

All his language is accusatory, threatening, and scare-mongering. That's no way to lead a country.

The gist of the suggestion was that when Stephen Harper gets a minority, it's a sad affront to Canadians but he'll slog it out and pursue his mandate. If the Liberals should get a minority government, then it is immediately classifiable as a horrific coalition and illegitimate.

The opposition parties all scurried around to deny a coalition in the works, but it took them a while to start focussing on how a) Harper made an concerted effort to put together a coalition with the Bloc and the NDP to bring down the Martin Liberal government, and b) the government is in contempt of parliament and THAT is the illegitimate thing and furthermore c) coalitions are perfectly legal and some might say productive ways to form governments. Ask, oh I don't know, pretty much ANY government in Europe - particular the current Conservative government running the UK just now.


2011 Budget Issued

The pivotal budget has been delivered in Parliament, and it looks like - finally - the opposition will not be supporting it.

There are little things going on that could affect the outcome here. There's some speculation that there might be a last minute negotiation between CPC and NDP - although I think that's unlikely. Meanwhile, there is also speculation that PM Harper might go to the Governor General and cry lack of support, requesting an election. This would be an arguably petty move to preempt a non-confidence vote by opposition parties.

The GG could respond within his power to request that other parties form a government. That would be a nice outcome, as it would avoid a costly election. And really, the only possible outcomes are a CPC minority or a Liberal minority. The former is a same-old-same-old which doesn't address the lack of confidence. Thus, why not resolve the situation with the latter? Let's put that extra few hundred million in electioneering and associated costs into seniors programs, and just get on with it.

That way, the next time the government falls, perhaps we'll have a new slate of leaders in the parties as well.


Next Monday?

Sounds like next Monday is the most likely day for a non-confidence vote during which the CPC government can be brought down. Tuesday the budget gets tabled, and the opposition doesn't want to go to the polls on a budget-based issue, rather the correct focus for the election should be integrity and the shady activity of the government.

Whether it's the Oda or Kenney affairs, or the 'Harper government' moniker, or the multi-million dollar tour promoting the Conservative Party under the guise of celebrating government (e.g our) spending on infrastructure, there is more than enough reason to turf out the current guys and stick in pretty much anyone else.

Hoping against history for a) thorough drubbing for the CPC b) a broad change of players in party leadership c) inspirational leaders d) a populace that gets off their asses and votes.

Can only wait and see at this point. Stay tuned.


Can You Believe: One Year (and a bit) Later?

Yes, it's been a year or so. Who would have thought we would still be in this silly stalemate after all this time. Even ignoring all the sleaze and blatant disregard for law and the rules of parliament, this situation is strange.

It is one borne out of weak, uninspiring leaders, an unmotivated, cynical populace, blind loyalty and an ideological perception of entitlement. Without all those pieces, we wouldn't be in this situation.

The sad thing is that if we could just break ANY of those things, the stalemate would dissolve and we could move forward - potentially with positive change. But sadly we seem to be unable to do so. An election call would precipitate change, but cannot happen because everyone is sitting in a little safe spot, afraid to move for fear they will lose their perceived control.

For the ideologues who prance around flouting the rules of parliament, forging and altering documents, abusing their positions and resorting to petty, insulting personal attacks on anyone questioning their ineptitude, the concern is that the call of an election only bangs them up against the glass ceiling on their popular support. They know that the majority is (thankfully) still out of reach.

For the weak opposition leaders, they are poorly supported within their own ranks, and KNOW that a failed election would be the catalyst to clear them out (and likely) then install the 2nd choice among weak candidates. In the meantime, a year or so passes.

For the populace - my fellow Canadians - we get the worst possible outcome. Some of us blindly support anything right wing, mainly because they've drunk the US media kool-aid which resonates with them, in the simplicity that all the complexities of the world are easily pigeon-holed into 'right' and 'left' and as long as you blindly support the former, the latter can some day be eradicated.

And "blindly" is the operative word there.

The vast majority of my compatriots sadly take another approach. Go through your daily lives, ignoring the world around you. Show no interest in anything, learn nothing about what makes your country the way it is, and for goodness sake, never vote in an election.

Ladies, I harbour particular finger-waving for those of you who shirk your duties as a citizen. There are probably people alive in your family who can remember not being allowed to vote. Certainly there are some who can remember not being able to borrow money without their husband's approval, or hold a job other than teacher, nurse or food-server without a very thick skin and superhuman perseverance. You are currently ruled by a political cadre that includes barely 20% female representation. Why do you stand for that?

I would gladly see the women of the country demand that once, even if for this next (whenever it comes) election only, you will NOT vote for anyone who isn't female. Try it. Just once. Make a change. Then maybe we will see some strong women and can leave behind the likes of Ambrose, Guergis and Oda for some intelligent, thoughtful leaders, rather than ones who will fill chairs and keep their mouths shut.

Where We Are Headed
So how will change happen? A budget is approaching, but the NDP are well placed to sell their support for influence on the budget contents, and the CPC know this and will give them juicy tidbits and let them claim ownership.

The Liberals hesitate to spark a non-confidence vote, likely because they can't count on NDP support while the aforementioned carrot remains of interest.

The CPC probably should, strategically, make it happen themselves for fear the press finds a spin on all the back-to-back sleaze stories, and it begin to stick with their blind-support base. But truly, they want nothing more than to keep the opposition weak, and know an election could cause change in that regard.

Thus we continue to go around.

There is a two week period leading into the next budget process, and a lot can happen in that period. And so we wait. This time, however, I suspect it will not be a year before something happens in this area. One can only hope, because right now change is probably the best thing we can get out of this.