Monday, December 22, 2008

More of the Same Old Same Old

iPodery: Boards of Canada, Music Has the Right to Children

...but with darker twist than before.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper once championed Senate reform. Mr. Harper professed for a long time to believe that Senators in this country ought to be elected, not appointed. On this, Mr. Harper and I were agreed. However, given the threats to his tenuous grasp of power facing him from a coalition of the Opposition, Mr. Harper has stacked the Senate's long vacant 18 seats with appointees of his own choosing. This on top of running to the Governor General to prorogue Parliament until the New Year. When the going gets tough, the would-be tough guy mires himself in hypocrisy.
The politicians are hypocrites is no surprise to anyone - but what makes this situation particularly galling is that Harper is trying and succeeding to take the moral high ground here. His supporters, while they rail on with no understanding about how undemocratic it is for the Opposition to assume control of government through a coalition, fail to see their chosen leader for the anti-democratic threat that he truly is. It is a sad day to be a Canadian.
I was forced to listen to talk radio for today, as supporters of the Conservatives called and wrote in to demagogue radio show host Charles Adler essentially encouraging the Prime Minister to seize control of government for the good of the nation. Yes, people want a man with an acknowledged distrust of democracy to seize control of the government so he can save democracy. And conservatives wonder why they so easily caricatured as ignorant rednecks?
Warning to all, if you stand with Harper stay out of my bloody way as I will likely (verbally) tear a strip out of you. My blood is up. That anyone would willingly delude themselves to stand with a man so corrupt and so hateful makes me very angry indeed. That people can stand for a man when he said one thing and then still stand with him when he does the complete opposite? Harper is a power hungry man and does not have this nation's best interests at heart. To stand with Harper is to stand with a liar, a hypocrite and a tyrant in the making.


Blogger Geosomin said...

Don't hold back...tell us how you really feel :)

Hope you got home safe.

23 December, 2008 07:42  
Blogger Peter T Chattaway said...

There is, of course, the theory that Harper appointed the senators that he did with the understanding that they would work for Senate reform from within. If that is the case, then this is not hypocrisy so much as it is a change in tactic -- a change forced on Harper by the so-called coalition (which of course would have had no compunction about exploiting the vacant Senate seats for their own ends).

23 December, 2008 10:15  
Blogger Peter T Chattaway said...

As for the question of whether it is "democratic" for a second-place party to seize power... well, the record is mixed, in our history.

In the 1925 election, the Tories had the most seats, but the second-place Liberals didn't want to give up Parliament, so Mackenzie King held on to the premiership by forming a coalition with the Progressives before Parliament had even commenced... and then, when this government was on the verge of collapse the following year, Mackenzie King asked the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament and call another election, but the G-G asked the Tories to form the government instead -- which kinda made sense, since the Tories had always had the most seats to begin with. But Mackenzie King, of course, made a big hue and cry over the G-G's actions, and so the Tory government collapsed as well, and another election was held anyway.

Make whatever you will -- or can -- of that.

The other factor to consider is that, in the Canadian parliamentary tradition, virtually every time there has been a change of prime minister in mid-session, the Canadian public has had an opportunity to affirm or reject that new prime minister at the polls within six or seven months. Apart from the general craziness of the 1920s, the only other exception to this rule that I can think of is the five-year stretch between 1891 and 1896, when Sir John A. MacDonald won the election, promptly died, and then the Tories picked four different leaders to replace him before they were forced to call another election.

So there is really no precedent in our system for a new prime minister -- Dion, Ignatieff, whoever -- to cling to power for a solid 2.5 years after taking the reins of the country in mid-session. And in the only solid precedent that does exist, which goes all the way back to the 19th century, the new prime ministers did at least belong to the same party as the prime ministers that they replaced.

Of course, I never expected the coalition to survive the full 2.5 years, and I never saw why anyone should have trusted the various coalition parties to keep their promises to each other, any more than Harper kept his promise to hold elections on fixed dates. But the coalition was promoted as a long-term deal, so that is the sort of thing for which we would have to find a precedent.

23 December, 2008 10:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yuh ain't too quick on the uptake, are you boy.

23 December, 2008 15:13  

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