My apologies for not having posted much over the last couple of weeks. Eloriane is still out on her secret mission holiday and has limited access/time for posting as well. As is common with my writing issues, I’ve hit a complete wall and have been really struggling to write anything apart from a few sentences on threads here and there. I do have a few very rough drafts of things that should (hopefully) be finished soon, that will also (hopefully) be interesting to read. In the meantime I’ve been terribly distracted BY THE POTENTIAL FALL OF MY GOVERNMENT!!
Check it out! Canadian politics has gotten exciting! 😀
We just had a federal election about 7 weeks ago and the sitting government, the Conservative Party of Canada, was about to face a vote of non-confidence in the House of Commons, which means either there’s yet another election, or the opposition gets to band together and rule instead. Imagine if only 7 wks into his second term Bush was faced with having the Democrats run the country instead of him because they couldn’t all agree on his budget. Exciting! However, this isn’t what’s going down (yet) because the Prime Minister has convinced the Governor General (the Queen’s representative who’s non-partisan and gets to decide these things) to simply suspend parliament for more than 50 days. Talk about dodging the bullet.
I’m going to assume that many to most of you don’t really know much about Canadian politics, or the Canadian parliamentary system (the why of this is maybe deserving a post in and of itself). It’s a first-past-the-post system, like the U.S. presidential system, where a party can rule when they only have a minority of the popular vote. There are, of course, a multitude of other differences. The main difference, with regards to what’s just gone down in Canada, is that because we have a multiparty system, a party needs more than a slim majority to effectively lead; they need a large majority. Not 50 + 1, but rather the most seats of any party along with the majority of the total seats available. If the party that wins the most seats does not also win the majority of the total seats possible, then they’re called a minority government. Minority governments need to compromise somewhat and work with the opposition parties in order to effectively govern. It appears to be a way to make sure that if one party wants to do something that is drastically different than what the other parties want, then they really need a decisive majority of Canadian voters behind them to do so. Otherwise, it’s compromise time baby.
I like that.
Yarn Harlot has a great run-down of what’s happened and why. And, of course, it’s not all the bills the minority government brings up for a vote that can get this vote of non-confidence, just the big ones: how the government spends money and whether we go to war. Of course, this can be manipulated by those seeking to just claim power that Canadian voters didn’t give them, and certainly this is one of the things that the coalition parties are being accused of. Protests are happening around the country, both for and against the coalition. Canadian Cynic has a post criticizing the notion of the minority government having a “mandate” from the Canadian voters. And unrepentant old hippie has many posts talking about this crisis – as well as being a great go-to blog to keep track of reproductive rights in Canada. Seriously, if you’re going to click on any of my links – click on hers! She’s awesome.
One of the things pointed out in Yarn Harlot’s blog post and subsequent comments is that the ultimate decider of what’s going to go down is a woman, the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, the Governor General of Canada. While the Prime Minister is the head of government, the GG is the head of state, representing the Queen. Here’s a little example of growing Canadian political diversity: the last two GG’s have been immigrant women of colour. Of course we still have a long way to go – no women of any colour or person of colour of any sex has been elected Prime Minister. And while the Governor General’s role appears largely symbolic, times like these show just how much it also isn’t.
At the end of January, when Parliament is opened again and the Conservatives have to table another budget bill, with the government fall? Will the Coalition stick together until then or fall apart due to infighting? Or, should the government fall, will we just get another election? And if that happens will the Coalition run as such during the election?? I don’t know! Exciting!