One has to wonder if proroguing parliament at the end of the year is going to become a new Canadian tradition. After all when you have pesky investigations, which are not going well, looming on the horizon it seems wise just to shut the whole thing down. We certainly wouldn’t want the negative results of an investigation being released during the Olympics, it might sully Canada’s reputation.
It is unclear why Harper would have any concern about our reputation. We have been given the ‘fossil of the year’ award at the Copenhagen climate change summit. We have likely handed over Afghan detainees who were later tortured. The RCMP tasered Robert Dziekanski to death because he held up a stapler and committed the ultimate sin of not speaking English. This really does not bode well for the thousands of tourists who are going to descend on Vancouver in a little over a month.
Working on substantive issues is far more important than being able to strike new committees in the Senate. Apparently, the Conservatives, who are close to a majority in the Senate, think that it is appropriate to prorogue Parliament so the committees can be re-formed. Personally, I think it is far more important that all the work that has been done on various bills, and by committees completing investigations be preserved. Does the government actually think that the Opposition would let the issues go?
Proroguing Parliament again will demonstrate to Canadians that Stephen Harper is afraid of democracy. Harper does not want the findings of the Afghan committee to be released. Proroguing once to stop a confidence motion was one thing, this time there is no overt threat to his minority government. There are no coalitions in the wings threatening to take over.
Even though Ignatieff has said that the Liberals would no longer prop the Conservatives up, they are in no position to bring them down. It would also be foolish for the Liberals to do so at this time as they are in disarray and have no chances of forming the government. It is in their best interests to take time and rebuild and potentially find yet another leader.
I have said it before and I will say it again – we need a leader! There are very serious issues that need to be handled by someone with vision and the leadership skills to pull it all together. We may not always like the decisions a government makes. Many people were against Chretien’s decision to keep us out of Iraq. However this decision not only proved to be correct but prescient. It feels like eons since Chretien resigned. I miss him.
Ok, I am seriously wondering what the Liberal Party of Canada is going to do in reaction to the election results. I think it is seriously telling that Stephane Dion had a press conference scheduled for today and he cancelled it. The Liberal Party are mercenaries when it comes to having power and they are currently sitting in the political wilderness with a leader who can’t connect to people and no chances of resurrection and no heirs apparent in the wings. Justin Trudeau is too young and too untested to get the leadership and do it justice. This does not sit will for the ‘natural governing party’ of Canada.
My point, because I do have one, is I think they are going to do some bold. I am hoping they are engaged in talks to bring back Jean Chretien as an interim leader until the party can be rebuilt and a new leader can be crowned. This scenario is not outside the realm of possibility. Pierre Trudeau retired and came back. Jean Chretien is very similar to him in terms of leadership style – after all he served with him for many years. As far as I know, Chretien has no pressing reason not to do this for his party. I would love to see Jean Chretien mop up the floor with little Stevie Harper and his sweater vests.
I am not sure how many of you follow British politics (or Canadian for that matter) but I find politics quite fascinating – which may explain my MA in political history. There have been many similarities in the relationship between former PM Jean Chretien and his then Finance Minisiter and former Britis PM Tony Blair and his Chancellor of the Exchequer (AKA Finance Minister). Both underlings had been stalwart supporters of their leaders and arguably, had brought about much of their respective PMs success. But both had larger ambitions under party leaders who did not want step down.
What happenned to Paul Martin is well known here. Paul wanted to be PM because he wanted to be PM. He had no vision nor agenda. Paul’s father had wanted to be Prime Minister but had been thwarted. Once he became PM with no real agenda he basically foundered. He catered to the provinces (child care, gas transfer taxes) and he seemed to go about just trying to make everyone happy. Until the Gomery commission started releasing his findings. He could not weather that storm and now we have Stephane Dion.
I don’t know a whole lot about current British politics. However I do believe that history is about to repeat itself. Gordon Brown, saddled with an unpopular war does not seem to be making much headway. He also appears to be the victim of a perfect storm of political demise: terrorist doctors, flooding of biblical proportions and now a resurgence of hoof and mouth disease. It will be interesting to see if he is able to rise above the legacy of Tony Blair and lead the country successfully through this crisis or will he go down like Paul Martin.