James Moore…

Today James Moore, the newly minted Conservative Heritage Minister was interviewed on As it Happens about the political brouhaha going on in Ottawa. In addition to trotting out the usual bogeymen and strawmen, James Moore said something a little interesting and something I can address. He stated that he has not talked to any Canadians who want the Coalition government to go ahead. So, I have decided that I will call and email Mr. Moore relentlessly so that he has heard from at least one Canadian who wants the progressive Coalition. I urge all my faithful readers (5 of you, as far as I know) to inundate Mr. Moore with telephone calls and emails so that he will have talked to one of us who supports the Coalition! Here is a link to his site and his contact information.

James Moore

Tri-Cities Office/Bureau
2603 St. John’s Street
Port Moody, BC, V3H 2B5


Ottawa Office/Bureau
House of Commons
Chambre des communes
Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6

WTF is happening with the Federal Government?

I have been fielding a lot of questions about what is happening with federal politics right now given the threat of the opposition bringing down the government. So here is Canadian politics 101:

– The Canadian parliamentary system operates usually with majorities. That is one party takes a majority of seats (155) in the House of Commons. Convention dictates that the Governor General (GG) would then ask the leader of that party to form a government.
– In situations where one party does not win a majority then convention dictates that the GG would ask the leader of the party with the most seats to form a government. Now there have been situations where this has not happened. Notably the King-Byng affair. King did not win the largest number of seats but he was a sitting prime minister and he was able to put together a coalition with the Progressive party to govern. The government did not last long due to a scandal. King asked GG Byng to dissolve parliament and call an election and he refused. Instead he opted to ask Arthur Meighen to form a government as there had been an election recently. This is what the coalition of Liberals and NDP are counting on.
– Here is how things stand right now the Liberals are going to introduce a motion of non-confidence. Basically if it passes, it means that the members of the House of Commons have lost confidence in the government. If this motion passes then the government falls. The GG can then call an election or ask the new coalition to form a government.

Here is a press release from the Canadians for a Progressive Coalition:
Hello everyone,

What a weekend! The Liberals and NDP have agreed to form a coalition government with support from the Bloc Quebecois. With our help, they will bring down the Conservative minority government on December 8 with a vote of no-confidence, and form a coalition government with mixed cabinet.

This week, we can expect a massive campaign trying to discredit the validity of a coalition government. There will be millions of dollars put towards this. It is absolutely critical that we respond strongly. We may lack the money, but we, the 60% of Canadians who voted for progressive platforms, certainly have the numbers. We will need to push with everything we have this week to show the country and our MPs that Canadians support a progressive coalition.

Canadians for a Progressive Coalition is a non-partisn grass-roots movement that was formed shortly after the election to organize Canadians to show their support for a progressive coalition. As of Sunday at 9PM PST well over 4,000 people have signed the petition, over 2,500 have joined the Facebook group, and over 4,000 have watched our YouTube video.

That’s a good start. There are two goals that we need to accomplish this week: First, to show the media convincingly that Canadians support a progressive coalition. Second, to show our MPs that Canadians want a progressive coalition.

What can you do?

1. If you have not done so already, please sign the petition. We will submit the petition to Parliament on Thursday December 4, which is shaping up to include events across the country. We will submit the updated petition again on Monday December 8, the day of the confidence vote.

2. Forward this message to people who use email, and speak with people who don’t. Speak with your friends and family and show them the YouTube video.

3. Phone either your MP, or the President of the local Riding Association of the party you voted for, to tell them you support their party forming a coalition government.

4. Write letters to the editor, call in to radio shows, and post comments on news stories and blogs. We have included a guide with some key messages and facts to help you.

People are preparing events for this Thursday. We are planning a series of “Candles for a Coalition” gatherings and rallies accross the country. We are meeting with other organizations that are driving action on this issue Monday morning to coordinate our efforts and will report back to you shortly.

Finally, email us at campaign@progressivecoalition.ca if you would like to become an organizer in your region.

Canadians for a Progressive Coalition

PS – Check out another group rowing in the same direction: http://www.smartvote2008.ca/

Federal Election 2008: Don’t forget to Vote

Tomorrow is the election. I hope everyone remembers to vote. I suspect when all is said and done there will be little difference in the make up of the new Parliament. If there are gains made, I suspect they will be for the NDP and not the Liberals or Conservatives. At the end of the day, this was an election we did not need nor want and in fact it was against the law passed by the Harper Cons fixing election dates. I guess he figures he can ignore laws as well as Canadians.

I also think that once the US election is over a lot of this financial turmoil will die down. It seems somewhat contrived to me.

Well, it’s official!

Harper has pulled the plug and we are going to the polls on October 14, 2008. Is this an election we need? No, it is not. It is Harper’s attempt to turn a minority into a majority and he thinks he can do it right now. Never mind that he passed legislation setting the next election for the fall of 2009. And why did he do this you may ask? Well, for the answer, let’s go to the source. Here is a quote directly from Stephen Harper stating that fixed election dates will prevent parties from calling snap elections and “trying to manipulate the calendar simply for partisan advantage.”

Given that his government is very much intact. There have been no threats of non-confidence votes. With the Liberals in disarray there is no reason to think that he could not succesfully govern for another year and have an election that he has already outlined in legislation. It seems that he is doing this in the hopes that he can get enough momentum going to form a majority government. I can only hope that Canadians see through this and recognize it for what is: an attempt to grab power. Let the games begin.

The Conservative Rats are Jumping Ship!!

In light of the probable upcoming federal election, it would appear that the Conservative rats are jumping ship. Unfortunately the ones who are quitting provided most of the depth of experience to Harper’s cabinet. David Emerson, Loyola Hearn and Monte Solberg have announced that they are not running again.

It comes as no surprise to me that David Emerson has decided to quit. After being elected a Liberal in Vancouver-Kingsway and crossing the floor to become a Conservative Cabinet Minister – his chances of re-election were slim and none. He was the target of a very long “de-elect Emerson” campaign that one can still see lawn signs for in the riding. No doubt he would have been dogged by disgruntled constituents whereever he went with no hope of even winning his seat. David Emerson, while unable to listen to his constituents certainly can read the writing on the wall.

Losing three key cabinet ministers does not bode well for the Harpies. It is hard not to speculate as to why. While it is clear why Emerson is not running again, that is not the case with Hearn and Solberg. One has to wonder if the short leash Harper keeps his cabinet ministers on has begun to feel like a stranglehold. No doubt as they head into the election Harper’s minions are going to be everywhere to ensure that everyone stays on message. Unfortunately for Harper, radical right-wingers are notoriously hard to control. Rob Anders is a perfect example of an MP with radical right-wing views who is hard to control. He once called Nelson Mandela a terrorist! He has also had controversy and court challenges to his continued nominations by acclamation.

By pulling the plug on his own minority government Stephen Harper risks losing it all. Some Canadians are going to view him as greedy and arrogant thinking that he can get and deserves a majority government.  Canadians are not generally favourably disposed to avarice and pomposity. We tend to like our politicians humble and simple. Just ask Brian Mulroney…

Can Stephane be the ‘little Liberal who could?’

So, folks, it looks as though we are going to have an election. Nothing official so I guess we are in the official unofficial period before the actual election is called. The Conservatives (Cons hereafter) have already started their attack ads. It looks like the Liberals are in complete disarray and don’t stand a chance in hell of even getting a minority government….but…you never know what can happen and I would argue (and seriously hope) that Stephane Dion has been completely underestimated.

Now, the skeptics among you would definately laugh at me. I think the man needs serious pressure to actually accomplish something. Look at what he did in the Liberal Leadership Race. He was not expected to win it – he was fourth when the convention started behind an ex-hockey player. Yet somehow, through guile and wit he pulled it off. Granted he needed three votes to actually win it but he does have cred as a dragon slayer. He took down Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae both formidable politicial opponents. To their credit, they have remained loyal to him even though he took them out, so to speak.

Another thing about minority governments (here is where that Masters degree in history comes in handy) in Canada is that the party that forces the election generally pays at the polls. This realty combined with the fact that the Liberals were in shape to have an election has kept Stephane from pulling the plug. It has made him look like a patsy. I am hoping this is strategy on his part. He certainly didn’t look like leadership material going into the convention and he was seriously underestimated by his opponents. I seriously hope the Cons and Harpie make the same mistake. They are just arrogant enough (somewhat like Michael Ignatieff) that this is a real possibility.

One can also hope that one of Harper’s right-wing nutbars will shoot his or her mouth off creating a big gaffe for Harper to deal with. It is one thing to control a tight group of caucus members, it is quite another to control every candidate in every far flung area in Canada. I believe this is a reasonable hope as right wingers have a penchant for doing this kind of thing. Which is why Harper has kept such a tight lid on his caucus.

We shall all now start wishing and hoping (praying, meditating..whatever works for you!!) for a Liberal Minority Government.

I am going to hope that Stephane is going to be the little Liberal who could…either that or I am completely delusional and will require serious medication.