1.26.2009

holding our breath as parliament reopens

January 26 has finally arrived.

On that awful day when the Governor General allowed Stephen Harper to suspend democracy to avoid a no-confidence vote, January 26 seemed so far away. Our hopes had been raised so high, thinking we'd have a new government, then crushed.

Now here we are - minus two war resisters - on January 26.

For non-Canadian readers, today is the Throne Speech, the day the Government, through the Governor General, outlines its goals and how it plans to accomplish them. Coming after the unprecedented events of last November and December, this must be the most anticipated Throne Speech in Canada in a very, very long time.

Tomorrow, Harper brings his budget to Parliament. After that, we hold our breath. Either the Government will fall and the Liberals and NDP will form a coalition government, or the Government will survive. It's theoretically possible an election will be called, but no one expects that.

Most insider-politics people believe the Harper Government will survive. And given what I know of the Liberals - that their only concern is what's good for the Liberal Party - I am inclined to agree.

Leader Michael Ignatieff probably wants more time to solidify his leadership and demonstrate himself as Opposition Leader to voters. At some point there'll be an election and Ignatieff will hope to form a government on his own terms, without a coalition. He's been able to use the idea of a coalition as a weapon, a threat, but it's unlikely he has real intentions of forming a government with the NDP.

And Harper probably has tempered his budget enough so that Ignatieff will have a plausible out. Ignatieff will be able to say he can live with it, for now.

It makes sense.

Yet still I hope.

I don't care how chastened Stephen Harper is since he got the scare of his political life last November. I don't care how many bones he's thrown the Opposition in the new budget. The economy is paramount, but it's not the only issue. I want this Government to fall for so many reasons.

Of course the future of the war resisters is foremost in my mind. Our supporters in Parliament have promised us that if there is a coalition government, the war resisters will be safe - that they will not be forgotten among the pressing economic concerns.

And although I strongly dislike Ignatieff and his right-wing values, I'll take an Ignatieff-led government tempered by an NDP coalition over this Harper Government any day.

Like tomorrow, or next week.

21 comments:

James said...

I've already started hearing Tory radio ads about "the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc dragging us through that coalition mess again", criticizing the idea on the grounds that it creates "uncertainty" and they should just let the Tories "deal with the economy" -- as if producting a budget, regardless of content, is sufficient to deal with the current mess.

Dharma Seeker said...

The goverment will survive for now. Key words: for now. I saw a prominent political scientist named Henry Jacek speak at an alumni event last week and for what it's worth he sees a coalition government as an inevitable eventuality. He also called it very early on - he started talking about a Liberal/NDP Coalition back in October - before the election! It was during an interview he did for the Globe and Mail. I don't want to pay for the article but it's been re-printed on a blog - I will e-mail you the link. Don't lose hope.

L-girl said...

Thanks, DS. I won't lose hope!

With respect to Henry Jacek, I'm not really into political punditry. There are a lot of opinions out there. The only thing that matters is what actually happens.

West End Bob said...

I'm with you on Ignatieff, L-Girl. He will no doubt find something in the budget to give him an "out" to support it. Plus, he is not exactly a model for Canadian progressives.

Given that, if there is any way to chuck harperco via the coalition or even an Ignatieff-led minority government, it would be a vast improvement . . . .

L-girl said...

Plus, he is not exactly a model for Canadian progressives.

Indeed. He's not progressive at all. The Liberals are not progressive anyway, and he's at the far right end of their party. There's little difference between Ignatieff and some of the moderate Conservatives that you find in the GTA.

Kevin said...

I am trying to be cautiously optimistic today for Canada. I'm excited to hear Jean's Throne Speech, and see if any of the issues are going to be addressed.

I'm hoping against hope that the Harper Led Tory government crumbles.

gomonik said...

I've already started hearing Tory radio ads about "the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc dragging us through that coalition mess again", criticizing the idea on the grounds that it creates "uncertainty" and they should just let the Tories "deal with the economy" -- as if producting a budget, regardless of content, is sufficient to deal with the current mess.

Oh, those ads tick me off so much... the Tories are playing it as if they had nothing to do with the whole crisis of confidence in the first place. They must think we are either stupid or have the memory of fleas.

L-girl said...

They must think we are either stupid or have the memory of fleas.

That's what they're hoping.

Completely off-topic, Gomonik, I wonder if your mind works like mine, full of unconscious puns. You said the ads "tick you off" and "the memory of fleas". :)

I do stuff like that constantly. I'm talking about going for a blood test and I say something is "in the same vein" - little word puns that I'm not aware of it until I say them. Constantly - it must be how my brain works.

When I saw ticks and fleas in the same sentence, I thought, he does that too! :)

Kevin said...

Has anyone found a transcript or audio/video source for the throne speech? CBC doesn't seem to like me enough.

impudent strumpet said...

here

Kevin said...

Thank you Impudent Strumpet!

Kevin said...

Sorry for being comment spammy today, L-girl!
Our Government is acting to protect the vulnerable: the unemployed, lower-income Canadians, seniors, Aboriginal Canadians and others hit hardest by the global economic recession.
I agree this does sound like Harper trying to extend a small olive branch to Ignateiff's Liberal Party.
I don't have a whole lotta hope for tomorrow now.

L-girl said...

Not spammy, Kevin, no problem. :)

I think we all knew Harper would want to sound more conciliatory since his near-death experience in November and December. If the budget looks like something the Liberals would put forth... we're fucked.

For now.

JakeNCC said...

From listening to Jack yesterday it really doesn't matter what is in budget because Harper won't follow through with it. Another words he lies in his budgets. Also one of the networks last night, ctv I believe, said IF and thats a huge IF Iggie were to bring down the government he would try to form government without a formal coalition. Not sure how that would work. Sounds like he would want to govern with NDP votes but without NDP cabinet ministers.

L-girl said...

There's no shortage of speculation, that's for sure. But I don't think the Liberals can form a government without a coalition.

Obviously I agree with Jack.

Ignatieff is talking tough, but is there anything behind it?

JakeNCC said...

Oh and another thing Jack said yesterday was that there is only a 6 to 9 month window after an election to form a coalition if government falls. After that time period convention would dictate that an election be called. Of course convention also said that the Governor General would not prorouge parliament just to prevent a government from falling. So I don't know.

L-girl said...

But I don't think the Liberals can form a government without a coalition.

That is, without an election, of course.

gomonik said...

I wonder if your mind works like mine, full of unconscious puns. You said the ads "tick you off" and "the memory of fleas". :)

ha! I didn't notice that at all! I don't think I have a habit of making unconscious puns, but maybe reading your blog is rubbing off on me subconsciously. I will have to pay closer attention to what I write! :)

Kevin said...

I know, I know, old thread, but I've got an ear on the CBC.ca audio stream, hopefully to hear the budget get voted DOWN!

Kevin said...

And unsurprisingly Ignatieff wants to review before voting.

L-girl said...

Tomorrow morning at 11. Everyone is predicting it will pass, but I am clinging to hope. Why not, who does it hurt. :)