Thursday, December 4, 2008

Some comments on the current political crisis in Ottawa

During the most recent election campaign the Conservatives portrayed Stéphane Dion as an inept, bungling, dangerous candidate for Prime Minister.

Since the election, a mere seven weeks ago, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has managed to foment a political crisis on top of the economic crisis that we currently face. As it now appears likely that the Conservative government will prorogue Parliament, having obtained the consent of the Governor General, the Conservative government under Prime Minister Harper has narrowly averted a constitutional crisis. Still not satisfied with the current dismal state of affairs, Prime Minister Harper is raising the spectre of a renewed national unity debate with his continued references to 'separatists' participating in the Liberal/NDP coalition. Has Prime Minister Harper no shame? Who now is the inept, bungling, dangerous Prime Minister?

We should all bear in mind the following points when considering the political crisis that we now find ourselves in and the possible responses to this crisis:

First, Prime Minister Stephen Harper violated his own election promise to hold elections on a fixed schedule by calling the October 2008 election, citing a 'dysfunctional' Parliament as the reason for holding an election.

Second, in spite of having had over two years to win the trust of the Canadian electorate, the Conservative government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper failed to gain the support of over 62% of the Canadian electorate, obtaining only 143 seats, insufficient for a majority.

Third, although Prime Minister Harper vowed to participate in a more civil Parliament, within days of opening the current session of Parliament the Conservative government introduced motions in their economic update that were mean-spirited, partisan and clearly designed to fracture any spirit of co-operation among the political parties. Furthermore, the economic update failed to provide any meaningful vision or plan for dealing with the worst economic crisis that Canada has experienced in the past fifty years.

Fourth, the other three parties in the House of Parliament represent Canadian voters and have been duly elected by over 62% of the Canadian electorate. It is their duty to attempt to form a government if a majority of the members of Parliament have lost confidence in the government.

Fifth, to deny the legitimate right of the other three parties to attempt to form a government because of their political views, no matter how much we may disagree with them, is to attack the very heart of parliamentary democracy and is the response of tyrants and demagogues.

Clearly, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative government have lost the confidence of those who have been elected by the voters of Canada to represent them in Parliament. The Liberal/NDP coalition must now be given the opportunity to form a government. To do any less would violate the system of parliamentary democracy which has served us well for the past 141 years.

I realize, of course, that this posting has nothing to do with CBC Radio Two, but it must be said.


Cindy Stephenson said...


I enjoy your posts. Have you read this email about pending Conservative plans to slash $200 million from the CBC's Parliamentary grant? A friend just forwarded me the link. Here it is:

James Wooten said...

Hi Cindy,

Thanks for forwarding this. I had not seen it before and, if it's true, it's very alarming. All the more reason for keeping a close eye on the Conservatives and for supporting a Liberal/NDP coalition, if indeed it forms the next government.