Saturday, December 06, 2008

Coalition Crisis, Yarrgh

I have to admit I'm getting a real kick out of Canada's sudden "coalition crisis." It's not just that I'm hoping to see Stephen Harper get trounced, or that I believe it really IS time for Liberals and NDPs to join up and stop splitting the vote...I'm mainly excited because stuff like this doesn't HAPPEN very often in Canadian politics.

First off you've got Harper's lackey presenting a preliminary budget and an economic statement that is both ridiculous AND a punch in the progressive nose. Rather than nurse their sore noses and let Harper get away with it, the three opposition parties ganged up and utilized a totally bizarre -- but also totally legal -- parliamentary move which allows them to simply kick Harper out of power and replace him...with themselves!

As if that weren't fun enough, everybody's screaming at everybody else because this tricky maneuver requires the cooperation of the Bloc Québécois, the stinkiest party in Ottawa. Every few years it is necessary for somebody to cozy up with the Bloc, which prompts a firestorm of insults from everybody else: "Your party is in bed with the SEPARATISTS, and therefore you HATE CANADA!" What's amusing is that few people outside of the parliamentary chamber actually believe this rhetoric, especially since the people yelling those insults had no doubt cozied up to the Bloc just a year or two before. That's the case now, and it was also the case the last three times this happened.

It's hard not to view Canadian parliament as childish. They're no more cynical and immature than other governments, I'm sure, but they also tend to secretly WANT TO GET ALONG. So even when they scream and shout at each other, you know that deep down inside they hope it'll all blow over and they can all be friends.

But this time, it's like one of the babies in Parliament pushed the other babies down...and then they all pulled out GUNS! It's like, wow, you guys MEAN it this time! You really HATE each other! This is SO COOL!

I can say this with an air of amused detachment because I have no doubt that things will work out just fine. It's easy to get outraged about the microscopic elements of Canadian politics, but when I view it from a two- or three-year distance it all looks pretty much the same. That's good for unity, but bad for engagement.

I like it the way it is.


Syd said...

Like most of my fellow Americans, I was totally ignorant and needing a hand-holding walk through. I'd like your take on this one from PoE News, if I may.. just because you're one of the few Canadians I can talk to who isn't on Poe News.

Once upon a time you posted to PoE a bit.. it is pretty dead, but PoE News is quite alive, and this seems like a pretty good explanation. It helped clear things up for me (see my dumb comments later in the thread).

Also, you should come and chat sometimes on PoE News.. you're incredibly cool, and it can be fun if you ignore the inevitable in-jokes.

I first found your site when I saw what a nice person you were on PoE.. I remember a defining quote: "That's just the kind of Muffy I am!" :)

Adam Thornton said...

That's an excellent description on PoE News! The poster knows way more about our political system than I do.

I personally have grown wary of forums...I start obsessively checking them, and then I start arguing, and then I get unhappy.

I find that the more I avoid that sort of situation the happier I ultimately am. :)

Anonymous said...

Hmm, No offence to you Canadians, but it certainly looks like your politicians have a lot to learn from our politicians about the art of making an entertaining spectacle of themselves. Amateurs!

Adam Thornton said...

You're right, JJ!

They certainly call each other names and make threats, but they tend to stop just short of outright stupidity, maybe because they sense the populace wouldn't believe it.

Anonymous said...

There are three great "tamashas" (spectacles) here: politics,cricket and bollywood (in that order).

Apart from the political system, is there any thing else that differentiates Canada from the USA? To be honest, unlike with say Australia, I really never think of Canada as being part of the Commonwealth. I always kinda assumed that Canada is just a satellite nation to the USA. :)

Adrian said...

Yes, the cold weather is worse, which keeps the riff-raff out.

Syd said...

Metric system! Also, Yanks call Kraft Dinner "Kraft Macaroni and Cheese". Otherwise we're best buds.