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What the Heck is Going On?

Ok, so as a student of political science, I should probably be a bit more obsessed with politics. I’m not – I hate politic in fact, and often don’t even listen to the news every day. As a result, the potential dissolution of the Harper government came as quite a surprise to me as I listened to the radio while driving home last night.

I am no fan of Harper’s by any stretch of the imagination, and I was tremendously relieved when he did not get a majority government in the last election. So it would make me very happy to see him removed from power. But I have some deep reservations about this ‘coalition government’ that is potentially in the makes. Keep in mind that I know very little about how the Canadian government works (I am more well versed in US government mechanics), but a few things about this are worrying me.

First, who would be Prime Minister? Dion has already stepped down. The Liberal government has no leader. The last election made it clear that Canadians have no faith in the Liberal party right now, especially with Dion as a leader. It is in a shambles, internally disorganized and with no clear leadership. So how are they in a position to run the country? Are they going to just randomly pick someone to take over the leadership position? Will they hold arm-wrestling competitions? Given the choice, I would much rather have the Liberals in power than the Tories. Nevertheless, I have issues with the Liberal party picking someone as their leader who the country has not had a chance to vote on.

My second concern is much deeper. I am not convinced that the general population will get what’s so bad about Harper’s latest budget proposal. I suspect many – perhaps most – will see this move to take him down and put a coalition government in place as a power grab by some sore losers. I can’t see how a coalition government is going to last any length of time (I mean really, how are the Liberals, NDP and the Block going to agree on ANYTHING once they are not fighting the Conservatives?). When that government dissolves and we head back into an election, Canada is going to be so sick of all this bickering that we may very well give Harper a majority government just to be done with it.

Then we will really be in trouble.

My final frustration is with the media. I just spent an hour wading through on-line newspapers and blogs, trying to get a sense of what’s going on, and what it all means. But I have found very little analysis. Most are just listing a few facts, then arguing with their opponents from different blogs. Why is it so hard to find solid analysis these days?

This latest budget proposed by the Tories does seem to be quite flawed, and potentially dangerous. I don’t understand why Harper continues to ignore the global financial crisis and act like it’s all going to be over by Christmas. We are in a very serious situation and ignoring it is not going to make it go away. And how could he ever think he could pass something like cutting public funding to political parties? Of course that was going to be rejected.

Is this a strategic plan on the part of Harper? The man is extremely intelligent. Perhaps this is all intentional, a power grab on the part of the Tories. This would not surprise me. Politics is not about doing what is good and right, but about doing what gets you power. I suspect Harper is too smart to put forth a budget doomed to failure, unless that failure is part of his plan. So while I do think this budget needs to be rejected, I am deeply concerned as to how this coalition is going to work – or should I say not work – and the aftermath it may cause.

Canada, we are between a rock and a hard place. And we have no say in how to get out of it.


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