My friend Mike has written an interesting post about Canada’s ongoing political situation, and the possibility the Conservative minority will be replaced by a Bloc-supported NDP-Liberal coalition:
stephen harper, who is huge fan of blind canadian patriotism à l’américaine, has taken it upon himself to re-align the country along more populist lines. the frightening thing is that he does not just do this through legislation (i.e. “screw the scientists; safe-injection sites have to go!”), but he does it by changing the icons of our national heritage (i.e. “it’s not a coalition; it’s a coup d’état!”). basically, harper is applying the traditional centralised power of the prime minister’s office in a manner that is reminiscent of the american political system. in other words, he’s playing baseball with a hockey stick.
herein lies the rub (and the danger): what stephen harper is doing in this scenario is pretending that he not only has a parliamentary majority (which he doesn’t), but also that he can govern by divine right since his government was directly elected. this is incorrect, and he knows it.
Since it is interesting – and because I am too busy to write anything substantive today – I suggest that readers go have a look at the whole post. It makes a good case for both better understanding of Canada’s existing political system and traditions and for some ways in which they could be usefully modified.
On a related note, Watawa Life has a photo of ‘Hotties for Harper’ protesting against the coalition on Parliament Hill.
[Update: 28 January 2009] As of today’s Liberal response to yesterday’s Conservative budget, it seems the possibility of a coalition is dead, at least for now.