Saturday, December 6, 2008


Members of Parliament from every Party stripe, from every region, now back in their home ridings for the holidays are surely getting an earful from their constituents over the recent political charade in our Nation's capital.

The constitutional crisis which gripped the country a mere two weeks after the resumption of Parliament engaged Canadians substantially more than any of the elements leading to the October 14th, Federal Election. But, after that election I think just about every Canadian wanted their officials and their Parliament to concentrate on measures to cure our economic ills rather than devolve into the... dare I say it? Three-ring circus which brought the Harper Government to its knees.

Down here in the American deep south, supporters of the conservative religious right hail their ideology with a bumper-sticker captioned: WWJD - "What Would Jesus Do?". After Thursday's determination by the Governor-General to allow the House session to prorogue until January 26, it is pointless to speculate. Still though students of Political Science may one day ask: WWAD? - "What would Adrienne (have) done?" I am of a mind to assume that the very high-profile, politically savvy former Governor-General, Adrienne Clarkson, might have been far less secretive about the process, deliberations, consultations, the politics involved in making such a historic, precedent setting decision.

There were no winners in the Parliamentary and Constitutional imbroglio that gripped Canada during the recent ten day period. The country lost because our politicians dropped the ball over the economic crisis. Until the Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty, tabled his ill-conceived economic update on November 27th; Prime-Minister Stephen Harper was said to have a "handle" on politics...but it broke! The success of the hastily conceived coalition of the willing to bring down the government may have helped tear the Liberal Party apart and hastened the planned departure of its Leader, Stephane Dion. Okay, that may be a weak plus.

Word in Ottawa is that although it was dithering in the Leader's office which caused the "Keystone Kops" like comedy of errors over Dion's reply to the Prime Minister's speech on is veteran Liberal Party videographer, Mick Gzowski, who will walk the plank. Prompting a party insider to suggest of the Leader and his entourage: "I am a fucking Liberal, and I don't think they're competent enough to run the Government."

The New Democrats came as close to power before week's end as they ever will. It is rumoured that it's been for some time the former Leader Ed Broadbent's vision to form a ruling coalition with the Liberals. Mr. Broadbent was intimately involved in the negotiations which resulted in Monday's historic agreement between the Liberals and the NDP with the support of the Bloc Quebecois. Word now is that the former New Democrat Premier of Ontario, Bob Rae, a front runner to replace Stephane Dion as Liberal Leader, is embarking on a pre-Christmas mission to shore-up the coalition and enhance his effort to grab the helm of the Liberals.

Students of obscure Parliamentary history may note that Mr. Rae may be the only Member of the House of Commons with direct hands-on experience over toppling a minority Federal government. Back in the fall of 1979 when the 6 members of the Quebec based "Creditiste" (Social-Credit) Party withdrew their support of Prime Minister Joe Clark's minority Progressive-Conservative Government: It was a young first term New Democrat MP, you guessed it, Bob Rae; who tabled the motion of Non-Confidence that toppled Joe Clark and led to the return of Pierre Trudeau as P.M. in 1980.

Doubtless the current New Democratic Members of the House of Commons, including the current Leader, Jack Layton, would like nothing better than to topple the Harper Government after the January Federal Budget with one of theirs, and possibly the "new" Liberal Leader, as Prime-Minister in waiting.

NOTE FROM BILL: I'll be taking a few days away from the "blog". This is your opportunity to catch-up on previous missed posts. Or to access some of the interactive elements in the left-hand column of this page...including the daily Ottawa news updates and the live webcam feeds from Parliament Hill and the War Memorial.

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