There’s an old Chinese saying that suggests: “May you live in interesting times.” Thankfully, we don’t have to live in China, but when it comes to the political situation at the federal level in Canada, these indeed, are interesting times.
In fact, by the time you’re reading this on Tuesday or Wednesday, any number of things may have already happened to dramatically change the political landscape including yet another useless federal election in the amount of $300 million on the taxpayer’s nickel, the forced removal of the Conservatives by the opposition parties through a non-confidence vote thereby forcing the dissolving of Parliament by the Governor General who has the right to ask the opposition to form a new government, or we’ll see the status quo for a while longer while the prime minister licks his wounds and schemes a way to get out of it whilst trying to save some face.
But by all indications, that isn’t going to happen.
In yet another dastardly move intended to ultimately bring him absolute power, the prime minister kicked off the entire mess when he decreed that funding for a public subsidy intended for political parties will be cut while simultaneously plunging a dagger in the back of democracy in this country.
Luckily for all of us, the combined opposition is stronger than the federal government and democracy, at least for the next little while, is still safe in Canada.
In case you haven’t heard, the prime minister announced over the weekend that his government has backed down from a threat to eliminate a subsidy paid to political parties from the public purse. While the Conservatives are flush with cash, the other parties are scrambling to pay their bills from the last election and are basically broke.
So it appears the primer minister was all geared up to pounce on that fact by removing the subsidy that amounted to $1.75 for each vote gained by the opposition, and effectively destroying them, leaving the door wide open for his uninhibited ascension.
Oh sure, the prime minister tried to justify the act by claiming his government has to tighten its belt due to the financial crisis that’s gripped virtually every geographic area on earth with the possible exception of Saskatchewan.
But isn’t it just a bit hypocritical of him to deny the other parties of the subsidy, which amounted to around $30 million, and force another ridiculous election to the tune of another $300 million?
What kind of economics are those? Even the most diehard of Conservatives must be shaking their heads over that one. After all, a well-trained ape could figure that out – and ultimately, someone in their caucus must have as well, and over this past weekend the prime minister announced they had ‘shelved’ the idea until a later date.
Unfortunately for him, it didn’t end there.
According to the opposition, the prime minister was so keyed in on eliminating any roadblocks to ultimate power that he has neglected to act in any way to protect Canada in the very same global financial crisis that he earlier claimed was the reason behind cutting the subsidy in the first place.
As a result, the House has lost confidence in the Conservatives and for a rare time in Canada’s political history, all the opposition parties have been united in one cause – that being bringing down the government and forming their own, and how bizarre is that?
Not only has the prime minister become a modern day Nero fiddling while Rome burns, but he’s also managed to unite the separatists, the socialists and the federalists all in an effort to end this calamity once and for all.
As early as this past Monday morning, the National Post reported that over the weekend a deal was struck that will see that Michael Ignatieff become prime minister in a Liberal-led coalition if the opposition parties do bring down the Conservatives in a no-confidence vote this week.
It went on to say that outgoing Liberal Leader Stephane Dion would step aside and that leadership Bob Rae would receive a senior cabinet post. The Post reports that the plan was presented to the Liberal caucus on Monday afternoon.
Also Sunday night, the newspaper reported that the Liberals and NDP had agreed on sharing cabinet seats, although there were conflicting reports on the number of portfolios each party would get. A number of sources also said Dion and NDP Leader Jack Layton had agreed to a coalition of two and a half years with the NDP getting 25 per cent of cabinet seats. The report did not say how large the cabinet would be, which portfolios the NDP would get or what role the separatist Bloc Quebecois would play in all of this.
Of course, the prime minister quickly went on the attack accusing Dion and the Liberals of seizing power without the support of Canadians, and he could very well be right.
But while Rome burns and he fiddles, many may see it as a case of the pot calling the kettle black, especially in light of the fact that he only received slightly more than one-third of support from voters in the October election.
So brace yourselves for a bit of a rocky road ahead over the next little while, including a strong likelihood that we’ll all be heading back to the polls just two short months since we were last there.
Like the ancient Chinese used to say, these indeed, are very interesting times.