It seems like it was only the other day that I went to cast a ballot in the Canadian federal elections. The Conservative party won another minority government and we were ready to settle for more of the same when suddenly, in a matter of days, everything has changed. Basically, the opposition was so incensed by the government’s backhanded tactics and inability to govern in a non-partisan manner (as minority governments should if they want to last in a parliamentarian system) that they have united in a coalition and it looks like they will table a non-confidence vote next week. It was all supposed to happen today but PM Harper has moved the vote until next week to gain some time.
There’s been a flurry of activities all weekend with the government accusing the opposition of being “undemocratic,” which is nonsense. Anybody who knows anything about parlamentarian system knows it is well within the rights of opposition parties to unite in a coallition in order to offer an alternative to the party who holds the government when the majority of the members of parliament feel that they have lost confidence in the government. As a friend of mine has written recently to the PM himself, “If parliament represents the will of the people, is it really democratic to accuse a coalition/arrangement that would represent the majority of parliamentary seats as being undemocratic?”
PM Harper has nobody but himself to blame for the mess he’s in.
Update: There’s a really interesting discussion at the Agenda, a TVO show presented by Steve Paikin
Check also Prof. Peter Russell’s explanation of the whole affair. He was one of the guests at the Agenda and has been rightfully appalled at the way Harper and his government are misinforming the public about the legal basis of the opposition’s move.