David Fernandes
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Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category

Ten arguments against a coalition, and how to debunk them.

Mon ,01/12/2008

1) The Lib-NDP coalition is a ‘coup’.

Actually, a coup is an illegal seizure of power. A coalition government is not only legal, it’s constitutional, has happened before in Canada and is commonplace all over the world.

2) It’s an ‘unholy alliance’ because it relies on the Bloc for support.

I’m curious as to what a ‘holy’ alliance is? The Bloc is a federal political party that advocates for Quebecers in the same way that the Conservatives are a federal political party that advocates for rich people. The Bloc is left of centre and so is the NDP. Occasionally, when opportune, so are the Liberals. It is a strategic alliance, not a religious one.

3) The coalition is a cheap power grab by sore losers.

Political parties exist for one reason: to enact legislation that they believe is in the best interests of their constituents. Harper certainly tries. If one or more opposition parties decide they can agree on enough things to run the government, then power to them. Grab it. Both hands.

4) This is a ‘socialist’ / ‘communist’ plot to take over the country!!!!!!!

There’s a great movie from the 80′s called Red Dawn. Watch it. It all came true. The USSR parachuted in millions of soldiers into your neighbours’ living rooms, and they all voted NDP, Liberal, Bloc and Green – well, ok, only 62% of them did. Lock your doors. They look just like you.

5) We need Stephen Harper right now because he’s an economist

He’s an economist that thinks that selling your country’s public assets, bullying its employees and silencing its opposition are plausible ‘ways and means’ to run a country in the face of the largest economic crisis since 1929. They have provided nothing in terms of economic protection for Canadian home owners and renters and nothing to Canada’s largest employing industries – manufacturing and automotive. So, if that is the type of economist Harper is, I would much rather have a lawyer and a professor running the country. And if they can figure out how to work with a separatist party, in a framework that is stable and progressive, than all the more power to them.

6) Ha! I knew it! The NDP-BLOC planned this all months ago – Jack Layton said so! It’s a ‘backroom scheme’.

Layton and Duceppe speak regularly as opposition leaders and made contingency plans like any other opposition parties do in a minority parliament. In fact, in 2005, the Conservatives, Bloc and NDP were signatories to a letter to the Governor General asking her to consider all her alternatives in the event of a dissolution of parliament – IE, the possibility of a coalition. The only ‘scandal’ here is that the tories illegally recorded and broadcast a private conversation, when they knew they were invited to it accidently. 

7) The people voted for Stephen Harper! You are trying to overturn the election results!

Actually, the people voted for political parties. They gave the tories a minority, which means the prime minister must work WITH the other parties in order to pass as little as a fart. In Canada, our parliament has a sort of checks and balance system called ‘responsible government’, which means, the ruling party – the party that gets to form the government – must enjoy the ‘confidence’ of the house. Usually that means they need the majority of the votes to stay in power. The Conservatives do not have a majority of the seats and have shown unprecedented (even for them) callousness and shortsightedness in their economic update and have lost the confidence of the house. Therefore, the GOVERNOR GENERAL must decide whether to call an election, or to give power to another group of parties.

8) Canadians did not vote for a ‘coalition government’.

No one voted for Harper to act like a demagogic jackass either. The opposition parties, representing 54% of the seats in the house – the majority – have every right to try and form a government. They will do so with a formal agreement that outlines how they will work together, and what legislative priorities they will have. Those priorities were voted on by Canadians and in fact more Canadians voted for the policies of the Bloc, NDP and Liberals than did the Conservatives. Furthermore, those priorities will have to be a compromise of sorts between the three parties. This kind of negotiating ensures that policies that Canadians DID vote for DO get enacted. 

9) The Bloc is a SEPARATIST PARTY!! THEY WANT TO DESTROY CANADA!!!

The Bloc is a FEDERAL political party that operates only in Quebec. And although they are separatist, there is no way at all they could ‘destroy Canada’ by voting in the Canadian parliament and no way that the Liberals or the NDP would support a Quebec separation motion. Furthermore, the Bloc represent 65% of the seats in Quebec and have always been strong advocates of publicly funded and delivered social programs for all Canadians and Quebecers, peaceful use of our military, pay equity and a long list of other progressive legislative ideas. A coalition would work with the Bloc to identify progressive ideas that they could implement for a 2.5 year period. Sounds pretty constructive to me.

10) The NDP should not enter an ‘unholy alliance’ with the Liberals because it will weaken their policies.

As it stands right now, the NDP is the fourth largest party in the parliament with 37 seats. Entering into a coalition with the liberals would give them 6 of 24 cabinet positions and would guarantee that at least some of their platform is implemented. The NDP could never accomplish this sitting by itself in opposition and frankly, it is high time the NDP start acting like a real power broker in parliament. That’s why we elected them. And heck, what better proof of your ability to govern is there than governing?