Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: Canadian Government on Hold

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Canadian Government on Hold

A couple of days ago, we talked about an attempt by the parties in Canada that tend more to the left to bring down the minority Conservative government that was brought into office less than two months ago. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was facing a no confidence vote in the coming week, and the only way to avoid it was for Governor-General Michaƫlle Jean, the representative of the crown, to prorogue, to suspend Parliament.

Whatever Harper may have needed to do to get that result, he did it, and he got it. Parliament is on hold until January 26. There will be no vote of confidence next week. Harper has dodged a bullet. There's no telling what might happen once Parliament comes back into session. The same no confidence vote might be in the offing, but Harper has the better part of two months to shore up his strength and undermine the liberal coalition that has formed in opposition to him. Support for Harper collapsed in response to an economic package he was proposing, so there's now time to pull it back in and retool.

Unfortunately, suspending Parliament like this means that, well, that Parliament's suspended and can't do anything. No one in Ottawa is voting on economic stimulus packages. Canada cannot respond to the economic downturn it's experiencing with its neighbor to the south and with the rest of the world. Presumably Governor-General Jean didn't make her decision to give Harper more time lightly. She may have thought he had a better chance to make his government work than the coalition did. She may have felt that the nation didn't need another election so quickly. Whatever her reasoning, Canada runs the risk of paying a significant price for having a paralyzed government at this extremely tenuous time.


Post a Comment

<< Home