Winnipeggers opposed The Rogue, Dec. 4, 2008, at a spirited rally at the Marlborough Hotel. Photo: Boris Minkevich, Winnipeg Free Press
Media reports put attendance at the Winnipeg rally at about 500. I was there; it seemed larger. It was (as were all of the rallies across the country yesterday, I imagine) part public relations exercise and part group therapy. We publicly demonstrated our support for a coalition government to replace Harper and we got a chance to vent our collective outrage at Harper’s antics.
This is all well and good. But it left me wondering, where do we go from here? Will the leadership of this movement continue to mobilize and if so, to what end?
I’m beginning to think that the Parliamentary battle to replace Harper was lost as soon as Michaelle Jean gave Harper permission to suspend Parliament. When he comes back at the end of January, having held power for three months, the option of a transition to coalition government may be theoretically possible. However, I think Jean will play safe, and if the government falls at the end of January, she will dissolve Parliament and we will be into an election.
Which brings we back to my earlier question: to what end should this coalition be mobilizing? An election favours Harper, not so much because he is popular with Canadians, but rather because the anti-right wing forces in Canada are fragmented and our electoral system allows MPs to win their seats with the smallest of pluralities.
None of Canada’s Opposition parties, by themselves, can take enough seats to win even a minority government. If the Coalition is serious about replacing Harper it has to be prepared to contest the next election as a Coalition.
This would involve, among other things, an agreement between the Liberals, NDP and Bloc to support each other’s currently elected MPs in this election.
Scary stuff, yes. But absolutely necessary if we are to rid the country of Harper and the dangerous brand of politics he represents.
Below is the latest Winnipeg Free Press Readers’ Poll. It’s a snapshot taken at 9:30 Central Time today.
Should Parliament have been suspended?
Total Votes: 1841