What now, Coalition?

Posted: December 5, 2008 in Uncategorized

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?

Yes 42% results bar
No 57% results bar

Total Votes: 1841

  1. Mark Francis says:

    I believe that it is possible, given Harper’s sudden conciliatory tone after meeting with the GG, that the trade-off Harper has made is that if he does not survive a confidence vote in January, if the coalition remains viable, he won’t get an election.

    Sadly, due to the lack of transparency, we really have no idea what went on in that meeting.

    The GG represents a gaping hole in our democracy, as does the unelected PM’s powers.

    And don’t get me started about our barely representative parliamentary system.

  2. Beijing York says:

    The NDP-LIB coalition desperately needs a better PR manager/adviser. The coalition idea was being treated as novel and thoughtful for the first few days until Harper unleashed his PR machine and twisted everything around. Seriously, there were a few days there where conservative media pundits were calling Harper toast and suggesting he resign. That in itself was, no pun intended, quite the “coup” 🙂

  3. magpie mayhem says:

    Mark Francis: Yeah. Some comedy script writer needs to do one on Ms Jean’s courtesy call to P.E. Obama which, of course, starts with the punch line: “Queen’s Representative in Canada speaking”. The nature of the office of G.G. might have predicted the response we got, not to mention the timing was good. The Obama crew will be starting up around the same time as Cdn parliament resumes and – shudder – change will roll out nice and smooth across the continent. Beijing York, the real coup is in the Con vs Coalition dust-up coming together on cue to divide the grassroots along tried and true lines. Yes the Cons whipped up separatist hysteria. But why was it that the Coalition’s 3 wise men couldn’t find the High Road with GPS? One school of thought has it that all the characters played their parts exactly – right down to the producer of Dion’s home movie, rated 5 stars.

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