Thursday, December 04, 2008

Proroguing and Partisanship

In typical fashion for historians, I want to wait a bit before posting more on the significance of the last five days. But in the meantime, I'm trying to think about this issue beyond my own partisan leanings.

One issue that seems to be cropping up regularly as an argument for why Michäelle Jean should not have granted Harper's request is the fact that since Parliament has been prorogued until late January, this will give Stephen Harper over six weeks to spend Conservative money on advertizing to bash the coalition partners and perhaps fragment their alliance. I don't doubt that this is true. But is this really a valid, non-partisan reason to oppose Governor General Jean's decision? If the other parties were not deeply in debt and unable to spend, would this be an issue? I doubt it. For all that I loathe the Harperites and the way that they use their money, they have proven extremely adept at grassroots fundraising. And to my mind, that's not a reason to oppose proroguing.

Now, using his position as Prime Minister for the next two months to enact policies and make government appointments when he lacks the support of the House - that's a completely different bucket of fish heads...

The Liberals may yet find that the Governor General has given them a gift. But will they take advantage of the next two months to get themselves a new leader and some post-Green Shift direction? For their own sakes, they had better hope so!

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At 9:15 am, Anonymous Vancouver realtor said...

Do you think Liberals are able to strengthen their positions in these two months? I think Harper knows what is he doing - unity of this coalition is very fragile and he has some chances to convince one of them...
But I think we are heading towards new election anyway. AGAIN. When is this going to end??

At 10:32 am, Anonymous Eamon said...

I'm sure you're aware of this update... but Iggy looks poised to take the leadership this week. While I wasn't a fan of any of the candidates, and I don't like that it will be a caucus vote that makes him leader, I think its a good move to get Dion out of there. The coalition is giving the Tories a huge lead in the polls.. and I'd suggest that that has something to do with the possibility of Dion becoming PM. I almost feel bad for the guy, Canadians really seem to hate him. This leads into a question: do you think the polls are showing strong Tory support because Canadians don't like Dion? Or because they don't like the coalition (I know many people don't like the Bloc being involved)?

At 8:40 pm, Blogger Matt said...


I figured that I'd have a couple more days to ponder your question before the coronation of Iggy. I agree that Dion definitely had to go.

As for the polls, I think it's a combination of both the factors your suggest - plus a third - voters don't want to go back to the polls yet again, and prefer some stability in rough economic times. I suspect that most voters would be perfectly happy to see the government stay in place for a while, but make concessions to the other parties along the lines of a stimulus package.


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