Monday, November 28, 2005

Canada's Government Falls

Canada's Government Falls.

Well, that's a marginally better title than what BBC had - Canada's Government Thrown Out.

For my American friends, in Canada, the government is a parliamentary system. There are 308 MPs (Members of Parliament) in the House of Commons. If the government has the support of less than 50% of them on a No-Confidence vote, it falls and it's time for an election. Unlike USA, power is not concentrated in the hands of one man (see comments below).

Currently, prior to the No-Confidence Vote, the Liberals had 133 elected MPs, so they had to rely on other parties for support. Well, that didn't happen today.

The mudslinging has already begun. The leader of the Liberal Party (our Democrats equivalent), Paul Martin, has already labelled the Opposition party, the Conservatives, as the "neo-con alliance". The Conservatives (our Republicans) have called the Liberals the thief who cried fire so everyone would leave the store and then he would rob the cash register. This is of course a reference to the sponsorship scandal that provoked the crisis in the first place. It's like two kids insulting each other "my daddy strongest". Then again, it's Christmas, time for good cheer and all that. And who to provide the laughs better than our elected representatives?

The small leftist party, the NDP (our Ralph Nader but with actual power), basically said how good it has been for the last year and no one paid any attention. The separatist Bloc Quebecois said some crap in French. We will not talk about them in my blog unless I want to insult that French separatist party. A party that wants to break up Canada is a bunch of traitors in my book.

As I looked at the Liberal caucus, one thing struck me immediately was the presence of so many minorities. We have a Sikh young woman MP, Ruby Dhalla, who some was voted one of the Hottest MPs in Canada. We have Muslims, Chinese, Asians, Greek, black MPs and so on. It's a diverse bunch.

Maybe that's why when Stephen Harper (Bush Jr and leader of Conservatives) spoke to his caucus, he made some prominent minority members of his party stand behind him on the podium (brown guy, Chinese woman, smart blonde woman (Rona) - all rare breeds I'm told in that party, especially after Belinda Stronach left the Conservatives to join the Liberals). What makes it more ironic was the fact that Belinda's boyfriend was Peter McKay, deputy leader of the Conservatives.

PS. The by-election that I blogged about here and here and here, was won by Liberal candidate Bas Balkissoon by a landslide (over 50%). However the voter turnout was only 19%. The weather was very bad on the day, it was snowing, windy and whiteout conditions at the time. Probably played a factor in the elections, with many people deciding the Liberals have this in the bag (it's considered a safe riding) and thus staying at home. I wish Mr Balkissoon all the best, hope he can hold the provincial Liberals to the same standards he had at City Council, when he uncovered the MFP scandal.



AT said...

I think it would be interesting to see, who comes next. My dad would be voting for the conservatives and being a rebellious son (LOL), I would be voting against the tories. Even though I am a member of the green party, I think i will end up voting for the liberals. It doesn't matter, who i vote for, from my area, for sure the liberals will win. Last time liberals won by 60% vote. This time this MP won't get that much vote because he angered some people (including me) by not supporting gay marriage.

Therefore, i left the liberals and joined the greens.

Aisha said...

power isint concentrated in one man's hand in the US... it may seem such on TV, and its certainly what the one man wants, but if you're going to discuss our political structure its not so... i'm sure you're aware of three branches of gov't.

Hadeel said...

thanks for your comments mezba. even though there are a lot of issues with our government, i'm proud of its diversity (there's always room for improvement of course....)

mezba said...

Aisha, sorry about the misconception then. I always thought the US president was all-powerful. After your comment I went and did some lookup. I found that though he has veto powers over decisions his decisions must get the stamp of approval from Congress as well. So essentially in theory they cancel each other out. This is important then - Bush alone cannot be 'blamed' for the Iraq war, all those in Congress who supported him has to be 'blamed' as well.

Arnab, are you a voter from Toronto? To my knowledge all liberals east of Vic Park did not support gay marriage - and this reflected the popular will of their ridings as well. In downtown there were some ridings where there was support for gay marriage - but it can only bite the Liberals if the riding is split between NDP-Libs, such as Jack Layton's riding or Olivia Chow's. If the riding is Con-Lib, then you know who people will choose.

mezba said...


You are welcome. Yes the diversity in our politics is to be applauded. The more people you meet, the more open your mind is to new ideas, and less are you biased by prejudiced views.

AT said...

yes, you r tell u the truth, if u take a poll right now, more than 50% of Canadians would go against gay marriage. However, you see, in a democratic system, you take care of most of the population. You don't just care about the majority. BTW, no I am not a gay. this is the problem of supporting tolerance for gays because then everyone brands u as a gay....

Anyways, I predict a liberal government again. What do u think? I really don't want conservatives to come. The first thing they would do is send Canadian troops to Iraq and the second thing they would is destroy gay marriage legislation. Third thing, increase the university pay and I will be kicked out of UofT because i won't be able to pay my tuition.

Therefore, if conservatives come, I am out. Therefore, I will vote for the Liberals to stop the conservatives from coming. May be after I finish my uni, i will vote for the greens.

AT said...

however, i think in the case of national unity, the conservatives would do a better job. I mean the albertans would be happy and I think conservatives would be able to increase more confidence among quebeckers because they follow libertarian policy, which gives more power to the provinces.

Anyways, the only reason quebec is with us because of money. When I go to Quebec, it feels like I have entered a new country. Everywhere the Quebec's flag is flying. Even though the bus drivers know English, they would speak in French. How stupid! In Ontario, we are very helpful towards the French people but in Quebec, it's just sad. It's like free education for the international people but $1500 for Canadians.

In Ontario, at first you are a Canadian and then you are an ontarian. However, in quebec, you are at first quebecker, then french, then roman catholic, then whatever ur family, then your neigbourhood identity and finally you are a Canadian, which they don't really give a crap about.

I don't really see the point of keeping the Quebeckers in Canada since they don't give a crap about us. Nevertheless, I want them to stay because otherwise we would loose our french heritage. More importantly, the time I took the learn French language would turn out to be useless. They can separate after i die or something. :-)

mezba said...

Hi Arnab,

I feel Harper is again scuttling his own ship by bringing up gay marriage. Even though I was against same sex marriage as I believe marriage is a union between opposite sexes, but what is passed is past. You cannot take away rights passed by Parliament, then where do you stop? We debated SSM, people tried to play up their concerns, campaigned for it, and then Parliament took a decision. That's that.

I agree with you hundred percent about some Quebec people hating Canada. I am going to post sometime in the future on my "experience" in Hull with the language police. I wish Harper would just say "you know what, people of Quebec, I dare you to try and separate from Canada. I think most Quebecors if given a clear Yes/No choice will choose no." He isn't getting any seats in Quebec so might as well try that.

I was watching the National tonight and the polls reported there said most Canadians, even in Alberta, believe Paul Martin would do a better job at national unity. However, I think that's just because Quebec people do not like Harper. I was talking with a colleague and he was saying la Belle Province was being stupid. In the past, the government usually went the way Quebec went. If they voted conservative, the government would be Tories. If they voted Liberals, the Grits would come to power. Now they vote for the Bloc. If Ontario ever decides to go Conservative, then suddenly Quebec will be shut from power. For that to happen though, the Conservatives must ditch Harper, Stockwell Day and a bunch of others.

When I was a student I could afford to be a Liberal. But now that I work, I find that a lot of my income (33%) go to taxes. Some people I know who are on welfare really should not be. Either they are cheating the system or they are just lazy moms who have multiple kids with multiple fathers and expect society to protect for them. I think society SHOULD provide for them (otherwise crime will go up) but to some extent. If my money is going to be mismanaged, I would rather it would be ME than the government. SO I am in favour of tax cuts, tougher punishment on crime, tougher bills on terrorism and so on.

On the other hand, the Liberals have managed the country well over the last decade. The only complaint I have with them is they have not taken care of new immigrants who come here for their skills but cannot enter the profession here. Then there is Harper's position on Iraq. And not to forget Stockwell Doris Day.

SO I am the perfect undecided voter here. I will probably make up my mind at the last minute. I will blog about it as I go along.

Zainub said...

Good write up, always is interesting to read about the political happenings in other countries.