Category Archives: News and politics


I’m just going to ignore these things until January. I don’t need to be disappointed with Canadians’ shaky grasp of their own government over Christmas.


Un bombe nucleaire

Andrew Potter, in the Blackberry Roundtable:

So where does this leave Quebec? Harper has dropped a bombe nucleaire on his party’s hopes of ever winning more than a dozen seats there. He’s supposed to be a master strategist — what’s the strategy for a majority now?

My impression of Stephen Harper today is about the same as I felt about Bush and Company after 2004. I was certain they were going to “catch” bin Laden just before the election. Turns out they weren’t political geniuses after all – they were just faking it.

Crisis postponed

Rick Mercer has summarized this past week’s political excitement (and he did a good job too). He concludes:

Meanwhile, this great democracy of ours has ceased to function. We have no government because they just can’t get along. It is a mess that defies comprehension but has one simple solution.

We need one more strange-bedfellows event: a historic press conference at which Stephen Harper and Stéphane Dion apologize to their country and then to their parties. And then they resign — no questions please.

Because, quite frankly, they deserve one another — and Canada deserves better.

Even I, who mistakenly thought Dion was the best of a dozen leadership choices (who better to win back the trust of Quebeckers than one of their own?), would be happy to expedite his departure if he took Harper with him.

I am pretending to study

But mostly watching the television.

CBC says Parliament will be suspended, but the PM hasn’t spoken yet.

Politically, this is has to be the dullest possible outcome. I was hoping for something interesting to happen.

UPDATE moments later:

Straight from the PM’s mouth, confirmation. Ironically, this suspension is partly motivated by the perception that we need a better budget and fast, but that budget is now put off until January 26 or so.

More numbers (no math)

There may be more insanity than substance in this poll, but it’s good to see what Canadians are thinking nonetheless.

  • 35% – The Tories should remain the government.
  • 40% – Want change. Any change.
  • 37% – If the government falls, the opposition coalition should take over.
  • 32% – If the government falls, we should hold a federal election.
  • 25% – Huh?

(This is an online poll, which immediately marks it as dubious in my books, but Angus Reid says the margin of error is only +/- 3.1%.)

It’s pretty obvious that the country is not outraged by the socialists and separatists’ attempt to subvert democracy and overthrow Our Directly Elected Leader. The change and no-change people are statistically tied, and the people who couldn’t care less aren’t far behind.

There is some irony that not enough Canadians want a different government to make an impressive statistic, but they are numerous enough to elect themselves a majority government if they were more coordinated.

A fortuitous decision

It just occurred to me that Stephane Dion must be pretty pleased with himself for not resigning immediately after the election.

Semantics and Mathematics

It bothers me too that the Tories keep describing this kerfuffle as a coup.

Let’s pretend he’s vaguely serious. If this was indeed a “coup,” would the Prime Minister not be obliged to declare martial law, call in the military and round up the leaders of this insurrection? Forget proroguing Parliament or rescheduling opposition days in the House, if the Prime Minister and his government are serious about the threat to our nation, let’s see tanks on the Hill. Anything less would be irresponsible, no?

And the media is playing along; I heard someone call it a “putsch” a few days ago. Points for creativity, but honestly, a putsch?

Coup is one of those serious words that has serious consequences and shouldn’t be used for theatrical effect. You wouldn’t call something a genocide unless it was actually a genocide.

MPs belong to a small group in society who are allowed, by law and by custom, to seize the levers of power. It’s like how your doctor gets to cut you but your neighbour does not. Now if someone came along and replaced the MPs, that would be a coup…

Finally, fulfilling the titular requirements of this post, some math:

Conservative popular vote               5,208,796
Liberal + NDP popular votes             6,148,746
Coalition + implicit support from Bloc  7,528,737
+ Green Party for good measure          8,466,350

You’re outnumbered, boys. Things which are constitutional are not necessarily democratic, but in this case the “coup” is both.