The Coalition of the Reluctant

It looks like Stephen Harper’s bullying of the other parties in Parliament has finally come back to bite him in the ass.  The Conservatives introduced an initiative to remove public funding from political parties, although they have since backed off that proposal. This move would hurt the other parties more, since they rely on public funding for a greater proportion of their total fundraising than the Conservatives.  The opposition parties, seemingly having had enough of being bullied around, cited this along with the government’s failure to put forward an economic stimulus package as the reason why they are proposing to take down the Conservative government, and replace it with a Liberal-NDP coalition with support from the Bloc.  The Liberals will have 18 cabinet seats to the NDP’s 6, while the Bloc will support the government in confidence votes.

CBC

Harper was just addressing the country on TV, explaining that:

Opposition is attempting to impose this deal without your say, without your consent, and without your vote. This is no time for backroom deals with the separatists; it is the time for Canada’s government to focus on the economy…

This is a pretty unfair characterization, considering that those parties did get the vote of Canadians, in fact, 62% of Canadians voted for parties other than the Conservatives.  The NDP has pointed out this, linking to a site called 62percentmajority.ca from their party website.

Plus, one of the reasons why the opposition parties are even talking about a coalition is because in their view, this government has failed to focus on the economy, instead Harper has instead focused on financially destroying the other parties.   In doing so, it looks like he has brought his political career to a premature demise.

If you haven’t been able to tell from my other posts, I’m left-of-centre.  Before the election, I thought the best possible outcome would be a Liberal-NDP-Green coalition government.   With Elizabeth May throwing her party’s support behind the coalition, it looks like I’ll be getting an early xmas present if the government is defeated as expected on December 8th.

With all three opposition parties represented in the House Of Commons ready to vote “Yes” on a motion of non-confidence in Harper’s government, the only option Harper has left to prevent the coalition taking power is to prorogue Parliament, to have it not meet until a future date.   This usually happens only after the government has finished enacting its agenda, not before, and this will only delay the inevitable.  Bring on the confidence vote!

2008-12-4 at 2:49 am Leave a comment

mene mene tekel upharsin?

I nearly fell off my couch, are Harpers days really numbered? is his second term as PM only going to be a month long?This will be historical…are his days numbered.

First off lets congratulate the opposition for their ability to work together and show Harper why minority governments that pretend to be majority’s can end up where he is at.Or should we thank the big R. thats working against harper.Just a few weeks ago he was the man to be…today he is the man not to be.

For the first time in weeks Dion returned and was all smiles on television last night.Coup d’Harper seemed to bring joy to the opposition faces (tis the season to be jolly..hahahhaha).and did anyone else notice Stockwell day sitting and not eagerly applauding harper during question period?

I hear Michelle Jean has cut her tour of Europe short so she can come and deal with this crisis.Frankly its not a crisis its showing the muscle of democracy and that no one is infalliable

2008-12-3 at 3:44 am Leave a comment

Secretary of State Elect?

Its been nearly3 weeks , and today it finally happened. Hilary Clintonwas finally named secretary of state in the Obama Cabinet.Clinton not only has the credentials and expertise for the job, but she follows along a succession of women who have done their fair share.Madeline Albright to Condelezaa Rice , we all hope hilary take cues more ffrom Albright than  Rice.

Itsjust disturbing to think that we first had to question Bill Clinton about his foundation before just naming her secretary of state.As far as i can remember no one asked Gates,Holder and Jones for who is donating to their wives charity causes or who funds their charity balls or how doesthe PTA at the local school  fundraise. f in.The state of women in politics in progressive north America is just awful.

Clinton, was elected senator of New york for her exppertise , brainn and running a damn good campaign.Just because her and Bill have the same address it can not implictly mean she shares his views on all things foreign policy.The former first lady is a lawyer, senator and people tend to listen to her when she speaks.
Clinton’s nomination serves as a symbol , along with many other women in North american politics of what a misygonistic unfair society we live in.Perhaps the questions should be asked why we are celebrating her appointment after the shame the media and the Obama campaign have taken her through.No doubt clinton will do a stella job but at what cost to women?

2008-12-3 at 3:34 am 2 comments

Blogs are “clandestine newspapers” and therefore illegal, Italian judge rules

Thanks to The Register via a rather sensationalist reddit headline for this story tip.

It looks like a judge in Italy has ruled that since blogs can have headlines, they are online newspapers.  Since the Italian constitution states that all newspapers must be registered with the government, this qualifies blogs that have not registered with the government as “clandestine” newspapers.  Therefore, any Italian caught publishing a blog can be hit a “fine of 250 Euros or a prison sentence of up to two years.”   Apparently this part of the constitution was originally in place so that the government could muzzle fascist newspapers and prevent them from being printed, but it really shows how some laws are absolutely ridiculous in the Internet age.

Banned in Italy

“Banned in Italy”

Could you imagine a Department of Blogs?  A government agency whose sole purpose is to register and verify that blogs being published do not contain any objectionable material?  This would obviously a huge waste of time and money, and it would be nigh impossible to enforce standards.  A blogger who wanted to publish a blog about their fascist political views could easily find a host in a country with vigorous free speech protections, such as the United States.  The only thing that enforcing this law against bloggers will do is silence and punish those bloggers with whom certain judges have a grudge against.

It looks like the blog in question was dealing with the history of the Mafia in Italy generally and Sicily in particular, so that might be why this particular blogger was singled out for punishment.  Still, it’s scary to think that merely publishing a blog can land you in jail with a criminal record for life.  Here’s hoping that this worrying precedent is overturned by a higher court or by the Italian legislature.

2008-11-28 at 12:21 am 1 comment

social budget

I have never considered my self a cynic, but in the last few weeks i feel , i am.Reading all the stuff about recession ( which less than a month ago wasn’t really one) , listening to the politicians of economic doom to reading about the the big three or citibank.I feel like this is all hocus pocus.

Maybe i should clarify, that after Harper’s, return to a minority government , i had to read Tom Flanagan’s “death by a thousand Cuts.”A bit about tom , he is a professor from the University of Calgary, and one of the right hand advisory people for , Stephen Harper.Tom is your classic right wing type a guy , who wrote explicitly about Harper’s political intentions.

I can predict today that after watching Stephen at APEC this weekend, Jim Flaherty at  the G20 summit, the budget will be fairly consistent with Tom Flanagans conservative  Canada.

You see when Stephen came in in 2006, the first bugetary item to be cut was to the Status of women Canada, then to other so called left wing, minority rights type of stuff which he considered unnecessary.Of course he did cut the GST and gave us child tax benefit so we can all choose to stay at home.

But the cut in social spending to areas such as SWC, the groups that advocate for minority rights and many others will thankful continue to happen due to the big R..

The economice crisis may last only about 2 years but the effects of the budget cuts and changes will last a whole lot more with many broken dreams.

2008-11-25 at 3:17 pm Leave a comment

Tale of Two Senators, Part Two!

Now that the dust has settled, it looks like Ted Stevens (RAlaska) has lost his Senate seat by 3,724 votes.  Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your partisan leanings) we won’t get to see the first ever convicted felon to be sent to the Senate.  Nor will we get to see Sarah Palin choose a Republican to serve Stevens’s term.  Instead, the Democratic candidate Marg Begich will take Steven’s place, bringing the Democratic Party to a total of 56 seats.

This might be the lucky break that brings the Democratic Party to a filibuster-proof supermajority of 60 Senators, since there are two more Senate races that are too close to call.  In Minnesota, the Republican Norm Coleman was ahead of Democrat Al Franken by just 215 votes out of over 2.8 million votes cast.    Such a close result triggers an automatic recount, and it could be a few months before we see which side will prevail.  If Franken turns out to be the winner, that will boost the Democratic Party’s total seats to 57.  Which brings us to Georgia.

Georgia has a state law that says that if the winning candidate does not win at least 50% of votes cast, there is a mandatory run-off election.  In the Senate race in Georgia, the Republican candidate recieved 49.75% of the vote, triggering this runoff election.  If the Democratic candidate wins this runoff election, that will bring the Democratic Party within striking distance of a filibuster proof majority with 58 seats, plus two independents who have previously caucused with the Democrats.

One of these two Independent Senators is democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, who will probably still side with the Democratic Party.  The other one is Joe Lieberman, the “Independent Democrat” who campaigned for John McCain.

If you recall, there was some talk about stripping Lieberman of his position as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs,  It looks like Obama and the Democrats in the Senate have backed off on this, and I’m guessing that this is an attempt to keep Lieberman on their side if they should win the seats in Minnesota and Georgia.   Lieberman better hope that the Democrats win these races, because if they do he essentially holds the balance of power in the Senate, if they lose either of those Senate seats the Democrats can safely toss Lieberman across the aisle and let him join the Republican Party.  Having 58 seats is as good as having 59, but 60 is the mark needed to pass sweeping legislative changes without having to listen to Republicans giving filibusters.  I’m guessing that even if the Democrats do win these seats and appease Lieberman as they have been doing, Joe will still likely side with the Republicans.  Of course, that was my prediction before the election even happened (58 Democrats plus Bernie Sanders vs 40 Republicans plue Joe Lieberman).

2008-11-19 at 10:54 pm Leave a comment

Two US Senators with uncertain futures

In two earlier posts, I noted that one of the most interesting things about the United States general election is the fate of two Senators, one of which has seven felony convictions for political corruption, and the other one who used to be a Democrat but is now an independent who supported John McCain’s failed presidential bid.

First off:  United States Senator Ted Stevens (RAlaska).  Found guilty of seven charges of political corruption, he was up for reelection on November 4th.   It was a close race, and the votes are still being counted, but it looks like Mr. Stevens will be the first convicted felon to be elected to the United States Senate.  This is an interesting predicament, since there is no way that the Senate will allow a convicted felon to be seated in the Senate.  What happens then?  The governor of his state is allowed to pick an interim replacement until the next election.  The governor of Alaska, I’m sure we’re all aware of her by now, is none other than John McCain’s Vice Presidential candidate: Sarah Palin.  The most interesting outcome would be to have Mrs. Palin appoint a temporary successor, and then she could run in a special election to find a permanent replacement for Stevens.   Parlaying a failed Vice Presidential bid into a successful Senate run would be very interesting, and would put her in a good position to run for President on the Republican ticket in 2012.  Palin 2012?  Not as unlikely as we’d like to think!

Embattled US Senator Ted Stevens

Embattled US Senator Ted Stevens

The other Senator in an awkward situation is United States Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Connecticut).  If you’ll remember back to 2006, when Mr. Lieberman was facing reelection for his Senate seat, there was a grassroots challenge in the party primary for the party nomination.  The challenge was partially successful, and stripped Lieberman of his Democratic Party nomination in favour of Ned Lamont.  However, in the election that followed, Mr. Lieberman ran as in Independent, officially under the banner of the Connecticut for Lieberman Party, and recieved enough support from Republicans to defeat Ned Lamont and retain his Senate seat.

Senator Joseph Lieberman

Senator Joseph Lieberman

Mr. Lieberman was a vocal supporter of John McCain in his failed Presidential bid, and could be seen at McCain campaign events more often than McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin.  Now that the Democrats have won the Presidency and control of the House and Senate, and there could be ramifications for Lieberman.  There is talk of stripping Lieberman of his spot as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, but Lieberman has already threatened to switch to the Republican Party if the Democratic leadership does this to him.

I’m thinking that there will be ramifications for Lieberman’s support of McCain and attacks on Obama during the campaign, despite the fact that Obama is apparently willing to allow Lieberman to stay on in this capacity.

As an aside, some gloating: my election prediction was 99% correct, if Missouri goes Democratic as expected.  I did miss the one electoral vote that Obama will receive from Nebraska, but successfully predicting 364 out of 365 electoral votes is not too shabby, I think!

2008-11-12 at 10:19 pm Leave a comment

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