In an earlier post I mentioned that Canada's government is in shambles, I'd like to quantify that a bit more, though I probably won't have a proper article about it until after Christmas. What's going on is this, Canada isn't quite a democracy, it's actually a constitutional monarchy (not an official title but that's what it amounts to). Basically we're allowed to self govern until we've proven for whatever reason that we can't do so. Then a representative of the Queen steps in and makes the decisions for us. The Governor General's position is often largely ceremonial, they usually find causes to get behind and maintain "etiquette" in parliament. However, in situations like right now the Governor General has the opportunity to fire our elected Prime Minister and put in someone else. In this case that someone else would be a Liberal Party leader who's incompetence has his own party voting him out leaving him in power for 5 more months.
Canadian politics isn't like American politics. American's only have two parties which are just basically frameworks for a set of political values. In the US it's the candidate who gets voted in and sets up the executive branch, even if that candidate doesn't necessarily toe the party line in it's entirety. The only reason there aren't dozens of parties being voted into Congress is because the Corporations in the US prefer having a unified entity to pay off. Some people might think that it's a "two party system" but really it's just the powers that be like it that way.
In canada the executive branch and the legislative branch are the same, and there are more parties to contend with. (There's a Marijuana Party in Canada if you'll believe that.) Some don't have seats in the Cabinet but right now there are 4 parties who do, the Conservatives, the Liberals, the New Democrats (NDP), and the Bloc Quebecois. There is a Green Party as well who didn't win any seats but snapped up almost 7% of the vote in October. The Libs and Conservatives are roughly the equivalent of America's GOP and Democrats, with the NDP being a group of more progressive liberals strongly opposed to any sort of Canadian military action (or funding in many cases), and who generally work to ramp up government spending by bloating the bureaucracy. (Yes, I admit, I'm biased against the NDP, my Province had a New Democrat gov for 8 years and it was disgusting.) The bloc are separatists, meaning the 3rd largest Political entity in Canada's political system doesn't want to be a part of the country.
The thing is, because the executive branch and legislative branch are the same, and because there are so many parties there isn't a lot of deviation from a given party line amongst the Members of Parliament (MPs). This means that functional governments here are almost always majority governments. However for the past decade we Canadians have not been in accord, three consecutive Liberal governments through the 90's and into this millennium created a corrupt political party, and after some sponsorship scandals we elected a Conservative government into power for the first time in my lifetime. For 3 years that conservative government governed as a minority, outnumbered by the Liberals, the small NDP and the Bloc, then just after Liberal party leader unveiled a Carbon tax wealth redistribution program that would have crippled the Canadian Oil and Gas industry, the only healthy industry left in Canada the Conservatives smelled blood in the wind and called an election early, even though two years earlier they'd passed a mandate to prevent voters from having to put up with that sort of opportunistic politicking.
So the Conservatives came away from October's election with a slightly strengthened minority, and they got cocky. No stimulus plan for the Economy, no Automaker bailout, and the final straw was a political gamble to pull funding from the parties in an attempt to strike a deathblow to them. This backfired, and in the face of these audacious maneuvers the three parties making up the majority of the seats sat down and formed a Coalition with the intent of passing a no-confidence vote against the conservatives and kicking them out of power.
What this means is that despite what Canadians might have voted for we will now have a government aligned with a group who want to separate for the country. Millions of taxpayer dollars have been promised to the NDP and Bloc in exchange for their backing the coalition, and you can bet that a good portion of that money is going to Quebec to fund their goodbye party. Despite the validity of their claim to the seat of power these three parties are going to destroy the country if this no confidence vote goes through. Here's how:
a) Canadians will have no confidence in their democracy anymore.
b) Quebec's separation will be funded with federal taxpayer money.
c) The Western Provinces, having been a disenfranchised Conservative stronghold for over 3 decades will be furious as the first move a new Coalition government will be to kneecap their finances by redistributing tax revenues away from them (see: Quebec separation) and passing legislation to inhibit the oil and gas industry. This will result in a strong backing for a western separatist agenda.
In a nutshell Canada faces a democratic crisis that will either force my country to hold another election 6 months after the last one, or be forced to endure an unelected administration with sympathies for a group of rebels. (No, offense to Quebec, but that's what it amounts to.)
The worst part about all this is that I don't have a solution, other than things need to change. We need to look over our constitution and decide if we want to be a democracy in name only, a bunch of small nations with our bums planted firmly against the wall as the USA hands out wigs and lipstick, or a first world nation, strong and secure.
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