Return of the Midnight Appointments

by matttbastard

(Current) Prime Minister Stephen Harper is quickly going nuclear, apparently about to play his one possible trump card–18 vacant seats in the Senate just waiting to be filled:

“It’s outrageous,” said New Democrat MP and reform critic David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre), whose party advocates abolishing the Senate. “I can’t believe that the Prime Minister is just literally giving Canadians the finger.”

Christopherson was angry over both Harper’s change of position and his timing.

“This is about a blatant power move by someone who does not have the legitimacy of the Canadian people in terms of the votes he got, nor does he have the confidence of the House,” Christopherson said.

“I can’t believe that the Prime Minister is just literally giving Canadians the finger.”

Why are we still surprised by the depths in which Stephen Harper will sink in order to further his partisan Conservative agenda? Ever since the election, he has comfortably settled into the role of a Nixon-like figure, veering wildly between equally potent expressions of partisan aggression and grievance, his deliberately divisive calculations polarizing the nation and Parliament along increasingly unstable regional and ideological faultlines with apparent disregard to the long term consequences.

This latest maneuver is precisely why Liberals–especially Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff–must remain firm in their commitment to taking down this government.

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A Liberal Government Without a Coalition: Clear, Refreshing and Zero Calories!

by matttbastard

pogge nails it–behold, the birth of the uncoalition:

[CTV News Ottawa Bureau Chief Bob] Fife also said senior Liberals have told him that they may not need a coalition to form a new government.

“If they do defeat the Conservative government… Ignatieff will go to the Governor General and say ‘We think we can form the government but we don’t have to do it with a coalition,'” Fife said.

“In other words we don’t have to give the NDP any seats in a Liberal government.”

He said the NDP and Block (sic) would have to support the Liberals because they already have expressed their hatred towards the Conservative government.

Y’know, I get the impression that this mysterious gaggle of “senior Liberals” who go running to Fife every time a gnat cuts a fart during a caucus meeting have an ongoing bet on who can convince CTV’s 1337 stenographer to breathlessly relay the most outrageous load of horseshit, no matter how absurd. Yes, the NDP will dutifully prop up the Grits without having a say in shaping policy. And Stephen Harper truly has the best interests of the nation at heart.

Tell me another one, Bob.

Anyway, Iggy just reiterated his (tepid) support of the coalition, stating in his first news conference as Liberal interim leader that “the ball is in Mr. Harper’s court” and that the (un)coalition is fully prepared to form a “stable” government, should the Governor General make such a request. So even though pogge’s skepticism is likely warranted (based on both Liberal scuttlebutt and Iggy’s equivocation about whether he will actually invoke the coalition option), I’m not quite ready to write off the coalition as DOA just yet. What Iggy has made abundantly clear is this: over the next several weeks the overtures and maneuvers undertaken by Harper and his minions will determine the fate of this Parliament.

One wonders if the current Prime Minister, based on the hubris he’s displayed over the past several weeks, will be able to resist hanging himself with the rope he’s just been handed.

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Apparently We’re All Supposed To Be Shocked and Outraged Now (OH NOES–SEPARATISTS! SOCIALISTS!)

by matttbastard

Shorter Stephen Harpercons:

“How dare those undemocratic Opposition leaders (SEPARATISTS! SOCIALISTS!) actually take their parliamentary duties seriously!”

Regarding the high dudgeon and great consternation from the Serious Set (farts in Bob Fife’s general direction) at the notion of the Bloc and the NDP (SEPARATISTS! SOCIALISTS!) doing the unthinkable and actually *gasp* talking with each other, what Impolitical said:

…and? It’s news that the NDP and Bloc have been speaking? In a minority parliament? How scandalous. The other parties outnumber the Conservatives and if the Conservatives aren’t acting in a manner that the other parties agree with…then such discussions are entirely appropriate. It’s appropriate to explore at any moment and lay the groundwork for alternatives in an inherently fragile parliament, which, contrary to Conservative spinning, it is.

Uncle Steve appears to have become quite enamoured with governing like he had a majority last session (thanks in large part to perpetual Liberal acquiescence) and seemed fully prepared to continue the trend in the current session. Alas, in actuality, the Conservatives only hold a minority of seats in Parliament and minority governments have to maintain the confidence of the House. If the government loses the confidence of the House, the government falls.

Maybe if Mr. Harper weren’t so hostile to the concept of Canadian parliamentary democracy he might, y’know, have a better understanding of how it works [link corrected — mb].

Regardless, methinks Fife (SEPARATISTS! SOCIALISTS!) should perhaps pay more attention to the real scandal here: Members of our government are apparently so terrified their little empire may be in decline and on the brink of collapse that they believe it’s entirely appropriate (justified, even) to employ what some might call Nixonian ratfucking tactics, specifically, “invade other party telephone calls, tape them and distribute [them] to the media”, as Impolitical put it. Or are such piddling matters simply not newsworthy inside the Queensway cocktail circuit? Oh, wait, I forgot — Guy Giorno already sent out the script, and you’re not allowed to make any rewrites mid-production.

Gotcha.

Related: Chet takes a closer look at the the ongoing meltdown in Toryland (update: more here), while fern muses about drafting a list of demands now that our not-so-New (perhaps soon-to-be-former) Canadian Government is in such a giving mood. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to pour a glass of schadenfreude shiraz to sip on while I observe the all-too-amusing exhibit of wingnut splutter and flail.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers