Sunday, April 3, 2011

Election Time In Canada - Game On! Hopes for a Liberal Government

Hurray! Stephen Harper's Conservative minority government was defeated in the House of Commons on Friday, March 25, 2011. After a visit by Harper to Governor General David Johnston the next day, an election date was set for May 2.

Canadians who may be tired of elections and disinclined to pay attention should. The government was defeated in the House of Commons by a motion of non-confidence for withholding documents related to the cost of its law and order agenda, specifically the cost of purchasing F-35 fighter jets, and making changes to the country's justice system. (More prisons, anyone?)

No sooner had the writ been dropped than Harper was off talking about coalitions and the threat they pose to Canada's 'fragile' economic recovery. In his third attempt at a majority government, Harper's campaign is based on fear. Fear of the outsider (Ignatieff) Fear for the economy, and fear of a coalition government, which is most absurd of all as Ignatieff ruled the possibility out moments before Harper gave a press conference where he brought it up in just about every other sentence. As one reporter wrote for the Globe and Mail, Harper is running the campaign of an, "angry outsider."

Some reading this entry may have read my analysis of Michael Ignatieff, posted to this blog a few months ago. I quoted him saying, "I take unscripted questions." He was referring to the Prime Minister taking only scripted questions at a G8 / G20 Youth Conference. Last summer Ignatieff traveled across Canada on an 'unplugged' summer tour, and he's still using the unscripted approach in this election, taking plenty of questions from voters and reporters alike.

Contrast this approach with Harper, who is taking only five questions per campaign stop - two from French media, two from English, and one from local media.

Instead of taking this compare and contrast of the two leaders any further, I'll come right out and say I hope the Liberals get at least a minority government after all the ballots are counted on May 2.

Since Harper became Prime Minister in 2006, his government has controlled the message with an iron fist, denying access to information for both Members of Parliament and reporters alike. Harper also took to firing people whose views he didn't agree with, like former Canadian Nuclear Safety Commissioner Linda Keen.

The Conservatives actions while in government have spoken loudly enough for me. It's not the occasional allegation of breaching lobbying rules that bothers me, nor am I even that miffed when one of Harper's cabinet ministers is of the opinion that Toronto should "fuck off"

It's how the Conservatives have behaved over the course of six years in power that infuriates me. Nobody who treats the electorate and the bureaucracy like this deserves to run Canada. Take a hike Harper; you may run a political party, but you're no leader to me.


On another note, I've found a fantastic version of the Genesis song 'Carpet Crawlers', originally recorded for their album
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, a double album released in 1974. 'The Carpet Crawlers 1999' was re-recorded for Turn It On Again: The Hits, and was the last song the band recorded. Alas, I have no online link for the song, so here's the link to the Wikipedia entry.

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