Re: The Harper Image

1

(you could say I know Nunavut--ha!)

Yukon, Stanley. Yukon.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:11 PM
horizontal rule
2

The third has already happened: Parliament has been shut down until January.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:12 PM
horizontal rule
3

Oh sweet, I was hoping for a stupid pun state. The whole Maple Leaf State thing is pretty much incidental, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:12 PM
horizontal rule
4

I was hoping for a stupid pun state. thread.

What is a state but a thread with an army, after all.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:13 PM
horizontal rule
5

the worst Canadian political crisis EVER

I might just be ignorant but -- is there content to this statement? When I think "bad historical Canadian political crises", I draw a blank.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:17 PM
horizontal rule
6

In 1608, some of Champlain's men plotted to murder him, and hand over the newly founded settlement of Quebec to the Basques. I bet that was pretty fucked up.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:19 PM
horizontal rule
7

This site doesn't do a very good job of contradicting essear's instinct to blankness.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:20 PM
horizontal rule
8

Can it really be the worst Canadian political crisis ever if Quebec isn't trying to secede?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:30 PM
horizontal rule
9

What the crisis has revealed:

1. Harper and his Conservatives are exactly the kind of nutcase movementarian-wannabes that their detractors long said they were. They were cagy during their first minority, but as that drew to a close they had gotten visibly sick of acting like "moderates" and tried a frontal attack on cultural funding that cost them a majority government in this Parliament. After being denied a majority that was obviously theirs by right, this same crowd started spewing psychotic bullshit about having an "absolute- power minority," and evidently actually believed it; what touched the crisis off was a ridiculous provocation of a "fiscal statement" that contained no economic stimulus package but plenty of attacks on opposition parties and organized labour. The timing of these shenanigans is magnificently Shrubbian in its cluelessness, compounded now by Harper getting Parliament suspended -- at an awfully key juncture -- so's he can spend a few weeks figuring out how to save his own skin.

2. A lot of Canadians have learned their civics from American television. Harper and his party have been trying to claim that a coalition taking power through a vote of no confidence is some sort of "coup d'etate," which to anyone who knows how the parliamentary system works is an obvious lie. But a not-insignificant number of Canadians have been taken in by it; this may well have influenced Jean's decision to prorogue Parliament. (Harper's contention that a coalition including the separatists is un-Canadian is comical; he himself proposed entering such a coalition with them to unseat the Liberals in '04.)

3. Jack Layton has charismatic flair as a politician and party leader, whereas Stephane Dion -- whatever gifts he may or may not have as a policymaker -- still manages to look like a man who's wandered into his position from student government. The Liberal caucus is visibly chafing at having to cope with a crisis like this under Dion's leadership, and if there's one thing that could sink the planned coalition it's probably their fear of the boost such a development would give to Layton and to the NDP (a party one Liberal MP characterized, somewhat ridiculously IMO, as "vicious"). Who knows but that these bizarre times may yet see a role reversal and the Liberals reduced to the junior party on the left in another four years.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:32 PM
horizontal rule
10

Apropos the prior thread, Quebec + DC + Texas would make a pretty entertaining country.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:32 PM
horizontal rule
11

I think the context is Quebec's longstanding liberation movement, which, at some points, included bombs and stuff. This one is probably worse in the same way that Bush v. Gore was worse than the escalation of domestication violence, resulting from opposition to the Vietnam war, here in the late 60s and early 70s. They don't have anything near as cool as a civil war, though, so we still kick their ass.

(I'm speaking above in my voice as an American. Remember, though, that I'm half Canadian. Which half? That's for me to know and you to find out -- but only if you're lucky. Regardless, I have what DuBois called "double consciousness". This, of course, makes me a particularly acute observer of North American culture -- not to mention rather more admirable than the average bear.)


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:33 PM
horizontal rule
12

Pwned, I see. Serves me right for trying to help with the kids when I should have been commenting with my usual laserlike focus.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:34 PM
horizontal rule
13

Your mistake was giving in to the pernicious idea that students have some significance to the academic enterprise.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:36 PM
horizontal rule
14

This, of course, makes me a particularly acute observer of North American culture -- not to mention rather more admirable than the average bear

Just like in Midnight's Children!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:36 PM
horizontal rule
15

Given the time, ari might have meant his own children, assuming he has any.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:36 PM
horizontal rule
16

"coup d'etate,"

I'm reporting DS to the FLQ.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:37 PM
horizontal rule
17

15: Worse. Women's work.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:38 PM
horizontal rule
18

5: "bad historical Canadian political crises"

Prior to this, the October Crisis of 1970 was probably the worst political crisis modern Canada faced. (FLQ terrorists, War Measures Act, etcetera etcetera.) Lucien Bouchard's 1995 referendum campaign is probably in second place, as the last major challenge by the separatists to federalism. (The BQ have since become separatists in name only.)

The October Crisis was more dramatic, but this one is arguably much more fundamentally dangerous to Canada, which wasn't facing a major economic crisis in the prior two scenarios.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:40 PM
horizontal rule
19

I'm sure you're Canadian where it counts, ari.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:43 PM
horizontal rule
20

18 was me. Someone else must have snuck "d'etate" into that previous post, I would never make such a mistake.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:43 PM
horizontal rule
21

Hey, DS, can you go rustle up some Albertans (aren't they the conservative ones? Or is it Newfies? I can't keep it all straight) to comment, so we can watch real, live Canadians arguing?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:47 PM
horizontal rule
22

I'm sure you're Canadian where it counts, ari.

I know I am.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:54 PM
horizontal rule
23

21: Better yet, you can watch such an argument from a safe distance here.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:54 PM
horizontal rule
24

I want to know what Adam Yoshida thinks.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:56 PM
horizontal rule
25

As I mentioned elsewhere (and so did Colbert, I've found), Rachel Maddow is a Newfie.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:56 PM
horizontal rule
26

Thanks for the explanation (in 9), DS.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:57 PM
horizontal rule
27

||

It's a link to my blog, but really, everybody should see this.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:57 PM
horizontal rule
28

Sorry, but why is this a crisis for the constitutional fabric of the nation, exactly? Has some actual basic principle been violated so far, or is it just Harper's harmful rhetoric implying he might?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 8:57 PM
horizontal rule
29

DS has a good summary. What's interesting is that Harper has a lot of friends in influential positions in media (CTV/canwest/global conglomorate, eg.) and they've been running ridiculous headlines and more ridiculous editorials.

The public debate has also been heavily influenced by claims that the coalition being backed by the Bloc Quebecois (a regional, Quebec party which has as one of its founding aims separation of Quebec from Canada) makes the coalition separatist or beholden to separatists. This is ridiculous for the reasons DS has already mentioned, but it has also led to a lot of attacks in national media against Quebec in general. What's interesting is that Quebec is in a provincial election and the election is on Monday. Some people are wondering how this federal crisis and all the anti-Quebec rhetoric will push the provincial election more towards the separatist party (a federalist party has been in power in Quebec, though here too it has been a minority government).


Posted by: parodie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 9:02 PM
horizontal rule
30

26: No problemo!

28: why is this a crisis for the constitutional fabric of the nation, exactly?

It isn't. (Although to be sure, a PM pro-roguing Parliament to avoid a vote of no confidence is an unprecedented bad precedent.) It's a crisis for the urgent business of a nation saddled with a self-proclaimed "absolute-power minority" that's lost the confidence of the House.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 9:04 PM
horizontal rule
31

Personally, I'd put the October Crisis and the sovereignty referendums above this as far as crises go. This will now likely end in January with either an election or the coalition government taking power (there's a bizarre possibility that Harper could replace the Governer General with someone that will follow his bidding and refuse the coalition's proposal to take power, but even that would probably just result in an election - the coalition would keep voting no confidence I'd imagine).

Anecdata: my parents are very very conservative (as in, spent a lot of their political lives in fringe parties because the conservatives were not right wing enough), they hate what the coalition is trying to do, but they are also completely mystified by what Harper thought he was doing, and are less than completely gung-ho about his leadership. Their preference is for another election.

Personally, this has made me realize what a paucity of good political leadership there is in Canada, and just how awful Harper is. He seems to have seen the cultural divide that's made the US so difficult to unite and thought, hey, I bet I can ride that to power. If he was from Ontario and able to get the kind of following he gets from Alberta, we'd be screwed. However, his trying to frighten people with the coalition's "socialist economics" made me think that maybe he doesn't quite get how to translate US right-wing rhetoric to Canada.


Posted by: a westerly bill | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 9:05 PM
horizontal rule
32

Personally, this has made me realize what a paucity of good political leadership there is in Canada

Now is the time for Alex Trebek to return to his homeland.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 9:08 PM
horizontal rule
33

Sorry, but why is this a crisis for the constitutional fabric of the nation, exactly?

Harper doesn't have the confidence of the House, and he's playing games to make sure nobody finds out.

It's all very, very shonky, and I think the G-G's been put in a difficult position and Harper should be embarrassed by the whole thing.

It's not utterly awful, it's just that Harper doesn't have the confidence of the House and so shouldn't really be PM, but he's managed to dodge anyone checking.

Also, as a rule, any gov't which prorogues the House against the House's will is seriously bad news. Charles I bad news, historically.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 9:11 PM
horizontal rule
34

32: I was hoping for Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis.


Posted by: a westerly bill | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 9:11 PM
horizontal rule
35

Ah, so this is a constitutional crisis in the old sense of weakening the ideal structure of governance, not in the modern American sense of an unelected leader being installed by partisan courts and openly violating acts of Congress.

Canadian pansies.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 9:18 PM
horizontal rule
36

Indeed, we had a conversation about this last night. shiv's Albertan; he seems to think Harper's out of line and "I don't know why we have a Governor General anyway." ("Because you guys have referendums instead of proper revolutions.") shiv isn't terribly politically sophisticated, but he thinks Harper's an idiot, that there's nothing wrong with a no confidence vote, but he really doesn't like Dion.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 9:26 PM
horizontal rule
37

Don't let Mayor Bllomberg hear about this, or he and Ronald Lauder will find some way to stick it in the NY City charter, probably with Rudy G. as the Queen Elizabeth character.


Posted by: MiddleAgedMan | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 9:28 PM
horizontal rule
38

Quelle douche énorme, cet Harper.


Posted by: Cryptec nid | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 9:44 PM
horizontal rule
39

Thank you DS, that is very helpful insight.

Can it really be the worst Canadian political crisis ever if Quebec isn't trying to secede?

This website makes a good case that the worst Canadian political crisis ever has been ongoing since the creation of New Brunswick.


Posted by: Cryptec nid | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 9:46 PM
horizontal rule
40

Well, if you're going to look at things from the Micmac perspective...


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 9:55 PM
horizontal rule
41

For 252 years, the Mi'kmaq have lived in constant fear.

"On August 2, 2008, former Nova Scotia Liberal Party leader Danny Graham provided the following response to an inquiry from an individual who had attended a breakfast meeting that he had participated in about my contention that the scalp proclamation issued by Governor Charles Lawrence in 1756 was still on the books

"Daniel Paul was correct in his article that the Lawrence proclamation of 1756 remains, however not in effect. In March 2000 Minister Baker introduced a resolution to the House which passed unanimously, asking the Federal government to confirm that the colonial proclamation no longer has any force or effect in Canadian law. In August 2000 then Minister if DIAND, Robert Nault sent a letter to all Chiefs affirming that the proclamation was no longer in effect. However, in order for the proclamation to 'disappear' an Order in Council would have to passed by te Federal house and this has not happened. There are several reasons why this may be so, but nothing concrete has been stated to us. So, the province has tried to address this matter - the Federal government has made its move, and the proclamation still remains on the record, although completely ineffective and apologized for.

I hope this helps - with an explanation at least."

Completely ineffective?!? That's what they said about the long-languishing law that enables rogues to prorogue things. All hell is about to break loose.


Posted by: Cryptec nid | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 9:59 PM
horizontal rule
42

Pro-rogue really is sort of unfortunately named. I'm anti-rogue!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 10:01 PM
horizontal rule
43
Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 10:05 PM
horizontal rule
44

Harper and his party have been trying to claim that a coalition taking power through a vote of no confidence is some sort of "coup d'etate," which to anyone who knows how the parliamentary system works is an obvious lie.

That's exactly right. And just maddening. Basically, Harper and his crew do not like or respect the parliamentary system because they want more executive power.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 10:24 PM
horizontal rule
45

I guess they really are modeling themselves on the GOP. Maybe they should take a glance over here and see how things turned out.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 10:26 PM
horizontal rule
46

44: and it gets better ... they may well have managed to roll back all the gains in Quebec since Meech Lake. If not worse.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 10:30 PM
horizontal rule
47

If Stephen Harper lived in the US he would be the CEO of General Dynamics right now as well as a congressman and the owner of 5,000 units of housing for immigrants near a poultry packing plant. Sounds like a good system to him.


Posted by: Cryptec nid | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 10:30 PM
horizontal rule
48

Now that the Governor General has gotten involved, maybe it's time to rethink taking the Union Jack out of the flag.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 10:30 PM
horizontal rule
49

The James Bay Agreement is teetering by a thread!

(whatever that is)


Posted by: Cryptec nid | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 10:31 PM
horizontal rule
50

James Nicoll's blog has been an entertaining read ever since this mess started. (Well, it's always an entertaining read, but now it's entertaining in ways that are relevant to this thread.)

It's where I found Alex's explanation of what's going on.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 4-08 10:48 PM
horizontal rule
51

I'm thinking that 48 should be accompanied by a picture of the Maple Leaf flag with FAIL written across it.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 12:52 AM
horizontal rule
52

Also, the questionnaire section of a certain Canadian university's graduate application is kind of irritating. Can't you just let me take the statement of intent I've already written and just tailor a few sentences to your program? I hate 100 words or less questions (though in this case I'm sure it's actually better for the admissions committee to get direct answers).


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 12:54 AM
horizontal rule
53

Look, eb, if you've fucked a goat, they need to know it. And honestly, man, a forthright answer might help you get in.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 12:57 AM
horizontal rule
54

It's not an animal husbandry program, ari.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 1:00 AM
horizontal rule
55

Can it really be the worst Canadian political crisis ever if Quebec isn't trying to secede?

That's not a crisis, it's BAU. As Josh points out in 50, Alex's explanation on Making Light is superb, both for it's clarity on the issues and as a tour de force on its own terms.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 1:08 AM
horizontal rule
56

I'm holding out hope that the Triennial Act will have to be invoked.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 1:13 AM
horizontal rule
57

What are the odds that desperate Nova Scotians will soon be scalping the First Nations and demanding the 30 pounds to which they are entitled per scalp?


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 1:21 AM
horizontal rule
58

I apologize for using the hackneyed "What are the odds" construction. Just answer, when will it start happening, in your best estimation?


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 1:23 AM
horizontal rule
59

I was away while you discussed this, but thanks Stanley. I need to make someone, whose father is probably muttering about a coup, read this.

Like shivbunny, they all seem to hate Dion. I think Harper's French is better than Dion's ENglish which many find annoying.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 5:12 AM
horizontal rule
60

I'm actually teeing up some more stuff on this, and specifically on the Lascelles Principles - absolutely the most important constitutional document to be contained entirely within an anonymous letter to the editor of The Times - and how a) this is arguably a spectacular violation of them, b) they have standing in Canada because they are actually based on Canadian precedent, c) does this affect their standing in the UK? and d) let's get cracking and legislate, already, before something like this happens to us.

Interestingly, the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish implementations all have explicit procedures for dealing with an inconclusive election and/or an unexpected change of government.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 5:57 AM
horizontal rule
61

60. A sea lawyer in the office of LDQN.ca would argue that the GG has prorogued parliament, not dissolved it, which places the case outside Lascelles. In theory, Harper will have to face the same parliament in January, after a period during which the opposition will have had an opportunity to convince the electorate that he is not merely incompetent, but yellow besides, and a NO_CONF condition ought to be more or less inevitable.

In practice, of course, anything may happen, and probably will.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 6:12 AM
horizontal rule
62

absolutely the most important constitutional document to be contained entirely within an anonymous letter to the editor of The Times

it is clear from the whole discussion on Making Light and here that the UK constitution is an elaborate joke perpetrated by some pranksters ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 6:19 AM
horizontal rule
63

There would be no problem had only Stephen Harper had better sense than to mess with Holy Fuck.

</shameless>


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 7:06 AM
horizontal rule
64

Presumably Harper will cut some kind of deal to split the coalition.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 7:19 AM
horizontal rule
65

The worst Canadian crisis was in fact the "fuddle-duddle" crisis.


Posted by: alif sikkiin | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 7:35 AM
horizontal rule
66

Worst Canadian political crisis, that is.


Posted by: alif sikkiin | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 7:35 AM
horizontal rule
67

Harper probably owes his prime ministership more to a previous government's scandal than anything else anyway; I'm a little surprised that he's managed to last this long as PM.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:04 AM
horizontal rule
68

It would have been a much different 8 years if W was this engaged and lucid:

Just Watch Me


Posted by: John G. Diefenbaker | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:14 PM
horizontal rule
69

68: Wow, that's like the worst "Gotcha!" reporter ever who still gets a "Gotcha!" moment.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:22 PM
horizontal rule
70

63: huh! Great band, too. I support them getting money from the government. Whichever government.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:29 PM
horizontal rule
71

British diplomat James Cross, after eight weeks of FLQ captivity. His French is a bit awkward, but his concern for the family of the murdered Pierre Laporte seems quite sincere.

What a crazy episode in the annals of Canadian history.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:43 PM
horizontal rule
72

From the wikipedia:

On October 10, 1970 Laporte was kidnapped from his home in Saint-Lambert, Quebec by FLQ. They dubbed him the "Minister of Unemployment and Assimilation," and held him hostage in an anti-government protest. Pierre Laporte's dead body was found in the trunk of a car seven days later on October 17. He had been strangled. His kidnappers were subsequently captured and sentenced to long prison terms for his murder, but only served terms ranging from 7 to 11 years.

Really? I'm against the death penalty in all cases and fervently so, but this penalty seems a bit light. What am I missing?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:49 PM
horizontal rule
73

Like shivbunny, they all seem to hate Dion. I think Harper's French is better than Dion's ENglish which many find annoying.

shivbunny's not terribly sophisticated; his rationale for disliking Dion is that "he's French, and BQ shouldn't be running things" and his rationale for disliking Harper is that "he's French, too." I think "French" here is code for "from down East", which is itself defined as "not Alberta" and "not BC (which is full of stoners" and it's one way in which Canadian politics has struck me as weird. It's very regional.



Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:53 PM
horizontal rule
74

72: You're missing the fact that morality has completely collapsed outside the United States.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 6-08 12:01 AM
horizontal rule
75

It's very regional.

Yeah, definitely. And the regional differences all stem from linguistic and religious differences which, even though they don't hardly mean anything anymore, still seem to matter when the elections come around. My father, who has no ancestral ties to French Canada whatsoever, will make snarky comments about the separatists, but he basically identifies with them in some way, whereas he doesn't like or trust westerners at all. 'Bunch o' bloody Orangemen in cowboy hats.' But he's from the Ottawa Valley, and he's Catholic, and he can speak near-perfect French when he feels like it, though he won't admit to it ('Ah no. Just a few words here and there.').


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 12- 6-08 12:14 AM
horizontal rule
76

There's also some dynamics that seem to be the result of the distribution of the population, given how much of the population is concentrated in Ontario and Quebec. shiv's not particularly a fan of Harper (he's from Ontario), but he voted Reform or Conservative in local elections when he voted because in Alberta, there wasn't much of a homegrown alternative; voting Liberal or NDP felt like voting for carpetbaggers, and the candidates tended to be weaker.

It's not a dynamic unique to Canada (think of how many American cities are essentially one party), but it seems to be exacerbated by the population distribution and the language. And, ofc, the oil.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 6-08 11:16 AM
horizontal rule