I would be remiss to let the current political situation pass by without throwing in my two cents about it. Canadian politics is generally fairly uneventful and even borders on boring. We don't produce the characters so common in American political elections, and our "close" races usually end up being fairly predictable within minutes into the results coming in.
Therefore, I third minority government, an opposition coalition, the governor general's involvement and a proroguation of parliament have all added up to some spectacular news-worthy events this past week.
So then, what to make of it all? Personally, if I was the governor general, I would take the four party leaders by the ear and drag them down the the Principal's office. I would tell Stephen Harper (Conservative) to start playing nicely with the other children. I would tell Stephane Dion (Liveral) to stop being a sore loser. I would tell Jack Layton (NDP) to sit down and be quiet. And I would tell Gilles Duceppe that if he doesn't want to be in the school, then he shouldn't get much say about how it is run. Then I would tell them all to get back to Parliament and work together to govern this country through the economic crisis as the government the people voted for. If 5 year olds can learn to get along, surely grown men can also.
This all stems from my indignation at Harper for not at least trying to get along with the other parties. He can't pretend he has a majority by making everything a confidence vote. He deserved the protest from the other parties. But I'm outraged at the coalition which was obviously in the works before the economic statement was released. I do not believe that every time we have a minority government the opposition should choose to gang up on the winning party to thrust a losing leader into the Prime Minister role.
Most importantly, if we take the Liberals and NDP at face value and acknowledge that their concern is about moving immediately about the economic crisis, then I really don't agree with them. If this recession (or depression) lasts years (or a decade), then what we don't want to do is work for only a few days on a plan. The economy is complicated. Even I know that. Even for experts, it's complicated. So I would much rather they take some time (6 weeks is not long, considering the length of time this could last for) to come up with a solid plan - the best of what everyone can come up with. A hasty decision may put us deeper in crisis than we already are.
One final comment. I laughed with scorn the other day as I heard one analyst remind us that the Canadian economy and banks had actually weathered the first part of the storm fairly well. We would be affected by outward pressures, but within Canada we were pretty solid. That is, until the politicians created their own mini drama. Then we lost confidence internally. Way to go, guys. I can only imagine how other leaders on the world stage view us. If we can't keep it together internally, how can we expect to be consulted about the world economy? I wouldn't trust this unstable government, and don't see how others would either. In many areas, Canada has always seemed to have to jostle for position in the world. Now I doubt we're even being thought of.