Do you trust any politicians?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Harper Puts His Job On The Line

Stephen Harper’s office has spoken to the press, I know hard to believe, but its true. And the word from on high is that a motion will be put forward to the house to extend Canada’s role in Afghanistan. What’s more is this will be a confidence motion, so it is a chance to bring Harper down on an issue that everyone is split on.

The NDP and Block are in clear opposition of any continuing efforts in Kandahar, while the Liberals say they will support a motion as long as Canada’s role is not combative. Harper’s conservatives favour extending the roll in accordance to the Manley report which said that Canada should remain in Afghanistan if, and only if, NATO provides additional troops and equipment, otherwise Canada high tails it out of Afghanistan and leave the mess for the Americans to clean up.

The Liberals could prop up the government, however the Liberals are split on the issue with or with out Dion’s conditions on the mission. That being said Dion has said he will whip the vote making all Liberals vote as one meaning the Liberals have all the power, they can continue to prop up the government, or they can bring down Harper and force an election.

The sad thing is, with all this hype the vote won’t come down to weather or not Canada should be in Afghanistan, but rather if the Liberals think they can win an election at this time. Dion, like any rational thinking Canadian, wants to see Harper thrown off his throne, but if Dion forces an election now he is not guaranteed to win, and he risks handing Harper a majority government instead of the minority he now holds. If Harper gets his majority gone will be the thin veneer of compromising with the opposition, Harper will have Carte Blache to pass anything he wants. It all comes down to are Canadians ready to vote again, or will they lash out at the man who made them return to the polling stations.

Canadians are an apathetic bunch, and generally don’t like to vote, we prefer our governments to be majority so we can stop thinking about politics for at least four years. Minority governments keep politics on the front page since at any moment the government could topple and we’d be forced to vote again. On average a minority government lasts close to two years, which means Harper’s number is about up since he has already had a full two years. The question is does the Liberal party have the back bone to cast Harper to the curb.

It is theoretically possible for Harper to make the full four year term, William Lyon Mackenzie King almost managed to do it twice. In 1921 King was elected PM with a slight minority government and lasted 3 years and 326 days, again in 1926 he was elected to a minority and managed to stretch it out to 3 years and 317 days. However King was an interesting Prime Minister, and a powerful leader. I doubt anyone, even his closest friends, would put Harper on the same level as Mackenzie King.

It seems that even in my ranting that this vote will be derailed by the possibility of toppling the government my own thread of thought was derailed explaining the reasoning and history. This vote should be about Afghanistan and not about Stephen Harper. I want Stephen Harper to fall as much as anyone else, in fact probably more then most since I support so many issues in which he is staunchly opposed and I oppose so many issues he staunchly supports. The issue in Afghanistan is important, and as much as I like the NDP I know Happy Jack wants the troops out of Afghanistan immediately, and while I agree Afghanistan is a mess, the question we must ask is is pulling out going to make matters worse. Canadians have an obligation in Afghanistan, and as much as I am loath to admit agreeing with Harper on any issue this is one I agree with, Canada must stay the course in Afghanistan, lets stick to the Manley Report and get NATO to bolster troops and equipment.

On this issue I am torn and will count it a victory no matter which way the vote swings. If Harper loses the confidence of the house then at least we will have ousted that monster and his goons from the PMO, if Liberals prop up the government then at least Canada will do the honourable thing and help in the war in Afghanistan. I think a non-combative role is a little unrealistic, but it is something. Perhaps the best thing would be for Dion to force an election, then have a Liberal minority government with Harper propping up Dion under the condition that Dion stay the course in Afghanistan. This would oust Harper and allow for a Liberal government again, while at the same time ensuring that the Afghanistan mission isn’t forgotten about over politics.

A Liberal government would not be ideal, there are a lot of issues with the Liberal platform, and Dion is about as charismatic as his predecessor Martin, which is to say not in the least. The NDP would be a good choice to lead this country at this time, and while Happy Jack is charismatic as hell, I don’t think he has a chance in hell of becoming PM anytime soon unless both Dion and Harper screw up so royally that the only vote remaining is Green or NDP. While Harper may just do that considering he penchant for foot in mouth disease, I think Dion is much to smart a man for that. The only outcome I can see if an election occurred right now is a Liberal minority so fractured it won’t last more then a few months. Of course what do I know, I didn’t think Harper would last more then a few months, and that was two years ago, I didn’t factor in that the leaders know damned well that Canadians did not want to go to the polls again too soon, and Ontarians especially who faced a provincial election as well would not want to go to polls for a good while. So if you are wondering why Stephen Harper is still in office despite his running the government as if he had a majority, despite the fact that his open and honest government is neither, then you need to do yourself a favour and look in the mirror, because Canadians don’t like to vote we gave the government to Harper, the opposition knew it was political suicide to oust Harper so they had no choice but to prop him up.

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