Thursday, May 19, 2005

BS PARLIAMENTARY REPORT

I know that Belinda Stronach quotations are a dime a dozen these day but this was funny just because of the circumstances.

I'm back in my hometown of Newmarket, which is once again in a Liberal riding. I went to the mail box this morning to find a Parliamentary Report from my local MP. It was a one sheet flier emblazoned in Conservative Blue from the current minister of Human Resources. In her report Stronach informs me that:

Like many of you, I am deeply disappointed by the revelations coming out of the Gomery inquiry into government corruption and the abuse of taxpayer dollars. The people of Canada deserve better. Fortunately, we have a strong Opposition in the House that is ready to govern this country and is willing to clean up the corruption and manage the finances of the nation more responsibly.
...
The recently announced agreement between Ottawa and Ontario is too little and too late. The fact is, continued underfunding by this Liberal government is compromising the quality of health care and other services available to residents.
...
I have expressed a number of concerns about the budget.... The tax cuts contained in the Liberal budget amount to only $16 per year for the average resident of Newmarket-Aurora.
...
After two years of inaction on the part of the Liberal government, I led a group of seventy fellow Conservative MPs in filling for intervenor status in an upcoming case in Montana that will determine whether U.S border will be re-opened to Canadian cattle.
I could go on, but you get the idea. This is particularly amusing because Stronach's little report arrived at my door two days after she crossed the floor. Was there no way to get these out of the mail?

Posted by Matthew @ 12:03 PM :: (1) comments

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

STRONACH

No time to blog, as usual. A few quick comments.

I find my self arriving in my hometown of Newmarket on the very day that the riding's MP becomes a Liberal. I haven't had a chance to talk to too many about the floor crossing, although opinion seems split. Apparently there was quite the angry crowd at her riding office yesterday, but this in only from third hand reports, and even then it was probably just the hard-core conservatives of the riding, raising the question, "can you have a Conservative riot?"

If there is an election in the near future, my guess is that Stronach will win the riding by about the same narrow margin she won it by last time.

I don't buy the argument that Stronach's defection was opportunistic. I think she left the CPC based on whatever her principles are. I was never very impressed with Stronach as a Conservative, and now moving to support a Liberal government that is corrupt and refuses to acknowledge its loss of confidence damns Stronach in my opinion even more. But I'm unlikely to vote either Conservative or Liberal in the next election.

There are a lot of truly awful words being thrown at Stronach, particularly in posts, or comments to posts, on blogs of the Blogging Tories and some Red Ensigners. Its really unfortunate when political debate amongst citizens descends to a level of name calling below that generally seen in the House of Commons.

Posted by Matthew @ 10:51 AM :: (4) comments

Thursday, May 12, 2005

ROYAL VISIT

HRH Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, is scheduled to actually be in the country from May 17th to the 25th. In a remakable confluence of events the Martin government might be defeated on May 19th.

Now, in my opinion the first act of the Queen upon arriving in Canada should be to dissolve the 38th Parliament on the basis that government no longer holds the confidence of the House, but I don't think that is going to happen.

However, does anyone know what the constitutional responsibilities of the Governor General are while the Queen is in the country? Do they remain the same, or does the Queen take over? If Martin loses another confidence vote on the 19th is he required to go out to Alberta, meet the Queen and ask that she dissolve Parliament?

Update, 13 May, 1:24 p.m: Kevin Brennan of Tilting at Windmills, whom I suspect knows what he's talking about, answers my question in the comments below, indicating that the G.G retains all of her powers even while in the country. I don't know whether that means the Queen could still choose to exercise her powers, but presumably she will not.

However, there is apparently speculation as to whether the Queen will still make her visit given the current political crisis and the fact that our head of state is loathe to be even associated with the politics and governance of our country. What a bizarre constitution.

Posted by Matthew @ 12:21 PM :: (7) comments

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

CONFIDENCE

I am not quite ready to say that parliamentary democracy in Canada is a sham; but, it is getting far too close for comfort.

At worst Paul Martin's government is holding power with only a minority of support in the only legislative body that matters in this country. Exercising power in opposition to the opinion of the general will is a fairly succinct definition of undemocratic.

At best, the confidence of the government has been called into question. In fact, the confidence of the government has been in question for weeks, but the government has done everything in its power to avoid actually governing in the House and thereby stalling a true vote of confidence. Now, a majority of the Commons has endorsed a recommendation that the government resign.

It is incumbent on the government to prove immediately that they maintain the confidence of the House and the right to govern. Proceduaral stalling is no longer acceptable. Waiting for a budget vote is no longer acceptable. Assurances from the prime minister that there will be a confidence vote are no longer acceptable.

The strength of parliamentary democracy rests on adherence to its longstanding traditions. If the prime minister ignores those traditions our parliament is indeed a sham.

Posted by Matthew @ 10:35 AM :: (5) comments

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

BROADBENT RETIRING

The Hon. Ed Broadbent has announced he will not seek re-election to the next Parliament due to the ill-health of his wife. The circumstances of Broadbent's of departue are certainly a personal hardship, but his retirement is also a loss to the House of Commons.

In my last semester at McGill I had the distinct pleasure and privilege of taking a seminar in political theory with Professor Broadbent. Some of my posts from those days can be read here and here.

What most impressed me with Prof. Broadbent was the intellectual rigour with which he approached politics. It was clear from our discussions that he read widely in classical and modern political philosophy, as would be expected. However, it was also clear that he attempted seriously to apply his theoretical principles to the practical mechanics of politics.

I also believe that Broadbent's departue is a loss because of his experience in the House. As the level of debate (if it can still be called that) in the Commons falls to new lows on both sides the aisle, Broadbent was a parliamentarian who attempted to preserve some sense of dignity in the House. In the annoucement of his departure, Broadbent specifically noted the level of acrimony that has developed in the current House of Commons.

Broadbent's intelligence, principles, and experience will certainly be missed in the House.

Posted by Matthew @ 1:37 PM :: (1) comments

Monday, May 02, 2005

COMING SOON

Battle lines are being drawn and everyone in the Canadian blogosphere is taking sides, even if its to not take sides at all.

I am, of course, referring to the creation in the past week of The Blogging New Democrats, The Progressive Bloggers, and The Blogging Alliance of Non-Partisan Canadians. This in addition to the well established Blogging Tories.

I am currently staying up at all hours to finish a term paper; however, when it is done at some point today or early tomorrow, expect a post on the factioning of the blogosphere, why I'm disappointed with it, and ergo why I will continue to be an unaligned blogger celebrating my independence. Expect references to the English Civil War and pre-Rebellion Upper Canadian political culture.

For a preview of my sentiments check out this RevMod post. Maybe Don and I can create a non-alliance of the non-aligned independents.

Update, Wednesday 4 May, 1:41 p.m: Don't worry my promised post is still coming. This issue of factions in the blogosphere has gotten more attention at this e-group post and in the comments. Short version: I agree with Jason that parties develop because of the structural mechanics related to voting in representative assemblies, but that there is no need to carry such divisions into the blogosphere.

Posted by Matthew @ 12:56 AM :: (1) comments