Monday, December 01, 2008

Weird times in parliamentary democracy.

I'm sitting in my living room, not quite believing what I'm seeing: Stéphane Dion, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe are sitting beside each other, talking about how they're all going to play nice, get along, and form a coalition government, which is nearly unprecedented in Canadian history.

The details:
  • the Liberals and NDP have agreed to form a coalition until June 30, 2011
  • the Cabinet will be reduced to 24 members: 18 Liberals, 6 NDPers
  • the Bloc Québecois will support this coalition until June 30, 2010, at which point they can re-up their support if they like
  • even though (Liberals + NDP) < (Conservatives), the BQ's promise to not vote against the coalition on Motions of Confidence puts them over the top
Since I'm something of a Parliament-wonk — I was recently somewhat obsessed with the King-Byng Affair (which is a lot less dirty than it sounds) — I dig this kind of thing, from a purely theoretical point of view. I mean, sure, the markets hate instability in government... but you have to admit, this is kinda cool.

* * * * *

First question from a reporter: "You know, Stephen Harper pointed out that 70% of Canadian voters didn't vote for you, Mr. Dion, for Prime Minister. What do you say to that?"

Dion: "Well, 64% of Canadians didn't vote for Mr. Harper."

* * * * *

A thought struck me just now, while watching Jack Layton talk... right now, at this point in history, since the NDP are going to receive six federal Cabinet positions, this is the high-point of power for the NDP, ever, in their entire history. (I'd say this is more important than the 40-some seats Ed Broadbent brought them in the late '80s under Brian Mulroney.) Layton knows it, too; he's trying to look as stoic as possible. (Well, as stoic as one can look with a moustache.)

* * * * *

Oooooooh, a reporter asked about appointing Elizabeth May to the Senate. Dion answers diplomatically, but side-steps the question. An extremely interesting idea, though.

* * * * *

A CanWest reporter, fixated on the idea that people hated the notion of a carbon tax during the election, asks a dick-ish question. Dion: "Ah, thank you for reminding me of that." Laughter from the entire press corps.

* * * * *

This turned into a bit of a live-blog during the press conference, but I don't care. If you didn't like today's installment of the Spillings, please keep your receipt and ask for a refund.


Middle_America said...

Interesting. Thanks for the update.
Seems we are rushing to One World after all.

JTL said...

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by that comment. If you mean "it appears as if both our countries are turning away from neoconservative religious nutbag cockmonkeys in charge to someone a little more sane running the place," then yes, I agree.