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… And Parliament goes on vacation

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Well, it’s disappointing. Truly, the GG’s precedents for this were thin on the ground, so this decision was as valid as the other, but it’s still disappointing. It amounts to a reprieve for the Conservatives. Now they can wander off and cobble together a budget that takes all the best ideas from the coalition and present it and have the other parties look silly for voting against it.

Of course, it’s good if this actually reigns the Conservatives in. But it’s unfortunate that it means we’ll likely continue to have a Prime Minister whose character is so clearly deficient, so far from what the country needs at this time.

And also, can we really afford to have no federal action for two full months? Really, not the best time for them to be off on vacation on our dime.

What’s been good

Well, it’s certainly engaging many Canadians in a way I’ve rarely seen before. Thousands of comments on news articles, pages full of letters to the editor… There’s very far from being a consensus of opinion on this. And more thoughtful commentary than I would have expected.

Opinions I have little patience with

“It’s a coup, it’s undemocratic, it’s a power grab, we didn’t vote for a coalition…”

Realizing my impatience with it will not make this one go away (especially with the Conservatives running ads on this theme), we elected a Parliament. The way we always do. We do not elect Prime Ministers. The elected members of Parliament can organize themselves in whatever combination they wish to form effective government. Coalitions, while rare in Canada, are perfect valid and completely in line with our democratic system.

“We need to have another election first.”

I actually can’t believe some people are of this opinion. Shall we just convert every vote in the House to an election then? For heaven’s sake! We just had a freakin’ election. We can’t afford the time, expense, and sheer aggravation only to likely end up with pretty much the same thing.

These are the people we elected. Let them find a way to govern for a little while, one way or another.

Opinions I’m more sympathetic toward

“I don’t want Dion as Prime Minister”

Yeah. Much as we don’t literally vote for Prime Ministers, I still think Canadians clearly expressed that they didn’t want Mr. Dion to be P-M. Hence his resignation from the leadership post the next day. Realizing they didn’t have a lot of time, I still wish the Liberals had gone with another interim leader for this coalition. (I wish Mr. Dion had recognized that could be in the best interest of the country as well.)

And regardless of what happens next, the Liberals seriously need to think about electing a new leader sooner than May. That’s too far away. Frankly — and even though I don’t particularly like Ignatief — I still think any of the three Liberal contenders would be a better bet than anything else on offer from the other parties (Duceppe’s separatism and May’s lack of a seat in the House rather hobbling these otherwise decent options).

And speaking of Duceppe…

“I don’t like that the coalition includes separatists”

The Bloc are annoying fact of Parliamentary life, but the math says the only way to bring the Conservatives is to get Bloc support. And if it weren’t for the Bloc, the Conservatives would have their majority, and the other parties would have lost their financial capacity to fight them in future elections.

So while sympathetic with that point, me, I can live with them being involved. (Just like Stephen Harper could back when he was in opposition.) They wouldn’t actually sit in government; they’d just agree not to bring it down for 18 months. Seems an acceptable compromise.

What not to lose sight of

This crisis is Stephen Harper’s doing. Period. He has not taken responsibility for that, and he has not shown one iota of remorse for it.

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