Sunday, December 7, 2008

Random politics

I recently received an inexcusably stupid robo-call on my answering machine (yes, answering machine. Yes, the kind with two tape cassettes. Yes, it is over 20 years old. Back when electronics were built to last) from the Konservative party. I might take a moment to get into the details later, but if you awoke last night at 3AM, drenched in sweat, screaming "I wonder what The Proud Islamist thinks about the coalition!!!!!" then the answer is: I support it. In the long run, it might backfire politically on the liberals, but from a principled point of view, it was the right thing to do.

(For those of you who haven't been following the situation, the excellent CBC journalist Neil MacDonald tried to explain it to Americans like this. The old man over at Atlas Hugged also has a lot of insight on this sort of thing; he amazingly predicted it in October.)

People who have been protesting against it as being undemocratic don't understand a parliamentary democracy. People who say that the Liberals are being hypocrites after criticizing Harper for trying to do the same to Martin are ignoring the critical difference - back then, Harper did not have the confidence of the House.

People who say that Harper is being a hypocrite for labeling the coaltion as a deal with "separatists" are bang on. Harper did indeed propose the same thing before Martin went out; he just lacked any ability to make it a reality.

People who say that "separatists" shouldn't be allowed to influence the government have either been living on another planet for the last 40 years, or they hate both Canada and democracy.


In unrelated news, here is an interesting exchange between Imam Zaid Shakir and a reader of his New Islamic Directions website, on the election of Barack Obama. It is long, but worth at least a skim through, especially if you don't understand why people like me are critical of liberal America's latest saviour.

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matt said...

Two questions:

1. Is it the case that "parliamentary" can always and completely be equated to "democratic"? More specifically, could it be that, although the Coalition would be legal, the GG accepting the PM's resignation and appointing the LO - in this set of circumstances - might be the less democratic option?

2. Isn't there a fundamental difference in the nature of the Coalition's constant allegiance to the Bloc in its proposed use of the executive's powers, and the Tories' vote by vote allegiance to the Bloc on a legislative basis? Consider the Bloc's demand that Bill 101 be applied to federal workplaces in Quebec - a law that depends upon the notwithstanding clause to remain constitutional.

The Proud Islamist said...

Hi Matt, thanks for your questions:

1. No, "parliamentary" does not equal "democratic." That said, no system can be perfectly democratic unless you want to have a general referendum on every bill. What's clear is that over 60% of Canadians voted for somebody other than the Conservatives and a majority of ridings went to another party. A coalition government is, by virtue of these facts, a far more democratic option when compared to a minority government that does not have the confidence of the House.

2. Well, you tell me. In the end, the Bloc isn't sitting with the government in either arrangement, it is just propping it up on confidence motions (unless something happened that I've missed, in which case you might be right) In the case of the Liberal-NDP coalition, the Bloc only committed to 18 months.

The Bloc might have demanded that Federal workplaces commit to 101, but a) Did the other two agree? (I can't see Dion saying yes to that), and b) will they make it a confidence motion?

Remember that if the Bloc brings down the coalition prematurely, it's their funeral as much as anyone else's.