Monday, October 04, 2004


I know the U.S. Presidential election is on, but for Canadian politics and political junkies it doesn't get any better than this. We are going into a minority parliament today, folks, and the political columnists are busy. Let the punditry begin!

Hugh Windsor (Globe):

"When the 38th Parliament opens today, the defence of the Liberal ramparts will be in the hands of a little-known, inexperienced and probably miscast adjutant who could well tumble the government into an unwanted election by misjudging his own or the opposition's firepower.

We're not talking about Prime Minister Paul Martin here, even though some of the cited characteristics may apply, but rather about Anthony (Tony) Valeri, who the PM appointed Government House Leader in the Commons when a more experienced minister turned down the job."

Chantal Hebert (Star):

"Indeed, there is a world of difference between supporting the odd piece of government legislation and endorsing the throne speech.

The very mechanics of the throne speech debate revolve around the non-confidence motion that is moved by the official opposition minutes after its delivery by the Governor-General.

Parliamentary convention stipulates that the first duty of the official opposition is to construct a contrary case to the government, a task that is at odds, on the very face of it, with the notion of endorsing the agenda of the government as set out in a throne speech.

In other minority situations, it has fallen on the third or fourth-placed parties to secure the survival of the government. But the NDP does not have enough MPs to make a difference to the life or death of the Liberal minority. And the Bloc is not a normal third party.

By and large, Quebecers see Duceppe, rather than Harper, as their official opposition leader.
Last June, Quebec voters massively rejected the Liberal option on their ballot. The proposition that the party they elected to speak on their behalf should now turn around and prop up the government platform they voted against is bound to startle many of them."

Even CP:

"Any party triggering a parliamentary crisis - and another election campaign - so soon after the June 28 balloting would incur the wrath of voters.
Harper acknowledged as much in an interview Sunday on CTV's Question Period, saying he's not looking for a quick showdown.
"We have no desire to see an election, none whatsoever," said the Conservative leader. "We want this Parliament to work. The only doubt is whether the Liberals want this Parliament to work."
In theory, Harper could become prime minister without an election - if the Liberals lose the confidence of the House and if Clarkson invites the Conservatives to form a government rather than sending everybody back to the campaign trail."

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