Wednesday 3 December 2008

Shi, and the Art of Bloodless Coups

When I first started this blog I used the label "Let's burn Ottawa to the ground" to mark any post that related to federal politics. It used to be facetious, but it isn't really anymore. I'm beginning to think that we would be better off razing the whole place and starting over again.

But since that's not likely to happen, let's have a closer look at what's going on here:

Our constitution does allow for a coalition government. That per se is not a problem. However, there is a BIG problem with the nature of this coalition: the New Libs on the Bloc are composed of a weak and divided party led by a lame-duck leader who will be replaced by an as-yet unknown person in a few months; a "socialist" party with only 37 seats whose policies are never good for the Canadian economy, much less during an economic crisis; and a third party that does not have the best interests of the country at heart -- in fact, who's stated objective is the destruction of the country. This is about the worst possible coalition I could imagine.

But wait: Dion just said very clearly on national TV that the Bloc is not part of the coalition. Oh really? So this coalition is composed of only 114 seats, 30 less than the ruling party? How can the Governor General hand the government over to this coalition? How do we know the Bloc will hold up it's end of the bargain, and if it does what will we pay them off with in return?

Then there is the issue of "confidence". 'We have lost "confidence" in the government.' How exactly have they lost confidence? They don't have confidence that he can manage the economic crisis? He brought the country into the election in decent shape; people knew an economic slowdown was around the corner and they still voted him in. How can you say that the PM, an economist himself, is incapable of steering us through this recession when you haven't even seen a budget? What makes you think you can do it better? Do you think throwing $30 billion out there willy-nilly will make the difference, when our economic recovery depends primarily on the recovery in other countries? Let Obama do all the spending and lift us out of the recession. Let me just say it: this "lack of confidence" HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ECONOMY. It is a power grab. Period.

And somehow, all of this will fall on the shoulders of Michaëlle Jean, who is suddenly earning her paycheck as she moves from figurehead to king-maker. I wonder how she's sleeping tonight?

Setting aside the fate of the country for a moment, there is something graceful about the move by Layton and the coalition. They recognized the political Shi -- the situation and dynamic of the moment -- and exploited it. Sun-tzu wrote "Ultimate excellence lies not in winning every battle but in defeating the enemy without ever fighting". That may be exactly what happens once this all plays out. Although it makes me a little bit nauseous to say "Dion" or "Layton" and "excellence" in the same paragraph, there is something a wee little bit admirable about the deviousness of this whole plan, and how they exploited Harper's foolish economic update. Harper may not be in this mess had he studied The Art of War more carefully ... or at all.


Anonymous said...

But But But,,,in the end they are playing by the rules, Harper fucked up I'm sure Sun shoe or whatever his name is, would be the first to strike when the enemy was so stupid.

Don't wrack the brain too much about the seperatiste. They can't do anything, of course the Conservatives will be sitting in opposition to lend support to the House should the big bag bogey men of Quebec get out of line and support the ruling coalition....Won't they ?

This is beautiful, redneck western hicks against eastern seperatists. Classic.

cherenkov said...

The Bloc can do something because they have the hammer. They can influence budgets such that more money and benefits flow to Quebec. Harper is over-playing the threat of the "separatists" to the nation, but it certainly is not good for them to have a veto over the budget and other key bills that ought to consider the benefit of the nation as a whole.

Anonymous said...

Put it this way, if the conservatives are defeated they can vote with the coalition thereby nullifying the Bloc.

You see, the Bloc can't do shit unless the Patriotic Conservatives vote against the coalition.

Hows that for a spin.

cherenkov said...

Wait .. You're saying the Conservatives should work with the opposition parties for the benefit of the nation? Far out, dude!

Seriously though, it would be irresponsible for an elected government to hand the agenda over to an unstable coalition during a time of economic uncertainty. Especially with the NDP running the show.

Anonymous said...

Well ya, pot calling the kettle black don't you think.

Seriously though, it was pretty damn stupid of Harper to let it get this far.

I wouldn't lose a moment of sleep if he fell.

Besides, oil is down to low 40's, its a wonderful time...or is it...pends which side of the fence you are. Goddamn it, i can't figure anything out anymore.

Walt said...

Excellent post Cherenkov,

It's refreshing to see someone take a factual approach to the events rather than the empty rhetoric spewed from those on both sides.

Personally the fact that the NDP would take 6 cabinet seats scares me infinitely more than the prospect of The Block supporting the coalition on confidence measures.

It's time for politicians to catch their breath and give some sober second thought to the coalition.

On a positive note, these events have Canadians talking about politics like never before and that is a good thing.

cherenkov said...

Thank you Walter. After 114 straight posts of empty rhetoric, I decided to try the factual approach for a change. Turned out ok. Might try it again. Of course one man's factual statement can sometimes be another man's empty rhetoric.

Freedom Manitoba said...

I hope that these recent events shows Candians that Federal Politics is a farce; we don't need these jokers. What good things do the Fed's do? I say get rid of them, don't need them.

1eyedpecker said...

Fact - if, as reports tonight seem to indicate, Dion is about to resign and the LPC gets itself a new leader then we are in for a whole different ride.

Not only will the entire coalition pact be re-examined - but if accepted and pursued the Tories can bet that an IGGY led party will pose a much greater threat to Harper's continued rule. Ironically, should the official opposition pick a new (stronger) leader this week - it will be Harper's own doing. Funny.

cherenkov said...

FM: should we go with the Somali system of government then?

1EP: agree, except that Iggy, being less wishy-washy and more right wing than Dion (or Rae) might not be able to stomach laying in bed with the NDP for very long.

Freedom Manitoba said...

Does the federal government even do anything worthwhile? Ditch them all together.

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