Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Note To Stephen Harper - This is Canada Not The U.S.

Stephen Harper, long an advocate for Senate reform, should have to undergo drug testing for his performance in the game that is patronage politics. In appointing 18 Senators our Prime Minister has broken a record, never before has a Canadian Prime Minister stuffed this many bodies into our Red Chamber in a single day. Congratulations Stephen, now please go behind that curtain and pee in a bottle.

Filling these vacant seats allowed Mr. Harper to take yet another swing at the potential coalition government waiting in the wings. According to the Prime Minister: "If Senate vacancies are to be filled, however, they should be filled by the government that Canadians elected rather than by a coalition that no one voted for."

I’m not sure the leader of Canada’s Conservative Party knows which country he’s governing. In our system of parliamentary democracy we don’t get to vote for any particular form of government: minority, majority or coalition. We don’t even get a say when it comes to picking a Prime Minister. All we have is one vote each, (and over ten million Canadians didn’t even bother using it) to cast in our local ridings. We vote for whichever candidate we choose, and then after all the winners assemble in Ottawa a government is formed among the party with the most seats in the House of Commons.

Because the Conservatives won the most seats in the last 2 elections, Stephen Harper gets to be Prime Minister. Not because Canadians voted for him, but because he is the leader of the ruling party. Even voters in Mr. Harper’s riding of Calgary Southwest didn’t elect him as the PM, they elected him as their local MP. If Mr. Harper should decide to resign, or is replaced as party leader…then Conservative Party members would decide who becomes Prime Minister, as has happened previously under both the Liberals and Conservatives with John Turner, Kim Campbell and Paul Martin.

Someone needs to remind our Prime Minister that this isn’t the U.S. and that he didn’t win a Presidential Election. I know that some Canadians voted for the Conservative candidate in their riding because they wanted Stephen Harper as this country’s senior elected official. But some also voted based on the individual candidate. It’s a conundrum for many voters, if the candidate representing the party, (or party leader) you like is a total ass...What do you do? That’s our system.

If this were the U.S. then Stephen would have cause for concern, with the Toronto Star reporting that he and Michael Ignatieff are in a virtual tie when it comes to whom Canadians want to lead this country. Canadians have barely had a chance to get to know the new Liberal leader, and yet many are already ready to embrace him. Or possibly it’s not so much a matter of liking Ignatieff, but rather disliking Harper?

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