Helen Forsey, the daughter of the late eminent constitutional scholar, Eugene Forsey, weighs in on what her father would have had to say about the constitutional "crisis" in December. It’s a worthwhile refresher course on the principles of parliamentary government, especially in a minority government situation. You can read it here.
Yesterday, Elections Canada issued the fourth quarter financial returns for political parties in 2008. In November, party finance became headline news when the Conservatives tried to remove the annual subsidy for political parties in the economic update. Party finance is usually not a sexy topic and has since faded from the headlines. But the release of the new numbers is exciting for those of us who study and are obsessed by the finances of Canada’s political parties (I think there are three of us).
Although the budget may not look very conservative, its long run impact is very consistent with the goal of a smaller, leaner federal government. In that way, the budget is very consistent with Harper’s incremental conservatism.
And it all comes down to this: budget day! Things in Canadian politics have been pretty slow over the last month or so. But today we see the budget that will determine not only the way the government responds to the recession we’re experiencing, but also the future of the Liberal-NDP coalition. The NDP and the BQ have pretty much indicated that they oppose the budget and want the coalition to proceed. Since Michael Ignatieff has become the leader, he’s been decidedly cooler about the coalition idea than his predecessor, Stephane Dion. It seems clear to me that the Liberals are going to support the budget. There’s enough there that they can take credt for and support and not enough to justify bringing down the government.
I haven’t had a lot of time to blog lately. It’s grading time at university which leaves little time for other things. However, I’m procrastinating right now, so it’s time to write something.
Although the question of whether a coalition can take over is primarily a constitutional and parliamentary question, there’s no doubt that public opinion is a factor, lurking in the background of all of these discussions. And the polls are coming in. They suggest that Canadians prefer Stephen Harper and the Conservatives to govern.