Running through all the what-if scenarios that could unfold over the next few weeks has become a favorite activity for Canadian junkies. Here’s one that just occurred to me. What happens in the (unlikely, according to constitutional experts) event that Michaelle Jean granted a request by Stephen Harper for a dissolution of Parliament? We’d have an election. And here’s where things would get even more interesting.
Stephen Harper has been a transformative leader in Canadian partisan politics. First he united the right. Now he’s united the left. Pretty impressive.
Wow: events on Parliament Hill are developing quickly as Canada enters almost uncharted waters: the Liberals, NDP, and the Bloc have signed a deal on a proposed coalition. Given how coalition governments are foreign to Canadian political tradition, it’s a remarkable thing to see this come about in such short order. I’m surprised to see this. I knew the opposition parties would be galvanized by the end of the vote subsidy, but I thought once the Conservatives withdrew it, they would relent. I was wrong.
[Read more…] about Note to coalition: Just because you CAN replace the government doesn’t mean you SHOULD replace the government
In the showdown between the Conservatives and an erstwhile Liberal-NDP coalition, one point gets obscured. In the Canadian political system, the voters do not vote for a government. When we vote, we vote for a local Member of Parliament. The formation of government is a byproduct of that, not the direct choice of Canadians. So, who does choose who forms a government. Very simply, it’s the Governor General. Most of the Governor General’s power’s are heavily constrained by convention, in that the GG has to follow the advice of the Prime Minister and cabinet.
[Read more…] about Constitutional refresher course: the people do not choose the government
I always enjoy reading or listening to Andrew Coyne, even when I think he’s wrong. Today’s blog post praising the proposed elimination of the per vote subsidy is an interesting defence of the Conservatives’ announcement. In the post, he argues that this moves towards a citizen-based finance system for political parties, arguing that party support should be a private matter between citizens and parties. If that’s what we want, the problem is that the per vote subsidy isn’t the biggest culprit in this respect. Remember that there are three sources of public money to parties:
According to the Ottawa Citizen, the Conservatives are going to propose the end of the $1.75 per vote per year subsidy that came in 2004 as part of the reforms to party finance. The Conservatives are justifying this by saying that the country can’t afford this in times of economic downturn. That explanation doesn’t really make a lot of sense, considering that the $28 million that this cost taxpayers in 2007 is a tiny part of the multi-billion dollar federal budget. What seems more likely is that the Conservatives have wanted to do this since they can easily live without the subsidy. Only about a third of Conservative revenue comes from the state subsidy.
[Read more…] about The end of $1.75 per year per vote?