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Quickie: Change-in-Government Roundup December 2, 2008

Posted by tomflesher in Canada.
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Quick roundup of news and editorials about the leadership crisis in Canada.

Background: After spending $300 million for an election to congeal his minority into a majority government, Stephen Harper made little progress and ended up with another minority government. This appeared to be well and good, despite the fact that a coalition of the left-wing parties plus the Bloc Quebecois could easily defeat the Conservative government in a confidence motion if it decided to do so. However, because Harper failed to deliver an economic stimulus package in his fall budget, the coalition is attempting to take over as government.

That’s the official reason, anyway. Stanley Hartt argues that the whole thing is a pretext to prevent the Conservatives from cutting per-vote campaign funding. Lysiane Gagnon, predictably, thinks this is fantastic.

Governor-General Michaelle Jean is faced with an essentially subjective decision about whether to accept the coalition’s overtures to replace the minority government.

Bloggers are amused.

This is an interesting bit of political theatre in that the left coalition is one of rejection rather than agreement. Dion disagrees with the Bloc’s reason for existence. Layton smelled blood in the water and was poised to take over for Dion at the slightest misstep. I have no doubt that the parties can cooperate, but their agenda will be difficult to characterize as anything but white bread.

This all assumes that Michaelle Jean feels it’s appropriate to allow Dion to step in as Prime Minister, of course, though it would be difficult for her to disallow it. The political costs to defeating a motion of confidence and calling another election would be ridiculously high; if Jean values continuity and stability over effective government, then it would be against the left’s interest to defeat a motion of confidence lest they go through another election just to have a similar result but provide a procedural opportunity to request to form a government.

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