T Nation

Canadian Govt. to Fall on Monday


#1

This was on the AP this morning. Sounds interesting. Martin's party seems to have a lot of corruption, so far he hasn't been accused.

Any thoughts on a replacement??

Canada's government expected to fall Monday

TORONTO, Ontario (AP) -- Opposition parties introduced a no-confidence motion on Thursday that is expected to topple Prime Minister Paul Martin's government and force an election campaign during the holidays.

Canada's three opposition party leaders say they will vote Monday to bring down Martin's minority government.

They claim the Liberal Party no longer has the moral authority to lead the nation, referring to a corruption scandal within the Liberal ranks. Martin hasn't been accused of any wrongdoing, but senior officials of his party have.

Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper said his party would join with the New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois parties to bring down the government after Martin rejected their demand to go to the polls after the Christmas holidays are over.

Harper has garnered enough opposition votes to bring down the minority government in a no-confidence vote in Parliament, launching a campaign that would overlap the Christmas-New Year season, though the actual voting day would likely be in January.

"This House has lost confidence in the government," Harper said.

The motion was tabled after a frantic week in Ottawa, where the government rushed to offer a cascade of policy announcements before its demise.

Martin's government fell into peril after it lost the support of the New Democratic Party. New Democrats leader Jack Layton -- whose support of Martin's scandal-plagued minority government earlier this year helped him escape early elections -- said he hadn't received enough assurances that the Liberal Party would crack down on the increased use of private health care in Canada.

Martin made a deal with Layton's leftist party last spring, pledging $3.6 billion in social spending and a promise to delay billions in corporate tax cuts. In return, the New Democrats propped up the Liberals in a confidence motion, providing the support of their 19 members for a House of Commons motion that they survived by a single vote.

Martin has promised to call an election within 30 days of the release of the second part of a report into a corruption scandal within his Liberal Party. The document is expected on February 1, likely prompting elections in the first week of April, a time of year that suits Canadians better than the bitterly cold and busy holiday season.

The last time a Canadian political campaign coincided with the holiday season was in 1979, when Joe Clark's minority Conservative government was toppled just weeks before Christmas. The vote was delayed until February, however, when Pierre Trudeau and the Liberals took back Parliament.

Recent polls have given the Liberals a slight lead over the Conservatives, with the NDP in third place nationally. Those same surveys suggest the Bloc would sweep the French-speaking province of Quebec, making a majority government unlikely no matter which party wins the most seats in the 308-member House of Commons.

The opposition is banking on the public's disgust with an ongoing Liberal Party corruption scandal. The first of two investigative reports, released two weeks ago, absolved Martin of any wrongdoing, but accused senior Liberal Party members of kickbacks and misspending tens of millions of dollars in public money targeted for a national unity program in Quebec.


#2

It's just pure politicking. The corruption in question was under Prime Minister Chretien. The people primarily responsible for it have been fired and or charged or no longer serve.

The timing of the election is just a movement by the opposition parties to ensure that the media is running stories over the sponsorship scandal during the election.

Especially with all the attention, I doubt there is any corruption in the Martin administration that isn't common to all governments.


#3

The Liberals will get back in, although I wouldn't be surprised if we saw another minority. I wouldn't be surprised if the houses looks almost identical.

I believe Martin was fully aware of the corruption. If he wasn't aware then he is an idiot and shouldn't be in charge of our country.


#4

How could he have known? Scheming and backstabbing his way into his Boss' job left no time for being Finance Minister.


#5

Yep.

I don't particularly want the conservitives to form a government. They are too conservitive for me.

But this is why I love our 4 party system. People acually have to work together & cooperate to make things happen. (and if your in BC, this is why STV is a good thing.)


#6

I think if you asked most Canadians they would tell you they don't want an election, mostly because of what JPBear stated: the result will be the same and we'll have wasted 350 million dollars on an election. Plus we're going to have to listen to all those snivelling, power hungry, attention whores for the next few weeks. Woo hoo politics!


#7

Ok let's see the current facts.

The Bloc Quebecois won't have a majority since it's only peoples from Quebec that votes for them.

The Conservator are being lead by a non-charismatic asshole. There is one thing sure, most people from the east won't vote Con..

The NDP of Jack Layton looks like a very good party to me but to most west siders they are way too "leftist".

Then comes the Liberals. The same who ruled Canada for years and years..
They are in between every parties side.
Maybe a little middle left but still, they screwed everyone but we will still forget about it when it's all said and done.

I think it mostly depends on the global west vote and the Ontario vote (who are in my opinion mostly in between the NDP and the Liberals voters).

Right?


#8

That's a pretty good analysis, but you missed a couple key points:

Rugger: The Bloc only runs in Quebec (they probably could win in other Provinces right now if they ran). Too bad they want to break up the country, they have a nice policy mix that could probably win.

Rugger: non-charismatic is an understatement. Even Ralph Klein doesn't like him and Ralph is pretty hardcore Rightwing (aside - I like Ralph, you may disagree with him, but you always know where he's coming from.)

Rugger: Jack is scum! As a Toronto city counselor he lived in subsidized housing (until someone found out).

Rugger: True.

Rugger: It's a decision, the devil you know vs. the devil you don't. Just pleae don't give Jack any more power!!!


#9

Rugger,

This is a misleading statement. From what I've read Layton did live in a housing co-op. The co-op was designed to be a mixed-income housing development. Layton paid full market rent for the property and was subsidized in no way. His being there did not deny anyone in need of space.

Living in a mixed-income development would seem to fit Layton's socialist background.

I believe that the Layton-co-op-housing story is merely a smear campaign.

Cheers,

Soup


#10

Just in case anyone out there gets confused by the term "government to fall". It doesn't mean Canada is on the edge of falling into anarchy.

Our government can last a defined period of time or until they lose "control" of parliament. This is indicated by a majority of votes against the current government. Basically, a government that can't pass laws is no government, right?

In such a case, it is simply time for a new election, to get rid of the old government and form a new one. That is the process -- using terms like "the government is going to fall" is possibly a bit disconcerting if you don't understand how this works.

I love the alarmist reporting that goes on about Canada at times!

[ edit: how many tries will it take to get "can last" right? ]


#11

Gotta agree with ruggerlife and Hekk, although for having met Jack Layton, I don't believe that co-op housing pseudo scandal.


#12

Seems that the BBC agrees that the government will fall.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4477606.stm

That's a strange coalition against the current government though: Conservatives, New Democrats, and Block Quebecois.

Will the Canadians be too annoyed with political intrusions on Christmas to vote for anyone at all?


#13

I'm almost beginning to think there is a conspiracy among our politicians to actively kill the populations desire to care about politics. The less we care, the more corrupt/inept they can be (and they most certainly are both).

Seems that politicians these days are so busy with image that substance is going out the window. It's a "nobody move, nobody gets hurt" mentality. Mediocrity is slowly killing us here, there's no chance for greatness because nobody wants to take a chance. To be great, you have to be willing to fail.

It is long past time for a change in government, and unfortunately Ontario is going to let fear get in the way of change.

Ruggerlife:
I absolutely hate seeing sentiment like this, you want to guarantee there will be corruption in governent? Then do nothing when it rears its head. Martin did nothing to prevent or change the attitude of entitlement in Ottawa, he merely fired a few idiots who were incompetent enough to get caught.

The public has not punished the liberal party. We have an opportunity to remind those people on the hill that we won't stand for some things...I wish we'd take it.


#14

Unfortunately, it goes deeper than that.

For example, when internal audits get done, such as looking into nepotism or other unfair hiring practices, the people doing the report can't report what they "find", they have to report something "appropriate" instead.

So, what I mean by deeper is that it isn't just elected officials that are beholden to something other than the truth...


#15

True! There will always be an amount of corruption in any government and those individuals should be dealt with. But for how long can we disregard this government's arrogance regarding the scandals( or whatever you want to call it)?

Would we not condone the Liberals actions if we vote them back in?

The other choice would be the Conservatives where somebody is always whining about their leader. Of course, that's after the backstabbing.

I only wish for a government with a powerful opposition so we can move this country on forward...

I know, I know! Call me a dreamer!


#16

Corruption scandal forces collapse of Canadian Government

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2005/s1519237.htm

The World Today - Tuesday, 29 November , 2005 12:34:00
Reporter: Richard Reynolds
ELEANOR HALL: A corruption scandal has just forced the collapse of the Canadian Government.

In rowdy scenes in the Canadian Parliament this lunchtime, Canada's minority Liberal Government has lost a no-confidence motion against it and the country has now been plunged into a Christmas election campaign.

Prime Minister Paul Martin's Government had been dogged for months by a corruption scandal involving the misuse of millions of dollars worth of taxpayer-funded advertising contracts.

And as Richard Reynolds reports from Toronto, the election campaign is shaping up as one of the dirtiest in years.

RICHARD REYNOLDS: Canada's Liberal Party won the last election 18 months ago, but with only a minority of Parliamentary seats.

Prime Minister Paul Martin's Government has had trouble clinging on to power; this is the second no-confidence motion they have faced.

Mr Martin has been beset by scandal over a flawed Government advertising program; the Opposition is trying to capitalize on a report on the scandal released earlier this month.

In the end it took just 12 minutes for the three opposition parties to force an election.

SPEAKER OF HOUSE: Yeas, pour, cent soixante et onze, 171, nays, contre, 133, cent trente trios.

RICHARD REYNOLDS: Tomorrow morning the Prime Minister will go to the Governor-General and select an election date, probably January 16th or 23rd.

Given the timing of this election, in the middle of a Canadian winter, the weather might be the biggest factor. One winter storm could easily distort election results by dramatically reducing turnout in one part of the country.

Claire Martin is a meteorologist with CBC Television.

CLAIRE MARTIN: But it's going to be harder than if it was in June. In June you'd have to worry about the Barbecue, putting the beer down to go vote. Now we have to worry about going through a howling snow-storm to go vote.

RICHARD REYNOLDS: Barring a weather disaster, polls published in the past week indicate the next Parliament will look a lot like the current one: another Liberal Party minority Government.

But Canadian politics has seriously fractured in the past decade, with the emergence of a powerful new sovereigntist party in Quebec province. There are now four major parties in Canada. This makes it very difficult for any one party to secure a Parliamentary majority.

Professor Nelson Wiseman is an expert on Canadian politics.

NELSON WISEMAN: We're probably heading in the longer term, toward Coalition Governments, which we haven't had in Canada except for a brief exception during the First World War, so I suspect we're moving more in the western European or European direction.

RICHARD REYNOLDS: But the Liberals, who have run Canada since the 1930s save for just 14 years, are going to try hard to hold on to power. Their key strategy will be to attack the leader of their chief competition, Steven Harper, the head of the Conservative Party.

One of the ways they do that is by portraying Harper as a George Bush clone. Attacking someone as too American or too close to the White House is a technique that has worked well in the past.

Norman Spector, a former Chief of Staff to former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney believes many Canadians have doubts about the governing Liberal Party, but he thinks negative advertising techniques will still see them win the next election.

NORMAN SPECTOR: People will sort of swallow their reticence and vote in a Government that they may suspect is pretty arrogant, corrupt and sleazy, but still the fear-factor that is inspired by these negative television campaigns is designed to make that alternative, sort of the only realistic alternative, unacceptable.

RICHARD REYNOLDS: Just a few decades ago, Canadian campaigns were a genteel affair, but no longer. As Nelson Wiseman explains, Canadians have begun to adopt the techniques perfected by their southern neighbour.

NELSON WISEMAN: Canadians, when they watch American campaigns tell themselves often, in a sense of smugness, "Oh, we don't run campaigns like that in Canada." But the last one got dirty, especially at the end, and this one has gotten dirty and the campaign hasn't even begun.

RICHARD REYNOLDS: Just last week, Mr Martin was furious over an accusation by Mr Harper that the Liberals were connected to organized crime.

The campaign is likely to be fairly low key for the next month. First of all, it's the Christmas season and will be hard to get people's attention, so the real campaign will not get going until after New Year's Day. That leaves just 2 or 3 weeks for a national election campaign.

This Richard Reynolds in Toronto, for The World Today.


Accusing the liberals of connections to organised crime? This is going to be a really interesting campaign. I almost wish I wasn't getting married over Christmas so I could follow it! :slight_smile:

Vroom et al., prepare to defend yourselves from Zeb et al. I forsee some interesting exchanges between Americans and Canadians in the Politics forum during the upcoming weeks...


#17

Hyuk hyuk.

Get out the machine guns, we gonna have ourselves an election...


#18

Good point - a lot of people seem to have a misunderstanding as to how a parliamentary democracy works.

You guys are not as much fun as Italy what with their government falling all the time. LOL


#19

You want to punish the Liberals? Or the Canadian public? The fact is, given the two scenarios (possibly three) about to unfold on Jan. 23 it seems to be in the best interest of voters to back a status quo.

Can you imagine if Harper did form a government? The theories being tossed around this morning in riding association meetings were that if the Conservatives do form a government, it will be a minority. And can you imagine how long that will last? The Bloc would never support a Conservative government, a direct quote from Duceppe. Furthermore, the NDP would never give the Conservatives the same support they offered the Liberals. As such, in 3-4 months time we'd be in the same situation again, and spending copious amounts of money on another election.

If you want to punish the Liberal party for their involvement in the Sponsorship Scandal? Then track down the individuals that the Independent Inquiry found to be responsible. Keep in mind the history of the Gomery Inquiry. It isn't like the Liberals wanted Gomery to head up the investigation. There was a great deal of bickering surrounding that months ago.

Furthermore, if individuals make the claim that "The report didn't go deep enough" then they shouldn't support the Opposition Parties that brought down a Government waiting for the second and final installement of the Report.

I actually got to talk to Peter McKay last week when I was in Ottawa. I'm not a Conservative by definition, but it was an interesting discussion. Nevertheless, it became evident, through that conversation that the Conservatives are confident to form a minority at minimum. If you examine the very, very close ridings from 2004, its obvious that nothing is a certainty for the Liberals.

There is also rumblings in the parties that Quebec will toss the Liberals and go BQ this time around. It's never certain, but its likely to happen that way.

Of course, the NDP will reassert itself as a nudge party, and we'll be back to deciding policy based on hasty coalitions and back-room politicing.

As sad as it is, Martin did make a good point in one of his speeches this morning. He mentioned that all of the tax breaks, and likely the money that was promised to the Aboriginal Summit this last week won't be guaranteed with an election. It may have been political tactics, but it is a bit dirty on the Opposition parties to think solely about their interests then the good of the Canadian people.


#20

Thanks for the reply maninblack! I don't agree with your assessment tho.

Let's re-arrange this a bit:

Can you imagine if Martin did form a government? The theories being tossed around this morning in riding association meetings were that if the Liberals do form a government, it will be a minority. And can you imagine how long that will last? The Bloc does not support the Liberal party. Furthermore, the NDP's Jack Layton will not back the Liberals. As such, in 3-4 months time we'd be in the same situation again, and spending copious amounts of money on another election.

(do you have a source on the direct quote by Duceppe about Harper? I couldn't find any info on it)

You mean call an inquiry with a judge who can't make any binding recommendations and no legal power so that the entire thing becomes a dog and pony show? Wow. Justice is alive and well here in Canada.

How about we improve transparency in party funding, shrink the size/power of the federal government, cut back a wee-bit on patronization (ie. hire people that have qualifications other than I know a liberal). Do you know the conservatives position on this? The liberal one is certainly a sweep it under the rug, increase the size/power of federal gov't and hope crooks don't get caught policy.

I want policy changes that makes abuse difficult and easily caught. Action, not words.

May have been political tactics??? Let's look at this. No party is going to touch the results of the Aboriginal Summit, especially not the conservatives. Nobody wants to appear racist (because that's how it will play out) - least of all conservatives who seem to catch that label.

Now tax breaks - yea- I can see the conservatives repealing tax breaks and replacing them with social spending...oh wait...no...that's not what conservatives will do.

So far a healthy amount of fear mongering, and speculation without substance. The Liberals do deserve to pay, and quite frankly it might make them pull up their socks a little bit.

You have so little faith in our country that you think the conservative party will ring the death bell - it's sad.