Thursday, December 4, 2008

Crisis in 60 Seconds

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Still not sure what the heck is happening up on Parliament Hill? Take 60 seconds to get caught up and be amused simultaneously. This witty summary & analysis appeared on Virgin 99.9 radio, which stole the talent from their sister news station CFRB 1010.

I know that many of you don't press play on anything that appears on this blog, and that is certainly your prerogative (I mean, you read for your own amusement, not mine). That said, press play.

Just to explain a few of the more nuanced moments:

"The Prime Minster went to the Governor General this morning and asked for Parliament to be prorogued. She served him a Polish dumpling, and he re-explained what he wanted."

Prorogue is the technical term for ending the Parliamentary session (essentially halting Parliament's work until the end of Christmas). For most people, including myself, this is the first time they ever heard the word; thus some people have been scratching their heads thinking "Pierogi?"

"So now Parliament is on a break, and a PM who's behaved like a complete [censored] has seven weeks to figure out how to stay in power. That will allow Stephane Dion just enough time to figure out how to work a home video camera."

This is a jab at Stephane Dion's follow-up address to Stephen Harper's statement on television last night. Both statements were prerecorded and supposed to run back to back. However, Stephane Dion's statement arrived an hour late and with poor video quality (like it was taken with a home video camera). Most people were not impressed. But then, it would be rather obtuse to dismiss a party's ability to govern based on its ability to produce high-quality video (although that is pretty sad).


Teddy said...

I haven't watched either of the videos, but I skimmed through some of the editorials and public reactions. Seems like most people are not impressed with Dion's speech. And it's not just the technical problem, but also the way he presented himself again. One Globeandmail editorial said he stuttered, slurred, and failed to project the image of a strong leader. And it was pre-recorded no? Nevertheless, the editorial did compliment on the strength of his speech. Makes me want to hear it, when there's time. But like you said, sometimes the image and packaging play a greater role.

One interesting news article I read earlier was how a MP said the world is closely watching Canada's political crisis because Canada has such weight on the international stage, and that a call from US inquiring about the situation is expected... But sadly, and embarassingly, the US ambassador in Canada said US is "not unduly unnerved by it".

As for the Coalition, I wonder what kind of compromises the Liberals had to make with the Bloc and NDP. I personally think they should just have another election. Some people voted for Liberals and not for a coalition. Harper sure got himself into a big mess with his political game.

a_ndy said...

I was actually pretty disappointed by Mr. Dion's address. I really had hoped he would string together something better - a speech that really explained why Harper needs to be out, and why Canadians shouldn't fear a coalition.

I think whichever MP said that the world was watching Canada closely probably had delusions of grandeur. It may have shaken investor confidence in Canada, but I actually don't think most of our allied nations really care too much about our politics. Even Canadians don't!

As for an election, I can understand why you might feel that way. However, I think it would be a bad idea. Canadians are already so sick of the last election, which was wholly unnecessary. If they have to go to the polls again, they might just give Harper a majority out of spite - and wouldn't that be great. Also, I think because this is something new, Canadians fear a coalition and don't understand it. I think giving it a chance for a while to prove to Canadians that it's nothing scary is better than going to the polls. Then next time, maybe they will be ready to vote on it. You might be interested in James Travers' editorial about how easily Canadians are manipulated because they so poorly understand their democracy. I have to admit, when it comes to constitutional law, I fall into that category as well.

As for concessions, I think that it's good that the parties are showing that they are able to work together. It's probably for the best actually - they have taken their most controversial policies off the table. This includes the NDP's apocalyptic corporate taxes and the Liberal party's carbon tax. They've also agreed to legislate on a "no surprises" basis, which I guess means they won't propose anything radical without consulting each other - important if they are going to keep their little band together. The Star has a neat transcription of the agreement - it's quite simple and brief.