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What do you guys think? Does Harper deserve to be ousted?

Personally, I'd love to see this happen. From the looks of it the parties would still be keeping their own identities and platforms but would unite on issues they agree on. Seems perfectly democratic to me.

Edited by Mr. Shiver

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I'd hesitate to call anything in Canada democratic, and this seems to be about as un-democratic as it gets, simply because Canadians are not the ones choosing who they voted for. More Canadians voted for Harper and the conservative party than any of the other parties, so at least there is some semblance of democracy while the conservatives control the government. That being said, the NDP and Liberals, united only under their anti-conservative ideas, are going way too far. This should not be done without an election of some sort, because a vote for the liberal party is not a vote for a half-liberal, half-NDP government, and vice-versa. I know many left-leaning people will get up in arms about how the percieved "tyranny" of herper is going to be ended, but realistically, it's a step away from democracy and a step towards allowing small groups of politicians to maneuver in such a way as to oust a democratically elected prime minister.

Despite any of Harper's issues, I would disagree on the principle of using a coalition government that doesn't include the leading party. MPs should be free to vote as they like, instead of being forced in to ridiculous alliances for the purpose of taking power away from a government that was only 11 seats away from a majority. The issue that strikes me is that most canadians have shown that they'd rather see union power diminished, and this quasi-democratic coalition is going to deny them the right to have that happen. If the Liberals and NDP wanted to form an alliance, fine, but the sticking point is that the deciding vote goes to the most ridiculous party in the country, and that they're basing their decision on Harper's move to cut party funding by 30 million.

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I guess the basic idea here is that the majority of Canadians did not want Harper as prime minister, so in a minority government if he acts like he does have a majority and tries to choke the other parties' funding in order to eventually get that majority, then the majority opposition teaching him a painful lesson is fair game. The left may have been divided over the votes, but if all the parties have common objectives which under the Conservatives they wouldn't be able to push forward, then they have the power constitutionally to form government in order to get those things done.

Of course if the public pressures them not to do it, then it's going to be a lot more difficult for them to legitimately form the coalition. But even if the dust settles and the Conservatives still have power, at least now they'll know they have to be much more careful.

MPs should be free to vote as they like, but the only way for that to always happen is if they're all independents. And then who would get to govern?

Edited by Mr. Shiver

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Well, quite simply, they should not require re-elections in the ridings when MPs decide to vote against party lines, but that's a different topic.

In any case, harper was not far off of a majority, and it should be noted that the liberals and the NDP together do not have more total seats than the conservative party. The issue is that the bloc is 100% self-interested, and form the deciding factor between the left and the right. In this case, their self-interested nature has been shown by the fact that they may be willing to oust a prime minister simply because of a funding cut, and not because the bloc has a definitive right/left leaning. The main issue is that if the bloc seats were split evenly between the other parties, the conservatives would in fact have a majority. Now, this is sounding a bit theoretical, but the fact that a provincial party is even allowed to lure voters in to some minority group that effectively controls the country is highly suspect. My point is that the bloc cannot be labeled as right or left, and that in Canada, right now, the conservatives have a higher total of seats than the parties who do have a definite left wing tendency.

With that being the case, if the bloc joins up with the liberals and NDP to effectively make the right voiceless, then within the coalition a total of around 80 combined NDP/Liberal seats will dictate what goes on in the country. Looking at it this way, it's easy to see why this is a large deviation from democracy. One minority left group and one minority province group are allying based on a party funding bill in an alliance that will lead to the minority left group dictating the majority of canadian politics. One look at the seat distribution from the last election should be evidence of why this is a very, very undemocratic procedure.

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well. i dont know why you wouldnt call this democratic.

simply put, harper had less than 50% of the vote, meaning the other parties combined had 50%+ vote.

so a coalition of the other parties (i know bloc isnt in it but they've given their consent) would be very democratic indeed. it would be undemocratic if harper WASNT kicked out.

i didnt like harper, will never like him. I thought of him as an idiot for boycotting the olympics, and now even more so after their recent economic statements.

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The Bloc Quebecois are social democrats. As far as I know, that's always been their ideological leaning. So I don't see how you can say they can't be labelled either left or right. This being the case, it's safe to say that Canada's parliament is more left leaning than right. Now you could argue that the Liberals are centrist, but in terms of economic issues, right now they're taking a leftist stance because they're in favour of stimuli, and that's the key issue in parliament right now. Whether or not the opposite (a right majority) would have been true if the Bloc had not been around is rather besides the point, in my view.

I'm not quite sure I follow your line of thinking in your latter paragraph, either. The Liberals, NDP, and Bloc together want to form a coalition based on common ground, which, going by the number of seats for which those issues were ostensibly voted in favor of, is not undemocratic for them to do. Where there are disagreements, then, from what I understand, they will not be put on the table. So for example both the Bloc and the NDP are against the Afganistan war, but because the Liberals are in favour of a 2011 withdrawal, I don't think the Liberals will have to compromise on the issue and let the other parties pass legislation to end it sooner, even though the NDP and Bloc together have more seats than the Liberals. If I'm wrong about this, then I'll stand corrected.

Edited by Mr. Shiver

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it would be undemocratic if harper WASNT kicked out.

You're saying that every minority government in Canadian history was undemocratic? Might want to rethink that statement.

Anyways, @Shiver, the Bloc Quebecois are not Social Democrats per say, because their platform rides on forcing the government to give money to Quebec for social programs, instead of focusing on distributing this funding elsewhere. They also tend to focus on increasing taxation on oil (Quebec's oil output is low in comparison to that of other provinces) and increasing funding for aeronautics/transportation research programs (most of which are located in Quebec) It may be safe to say that right now, in the parliament, more people are left-leaning, but it is also safe to say that the Bloc party uses means other than left/right platform to influence voters, namely putting Quebec first, and everything else second.

The hard facts are that more Canadians voted for Harper than any other candidate for the prime minister seat. In fact, more Canadians voted for Harper than all of the other candidates combined, since the Bloc technically can't have a prime minister. So, now we're letting a bunch of self-interested politicians emplace a prime minister of their own choosing, who will most likely be someone that didn't get half the votes that Harper did. Canadians didn't vote for a coalition, they voted for the conservative party as a minority government, just like they've voted for every minority government in Canadian history that hasn't been replaced by a coalition. If it really represents the stance of the Canadian population, then make it a vote, instead of twisting the current scheme in to some left-favoring pretense at democracy. If all three opposition parties disagree with Harper's expense cut, then they can make it very clear that they will not support it, and then the Conservative party can withdraw their demands and make a new proposition. There is really no justification for abusing our system of government to replace the elected cabinet with a bunch of representatives from minority parties.

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It may be safe to say that right now, in the parliament, more people are left-leaning, but it is also safe to say that the Bloc party uses means other than left/right platform to influence voters, namely putting Quebec first, and everything else second.

I'll give you that, but I would like to point out that the reason for the Bloc's late surge was national issues such as arts funding and youth sentencing. No matter how much you hate the Bloc, you simply can't take them out of the equation because they do have stances on national issues for which they are hugely influential in parliament.

The hard facts are that more Canadians voted for Harper than any other candidate for the prime minister seat.

The Prime Minister's status is a "first among equals". His authority is only as far-reaching as the parliament allows for it to be. If the elected parliament overthrows the prime minister, then this is no less democratic than a minority government. This is why as a minority leader, you have to keep enough of the opposition satisfied.

In fact, more Canadians voted for Harper than all of the other candidates combined, since the Bloc technically can't have a prime minister.

In terms of popular vote, no. Conservatives only had 38% of the vote, and the NDP and Liberals together had 44%. Throw in the Green Party and you have about 51%, which would be a majority, whom the coalition would be representing, not including the Bloc of course. But we'll take out the Green party if you object to the assumption that they have a say in this too. Either way, the popular vote numbers don't support the original assertion.

In terms of seats, you're right the Conservatives have more seats than the Liberals and NDP combined. As a matter of fact, I still don't know how exactly the Liberals and NDP can form a coalition government that doesn't officially include the Bloc. But since this capability seems obvious judging by the lack of explanation in the media, I'm assuming this is because if the Bloc gives their blessing to the coalition then it's constitutionally fit to govern (and as I said before, you simply can't take the Bloc out of the equation--as long as Quebec remains a part of Canada, the Bloc will be around to participate on national issues in parliament). I believe this is what happened in the 80s in Ontario with the NDP as well. Now here's where you may have a point that it doesn't seem democratic on the surface. But if it's constitutionally acceptable and acceptable in terms of the popular vote, then there wouldn't seem to be an argument about it after all. Let me know if I'm wrong about this, because I could be omitting something critical here.

You are right about one thing, though. In our system, voters during the election don't get to pick and choose how parliament is run, just who gets the power to represent them in their riding. You argue that is not democratic in principle, and you may have a point, but that depends on your own opinion of what a functional democracy should look like. Not everyone has the time and energy to participate in every moment of the political process, and there is an element of trust that's put in a vote which, yeah, does get broken a lot more than it should. But this just goes back to our previous discussion about the nature of democracy, and how I feel that the best way for citizens to have their voice heard is through a media that serves a dual role of informing and being informed by them. This is why I'm faithful that ultimately what will determine whether or not the coalition does take power will be either public consent/dissent or indifference.

Edited by Mr. Shiver

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EDIT: Oops, browser issues, discount whatever was written here before, totally missed some posts.

True stuff there, when I looked at the seat holdings I didn't bother looking over the popular vote numbers, so yes, liberal and NDP having some measure of power does seem justified in light of that. In any case, if we do take the seat totals to represent how the government is run (which they do) then we have a case of two parties with a small amount of seats that are taking over the cabinet of a party with a large amount of seats, simply because the bloc "says so." There's a reason this is unprecedented, and that's because the representatives of the bloc should not have the right to give other parties their "blessing" and have them get rid of all of the conservative cabinet members. The Bloc representatives were elected to represent their people in parliament. Signing off to let a government with way less seats than the conservatives lead the country is a big step away from even Canada's pretense at democracy. If an NDP/Liberal coalition is to be formed, let the public give the parties a total of half the votes, and if a three way coalition is formed, then make sure the Bloc gets more seats in it than the NDP, after all, they do control more of the popular vote. And for that matter, why can't the prime minister come from the Bloc as well? They're not too far behind the liberals, and at least their leader isn't Stefan Dion.

Edited by SharkSpider

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i didnt like harper, will never like him. I thought of him as an idiot for boycotting the olympics, and now even more so after their recent economic statements.

Oohhh, me too. Although, more for being a wannabe-Bush and sending troops to Afghanistan. Bring back the dead and I will change my mind. Floating_Ghost_by_Einnod.gif

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While it is true that the Bloc does have a lot of power in this deal, one thing that's important to keep in mind is that Gilles Duceppe is not doing the separatists any favours by joining forces with Stephane Dion and the Liberals. It will involve compromises that many of the Bloc's supporters would hate to see their party cozy up to, fearing that the Bloc's positions will be toned down in the long run. So I think a lot of concerns that the Bloc's power right now will cause national turmoil are kind of exaggerated: if the Bloc gets more special treatment for their province, that wouldn't be a whole lot different from the concessions that have been made under Harper.

As for there being a regression from democracy, the Conservatives will be replaced by a coalition representing the majority of the popular vote and, when the Bloc is included, the majority of seats. The population voted for those parties in an election just six weeks ago. They weren't voted under a coalition, but voters don't control how parliament runs, just the MPs that run it. To call this undemocratic is to call Canada's parliamentary system undemocratic, not just the current course of events. If that's what you're arguing then I'm afraid I'm not in a position to debate with you on that. I'm looking at the partisan nature of the coalition when judging whether or not it's democratic, and taking it for granted that our constitution is built on democratic principles.

The coalition isn't come brand new party that came out of nowhere: it's grounded in common positions between the two parties, along with the Bloc. The moment the coalition begins serving the specific agendas of the individual parties against the will of the majority beyond what is to be reasonably expected from fiscal policy, I will call it undemocratic. Until then, I see no reason to do so.

Edited by Mr. Shiver

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This is not a common thing in Canadian politics, and is, in fact, the first time any Coalition has been presented that did not have a majority of seats. The only reason the coalition is being considered is because the representatives from one party are agreeing to it. The final result is that the government, which was at one point formed by 140+ conservative seats, will now be formed by about 110 liberal/NDP seats. The proposition is not constitutional per say, because it still relies on the governor general accepting the interpretation that allows the bloc to give the coalition their "support" without actually joining it. If the bloc was willing to join the coalition on equal grounds with the other parties, then it would be more plausible, but even then, there is no proof that liberal, NDP, or bloc voters want the three parties to join together to form a coalition that is anticipated to be hugely detrimental to the Canadian economy. (For the record, as soon as the coalition plan was announced, the Toronto stock exchange took a major hit, just what we need right now, eh?) At this point, the proposed plan has no precedent, and presents something that could not have been anticipated from voters on any side, and thus to do it without the consent of the people is undemocratic by it's very nature.

Voters control the number of seats given to each party, and throughout history, the party with the most seats has had a prime minister appoint a cabinet. That is what the voters voted for, and regardless of how the parliament acts now, it will not change the fact that the people have made it clear that a minority Conservative government is the will of the voters.

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Yeah, the stock market pummeling as a result of this is kind of frustrating. Harper picked the worst time to piss off the opposition and gift-wrap their unification like this. The man should really have known better.

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Yeah, the stock market pummeling as a result of this is kind of frustrating. Harper picked the worst time to piss off the opposition and gift-wrap their unification like this. The man should really have known better.

That, I can agree on. Harper was an idiot to put himself in this position, but right now, a left-leaning coalition with only 110 seats is not what Canada needs. I'd like to see how the coalition holds up when the liberals/ndp start doing things that the bloc doesn't agree with, for example, following their left-wing platform with federal money in a province that isn't Quebec. I hate to say it, but he should have done more pandering and less reform in his plan. Banning public sector striking is something to discuss when you're not up for a confidence vote, and the fund cutting was just ridiculous.

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Eh, it's not like I'm decidedly antisocialist, but Canada is a capitalist state, and in general, taking left policies in to an unstable and declining economy is, in my opinion, a bad idea. So yes, I'm opposed to left-leaning economic policies.

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What do you guys think? Does Harper deserve to be ousted?

Personally, I'd love to see this happen. From the looks of it the parties would still be keeping their own identities and platforms but would unite on issues they agree on. Seems perfectly democratic to me.

we were just talking about this in history class. Our history teacher thinks Harper's really done it: "we're going to have a prime minister who lost [Dion] then a prime minister we didn't vote for [ignatieff or Rae] leading the Unholy Alliance". :S bahahaha. It'd be hard for little Justin Trudeau, wouldn't it? If he's forced to work with the Bloc when he's the physical embodiment of his father's anti-separatism.

Or maybe, Harper has a long-term strategy. Maybe he wants the Unholy Alliance to form, knowing it'll never work and plans in some short months to retake parliament with a majority. :diablo: it's the evil genius theory. But the economy would be on his side, right?

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Personally, I am liberal, so im not a fan of Harper, but having a coalition does have its advantages. I believe that with what our country is facing now (economic fragility), the coalition will help the country. For example, if we only have Harper's Tories in government with the minority they have, then for sure they will only follow their belifs and some of what they may do will not be benifical to everyday Canadians. For the coalition to work, a consensus is going to have to form and this will make sure, to a degree that all Canadians are thought of and not just a few.

As for the Bloc, i don't think that that many french canadians want to sperate nowadays, so I believe that during the elections, the Bloc focused more on the concerns of the people in Quebec, giving them more seats then they would have gotten if they foucused on wanting to sepreate. I think that the smartest thing for Canada to do is to have another election because Harper won't get anywhere with his minority because he will be ganged up on by the other parties.

Edited by Nancy

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I wouldn't have minded a coalition government. In my opinion, suspending parliament for two months is just a waste of time and people's money. Honestly, we're in a recession and people are losing their jobs at GM and the politicians end up taking 2 months Christmas holiday because they can't sort out problems together?

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