How Harper saved his skin...and the coalition could still succeed

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"Hundreds show up for 'Rally for Canada' in Courtenay," said the press release put out by MP John Duncan's office on Dec. 8. According to the release it was a rally to "protest the coalition government proposed by the Liberals and NDP, with the support of the Bloc Quebecois."

"People are genuinely upset," said Dick Clancy, local Conservative Party President, "We organized this event because so many people were calling us. They want to know more about what is happening; they want to talk about it and they want to know that people are listening."

Duncan said "We have had a lot of feedback, and it has been overwhelmingly against the notion of this coalition simply taking power without a mandate from the people. There are constitutional experts making arguments on all sides of this issue, but in the end Canadians expect to choose their government and if you try to take away their voice you will do so at your peril."

One doesn't know whether to laugh, cry or both at the ignorance exhibited by the opponents of the coalition, and the blatant misrepresentation of the situation by the Conservatives and their supporters. The people may want to talk about it and know what is happening, but they certainly are not getting the correct information from those who have a vested interest in discrediting the coalition.

The negative response to the coalition idea exposes a serious problem in the state of Canada. Most of its citizens appear to be ignorant when it comes to how their government is designed to function. In an Ipsos Reid poll conducted recently 51 per cent of Canadians polled believed that the prime minister is directly elected by voters, and 75 per cent could not identify the Head of State.

It is no wonder that a simple democratic manoeuvre made by the parties representing the vast majority of voters has raised a ruckus. Many of those jumping up and down with their hair on fire have no real idea of what is going on, and are being lead by the nose, much like ignorant people have been everywhere from time immemorial.

What really happened is not a perversion of democracy, as the right-wing wants everyone to believe, but a true expression of it to protect the interests that almost two thirds of Canadians voted for in the last election. What really happened is that Stephen Harper tried to bully the majority of Parliament like a tin pot dictator and got called on it.

With the support of little more than a third of the voters and a minority position in Parliament, Mr. Harper should be working constructively with the other parties to serve the best interests of the country. Instead he set out to destroy those parties, and spit in the eye of most Canadians. Only weeks after one unnecessary election that cost millions he put forward a confidence issue that gave the other parties three choices, knuckle under and accept what most Canadians don't want, go to another expensive election this winter, or threaten to use their majority control of Parliament to take power. For the good of Canada they did the right thing, they threatened to take over the government if Harper proceeded with his autocratic attitude.

Mr. Harper saved his skin for the time being by getting the Governor General to prorogue Parliament before a confidence vote could be taken. And, it appears he is now in a conciliatory mode, actually talking to the other parties about what to do next. If he pulls in his horns and only proceeds with legislation that the majority supports, the coalition will have achieved a success for all of us.

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