harper tombstone II

The Harper government could be toppled as early as next Monday by an unprecedented opposition coalition. Yesterday, Stephane Dion, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe held a press conference and signed an agreement that they will present to the Governor General, asking to form a new government. (You can read the full text on babble.)

The Greens are on board with the coalition as well, as leader Elizabeth May explains in an op-ed piece for rabble.ca. Reports Tuesday indicated that Dion has approached May about a possible role in the potential new government.

All this breaking news in Ottawa has activists and spin-doctors in high gear, while the proposed Liberal-NDP coalition has sparked excitement and a lively debate amongst progressives.

Right cries ‘coup d’état’

Conservative activists are mobilizing with hyperbole about a ‘coup d’état,’ but they are getting their rhetoric from the top. Natural Resources Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn provided that great headline fodder for international wire services. (Of course, a coup d’état has been planned in Ottawa quite recently, but it was carried out in Haiti, with bi-partisan support in Parliament.)

Heritage Minister James Moore, for his part, demonstrated his ignorance of the workings of our parliamentary system: "It used to be in Canadian politics that you had to win an election in
order to become the prime minister of this country."

"Rallies for Canada" are planned in a number of cities this Saturday to protest the ousting of the Harper government, and to call for another election if the non-confidence vote passes.

Labour and allies mobilize to defeat Harper

Meanwhile, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and many of its affilated unions are organizing a series of rallies across the country on Thursday and Saturday in support of the opposition coalition to bring down Harper.

The pro-coalition rallies will be held under the slogan "Make Parliament Work":

"The opposition parties are acting in a responsible manner. They are not going to force another costly and time-consuming election. Instead the Liberals and the NDP are planning to form a coalition government, with the support of the Bloc Québecois in the House of Commons, to get this Parliament to address the economic crisis in a way that benefits workers and their families. Let’s support a coalition government that will get us through this economic crisis."

Should the left endorse the potential coalition government?

The notion of the NDP, labour and other social movements supporting a Liberal-led government is not being welcomed unanimously by progressives. For instance, in a rabble.ca article, John Riddell argues:

"Labour leaders’ current pledges of unconditional support to a coalition will undermine the unions’ ability to act independently in defence of workers’ rights and needs. Tying ourselves down in this manner is particularly dangerous in the midst of an economic crisis that is unprecedented, and shifting rapidly in unpredictable ways."

As this exciting week in Canadian politics plays out, rabble will continue to bring you breaking multi-media coverage of developments. And, of course, the babble discussion boards are the place to join in the lively debate that is well underway.