Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Long Silence Broken

Well, after such a long silence one would think that I'd completely forgotten about the fact that I even had a blog, let alone had any intention of contributing to it again. The truth of the matter is that I hadn't forgotten, but things sort of ran away on me, and every day that I thought "today I will write a blog", something else would happen, and the next thing I knew another day - then week - then month would go by ... until it got to the point where I had all but let it fall by the wayside.

There is something about this forum that really appeals to me, however, and I really don't want to lose the opportunity to access the potential readers here who may, or may not, agree with my point of view on various points of discussion. Thus, I am going to try to make a concerted effort to contribute on a regular basis to this "column", in the hopes that people will find a reason to check back with some regularity - seeking what has been posted.

Tonight - or, should I say, this morning, the thing that I am most concerned with is the federal election that just occurred, here in Canada. The people of this country have seen fit to give the Liberal Party of Canada a minority mandate with which to form a government. For several reasons, this is something that both grieves me, but also comforts me - to the point that I cannot decide whether I should be celebrating or drinking myself into a stupor.

A reason to celebrate (and, for that matter, drink myself into a stupor), is that the "new" Conservative Party, under the "leadership" of Steven Harper, has been denied a mandate. I have been in several discussions regarding this "new" party, and I always say that I wouldn't be so worried about them if they were really "conservatives", but the party is the amalgamation of the Alliance Party and the Reform Party - which is full of xenophobic racists who oppose the Canadian Human Rights Act - and would have had Canada send troops to the Persian Gulf in support of a war against Iraq's people, in search of Weapons of Mass Destruction that the Bush administration stated, in 2001 (at the time of the inauguration) that "they did not have". The "new" conservative party represents the worst of the three organizations that came together, with candidates that needed to be muzzled during the election, for fear that they might say something controversial (which happened enough to reveal their true colours to those who paid attention).

The fact that a minority government was elected gives me pause for the reason that, on the surface, there doesn't seem to be a reasonable combination of support for the Liberals to work with, given the distribution of representation. Minority governments can either be very effective, providing excellent representation for their constituents, or they can be "lame duck" governments, floundering around until the inevitable non-confidence vote which results in another general election - and another major bill for the Canadian taxpayer.

Should the NDP and the Bloc decide that it is in their best interest to work with the government, they will be able to promote some of their pet projects, including health care and the environment (NDP), transfer payments and education (NDP & Bloc) - but - will they see this as an opportunity for that sort of advancement, or will they choose instead to "play politics" and grandstand, taking every opportunity to "look good on camera" during question period. Should this be the route they take, I fear that the government will find itself shackled - totally impotent and unable to move on any legislative materials - even those acts that the NDP would have wanted to enact on their own.

Minority governments are only able to work when those involved are willing to set aside their egos, and act in the best interests of the people who elected them.

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