I usually don’t report on the daily non-political lives of people in Ottawa because, well, there’s a certain line to be respected and sometime you just let people be. However, I made a particular observation about a month ago that I only then shared with friends in casual discussion, yet it now seems to inform a broader political context so I’ll share it here. I spotted the Governor General and her husband furniture shopping. Yes, Rideau Hall comes fully stocked but yet not stocked with the sort of timber that this middle-of-the-road sort of store had to offer.
So, why were the Viceregal and the Viceregal Consort shopping for furniture? With the revelation that the PM is actively seeking Michaelle Jean’s replacement, perhaps we now know the answer.
Now, the speculation begins for Jean’s replacement.
My guess as to who the PM will pick is Wayne Gretzky. The PM has made a special effort to normalize the idea of a good working relationship between himself and the Great One. Earlier this year, the PM hosted a reception with Gretzky for the Kinsmen club and hung out with Gretzky at some key Olympic events. The PM’s favourite photo ops are also said to be with athletes.
Some would point out that Gretzky’s french isn’t fantastic. He wouldn’t be the first Governor General to struggle with the language as Ray Hnatyshyn’s french abilities were also criticized.
The PM’s choice of Gretzky would be politically sound as no opposition MP or oped editorialist would find much currency in criticizing the choice.
Today, in 24 cities coast-to-coast-to-coast, Canadians will assemble at legislatures, city halls and other gathering locations to send a message to Ottawa.
They will let the Parliamentarians know that they are concerned about political games at a time of economic crisis and that the last thing Canada needs now is political instability. Many Canadians breathed a sigh of relief when the Governor General granted the Prime Minister a prorogation of Parliament. This is encouraging because the Minister of Finance will continue to tend to Canada’s books and there over the next 90 days at least, we’ll see a sound and stable political direction on the economic file.
I had no idea that RallyforCanada.ca would receive such a response. Since Monday, the website has received hundreds of thousands of hits and tens of thousands of people have signed up with their email addresses to indicate that they either want to organize or participate in a rally today. It is a grassroots movement; a couple of guys named Matt O’Brien and Ed Woolley started a Facebook event while I kicked off RallyforCanada.ca to draw as many people as possible to the somewhat bizarre idea of rallying for the status quo and against a threat to its stability. We want to rally for the democratic principles of Canada, to let Parliamentarians know that while they within their technical right to flip power at any time, doing so after a Prime Minister earns a mandate on the issue of the economic downturn lacks moral authority and is nothing but a cynical grab for power.
If you’re headed out to a rally today, I’d love to hear your story when you return. Drop me an email or put a comment in this thread. Rally participants will be twittering, youtubing and flickr-ing so hopefully we’ll have some content up soon.
Fact: “The Liberal Opposition plans to introduce a non-confidence motion in the House of Commons on Monday” (source)
But: Notice of motions are introduced regularly by the opposition. Motions are always introduced in advance. Generally five motions are introduced. The Liberals having a confidence motion on the table are simply having the confidence motion on the table as an option. Potential motions must prested in advance and today (Friday) is the earliest opportunity for the opposition to have that option on the table for Monday. They may not actually move on voting on the motion.
Speculation: Anybody wonder why Stephane Dion didn’t immediately step down after the election? His people have been quiet on his prospects as leader of a coalition government. In the Liberal constitution, if I remember correctly, the only way Dion can be replaced in a pinch is if he either dies or resigns. If Dion doesn’t resign, the Liberals may govern under Dion if a coalition is formed.
Fiction: A new Bloc-Liberal-NDP coalition government would be viable beyond their agreement on the $1.95-per-vote subsidy.
Speculation: If the Liberals-NDP believe they can form a coalition with tangential Bloc support, the GG may have no other option to call an election as 77+37=114 LPC/NDP vs. CPC’s 143. The GG may see this as the only stable option.
Fact: The Conservatives (in the broader picture) want to move forward on the economy. The opposition wanted to hold the government back on the campaign welfare package.
Fact: The Throne Speech passed in the House yesterday after the economic statement was read. The opposition approved the government’s mandate knowing full well that they’d be bringing it to the brink this weekend.
Fact: On mandates, if the Liberals were to form government, they would do so after receiving the lowest proportion of votes in their party’s history. Further, if Dion does resign and if Ignatieff does become Prime Minister, he would do so without having been presented to Canadians during the democratic process that we call elections. Talk about an affront to democracy!
Fact: The opposition accused the government of not having a plan for the economy during an election and now they accuse the government of the same now. What has changed? The Conservatives now want to end campaign welfare.
Fact: Cooler heads recognize that the American elephant will move on the economy in new year and that any action with respect to our integrated economies would be better done in coordination rather than prematurely.
Speculation: Canadians will not accept a surprise Liberal-NDP coalition backed by a party that wants to destroy the country that would stand to be dismantled under the proposed funding changes of the Conservative government. By opposing campaign welfare reform, the Liberals are sustaining the existence of the Bloc for their own ambition. Canadians will not accept a surprise Prime Minister unvetted by the electorate.
Speculation: What are the terms of a NDP-backed Liberal coalition government? Cancellation of the $50 Billion corporate tax cut? What are the Bloc’s terms?