Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Old Fantasies Never Die
They're just reimagined when Stephen Harper wins elections
When Stephen Harper managed to defeat the incumbent Liberals in the 2005/06 federal election, it didn't take very long for speculation of a left-of-centre coalition to defeat him and ensure that the Conservatives could never govern again.
Less than two days after the election, the Real News Network featured Murray Dobbin musing on the possibility of an immediate left of centre coalition to govern in Harper's stead.
"There's real pressure on [Stephane] Dion personally to try and figure out a way to force Harper's hand and have a vote of confidence," Dobbin insisted. "Defeat Harper, and then form a government with support from the NDP and the Bloc [Quebecois]."
"That is still a possibility," an optimistic-sounding Dobbin mused.
In the Ottawa Citizen, Lloyd Axworthy offers a similar sentiment. In an op/ed column in which he muses that "More than 60 per cent of those who cast ballots in the last election did not support the Harper government."
Furthermore, Axworthy's crystal ball has suggested to him that all those Canadians who didn't vote were going to vote against Harper, too. If you count in all those who did not participate out of choice or indifference then you likely have a much larger cohort of Canadians who are not in favour of the agenda espoused by this government," Axworthy supposes.
"the opposition parties must begin immediately to have direct conversations about the forthcoming parliamentary session. They must discuss how to combine and co-operate to ensure that Stephen Harper does not take advantage of both a split opposition and an imminent Liberal leadership race to force through measures that reflect his particular ideology, which is clearly very conservative," Axworthy writes. "This de facto parliamentary alliance, while troublesome for partisans, is a must and is clearly mandated by their electors who were asked to vote Liberal, New Democrat, Green or Bloc to stop Mr. Harper. To return to the gamesmanship of the last Parliament would be a repudiation of those election vows."
Of course, as Steve Janke notes that if more than 60% of Canadians voted against Stephen Harper, then many more Canadians voted against Stephane Dion, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe.
This particular reality aside -- not to mention that even if Stephane Dion were to have won a majority government with the largest margin ever won by Jean Chretien, he would only have captured 41$ of the vote -- the emerging "unite the left" movement simply has no basis in reality.
For one thing, neither the Liberals nor the NDP have enough seats between them to govern the country. The Bloc Quebecois would be necessary to make such a feat possible.
Murray Dobbin has followed Canadian politics for many, many years. Lloyd Axworthy is a second-generation politician who himself was deeply involved -- including an extended period as a Cabinet minister -- in politics for many years.
So some may wonder how it is that both of these men cannot understand the particular role of the Bloc Quebecois in Canada and how neither party could realistically be expected to contribute to a left-of-centre governing coalition.
Of course, the Bloc Quebecois exists for one reason and one reason alone: to separate Quebec from Canada, thus dismembering the country. Even at times when a sovereignty referendum is not immediately on the agenda, the Bloc Quebecois is a protest bloc.
As such, the Bloc Quebecois could not participate in any such coalition government. The very philosophy of the Bloc Quebecois insists that Quebec is culturally and spiritually separate from Canada, and must become politically separate as well.
Thus, the Bloc Quebecois caucus is precisely that: a bloc of MPs who may, from time to time, cooperate in the governance of the country, but at the end of the day (theoretically) represent a group of people who consider themselves separate from Canada all but officially.
The "united left" coalition is nothing more than a pure fantasy.
One can only wonder when Lloyd Axworthy and Murray Dobbin might wake up from that particular dream.