It’s been a wild and wacky week on Parliament Hill, culminating yesterday when Governor General Michaelle Jean agreed to prorogue Parliament until Jan. 26. In my estimation, in doing so she rightly defeated any chance the coalition has at forming a government.
That’s because for six weeks, MPs on both sides of the aisle will step outside of their bubble in Ottawa and return to their ridings where they’ll be dealt a hefty dose of reality from their constituents. Liberal and NDP MPs will learn, in no uncertain terms, that there’s absolutely no appetite among Canadians for a coalition government involving separatists.
Tory MPs, meanwhile, will also learn that the antics of leader Stephen Harper has left many conservative voters with a sour taste in their mouths. His partisan games may not have directly caused the formation of the coalition, but they nonetheless served as an accelerant.
Over the next few weeks, as Liberals return to their home ridings, they will learn that to truly serve the constituents who voted for them, they must abandon the coalition. Cracks are already beginning to appear after an embarrassing national address by their so-called leader, Stephane Dion. Dion demonstrated how ill-equipped he is to be PM when he and his cronies delivered a fuzzy and at times incoherent video to national TV networks Wednesday night – and delivered it late, to boot.
But at the same time, the Conservatives must realize that they are not blameless in all of this. I believe it would be best if Harper were to step aside and turn the reins over to Jim Prentice or another capable Tory. I wouldn’t have said that a week ago. But Harper’s televised address was also disappointing. It lacked passion and substance and there was no sign of what many of us wanted to see – a humbler Harper, maybe even an apologetic Harper.
The bad blood that exists between Harper and the opposition parties has caused irreparable harm. There’s not an ounce of trust on either side, and we’re dealing with an economic crisis that, like it or not, will require parties on both sides of the aisle to work together to some extent. That’s not likely to happen with a Harper-led government. Of course, Harper will not step aside. He’s too proud, maybe even too arrogant.
So what does it all mean? It means that not a whole lot will change when all is said and done. The coalition will erode over the coming weeks and the Liberal Party will continue to implode after another failed attempt to gain power under the leadership of a laughable loser. The Tories will retain their minority government position and will stand unified behind Harper, for better or for worse. When all is said and done, all that will have been accomplished by this coalition (besides providing us with some entertaining TV news clips) is to have stalled the political process for several weeks. Several weeks that should have been spent coming up with ways to tackle the economic crisis that confronts our country.
But there is a silver lining in all of this. The activities in Ottawa over the past couple of weeks have reignited Canadians’ interest in politics. It seems everyone has taken an interest in the events on Parliament Hill, and everyone has an opinion. When was the last time you could say that? Speaking of opinions, I’m interested in hearing yours. Feel free to post a comment in the space below.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies