Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Buyer's Remorse

This coalition government business is totally insane, and yet it’s totally legitimate.

That’s insane.

In the midst of an economic crisis heavily affected (and largely sustained) by speculation – and certainly not amicable to any unplanned turbulence among its superstructural elements – parliament’s three opposition parties, soundly defeated in an election eight weeks ago, are seeking to usurp the rights of their vanquisher to his prize.

The current Prime Minister of Canada, a man whose party received the largest plurality of votes in the last election – and who had (until last week) been believed by both friends and detractors to be a brilliant and shrewd political mastermind - will soon see the crowning achievement of his life torn away from him. Instead of being the architects of a new Conservative political order, his party will be forever remembered as one which destroyed its own government through spite and hubris at a speed unprecedented in Canadian history.

Meanwhile, the new coalition government of Canada will be headed by a man who recently resigned from the leadership of its most successful political party (after leading them to their worst electoral performance in the history of Confederation), and his steps towards restoring stability to the country’s economy will be largely charted by a man whose party made braking what are perceived to be its largest engines of growth a key platform in the last election. The lifespan of this government continues only as long as it retains the precipitous support of a man whose party believes the existence of the country it governs to be illegitimate.

No one in the last election who cast a ballot ever imagined this government appearing – much less voted for or against it – but yet in an ironic twist it’s somehow more “democratic” than the government it’s replacing.

Above all, this is entirely by the book. The hockey game we bought tickets for is actually going to be a rugby match, but according to the stadium’s management, that’s okay. Buyer beware: the athletes whose salaries you pay are going to play whatever game they want – regardless of whether or not you’d like, hate, or even ask to see it. The inmates, it turns out, have full run of their asylum.

Whether or not you sympathise with the Conservative government that brought this on itself or prefer the alternative of Danny Williams’ dream team “Anyone But Conservative” government, this situation should give you some pause for thought. Forget everything you thought you knew about politics – literally anything can happen. Once you cast your vote, the ball is entirely in the politicians’ court to play whatever crazy power games they want.

If this idea – that you don’t really have that much say in how your country is run – doesn’t bother you on at least some fundamental level, then you might be too emotionally invested in this partisan shell game for your own good.

As for the rest of us, it may actually be time to start asking about where exactly the peoples’ authority in this supposed democracy actually has gone, and what it’s going to take to start getting it back.

Otherwise, we may all soon wind up going off the rails on this crazy train.



Bennie said...

You really should learn a little about how the Canadian parliamentary system functions.

Drew said...

i'm doing a degree in it actually.

but i am fully aware that mun is probably a really subpar institution comparatively so feel free to let me know where i went wrong!