#313590 - 12/03/08 08:08 PM
Re: Canadian Government Hijacked.
Joined: Jan 2003
It seems almost certain that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be asking Governor General Michaelle Jean to prorogue Parliament in order to stop the coalition of Stephane Dion, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe from usurping his role as this country's leader.
But in an historic and almost unprecedented address to the nation on Wednesday night, the P.M. didn't tip his hand about exactly what he intends to do.
Sitting against a backdrop of the Canadian flag, the Conservative boss was alternately forceful and calm as he talked about the almost unheard of plan to depose him from power, sparked by last week's divisive economic statement.
"I pledge to you that Canada's government will use every legal means at our disposal to protect our democracy, protect our economy, and to protect Canada," he vows.
But he stopped short of officially talking about going to Jean with his request, although it's almost certain he's going to make the trip on Thursday. Jean returned to Ottawa on Wednesday evening, cutting short a trip to Europe to be back to make an agonizing decision to end the crisis.
She can grant Harper's request, allow the opposition alliance to proceed or call an election that will cost taxpayers another $300 million. It's a tough choice and many are wondering if she's up to making the right decision.
Harper has no doubt about what it is. "The opposition does not have the democratic right to impose a coalition with the separatists," he proclaims. "They promised it would never happen."
In his speech, the Tory boss reiterated all the accomplishments and plans of his government and what he still intends to do if the opposition allows it.
And if they don't?
"Let me be very clear," he states emphatically. "Canada's government cannot enter into a power-sharing coalition with a separatist party. At a time of global economic instability, Canada's government must stand unequivocally for keeping the country together.
"At a time like this, a coalition with separatists cannot help Canada. And the opposition does not have the democratic right to impose a coalition with the separatists they promised voters would never happen."
Although it's a frequent practice for U.S. presidents to request primetime television to address a nation, it almost never happens in Canada.
Harper's speech was expected to last some 10 minutes, but he was brief, going on for only about three.
It follows another extraordinary day in Ottawa, where a war of words got louder and the Tories unveiled yet another new strategy in the war on their foes - invoke the name of high profile Quebec sovereignty supporter Jacques Parizeau and use the word 'separatist' as often as possible - a reference to Dion and Layton's deal with Duceppe for his support.
"This government will stand against the separatist coalition!' screamed Harper during Question Period. "They must walk away from this deal with Jacques Parizeau and the separatists!
"If the Liberal party continues down this path, those images will never be forgotten by the Canadian people!"
Layton charged back. "Why does the prime minister care more about his own job than allowing the parliament to save the jobs of Canadians?" he demands.
"Just for the record, the Bloc Quebecois has supported this Conservative government at least 140 times, including 14 confidence votes," added Liberal MP Ralph Goodale.
Stockwell Day, the Minister of International Trade, fielded that fastball. "My DNA would never allow me to do a coalition with socialists and my heart would never allow me to do a deal with separatists."
The word 'separatists' came out of the mouths of every Tory MP who rose to speak and the term continued outside of the House, where the tense atmosphere continued.
"I think it's cheap politics," claims Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla. "This is really about the economy. It is about democracy."
On Thursday, that 'democracy' is expected to play out at the office of the Governor General. What she decides involves the weight - and now the wait - of an entire nation.
Dion responds to Harper
Text Of Harper's Speech
"Canadians take pride in our history as one of the world's oldest continuous democracies. During the past 141 years, political parties have emerged and disappeared, leaders have come and gone, and governments have changed.
"Constant in every case, however, is the principle that Canada's Government has always been chosen by the people. And following the light of this democratic tradition, Canadians have built one of the most peaceful and prosperous countries the world has ever known - a land of hope and opportunity that inspires others around the globe, and has drawn millions as new immigrants to our country.
"On October 14, for the 40th time since Confederation, Canadians voted in a national general election. We are honoured that you returned our Government to office with a strengthened mandate to lead this great country through the most difficult global economic crisis in many decades. Canada's Government is acting to deal with the crisis, right now.
"Further personal and business tax reductions are coming into effect;
We are doubling spending on infrastructure;
We are ensuring credit for businesses and consumers by injecting liquidity into financial markets;
We are helping seniors who rely on RRIF income;
And securing pension plans.
"We are implementing the Automotive Innovation Fund and, working with the Government of Ontario, we are undertaking due diligence on any further requests for assistance from the auto industry. We are increasing support and incentives for manufacturers, the forestry sector, and others to pursue business opportunities. We are implementing agreements with the provinces to enhance labour mobility.
"And, next month on January 27, we will bring in a budget which will contain additional measures to boost Canada's economy, while making sure we avoid a long term structural deficit in Canada's finances.
"In preparation for that budget we are consulting widely with Canadians, meeting with premiers of our provinces and territories, and working in collaboration with our international partners in G20. The Minister of Finance will be consulting with the business community and interest groups.
"We are consulting with, and expect to hear more from, the opposition parties in Parliament. We hope they bring forward specific proposals - we have invited them to do so. In fact, we have already changed some of our proposals to meet their concerns.
"Unfortunately, even before the Government has brought forward its budget, and only seven weeks after a general election, the opposition wants to overturn the results of that election.
"Instead of an immediate budget, they propose a new coalition which includes the party in Parliament whose avowed goal is to break up the country. Let me be very clear: Canada's Government cannot enter into a power-sharing coalition with a separatist party.
"At a time of global economic instability, Canada's Government must stand unequivocally for keeping the country together. At a time like this, a coalition with the separatists cannot help Canada. And the Opposition does not have the democratic right to impose a coalition with the separatists they promised voters would never happen.
"The Opposition is attempting to impose this deal without your say, without your consent, and without your vote. This is no time for backroom deals with the separatists; it is the time for Canada's government to focus on the economy and specifically on measures for the upcoming budget. This is a pivotal moment in our history.
"We Canadians are the inheritors of a great legacy, and it is our duty to strengthen and protect it for the generations still to come. Tonight, I pledge to you that Canada's Government will use every legal means at our disposal to protect our democracy, to protect our economy, and to protect Canada.
"Thank you, and goodnight."
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Jun 10th, 2007