Crisis in Ottawa: The view from the West

What the pundits are saying


Roger Gibbins, president and CEO of the Canada West Foundation, writing in the Vancouver Sun, argues the Governor-General should pull a Nancy Regan and Just Say No to all the shenanigans. To suggest that the Governor General has no choice in the matter “ignores that the beauty of her position, and also the difficulty of her choice, stems from the fact that she has discretion.” The Constitution, Gibbins says, recognizes that there are times when “intelligence and judgment must be brought into play. There is no question that this is one of those times.”

Todd Babiak notes in the Edmonton Journal that the Alberta capital has been largely ignored by the Harper Tories and finds no reason to fear the coalition. “Attempting to cripple the opposition [by proposing to revoke campaign subsidies], and therefore debate and criticism, is a much more profound assault against democracy. As the national portrait gallery debacle demonstrated so fluently, conditions have not improved for Edmonton since 2006, when the Conservatives swept Alberta and took control of Ottawa. Why would they? According to the Conservative war room, we’re a strategic void.”

The Calgary Sun’s shamanic Rick Bell says it’s one thing to hate the idea of a crippled Stéphane Dion and inexperienced Jack Layton teaming up to govern the country while relying on the Bloc Québécois to act as a crutch. It’s just not all that useful right now: “We know everything is spinning out of control. Premier Ed yesterday urges all parties to ‘put Canada first and stop the nonsense’ and deal with a financial meltdown he calls ‘the biggest elephant in the room.’ Unfortunately, it’s tough to hunt an elephant when you’ve got the guns squarely pointed at each other.”

Neil Waugh of the Edmonton Sun fears Alberta’s cash cow might be destined for the slaughterhouse if NDP members are invited to sit at the Cabinet table. “[Layton] will now be able to be judge and executioner of Fort McMurray for real, especially after Dion revealed the deal maker with Duceppe.” But he holds out hope that a rumoured “Coalition West [might] fight off the eastern invaders. Saskatchewan’s solid Premier Brad Wall is contacted. So is B.C.’s flaky Gordon Campbell.”

Murray Mandryk, writing in the Regina Leader-Post, takes up Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall’s lament that none of this coalition talk would have happened had it not been for the misplaced “gamesmanship” included in the Harper government’s economic statement. “If it was about leadership, we wouldn’t be here,” says the premier. Still, the solution the Liberals and NDP are proposing is simply unpalatable to Wall. “If any coalition requires formal support from separatists, it’s wrong,” he says—even when it involves the Conservatives, who appear to have conveniently forgotten that Harper was every bit as eager to get in bed with separatists and form a coalition to bring down Paul Martin’s minority Liberal government.

In Saskatoon, StarPhoenix columnist Randy Burton compares Harper to disgraced former Saskatchewan premier Grant Devine, a Progressive Conservative who prorogued the provincial legislature in 1991 after it became clear his own MLAs might vote down his government’s budget. “Devine’s government staggered on to the fall of that year, but the early prorogation only underlined the image of a government no longer in control of its own agenda.” Burton adds that if Harper’s successful and prorogues the House, he will be “a hunted man who will no longer be able to throw around the phrase ‘weak leader.’”

Tom Brodbeck, of the Winnipeg Sun, calls the prospect of a coalition government in Ottawa “one of the greatest threats to our country” since its foundation 141 years ago. “Not only would we have a prime minister who was not elected by the people and whose platform was categorically rejected by Canadian voters just six weeks ago, we would for the first time in history have separatists in Parliament with their hands on the levers of power.”


Crisis in Ottawa: The view from the West

  1. Gibbins was incorrect.

  2. Tom Brodbeck, of the Winnipeg Sun, calls the prospect of a coalition government in Ottawa “one of the greatest threats to our country” since its foundation 141 years ago. “Not only would we have a prime minister who was not elected by the people and whose platform was categorically rejected by Canadian voters just six weeks ago, we would for the first time in history have separatists in Parliament with their hands on the levers of power.”

    Well, for the first time since Brian Mulroney’s cabinet and caucus contained, what, two dozen closet case separatists, and a few who would eventually out themselves?

  3. The Alliance/reform has plenty of seeds from the western separatist movement skulking around, and you can hear it in their defence of the ‘un-leader’. If Harper had any strategic genius in him, as advertised (like new coke, i think) his fire wall and pronouncements in the past that attacked Canada, Quebec et al, now seem to be turning into a craptaculous firestorm.
    Thanks Harper.

  4. Mr. Gibbins makes his usual vacuous contribution. Say NO to what ?

    In a minority parliament situation, the governing party must obtain “the confidence” of the house. Mr. Harper does not have that. His behaviour dictates that he will never have it. There are procedures and protocols in place that deal with such a situation. Mr. Harper, as his personality dictates, is trying to end-run those procedures and protocols, and is engaging in stupid and dangerous rhetoric in the process.

    Say NO to what ?

  5. Wait, so every English-speaking MP ganging up in 1917 to suppress the anti-conscription wishes of the French minority behind a tide of flag-waving wasn’t a significant threat to the country, but this IS? Howzat work?

  6. This is the west’s version of NEP all over – except by a group of bandits.

    The feeling in the west is anger unlike anything I have seen before – and I lived through my home in Calgary being slashed in half by Trudeau and the NEP theft…

    We don’t get over these ‘little’ things very fast out here.

  7. Oh, God….the NEP again.

    Life cannot that dull in Alberta, can it?

  8. Yep the NEP…
    I know you out east don’t like us to bring it up.
    But it was the biggest attempted theft in Canadian history – one that really crushed us out west.

    Kind of like what’s going on now. Green Shift, buying separatist support, bringing down the economy so a failed Liberal leader can play prime minister for a while….that kind of stuff

  9. I know you out east don’t like us to bring it up.

    Well, would you like to be reminded of the shame, the horror, the humiliation, the blood libel your ancestors passed down to you for a past atrocity?

    That oil belongs to the Indians, from whom you stole it anyway.

  10. Ti-Guy> Yeah, but they are our relatives and beneficiaries of the oil sands now, so all’s right with the world.

    That’s why First Nations increasingly tend to vote Tory in Alberta (especially around Fort McMurray) too, you white bread parochial ass. They are also increasingly voting for Tories on the reserves, though the urban first nations vote in solid for the NDP in Saskatchewan.

    Hopefully a First Nations party proves to be more successful in the future, as someone needs to be in a position to fight the Department of Indian Affairs, and take back individual rights from the turn of the century bureaucrat-invented system of government which refuses to acknowledge the benefits of private property.

    Socialism is wonderful if you are an insider, but it really sucks if you need independent resources to fight off the socialists and their petty bosses.

  11. Oh, the NEP. Will you people ever grow up?

  12. Lets try to be reasonable. It is not suddenly all about the bloc. its about individuals trying to make their way-
    Stay focused and calm everybody!!! its about doing the right thing, the honourable thing…
    try to be honest!! Move forward!! It wasn’t working with Harper… respect each other!
    I am in the west- I can tell you this: the ‘youth of today’ (future voters] continue to be disenchanted with Harper’s ‘conservative’ government … and the continued ‘buisness as usual’ approach- try to stop thinking only of big buisness and think about what your grandmother or mother would say… the meaning of life may be just to : “help eachother”…

  13. STFU and stop trying to speak for “the West.” You people are a bigger bunch of f’ing crybabies than Quebec separatists – what does that say about you. Boo hoo, our leader is an idiot and can’t hold on to power. I am a Calgarian and Stephen Harper does not speak for me.

  14. “The feeling in the west is anger unlike anything I have seen before”

    Really? I live in the West and I havent seen any of this perceived “anger”. I also live in one of the major population centres and interact with many many people. This “anger” isnt as widespread as you think.

    People in the west have a right to an individual opinion Blair. I know it must hurt that we dont all do what you want us to but that’s one of the great things about being Canadian. Im allowed to believe what I want and no matter how hard you insult and smear, that right will remain.

    It must suck to have people disagree with you Blair. But then again from the sounds of it, you dont really socialize with people of different opinions.

    STFU about the West. People out here can make their own decisions.

  15. The western electorate does make their own decisions. At election time.

    For those that are telling people to shut up because they don’t represent the “real West” expect different election results next time? Do they expect that people who voted in a Tory MP would be happy about their government being forced out of power?

    Yeah, there is some people in the west who don’t like the Tories and vote for other parties, largely in deep urban areas. But the fact that you are not the majority, and that the majority is going to be upset is quite non-controversial I would think.

  16. I really hope Westerners don’t succumb to the old victim-complex group-think (ditto Quebec). The fall of Harper has NOTHING AT ALL to do with West vs. East, or even policy, and everything to do with Harper’s compulsive gamesmanship and staggeringly bad judgement.

  17. I have lived 20 some years in Ontario and 20 some years in Alberta, it never ceases to amaze me… idiots trusting politicians. Remember slick Ralphie, secret late night meetings with Mr Ebbers and his Enron cabal of thieves, deregulating electricity while telling Albertans “watch out those eastern bastards are after your money” (heritage fund)??? Well, we all know what that was really about now, and some of us have the honor to acknowledge it.

    When will you learn, how can you believe in any party that has only ever forwarded one policy… ‘those eastern bastards’, that immortal quote from slick Ralphie! And as an aside, how is that not promoting hatred against an identifiable group?
    ALL politicians are self serving money grubbing scum… as David Letterman used to say before he sold out too.

    Politicians that play on voter prejudices, which are clearly apparent in these responses, should be removed from office… Canadians are above the weenie fear mongering politics of other unmentionable countries… aren’t we?

    I must admit, I do lament the absolute void of real leaders in Canadian politics today.

    A REAL Canadian :)

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