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‘Democratic right’


 

“And the Opposition does not have the democratic right to impose a coalition with the separatists they promised voters would never happen.”

From Stephen Harper’s remarks tonight.

Is that fundamentally correct? Is there anything in our democracy or rules of Parliament that bars such a thing as this coalition from going forward?

Deleted.

Let’s rephrase that. Shouldn’t have used the L-word. It’s too loaded and implies an accusation that was not intended. A year of watching Question Period should have taught me how poorly we are served by the careless use of language. Apologies.

The questions above are asked honestly out of legitimate confusion. I actually tend to agree there’s a way to read that sentence as not incorrect.


 

‘Democratic right’

  1. How inane.

    Maybe it’s the “parliamentary democratic” right you’re referring to?

  2. Puhleeze. Everybody’s been invoking the language of “rights” around this thing. Today, Justin Trudeau said he has a right to go vote non-confidence before January… whatever.

  3. I read that as more a statement on morality than legality. But it was spectacularly clear, and the instant I read your interpretation, I started to waver. And, frankly, the question on legality is much more interesting since the question on morality seems to own every comment thread here. :P

  4. Come now Aaron, people say “you have no right” all the time when the law says quite clearly that they do.

    It is possible to violate the spirit while maintaining the literal letter of the law, or for the laws themselves to be unjust.

    Is there a democratic spirit of principles behind laws and parliamentary procedures, and is the opposition acting in bad faith with the Canadian people? That’s something only an election can resolve one way or the other.

  5. No.

    Yes.

  6. Stephen Harper, parsimonious with the truth? Never! Say it isn’t so!

  7. To say they don’t have a democratic right is not say that somehow the move would be unconstitutional. However, it is saying that the opposition parties have no mandate to form a coalition government. They did not run on the basis of doing so and allow the voters to pass judgment on that. If you wish democratic legitimacy you should put your plans to the voters and let them decide who is to govern them.

  8. lame.

  9. And BLOG CENTRAL’s downward spiral into the bowls of the far left fever swamp

    continues unabated.

    When does Ti-guy get his own post?

    I’m assuming any day now.

  10. “the democratic right to IMPOSE a coaltion” Talk about twisting the facts !

    It’s already been established that the Conservatives do not enjoy the confidence of the House of Commons. The Coaltion has been formed, not imposed. etc. etc. etc.

  11. “IMPOSE a coalition” ? Hah. If that were possible, make it so and beam me up Scotty while you’re at it.

  12. “IMPOSE a coaltiosn” say wayt? Beam me up Scotty we must be on another planet.

  13. If you wish democratic legitimacy you should put your plans to the voters and let them decide who is to govern them.

    Did Harper do that? Did Harper say he was going to attack the opposition parties by cutting their funding. Did Harper say he was going to suspend the right to strike. Did Harper say he was going to attack pay equity. Did Harper say he was going to start selling off Canadian assets.

    Clearly Harper didn’t put his plans to the voters so they could decide so why do you insist the opposition parties need to.

  14. When does Ti-guy get his own post?

    Perhaps I already do. How do you think I spend
    so much time on here if I wasn’t getting paid for it?

  15. Stephen Harper Lied again to Canadians? really> noooooooooooooo it can’t be! noooooooooooooo………

    The biggest liar in Canadian history lied again? noooooooo? really?????

  16. All right, all right. Refer to added note. I’ll try harder to keep my wits about me. Everyone play nice.

    P.S. Erin Weary? If that is, by any chance, an homage of sorts, my parents would probably prefer that you amend it to Erin Wary. Rhymes with cherry. If that is your real name, carry on.

  17. If a liar can get people to back down from calling him a liar, how are the people being lied to being adequately served?

  18. Rule of law in Canada!!!
    What is it about that that people don’t understand?!
    Why are so many average Canadians so stupid and ignorant about the rules that dictate our Parliament, country and democracy?
    People need to go back and get a university education or at least a high school education.

  19. Mackee> People thought they elected a government, then the supporters of that government are told through the use of extraordinary and rarely used powers that they might see their government ousted from power.

    Why are people so shocked that people are upset, and then assuming that calling them ignorant is a way to win them over to the idea?

  20. But ”people” do not directly elect a governement. They elect Members of Parliament who then go to the House and form governement within those elected members.
    Just because it doesn’t happen often doesn’t mean it is not applicable.
    Of course I wouldn’t expect the average joe shmoe on the street to understand this. But in times of constitutional crisis it is up to the higher minds, the educated people to sort this out.

  21. Word is out that a half hour after the speech people in Halton on the Conservative list started getting urgent calls asking for $500 donations. So the real reason for Harper’s TV time may be a hijacking of the public airwaves for a CPC fundraising drive.

  22. You mean Conservative pleas for $$ were silent for a full half hour?

  23. Jody,

    “Word is out that a half hour after the speech people in Halton on the Conservative list started getting urgent calls asking for $500 donations. So the real reason for Harper’s TV time may be a hijacking of the public airwaves for a CPC fundraising drive.”

    That is good news indeed. I hope the Liberal are able to do the same thing. How much do you think the LIberals should ask for letting Dion take charge? A penny for your thoughts……..

  24. I don’t feed trolls.

  25. Let’s call things by their names. The prime minister and others speaking on behalf of the government have lied repeatedly over the past week, and it is plain for all to see. They lied in question period about something as trivial as flags in the background. They have mischaracterized what the proposed coalition agreement involves. They have secretly taped another party’s confidential caucus meeting and released the transcript. They have repeatedly tried to mislead Canadians about how our system of government works. In an effort to stir up public opinion and maintain power, many in government have resorted to the language of treason, sedition, and “un-Canadianness”. Last time I checked, no one is proposing overthrowing our democratic system through the use of force.

    I don’t support the direction the coalition intends to take the government in — in fact I would prefer a more cautious, conservative approach to the economy rather than massive spending — but at the very least the Liberals and NDP have not been blatantly lying to the public. I’ll take that over the likes of Stephen Harper (“separatist coalition”), Dean Del Mastro (“traitors”), and Bob Dechert (“It’s as close to treason and sedition as I can imagine.”).

  26. Mackee> Oh, don’t talk about education. Surely you could imagine so-called “educated people” (by which I assume you mean left wing people) being upset if two right of center parties pulled the exact same trick six weeks after an electing a minority left-wing government.

    Surely all the people who are saying “everything is fine you should just get over it” would have said:

    “Whelp, I think these people will put in policies that will lead to long term problems and work directly against my bread and butter economic issues. I also think they will intrude in the way I live my private life and impose values on me that I don’t accept. But everything is okay, because it is technically allowed under the parliamentary system.”

    Hell no. These educated people would be screaming bloody murder, just as we are. It can’t be that hard to imagine if the situations were reversed.

  27. Terry, I don’t think you get it. There’s no “trick” being played. Harper forgot he doesn’t have a majority and overplayed his hand. Maybe there’s a lack of civics education in Canada but we elect MP’s, not governments. And while confidence votes may be in your mind, “extraordinary and rarely used powers”, they’re used all the time. It’s only rare that they fail because most minority governments aren’t stupid enough to provoke the Opposition when they are outnumbered.

    So Conservative voters are pissed that their party may have blown their government due to their own hubris? Too freakin’ bad. Doesn’t mean the process or the Opposition are at fault. The system is working as it should (at least so far) and the Opposition’s job is to oppose the government, hold them to account, and try to offer an alternative should the government lose the confidence of the House.

  28. I believe in the rule of law, of Parliamentary rules. If a coalition would be formed between the Conservatives and NDP for example and they were able to form governement, then so be it.
    Why is it you assume educated people are “left-wingers”?
    I know plenty of lawyers, accountants, but also students others who are very much Conservatives or right of centre Liberals and proud of their education and their politics.

    But honestly, if people were a bit more educated they would come up with better answers then to call all of this “stupid” on National TV.
    Ignorance is not an excuse.

  29. Rich — The system is working as it should (at least so far) and the Opposition’s job is to oppose the government, hold them to account, and try to offer an alternative should the government lose the confidence of the House.

    I just had to say, good point, that’s exactly what is happening!! More people should head to Parliament and take a tour and learn about this.

  30. Again, it isn’t because people on the right don’t understand that this isn’t technically possible. Overblown rhetoric aside, we have more guns (and likely greater support among the military) so if we really thought that the rule of democratic law had come to an end we would be taking other steps to deal with it.

    I call bull&*@^ on the attitude that the left would not be calling this an affront to the will of the people if the same tactics were used by two right of centre parties on a left wing minority. Was it Harper’s fault? Well, he did admit it was to his caucus, so perhaps. It still doesn’t change the fact that people are going to be angry about it, and seek every rhetorical and political tool to prevent it.

    As for the issue of education, you know very well what you were implying Mackee. Don’t be cute. If I have the leisure time to screw around commenting on a message board, then you should probably think I have a college education too.

  31. So if you don’t really think democracy has been violated why are the Conservatives bleating on about a coup and sedition? The only explanation is that it’s a desperate scare tactic used to try and cling to power.

    The only people who are going to be angry are those who voted for Harper and it’s clear their anger should be directed at him – he was in power and forgot to count 155. He promised a stimulus plan and then played politics with it instead. Even after all this he could have extended an olive branch to the Opposition, saying he made a mistake and then he was prepared to cooperate on an economic plan – which is the real issue here.

    Your argument basically boils down to this – Conservatives will be pissed at the Opposition for a) daring to oppose the government and b) actually having the chance to bring down a government that doesn’t have majority support in the House. Basically, they’re only in favour of democracy when their side wins.

    I’m pissed at the Liberals for nominating an unelectable candidate for leader, but that’s they’re fault, not the system’s.

  32. Wow so you actually think the military would have to step in?! This is Canada we’re talking about not a third world country.
    You may have an education but the rest of the people out there making outrageous comments should get informed before saying ridiculous comments.

  33. Yeah Rich, but you aren’t switching parties are you? There are people you are angry with in your family, and then there are your enemies. Harper is pushing for a voluntary CWB so he’ll probably have me as long as he holds that policy position. Some remember losing half the value of their house during the days of NEP, so they’ll never vote Liberal until the Liberal party admits wrongdoing and makes amends. It isn’t like there is any other party around as an alternative to the Conservative Party.

    As for being in favour of democracy only when we win… yeah, that’s kinda the point of democracy. You try to extend your will on the system as an individual citizen. When things directly against your interests, you marshal the horses and you play politics to win. So given that it looks like we are being pushed out of government in a highly irregular fashion, we are certainly going to let it be known that we are displeased and will try to stop it.

    As for our supposed bad manners and lack of civility, surely one doesn’t have to look so far to see Liberal rhetoric of the Reform Party or the Conservative Party not supporting “Canadian Values(tm)” and any number of other slanders on their character. So the high minded horror at the lack of the Conservative Party’s manners certainly rings a little hollow to me.

  34. Harper did not need to make this a vote of confidence. He was ramming things through the last parliament and came back with a minority parliament and thought his bully tactics would work again.

    This time the Opposition did what they should have done in the last Parliament, they called him on his confidence vote.

    Guess what, he blinked, now the Prime Minister knows he created a blunder and so do his fellow Conservatives. The House if functioning as it should, if the Opposition can form a coalition it already has its mandate from the electorate, the electorate voted them into their seats.

    What disgusts me is the fact that our Hon. Prime Minister has pitted fellow Canadians, us in the West against my fellow Canadians in Quebec.

    Sorry, I don’t want that kind of Prime Minister leading my country.

  35. ““And the Opposition does not have the democratic right to impose a coalition with the separatists they promised voters would never happen.”

    What does ‘democratic’ mean?

    Do the Libs/NDP have technical right to form Coalition and take over, the answer is ‘probably’ according to the rules but we don’t know for certain because there are no precedents/conventions that have been established that allow a coalition of 113 seats to take power from party in power with 143 seats.

    However, all this ignores the electorate. I know supporters of the Coalition are keen to point out how we don’t elect a PM, we elect a local MP, but that’s all sophistry. The vast majority of people who vote feel they are voting for PM or party when they vote for their local MP and the Coalition clearly doesn’t have broad public support.

    Is it democratic to take control when you don’t have a significant proportion of the people behind you when you usurp power?

  36. Terry, you’re not being “pushed out of government”. You forgot that you don’t have enough support to govern in any way you choose. That’s your own fault. It’s only “highly irregular” because most minority governments are able to remember this.

    All the talk of manners, anger, and propriety is just bluster.

    Jwl, you say, “The vast majority of people who vote feel they are voting for PM or party when they vote for their local MP and the Coalition clearly doesn’t have broad public support.”

    If you’re going to bother casting a vote it’s a good idea to learn a bit about the system in which you are participating. Majority / minority governments are very simple concepts.

    The Coalition may not clearly have broad public support. Neither do the Conservatives – 38% of the vote in the election. None of this matters. Our system of government allows both sides the opportunity to govern based on the decisions of the members we elect. If there’s any sophistry here it’s the Conservatives trying to convince Canadians that the Opposition has no right to replace them.

  37. Well the difference is that the Conservatives ran as seeking to form a government. The coalition parties ran explicitedly denying that they would form a coalition after the election. They never put the matter to the voters, and they certainly never put the matter of a coalition between Liberals and Dippers in a menage a trois with the Bloc on the ballot. While only 38% of the population voted for the Conservatives 0% voted for the proposed alternative.

  38. Why did you take out the l-word?

    If there’s one thing Harper has proven this week is that he’s a big fat liar.

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