Further to Colleague Wherry’s post, I’ll be hanging around the foyer tonight between 5and 5:30 tonight to hear the Prime Minister accuse the opposition parties of plotting a coup d’etat that would strike at the very heart of Canadian democracy. Sadly, he won’t be taking questions, but it should be fun, and anyway, everyone knows that it’s not up to the press gallery to hold the government accountable — that’s the opposition’s job! Or something like that. Right, Kory?
Okay, so apparently, this will be a “game changer” of an announcement. Ooh! In fact, the theory seems to be that he will cancel the scheduled opposition day on Monday, and put off all votes – like, for instance, a non-confidence motion – until the week after. Just so Canadians can properly appreciate the enormity of forcing him and his family to move out of 24 Sussex over Christmas. Will no one think of the cats?
Oh, I kid. Well, about the cats.
Okay, apparently, that’s exactly what will happen. Hey, didn’t a noble, democracy-loving leader of the opposition once lead his party in a dramatic walkout from the House of Commons when a Liberal PM whose name escapes me postponed the remaining opposition days in a session out of fear that the oppositon would bring down his government?
Hmm. So he was supposed to be here before 5:30. Any bets on whether that’s actually going to happen? I mean, this is a man who tends to be on the fashionably late time for event planned months in advance – an impromptu press conference? We could be here til midnight!
“Can he do that?” That seems to be the question of the hour, and as far as I know, the answer is “yes”. The government is under no obligation to hold an opposition day on Monday, or any other day – as long as there are two before the end of the session, they can be scheduled whenever the Government House Leader pleases.
Ooh! Five minute warning!
Okay, it’s been five minutes — still no sign of the PM, but there’s a sense of anticipation in the foyer, although it is somewhat muted by the vague sense of get-it-over-withness, since we already know what he’s saying.
Also, the Conservative Research Group is handing out a Just The Facts bulletin with the headline “Dion rules out coalition with NDP” and lots of quotes from late September/early October.
Dimitri – who is not wearing a tie – just gave us a two minute warning.
Oh, there he is. We got distracted by all the cabinet ministers and Patrick Muttart watching from above – literally, they’re clustered around the balcony that overloooks the foyer. Anyway, the PM snuck in while we were otherwise engaged, and is now giving his statement in French. It sounds as though he’s annoyed that his newly elected government is being threatened by the actions of the opposition.
He just said “Premier Ministre Dion”! Drink!
Okay, so apparently, Stephane Dion does not have the right to govern the country, because he didn’t win the election. See, I didn’t realize that Canadians voted directly for the PM, but for a local MP, who would then cast his or her ballot in the House – as an individual – hi, Bill Casey – or as part of a caucus.
Okay, he’s switched to English, and it’s pretty much what we expected – Stephane Dion has no right to take power; and that Canadians have the right to vote for the government of their choice.
On December 8th, the House will “have the opportunity” to vote on the opposition’s attempt to thwart democracy. Until then, he’s going to be governing. Like governments do.
So – uh, countercheck? Any chess buffs want to weigh in?