The Commons: So it ends

What happened today may be an admission of defeat on the part of the 40th Parliament

Whatever else was discussed within the walls of the House of Commons these last 14 months, the 40th Parliament was about Parliament. From its unprecedented start to its unprecedented end, here was a debate about our democracy—how it works, why it exists and what it means. These were the questions this place wrestled with each day. There are the questions now, implicitly or explicitly, laid before the public.

The events of this day are thus now open to interpretation. By one understanding, a majority of the people’s representatives expressed their lack of confidence in the those representatives who presently form the people’s government, thus compelling the government to resign and the Governor General to call for a general vote of the people. By another understanding, the Liberals conspired with the socialists and separatists to defeat Stephen Harper’s government and force an unnecessary and dangerous election.

Or understand what happened today as a concession. From all sides. An admission of defeat on the part of the 40th Parliament and a plea to the public to sort out what are wildly divergent views on the proper functioning of Parliamentary democracy.

The call went out at approximately 1:48pm this afternoon. Across Parliament Hill, the bells rang, signalling that the presence of each member was required in the House of Commons. Members soon thereafter began to file in from all sides, mixing in the centre aisle to mingle and make small talk.

Shortly after 2pm, the Prime Minister, absent from the last three sessions of Question Period, appeared on the government side. Afterwards he would proclaim his disappointment in all of this, but here he was smiling. He proceeded to the Speaker’s throne to shake Peter Milliken’s hand. After a few words, he proceeded back down the centre aisle, shaking hands, laughing and smiling with various opposition members, to greet Jack Layton. From there to Gilles Duceppe and from there to Michael Ignatieff, the Liberal leader and the Prime Minister exchanging rather strained-seeming pleasantries.

He then took his seat. The floor of the House was now nearly full, as were the galleries above—all of the Prime Minister’s men (and at least two women) watching from Mr. Harper’s box, the Liberal leader’s wife watching from Mr. Ignatieff’s box. Members continued to exchange friendly words. A New Democrat (Megan Leslie) and a Conservative (James Bezan) even hugged.

At 2:10pm, the great doors of the House of Commons were closed and the whips walked to the Speaker to bow before him before bowing to each other. Then, for a moment, there was silence.

The Speaker disposed of a procedural matter and then read aloud the motion to be voted on: “That the House agrees with the finding of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs that the government is in contempt of Parliament, which is unprecedented in Canadian Parliamentary history, and consequently, the House has lost confidence in the government.”

He asked for those in favour to say “yea” and those opposed to say “nay.” There was a great rush of noise. He asked those in favour to say “yea.” “Yea!” cried the opposition side. He asked those opposed to say “nay.” No!” cried the government side. In the Speaker’s opinion the yeas had it, but a sufficient number of government members rose to trigger a recorded vote.

At 2:12pm, the Speaker called on all those in favour on his left side to rise. Mr. Ignatieff went first, each Liberal member followed suit. Row by row and seat by seat they stood to nod as the clerks called them out by surname. Mr. Ignatieff turned in his seat to watch them. There were catcalls from the government side.

When the Liberal votes had been counted, Gilles Duceppe stood to lead the Bloc votes. There was a smattering of applause from the Liberal members. When the clerks reached the vote of Francine Lalonde, the Bloc MP now battling cancer and set to retire when the next election begins, all sides stood to cheer. Jack Layton, battling cancer himself, stood to lead the New Democrats and after all the votes on the left had been tallied, the clerks counted the half dozen New Democrats on the right.

The Speaker then called for all those opposed to please rise. The Prime Minister stood here to a sustained ovation from his side. “Har! Per! Har! Per!” they chanted. When the pep rally had finished, the clerks counted the nays one-by-one, row-on-row. Conservative members stood and nodded. Rick Dykstra and Dean Del Mastro stood and fist-bumped each other. The votes of the two independents—André Arthur and Helena Guergis—were cast in opposition of the motion.

It was then for the clerk to announce the result. In the moment of anticipation, a few Liberals teased Mr. Milliken. “It’s a tie, Peter!” they joked with the man who, in such a scenario, would be charged with casting the pivotal vote.

The yeas counted 156. The nays counted 145.

There were cheers from the opposition side and papers flung into the air. Then the Prime Minister rose and moved that the House now adjourn. That motion was met with unanimous consent.

And that was that. The 40th Parliament of the people in Canada was thus ended. The 41st general election in the history of this nation will begin tomorrow. May the latter go someway to dealing with all the former has asked us to confront.

The Commons: So it ends

  1. Rebel. Get interested. It's fun.
    This is the election when the Green Party of Canada jumps from its normal 10 percent of the popular vote to 15 percent — enough for a handful of seats in Parliament and a strong pro-enviro­nment and social conscience voice led by Green Party leader Elizabeth May.
    Just think, Greens in Parliament — and honest political discussion that counts. What more could one ask for to get Canadians interested in politics?

  2. whoa, easy there Rudy, the "green" is causing you to think out loud, and not in good way.

  3. Nicely done Mr Wherry. Thank you.

  4. You will want to bookmark this prediction of yours, to flaunt its glorious wisdom and prescience, as of May 3.

    Not!

  5. So the government did fall on the charges on contempt!

    Nice, this makes the election legitimate in my eyes.

  6. Harper's pretending it fell on the budget.

  7. I was watching the session on TV at work but it was muted and I was on the phone so I missed the part that said what they were actually voting on.

  8. Aaron, thanks for a nice read. Indeed, thanks for a whole Parliament of nice reads.

    But to the drama at hand… I really cannot think of a PM more deserving to have been found in contempt of the House. I voted for BM, then promptly left the country for an extended period not returning until just prior to the most recent KHS revelations. While I'm comfortable saying the post-office BM is in a contemptible league of his own, this PMSH has diminished the office — whilst holding it — to an degree unmatched by any PM I've experienced. PMSH is deservedly contemptible.

    That said, I want to vote for an honest, clear thinking fiscal conservative. I really, really do. But this PM is simply undeserving of my support. No matter on how many counts SH may be the better of the alternatives, his negatives are massively overwhelming.

    I fear the contest before us may well return a contemptible PM to the office – perhaps with even greater latitude to damage the country. That would be a tragedy. However, having SH forever tarred may just be worth it.

  9. Quebec already has a provincial government that represents it's interest on the federal level. The Bloc is just double-dipping.

    It really should be illegal. A federal party should have a federal focus. Legislation should be passed requiring Gilles Duceppe to adopt a mandate that includes promoting the interests of all Canadians, not just Quebec. The Bloc represents a perversion of democracy. If we all voted like Quebec, we'd have a Bloc Ontario, Bloc Alberta, Bloc B.C. and a Bloc Newfoundland and Canada would bust apart at the seems. It's time to outlaw the Bloc as they are currently constructed.

    P.S. The criticisms of Harper are just B.S. He's actually quite a competent P.M.

  10. I'd go for a Bloc Ontario.

  11. Don't listen to them, Rudy. We may not be working for the same party, but I'm strongly in favour of your message to participate. DPT and Madeyoulook figure they win when we give up our involvement.

  12. Superb.

  13. No, he could have been a competent PM, except for the part of him that feels winning trumps all other considerations–like honour, honesty, respect. If he were less focussed on destroying the Liberal Party, for example, and more focussed on achieving what he campaigned on to do, he could have done it well.

  14. A wonderful tribute, Mr. Wherry, to the parliament that was. Particularly fine writing example of your signature style.

  15. A coalition of socialists defeated the 40th parliament over nothing but a desperate grasp for power over the Canadian people – and especially Canadian's money.

    If the 41st parliament is formed by separatists and socialists then Canada will be headed down the same road as Greece – or Zimbabwe.

  16. "Honest political discussion" controlled by the green folks at East Anglia? Any votes gained by the greens would come from the ndp, the other extremist fringe party of whackos. A one – issue party headed by a loudmouth marxist who will do anything to get on the public payroll. Just what Canada needs? Not.

  17. Try opening your eyes junior and look at the reality here. A contempt of parliament based on the committee hearing that ignored 11 binders of submissions by a majority opposition committee. Tell me what information was omitted. Why is there no proof of this? Canadians will determine that the liberal party, like you, are illegitimate.

  18. Your criteria for honesty and inability to see the real facts makes you a liberal @$$hole. Who do you think you are fooling.
    What information was missing from the crime bill after the committee hearing? You are a liberal idiot who still thinks Paul Martin did good things in 93. You are sadly misinformed.

  19. So what you're actually saying is, we should tell the people of Quebec (and any other province that might someday have a regional party) that they don't have the right to elect whom they wish, and must instead vote within your parameters?

    Your form of democracy is frightening.

  20. Anything to back up your stupid rant?

  21. I saw Michael Ignatieff sidestep reporter questions about the dreaded coalition. I think that dodging this issue is only going to hurt him in the polls. I reiterate he should address it like this:

    The Liberals are running to win the election and form a government. We have a platform, and invite Canadians to share our vision for Canada. If the will of the electorate results in a minority Parliament, then we will do our best to serve the people of Canada.
    Should the Liberals form a minority government, we will be held accountable by the voting majority of the other parties. The opposition's seats are no less important than our own; we all represent Canadians. If we propose legislation that the combined will of the other parties opposes, then it will be defeated and that is how democracy works. It is the will of the people.

    If the Conservatives form a minority government, then they will be held to the same standard.

    Any minority government that cannot find cooperation and consensus with the other parties, risks being outnumbered by the elected MP's of our Parliament ,and that is how it works in Canada. The only party that fails to recognize and protect that basicsic cornerstone of our democracy, is this Conservative one.

    So no, I will not rule out cooperation with the other parties, nor would I expect the other parties to rule it out should the Liberals form a minority government. All governments are morally and ethically bound to act in the best interest of Canada, not to bend words and rules to do what's best for their own party. It's that simple

    Having established the issue of ethics and trust, he can reinforce it, and propose new legislation placing spending limits on election spending outside of an election period. Even rail about the heavy rotation of negative attack ads, how they divert attention from the issues.

    Build on that for a bit, then get to the real issue: can the Harper Government™ be trusted with the control of the country's purse? Prisons? Planes? How much is all that going to really cost? A Parliamentary vote found the Conservatives in contempt for with-holding the numbers vital to prudent fiscal decision making. Can you trust Conservative numbers? What does the PBO say about it? Tell the story of stubborn stalwart Kevin Page- appointed by the same Stephen Harper who has done everything in his power to silence him

    It's not about trusting Stephen Harper. It's about trusting Stephen Harper to report the real numbers on the economy. What's all this really going to cost?
    Sacrificing the social safety net for war planes and prisons. For ideology.
    Fiscal prudence?
    We need to pay down the debt, not bury it with secret book keeping.
    Reckless, uninformed spending?
    A recipe for disaster. Bring up the G20.
    Open the books and tell Canadians the truth.

    Build a "trust" theme and hang it on the "economy"

  22. Spoiling last war gains!

    When Canadian soldiers went in Europe, it was to restore democracy in a country took over by a madman. Canada is a constitutional monarchy that let people vote but don't force democracy on them. Undemocratic powers in the Canadian government are now strong. Polls show they also have support. The undemocratic powers that were in Europe then are in Canada now. Does Canadians soldiers had died in vain?

  23. What can one say in response to that oh so insightful dissection of my comments?

    Perhaps: (1) did you even read the comment and (2) do you work in the PMO?

  24. A document dump 4 months late was not compliance. Next you'll be saying it was unfair that the opposition members outnumber the government.

  25. What i love about conbots is their sunny disposition.

  26. er …delivering however many binders at the 11th hour is not exactly cooperating bud.

  27. 11 binders of submissions that occurred in a scenario that could be condensed as: "Ok, copper, you've got me… how about I give you the car back and we just forget this all ever happened?"

  28. The Cons have such a charming outreach program. If you don't already vote for them you're an @sshole or a marxist but from this group they need to garner more votes. Good luck with that, Bluescot.

  29. We already have a Bloc Alberta. Or is it Bloc Oilsands?

  30. It would be nice to see the Greens take a seat or two. Not sure how realistic it is, but it is nice to dream.
    We need new voices, because the old ones have become tired and predictable. A healthy democracy consists of many flavours…

  31. Whoa, buddy, you think that was a rant? Man, you haven't seen me in action much, huh? My God, that was only three lines! Perhaps one of my shortest comments ever. In no way does that qualify for rant status.

    As to the substance of your question, see FU of November 2008 as a particularly fine example, the non-response to an economic recession by doing nothing other than attacking political parties and women. Which was not even a glimmer on the campaign trail held immediately before this FU.

  32. Very well said.

  33. In their case, more like Bloc-heads.

  34. Ummmmmm…. You do realize that you vote for the MP in your riding, right? Instead of paying attention to the distractions, why not focus on your local candidates, and support the person who you think will do the best job. Just a thought.

  35. "It really should be illegal. A federal party should have a federal focus."

    Kinda like how the leadership of a minority government should be focused on working together to serve Canadians, instead of polarizing things. Right?

    (crickets)

  36. Count the worried Liberal faces. Isn't this a time that they are supposed to put on their happy, happy face?

  37. "…the real issue: can the Harper Government™ be trusted…"

    I think we both know the answer to that.

  38. How could he focus on governing if the Libs stood in his way time and again! The Lib stand for tax cuts, then they don't, then they do, then they don't.

    Remember the GST?The Libs were gonna cut it, then didn't, then when SH cut if by 2% the Libs didn't like it, and on and on. What do the Libs stand for????

    The country would like to know!

  39. Are you just playing dumb or so you really not understand federal politics?

  40. So convenient to leave out that the BQ is a separatist party. You people don't even see the white elephant in the room anymore. It;s been there so long, it's become part of the furniture.

  41. Never read such claptrap!

  42. Those binders could have been deilvered three months ago and they are still not adequate disclosure. Their presentation at committee is proof of contempt. It should be routine to divulge the cost of bills before the House, not some sort of last ditch document dump when all procedural loopholes have been exhausted.

  43. LOL look who's talking!

  44. Yeah, yeah, whatever. What does it say about leadership when the avowed separatist party cares more about democratic procedure than the government? Can you say "firewall?"

  45. The citizens of Quebec are entitled to representation the equal of any other riding in Canada. They pay taxes too, don't they?
    Don't you think Gilles Duceppe will hammer that point home? A backlash might arouse a sleeping giant and cost the Conservatives valuable seats.
    That could be expensive furniture.

  46. I'm just waiting for the penny to drop, where we'll jump to "the best choice is no choice".

  47. Yes. How about the last 5 years?

  48. Indeed. Only the Liberals go flip flop. Indeed…

  49. you should read afew of your own posts sometime…oops gotta at least try and take the high road.

  50. Any chance you can change your name to stupidisist? The word doesn't really exist, but methinks you could make a great case for its creation…

  51. So now….everyone not Con is automatically a socialist

    And Greece and Zimbabwe have separatists.

    Do you have a prescription for that?

  52. I was so going to post the exact same thing. Some of these clowns are ever so baffling.

  53. I like how people pop up every once in a while espousing this view, seemingly oblivious to the fact that Quebec would very shortly thereafter leave the country with something like 90% voting Oui. (And they'd be right to.)

  54. Nicely said. But what'll come out of the media in 44pt font and 1 second sound-byte is "Ignatieff OK with Coalition!" ..because they're so leftist, you know.

    Simpler is "If I wanted a coalition government, I would have had one by now."

  55. OK you stupid libbies. Yet another Poll, this time Angus Reid. Read it a weep! Published in the Red Star moments ago!

    The Harper Conservatives are at the threshold of a majority government as the country plunges into the fourth election campaign in seven years, according to an exclusive Toronto Star/La Presse poll.

    The Angus Reid poll shows that the majority will most likely be won or lost in Ontario with a particularly pitched battle in the 905 belt around Toronto, where the Conservative have worked overtime on the reeling in the ethnic vote.

    The survey of 2,365 Canadians reveals the Conservatives are in the lead nationally with 39 per cent support, the Liberals at 25 per cent, and the New Democrats at 19 per cent. The Bloc Québécois has 10 per cent support and the Green Party 7 per cent.

    Suck it Up Libbies. It's going to get worse for you Iggy boy!

  56. Lets bring Democracy to Canada, and if that does not work lets steal the power with a coalition, buy not giveing Canadians a choice in that respect. Mr Iggy bringing Democracy to Canada. Got to love the duplicity of the Liberals!

  57. I'm guessing you don't have a prescription for whatever you're using

  58. See, it's narrow, judgmental, ill-informed attacks like that that make the prospect of a majority government propelled by such bigoted views a frightening prospect indeed.

    Keep it up. Such comments serve to alert the populace what's in store if Harper gets his way.

  59. whereas harper, once again, pathetically, took no questions

    coward

  60. no kidding Emily

    WTF are you rambling on about West?????

    by the way…there is no 'e' in 'giving'

  61. Actually, we need to tell Quebecers that they can send all the Bloc MP's to Ottawa they want. BUT, those separatist MP's will only have observer status. No committee seats, no QP time, no votes in the Commons. and no federal funding. Their current presence IS a perversion of democratic principle, and relegating them to observers would be both democratic and principled. One of the most powerful underlying principles inherent in British Parliamentary tradition is the principle of fairness, and the current iteration of our own Parliament, with the malcontent separatists having the same status as other groups is grossly unfair to those groups of Canadians who are doing Confederations' heavy lifting decade after decade.

  62. Liberano gangsters are terrified of a prospect of loosing, in October of this year, their direct access to the second largest public money pit in Canada (Ontario treasury). Instead of bailing out like Mr. Gerry Phillips (latest Liberal MPP to quite Dalton's team) or going broke by the time next federal elections are held they (federal Liberals) decided to use Dalton's influence (his hand in our pockets) and his experience in rigging provincial elections (by bribing teachers and school officials to stuff ballot boxes during elections) and in total desperation they just started another round of electoral fraud all across Canada.

    I) Complaint in November 2008 – no response from Elections Canada

    "20081105 complaint to EC Commissioner – Mounting evidence of electoral fraud during 08 federal elections.pdf" http://tinyurl.com/20081105-complaint-to-ecc

    "20081106 update on complaint to EC Commissioner – Mounting evidence of electoral fraud during 08 federal elections.pdf" http://tinyurl.com/20081106-update-to-ecc

    "20081110 to O'Connor MP re Mounting evidence of electoral fraud during last federal elections.pdf" http://tinyurl.com/20081110-to-O-Connor-MP

    TBC

  63. So….in your world, Canadians are banned if they speak French?

  64. II) Complaint E08-513 made on April 4, 2009

    "20090426 complaint E08-513 to ECC – strong suspicion of electoral corruption & electoral fraud during 08 fedreral election – St. John's East.pdf" http://tinyurl.com/20090426-complaint-to-ecc

    Enclosures to "20090426 complaint E08-513 to ECC":
    "20080502 nl sc j. hoegg r. v. prior.pdf" http://tinyurl.com/20080502-nl-sc-r-v-prior

    "20090424 elections canada financial reports – candidate's electoral campaign return – NL, St. John's East.pdf" http://tinyurl.com/20090424-financial-stjohnseast

    "20090616 complaint E08-513 to ECC – from elections canada commissioner.pdf" http://tinyurl.com/20090616-from-ecc

    "20090617 complaint E08-513 to ECC – to MPs – lawyer at EC plays stupid, accepts at face value 4-fold increase in NDP vote in St. John's East.pdf" http://tinyurl.com/20090617-to-mps-against-ecc

    "20090618 complaint E08-513 to ECC – reply to elections canada commissioner re file E08-513.pdf" http://tinyurl.com/20090618-reply-to-ecc

  65. Where they gonna go? And how they gonna pay their bills? 4 out of 5 dollars paid into equalization funnel into Quebec. Do you honestly think that the socialist separatists are actually prepared to step outside of the financial umbrella of Canada? The entire social welfare framework of Quebec is bankrolled by taxpayers in three provinces not called Quebec, and there literally isn't enough tax base in Quebec to come close to shouldering that burden. We Albertans are literally Quebec's sugar daddy. I don't make six figures, yet I literally pay more income taxes into Quebec than I do Edmonton. Frankly, if Quebec really wants out, then they need to have the intellectual honesty of eschewing the handouts from TROC first. If they don't have the cojones to do that, then all that separatist talk ain't worth a pinch o' coon droppings.

  66. Tell that to the Alberta separatists.

  67. And now a few words from the Hudak Harpies of Ontario….

    The topic here is today in the federal parliament. Pay attention.

    PS Gerry Phillips has been an MPP for 24 years. He is retiring.

  68. No. I'm say that the separatists have no place in the commons. Being part of the federal legislature should carry with it certain obligations, one being that you must forsake any ambitions to dismantle the country. An expectation of national loyalty should not be optional. It's also perfectly acceptable of us to call the Quebec bluff.
    "You want out? Fine. Here's how it's going to be then, if you leave. First thing that will happen is you won't have a say in the government that you expect to pay your bills. That's only fair, isn't it?"
    Well, isn't it?

  69. Ummm, we're already paying our way. FYI, the average- AVERAGE- Alberta family has a total tax obligation, under equalization and the long, constitutionally entrenched rules regarding resource revenue, that goes well into five figures just for the equalization portion of federal taxes. There are very, very few Albertans who are on the hook to the provincial government for as much as they are for their share of the equalization burden.
    In real terms, my wife and I each pay some $1500 towards PEI, and about $5000 towards the Quebec portion.
    As I've said often, if you want to put down those of us who are paying YOUR taxes, have the decency to write me a cheque for a couple of years' worth. If you aren't prepared to do so, then your opinion has no validity. It's a lot like putting down your parents for their annoyance at the $600 worth of tattoos you bought while they are paying your tuition.

  70. Sadly, has the time come to conceed that no formal coalition with the bloc is now possible due to Harper's theatrics? I conceed in no way the fact that the bloc remains the legimately elected representative of many people in Quebec.
    but let's face it, to continue down this ambiguous road is likely not wise, to say the least for MI.
    If not, then someone please outline for me a winning strategy for MI that includes dodging the question of whether he will or will not include the bloc in any kind of formal coalition. I'd love to be wrong. This stinks. It's a corruption of our system and it's all down to SH.

  71. I don't believe Quebec has any moral standing to leave confederation. However, that is her democratic right.

    My point is, democracy has to be about fairness. Right now the Bloc gives Quebec double representation at the federal table. Simply put, it's unfair.

    If Quebec divorces Canada that's her prerogative. If she wants to stay, she has to quit her petulant, high-maintenance act and become a revered, responsible member of confederation.

  72. Criacow, there already is a mechanism for provincial representation within the framework of the three tiers of Canadian democracy. We also have municipal governments representing an even more regional focus.

    At the federal level, it's the entire nation that is in view. Obviously, regional and demographic opinions factor in. However, federal parties are forced to go beyond narrow constraints and look at the big picture. This is what makes Canada a great democracy. Our particular versions is stable and sustainable.

    In it's current status, the Bloc is outside the borders of our traditional, stable democratic system. If Quebec doesn't want to play by the rules, she should sit in the penalty box.

  73. Not sure how the two are comparable.

    Tell me, it doesn't bother you that Gilles Duceppe has no political stake in your situation? (I'm assuming that your not French Canadian and do not live in Quebec) And he could very well end up being the leader of the opposition in our federal Parliament?

    The Bloc is a perversion of Canadian democracy and should be made to adopt a pan-Canadian mandate which looks after the interests of all Canadians, not just Quebec.

  74. I would.

    We have to be careful that we don't allow disaffection to become an infection and break up our country.

  75. Yeah, that may have given the Conservatives a little tremor.

    Too bad Ignatieff doesn't have the political instincts to act prudently.

  76. Michael Ignatieff is over a barrel. If he rules out a coalition, even with a minority win, the Conservatives get majority rule. With that first budget, and for the next 1-2 years, they can cram in any legislation they desire. If the opposition rise up against something, Stephen Harper makes it a confidence motion,no one will want another election and the pitiful abstentions, excuses and humiliations start all over again. Unified dissent, (ie: a coalition) is off the table, and to go back on that would be an epic disaster.

    It is better for Michael Ignatieff to take the high road and sell himself and his ideas. It's his job and it's sink or swim time.Some good Liberal policy announcements would be of great help. Do they have any?

    The biggest hurdle the Liberals face is a lack of money. Without donations they face the uphill battle of a big Harper lead in the polls, and the ad blitz that springs from the Conservative's deep, deep pockets.

    I honestly think that Michael has to take the high road and stand on principle. If they lose big, the Liberals must take their lumps and stagger on.
    Pendulums swing, and one day the Conservative machine will collapse in it's own filth – all governments do.
    By taking the high road, the Liberals, if faced with a shellacking, can lick their wounds, rebuild their party and get ready for the years ahead.

    Stand tall on principle and win or lose, play the long game. The shortcuts all lead to dark alleys.

  77. Interesting concept only applied to a minority parliament.

    The reports from the auditor general did not match the decade of darkness under the Liberals but the opposition committee were able to out vote and control the findings of fact on the committee.

    It will be a teaching moment for the left when the ballots are counted.

    This government made mistakes and did push the opposition around but the political games will come back to haunt the Liberals for pushing the fourth election in seven years.

  78. He did not ask for the fourth election in seven years. His party won't be decimated at the polls for their lust for power.

    The polls were clear with 60% wanting to wait until 2012. The opposition were not interested in listening to the public. They are in it for themselves.

    “What's worrying for Michael Ignatieff is that his image is still really quite weak, especially compared to the other leaders. He's got the lowest approval rating of all the other leaders. Even among people who voted Liberal last time, fewer than 50 per cent approve of his performances as Opposition leader,” Mukerji said.

    The survey of 2,365 Canadians reveals the Conservatives are in the lead nationally with 39 per cent support, the Liberals at 25 per cent, and the New Democrats at 19 per cent. The Bloc Québécois has 10 per cent support and the Green Party 7 per cent.
    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/artic

  79. He's been the leader of the opposition before, what's the problem?

    It's best to view the Bloc less as a seperatist party, and instead admire how Quebec is the only place that has come up with a credible solution to the question, "Jesus, the Liberals and Conservative parties are both terrible, can't we have a plausible third choice?"

  80. Try the word *Contempt*…Say it 40 times. Maybe it will stick.

  81. We agree that looking back at previous majority governments, disclosure to parliament was also inadequate, and perhaps we agree that parliamentary reform is necessary to remedy this. Reform is necessary because the opposition needs accurate & complete information to carry out its function of holding the government to task.

    That said, in a majority situation, by definition the government caucus represents a majority of parliament. Every piece of legislation passed is owned by them, and judged by the public in the next election. Whether or not the opposition has complete & accurate information does not change whether legislation passes, the opposition has a duty to criticize but very little actual power or responsibility.

    In a minority situation, at least some opposition support is required to accomplish anything, and the legislation that the opposition supports becomes part of its track record (whether they like it or not). This is as it should be, the opposition has real power in a minority situation and commensurate responsibilities. In particular, their duty to be informed wrt proposed legislation is much higher, and fortunately within our system their recourse if a government refuses to provide that information is also much greater.

  82. what has that got to do with Harper's aversion to actual questions?

  83. Liberano???……what you guys getting bored with all the other Liberal insults…………do ya think yer in Texas ombre?

  84. That's kind of basically where I'm falling on this too. Was the Harper Government (TM) found to be in contempt of parliament? Yeah, sure. Is it this amazing unprecedented thing? Well, it's not really fair to compare to majority governments, because they simply will never be found in contempt of parliament, period. So, we compare it to all the minority governments. By my count, there have been 12 (though someone certainly can correct me on that number). So, still fairly late in the game for a first, but not as dramatic as its made out to be. I would also ask for further analysis on the length of time in office for those minorities, my thinking being that the longer a government is in a minority situation, the more likely they are to do something that the opposition would respond to by finding them in contempt. So, Martin, Clark, Trudeau, and Meighen each only won one minority, the latter lasting only 88 days. Pearson, Diefenbaker, and King had two each, though Diefenbaker's two lasted a combined total of less than two years.

    Anyway, there's a little nuance to the contempt charge, at least from my perspective. I am very interested to see if Harper wins an UNPRECEDENTED third plurality, and what all the fallout will be. Personally, I hope the opposition does do the coalition thing, and we'll see how they do, and they will be judged accordingly in the election after this one. If they do well, great, coalitions are seen as legitimate and useful in Canada. If it's a gong show, well, what do you think? 10 years of Conservative majority rule? Though, probably without Harper out the helm.

  85. Yeah…and then the rest of us who are at least a little reasonable know that these sorts of comments come down on both sides of the aisle. Makes me wonder why you are only able to see them from the one side, but I won't pursue that further.

  86. Woah woah! Did everyone hear that?

    "I'm a democratic politician, right from the bottom of my feet to the top of my toes."

    I'm no expert, but that doesn't seem like very much democratic person to me. I mean, what is he from the top of his toes to the top of his head? amirite?

  87. If Ignatieff said that line, it would be so good on so many levels. Oh I wish he would say that.

  88. So are a lot of the media…even Coyne who believes "an election call should be about bold proposals and restoring democracy, not some trivial sums in a budget "….totally ignoring the Contempt issue…………..Harper is saying this is about the Budget and the media seems to be going along with that……..

  89. It's a little late to worry about that now, Bill.

    The Bloc has already been the Official Opposition.

  90. Oh I see….it's okay for Albertans to talk separation, but not Quebecois?

    Ontario has been paying equalization for years, and you don't hear us whining. Seems to be all we get out of Alberta though…a martyr complex.

  91. "Every piece of legislation passed is owned by them, and judged by the public in the next election. Whether or not the opposition has complete & accurate information does not change whether legislation passes, the opposition has a duty to criticize but very little actual power or responsibility."

    Okay, except how can one criticize without all the information? In fact, I think this is exactly the line from the opposition in the current situation. So I would not be so quick to brush off those instances when this happens within a majority government. When it happens there, it is equally contemptible as when it happened here.

    So, IMHO, this exposes a problem in the parliamentary system more than it exposes the Harper government as being this evil regime bent on destroying Canadian democracy, though I recognize that there is a segment of the population who sees it that way.

  92. You seem to be saying that provincial government representation and Parliamentary representation by the Bloc are essentially similar. This is, of course, nonsense. You do know that provincial governments don't actually participate in Parliament, right? That they don't get to vote on federal bills? That provincial governments and MPs are two entirely distinct groups taking part in entirely distinct levels of government?

  93. You seem to be a little confused on timelines. Quebec hasn't actually seceded. I don't think anyone is seriously suggesting that they'd continue electing MPs if they do. Until they do, they have the same right as we do to elect representatives to represent their interests as they see fit, whether we like their choices or not.

  94. I'm not going to disagree that it's in Quebec's interest to remain in Canada. But a sizable minority in Quebec disagree, as they have every right to. The federal government gives a lot of money to Quebec, but it also has a lot of power over Quebec, and a lot of Quebecers feel that Quebec would be better off with with the power than with the money. They're wrong, in my opinion, but the day we start telling them who they can or can't vote for, or what the people they vote for can or can't advocate, is the day they'll be right. There is, after all, a term for that sort of thing: "oppression of a political minority."

  95. It's not my job to perform the Speaker's role on a comment board. I can, however, try to avoid engaging in such spittle-spewing attacks myself.

    It's my observation, however, that such displays of vitriolic anger and slurring of one's opponents tend to be a strategy of the Harper government and its adherents more than other participants in political discourse. Can I prove that with evidence-based research? Nope. So feel free to dismiss my opinion as biased.

  96. "Coalition…Coalition….Coalition…!"

    "Contempt…..Contempt….Contempt…!"

    Swing vote goes to the Cons. Everyone already expects their politicians to be contemptible.

  97. There's nothing admirable about the Bloc. A plausible third choice should have a mandate with a federal focus.

    I understand that the Bloc best represents French concerns in the eyes of Quebeckers. It still should be required to adopt a federal focus, at least to a minimum standard.

  98. That's been my point from the start. The Bloc represents a province in the federal jurisdiction. Quebec's interests are already being represented, like all other provinces, at the provincial level. All provinces, as such, have influence over the federal government. (health care payments, transfer payments etc.) Therefore, under our political system, Quebec already has fair representation without the Bloc.

    The federal government has a responsibility to oversee the entire country. Therefore, federal parties should have a federal mandate; that is, an overall interest in Canadians from coast to coast. The Bloc fails in this criteria.

  99. I applaud his honesty. At least he's admitting he's not democratic in his brain.

  100. I realize the question is not directed at me, but I will answer. I choose based on who is most likely to defeat the conservative candidate (in my riding that is Linda Duncan, NDP). I do this because MP's, particularly in Harper's government, are pretty much powerless. I cannot vote for Harper's PMO, and these are the only guys with any real authority in his government. Therefore I try to defeat this government.

  101. Aww. Poor widdle Stephen Harper. It is so mean when the country elect liberals, NDP and Bloc members who "stand in his way".

  102. Have you not met CS before? His ability to dodge direct questions and focus on something else he believes hurts the liberals instead is Harper-like.

  103. No mention has been made of separation. I'm only saying that, as one of the ones who are actually paying this nation's bills, we need to stand up to Quebec. Canada doesn't begin and ends at Quebec, nor are we a wholly owned subsidiary of the Socialist Republic of New France, yet we have let our national affairs be constantly filtered through a Quebec-centric lens by kowtowing to the separatist minority. After a few decades it becomes a bit (well, more than a bit, actually) of an absurdity. It's time we stopped and moved on. If Quebec wants to go, then go. But, don't expect Canada to pick up the shortfall financially, and at least have the moral and intellectual honesty to demonstrate the ability to be economically self-sufficient by forsaking our money now and not later. If Quebec can't or won't get her hands out of our pockets now, how realistic is the threat of separation?
    We'll see proof of Bigfoot, and intelligent life within the NDP caucus before that happens.
    This is a simple case of saying to the separatist crowd in Quebec- Put up or shut up.

  104. We all pay the bills….and why you're worried about Quebec NOW is a mystery. The issue has been for over half a century, and there is no upcoming referendum.

    Don't we have other more immediate things to be concerned about?

  105. I'm not convinced that having Ignatieff rule out a coalition automatically converts a CPC minority to a de facto CPC majority.

    Assuming that the 41st parliament is a clear CPC minority, the LPC, BQ and NDP should just vote exactly how they really want to vote, without consideration of how the others will vote, on each and every bill/motion. If that somehow results in the need for Harper to go to the GG to report that he has lost the confidence of the house, then it will fall to Harper and the GG to figure out what to do next.

    Another election is a possibility, or perhaps the second place party is asked to try to govern. The second place party can accept – a coalition agreement is absolutely not required for them to do that – and they can proceed to govern as best thy can.

    Bottom line: Why is it somehow the case that the second, third and fourth place parties have a greater responsibility to make a minority parliament work than the first place party?

    Second bottom line: How does allowing for the smallish possibility a coalition really help the LPC, in any way? It doesn't.

  106. Are you referring to ruling out a coalition with the Separatists and snapping back to the Press Gallery to ask the GG?

  107. Your first paragraph sums it perfectly.

    Did this minority government move forward from the Liberals track record? Yes.

    Did the majority in opposition provide a balanced or fair hearing-trial for this minority to meet in disclosure? In May the public will decide if the kangaroo court led by McGuinty-Martin were right.

    Any bets on the breakout is seats? I expect taxpayers to rebuke the opposition leaders for the games on the hill.

    I am interested in your seat prediction.
    http://canadiansense.blogspot.com/2011/03/conserv

  108. The problem isn't that there aren't good ways to answer the question.

    The problem is that Ignatieff didn't. He had some line that didn't wash, and promptly stuck his foot in his mouth.

    Very bad start for the campaign. He fed the doubt that he is up to this.

  109. I've never not been annoyed by Quebec being the tail that wags the dog. And no, unless you're from Alberta, Ontario, or BC you're not paying Canada's bills. 7 out of 10 provinces are on the receiving end of equalization. That means they're taking more out of the federal pot than they put in, and none is more egregious at it than Quebec. Quebec is like some trust fund baby that's always telling the parents how they should live their lives, all while living off of daddy's money.
    Quebec doesn't worry me. It annoys the living bejeesus out of me. If they want to separate, let 'em. Then we can spend the tax money on Canadians who want to be Canadians, and not on malcontents pining for the remnants of an empire that never was.

  110. OMG! Really!? THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING!

  111. You may not like it, but in a minority situation the opposition has the numbers – it's democracy.

    "Kangeroo court"…not exactly hiding your partisanship eh?

  112. I don't pretend to ^NOT support the Conservatives and defend their record of stance if I share it on this blog. That would make me dishonest.
    I have a blog for all to read on my track record on an issue. (This is ^NOT about a partisan blogger).
    The fact is the historical event for contempt can be only produced in a minority parliament: True
    The fact is the current government improved accountability and information from the previous adminstration: True
    Is it enough or fast enough : NO, I want more information including the Board of Internal Economy regarding the lawsuits and expenses.

    The Liberals gave some great talking points and voted along with the CPC and NDP in blocking the AG and the BLOC from opening the books.

    Why do you think the BLOC want to open those books?

    Simple points the opposition want MORE intervention into society and our lives and feel more taxes and more regulations will fix or improve "equalize" the downtrodden.
    I don't buy that snake oil from the left or the right. I am in favour of decentralized government a stronger provincial or local government.
    You want an NHL or CFL arena raise your local taxes leave me alone.

  113. Well, if they go, they go, no sense worrying about it….eventually probably all of Canada will break up.

    And yes, I'm from Ontario.

    I believe Sask has always gotten more than Quebec though.

    There was definitely a French Empire.

  114. You guys are just too sensitive to the truth, a common liberal condition. I made a statement of facts and leftists feel like it's an attack – that's not the case at all regardless of how your feelings may be hurt by reality.
    The government fell for no good reason, what is that but a desperate grab for power from the socialist coalition? Especially since socialists have such poor poll numbers? It almost looks like a suicide mission – no wonder the left can excuse suicide bombers.
    Socialists are infamous for expropriating people's money and spending it on the special interests that keep them in power, that's not news, that's 'da usual business' according to a well known crooked Liberal politician. Canadian's have no choice but to hand over their money to government, and if it's a socialist coalition, you can bet it will demand that Canadians hand over a lot of money, that would surprise no one.

  115. What happens when socialists run out of other people's money? Greece. Greece is bankrupt. The priveleged started riots in which people were killed – including a pregnant lady and two other employees at a Bank – while that kind of violence is accepted and encouraged among left leaning people, many Canadians would be appalled and would rather keep their money than be forced to hand it over to people like that encourage that sort of thing.
    The reality of socialism is economic, social and moral poverty, everyone knows that, but leftists still find it the best method to convince people that they should have power to control other people's lives and deaths.

  116. I would suggest that your "statement of facts" is, more accurately, your interpretation of the facts. You're entirely welcome to that interpretation, but I happen not to share it. And your assertion that "Socialists are infamous for expropriating people's money and spending it on the special interests that keep them in power, that's not news" is a view to which you're entitled and that, I would counter, is not universally true. To claim otherwise is to deny the historical viability of "socialist" governments in Manitoba,Saskatchewan, and B.C., as well as as in many European countries whose standard of living and productivity is at least the equal of ours. It's also an insult to the collective wisdom of the voters in those jurisdictions who elected "socialist" governments.

    All of which is beside my point, in any event, which was that we should be able to have debates and disagreements about such issues without degenerating into labels, name-calling, and mudslinging.

  117. For every failure of a "socialist" government, I could point out a success. I could also counter with egregious examples of capitalist basket cases, starting with the alpha-capitalist nation, USA, whose banking cowboys, by all credible accounts, plunged the globe into a financial bloodbath. Or Ireland, the much-vaunted "Celtic Tiger", now on life support, a condition many attribute to, among other things, rampant tax cuts.

    Your caricature of "the reality of socialism" is, IMO, as much ill-informed myth as it is reality.

    And I'm not a member of any party, left, right, or center nor attached to any particular party in my voting history, lest you wish to dismiss me as a "lefty".

  118. Well, no Sask. doesn't get more than Quebec either per capita or total. There are multiple points in play here, though. One is the wholly unprincipled phenomenon of a federally funded separatist movement AND a federally funded separatist party having regular stature in the federal legislature.
    Another is the abrasive nature of that group of separatists. The pivotal moment for France in North America was the Louisiana Purchase. This little transaction was undertaken to help France wage war with England. The Quebecers were sold up (well, down, actually) the river so France could continue to fight a losing war. When France lost, and Quebec became a British protectorate, the British promised to let the Quebecers continue largely as they had been living- French Catholics in the New World.
    Had the tables been turned, can you honestly imagine that the French would have extended the same protection to English settlers in New France?(hint:language laws) In a pigs ear! Witness the evaporation of the French language throughout the American controlled Mississippi watershed. In 1799, French was the dominant European language from Montana and Minnesota all the way to New Orleans. Now, French is relegated to a few hundred miles up and down the St. Lawrence.
    That doesn't square with the separatist myth of English oppression.
    Another issue is the Quebec-led recalcitrance to Constitutional and electoral change. Quebec demands a constant percentage of federal MP's, despite being a shrinking percentage of the nation's population. This is grossly unfair, and leads to intransigence elsewhere on the same issue. Why should PEI, with the same number of people and the same number of square miles as Red Deer (AB) County, have 4 MP's and 4 Senators? We have 1 MP, and our economy is roughly 4 times that of the entire province of PEI. But, getting the Maritimes to give up some of their outsized privileges and influence will require a sacrifice on the part of Quebec. Again, small likelihood, to the serious detriment of the nation as a whole.
    Another issue attached to all of this is language laws. Simply put, you can live in a free country, or you can live in a country with language laws. But not both. As a result of weak minded language laws- they truly only exist to mollify the stupid- half of the federal civil service are bilingual Francophones. The problem is that half of the federal civil service has a hard time communicating with the 85% of Canadians who only speak English. It's a real problem. Ask yourself why we have a staff of Francophones at our GST office out in Alberta, when the number of unilingual Francophones within 200 miles of me is dwarfed by the number of mating pairs of Bigfoot in the same region.
    Why do we demand so much Anglophone bilingualism when barely 10% of Canadians are unilingually French? Why is it perfectly acceptable for us to have a PM or federal party leader who can be barely understood by 85% of Canadians (Chretien, Duceppe,Dionne) yet wholly necessary for him/her to be well understood by less than 10%?
    In reality, Canada is far less bilingual than California, Arizona, Texas, or a half-dozen other states, yet we continue to propagate that myth. We can call ourselves bilingual all we want, but saying the moon's made of green cheese won't make it so. So let's quit already with that silliness.
    The federation can only work if it is seen as broadly fair to all involved. Albertans have been long tired of doing the heavy lifting, yet we are widely disdained and scorned by many other parts of Canada.
    I appreciate the conversation, but the point I'm getting at is that Albertans are seriously fed up with how confederation is not working, and us getting a lot of the blame when we're the ones paying far more than our share of the taxes, we're the ones who rebuilt the federal Conservatives with a lot of Reformers (Motto: the West wants in!), we're the ones hiring Canadians from every province to work in our industries, and so on and so forth.
    If we get a Liberal majority, it will be bad for the country. If we get a Conservative minority it will be very bad if the Liberals -who won't have an MP from Kenora to Kamloops-try to form a coalition with the separatists.

  119. Second bottom line: How does allowing for the smallish possibility a coalition really help the LPC, in any way? It doesn't.

    I hope you're right, but we'll see how the votes shake out and how Mr Harper behaves in the next Parliament. I don't hold out much hope for anything but more of the same.

    I would like to see this as a teachable moment in how Parliamentary democracy works….. but……

    At least Gilles Duceppe is not letting this go so easily.

    Give 'em hell Gilles

  120. Many countries have more than one official language….India is a democracy and has about 17 official languages.
    Canada has 200 languages….luckily only 2 of them are official. And even that upsets you.
    French is spoken all over my province, as it is in much of the world
    What is it with you Cons….how hard is it to speak more than one language? Most Europeans speak 3 or 4.
    And what is this 'heavy lifting' of which you speak? Albertans have a primary resource economy, which keeps going boom and bust….. run around in cowboy clothes, and don't seem to have ever gotten off their back porch….yet seem to think everyone else in Canada is the same.
    Albertans have groused since the day they joined confederation, you've gone broke, and you were helped through the Depression and all you ever seem to do is whine. Even with a mainly Albertan cabinet. Most of the country is fed up with hearing it.

  121. They haven't separated yet because the majority of Quebeckers, as much as they may want to leave, are sensible enough to recognize the consequences would be disastrous.

    Most of us vote in the party we think will be most attentive to our needs; for many Quebec residents, that leaves out the three national parties. You don't have to like it; you just have to learn to deal with it. Anything less diminishes our claim to be a democracy – and, incidentally, runs counter to the Charter.

  122. Totally off topic, but how do you manage to get so much text in one post? That many words would require five or six posts for me.

  123. So you don't think your local MP is representing your interests (local and provincial) in Ottawa? Might be time to vote in a different MP…

  124. Y'know, I left NL of my own volition. Somehow, I have the sneaking suspicion they KICKED you out…

  125. So sad… but probably true.

  126. There you go again. We're rednecks because we don't want to see the world through a dysfunctional liberal lens. What is the value of extra languages? In real terms?
    It takes just as much effort to learn a second language as it does to earn a degree or learn a trade. We have no NEED to be bilingual, therefore we aren't. Instead, we have high rates of self-employment. What serves our country more? Providing jobs or learning French? The short answer is learning French won't pay the bills or the taxes.
    The heavy lifting comes in the form of keeping that resource economy rolling so that billions of dollars can flow outward and keep the socialist dream alive elsewhere in the country. You don't go huntin' for some food and up comes a bubblin' crude let me tell you. The last time equalization money came into Alberta, Edsels were still in the showrooms.
    The whole language thing can be summed up thusly- The language of the land is the result of evolution, not design. No one in England decided some several centuries ago that English would be the national tongue. It evolved that way, as did French a few miles over. Never mind the breathtaking speed at which English evolves, languages evolve by the minute (well, some do), and language laws are simply stupid constructs built by stupid people to try and forestall that evolutionary process. (There's a whole bunch of irony there. A WHOLE bunch) The simple fact is that French is increasingly a linguistic sandspit in a sea of English and Spanish in North America. The likelihood is that Spanish is the future dominant language of the continent, as that is the current direction of linguistic evolution in NA. (You really should get out more if you're unaware of that.).
    But, getting back to a equalization, at what point does an entrenched unfairness need to be rectified? How should routine equalization talks be handled?
    Should those provinces perennially on the hand-out side of equalization be accorded an equal say in the regular juggling of the formula? Or, should there be a penalty for not having your house in order? Maybe we should require that only those provinces who pay into the pool for 3 years out of any 5 have a say at the table. Maybe we should require that receiving equalization income means that you have to trim your government spending. Wouldn't that be more fair than simply having 7 provinces saying "gimme gimme" and then voting themselves billions of dollars worth of "offshore" taxation?
    After all, it's pretty easy to promise the moon when you know full well that it's taxpayers in another region, time zones distant, that will actually be picking up the tab?
    Lastly, whenever I bring up the fact that the Libranos stole $40 million and more during the Chretien years, some Ontario Liberal will pipe up and tell me "that's ancient history and not relevant.", yet you seem to think that it''s pretty relevant to bring up Alberta's past reliance on equalization, in spite of the last net inflow of federal funds to Alberta occurring in the 1950's.
    We've paid back every penny, plus another couple of hundred BILLION in interest. I'll see a living, breathing woolly mammoth before I'll see the Libranos pay back even a nickle of the money they stole via a sophisticated racketeering scheme.
    And, what is it with you liberal types? Why, in the face of a serious, and reasonably presented rebuttals to your positions, do you have to resort to the silly personal insults? You do realize that, by drawing the redneck card so early in the game, you ever so eloquently make my point that lefties are essentially intellectually vacuous.
    I bid you good evening madam.

  127. BTW- Emily, I said "free" country. You can live in a perfectly democratic country and still not live in a free country. You really should get out more.

  128. My local MP's represent my regional interests in the context of a federal party that has to balance interests from across the country and from across demographic barriers. It's the fact that federal parties have a federal focus that serves as the "glue" binding this nation together. It's a hugely important principal of our Canadian democracy. The Bloc is in contempt of that.

  129. Well you see Bill, we live in 2 different eras. You live in a religious, primary resource era and worry about such things as people who speak another language. I live in a secular technological era, where different languages are a commonplace.

    You are fighting old wars, long over.

    The left/right divisions no longer matter, Chinese is more likely to be the lingua franca of the near future and old grudges over geography and political parties are as out-of-date as complaining about who won the War of the Roses.

    This is why we can't discuss it….we are trying to talk over a time divide.

  130. I keep hearing Mr. Ignatief speaking about ethics, I am old enough to renumber the Trudeau and Chretien governments when did the Liberals get ethics, let a lone any political. If you ask me their all a bunch of over paid, over pensioned crooks eating at the public trough. I am yet to read that their pension funds dropped due to market fluctuations or poor funding as so many of their constituents have. I'll probably have the RCMP at my door for this but "maybe whats happening in the Arab World needs to happen here".

  131. There is no time divide, ma'am. I'm paying taxes and keeping people employed right now. I'm not fighting an old war, I'm fighting a current one; that being the continued expansion of government and confiscatory taxation against the shrinking right of the citizenry to keep what they earn.
    Language laws, for example, represent an unnecessary and unwarranted intrusion into the lives of the citizenry. Again, I point out that multilingualism in Europe (where it exists) is a result of evolution, not design. Had Russia won the Cold war, multilingualism would be dying a cold, painful death. Witness the fact that the Soviets mandated compulsory Russian language education for every child in Soviet ruled Europe. Europe is multilingual because it is free to be, not because some mindless Brussels bureaucrats deem it so. (Setting aside the ongoing French pressure that their language be the official language of the EU. So much for linguistic freedom.)
    In North America, the ascendance of Spanish may very well be supplanted by Chinese. But, not in this century. What is occurring is an almost inexorable growth of Spanish. What also happens along with that is both Spanish and English are evolving, English more rapidly due to the unique nature of the English language in that regard. For example, English has gained more new words since 1900- mostly stolen or adapted from other languages- than there are in the entire French dictionary.
    This speaks volumes about where a society might go in the future. There is an inherent libertarianism that is rooted in the English language. Lose English, and you risk losing the concept of liberty down the memory hole. Embrace it, and let the languages that bump hard up against it adapt or die, and the world becomes a better place. But, entrench language laws and you lose far more than you can ever gain back. Cest la vie, baby. That's how it is.
    If and when Chinese begins to become a tour de force in the linguistic stew pot of North America, it will be competing- yes, competing- with what might best be called Spanglish, and then what will likely evolve will be some strange hybrid we might call Changlish, or Engspanese. Who the hell knows?
    But, this is a rather roundabout way of getting to the point of the failure of language laws. We have language laws because a linguistic minority demanded that WE need to learn their language in order for them to communicate with US. Sorry, it don't work that way. You want us to listen? Then start by speaking our language, AND THEN make damned sure you're telling us something important.
    Most of us "rednecks" quit listening to Quebec a long, long time ago because after we taught our kids French, we learned that all the French want to do is complain about Canada. Worse, they demanded to be heard in the language of their choice. Guess what? We decided to listen in the language of our choice, which unfortunately was playing on another station.
    We've moved on largely because a degree in French and a buck-sixty-four will still get you a large double-double.
    As for living in a "religious" primary resource era, what has religion got to do with it? Are you trying to insinuate that because I'm a conservative, I must be some "religious" type? Again, you're falling into the traditional lefty talking positions with no regard for the intellectual vacuity of that stance.
    As for the primary resource thing, well guess what? I love it when people talk about the "knowledge based" economy. I just love it, as it exposes them as the stupidest of the stupid.
    Every single aspect of the free-market economy is "knowledge based". Or "information based" as they like to say now. This goes right back to when the first guy figured out how to turn an antler into an axe or a spear. When some guy on the frozen steppes of Asia learned how to keep the fur on a tiger hide, and keep the women warmer, he sold that knowledge for food and probably sex. When some tribe found that they could predict the movement of buffalo herds, they sold that info for the right not to have to send so many guys into the hunt.
    The most primary resource is knowledge, and just because that knowledge might be used to figure out how to maximize energy extraction in an energy hungry society, don't make it any less valuable or noble. The sooner YOU and people like you figure that out, the better off Canada will be

  132. Oh there is definitely a time divide…a worse one than I realized.

    You're way back in the tribal stage.

    The 21st century is going to be hard on you…but enjoy your chest-thumping.

  133. Again, I thank you for being one of those liberals who so eloquently prove my point. Lacking in critical analysis and historical perspective, you resort to tawdry little playground insults. What is it with you people when faced with reasoned and well though out assertions, you fold up your tent and go home? You guys claim to be the intellects, yet (in this case, for example) demonstrate no grasp of Canada's linguistic divide, nor the social realities of North American linguistic history, nor much grasp of economics beyond the standard liberal talking points.
    You are to be commended ma'am, for it is the likes of you who tend to make me, a simple machinist/salesman/small businessman appear rather much brighter than I actually am.
    Not once in this little conversation have you even tried to rebut my assertions on language or economics. Remember, the art of debate is not to convince me, but those observing the debate. Right now, I'll guarantee your liberal behind that I'm winning.

  134. No one proves your point Bill, because you don't have one.

    Just 'old people's talk'.

    "There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

    Isaac Asimov, Newsweek interview. 1980.

  135. Point one- There is a linguistic divide in this country. It's not the fault of the Anglos who have bent over backwards to to coddle a linguistic minority who appear to look under rocks for reasons to be upset at us.
    Point two- There is an economic divide in this country, and it's not the fault of the provinces who have steadfastly paid into the equalization plan that was supposed to reduce or eliminate it, even in the face of mountains of evidence that equalization has become a root cause of our economic divide.
    Point three- There is a democratic divide in this country largely caused by the inability of entrenched regionalism and our intellectual elites to grasp the fact that our political frameworks must- MUST- evolve, yet those who have clamored most for that evolution to actually happen are routinely derided as "hicks" or "rednecks" or even racists. (Look at this conversation…)
    You mentioned a lack of points. I'm sorry that you're too blinded by your own admiration of your liberal intellectualism that you fail to grasp the points I've raised along with the background illustrations.
    What does 'old people's talk" have to do with it? I'm only 50.
    BTW- Do you actually pay taxes, or do you work in government?

  136. Point one…the world is globalizing. There is no linguistic divide.

    Point two…yes there is an economic divide in Canada. You're still in a primary economy, Ont and Que are leaving a tertiary level for a quaternary one.

    Point three… entrenched regionalism….see point one above.

    Point four…until you stop beating your chest you won't be able to get any blood to your brain, so you can think.

    You speak 'old people's talk'….with ideas that are more than a century out of date. You don't even know what the knowledge era is, but you're keen to give me cracker barrel philosophy.

    People in govt pay taxes….however, I run a global business dealing in economic development, and have nothing to do with the 'govt workers' you're so afraid of.

  137. I'm complaining; from my Hamilton home.

  138. Well then, there's one of you. LOL

  139. Ummm, no, govt workers do not pay taxes. That's simple kindergarten arithmetic, darlin'.
    Yes, there is a linguistic divide in Canada. Unfortunately, that divide is between the French- who are mired in 19th century tribalism- and the remainder of us who have accepted that languages evolve, as do societies, and have moved on. We're not the ones who believe in language laws. They are.
    On point two- How can Quebec's economy be evolved beyond ours when it requires massive inflows of taxes from "offshore" sources (ie- Ontario, BC, Alberta) in order to remain afloat. If Quebec had a functioning economy, taxes on industry and citizens within her borders would pay the cost of government. As that is as far from the truth as Saturn is from Trois Rivieres, we can surmise that Quebec does not actually have a functioning economy, let alone one that is further advanced than Alberta's.
    Three- Entrenched regionalism. Well, the German people are having to think about whether or not they want to bail out Portugal, whose citizens (like the Greeks) refuse to accept that, if their "friends" are going to have to bail out their country, they are going to have to make some sacrifices.
    Canada is in much the same boat. At the time of Confederation, northern New England, including the Maritimes, was an economic powerhouse. As Canada has grown and evolved, some of the entrenched rules of our democratic institutions have failed to grow and evolve with us. Thus, we have entrenched entitlements for Maritime provinces and Quebec to the detriment of the nation. People like me want electoral and constitutional reform because we want to keep our nation whole, yet those who oppose us refuse, or are just plain too stupid, to grasp that without some movement on some of these reforms we'll lose the country.
    As for "knowledge era", I already gave you the Coles notes on the theory of "knowledge based" economics. If you can't get your head around that, that's not my fault. If nobody's buying what you know, then you ain't got nothin' to sell. The value of any knowledge is relative. In order for it to have economic value, someone must have a need for it.
    Thus, Alberta is home to some very advanced manufacturing and engineering. Alberta expertise is in demand all over the world where people are trying to get energy out of the ground. (ya gotta lose the Jed Clampett image)
    Dearie, I'm afraid you're the one who's about a century out of date here.

  140. Yes Bill, govt workers do indeed pay taxes.

    I repeat, you don't even know what the knowledge economy is….that's what often happens when you read Cole's notes without having done the work.

    Alberta is a primary resource economy…much like Nigeria

    Tell it to the cracker barrel, because no one else is listening Jed.

  141. Just exactly how does receiving, say, 65K in taxes, and paying out 15K in payroll taxes constitute "paying"? As I said, it's simple math.
    Please humor me and define a "knowledge based economy" that does not involve the participation of resource extraction, food production, or manufacturing as being fundamental?

  142. Oh that's 'simple' alright. LOL Gawd.

    We are down to the scrag- end of this sub-thread so I'll keep it brief. At one time Canada was 98% farmers and 2% businesses and administrators. Farmers are now 2%, 98% have fanned out into all kinds of other occupations.

    In 1956 white collar workers outnumbered blue-collar workers for the first time. And the high-water mark for manufacturing was 1943. It's been in decline ever since.We moved to the service economy…its 75% now, and means doctors and lawyers as well as every other service.

    We are now moving through the 'knowledge-based' economy where knowledge is a tool. GM foods for example. Computers. One builds on the other. When knowledge itself is the product, then you are in the 'knowledge economy'…like cloning for example. The knowledge of how to do it.

    Much more to it of course…but that's all there's room for.

  143. Umm….Read it again I said "does NOT involve resources, manufacturing, or food production as being fundamental". Everything you just listed involves those.
    BTW- A "service" economy is an economy on its' last legs. As someone involved in "economic development", you sure have a poor grasp on fundamental economics.

  144. And again, I point out that you don't understand what 'knowledge economy' means…and refuse to listen…so you keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

    As to Canada and the service industry

    'As with other developed nations, the Canadian economy is dominated by the service industry, which employs about three quarters of Canadians.'
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Canada

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