Because more Canadians actually voted for the Liberals and NDP than for the PC-Reform.
So what is the first thing the new Harper minority government does?
Introduce a so-called economic plan so inadequate, callous, cynical and ideologically rigid that the Liberals and the NDP are now on the brink of creating a coalition government.
Thanks, Steve -- there was no way these folks were going to get together otherwise!
The Conservatives made the classic mistake of thinking that the other parties were just like them -- short-sighted, partisan, and incapable of taking any action that would serve the best interests of the country rather than the party. Now the Cons are gobsmacked - and it couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch.
Here's the buzz tonight -- Far and Wide writes:
There will either be more concessions from the Conservatives, namely a serious stimulus package, or we will see a coalition government that introduces exactly that. Despite the rather feeble spin attempts by Conservatives and their reeling supporters, you've already lost, it's just a matter of who makes the ultimate call.Glen writes:
For a man who, until recently, made everything into a confidence motion to strong-arm his way through Parliament, this has to be one of the most humiliating and cowardly things he's ever done.Aaron writes:
There are 305 elected members in the House of Commons. In our democracy, you either find the support of more than half of those elected representatives to form a government and pass legislation or you do not and are defeated. There is not a lot of ambiguity about that.WesternGrit writes
You have to work with the other parties in a minority. Harper chose not to. What I find bizarre about all this is: the Conservatives seem surprised.
It will get ugly, but we need to fight back.Dawg writes
67% of the Country didn't vote Conservative, and now they are ALL uniting together to overthrow Harper who is only a small angry minority. Canadians are speaking through their MPs - which is the way a Parliamentary democracy works.
This is not the American Republic - where the President rules... The elected MPs ARE THE PEOPLE, and they are speaking.
By forcing a coalition dialogue to happen, Harper let the genie out of the bottle. Coalition talk has its own momentum. It takes a major event to bring feuding parties into alignment. A threat to their survival is one of those events that can trigger new ways of thinking. Now anything is possible. A paradigm shift is taking place right before our eyes.Yappa sums it up:
The potential here is simply enormous--as are the risks.
Pressured by the IMF, OECD, APEC, G7 and G20, among others, to join the rest of the world's wealthy countries in addressing the economic meltdown, and facing increasing domestic pressure to ease the recession, the PM attempted a risky ploy: an economic statement that combined a refusal to create a stimulus package with an unrelated announcement that he was cutting all funding to the country's political parties, thus bankrupting every party but his own.Ian Welsh writing at POGGE looks at the long view:
The ploy was evidently intended to tie the hands of Canada's other political parties by making opposition seem self-interested.
Counting on the Official Opposition to be ineffective until they select a new leader, expected in May of 2009, the Prime Minister underestimated the will of all opposition parties to stand up to him.
It can now be seen that the PM made a grave tactical error. Canadians are already suffering from the recession, still in its first quarter, and quickly turned on a government that refuses to lift a hand to help them. The opposition speaks for all its constituents when it says that the government must fall and a coalition must take its place. The man who staged a successful hostile takeover of one of Canada's founding parties, a man long known as one of Canada's craftiest politicos, is poised to be toppled.
Harper's strength last election was primarily in two places: the praires and non-urban southern Ontario. Oil is going to drop below 50 dollars soon, when it does the oil sands in Alberta are going to become unprofitable and the good times in Harper's western base will end. Likewise, southern Ontario has been taking it on the chin for sometime, and no matter what happens to Detroit, that's not going to end. While Alberta will vote Conservative no matter how bad things get, the rest of the prairies are not nearly so dedicated, and southern Ontario might well remember that the Liberal party was much better for them than the Conservatives, who have refused to do anything meaningful to help Canadian manufacturing.
If the Liberals and NDP decide to do this, then, they have to be in it for the long term—they need to expect to govern for at least four years. An election in the middle of the recession will doom then, they have to put in place policies to get through the recession and out the other side, or they will be slaughtered.
If they are willing to work together, are willing to commit to stick this out for four years, then they should grasp the nettle and defeat the Tories.