I have to admit a certain fondness for our neighbours to the North. Like many other Bermudians fortunate enough to go to university, I went to Canada, and lived there for about five years in total, mostly in Peterborough and Toronto in Ontario, but I’ve also travelled quite widely throughout Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. I’m an ice hockey fan too, albeit a Pittsburcg Penguins supporter. And I’m a sucker for maple syrup and those maple sugar treats one gets in the airport up there. And Sleemans beer. And dim sun on lazy weekends in the Spadina Chinatown. More importantly, Canada served as one of the main cradles for my political thought, from campus activism with the Trent Socialists, to party politics within the Canadian New Democratic Party (NDP) and its Socialist Caucus. My brother has emigrated to Canada and most of my close friends from uni are still there.
So what I’m trying to get across is that Canada is a place I check out quite alot, their news, politics, all of it.
So I can’t reflecting on the mess in Canada right now. For those who haven’t been following the news of late, the ruling Conservative Party was just returned to parliament in minority position qa couple of months ago. Their leader, Stephen Harper, promptly went ahead and played a bit of brinkmanship with the Opposition, putting forward very right-wing economic measures and threatening the financial futures of the opposition parties by proposing to scrap public financing for Parties. This promptly led the official Opposition, the Liberal Party, to enter into a coalition agreement with the NDP and the bloc Quebecois. This would have been enough to topple th econservative govenment with a no-confidence vote and install a coalition government of the Liberals and the NDP, supported by the Bloc. In response to this Stephen Harper successfully convinced the Canadian governor general to suspend parliament until late January, with the hope of conducting sufficient spin and backtracking to take the steam out of this opposition threat.
Thats the news in brief at least.
Now, I’m certainly sympathetic to the actions of the opposition there. I think they did what they had to do really, both in the line of self-preservation and for what they thought to be the best for Canada in light of the Tories budget proposals. There are indeed a majority of Canadians who did indeed vote against the Tories, and no doubt would be happy to see them out of power. Thats fine.
The problem I have though is with the nature of the coalition deal put forward. I am a firm believer in cooperation, but not compromise to the point of rendering your principles null and void. The NDP seem to have really just totally sold out to the Liberal positions with this coaltion deal. One would have expected some degree of compromise, but not a sell out. I really don’t see anything that the NDP would have gained from this coalition other than a handful of ministries and increased paychecks. Policy wise, they gave in to th eLiberal positions. Despicable. Especially with the Liberals doing their best to excel at UBPesque incompetence, epitomised by their leader Dion, the very acme of political mediocrity.
Its kind of hard to foresee what the results of this mess in Canada will be. My best guess is that the Tories will backtrack and spin sufficiently to take the wind out of the Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition, and Canadian politics will return temporarily to another shaky period of Tory minority rule. Longer-term, I think there is going to be fall-out first within the Liberal Party, where Dion is already a political ‘dead-man-walking.’ Within the NDP I think alot of the activists are going to get very angry at this sell-out deal, and will either translate this within the Party itself or move out of th eParty altogether.
For mor einformation I suggest the website ‘Fightback‘ which is a Marxist current largely modelled after the British Militant group within UK Labour, but within the NDP.