Much more immediately interesting things are afoot in Ottawa.
You might remember that our recent election resulted in a minority Conservative government, holding less than 40% of the popular vote (see comments from Okham, ScientistMother, Chall, Dr A and Dr J on this thread for an interesting discussion about the shortcomings of our electoral system).
Rather than engaging and being accountable to the opposition parties, the Conservatives tried to push through legislation that would cripple their ability to fund their future election campaigns. (This was not the only contentious part of the legislation, but seems to have provided a convenient tipping point; ScientistMother has much more detail in her post).
This plan has spectacularly backfired. The two largest opposition parties (who split the left-wing vote in the election, leading to our current situation) have now solidified a formal coalition, and plan to try and overthrow the minority government next Monday, with the support of the Bloc Quebecois.
As I understand it, the possible outcomes are as follows:
- Harper (Conservative Prime Minister) asks the Governor General for permission to suspend parliament, thereby avoiding the confidence vote that would bring down his government.
- The Liberal-NDP coalition defeats the government in the confidence vote, and the Governor General grants them permission to form a new government with no election.
- The Liberal-NDP coalition defeats the government in the confidence vote, and the Governor General dissolves parliament to instigate a new election.
Given that the popular vote consistently shows that Canada is not a naturally Conservative country, uniting the left seems like a logical and perfectly acceptable step to me. Some might argue that it would have been better to do this before the election, thereby saving us all a lot of hassle. I might agree... right now I'm just enjoying the look on Harper's smug little face. Karma's a bitch, Stephen.
I was saying to some friends recently that I'd love to be Governor General (and as a female immigrant I'd have a decent shot, if the last two incumbents are any guide), given that there seem to be lots of perks and a massive pension without any real responsibility. But right now, Michaëlle Jean seems to be the most powerful person in the country.
It's all very interesting. And still no mention of this story on the BBC international news website. For shame, BBC, for shame.