Sunday, July 11, 2010

Stephen Harper and the dreaded "Coalition of Separatists"

Apparently, the Calgary Stampede is good for more than ridin' 'n' ropin'. This past weekend, Mr. Harper took the opportunity to rally the Conservative troops and remind them of the evils of a coalition between the Liberals, NDP and Bloc should an election be called. He warned his party faithful that should the Conservatives end up with yet another minority government (after which I'm certain that his leadership of the Conservative Party would be relegated to history), it is likely that they will try to form a "coalition of losers" (my words, his intention).

Just in case you haven't noticed, I love looking for contradictions in what our politicians say and do. I really get a "bug up where the sun doesn't shine" when they say one thing at one point in time and then completely change their stance on an issue when it best suits them or when they think that they might scrabble together a few more votes. Apparently, most of Canada's politicians are people of politics well before they are people of principle.

In this case, a simple search turned up the following letter. Unfortunately, I can't find the original source of the document nor can I validate its authenticity but it is widespread throughout the blogosphere so I might as well join the crowd. A small portion of the letter is quoted in this Globe and Mail article from December 2008 indicating to me that the letter is authentic. The letter was written during Paul Martin's tenure as leader of the Liberal minority government that ran from June 28th, 2004 to January 23rd, 2006.

September 9, 2004

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson,
C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.
Governor General
Rideau Hall
1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A1


As leaders of the opposition parties, we are well aware that, given the Liberal minority government, you could be asked by the Prime Minister to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government's program.

We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority.

Your attention to this matter is appreciated.


Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
Leader of the Opposition
Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

Gilles Duceppe, M.P.
Leader of the Bloc Quebecois

Jack Layton, M.P.
Leader of the New Democratic Party

Hmmm. If this document is genuine, doesn't it seem a bit off that back in 2004 Mr. Harper was advocating a coalition between the same two Parties and the Conservatives that he's now accusing the Liberals of colluding with? Would he term this a "coalition of separatists" as he did back in 2008 when the Liberal-NDP-Bloc were discussing a power-sharing agreement? Here's a quote from his speech to the nation on December 3rd, 2008:

"...they propose a new coalition which includes the party in Parliament whose avowed goal is to break up the country. Let me be very clear: Canada's government cannot enter into a power-sharing coalition with a separatist party..."

Let me be very clear; Canada's government cannot enter into a power-sharing coalition with a separatist party...unless it's in the best interest of Mr. Harper.

Would Mr. Harper term what he did back in April 2009 by making deals with the Bloc and NDP to keep his minority government alive a "coalition with the separatists"? How about back in 2000 when the Bloc was secretly plotting to join a formal coalition with the two Parties , that now make up Conservative Party of Canada (then headed by Stockwell Day and Joe Clark) with the purpose of taking control of the government should the Liberals have achieved only a minority government in the 37th General Election held on November 27th, 2000? I realize that Mr. Harper was not involved in that deal, but it still involved his Party.

The one line I really love in the letter is the leaders' proclamation that "...the opposition parties, who constitute a majority in the House...". No kidding gentlemen, isn't that the very definition of a minority government?

You know, instead of playing politics, it would be nice to see those we elect settle down and get to work running our country in a way that benefits Canadians instead of trying to mess with our heads all of the time. It grows wearisome and it is a waste of time.

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