Attacks on Parliamentary Democracy

The mainstream media does not like the idea of a coalition government, that much is clear.  After all, they were the bunch that promoted Steve, the Sweater Guy, into a second Minority term with all their glowing editorials about him, despite his many faults — faults they acknowledged.

So, now that Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition has teamed up with the other parties in opposition and signed a guarantee of 18 months of stable governance following Mr. Harper’s recent ideologically motivated attack through Minister Flaherty’s Economic Update, the media is doing its best to attack democracy.  Here’s a brief summary.

Whole bales of comment seek to rhetorically delegitimize a clear-cut succession with considerable Commonwealth precedent; in the Post, Don Martin growls about a “putsch” and John Ivison sneers at an incipient “banana republic”, the Globe editorial mutters about “averting this politically illegitimate coalition”. Others, more troublingly, contort constitutional logic to legally delegitimize the idea of majority rule in a hung parliament. In the Citizen, Randall Denley calls it a “virtual coup that is perfectly legal” (and thus, not a coup at all); in the Post, L. Ian MacDonald rants near-identically about “a perfectly constitutional coup, endorsed by the Westminster tradition” (ditto).

It’s as though they’ve taken the Conservative’s Talking Points and memorized them. Or maybe it’s that they wrote them, being that the MSM is supposed to be comprised writers and editors and not propagandists. Take a look at these:

Opposition lacks mandate to take power

* This fall, Canadians gave the Conservative government a clear mandate to continue taking action on the economy.

* During a global downturn, the last thing our country needs for Opposition politicians to claim entitlements for your tax dollars and ultimately, to take power without a mandate from the people.

* Under Stephen Harper’s leadership, our government was ahead of the curve in anticipating the global economic slowdown. We are injecting billions in stimulus through tax cuts, investments in roads and bridges, and we are protecting the banking system.

* Our focus is the economy, but Opposition parties have their own priorities. While all Canadians are tightening our belts, they feel entitled to make taxpayers pay for political party staff, polls and advertising. They want to replace the elected government, just to preserve $17 million worth of entitlements.

* This is clearly unacceptable for a modern democracy.

* The Speech from the Throne was passed by the House of Commons yesterday – after the details of the Economic and Fiscal Update were known.

* After approving the Speech from the Throne, the opposition now is trying to orchestrate a backroom deal to “take” power rather than “earn” it. It would be fundamentally anti-democratic for the Liberals – after their worst popular vote showing in history – to:
o Offer up a surprise leader;
o Offer up a surprise coalition; and
o Have such a coalition backstopped by a party that wants to destroy the country.

* Furthermore, neither the Liberals nor the Bloc have any mandate to form a coalition as they explicitly campaigned against it:

* During the election the Liberals told voters they could not govern in coalition with the NDP because Layton “does not understand the economy”.

* The Bloc also told voters during the campaign that they categorically rejected the possibility of forming a multi-party coalition to stop the Conservatives.

If you listen to talk radio call-in shows, read letters to the editors of newspapers or frequent comments sections or blogs online, you’ll already be familiar with those points.  But now we have some new ones.  And they are nastier:

Sputtering with rage in the Post, Michael Bliss goes so far as to demand that the Governor-General reject any no-confidence vote supported by the Bloc — and if she doesn’t, it amounts to “an abuse of vice-regal power” that raises “fundamental questions about Ms. Jean’s loyalty to the Constitution and to Canada”.

I had expected the attack on the Governor General to come, just not so soon.  I thought they’d denigrate her after she’d decided on the course she must take.  Perhaps this is simply an encouragement to take that line of attack.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no Monarchist, but until we change our system, well, I can live with it.  What this attack does, however, is show how desperate the Stephen Harper supporters are to cling to power.

They will do whatever it takes.  And we can be sure that’s not good for Canada.

crossposted at

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  1. cyberwanderer

     /  December 2, 2008

    So now they are resorting to bullying the governor general eh?

  2. Well said TRM. Geez they can’t even wait for the GG to get off the plane before they start in on her. *rolleyes*

  3. Darlene

     /  December 3, 2008

    Hear Hear! Same old, same old. The media is doing what it can to boost up Harper as they see and feel it slipping away. Their support of right wing corporate government is not new, but their fury and attempts to cling to Harper’s perceived power is astonishing! Media is corporate and profiteering. I hope Naomi is right, that we are starting to see through the shock tactics. Perhaps it doesn’t matter, as a Minority government is what it is. If the Governor General allows Harper some time, the damage is done and in January we will start all over again. But it will be a very different Harper then.

  4. Brava Regina Mom. We need op-ed pieces from and media interviews with Ed Broadbent (he was great this morning on CBC The Current), Lloyd Axworthy, Romeo Dallaire, Eugene Forsey’s daughter, Prof. Michael Byers, etc. Anyone with name recognition and popularity who values our parliamentary system should be speaking out loudly NOW. We need to take back the airwaves and newstands.

  5. donna

     /  December 3, 2008

    I’ve already posted this on another site, but here it goes again (and for the record, I have no party membership):

    Where is the fundraising push to counter right-wing propaganda and support the coalition?

  1. Harper’s Next Move, Blackmailing Governor General « Cyberwanderer’s Blog

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