Wednesday, 3 December 2008

A Canadian constitutional crisis

It was barely six weeks ago that the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper returned to office with an increased number of his Conservative Party members but still without an overall majority. It was hardly the position of strength from which to upset the three other major parties, which between them can muster a parliamentary majority, by promising to remove taxpayer provided election funding. But that is what Mr Harper did and now his miscalcuation has brought the Liberals, NDP and the Bloc Qubecois into an unlikely coalition prepared to pass a no confidence motion on Monday and seize power.
What makes it an unlikely coalition is the commitment of the Bloc to the smashing of Canada and the creation of a separate country of Quebec. And if that is not enough to make such a tripartite government unusual its initial leader would the Liberal Leader Stephane Dion who was so resoundingly rejected by voters that he has already announced he will step down from the leadership when a Party convention to choose his successor can be held in May.
The Conservatives are pleading that they should at least be able to continue until they bring down a budget in January and there is speculation that Parliament will be prorogued so the no confidence motion can be avoided.
The Canadian Governor General, Michaelle Jean, is cutting short a visit to Europe to deal with what is emerging as a major constitutional crisis
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