Thursday, December 4, 2008

Victory or Loss?

So it really happened. The Prime-Minister prorogued the parliament. Some people have suggested that there is still a victory here. After all, the opposition stopped the Government from taking away the right to strike, and Harper was unable to take away public funding for political parties. But this victory is purely temporary. At a practical level the Governor-General has shown that she will not stand up an protect the constitution. This means that she would never have allowed a Coalition in the first place. This means that in January, when the Tories bring a budget to the House with all those things from the Economic Statement that we have temporarily stopped, the opposition will just have to let them go through in the budget. Because the GG will not sanction a Coalition and they can’t have an election three months before the Liberals choose a new leader. All that has happened is that the Tories bought enough time to spend millions on advertising, lying to the public about pretty much everything. There is no victory here.

Instead we have suffered a terrible loss. Because the Governor-General has shown that Governments of Canada can put an end to parliament any time they wish. This means that if a Government is clever they will never have to face a confidence vote again. What we really learned today is that the Government of Canada can rule by decree and that we live in a dictatorship. No, there is no victory here, neither at a practical nor at a principled level.

Remember the words of Yeats

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed eye is loosed and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

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