Harper Understood

Here’s Stephen Harper giving a description of the Canadian federal political system. It’s obvious that his blubbering since about not understanding something about how the Prime Minister has unchecked power, is a charade. His “coup” talk during the coalition agreement of 2008, was bogus, he knows Parliament selects the Prime Minister, not citizen voters.

Now he’s ordering unpaid checks, and is a political imbalance.

Do you think he knew about Wright’s cheque to Duffy, the Senator “buddy” and “fundraiser” he appointed?

On the surface, you can make a comparison between our political system and yours [America]. We have an executive, we have two legislative houses, and we have a Supreme Court.

However, our executive is the Queen, who doesn’t live here. Her representative is the Governor General, who is an appointed buddy of the Prime Minister.

Of our two legislative houses, the Senate, our upper house, is appointed, also by the Prime Minister, where he puts buddies, fundraisers and the like. So the Senate also is not very important in our political system.

And we have a Supreme Court, like yours, which, since we put a charter of rights in our constitution in 1982, is becoming increasingly arbitrary and important. It is also appointed by the Prime Minister. Unlike your Supreme Court, we have no ratification process.

So if you sort of remove three of the four elements, what you see is a system of checks and balances which quickly becomes a system that’s described as unpaid checks and political imbalances.

What we have is the House of Commons. The House of Commons, the bastion of the Prime Minister’s power, the body that selects the Prime Minister, is an elected body. I really emphasize this to you as an American group: It’s not like your House of Representatives. Don’t make that comparison.

What the House of Commons is really like is the United States electoral college. Imagine if the electoral college which selects your president once every four years were to continue sitting in Washington for the next four years. And imagine its having the same vote on every issue. That is how our political system operates.

In our election last Monday, the Liberal party won a majority of seats. The four opposition parties divided up the rest, with some very, very rough parity.

But the important thing to know is that this is how it will be until the Prime Minister calls the next election. The same majority vote on every issue. So if you ask me, “What’s the vote going to be on gun control?” or on the budget, we know already.

If any member of these political parties votes differently from his party on a particular issue, well, that will be national headline news. It’s really hard to believe. If any one member votes differently, it will be national headline news. I voted differently at least once from my party, and it was national headline news.

Harper also famously said the following, perhaps partly in jest. Probably he was serious, and hamming it up for the friendly crowd he was trying to flatter.

Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it. Canadians make no connection between the fact that they are a Northern European welfare state and the fact that we have very low economic growth, a standard of living substantially lower than yours [America], a massive brain drain of young professionals to your country, and double the unemployment rate of the United States.


2 responses to “Harper Understood

  1. The real value of the Senate comes when a tyrant tries to take power if a great depression or bad war or communications monopoly or famine or something, happens. It just needs to run in a political cycle different than the PM ship. One issue of majority gvmts in our system is the PM aggregates power. I’d suggested Senators are appointed (say for 8 years) via proportional representation. Election via Ministers, caucuses and shadow such, would also kill the bird that is PM’s power over Ministers. Maybe a few Crown heads too. It is understand we don’t want a Hitler, isn’t it?

    • Well understood by the majority of those of us who voted, at any rate.

      As for the 24-percenters who voted Conservative…?

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