I have to admit I'm getting a real kick out of Canada's sudden "coalition crisis." It's not just that I'm hoping to see Stephen Harper get trounced, or that I believe it really IS time for Liberals and NDPs to join up and stop splitting the vote...I'm mainly excited because stuff like this doesn't HAPPEN very often in Canadian politics.
First off you've got Harper's lackey presenting a preliminary budget and an economic statement that is both ridiculous AND a punch in the progressive nose. Rather than nurse their sore noses and let Harper get away with it, the three opposition parties ganged up and utilized a totally bizarre -- but also totally legal -- parliamentary move which allows them to simply kick Harper out of power and replace him...with themselves!
As if that weren't fun enough, everybody's screaming at everybody else because this tricky maneuver requires the cooperation of the Bloc Québécois, the stinkiest party in Ottawa. Every few years it is necessary for somebody to cozy up with the Bloc, which prompts a firestorm of insults from everybody else: "Your party is in bed with the SEPARATISTS, and therefore you HATE CANADA!" What's amusing is that few people outside of the parliamentary chamber actually believe this rhetoric, especially since the people yelling those insults had no doubt cozied up to the Bloc just a year or two before. That's the case now, and it was also the case the last three times this happened.
It's hard not to view Canadian parliament as childish. They're no more cynical and immature than other governments, I'm sure, but they also tend to secretly WANT TO GET ALONG. So even when they scream and shout at each other, you know that deep down inside they hope it'll all blow over and they can all be friends.
But this time, it's like one of the babies in Parliament pushed the other babies down...and then they all pulled out GUNS! It's like, wow, you guys MEAN it this time! You really HATE each other! This is SO COOL!
I can say this with an air of amused detachment because I have no doubt that things will work out just fine. It's easy to get outraged about the microscopic elements of Canadian politics, but when I view it from a two- or three-year distance it all looks pretty much the same. That's good for unity, but bad for engagement.
I like it the way it is.