By Henry McRandall
Canada’s minority federal government collapsed this week after the three opposition parties joined forces to convict the Stephen Harper regime of contempt of Parliament.
Canadians will now go to the polls May 2 to elect a new administration.
Harper’s Tories have won minorities in the last two Canadian federal elections but have never quite managed to win the majority that would allow them to turn Canada into a right-wing hellhole.
Specifically, the opposition brought down the government for refusing to admit to the horrendous future costs of some of the Tories’ most-cherished and most-extremist pieces of legislation.
In one, the Conservatives refused to admit that the unnecessary fleet of fighter jets they were fixated on buying would cost Canadians closer to $30 billion rather than the $17 billion the government claimed.
In the other, the Conservatives refused to fess up to the costs of their plan for massive expansion of Canada’s federal prison system as part of an alleged crackdown on crime, which has been falling steadily in Canada for the past 20 years.
At one point, the Tory cabinet minister leading the charge for more prisons wanted to spend $10 billion on them, enough to create cell space for an additional 250,000 prisoners. (There are now a total of just 14,000 inmates in Canada’s federal prison system).
The government wouldn’t say who would be housed in the 250,000 new cells, but it would certainly not be white-collar prisoners who are more typically housed in government-financed golf resorts when convicted of serious crimes in Canada – complete with private bedrooms, plentiful conjugal visits and the freedom to order in alcohol, tobacco, drugs and catered food almost at will.
Already, Harper has been railing against the possibility of a Liberal (centrist)-NDP (social democratic)-Bloc Quebecois (social democratic and Quebec sovereignist) coalition coming to power if his ultra-right-wing Conservatives don’t win a majority.
The best possible outcome of this May’s Canadian federal election would be the election of an NDP-Bloc Quebecois-Green Party-Communist Party-Marxist-Leninist Party coalition because that would be the only possible coalition the would be committed first and foremost to the needs of Canada’s masses – the poor, the working class and the middle class – rather than the greed of Canada’s banks and corporations and the billionaires and mega-millionaires who control both.
But that won’t happen. Neither the Communist Party nor the Marxist-Leninist party have enough money or manpower to elect even a single candidate to Parliament. And although the Greens have a lot more money and a lot more manpower, they have yet to elect a single candidate after a series of tries.
That leaves just the possibility of a Liberal-NDP-Bloc Quebecois coalition as the best possible alternative under the circumstances.
Niether the NDP nor the Bloc Quebecois would be likely to hold a majority of the seats in such a coalition. The Liberals probably would.
But leader Michael Ignatieff and his Liberals are an assemblage of weaklings who would certainly bend considerably to the will of the other two coalition partners if it meant they could have another whiff at the federal power they once long held.
Vote coalition, Canada!
Canadians ponder ‘regime change’
By Henry McRandall