These are interesting times in Canada. We recently re-elected the Conservative Party as the party with the most seats in Parliament—but not a majority. That means Stephen Harper becomes Prime Minister of a minority government.
What this normally means is that the government has to craft legislation that will receive the support of a majority of the house. But that's not what Harper proposes to do. Instead he has come up with a proposal that promotes a hard-core right-wing agenda. He did this because he assumed that the Liberal party would be forced to support the government in spite of the fact that they are ideologically opposed to many of the items in the legislation. Harper thought that the Liberal party was in such desperate shape to avoid an election that they would vote for the devil.
Turns out he was wrong. In an extraordinary development, the three opposition parties—Liberals, New Democratic Party, Bloc Quebecois—have forged a coalition and announced they will vote against the government bill.1 This will bring down the government. Stephen Harper will not be Prime Minister but there will not be an election. Instead, the coalition will form a new government.
Scott Reid of The Globe and Mail has a column in yesterday's paper that illustrates the seriousness of the crisis. It's unusual to see such language in a Canadian newspaper—especially The Globe and Mail—so I thought I'd reproduce part of his column here to show the world what is going on. I agree with Scott Reid. For the good of Canada Stephen Harper must be stopped before he does serious harm to the country.
First things first: take him out.
After all, Stephen Harper is the most dangerous animal lurking in the jungles of Parliament. He is a threat to the future viability of the Liberals. A blood simple opponent of the NDP and the only serious contemporary challenge to the Bloc Quebecois. Without him, his party is an unlikely combination of Reform Party leftovers, Harris refugees and Red Tory desperates. They don't matter or even exist without Mr. Harper. So before you think a moment longer, opposition leaders, think on that.
And if that's not compelling enough, remember: He doesn't play to win. He plays to conquer. Under his guidance, the public interest is always subjugated to his personal political advancement. And he poisons Parliament with an extreme, bare-fanged breed of partisanship that has no hope of repair until he is banished.
This becomes relevant because suddenly, he is weak. In fact, at this particular moment, he is almost unable to defend himself. Owing to a ridiculously ill-considered act of hubris, he has laid himself vulnerable to his opponents. Their imperative could not be more clear: kill him. Kill him dead. Do not, whatever you do, provide him with an opportunity to extend his hold on power. Because you can be damn certain he will never again be so reckless as to give you a chance to finish him off.
Fate tends to be grudging with gifts of this significance. To ignore it would be an error every bit as historic as the one Mr. Harper himself has made.
So don't get fancy. Don't get confused. And don't get weak in the knees. If you don't put Mr. Harper in his grave, he'll put you in yours.
1. They will also vote in favor of a non-confidence motion put forward by the Liberal party.