Uh, Canada

Been asked a couple times now if I had any thoughts about what’s going on with the political situation up north there in Canada, and I have to say: Honestly, I don’t know what the hell’s going on up there. They had an election, and the Prime Minister said “nyah,” and then the other political parties said, “Oh, no you DIN’T” and then exploding space monkeys swarmed Ottawa and the Queen had to fly over to beat people and monkeys with her scepter and at the end of it all Quebec was put on the block? And traded for a fish? Or something? It’s all really confusing to us simple folks down here in the US, with our uncomplicated election process that never goes wrong, ever. All I know is at the end of it, Canada will still have national health care and we won’t. So there’s that.

87 thoughts on “Uh, Canada

  1. You sir, can be our next Prime Minister.

    Seriously, I wish there were exploding space monkeys. It would really brighten up the Peace Tower.

  2. Yes, the giant space monkies were brought to ottawa through a space time distortion caused by Stephen Harper being a bigger asshole than the fabric of reality can handle. Seriously. If you’re a minority government, and you try to get the other parties who collectively make up a majority to vote to cut their own funding, well… what did you expect.

    Worry not, Canada. Several other countries that may or may not be democracies, such strange countries as “New Zealand,” “Germany,” and “Israel” have had coalition governments for years, and I daresay all of them have had less elections that you guys in the last 5 years! Coalition doesn’t = instability, and it’s not a constitutional outrage, either.

  3. In short:

    Canada doesn’t elect a Decider-President. We elect Members of Parliament who choose one of them to be a Prime Minister, who is tasked with carrying out their instructions.

    Harper hasn’t carried out the instructions of the Parliament, so he’s being removed.

  4. Weirdly enough, the best summary I’ve read of the whole thing yet came from a knitting blog that I follow. (And who wouldn’t want to follow a blog that gives both explanations of the Canadian governmental processes and pictures of socks in progress?)

  5. Sadly, much of that is correct.

    The conservatives won, by a lot, and the liberals said: “Oh hell no!” And are now trying to get a nonconfidence vote. I honestly wish they could just get to the governing of the countery, instead of this childish yelling match, but that’s politics for you, eh?

  6. The People are enraged here.

    Harper is being removed for one reason and one reason only.

    He proposed a bill that would elimante the $1.95 per vote that goes to each party for non-governing matters, just to the party.

    In all honesty, it was a cheap-shot to the balls to the other parties, having said that…..whats wrong the the proposed legislation? Are we not tightening our belts??

    the worst of it, is that the coalition has given REAL power and decision making to the seperatist Bloc Quebecois…..and the leader of this coalition Liberal Stephane Dion…….resigned 6 weeks ago after losing the election……and another Liberal leader will be chosen in May…..INSANITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Just picture Dion with a gun to a Beavers head(make with the jokes) saying :
    “$1.95 a vote or I ruin your country!”

  7. Hey! It’s simple. It’s Parliamentary.

    A Party was voted in with a plurality. They got to elect a PM. Then all of the other parties that didn’t win a plurality decided to band together and change things over some disagreement.

    Simple. Parliamentary.

    Don’t matter that it never happened before, it’s quite legal.

    It’s Parliamentary.

  8. @Taisto: Respectfully, no, the Conservatives did not “win” by a lot. They had some 38% of the popular vote. Three other parties are not “trying” to get a nonconfidence vote: they have it as soon as a confidence vote happens. Those three other parties represent a majority of canadian voters. I fail to see why people don’t get this. You don’t vote directly for the leader of the country.

    @AnthonyX: I have no doubt that the funding for the parties was a major thing. It would have crippled parties that don’t have a moneymaking machine like the Conservatives. The Green Party would have imploded… and I don’t think that’s a good thing.

    This is how the parliamentary system works. Did other Canucks not learn this in school? I sure as hell did. I suggest y’all look around the world a bit. Coalition goverments aren’t unknown at all. A number of things can happen (Prime Minister asking the Governor General to suspend this session, the coalition asking the Govern General to put them in power, a snap election call) and all of them valid and legal.

    Yes, there’s a separatist group in this coalition… but they have to go lockstep with the other two for a while or force an election they wouldn’t want to face very soon. This is more like to hurt them in their own province. All 3 parties will have time to show what they can do, and if they fail, then election time again and we choose again.

    I’m not a Conservative, but I’d be arguing this was all above board if they’d engineered a coalition.

    Angry Canucks: learn how our system works. Your ignorance is showing. I’m embarassed by people screaming it’s undemocratic… it’s enshrined in law folks.

    Deal with it.

  9. Stephen Harper is not being removed because he proposed to eliminate the $1.95/vote, although that was an underhanded tactic intended to cripple the opposition parties. He withdrew that proposition after the 62.3% of Canadians who did not vote for the Cons protested that such a move would undermine the pseudo-democractic electoral system in this country.

    Stephen Harper is being removed because he seems to think that 143 seats and 37.6% of the popular vote is a mandate from Canadians to do whatever the hell he pleases. He has a minority government. As such, it is his responsibility to cooperate with the opposition parties. He refuses to do so. Now the opposition parties are working together to form a coalition to do exactly what Stephen Harper refuses to do: cooperate with each other to govern this country in such a way that reflects the interests of the majority of Canadians.

    I, for one, welcome the coalition, even though I didn’t vote for ANY of the parties with seats in parliament. I voted Green. But I believe that a Liberal/NDP coalition will be far better for Canada than Stephen Harper and his lying, fascist Conservative party.

  10. Harper’s party won a minority government with 37% of the vote (less than 60% of eligible voters bothered). The other three parties making up this coalition got 54% of the vote. So, we could say that this coalition gets more support than the conservatives.

    What gets me is the bald-face lying that is going on. Harper said the liberals are trying to steal power; and yet several years ago, Harper wrote to the Governor-General (no, the Queen doesn’t have to do all that sceptre bashing all by herself) to say, “hey, if the liberal minority government screws up, pick me pick me.”. Then, the news today is that there was an actual letter between the then Alliance party (to be eventually turned into Harper’s conservatives) and the Bloc about forming a coalition for the 2000 election. Harper says one thing and does another.

    And for a country that theoretically elects representatives, and then one of them gets to be PM, we sure have a system that seems pretty dictatorial. Even with a minority government, Harper runs it like he owns it. I’d love to see this coalition thing – it cannot be any worse than the farce we currently have.

    And let’s be honest, just because the Bloc mandate is theoretically for separation; it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. They’ve even given up going to the polls because Quebeckers keeps saying, “no, we’re not ready to leave yet”.

  11. Taisto @#5:
    No, the conservatives did not win “by a lot”. They earned only a minority – which requires compromise to stay in power. When they demonstrated their lack of desire to compromise, the rest of parliament (ie: the majority), decided to shift that power. It’s awkward – and a little annoying that it happened over political party money, rather than over, say, health care, or the armed forces, etc – but every one in the coalition was elected. It’s not a yelling match, nor is it a coup. It’s just parliamentary politics as UNusual.

    Anthony @ #7
    The Bloc was very useful to Harper during his last minority government: many of his proposals only went through with Bloc assistance. If they were good enough to be a “national” party then, there’s no point trying to label them “ebil sep’ratists!” now.
    Though the Dion thing… well. The mind boggles.

  12. Sorry folks. Its all for a $1.95 a vote. Thats= is it. The rest is a big smoke screen.

    Once again, we will have a party whose constitution calls for the destruction of Canada in power… we will have a change of power just 6 weeks since the last election….we will have the leader of the coalition, Dion as a real lame duck who resigned 6 weeks ago and will be replaced……insane.

    If an election gets called its a Conservative majority..HUGE..
    …if the unelected Governer-General approves the transition of power, Western seperation will be official in less then 5 years….Alberta goes first.

    Whats happened here, is this has woken up the huge silent majority of people who have no idea about politics, but just understand fairness…and this my friends does not smell fair…

  13. AnthonyX: I’m not sure whose Kool-Aid you’re drinking, but it’s not even the Conservative party’s. They withdrew the proposal to eliminate the $1.95/vote party funding five days ago.

  14. Oh stop with your ridiculous Tory talking points, Anthony X. Who’s helped propped up the Tories for the last 3 years? The Bloc. Who did Harper propose to support him when he tried to topple Martin in 2005? The Bloc. Does the bloc get any cabinet seats in the proposed coalition? No. It’s called a confidence and supply arrangement – that isn’t a coalition. The Dippers and the Grits will govern in a minority coalition, with Bloc support on confidence and supply issues. Sounds pretty much like the last 3 years, only with the governing party(ies) being someone other than the Tories.

    As I say, many other countries are used to coalitions, confidence and supply arrangements and other perfectly democratic, perfectly constitutional arrangements within a Parliamentary system. Is it fair for a party with support in the mid 30s to govern like it’s a majority? Or is it more fair for parties collectively holding more than 50% of the vote to govern? Frankly, the only problem I have with what the Libs/NDP/Bloc are doing is that they didn’t do at Harper’s throne speech and propose an alternate government then.

    And I’m not going to even respond to your point about Albertan separatism. Paranoid delusion at its finest.

  15. Good thing that we do not have Nationalized Healthcare. Then 27 per 100,000 men would die from prostrate cancer each year like they do in Canada. Here in America, it is 20.1. Or in jolly old England, the survival rate for 5 years after diagnosis is 53.6% while in backwards America with our health care system it is 98%.

    Yep, 98%.

    I have read that 10 provinces in Canada send their prostate cancer patients ot the US for treatment, but I cannot verify that. Oh and prostate cancer is the most deadly cancer for men.

    Trey

  16. @AnthonyX: Dion may be on the way out one way or another but I’d hardly call him a lame duck after the fireworks in the House. Alberta separating? That’s goofjuice my friend. An election isn’t a sure thing either. It may happen but we’ll see. Calling a Conservative majority a sure thing shouldn’t worry you then but I’d say it’s far from certain.

    It’s an interesting time to be sure… a bit scary even. Here we are though and we’re seeing things we’ll talk about for the rest of our lives. I don’t envy Madame Jean right now but I’m fascinated to see what she’ll do.

    It’s a thrilling time to be Canadian though.

  17. Trey: You are going to also need to provide stats for Australia, France, The Netherlands, Japan, etc. Universal healthcare comes in many forms and shapes. I am a diehard supporter of Universal healthcare, but I would also agree that the UK and Canadian way of handling it is piss poor.

    This is assuming the stats you are citing are valid to begin with.

    But that is irrelevant as I do agree that their systems are atrocious. Doesn’t mean there are not alternatives.

  18. Of course on the positive side of our economic doom, all that Canadian money I couldn’t get rid of before is now worth way more! I’m rich!

  19. You, sir, win. Here is your interwebs.

    I’m sure more people would pay attention (and possibly have voted in our last election) if there were space monkeys and a flying Queen involved.

  20. See? This is clear evidence that the global economy, global climate, and global.. uh, planet… are ALL FINE. Do you honestly believe politicians would be pettily bickering like this if there were an actual problem?

  21. I live a whole 20 minutes from the Canadian border and this is the first I have heard of any of this. That was by choice though since I like most American’s try to pretend Canada doesn’t exist.

    Canada is America’s hat and Alaska is the little poof ball on top of that hat!

  22. Re: Michael Kirkland’s comment

    It isn’t quite accurate to say that Harper hasn’t carried out the instructions of Parliament. This comes down to differing political opinions, and the actions of the other parties – who received substantially less popular vote and consequently fewer seats in Parliament – trying to find a way to squeeze through the back door to take power.

    What I find disconcerting is that Dion doesn’t even have the confidence of his own party. The Liberals had their worst showing in an election ever, and he was already slated to step down as party leader next spring when the party would elect a new party leader. Now, he’s on a mad power grab, in a coalition with the socialist NDP (Ontario still hasn’t recovered from Bob Rae’s NDP) and the separatists – whose mandate is to leave the country – to oust Harper.

    Doesn’t something seem terribly wrong with this picture? It’s no wonder I have such a hard time explaining Canadian politics to friends in the US.

    Simply put, the leaders are to be decided by the people. If the opposition parties feel that the Conservatives are not fit to govern, then they should have a non-confidence vote and another election should be called so that the people will decide. The idea of promising to keep the coalition together for 18 months before calling an election means the Liberals – who, let’s remember, squandered millions in the sponsorship scandal, were voted out of the PM’s office in scandal and disgrace and just turned in their worst results in a federal election ever – will have a blank slate.

    Can we say “Spend, Spend Spend, on all of Dion and Layton’s friends?” Just what Canadian taxpayers don’t need to solve the current economic crisis.

    After all, the nation’s finances would be in better shape if the Liberals hadn’t squandered all that money buying off their friends.

  23. Canada might still have national healthcare, but we’ve got a 1st Amendment. (I’m not sure I would buy Quebec for a fish, unless I got to smack all the Quebecois with it. Because that might be kinda fun.)

  24. Scalzi,

    You pretty much have the take of what is going on in your blog entry.

    Seriously I don’t think there are very many people that want ANY of these leaders or parties to be governing the country.

    I have not heard any polls since this “crisis” began but I think pretty much all of the leaders and parties are massively losing support. If there was another election and there was a choice of none of the above that choice would get around 75% of the vote….. from the 40% turnout.

  25. Trey,

    I’d like you to google “prostate cancer survival by country” and read the very first link.

    You can read all about how the stats you are quoting come from a source-free article published by a right-wing think tank, how the deaths per 100,000 are the same (about 25) for the US and Britain, how different treatment philosophies influence survivability stats, and what effect early detection programs have on those same statistics.

    Honestly, I’m not sure where the urge to demonize universal healthcare is coming from, especially these days. Is it the socialism canard? Still?

  26. I was in Canada today. Everyone seemed pretty happy. I didn’t talk to anyone about the political situation, but, if I had, I suspect they would have shrugged and continued curling.

    (And I don’t mean that as a joke about stereotypical activities performed by Canadians. I actually spent my day at a curling rink with physics class.)

  27. @vee :

    http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/charter/

    Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms s. 2(b):

    2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

    b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

    @Patrick M. : As a Canadian I demand that Jay-Z properly pronounce his name Jay-Zed when performing here and when he is referred to in any media with a verbal component.

  28. Not spewing talking points here just sending out my opinion. Though you may disagree with them.

    Yes this move is legal and democratic within the rules. Done and done. If I were a Liberal though this could backfire and destroy the party.

    They will forever be stained with Officially working with the Seperatists and putting them in power. Completly unprecedented. You might not think its a big deal but many still do.

    Like I said, this does not pass the smell test. This is a power grab at one of the worst ecomoic times in recent history. It is foolhardy and most can see through all of the “Talking Points” to get to the truth.

  29. Anthony, actually address the points I made, please.

    Has harper passed legislation with the support of the bloc? yes/no?

    Did harper attempt to bring down the Martin government in 2005 with the help of the bloc? yes/no?

    The factually provable answer to both those questions is yes. In that case, how is what Dion and Layton are doing any different to what Harper has done in the past?

  30. Anthony X, speaking of talking points, it’s good to know that the Conservatives’ incessant repetition of “separatists!” in every interview I have read or heard to date is working on somebody. And by “good” I mean “kind of sad.”

  31. So, Canada is going to have a coalition government, instead of a minority government. Sounds more democratic to me.

    And Stephen Harper sure sounds like a fascist jackhole.

  32. Eddie Clark makes excellent points. I would like to point out an article in today’s Globe and Mail, which provides evidence that the Canadian Alliance Party (the predecessor to the Conservative party) attempted to form a coalition with the Bloc Québécois in 2000 in order to bring down the Liberal government. The hypocrisy of Stephen Harper and the Conservatives is mind-boggling.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081203.wquebec1203/BNStory/National/home

  33. Xopher, fascist is unfair. Selfish egomaniac would be more accurate. He micro-manages all his own MPs, refuses to speak to the media, and expects parties whose numbers outnumber his to roll over and beg when he demands (to be fair, they did this for 2 1/2 years in the previous Parliament).

    The Schadenfreude is immense. Even if doing this harms the Canadian left going forward, knowing that someone as venal as Harper will be PM in future is worth it. Peter MacKay or Jim Prentice or someone I could live with. Just not any of the weird fossilised Mike Harris (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Harris , esp “common sense revolution – nutbar right wing asset sales and service cuts) leftovers that somehow got into the federal tory party.

  34. So, at the current moment, the crisis fails to the hands of the Gov General who was appointed by the Queen of England?

    Those Canadians should really look into independence and self government or something.

  35. So, at the current moment, the crisis fails to the hands of the Gov General who was appointed by the Queen of England?

    No, by the Queen of Canada. Same person, different job position.

  36. Ashman: If by “appointed,” you mean queeny’s signature is on the Letters Patent, yes. But the appointment power is only exerciseable on the advice of the Prime Minister of the country concerned. I think the Monarchy is a weird historical relic for Commonwealth countries like Canada, Aussie, and NZ, but from a practical perspective, it doesn’t affect our independence or self-governance at all.

  37. AnthonyX is embarrasingly wrong, but I think he’s got some kind of emotional outrage issue that’s covering up the fact that he didn’t bloody well pay attention in grade five, assuming that he is indeed someone who was educated in canada when he was old enough to be in grade five.

    everybody remember their voting pencils? we’re going to use them to do math!

    There are 308 members of parliament. This is important, because Canada does not and never has voted for a prime minister. They vote for the local candiate to be their member of parliament for their physical area, usually known as a “riding.”

    And that’s it.

    That’s all they do. That’s why we can vote with pencils. it’s that easy.

    then basically what happens is, those 308 Members of Parliament (MPs) decide between them who gets to be prime minister.

    now, if you have one hundred and fifty five MPs that are all from your political party, naturally, you vote for your political party’s leader, and that person is prime minister.

    and then that Member of Parliament (yes, the prime minister is *also* an MP, I used to live in Stephen Harper’s riding, and let me tell you, shit got shiny in that neighborhood fast) totally controls the house and everything s/he wants happens for the next five years, until s/he calls an election, or s/he dies, whichever comes first.

    OR.

    the collective members of parliament decide that the prime minsiter is doing a crap job and moves for a vote of non-confidence, the motion is carried, and the vote goes through.

    And it’s not like this has never happened before. Hell, it’s not like this hasn’t even happened *this century.* Stephen Harper became prime minister after a non-confidence vote dissolved the government in 2006.

    And that happened because Paul Martin, the prime minister at the time, was holding a Minority Government. in other words, his party, the liberals, didn’t hold at least 155 seats in the house, so their control of the house was not iron-clad.

    The current conservatives hold 143 seats. and you don’t even need a pencil to figure out that 143 is not a number equal to or greater than 155, so the consideration that non-confidence might happen… yeah, I’d call it elementary.

    now all a non-confidence vote does is kick whoever *is* prime minister out of the seat.

    That’s all.

    Usually, the choice of what to do after that is to call yet another election. but that’s not the only choice.

    you can, simply, gather those same 308 people together and elect a new prime minister from among them. And that’s what is happening, as two parties have formed a coalition agreement to run the country.

    and it’s two parties on the coalition. The Liberal Party of Canada and The New Democratic Party of Canada. AndrewX’s impassioned yet sadly misinformed cries of the fate of the country being handed to the seperatists just tells me that he hasn’t bothered to read a simple PDF – and it’s got such large type, too. A shame.

  38. CPolk, that was an excellent comment and aptly done.

    Small pedantic note: it should be “athose 308 Members of Parliament (MPs) decide amongst them,” not “between them”. Between only applies when you have two items.

    This is your Pet Peeve Taken Out for Walkies comment of the hour. I’d say day, but this is a blog with fans of sf/f and politics running around. I still might be underestimating the frequency.

  39. In the discussion at the second link I provided above, the GGs are called the “local distributed Queenship node,” or LDQN. And if location(HM) == $HERE (i.e. in Canada in this case), then HM is the LDQN, not the GG.

    Harper is trying to get the GG to skip the part where she asks the other parties if anyone can form a government, or something, and jump right to the part where Parliament is dissolved and new elections are called. This constitutes PM == $FAIL, of course, but not entirely surprising for a fascist egomaniacal jackhole like Harper.

    It would be so cool if Elizabeth 2.0 would instantiate in Canada right about now, and lay a true royal smackdown on Harper, but I’ve heard good things about the GG, and I expect she’ll be equal to the task.

  40. Blue Raven, I have a story where someone who hasn’t been described in detail gets shot “between — well, among — the eyes.”

    Nice to know someone out there might get it.

  41. Taisto@5,

    I’m American and cannot claim to be an expert on what goes on up there, but even I know that your summary of what is happening is absurdly inaccurate. Others have explained it better for you than I can. Really, take a class or something. 37% is not winning by a lot. Start there.

  42. I, for one, welcome our New Democratic overlords.

    Also, that pdf is four pages long, one of which is blank, and the Bloc IS mentioned within the text. With my uncanny powers of deduction, I have determined there is a SECRET clause in this agreement wherein Gilles Duceppe will be running unopposed in the Liberal leadership convention while wearing a curly moustache and sunglasses so those stupid anglos don’t catch on, and when he takes over, he will throw off his cloak and break the country apart with his bare hands!

    This clause is, of course, written in lemon juice. HOLD TO LIGHTBULB FOR ILLUMINATION

  43. When I realized what was happening in my country I thought about sending Stephen Harper a Christmas card. I did not think that anything could top the events South of the Border* during their election, but I was wrong.

    As for what the liberals, New Democrats and Bloc are doing, stuff like that happens in other parliamentary democracies all the time; usually they are the ones running some form of PR system where having a majority is difficult. Canada runs a “first past the post” system that gets some really lopsided results in legislatures and parliaments and usually gives us majority governments. FWIW, what is happening federally has already once before in my lifetime; in 1985 the tories in Ontario could not get a majority government and the liberals and New Democrats signed an accord allowing the Liberals to take power after a motion of non-confidence. I don’t recall anyone suggesting that that was illegal or immoral.

    As for what should happen, the Prime Minister ought to lose his job. It is absolutely reprehensible that Stephen Harper decided to use the current financial crisis and impending recession to try and destroy the opposition. Those are not the actions of a leader in a democracy, but the actions of a wannabe despot. By trying to do that Harper has forfeited the right to lead the country.

    Apparently Stephen Harper is going to see the GG tomorrow. She will actually be doing what no Governor General wants to do, but hopes to do right. It will be exciting; unfortunately as I am working I won’t get to see it live.

    Cheers
    Andrew

    *or if you were raised in Windsor Ontario (like me) North of the Border.

    acb

  44. J @ 32:
    Hmm, no one talking politics? That’s kinda surprising… Clearly, you aren’t aware of a certain facet of Canadian culture – All that you usually need to do to start a political discussion(and possibly hear a minor rant) is to start talking about it.

    And the probability approaches 100 if you’re standing in a Tim Horton’s. =)

    Xopher @ 48:
    Yeah, I’m sure she’s up to the task. She’s originally from Haiti(so no shortage of backbone), and went on to become a very well-respected journalist and filmmaker, IIRC. GG may be a mostly ceremonial post, but we always end up with someone that’s made a valuable contribution to Canadian society.

  45. I’ll have whatever AnthonyX is smoking. Western separation, indeed. As a Westerner I can say with absolutely surety that there is no such thing as “the West” in Canada.

    At least, not in the easy way we want it so that this dream works out.

    Please, check your history. This is an old story.

  46. I’m Canadian, and I want my exploding space monkeys! Aside from that I no longer trust any of these losers (not even the one I voted for) to run a lemonade stand and I hope the Queen soundly and publicly spanks them all.

  47. DaveD, you might want to read the section that comes before the one you posted:

    The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

    This section has allows far greater limits on freedom of expression than would ever be allowed in the US.

  48. Davd Ruddell @ 56:

    Yep. It does say that. Do you think that’s a bad thing? The fundamentalist view of free speech in the US is why your elections are full of special interest money and outright false attack ads that would be illegal in any other western democracy.

  49. Eddie Clark: Bear in mind Canadians had a few sneaky, if not outright false, ads ourselves this last election cycle.

    That being said…

    Dave Ruddel, Canadians are allowed to watch the free expression of boobs and cursing on their public television. How about yours? ;)

  50. I’m still just plain bumfuzzled and mind-groggled with the notion of Albertan Separatism.

    Imagine the potentials. Alberta Watson as Lady Liberty on The Great Seal, circled by a Latin motto which translates, “Yes, it’s flat, that’s how we like it.” A 24-Hour ‘CORNER GAS’ channel. A return to the coffee-making ways of yore.

    Won’t happen, huh? Then why can’t I get all this out of my mind?

  51. Trey@18: According to a 2004 study of the US, the UK, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia: “No country scored consistently best or worst, and each country had at least one best and one worst rating. The U.S. had the best 5-year survival rate for breast cancer, for instance, but the worst survival rate for kidney transplants, and an increasing rate of mortality among asthmatics.”

    So, guess what? One disease is not indicative of the quality of an entire healthcare system. The WHO ranked the US 37th out of 191 countries in 2000 (the last year they compiled such rankings). We have the 7th highest infant mortality rate among the 30 OECD countries (North America, most of Europe, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea), the 9th lowest life expectancy, and rank in the bottom half for physicians, nurses, and hospital beds per capita. I don’t know what percentage of people get prostate cancer, but I’m pretty sure it’s under 50%. However, we were all infants once, we will all die sometime, and we’re all likely to stay in a hospital at least once in our lifetime, requiring a physician, nurse, and hospital bed.

    Of course, we spend more per capita in taxes to cover the 34% of our population that fall under Medicare or Medicaid, or who are government employees or veterans, than any country with a national health care system spends to cover 100% of their population. This 34% of the population accounted for 60% of spending in 2002 (most likely due to the preponderance of elderly and disabled workers or veterans it covers). So we’re already more than halfway to a fully national plan, except we pay more than any country that actually has one, and still have more than 40 million uninsured, and by many metrics the quality of care we do have sucks. The health care system in this country is so broken we could do almost anything, and it would be better than what we have now.

  52. I really wish that more of Canada’s Question Period showed up on YouTube, so that I could link it and show my American friends. It is truly wondrous to behold, as is parliamentary democracy. It’s slow and often (unfortunately) quite catty, but it does enforce a certain kind of accountability that quietly blew my mind when I moved up here. I’ve often wondered what America would look like if confidence votes were permitted there.

  53. It’s simple. We have we have four sets of clowns in parliament here. Two sets of clowns backed by a third set, wish to replace the remaining set of clowns from driving the clown mobile. However it turns out, we still have a bunch of clowns Driving.

    As the song Fool’s Overture by the Who states: “meet the new boss,…same as the old boss.”

  54. Simply put, we can’t allow:

    A) the world oil supply situation to get nasty to the point where Canada becomes overly powerful

    B) all that buffer zone land to be defended by so few people, even if they can fight on skates well.

    We’re all basically White People. The same God is shared. They’ll have to get used to eating real bacon, we’ll invest our urban blacks into the NHL, Molson sales will skyrocket, and we’ll look really, really cool on the world map.

    It’ll be best for all of us, and they’ll thank us for it in a generation or two. Canada must be conquered.

  55. Xian,

    Actually, I am Canadian, and hey, I may have accidentally tuned in to Showcase After Dark. Once. Also, it’s great to watch South Park with all of it’s language intact. OTOH, the government does mandate that a minimum percentage of that televised content be domestic, which is why we can’t get HBO without also getting the Canadian premium stations.

    I think I’ve wandered off the topic of free speech, which was already off the topic of what’s going to happen to Harper. What’s the word of the day for your average Canuck?

    Prorogue!

    (I was moderatley pro-Rogue, but I always liked Gambit better)

  56. I want to live in Scalzi’s Canada.

    Since that’s not going to happen I would like to see the Liberals to be required to hold their leadership convention right now to that lame duck Dion doesn’t get to be PM.

    Can I have a third wish?

  57. Harper was taking away civil servants’ right to strike and block women from suing for pay equity. I hope the GG shoves his request for prorogue up his ass end ceremoniously.

  58. “I want to live in Scalzi’s Canada. ”

    Go tape back bacon to a lynx.

    I double-lemming dare you.

  59. Eddie Clark

    Has harper passed legislation with the support of the bloc?

    ANSWER YES:

    Did harper attempt to bring down the Martin government in 2005 with the help of the bloc?

    ANSWER: YES – What was the end goal……….an election. Did Harper bring the Bloc into the ruling government…NO

    Did the Bloc have any type of power if Harper was to win an election NO.

    Was the reason he wanted to bring down the gov’t over a $1.95 a vote tax for gov’t parties NO.

    Did Harper, at the time resign or was forced to resign as his parties leader and then still propped up NO.

    At the time we’re we going thru very hazardous economic times where it would be absolutely foolish to do this? NO

  60. Electric Landlady
    I don’t need much prompting to dislike the Bloc or parti Quebecois They are working a Ponzi scheme here. They are shakedown artists always threatening no matter what we give to leave and destabalize

    cpolk.
    I do understand how it Parliament works, and Yes I am looking at it emotionally as well as politically, as are the voters. And are you really prepared to say this is just a NDP Liberal coalition?? Really stop lying to yourself.

    Look at section 3

    Furthermore, upon its formation, the government will put in place a permanent consultation mechanism with the Bloc Québécois.

    A permanent consultation mechanism hmm what does that mean? Is that not what Parliament is for?

  61. In summary, let me evoke/butcher the old saying…”There is a difference between the letter of the law, and the spirit if the law”

  62. Blech. If, AnthonyX, you think it’s more democratic to suspend Parliament so you can unconstitutionally govern without the confidence of the House for 2 months than for parties collectively making up a majority of MPs to govern WITH the confidence of the house then, flatly, you don’t understand how your own country’s system of government works.

    But have fun in delusional troll-land. I here the weather is nice there.

  63. Sandra Ruttan@25

    “Power grab”? “Socialist NDP”? “Decided by the people”? Sounds like you just regurgitated every single nugget from the generic Conservative Party press release, while simultaneously displaying your lack of knowledge re: parliamentary rules. Well done. (*golf claps*)

    Long story short: The bully (Harper, who’s the fruit of a union between a Boy from Brazil and a Stepford Wife) got a bloody nose from the nerds (Dion and Layton) after pushing them a little too hard. I loved when that happened in school, and I love it even more now. It’s all his goddamned fault in the first place for declaring it a confidence vote.

    The latest is that the GG has agreed to prorogue Parliament until late January at Harper’s request, which makes him look like a bit of a fool since he was the one who insisted that everybody return quickly after the election to deal with the economic crisis. My prediction is that the government will remain standing, with just enough Liberal/NDP/Bloc MP’s abstaining from the vote, but Harper’s going to watch his ass from there on out.

  64. Now now, be nice. That was a low blow, as anyone with more than spaghetti for brains knows that the Democrats tried to steal the election in 2000, and the knightly Republicans stopped it from happening-*coughbeatthemtoitcough*. ;)

  65. Do you really expect that a government that can’t handle elections properly can manage a system of healthcare for everyone properly?

  66. Eddie, Edward, Ed…..Can I call you Ed? Whats with the Delusional Troll land stuff????

    I like Scalzi thus I am here. Or are only persons of a specific political persuasion allowed to speak/type?

    Eddie if I may quote you: “…actually address the points I made, please…”

    I mentioned many times that what the coalition did is legal and democratic in our system….was it ethical or smart no.

    Was the prorogueing a move that was acceptable in our system as well…yup.

    If the opposition had any brains…they would have agreed to this deal……waited till MAy to get a new Liberal leader….waited till at least a 8 months after the last election and tried to find something that the Conservatives did wrong to make this move…..instead it came down to pure greed, pigs at the trough who wanted that $1.95 per vote.

  67. Sandra Rutton

    I took a look at your site. Your books look interesting. I will take a shot at them. Just purchased from Amazon!

  68. Jon, thanks for the advice. I did as you suggested and it said “The highest survival rates were found in the U.S. for breast and prostate cancer”

    Good on ya dude!

    Trey

  69. “The health care system in this country is so broken we could do almost anything, and it would be better than what we have now.”

    Like the Cuban system?

    That was a meaningless statement you made. I would like to read your critique of the health care system in America, but you will need to be specific.

    Now if you are going to discuss the outrageous expense of the Care/Caid system, I agree. Anything that passes through the government gets stepped on big time. That system costs more, and pays pysicians less.

    Trey

  70. @78>>
    How is it greedy to want to get the money per vote you’ve been counting on getting? Not every party has corporate backing to the degree the Tories do. The Green Party would never be able to run again if this “trough” was taken away. The Grits and NDP count on this money to subsidize effective campaigns, so taking it away would have the effect of killing off Harper’s competition.

    That’s greed, my boy.

  71. Mr. The Fighter

    Dirty Pool by Harper no doubt. The fact is, when they got pissed he pulled it back, then the 3 parties went nuts with there actions.

    I just want to continually point that $1.95 out because it seems to be not mentioned. Always brushed aside. Its about the Economy etc etc BS!

    Now the Green PArty I can understand, might need this, but the Grits(The party of Bay St) and the NDP (unions) have been around forever. If your message is that distasteful that you cannot generate funds then a time to look in the mirror is nigh.

  72. So, we want to go back to the Good Old Days where campaign money comes wholly from private sources, because *of course* they wouldn’t want any quid pro quo, and away from “public financing of campaigns, indexed to how much the voters approved of you last time” – fair, honest, and with no hidden agenda. Because, you know, the moneyed corporations like the Conservatives – they make it easier to make more money and have more power, removing the regulations that make it difficult if necessary.

    Good oh – feel free to ask Alan Greenspan or Citibank how well that works in general. Or citizens of Walkerton, ON, maybe. Or customers of Maple Leaf Foods.

    And strangely enough, we’re going to do it at a time where, due to many factors (including Liberal instability, and the fact that, you know, people budget for funds they’re promised) the Conservatives seem to be the only ones who’ve got the last election paid off. And, without that money, the other parties won’t get that last election paid off before they have to campaign again. Hmm, I wonder whether that will skew the election results in a random direction?

    And 1.95 a vote (per year) adds up, you know. Imagine if your company (asusming you don’t work for Ford or the like) had a $14 million/year deal cut out from under them with three months warning. However, compared to the “benny fund” 2% drop in GST, $14 million/year is a drop in the bucket. Why aren’t we repealing that if we need more money? Oh yeah, because the GST reduction is a pro for one party, and killing the subsidy is also a pro for the same party.

    Wonder how that “just happened”, I does.

  73. AnthonyX:

    The $1.95/vote granted to the parties totals approximately $27 million. The federal government spends over $200 billion annually. $27 million is only 0.01% of the federal budget. The Cons claim that this measure was intended only to save money is clearly bullshit. They were obviously attempting to cripple the opposition. That is not democracy.

  74. Leila, I have said previously, that it was dirty pool by HArper. Just a quick aside, a decade of dirty tricks by Liberal Jean Chretien, only left him with a positive reputation as a “street fighter”….

    keeping on topic….The opposition was pissed Harper pulled it back…..and they ..went NUTS!

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