Sunday, December 7, 2008

Rally 'round the Coalition, boys and girls

Across Canada on December 6 were rallies for both the Conservative government and the Liberal-NDP Coalition. As to be expected, the bigger pro-Conservative rallies were in the west while the Coalition rallies predominated in the east. The perennial East-West split in this country (in addition to the Quebec/rest-of-Canada split).

We went to the Coalition rally at Toronto City Hall, on one of the colder days so far. Tristan got a lesson in parliamentary democracy (see Gretel's post about that here) and then prepared a sign for the rally. He came prepared to educate any who asked on what was going on with his props, two bottles full of red (Liberal), blue (Conservative), orange (NDP) and grey? (Bloc) painted macaronis, carefully counted and bottled to numerically represent the Government and the (Coalition) Loyal Opposition.

There was a large contingent of about-to-be-laid-off Canadian autoworkers (CAW) surrounding us in the large crowd. We could hardly see the stage where Mary Walsh presided and Stephan Dion and Jack Layton gave rousing speeches. When folks around us got excited and waved their signs, we saw nothing at all except signs and backs of heads, the iconic City Hall looming in the background.

This is a pic of the young activist in the making...

On the streetcar ride home I talked to a woman sitting behind me, visiting from Halifax. We agreed that while we supported the Coalition we did not really believe it would survive very long, that PM Harper has narrowly escaped an ignominious end, grace a the Gov-Gen Michaelle John.

I'm listening today to The Sunday Edition on CBC radio, which is totally focussed this week on what it all means. Who is in the right? Who is in the wrong? What's all the fuss about? The main thing I'm hearing is that never before have people all across the country been so up in arms about government. Too bad this didn't happen during the election in October! Politicians are receiving tons of messages from constituents about the situation, and it is a close call as to who is getting the most public support, the Government or the Coalition.

Another interesting thing that was said was that our form of government is not about majority rule, it is about parliamentary confidence. A minority can rule so long as they retain the confidence of the House. This is the issue that has everybody screwed up in knots here now.

Oh, and on a personal note? The hat and scarves in this picture are grace a moi and my amateur knitting needles...

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