For non-Canadians, here are some observations from Stephen Harper after the defeat of the government on Friday for “contempt of parliament” (video after the jump):
*Canadians don’t care about the wording of bills in Parliament.
*The Canadian public care about their economic well being and their standing as a country in the world.
*Coalition governments are illegitimate and unprincipled.
All of these assertions are, of course, wrong. The first is consistent with the finding of contempt of parliament, which also apparently extends to the people it represents; the second is a half-truth at best, and what it leaves out amounts to a lie of omission; and the third is absurd on its face — our mother-parliament in the U.K. is currently home to a coalition government. Besides, Harper’s minority government is about as corrupt as a government with so short a lifespan can be. A government actually representing a majority of the people would make a nice change.
Jonathan Allan reminded me today of this quote from Frye, which we’ve posted before and is much closer to the truth. We’re not angels, but we’re just principled enough to make a difference:
Then again, Canada has had, for the last fifty years, a Socialist (or more accurately Social Democrat) party which is normally supported by twenty-five to thirty per cent of the electorate, and has been widely respected, through most of its history, for its devotion to principle. Nothing of proportional size or influence has emerged in the United States. When the CCF, the first form of this party, was founded in the 1930s, its most obvious feature went largely unnoticed. That feature was that it was following a British rather than American tendency, trying to assimilate the Canadian political structure to the British Conservative-Labour pattern. The present New Democratic Party, however, never seems to get beyond a certain percentage of support, not enough to come to federal power. Principles make voters nervous, and yet any departure from them towards expediency makes them suspicious. (CW 12, 643-44)
(Thanks to Lyla for the tip.)