Resolving Timeline Issues

Archive for November 27th, 2008

Canadians, what would you do, pray tell, if I asked if you wanted to vote for your national government, again?

Because there’s a damn good chance we’ll be heading for a January election. Minister Flaherty released a fall fiscal update, and Nation, its not good (but you knew that). One of the issues involves a fiscal matter which is automatically a confidence vote: scrapping public subsidies for political parties; this would financially cripple every party (except the Tories, of course):

“The onus now is really on Prime Minister Harper to consider his options, to consider his situation,” said Liberal House leader Ralph Goodale. “He’s put a so-called plan before Canadians this afternoon. It’s not a plan to bolster the economy. It is a plan to hide a deficit. It’s not acceptable and he should reconsider his position.”

But the opposition is particularly vexed at the one tiny spending cut Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced Thursday: A proposal to eliminate a taxpayer subsidy paid to each political party. Parties can receive a subsidy of $1.95 per year for each vote they receive in a general election.

Though the Conservatives receive the biggest subsidy – about $10 million a year – because they won the most votes, that subsidy only accounts for about one-third of the party’s annual revenue. For the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois, the subsidy amounts to about two-thirds of their annual revenues. The subsidy makes up about half of the NDP and Green party’s annual revenue.

I’m not going to discuss it here, but suffice it to say this is dangerous ground.

There’s going to be a confidence vote on Monday. By Monday afternoon we may have no government, or if the opposition parties can suck it up, a coalition government. Or, worst-case scenario, the second-place Liberals will be given a chance to govern.

Jean Chretien is being called in to broker a deal to get rid of Stephane Dion before the May leadership convention. In order to get rid of him before then he has to resign or pass away. Really.

Jack Layton cancelled plans to come here to talk to the other oppositon parties about forming a coalition.

The longest a coalition government will last is about a month. Tops.

So, Canadians, are you ready to choose again in January?

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