Today Her Excellency the Governor General had a very tough decision to make. She had to make this decision knowing full well that she will be called upon to make such tough decisions twice in the next few weeks. Her dilemma was between granting or not granting a brief "cool down period", and, in a few weeks time, according to Parliamentary principles, allowing or not allowing a majority of the MPs in the House to form Government.
I firmly believe that Her Excellency compromised. She knew that she had 2 decisions to make. I believe she has decided that she will give both sides a shot. This means that she is allowing the Harper government a short noose, and has probably severely admonished him to "put his shit together" (although we'll never know this). It also means that if Mr. Harper fails, she will most likely allow the coalition (given it still exists), being a clear Parliamentary majority, to form government.
Her Excellency is most likely going to watch VERY closely, a couple of key things:
1) Does Mr. Harper regain the confidence of Parliament (through Throne Speech Re-run, Budget, and Confidence Vote)?
2) Does the Coalition truly represent a group able to hold together and govern?
Our duty in the weeks ahead is to fully engage the Canadian public in what is important (while maintaining a united coalition front):
- Harper is an egomaniac glory hound who has lost the TRUST of Parliament, let alone the confidence
- Harper had no plan for Canada, never has, and will push his neoConservative agenda ahead, at a time when even neoCons South of the border are "going Socialist"
While a few Liberals may be opposed to the coalition, they have to respect "the stand" taken by ALL OUR MPS UNITED. This is HUGE. We were accused of backing down... Of having no balls. Well, I must say, it ain't so anymore. Mr. Harper will be walking on eggshells for the rest of his short term as PM and Conservative Leader. The attempt to hijack Canadian democracy - while seemingly successful today - will not succeed, as Mr. Harper has a LOT of egg on his face.
As far as Mr. Dion? A lot is being made of some sort of gaffes with "the video", messaging, etc., etc. Let's think about this. He is a "caretaker leader", who could be PM for a short few months. Do you think it really matters to him what the public impression of him is (or the Conservative painted impression)? Remember, we are getting a new leader in May. I think Mr. Dion was BOLD and decisive. In his selflessness he has elected to stand strong for the Party and the Canadian people. He is extending HIS neck out over this one. If Canadian politics has become so demented and skewed, that it is only about "leaders", then this strategy is a good one. We can have a leader who could be PM in around 2 months, OR could take a few lumps. Then we have a brand new leader, with all the associated fanfare and public "rah rah". New page. Changes the channel.
The strategy is bold, and shows Canada not only do we have a backbone, but that we are willing to extend our Parliamentary detente and cooperation to stand for Canadians. We will see a lot of Conservative partisan attacks in the next few weeks (over Christmas even - that'll help the turkey sit well in Canadian stomachs). For a PM that talks about cooperation and mutual discussion (ever so briefly, for the cameras only), his "campaign ads" over the next several weeks will be telling.
At least, if there is an election, we won't be going into it cowed and "surrenduring". We will be standing up boldly for what we believe in, and for what a majority of Canadians believe in - while Harper goes into it looking like a small man to most all except his "base" and the Conservative media outlets (almost every major daily paper across Canada, and 2 out of 3 of our networks). He goes into it plunging us into another $300 Million expenditure all about his own ego and anger. He loses either way.
Our challenge over the next few weeks will be to campaign - both for leadership and for government - on the grounds on which we built the coalition. If an election IS called, we need a pact with the NDP to continue in the polls, so we can defeat dozens of Conservatives across Canada who won by piddling "minorities" in their ridings due to vote splits.
This battle is OURS TO LOSE. Mr. Harper's time is over.