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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Harper Should Resign and Dion and Layton Should Form a Coalition Government Until October 2009.

Before Dion meets with Harper to discuss cooperation for the pending parliamentary session he should meet with Layton first. A couple of reasons come to mind. First they ought to see if they can work out a collaboration to see if they can run a minority government until the fixed election date of October 2009.

If Harper wants to resign OK that is his business. But that need not automatically trigger a $400m useless election. The Governor General can accept the Harper government resignation because, as Prime Minister, he apparently feels Parliament is dysfunctional.

That is not the case. He has to admit it, given how he brags that he has delivered on his mandate in the past 2+ years that he has been in power. Harper is such an unabashed obfuscater with his self serving mewing about a dysfunctional Parliament. Consider that he has his henchmen draft a 200 page guide for his Caucus instructing them how use cheap political tricks and tactics just to disrupt Parliamentary Committee proceedings. And he now says Parliament is dysfunctional. Well I wonder who is to blame for that.

I like the idea of Harper resigning now. But I don’t think the only option coming out of that decision is an election. It is entirely within the Governor General’s purview and powers, given the minority situation, to consider inviting a coalition of Liberals and New Democrats to try and govern. I think that is a viable alternative for the short term until October 2009.

I think before any behind-closed-doors horse trading goes on with Harper, Dion and Layton ought to look at cutting coalition deal as an alternative to an election that dishonors the new fixed date election law they all just passed.

Such a Dion/Layton chat would also serve another purpose. These two parties ought to see if they can agree on what conditions they would require of Harper for continuing support. They ought to demand that they meet with the PM together so they don’t get inveigled and misled by the PMO in the post meeting patter, positioning and pandering.

If they can’t meet the PM together, they better take a witness and record the conversation too. Of course they should be able to trust the PM, after all he holds the highest and most honourable office in the land. But this is politics and it is always best to be able to verify what was actually said – just so everyone stays honourable.

I think a few reasonable conditions to present to Harper would be an immediate proclamation of his Accountability Act so it becomes binding on his government now. He honours it now more in the breach and that is unacceptable. Why not demand an immediate alternate strategy to provide for the 250,000 daycare spaces the private sector was supposed to provide but has been swept under the carpet. Struggling young families are not making it just with his taxable $100 per month per infant. He promised these day care spaces but has conveniently forgotten young families.

The Mulroney/Schreiber Inquiry has to be started immediately as well and not be a kangaroo court of his design. It needs to be a full fledged public inquiry to help restore public confidence it he Office of the Prime Minister – at a number of levels. The delays are deplorable and are undermining democracy. And while you at it, insist that Harper drops his U.S. clone copyright proposal called Bill C-61 and start over.

The best outcome I see would be for Harper to go the GG and resign and then she appoints a coalition Liberal/NDP government that would serve until the October 2009 - legal election date. They could go into a fall session and use it to undo some of the mess Harper has made like reverse the political interference in the judicial selection process, restore the arts and culture funding cuts and preserve the safe injection sight in Vancouver. There a many more such Harper ideological screw ups then need reversing right now and no need to wait for an election to fix them.

It is time for Harper to go – and he says is thinking of resigning. But an immediate election is unnecessary to achieve that end. The GG can accept his resignation and then look to other parties to form a government. When the next election happens, in October 2009 according to law, and if we end up with another minority, then Dion and Layton will have some experience in a coalition. Perhaps they can continue to replace the Cons then too, if necessary.