SSM Legal Muddle Resolved!

Nice to see that the Harper Government has moved rapidly to resolve legal confusion over the issue of same-sex marriage. As reported in The Globe & Mail today: “All same sex marriages performed in Canada are legal and the law will be changed to ensure that divorce is readily available to non-residents who were married in the country, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says.”

I wonder if all the indignant liberal folks appearing on TV and fulminating in blogs that have been asserting Harper and the Conservatives were nefariously plotting to undermine gay marriage by stealth utilizing the legal system will now admit they were being completely hysterical and apologize for their baseless allegations?

WARNING: Holding of breath in anticipation of the foregoing may result in fatal outcome.

If anything, Harper should be applauded for the way he and Rob Nicholson deftly handled this situation. After all, it wasn’t exactly something of their making. Moreover, it took a certain degree of moral fortitude for Harper to flatly reject the pleadings of “family values” Christian wingnuts like Charles (Hey, notice how the bogus “Dr.” isn’t used anymore?) McVety and his ilk to reopen the debate over SSM.

Perhaps now we’ll never have to hear of this ridiculous issue ever again. After all, practically everyone but the most insane, fanatically religious fringe of the right-wing is completely over it and could pretty much care less.


Bad Lip Reading: Stephen Harper

The Dear Leader’s Christmas message (in case you missed it) as mangled by the folks at Operation Maple:

Yes, the novelty of these BLR things has long-since worn off since the classic “save a pretzel for the gas jets” Rick Perry iteration, but I feel obligated to post a Canadian version.

Harper’s Summer Job

Turns out the Prime Minister is a fan of the ‘Murdoch Mysteries’ period detective show and recently made a cameo appearance on it in the role of a police constable named Armstrong (cute touch there).

Curious. I wonder why he doesn’t adopt the hairstyle he’s sporting on set as it’s an enormous improvement over the usual impervious helmet head coiffure he dons in real life…

Such are the inane speculations we’re left with during the summer here in Canada where, unlike our counterparts south of the border, for as long as the weather is warm, politics ceases to have any relevant significance whatsoever. Parliament recesses for several months and even our political yak-shows on TV simply fold up their tents and completely disappear from the airwaves. It’s a uniquely Canadian phenomenon that has always astounded me.

Attacking from the Middle

It’s a tough position the Liberals find themselves in these days, defending the middle ground against aggressive encroachments from both the left and the right. It used to be a position of strength in Canadian politics and arguably one that led to them being what some dubbed the “natural governing party” for the vast majority of the last century, but times have changed. Being caught in the middle of a two-front war is a hazardous predicament – one that a columnist metaphorically likened to that of Germany in WWI.

Aside from the fact that they’ve been running an excellent campaign (as they did in the last election too), I think the NDP is reaping popular dividends at the moment from having been the party most clearly and consistently opposed to the Harper regime over the past several years. As for the Liberals, despite all their rhetorical bluster, for various internecine political reasons we’re all familiar with, they’ve been forced to effectively prop up the Harper Conservatives and vote with them more often than not on innumerable bills, thereby undermining the party’s credibility as the opposition of choice.

But the Libs aren’t going down without a fight, which is good to see for a change. Their latest advert attacks both Jack Layton and Stephen Harper for their unprincipled past deeds, corporate giveaways and budget-busting proposals… All in a matter of seconds.

Even if one disagrees with the assertions made in this advertisement, you have to admit that its execution is quite brilliant. Too bad they didn’t think of it sooner. Maybe even going so far as to have some souvenir Harper-Layton coins minted to drop off when doorstepping…

Ignatieff’s Town Hall for Canada

For others like me who don’t have a television machine…

And in the interest of being “fair and balanced” [sarcasm alert], here’s a video of Stephen Harper speaking in the fenced backyard of someone in Victoria, re-announcing his promise to introduce a $500 tax credit for children’s arts programs.

Gotta love the intro: “The strongest economist… principled to the core.” Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Post-Election Speculation

Peter Mansbridge talking to Jack Layton and Michael Ignatieff about past and future attempts to form a “coalition” or some other working arrangement between the parties in a minority parliament scenario:

From the outset of this election, it’s been a hazardous issue for Ignatieff. Even though he flatly ruled out any talk of forming a “coalition” with the NDP and the Bloc – a decision not arrived at quickly enough for some like me – he’s obviously still got to leave the door open to such a possibility in the event that the Conservatives don’t succeed in getting their coveted majority and should Harper then fail at his “first try” to gain the confidence of the House.

The Harper spin is that unless he gets an absolute majority then the deck will be stacked against him… The opposition parties will band together, vote down his budget and then attempt to form what you can be sure the Conservatives will describe as an “illegitimate” government instead.

Of course, that imaginary scenario conveniently overlooks one significant part of the equation: what Harper may do should the Canadian people once again deny him a majority. If he’s willing to compromise with other parties in the House and incorporate some of their policies into his Budget, then he can easily diffuse the situation and remain in power.

It actually wouldn’t be a tremendous stretch to accommodate some of the proposals from the Liberals and NDP on say, pension reform, student loans, public financing of elections, etc., along with promises for more transparency on tendering of certain military contracts, or whatever… There is lots of room to manouever and a lot of different cards on the table he could play. Question is whether could bring himself to seriously engage with his political opponents in that way.