12/08/2008

The Prime Minister As First Servant

Like most Canadians, this weekend I spent a great deal of time reflecting on what happened in Ottawa last week. Pick any poll you like. The result of the coalition has been nothing short of a disaster for the Liberals. The most forgiving poll I saw pegged them at 22% popularity, a 2% drop from election day. Others put them at only 20%. The NDP suffered even worse, showing between a 4-8% drop in support. The Conservatives are largely up, showing anywhere between 44% to a staggering 51% of the population supporting them.
But, truth be told, I have spent less time thinking about polls and more time reflecting on a comment my mom made. The Prime Minister of Canada is literally the "First Servant." He is a servant first to God, then to Queen, then to country, that is we the people.
How much of what has happened this past week really makes one think of servanthood?
Now, let me be clear. I do actually think Harper had the right idea when he proposed to cut the $1.95 per vote tax subsidy. But, in terms of the entire situation, is one really able to look at Parliament and say "Yes, these people serve us?"
I suspect most people would say no.
There are, of course, individual MP's who work very hard for their constituents. They are people of good, upstanding moral character who want to do what is right. But let's be honest, these people are few and far between. Certainly, as a whole, there is no party which truly puts the concept of servanthood into practice. There is no one who esteems all others better than themselves. There is no one who will give way, for the good of the whole.
Certainly, the concept of servanthood was nowhere to be found in Dion's disgraceful address to the nation, which was late, of poor quality and quite literally featured "Hot Air."
This week past, not one person offered a soft answer to turn away anger. (Proverbs 15:1) Instead, everyone preferred to quarrel, showing their love for sin (Proverbs 17:19). Not one person had the wits, or rather the Spirit, to recognize that it is a man's honour to avoid arguments and only fools stir up dissent. (Proverbs 20:3)
After his meeting with the Governor General, Harper invited the Opposition parties to meet with him and submit their suggestions for the upcoming budget. My hope is that this offer is sincere, and that the leaders of the Opposition Parties will take it as such. My hope is that they will drop their argument and get back to work for the good of those they govern.
There is no authority except that which God establishes (Romans 13:1). Those in authority must remember, however, that they are also under authority. Not only that, but they will one day be called to account for what they have done with what God has given them. Of anyone who has ever lived, Christ undoubtedly had the most authority of all.
And yet, look at how different His behaviour was.

12/04/2008

Parliament Prorogued

The Governor General has agreed to prorogue Parliament until January.
Let's see if the coalition can hold it together until then.
I have my doubts.

12/02/2008

An Open Letter to Her Excellency, the Right Hon. Michaëlle Jean

December 2, 2008

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.
Governor General of Canada

Your Excellency:

I am writing to you today to express my concerns regarding the impending attempt by the Opposition parties to override the results of the 40th General Election, which occurred on October 14th.

In that election, I exercised my democratic right and elected a Conservative Member of Parliament, and in so doing, expressed my opinion that The Right Honourable Stephen Harper was the best person to lead this country. Over 5,000,000 of my fellow countrymen agreed, and on election day we said that Mr. Harper deserved a stronger mandate to govern. Granted, he was only given a minority, but it was a stronger minority nonetheless.

Since that election however, it has become clear that the Opposition Parties never had any intention of co-operating with the government, neither did they have any intention of respecting the will of the Canadian people. Despite the assertions of Mr. Layton today in Question Period, the Canadian people did not give the Opposition Parties a mandate to govern as a combined force. Indeed, the Canadian people gave the Opposition parties no mandate whatsoever. That is why they make up the Opposition.

If the Liberals and NDP combined had more seats then the Conservatives, then perhaps we could make an argument in favour of their coalition. As it stands, there is simply no historical precedent for any Commonwealth government to form a coalition with less seats than the standing government. Their coalition can only survive with the support of the Bloc on all confidence matters. While it is true that the Bloc have agreed to give them this support for the period of 18 months, it must be noted that the Bloc exists to facilitate the sovereigntist movement in Quebec. When making decisions, their sole consideration is what will benefit Quebec. Therefore they cannot be expected to make decisions that will benefit the entire country.

I respectfully ask you either to prorogue this session of Parliament or call an immediate election. It is not up to elected and non-elected individuals to make backroom deals. While the accord may be legal and constitutional, it is also completely anti-democractic. On a matter of this importance, the voice of the Canadian people must be heard.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Ruth vanHooydonk

(h/t to Sandy for giving me the idea. The only email addresses I have are info@gg.ca and smcook@gg.ca (the Governor General's assistant). If anyone is interested, there is also the option to call the Secretary to the Governor General (Shelia-Marie Cook): 613-993-0259, although I am sure their phones have been ringing off the hook.)

Canadians Against a Liberal/NDP Coalition Gov't

There is a new group on Facebook dedicated to fighting the coalition: Canadians Against a Liberal/NDP Coalition Gov't. At the time of this post, there were about 16,000 members.
If you are a Canadian with strong feelings against this coalition, I invite you to join.

What Others are Saying

Darryl Wolk has this excellent summary of the media reaction to the coalition. There are a lot of links here to a variety of articles, so I recommend checking it out.

12/01/2008

Letter to Coalition Leaders from a Canadian

My House

Monday, December 1, 2008

To those presuming to be my fellows, although admittedly you are citizens of my country,

Canada is doing very well in the midst of a global economic crisis. Since the recent federal election, it has become clear that the Opposition Parties never had any intention of co-operating with the government that was legally elected by the Canadian people. Therefore, a select few erroneously believe they have the right to seize power, form a new Government and implement a plan that the majority of Canadians did not vote for.

The contrast between the behaviour of the Opposition party leaders and the common action practices of all other Western democracies is striking. I will not accept this.

A majority of Canadians did not vote for the Liberals. Neither did they vote for the NDP or the Bloc. Indeed, not a single Canadian voted for a coalition on October 14, 2008.

In light of the critical situation facing our citizens, and the Oppositions unwillingness to get back to work, and work towards the true interests of Canadians, I am resolved to protest this new coalition.

Today I respectfully request that the Governor General, as soon as the appropriate opportunity arises, should force the Opposition to get back to work and stop playing games.

Respectfully,

Mrs. R. vanHooydonk

Voter

Letter to Canadians from coalition leaders


Liberal Party Press Office

New Democratic Party Press Office

Bloc Québécois Press Office

Monday, December 1, 2008

To our fellow citizens,

Canada is facing a global economic crisis. Since the recent federal election, it has become clear that the government headed by Stephen Harper has no plan, no competence and, no will to effectively address this crisis. Therefore, the majority of Parliament has lost confidence in Mr. Harper's government, and believes that the formation of a new Government that will effectively, prudently, promptly and competently address these critical economic times is necessary.

The contrast between the inaction of Mr. Harper's government and the common action taken by all other Western democracies is striking. We cannot accept this.

A majority of Canadians and Quebecers voted for our parties on October 14, 2008. Our Members of Parliament make up 55 per cent of the House of Commons.

In light of the critical situation facing our citizens, and the Harper government's unwillingness and inability to address the crisis, we are resolved to support a new government that will address the interests of the people.

Today we respectfully inform the Governor General that, as soon as the appropriate opportunity arises, she should call on the Leader of the Official Opposition to form a new government, supported as set out in the accompanying accords by all three of our parties.

Respectfully,

Hon. Stéphane Dion Leader,

the Liberal Party of Canada

Hon. Jack Layton Leader,

the New Democratic Party of Canada

Gilles Duceppe Leader,

the Bloc Québécois

Coalition of the Willing... to Take Power, that is...

Some time ago, there was talk of a coalition government, should the Conservatives fail. I didn't really take those stories seriously. After all, the Canadian people returned the Conservatives to power with a strengthened mandate. It was still a minority, but it was a strengthened minority nonetheless. The Conservatives had successfully governed the smallest minority in history for the longest period of time, and since the Liberals will be electing a new leader in May, threats of a coalition didn't seem plausible.
At least not until last night.
A recently recorded conference call clearly shows the NDP never had any intention of respecting the will of the Canadian people. They never had any intention of working with the government to achieve what is best for the Canadian people. Everything Layton has ever said about the importance of "getting back to work" and working hard for the Canadian people is a lie. They have only ever been concerned with achieving power, even if it takes the separatist Bloc to do it.
No doubt Duceppe is laughing all the way to the bank.
Now it seems the Liberals are in bed with this sordid plan, though admittedly not everyone is comfortable with the idea of the separatists being the ones to sustain their bid for power. Let's face it; any Liberal-NDP coalition will be smaller than the current Conservative government which consists of 143 seats. Together, the Liberals and NDP will only have 114 seats. And yet, in their arrogance, they think they represent more of the Canadian people than the government we actually elected!
Any member of the Liberal or NDP parties ought to be ashamed of this latest development. As this article rightly points out, if this matter is so urgent, then call another election and let the voters decide. To simply seize power when you were not elected and can't even form a government larger than the current one is unacceptable.
If you are a Liberal or NDP MP and you do not approve of this plan, then may I suggest that now is the time for action. Cross the floor. Refuse to sit with these people who warp the meaning of democracy. Don't show up for the confidence vote on December 8th. Do whatever it takes to get the point across. Respect the wishes of Canadians. Do not participate in this plot.
If you are a part of this plan, shame on you! Govern by the mandate the people gave you... which is none... or get out! This is a democracy, and you are to respect the people who pay your salaries!
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