Oh, Canada. You are unique. You are beautiful. Your red and white flag. Your political strife.
Canada is a Parliamentary Democracy. Which begs the question ... what does that mean?
In Canada, we do not vote for President. We don't even have a President. We have a Prime Minister. A Prime Minister, for whom we also do not vote.
We are represented by Members of Parliament. And for those Members, we vote. We are subdivided into various ridings, each represented by one Member of Parliament, our MP, who is affiliated with one national party. The primary parties are the Liberals and the Conservatives, with a strong group of supporters who favour the NDP, a select but discriminating number who support the Greens, and a significant portion of Quebec who feel they are best represented by the Bloc. Five parties. One nation.
Canada is in a state of political unrest. In the last election, a scant 38% of seats, significantly less than half, went to Conservative MPs. The remaining 62% of seats were split between the four remaining parties, with the vast majority of these belonging to the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc, in that order. But as no one party obtained more than 38%, a minority government was formed with the Conservative leader as Prime Minister.
A minority government cannot govern without cooperation from at least one other national party, for 38% does not a majority make. The rule of a minority government is cooperation between the parties. In other words, play nice; you do not run the show.
At present, Canada's illustrious Conservative leader is one Stephen Harper, a man with his own ideas and agendas who does not want to cooperate with the other parties, will not play nice, and apparently believes that Canada should be a benevolent dictatorship. His thoughts include ignoring the recommendations the IMF has made to all governments for coping with the recession, stripping unionized civil servants of their right to strike for a minimum of three years, quashing legislation entitling women to receive equal pay for equal work, and selling off Canadian assets (during an economic downturn when their worth will not be realized) in order to make it appear that the country's books are in a favourable position when they are not. You know ... kind of like the Enron scandal, but for government.
Obviously, at least 62% of MPs are not in favour of these actions. Accordingly, a non-confidence vote is inevitable and, in anticipation of such, our Grand Poobah of the Conservative arm decided it would be prudent to cripple his opponents by essentially firebombing their taxpayer subsidies. They're sort of miffed about that.
There is a loss of confidence in the current government. Without support from some of the 62% faction, our current government cannot govern. Therefore, the Liberals and NDP, supported by the Bloc, wish to form a Coalition Government with the Liberal leader, one Stephane Dion, stepping in as the head. Stephen Harper has responded to this tactical move with a special delay maneuver. With the dubious approval of our Governor General, he has prorogued Parliament, putting off the non-confidence vote and effectively silencing our elected MPs until late January. What a nice, upstanding guy.
The moves of the respective parties have obviously received considerable media attention. Facebook groups have been created, damning and supporting the Coalition Government by turn. People are spouting off about all manner of things with varied degrees of comprehension. High school students, not legally entitled to vote as they are below the age of majority, are expressing erroneous opinions about how economic upturns and downturns are managed with no governmental influence whatsoever. (FAIL! I personally give you an "F" in your Social Studies class. Deal with that!)
Ultimately, we can conclude that some Canadians are in support of the Coalition Government. Others do not want a Coalition Government, and say that no one voted for a Coalition Government as Prime Minister. But what these people fail to understand is that in a Parliamentary Democracy, we do not vote for Prime Minister at all. By virtue of the fact that a minority government was elected, there is already a Coalition Government of sorts. All parties, required to work together, for the greater good of the country as a whole. Democracy is unaffected by the formation of a Coalition Government. The elected MPs would hold their seats. And as an elected MP, even Stephen Harper would retain his seat in Parliament; he simply would not be Prime Minister any longer. Only the Prime Minister, the head, would be changed. Changed to a different elected MP in whom a majority of the other elected MPs have confidence.
One should also note that between them, the parties involved in the would-be Coalition actually represent more of a majority than does the current Conservative minority government.
And ... I can't emphasize this point strongly enough ... we in Canada do not vote for Prime Minister. We vote for our MPs.
Now. Some Canadians understand this and will vote for the MP of their choosing. Some fail to understand this and mistakenly believe they are voting for Prime Minister, and that's sort of sad. And some people do not care for whom they vote. They are mindlessly devoted to a specific national party, and care not who is at its helm so long as that individual becomes Prime Minister. Whomever he, she, or it may be. These are the people who scare me the most. These are the people who would vote for a Hurdy Gurdy monkey as long as it had a big "C" emblazoned on its chest.
(Come to think of it, a Hurdy Gurdy monkey would probably make a better Prime Minister than Stephen Harper. For a Hurdy Gurdy monkey would stride into Parliament in his little Hurdy Gurdy outfit and be met with acclaim and admiration for his very cuteness. The MPs would probably give him peanuts, pleasantly and politely cooperating with one another as they took their appropriate turns at the peanut vending machine. But there are no peanuts for Stephen Harper, who looks ridiculous in a Hurdy Gurdy outfit. Not to mention the fact that Stephane Dion would steal his hat as soon as he walked into the room and promptly hand it off to NDP leader Jack Layton for a rousing game of "Piggy in the Middle".)
The bottom line is that a Coalition Government is legal, democratic, and perfectly acceptable and appropriate in the situation. The government has considerable control of economic upswings and downswings (no matter what some random high school student who has clearly not studied economics thinks). And all parties need to put aside their petty differences and work together for the greater good of the country as a whole at this difficult time.
Of course, if you are one of those people who don't vote at all, your opinions do not matter one lick, and you are really nothing more than a Hurdy Gurdy monkey. So quit yer whining! Stupid.