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December 04, 2008

Political Coup Attempt Canada-style

Canada has an interesting attempt at a political coup.

Three disparate opposition parties—the centrist Liberals, the socialist New Democrats (NDP) and the separatist Bloc Québécois—have ganged up in order to oust the minority Conservative government and replace them with a centre-left coalition. On Thursday December 4th Prime Minister Harper asked Michaëlle Jean, who as governor-general acts as Canada’s head of state, to suspend Parliament until January. In January, the Conservatives will return with a new proposed budget.

Predictions:
1. The Governor general will not take responsibility for this unprecendented change in government and will punt - and call elections. [assumes the next item. the Tory government is brought down when it tables the budget, which would be a confidence vote, as all money bills are. The other option is for the coalition to chicken out/work with the Tories cause they all look bad for fighting for power during an economic crisis or the coalition fall apart and for the minority government to continue.]
2. Parliament has been suspended into January. There will be a new budget then and both sides will campaign until the showdown. The no-confidence motion will pass and then there will be new elections. 5:1 odds that their will be a new election.
3. The Liberals will accelerate a change to replace the unpopular Dion. 60:40 odds. It is the smart move, but that does not mean the Liberals will pull it off.
4. If the Lib/NDP/PQ have a combined majority then they will have their new government.

UPDATE: The odds of the coalition falling apart or chickening out are increasing. There are reports of liberals abandoning the coalition and calling for replacement of Liberal leader Dion. The coalition has to hold together for two months and vote down a budget and bring and pass a non-confidence vote and then either win an election or convince the Governor general (for decades a traditional, ceremonial rubber stamp role) to give them power.




5. The election will be close, but the Conservatives can get their act together enough to win a small majority. This is actually more a bet that the Liberals, NDP and PQ will be more incompetent. 60:40 odds of Conservative getting their majority.

According to an Angus Reid poll for CTV, 64 percent of Canadians do not support Stephane Dion becoming prime minister in a coalition government, but 53 percent are against the Conservatives' current economic policy.


Statement Agree Disagree Not sure

I would be comfortable with Stéphane Dion becoming Canada’s prime minister
25% 64% 10%

I am worried about the Bloc Québécois becoming involved in the federal government
57% 30% 13%

The Conservative government has done a good job in dealing with the economic crisis
36% 53% 10%

The federal government should implement a stimulus package to boost the economy as soon as possible
75% 17% 8%


Conservative strategy would be
1. Get Governor General to call the new election
2. Propose a stimulus package in the budget
3. Play on fears and dislike of Bloc Québécois and Dion (if Dion is still around)

FURTHER READING
There is discussion at wikipedia about how to record the official wikipedia article.

The wikipedia article about the Canadian parliamentary dispute/crisis

Only in Canada, eh, Pity or not Pity ?

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