Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dear Opposition,

I have to ask: Do any of you actually still think you'll form a government as long as Stephen Harper is Prime Minister?

Because we've been dancing the line between a Harper majority or minority outcome (if an election were called) for enough time to suggest there is little likelihood of anything but one of two outcomes. Couple this with Harper's utter disregard for convention, and cynical manipulation of parliamentary procedure and public discourse and you're at profound disadvantage. Divided, you do not stand a chance at defeating Harper because none of you are strong enough win alone. And if Harper is allowed to continue, elections, if they happen at all, will be mere formalities and your role, naught.

You have no leader currently among you who can balance the negative of the Harper equation. There is no champion yet to be found among you who can draw the support of enough the country that would defeat Harper's polling numbers. There might be some in the wings, but your internal power machinations have so far prevented them from finding their voice, so these people are as good as irrelevant. You are divided, and therefore weak.

Imagine what might have happened if you had stuck with the coalition idea. Harper almost certainly would not be in power, and all of you would be governing the country. At Copenhagen, Canada could well have made its mark for good. You wouldn't be stuck in near permanent Opposition watching the sociopath in charge wreak havoc on our democracy and your chances at power. I bet that stings a little now.

So what are you to do? First, get over the illusion that you stand a serious chance at forming a government as individual parties. Then, understand that there are times when your survival as effective parties, let alone that of the Canada you claim to represent, trumps your ideological divisions. You must unite.

You must unite, and you must meet and raise Harper's ante. He keeps calling your bluff, and you keep folding. A coalition is a good start. So is attempting to meet anyway during the prorogue (wouldn't that be tantamount to a coalition as you would, de facto, be governing?). So is occupying the House and not leaving. So are a number of other steps. Anything, really, that stops Harper. Cold.

There is a don't-rock-the-boat cultural trait among Canadians that seems to cognitively prevent many of us from recognising what we must do when we've just been kicked in the groin by a bully. We're prone to loudly protesting, but doing very little to mitigate. We don't like hitting back and will condemn, parse and equivocate but not actually ball our fist and let fly. Harper knows this fact above all others, and that is why he is still Prime Minister and not any of you.

So, the question, dear Opposition, becomes one of whether you're going to pick up the bat, drive a spike through it, and swing back before Harper sucker punches you into oblivion?


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