10 Questions about the Canadian Revolution as in enters its sixth day:
1. THE LIBERAL PARTY IS BROKE, SORT-OF LEADERLESS, AND REELING FROM ELECTORAL SLAUGHTER. HOW DOES THIS MAKE THEM THE NATURAL CHOICE TO LEAD CANADA RIGHT NOW?
Easy. Canada is also broke, sort-of leaderless, and reeling from electoral slaughter. Canadians tend to favour a government they can identify with, and the Liberal Party is a mirror image of Joe Canadian Sixpack.
2. STEPHEN HARPER HAS FALLEN OVER THE CLIFF. IS THERE ANYTHING HE CAN DO BEFORE HE HITS THE BOTTOM?
Yes. But to be fair, he didn't fall off a cliff. He was flying too close to the sun and the wax in his wings melted. Harper might construct a parachute in the form of an economic stimulus package, with the title "Mea Culpa: Why I was wrong and the Liberals are wronger." But we're guessing Harper might prefer martyrdom to mea culpa.
3. HOW CAN DIE-HARD LIBERAL SUPPORTERS STOMACH ALL THIS HAND-SHAKING WITH AND APPLAUDING THE BLOC?
Or vice versa? (After all, there's still an election campaign going on in Quebec.) There's no answer for this one; I'm not a Liberal, so I've no idea how restless their sleep has been since last Thursday. I guess, after a horrific election night seven weeks ago, they're happy with a deal with any devil to get them out of their mess.
4. SERIOUSLY THOUGH, WILL THE TORIES PUSH FOR A NEW ELECTION, AND IF SO, HOW MANY CANADIANS WILL ACTUALLY VOTE?
Pushing the Governor General for a new election is one of the dwindling number of options the Tories have at this point; even they concede that it's not unconstitutional for the opposition parties to petition the GG to form a new government. The Tories are rolling out radio ads decrying the undemocratic-ness of the oppositions' plan, whining to voters that all this is happening without their consent. But if the voters were called upon to decide, would we even get a 50% turnout (after 58% just seven weeks ago)? Is that even quorum for this country to conduct a binding roll call?
5. DOES THE GOVERNOR GENERAL HAVE THE CONSTITUTIONAL FORTITUDE TO RENDER JUDGMENT IN THIS NEARLY UNPRECEDENTED COUP D'ETAT?
The Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean will have to address the opposition parties' petition to dissolve the government after they bludgeon the Tories with a no-confidence vote as soon as next Monday. At that point, the Tories would likely petition Mdm. Jean to call for election. At the next point, the GG - Her Majesty's representative to Canada who was not elected to office - would have sweeping but conflicting constitutional powers to decide for the Liberal-NDP-Bloc palace coup or the Tories' cries for a re-vote. The only precedent for this is the King-Byng thing, but back then the GG had much greater authority. No matter what Mdm. Jean does, with the stakes as high as they're likely to get, she'll be upsetting a wide swath of people. (And need we remind you that fewer than 30% of Canadians consider themselves royalists; could the office of the GG be in jeopardy?)
6. WHICH PORTFOLIOS WILL THE NDP NAB IN THE NEW COALITION GOVERNMENT?
They apparently get 6 cabinet posts if the coalition forms. Here's our guess: Indian & Northern Affairs; Industry; Labour; Public Works; Transport & Infrastructure; Human Resources & Social Development. All perfectly socialist concerns. But how long before the NDP and Liberals are locking horns over budgets and spending in these departments where the NDP will want to prove that its policies, if well-financed, can work?
7. WHAT'S IN ALL THIS FOR THE BLOC?
Plus d'argent de poche. The Bloc has no money to run another federal campaign after the recent election and the current campaign in Quebec. Signing up with the Liberals and the NDP ensures the continuation of federal public financing for the separatist party, plus who-knows-what side benefits culled from a well-inked federal budget if and when the Grits and New Dems can agree on one.
8. IS THIS THE END OF A UNITED CONSERVATIVE PARTY?
We'd love to say yes. The Tories have no other obvious leader besides His (self-appointed) Holiness Stephen Harper. If Harper takes the fall, who would possibly take over and unite the right the way Harper did? But the Tories have way too much invested in electoral gains in Quebec, Ontario and B.C. (even that one riding in P.E.I. that they won) to splinter back into religious, Alberta nationalist, and progressive factions. But maybe a back-bench revolt from the Tories once the new coalition gov't takes over? Alas, with proper PR spin, no groomed successors, and some reconstructive surgery, Harper may very well survive this fall.
9. WILL CANADA'S EXPERIMENTAL AND HIGHLY RADIOACTIVE FORM OF GOVERNMENT HAVE A NEW NAME?
The Federal Union of the People's Democratically Implied Government of Her Majesty's Former Dominion of Canada. (We can still call it 'Canada' for short.)
10. WHAT THE HELL IS STEPHANE DION TELLING HIMSELF WHEN HE STARES IN THE MIRROR IN THE MORNING?
A) "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and, sacrebleu, people like me."
B) "That's 7 lives down, still 2 to go. [meow]"
C) "Hasta la victoria, toujours!"
D) All of the above