tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The revolution was televised (for 5 minutes); who will the GG listen to?

"Prorogue!" "Dissolve!" "Dismiss!" "Abdicate!" "Save us from ourselves!"

Everybody is trying to tell Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean what to do. Stephen Harper is making a personal pitch to the Governor General right now to ask her to prorogue parliament. Harper went on TV last night for 5 whole minutes to convince Joe Canadian Sixpack that the Triumvirate of Turpitude - the Liberals, NDP and Bloc - is unpatriotic.

Her Excellency probably got Harper's veiled Bushian message: "You're either with us, or you're with the separatists."

And to no one's surprise, the conservative spin doctors want the media to ask the ridiculous rhetorical questions: "Is Mme Jean a separatist?" "Is she a Liberal?" "Is she really Canadian?"

Talk about pressure.

Meanwhile Stéphane Dion's letter [full-text PDF] to the GG is a bit more impressive than his out-of-focus, awkwardly delivered and comically tardy TV address last night in response to Harper. For Dion's part, he wasn't above playing the partisan card: "In our Canada, the government is accountable for its decisions and actions in Parliament."

NDP leader Jack Layton wants to remind the GG that Harper "is more interested in his job than you and your families' jobs." (See Excellency, even your job is at stake in this crisis.)

Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe said emphatically, "we are finished with [Harper's] government." (Of course, that's actually a standard fill-in-the-blank Bloc quote; replace 'Harper' with 'Dion' or 'Chretien' or 'Martin' or 'Canada' at your leisure.)

And the advice keeps coming.

Former Brian Mulroney chief of staff, ambassador and publishing magnate, Norman Spector says "Let the people decide." (Memo to Norman: the people decided 7 weeks ago; now it's time for the government to make decisions.)

Former Governor General Ed Shreyer says "Nothing should be done to aid and abet the evasion of submitting to the will of Parliament." In other words, the PM wants the GG to rescue him from the mob, and the GG would be constitutionally and morally wrong to do so.

Even those abstract notions of precedent and history are trying to tell the GG what to do.

She's been all ears for days. Now we are.

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