Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Down with the PMO

One of the many advantages (another here) to the coalition will be the end of the tendency in Canadian politics, started by the Liberals but raised to a ridiculous extreme by Harper, of having the Prime Minister's Office unconstitutionally take over all power in the Canadian government (the same unconstitutional centralizing of power also affects Britain and the U. S.). Harper has taken his one-man micro-managing so far that he really doesn't even have a cabinet, just a set of mouthpieces who have to read policy positions handed to them off texts prepared by the Prime Minister's Office, and woe onto them if they attempt to ad lib or even answer questions. Harper's shock at what happened is based on his assumption that he had been elected President of Canada. This is a mistake. Canada doesn't have a President, and 'winning' an election just gives a party leader the right to attempt to gain the confidence of Parliament. Of course, this only becomes an issue if your party doesn't have an outright majority of seats, and Harper's party does not. The other parties were prepared to work with Harper until he made it abundantly clear that it was his way or the highway, and he wasn't even going to pretend to cooperate. He was intending to be the only G8 leader without an economic stimulus package, all because his extremist ideology precludes any major government spending that doesn't involve the military. The coalition intends to right this wrong. Of necessity, the workings of the coalition will remove most power from the Prime Minister's Office, a change which I hope Canadians will see as an improvement.