Here in the land of Le Grande Derangement – the great upheaval- we see unleashed in the nation’s capital Le Grande Realignment.
If Dion can rule in a sleazy new order driven by the separatists (rest in peace, PET!), logic dictates that some centre-right Liberals might regard Harper as the lesser of the two evils and cross the floor to join him, at least temporarily. According to reports on the Web a few of the Ignatieff stripe are already entertaining this prospect. The upshot would be a true division of political authority in Ottawa at last: The forces of the Left, embracing Dion’s expedient, power-mad Liberals, the NDP and the equally socialistic Bloc and a Centre-Right group, consisting of the necessarily more moderate Conservatives and Realist Liberals. [Raymond Heard via Bourque]
This would be a refreshing change in alignment, a correction similar to the upheaval in the financial markets. There has been considerable ideological smudging, presaged by the number of opportunistic floor crossings in the past few years, where power and personal circumstance have become more important than matters of principle and policy. The scenario imagined above might head coalition catastrophe off at the pass, and we sincerely hope it does.
But we see another scenario, also an upheaval and realignment which perhaps would be less benign. If the coalition succeeds in defeating the Jan. budget we look into our crystal ball and see a whole new configuration forming in the future. The Liberals by accepting this deal have opened a real can of worms and squirming out are the spawn of new parties in Parliament, not based on old party affiliations or even special interests like the Greens, but regional interests.
This political and Constitutional crisis is pumping life into a Western “Block” party, at present only in gestation. If Quebec can get enhanced influence in a coalition as a “bloc” devoted ONLY to its provincial interest what is to prevent western MPs (a mixture of Liberal or Conservative or even NDP MPS) from joining a block devoted to Western Interests in Parliament. This new party would get $1.95 per vote, right? How about a Maritime “BLocK” ( Danny Williams would be interested in leading it we can bet our rubber galoshes.) Ontario of course would be left with a rump group, split between the left leaning NDP and the previously but no longer centrist Liberals. [We could call it the Centre Block.] Sounds a bit like the Senate don’t it? How’s that working for you?
From the CBC EKOS poll done over the last two days and released today (pdf): overview
• Conservative support up 7 points since the election, basically at expense of LPC/NDP
• Extremely large divisions emerging in public
⁻ Region: East – West fracture now starts at the Ottawa River (CPC have an astonishing 22-point in Ontario); Alberta incensed …
In your opinion, who would be better able to deal with the current economic crisis?
A Conservative government led by Stephen Harper – 47%
A coalition government led by Stéphane Dion -34%
Don’t know or no response -19%
Almost three-quarters of Canadians say they are “truly scared” for the future of the country and a solid majority say they would prefer another election to having the minority Conservative government replaced by a coalition led by Stephane Dion, a new Ipsos-Reid poll says. …
Fully 60 per cent of those interviewed said they opposed replacing the government with Liberal-NDP coalition supported by the Bloc Quebecois, compared with 37 per cent who favoured the idea. Support for the coalition was highest in Quebec at 50 per cent, followed by 44 per cent in Atlantic Canada.
Later: More on the Regional split.