Just yesterday in my dirge to Canada Day, I wrote of the de facto Conservative-Liberal coalition:
"...In Parliament we discovered that Stephen Harper hasn't been running a minority government after all. It turns out Steve has had a coalition government thanks to a Liberal opposition whose only demonstrated skill this past year has been rolling over. When Mr. Ignatieff wasn't busy steering the LPC to the right in pursuit of the far-right Harper, he was either quite shamelessly backing Harper or simply skipping critical votes. You hand the guy the keys to the party of Laurier, Pearson and Trudeau and this is what you get? Un-believable."
Turns out, I'm not a lone voice on this one. Paul Wells, writing in MacLeans, says that Harper is just fine with his parliamentary toadie, Michael Ignatieff:
"... Harper and his junior coalition partner, Michael Ignatieff, are too smart to be thrown off balance. So, just before he welcomed the world’s leaders and southern Ontario’s riot police to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Harper permitted himself to revel in the Conservative-Liberal coalition’s latest accomplishments. “I think in the end we actually got some pretty good results,” Harper told reporters from Reuters. “Particularly in the closing days. As you know, we got the budget implementation bill through.”
One bill? That’s all he has to show for a year’s strife? But this was no ordinary bill. “The budget bill was wide-ranging legislation that had a lot, not just of important budgetary measures, but important measures for the Canadian economy. So I think the passage of the budget bill, in and of itself, made the parliamentary sessions productive.”
He listed other measures the opposition had caved on, like refugee-system reform and a measure making it harder for convicts to get pardons. (The opposition never fails to collapse in the face of each new Conservative tough-on-crime measure. Harper should recognize their contribution by hanging photos of Ignatieff and Jack Layton in every new federal prison.)
But the budget was the main ingredient. “I know we’ve been criticized for how much was in that budget bill,” Harper said. “But putting a lot in that budget bill effectively ensured—passing it ensured a productive parliamentary session.” This was a slip-up, I believe, for it marked the first time Harper admitted he used the implementation bill to smuggle a bunch of other stuff into law.
And what an impressive list of achievements it was. Bill C-9 enabled all the usual taxing and spending, but it also removed new energy projects from the purview of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and gave the job for assessing them to the National Energy Board. To make that move even while the world’s attention was transfixed by the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico was quite a feat. Harper couldn’t have done it without the Liberal members of his coalition.
Throw in provisions for the sale of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. and an end to the Canada Post monopoly on overseas mail. The Canada Post plan was introduced as a separate, stand-alone bill in 2008 and 2009, only to die on the Order Paper when Harper called the 2008 election and prorogued Parliament a year later.
When the 900-page Budget Implementation Act, with amendments to five dozen laws, passed the Commons early in June because not enough Liberals showed up to vote against it, Liberal Sen. Pierrette Ringuette swore it wouldn’t be the same story in the Senate. “The Liberal senators are not rubber-stampers of the leadership,” Ringuette said. “We have a mandate to do sober second review of legislation for Canadians, and we will fulfill our responsibility.” Then the Budget Implementation Act passed the Senate later in June because not enough Liberals showed up to vote against it.
I'm sorry, Liberal faithful, but when you let the schoolyard bully help himself to your lunch money you haven't got much to gripe about when you start getting bitchslapped. Under the rule of this professorial charlatan you're not fit to form a government, you're not even fit to serve the country as our official opposition. You're a goddamned joke.