An

a day keeps the doctor away
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December 2008
January 2009

2008-12-04 »

Coalition of the stupid

Okay, I admit it. I was wrong. I said that it would be pretty much impossible to get the Liberals, the NDP, and the Bloc Quebecois to agree on anything except blocking the most egregious violations attempted by Canada's Conservative government. Sadly, I was too optimistic. The other thing they can agree on is that they don't like the Conservatives, period. So out of spite, they'll just grind our legislature to a halt.(1)

As I mentioned last time I dove into the stinky mess that is politics, we were actually in a pretty decent situation: as long as the Conservatives didn't propose anything totally awful, it would be very hard to summon enough votes to defeat their individual bills. Perfect! That means they could actually get some work done - which Canada most certainly needs, particularly in an unstable economy(2) - but only within fair constraints defined by the other elected MPs.

Remember, I'm not trying to draw any conclusions about human nature here; I'm just doing the math. The math says you have to pile up an awful lot of dissent before you can defeat a Conservative bill.

The problem is, the math is much worse the other way. If the other three parties form a coalition government, then all three parties will have to vote in favour of everything in every bill. That's about as likely as them voting down a specific Conservative bill. In other words, terribly unlikely. You have to pile up an awful lot of assent before you can pass a coalition bill.

In other words, a coalition will surely be defeated almost instantly, and we'll be back to another election.

Stephen Harper's Conservatives have already taken the record for the longest running Canadian minority government in history. What that means is, statistically speaking, anybody trying to beat them at this game is almost certainly going to do worse.(3)

If you're in favour of the idiotic Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition, you're in favour of another election ASAP. That election, which will have been caused because your idiotic coalition members got disorganized and couldn't pass their own bill, will probably give the Conservatives their majority.

And that, as much as I dislike the Conservatives, will still be better than nothing, which is what we've got, thanks to the coalition.

Footnotes

(1) Yes, I saw the announcement that parliament has been suspended today at the request of Prime Minister Harper. But it would have been deadlocked anyway, because the idiotic other three parties were going to vote against anything just out of spite. You suspend parliament for the same reason you suspend trading a stock in the stock market: to let people's emotions cool down before they're allowed to act.

(2) There are many morons complaining that the past and present Conservative government has "done nothing" about the economy. This is simply not true. I submit for your perusal: the tax free savings account. Here's how it works: the current economic crisis is caused by lenders not having enough capital to lend. If you give people a tax break for saving more, they will deposit their money in a bank. That will increase the amount of capital held by said bank. The bank will then be able to lend out that money about 17x over, due to the magic of banking laws. Think about that for a second: problem = too much spending, not enough saving. Response = give people tax break for saving. Wow! Okay, now let's compare that to the gigantic bailouts going on in the U.S. Problem = too much spending. Response = spend more money. Which government is "doing something about the economy," again?

(3) And in order to defeat the Conservatives, this needs to be a three-way coalition, which is vastly harder than even a normal two-way coalition. In all of Canadian history, even two-way coalitions have always failed, and fast.

Note to self: stop following politics.

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