Wells notices something:
“I can’t believe he’s doing this,” the Ottawa merchant said. “I mean, a year ago I could sort of see it, but this time there’s no excuse.”
Oh no, I thought. A procedure wonk. He’s going to start citing Cromwell and the Long and Short Parliaments and Chanak and the Pipeline Debate to me. I’m trapped in a store with the dybbuk of Jerry Yanover. “I’m not sure people — ” and here I had to search for the appropriate word, for in real life I’m not a witty fellow — “care.”
“Well, you know what? I care,” he said, and I steeled myself for a jesuitical parsing of Part X of the Rules of the Senate of Canada. “I care because I don’t get two months off for Christmas.”
Hey, wait a minute, I thought. That was painless. And it made a bit of sense, in a Common-Sense-of-the-Common-People meaning of the word “sense.” The guy continued: “I don’t get to say, ‘It’s not working out with my boss, so I’m going to go away for two months and then see if it works better then.’”
I don’t want to put too much significance into what this guy said — after all, he wasn’t a taxi driver, and everybody knows columnists get their best stuff from taxi drivers — but what struck me was that (a) he’d noticed this prorogation thing; (b) he didn’t like it; (c) he didn’t like it for reasons that couldn’t possibly have less to do with the 900-constitutional-scholars-dancing-on-the-heads-of-Marleau-and-Montpetit reasons that so animate the likes of Ralph Goodale and, ahem, some people around here.
Okay, I think that prorogation has been used as an escape hatch for the last time.
Or the Canadian people will give their prime minister a much, much longer break.
Update: Okay, I’m now less worried.
2009 has been an interesting year in the United States.
On December 31, 2008, Barack Obama bestrode the American political scene like a colossus.
No more. His approval ratings are middling at best — lower than any modern president at this point in his tenure save Reagan.
The question is, has this fall been simply a result of a sick economy, or are there deeper currents?
But as a teaser — Political Winner of the Year, Sarah Palin?
Believe it. And I’ll explain why, soon.
Coyne and Wells go forth and expound their views on the Coalition Crisis of last year.
Here’s my take.
It wasn’t that Canadians do not understand parliamentary democracy. I’m pretty sure they do — at least, they do well enough to live under it. They have an idea of what they want, and what they can get, within the confines of the constitutional structure.
Viz., here’s what they wanted in 2008: Prime Minister Stephen Harper with a tin can tied to his tail.
That is, they thought Harper was better than Dion, but they didn’t like him so, so much that they wanted to give him a free hand. The Globe and Mail’s tepid endorsement of him, with the hopes that he would continue to grow into the job, seems to have reflected the general public sentiment.
After a time on the market, with all the deleting of weblogs that that entails, I am now returning to the online world, with a lot to say about North American politics.
So… where are we, now?
Meanwhile, Dion’s Ignatieff’s leadership numbers have slipped below Layton’s. Last time that happened to a Liberal leader, the Tories came oh-so-close to a majority government in our fractured five-party-system.
USA: Some of us have been having fun at Tea Party protests –
But we are blessed. I am blessed — blessed by membership in two of the most prosperous, good societies ever to exist on this planet, the United States and Canada. [Two children of the same mother -- not sure how far I can separate them, really.]
And I enjoy talking about them.
So here we go.