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Scandal-Ridden Canadian Government Likely To Face May Election

Scandal-Ridden Canadian Government Likely To Face May Election

The weather in Ottawa is colder than normal this week, but Parliament Hill is certainly helping locals with their heating bills by generating all kinds of hot air – all of which may culminate in a Federal election call as early as Friday.

The Canadian minority government has been battered by a number of high-profile issues over the last few months.  A committee has found the current government in Contempt – an extremely serious charge – for withholding financial information on big-ticket budget items such as their law and order agenda (where mandatory prison sentences would be increased and thousands of new prison cells built) and the purchase of new CF-18 fighter jets (which are rumored to be costing as much as three times the estimate provided by the government). 

A cabinet minister is also facing a potential Contempt finding over allegations of doctoring documents and lying to Parliament. Other cabinet ministers and former ministers have faced accusations of illegal lobbying, violating election financing rules and improper use of government resources. The government even got a dousing of hot water over the aggressive branding of the current government as the “Harper Government,” rather than the standard phrasing “Government of Canada.” 

In Canada, as in the United Kingdom, elections do not take place on set dates (despite the current Prime Minister’s attempt to enact a law to do just that in 2006, which he rapidly broke himself in 2008). Rather, the government sits for a maximum of five years, unless the Prime Minister chooses to have parliament dissolved and an election called, or if the government loses a vote of Confidence.

Confidence votes can take place on any issue the government chooses to deign a confidence measure, but they automatically take place on significant measures such as a budget. Which, as luck would have it, the government released yesterday, and which has been widely panned as out-of-touch by the opposition.

All opposition parties have signaled they will oppose the budget in a vote on Thursday. In addition, Opposition leader Michael Ignatieff will be tabling a motion of non-confidence in the government based on the Contempt finding.

In other words: Election’s a-coming.

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By Makaristos (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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31 comments

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3:41PM PDT on Apr 7, 2012

thnx for this

1:17PM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

Thanks for the post Shannon.
Pretty sorry state of affairs when their is no one to believe in this election compaign.
I am still heated that a black mark was laid on our Canadian Government with the first ever Contempt findings.

4:56AM PDT on Mar 29, 2011

The problem is that government corruption is very much a problem for the Canadian Conservative governments, Brian Mulrooney was up to his neck with various scandals and Kim Campbell went around like a headless chicken. When the Liberals came to power they slashed public services and knocked down a brand new Hospital just after it had been built. So Canada is going into the slash and burn cycle. So expect that there is going to be a few Canadian politicians in prison soon,

8:13PM PDT on Mar 28, 2011

Just what we need another damn election! Yes time to vote for the green party, lets make a change...can't get any worse than it already is!

9:41PM PDT on Mar 27, 2011

Costly elections for Canada is what the elected reps wanted. Not everyone enjoy this but certainly for some of you. 4 elections in 7 years, this tell this nation (Canada) is not as nice as your might think before.

10:08AM PDT on Mar 26, 2011

Hope this bully gets stuffed honestly. They keep on crowing about the state of the economy but they inherited the banking rules and the surpluses from the Liberals under Paul Martin. These creatures are all for the tar sands and oil in the Arctic plus they refuse the buy out the sealers in NFland. If only we had some sort of proportional representation then all our votes would count for something, as it stands even parties who do not have the most votes are able to get back in, disgusting. By the way, Westminster has changed its rules so more folk have some influence, it is no longer first past the post at all.

3:30AM PDT on Mar 26, 2011

Accountablilty is the key. We all need to keep those elected with checks and balances. And be ever vigilant.

2:11PM PDT on Mar 25, 2011

Bravo Don Aitken you said it best . Conservatives have a very short memory when decrying the present pending election as unnecessary, considering that Harper opportunistically triggered an unnecessary election in 2008, ignorning his own fixed election date legislation! Oh the hypocracy! If the Conservatives really did not want an election now, why have they been spending so much money on attack ads attacking Ignatieff for the past several months? They must have been really worried!

2:07AM PDT on Mar 25, 2011

Whichever way the vote actually goes, thank history that we have a Westminster constitution and the possibility for Parliament to vote non-confidence in a government. That and Question Period (in spite of the hijinks and rudeness) are vital keystones to our democracy.

8:17PM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

Robert O., you say that "no political party comes close to the Liberal Party of Canada for lying, tricking, cheating, and under the table dealing?" You must not be an American, because the repubs DO ALL THOSE THINGS ... AND MORE.

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