Thursday, December 04, 2008

Freedom-Loving Neighbours Cry Maple Tears

[This one goes out to all of Fosco's peeps from north of the border (this is for you, M&L).]

We (Americans) can be forgiven if the horror of the George W. Bush era has distracted us from noticing that Canada managed to elect its very own W as prime minister (since 2006!). His name is Stephen Harper and you can see him in the photo at right about to devour a helpless kitten. Harper and Bush share a "philosophy" (as if anything George Bush believes could be described as a "philosophy"...) Actually, you might even say that they are "friends." At least that's what GWB says in this official State Department transcript:

PRESIDENT BUSH: We talked about -- well, we talked about a lot of subjects, and that's what you'd expect friends to do.

Mr. Prime Minister, the floor is yours. I'm proud you're here, and thanks for coming.

PRIME MINISTER HARPER: Well, thank you very much, Mr. President, for the invitation and for the kind words. And thank you for doing something I never thought I'd see, which is have the Canadian media stand when I entered the room. But we certainly enjoy that.

(Begins to speak in French.)

(Returns to speaking English.) The United States and Canada have a strong relationship, strong and firm relationship based on the largest commerce and social interaction in the history of any two countries of the world, and we were able to discuss a wide range of bilateral and international matters where we, more often than not, share common values and common objectives.
Can I just note that my favorite part of this official State Department transcript (no lie!) is the parenthetical "(Begins to speak in French)" which is not only not translated into English but not transcribed at all! That's how much the State Dept. cares about French. Harper could have said that he was the meat in a Bush daughters sandwich and no one would have noticed--at least no one at the State Dept.

But back to the point at hand. Apparently, Canada is having second thoughts about re-electing Harper (only two months ago) and Parliament (the Canadian word for "Congress") is preparing a confidence vote that will effectively end Harper's prime ministry. Except that the vote won't happen, because today Harper suspended Parliament until the end of January. Fosco's grasp of the details is fuzzy, but somehow it involves the Queen of England, the word prorogue, and a hell of a lot of angry Québécoises (or is that adjective a redundancy?).

And--wait a minute... is he wearing eyeliner?

Ooooh-kay. But anyway...

Naturally, MPs (the Canadian word for "Representatives") are crying foul:
[Stéphane] Dion, who would become the coalition’s prime minister, addressed reporters before the closed doors of the House of Commons. “For the first time in the history of Canada, the prime minister of Canada is running away from the Parliament of Canada,” he said.


“A prime minister cannot request that the Parliament be prorogued to avoid a confidence vote,” [Dion] wrote. “It would be an abuse of power on the part of the executive branch without precedent in the history of Parliament.”
Hmmm. "Abuse of power." That sounds familiar.

But seriously: does Harper think he's going to be any less popular in six weeks? Especially after doing this?

Actually, there is part of Fosco that still wonders whether Bush might try something like this. Well, except that Bush doesn't actually seem to want to keep his job anymore (it gets in the way of his jigsaw puzzle time).

So join me, friends, in a journey north to liberate our Canadian brothers and sisters! Do not fear, Canadians, we will bring you a candidate of HOPE and CHANGE! A Barack Oubama, you might say...

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