La Menace Fantôme

I don’t have much to say about the apparent coup d’état taking place in the Candian government right now. I only know what The Daily Show has told me. I honestly had no idea the Queen of England actually held any real power over Canada, but as soon as I heard the words, “vote of no confidence” I had an Episode 1 flashback. That phrase will forever ring out in my mind in Natalie Portman’s faux-regal tones. I just can’t decide if Prime Minister Stephen Harper is Chancellor Velorum, Palpatine or a combination of both. Does that mean the Queen is Darth Plagueis?

I know there are Fancy Bastards in Canada. Please fill us Americans in on what the hell exactly is going on up there. You know how fucked up our government is. We always though you guys were pretty stable.


FFB (Female Fancy Bastard) Rhiannon points us to this summary of exactly WTF is going on in Canada (on a knitting blog of all places).

Thanks to all the CFB’s (Canadian… you get the idea) that posted their take on the turmoil in the comments. International politics is so interesting. Someone should make three incredibly boring space based movie prequels about such subject matter. Call it “The Space Congress Prequel Trilogy!!!” and broadcast it live on CSPAN at 4am.

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  1. As a citizen of the Old Republic Canada, I can affirm that Stephen Harper, while not having all the powers of a Sith Lord, is indeed in league with the Dark Side of the Force. The opposing parties trie to gang up on him to oust him from power, and he ran to the Governer General (who represents the Queen — so Padme I guess?) and told on them. She sent them all to bed without supper.

    They get another chance to overthrow his iron-handed rule on Jan 26th. I'm hoping for a vast army of Bryan Adams clones.

  2. Huh, so our government has to fuck up this bad in order for the country to get any attention.
    With the way things are going its certainly starting to resemble a fantasy world like Narnia or Star Wars.

    Yes, Harper is a Sith lord, he has disguised his true intention well and only goes along with the rules until he can gain a majority in the House and reveal his true plans of forming the Empire.

    But don't worry about an Emperor in Canada, it may sound big and important but you have nothing to fear. As Gordon Downie once said of the Tragically Hip being the biggest band in Canada "Its like being the worlds tallest midgets." (Some Canadian trivia for you! yw!)

    • Well, it's hard to say. I feel as though Canada could simply be waiting for the US to pick enough overseas wars that the bulk of our military assets will be "over there", fighting off in some sandbox or such. The time will then be ripe FOR INVASION.

      Hell, you lot are already massed upon our border.

  3. Worried Josh is worried.

    And "talking beavers and friendly goat people of Canada" FTW. Actually, all of Eli's dialog in the last panel is win. I'm thinking a shirt with a big red maple leaf on one side and "That's not Star Wars. That's Narnia." on the other.

  4. Wow, its good to know that we Americans don't have a monopoly on governmental insanity. From the little I have gleaned since first reading this, I have written this Note to Canada: Hey, it's better for your elected officials to be incompetent idiots than it is to take away their gov't funding and turn them all into money-grubbing, selfish, evil, corporate lackeys. Take it from Americans, we know.

  5. Stephen Harper isn't a Sith Lord…he's something much, much more dangerous. Beware Americans! Ever really wondered why 90% of our population is located along your border?

    Another fun fact that may explain why such an evil man is in power, yesterday's vote for a Quebecois representative had the lowest voting turn-out in Canadian history at 53%. And I admit to being one of those 47%. Maybe we're not evil, we're just lazy. I blame the syrup.

    Oh and its "coup d'état" by the way, which literally translates to "hit(blow/punch) of the state" in French. Its the French ones you really have to tiptoe around.

  6. Actually, while the American Political Split is generally North/South, Canada's is East/West. This last election we were kinda faced with your Bush/Kerry decision from a few years ago. The only justification I heard on that one was "Well, Bush may suck balls, but he's better than Kerry.".

    I don't think that Stephen Harper is Sith, I think he's more of a Dark Jedi. I think we skipped electing the Sith when we passed over Stephane Dion. And while Harper may suck balls, At least he's a better choice than the others.

    The Political system up here is a double edged sword in a way. We get more choices for our government, but sometimes we end up with a Minority Government, which means they can't DO things. Like pass policies, or move funding on the budget.

    In the States, it's easier, there's only 2 REAL parties to choose from, so you always get a majority government. One that actually has influence, but the party choices may not reflect your own thinking very well.

    Either way, I wish we had someone like Obama.

    • That's not really true. It happens quite often that we have a majority of one party in Congress and a president of the opposite party. In these cases, dick-all gets done because the prez can veto the congress and nothing can get passed without a vote of the congress. Thankfully, our president-elect will have a majority!! 😀

  7. Here's the thing (as I saw it from Toronto). Canada was supposed to have some sort of stimulus package by now to cushion the recession blow. But when the Conservatives presented it, all the other parties hated it because it was pretty small and included a section on cancelling government funding of political parties based on votes received — right now, whatever party I vote for gets about $2 a year.

    So the other parties said they would vote to oust the Conservative government. Since there was just an election, the opposition could be asked to form the government — this happened a few times in the 19th century, so it's not unheard of. To avoid this, PM Harper asked the (figure)head of state to prorogue parliament (start Christmas vacation early).

    The Governor General looks at some polls, gets some advice, then does whatever most Canadians want. In this case, she thought we'd like to slow things down and see how we feel in January.

  8. Coup d'état translates hit/strike to the government. It refers to those trying to wrestle power away from the government, and in a non-democratic fashion. This coalition tried unsuccessfully to democratically toss out the Sith party. The Liberals (the head of the coalition) now have a new leader who could bring Canada back on track to it's more liberal values, much to the chagrin of Western Canada.

    • Do you understand WHY it's to the chagrin of Western Canada? Western Canadians work hard to be prosperous, develop our oil and gas and mining industries. Hell Albertans even paid off their portion of the National Debt. In all of Canada they're the only province that has (until very recently) been debt free. It's cause they worked for it, and they did it under a Conservative Government.

      The thing with a Liberal National Government is that Liberals believe in spreading the wealth to the other provinces. It's called Equalization Payments. And the Provinces that do nothing or have done nothing to be prosperous basically ride off of Western Canada's back. And yes, Ontario recieves equalization payments.

      That is why Western Canada will never vote Liberal.

      • Actually until recently Ontario paid out to the equalization program, I think maybe you're thinking of Quebec which often receives more equalization than it should to keep them happy. I'm not really sure why westerners always think that for some reason you're the only ones that work at economic development, everyone works at it some just do better than others. Do you really think you'd be doing so well if you had already plundered most your natural resources the way the east has? (because we were developed earlier) What are you going to do when the oil runs out?

      • Well, actually, BC is even further west than Alberta and we can't seem to shake the fucking Liberals no matter how many hospitals and schools they close. Or, y'know, drunk driving convictions in other countries our premier gets. Or how many highway repairs get cancelled to pay for over-budget Vancouver bridges and shit. Because if it didn't happen in Vancouver it didn't happen at all. Everyone knows the province ends at Hope, right? ><

        Not that that means I like Harper; he's an ass. And wants to be Bush. And he fucking rolled over on the softwood lumber accord right when the US lost its final appeal and had to return the several BILLION it syphoned off our wood in illegal duties. Seriously. What kind of leader goes, "What's that? The US has lost all its appeals and now has to give us four billion dollars? Well, fuck, we don't want THAT. Never mind, Bushie, darling, you can keep it." Fucker.

        But I live in a logging/farming community (and have had to fight to keep my kid's school open, and had to leave town to give birth) and am a little sensitive.

  9. when I heard "vote of no confidence" I inmediately thought of Doctor Who's first christmas special (of the new series) when The Doctor spreads the rumour that Harriet Jones is tired and it leads to a vote of no confidence.

    Also,if Canada is Narnia, I'm moving!

  10. "Ever really wondered why 90% of our population is located along your border?"

    Not really. I always just assumed you were all staying as far away from the Arctic Circle as you could while remaining in Canada. Plus, that whole "selling booze to American teenagers" industry.

    • That was an awesome post that filled in a lot of the blanks for me. If Harper really is a Sith, he's a lousy one. As Palpatine showed, you cannot seize power and expect to retain it. It has to be given to you willingly. Can you imagine Palps standing up in the Galactic Senate and demanding to be made Chancellor for life, rather than having it "thrust upon him", and without the Clone Wars looming on the horizon? Hardly. Harper = Phail.

  11. As with everything, we Candians do it with a mix of lethargy and politeness(ness). Harper tried pulling a fast one on the opposition and they other political parties bitch-slapped him. Honestly, the only sane one is the Governer General (Queenie's Rep). As Conrad mentioned, she spanked them all and sent them to bed. All quite civilized really…

    God save the Queenie!


    Damn you Canucks – if you people go down the crapper too ,WHERE DO I MOVE TO???

    Man, I'm outta options if Bush finds away to clone himself and get into office ever again under the assumed name of Ron Mexico.

    (PS – maybe your PM is a Cylon…..)

    • ok, so i've heard the term Canucks before. i don't know the origin of the term Canuck and what it actually means. since you've used it, i place it squarely on you to explain to me what it means.
      also joel, typo in the blog, polotics is actually politics. unless you're talking about the highly televised cross between polo and politics, where they get politicians to play polo with hilarious consequences! . man i love espn7 and the wacky sports they show!

      • From Wikipedia, the FREE, ONLINE, encyclopedia, that ANYONE can use…

        The term Canuck is first recorded about 1835 as an Americanism, originally referring specifically to a French Canadian. This was probably the original meaning, though in Canada and other countries, "Canuck" refers to a Canadian.

    • This reminds me somewhat of my days posting to RGMW – the usenet group dedicated to all things Warhammer/GW. Some wag decided it would be hi-larious to cross post a flame war to RGMW and some quilting group.

      It backfired horribly when it turned out nerdy gamers and nerdy quilters actually related pretty well to each other. Some of the best discussions on the board ensued (be they related to the latest sucky 40k codex-escalation or the various merits of a singer featherweight).

  13. Things are pretty normal up here. The AT-AT walkers don't really slow down traffic that much and we're assured they only strike against Rebel Scum.

    Seriously though, the British Monarchy has no political power in Canada.

    • Hardly surprising – the British Monarchy has no political power in Britain either. We only really keep them around because we can't think of anything clever to put on the reverse of our money.

  14. "coup d'état" dude. I'm French Canadian. Coup De Tat…Tat isn't a word. État is "state"…as in "Les États-Unis d'Amérique" – The United States of America.

    After a little research on the subject (I'm one of those idiots who ignores politics completely until something big happens), the "Sith Lord" Harper is dissolving Parliament to give himself time to think of a better "fix the recession" plan since he was bound to be kicked out of the prime Minister seat…I think this is the third election in a row where we have a non-majority government. Frustrating as hell. But, as the south park writers once said; when your choices are between a douchebag and a turd sandwhich, voting doesn't really have the same appeal/power.

    And yes, Canada is Narnia. COME TO US! *throw bon bons* Drinking age a "suggested" 18 here in Quebec. Tempting eh? EH? And lets not forget the penguins. They're like squirrels here!

  15. ok, here is a long one for whoever is interested.

    The Canadian people vote for their local member of parliament (MPs) the winner gets a seat in the house of commons, and the party with the most seats gets power, after the last election, and the one before that the party with the most seats still had fewer than 50% of the total seats available meaning a minority government…

    In the Canadian system when things go to vote, each seat counts for one vote. To pass laws and policies you need a majority of the seats to vote for it, in a minority gov, the way they get the rival parties to vote for things is they attach a provision saying if we don't get our way we are dissolving the parliament and calling an election. That may sound childish, but it stops the opposition from voting down every thing just because it pisses off the party in power. This is what happened in the last federal election.

  16. The liberals (socialist centralists), NDP (communists or at least far left wing socialists), and the Bloc (French secessionists), all refused to cooperate because even though the Conservatives (about on par politically with the democrats though there are good mix in there from both ends of the spectrum on various points) were granted a ruling mandate from the people.

    In the last election Dion the liberal leader was pushing a carbon tax called green shift that would have ended up being a huge tax on the lower and middle classes, so they lost a lot of seats, their powerbase is now almost only in Toronto a single city that has 5 million+ people or 1/6th the country’s population, no one else in Canada really likes Toronto.

    • The reason we had such a low voter turn out last election was that a lot of traditional liberal voters stayed home rather than vote for a crushing tax on the lower and middle income, or one of the other parties.

      The NDP got a handful of seats that were previously liberal, the bloc got a bunch, and the conservatives got a larger number of seats – 12 out of 308 less a majority.

      They probably would have had a majority if Harper hadn't tripped over his dick by pissing off the artsy community in Quebec by bragging about cutting art programs to save money, he lost seats in Quebec over that, even though what he did was add more funding (8mill) and cancel rich people gala's paid for by the tax payer.

  17. So now the other 3 parties dismayed that almost half of Canadians voted for the conservatives have decided that Canadians don't get to choose which of the 4 platforms they vote for, instead they only get to vote conservative or not conservative, and because 55% of Canadians voted not conservative that we want their 3 completely different platforms even though Canadians voted 46% conservative, 25% liberal, 16% Bloc and 12% NDP.

    They are pretending they are all the same party when one is all about elitist centralized Gov that makes changes to our constitution without voting on it and was voted out of power for being rife with corruption (liberals), one is about nationalizing the entire country and loves massive Government Programs vs. private industry (NDP) and the other's sole mission is to separate Quebec from Canada into it's own country.

    • Outside of Toronto in smaller communities elections are a joke (not that they aren't everywhere else too). In my parents riding the past election was a close race between the incumbent, an "old boy" conservative who only appeals to the majority of the riding because he's fat asshole who will tell the farmers and businessmen what they want to hear, and the challenging Green candidate, who actually proposed real changes and presented new policies that would benefit the community.
      But of course the election went to the conservative candidate, as usual.
      In cases like this policies and issues don't even matter, older voters just keep voting for the same party/person that they've voted for in every other election.
      It's sad, but this is why I've become very disillusioned with Canadian politics.

  18. Because the Coalition knows the average Canadian won't vote them into power, they are going for a loop hole.

    The fact is, if they really wanted to work together they just have to vote the same in the house of commons, this coup is about trying to pull a fast one on Canadian voters and judging by some of the posts about how evil Harper is, they have succeeded somewhat, the massive anti coalition protests that are being under reported in the media says otherwise however.

    I think the reason so many anti conservatives are quick to call Harper evil is they have penis envy that we don't have a GW to rail against so they are making one up.

    The truth is, Stephen is a control freak, and keeps his cards close to his chest, however he hasn't done anything evil, and his political actions aren't near what the opposition has been pulling so I don't see how he's evil.

  19. he keeps tripping over his dick, and doesn't defend himself when other slander him, but so far he's lead the country well enough so far, even though the opposition keeps foaming at the mouth about little shit that no one really cares about.

    The reason I don’t buy the coalition’s view that a vote against the conservatives is a vote for the coalition is that:

    1.Traditionally the liberals and the bloc are bitter enemy’s as the liberals are centralists while the bloc when it can’t get another referendum going votes to decentralize the government so their province gets more power.

    2.When the bloc actually does co operate they generally are even more conservative than the conservative party.

    • "he keeps tripping over his dick"

      That never seemed like a particularly well thought-out insult to me (for reasons that should be pretty obvious).

      • … never really thought about it… I suppose you have to assume the person has good ideas but the execution of them leaves a little to be desired – he has a huge dick, but he keeps tripping over it and looks like a goober"

        I've got a lot of odd phrases that don't make a lot of sense, I'll try to keep them to a minimum =)

  20. 3.That Dion is willing to deal with the Bloc after they slandered him in Quebec calling him a traitor and a rat for not joining the Bloc, and saying the reason his father committed suicide was because he was ashamed of his traitor son.

    4.The NDP was just as rancorous and anarchistic with the last government, they will never be voted in, and they have become the party that rabble rouses to keep the others honest. Fair enough I just wish they’d use facts and not make shit up.

    5.Some of the liberal MPs are already speaking out that they don’t like what’s going on.

  21. 6.even if they succeed, in 4 years there will be an election and after all 3 parties in the coalition squabble amongst themselves during the economic crisis all it’s going to take is 12 out of 165 seats held by the coalition to get fed up and cross over to the conservative camp to scuttle the coalition. Canadians will remember this coup in the middle of a crisis as pure opportunism to gain power via a loop hole rather than a mandate from the masses and won’t be in power again for a while.

  22. I don't think becoming more like Episode 1 Star Wars is going to boost Canada's image if that's what they're going for with this whole political upheaval.

  23. That is unless they cut out the political bullshit and start settling everything with lightsaber battles. "I move that we vote yes because ultimately it will cut down production costs… Oh my… It seems that the representative from Vancouver has put his laser sword through my chest.".

  24. "Call it “The Space Congress Prequel Trilogy!!!” and broadcast it live on CSPAN at 4am."

    It would be on at 7pm on CPAC, best programming that station would ever dream of having.

  25. I heard about that on NPR the other day and was like wtf o_O

    Also yay for Narnia, though boo for the movies, mostly becuase movies of books are fail and also because THEY'RE IN THE WRONG ORDER >:((( THE BOOKS GO IN THE ORDER THEY WERE WRITTEN DAMNIT!

  26. the minute i heard he dissolved parliament, I immediately flashed back to Delenn breaking the Grey Council.

    Maybe this Prime Minister has a direct line to Valen? or maybe he *is* Valen!


  27. the minute i heard he dissolved parliament, I immediately flashed back to Delenn breaking the Grey Council.

    maybe the Prime Minister has a direct line to Valen. maybe he *is* Valen!


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