December 4, 2008
The Governor General (and I really am glad I'm not her) decided this morning after an unprecedented 2 hour meeting with the Prime Minister, to prorogue parliament, without any limits, for 53 days.
I was going to make a chipper return to knitblogging today, but instead I'm going to take a break until tomorrow and knit my nice little hat, and my really beautiful socks,
(See? Aren't they nice? Don't you feel better looking at the wool?) and I'm going to thank Meredith for my new favourite phrase that sums up how I feel about this whole thing really nicely. I think I have "rage fatigue".
I don't know if the Governor General did the right thing, I know she did a legal thing and that she was likely very well advised by persons of greater experience and education than myself. I don't know what the Prime Minister will do with his 53 days, or what the opposition will do with theirs, but I do have some very strong feelings about the precedent set by allowing a public official to avoid our duly elected MPs for that time. I'm not a Conservative - or a Liberal for that matter... but I am a very strong believer in the concept of "responsible government", which is the cornerstone of our system, and is the idea that the government is responsible to Parliament, and I'm not sure how I can translate what's happening now... where Parliament has been prorogued and the doors locked so that a Prime Minister doesn't have to be responsible for his decisions to the house. One would hope that the man was strong enough in his convictions that he wouldn't play with the concept of responsible government, and who knows, he will have to face them in the end. He's an educated and intelligent man (just because I don't agree with him doesn't mean I hate him) who does head a minority government that was legally elected, so he's certainly within his rights to ask for it. Joe points out, and he is right, that taking a thoughtful break for intelligent reflection until cooler heads can prevail is certainly very Canadian.
I hope that they all return in 53 days with a plan that reflects a new spirit of compromise, concession and noble behaviour. I know that I am not the only Canadian who will be devastated if this 53 days is used for further hurtful, divisive, attacks and campaigns, particularly the ones we've seen directed at the province of Quebec and the citizens of Canada who live there.
Peace out. Knit on.
Posted by Stephanie at December 4, 2008 3:41 PM
It's very frustrating when your goverment is doing things you don't aprove of. You kind of want to go in there and smack them all!
Clench your teeth, keep knitting on the nice socks and hat and hope for the best!
I live far away in Texas, but this is all quite interesting. I will be waiting to see what happens, too, even though I don't have a stake in it.
Thanks Stephanie - for a concise summary and the reflections... I have copied your summary from yesterday and sent it on to others. Concensus has all been the same - "OK - Now I get it!!" How Canadian, eh??
Fascinating! Let's hope the big timeout works.
There's a tradition in some Native American cultures that when there's an important topic, every member of the group has to wait a little while before responding. So, no shouting over each other, and everyone takes some time to think over what the last person said before opening their trap. I like that idea. Hopefully, this prorogue will be like that. Fingers crossed for y'all. Obviously, in the US, we're rage-fatigued a lot too.
Or 53 days of attack adds and buck passing....
Boyfriend glancing over my shoulder: "Ooh, those socks look like a grass snake."
Uhm. Yes, carry on.
I'm sorry, I know you are frustrated and probably, like me, detest when folks walk away from what I think is their responsibility. I think, though, that giving everyone a cooling off period may have been a very wise thing, indeed. I also hope that the whiners can keep it to themselves so people can, in fact, cool off.
Or warm up, in the case of knitters. Goodness knows I'll have wool on my needles for the next two months!
Governments can be so frustrating! I have just spent 8 years being angry at ours in the US - that is a lot of energy down the tubes that I could have used for knitting! I am hoping times will get better for us all.
Bien dit! Now, let's hope they all get a lump of coal for Christmas...no handknit socks for the lot of them! However, this said, I, too, am disappointed that nothing, NOTHING is being done for the next while about the economy. If I were to be that type of employee, I'd be fired on the spot. Mr. Harper gets to go home, rest/regroup/plot and come back for more. This is not ok for the country. And OUI, my country includes Québec.
Well said, Stephanie.
Have you ever thought about running for office? You'd have my vote...
Wow. I have to agree with you, Steph, when you say that you're glad you're not Madame Michaelle Jean right now. Even though I'm not Canadian, I'm a little uneasy of having parliament suspended like this, because I'm familiar enough in world history to know what's happened in similar situations. Wow.
Another great post -- thanks!
I know I'm a cynical pessimist, but I expect we'll be seeing a whole lot of propaganda -- from all sides -- over the next 53 days, and very little constructive discussion.
I truly hope I'm wrong.
i definitly agree with u about not being her
Only 53 days. And seeing it as time to think, be calm, and then act as grownups. Given our primary season in the States, I love that Canada as a whole sets an example to look up North to.
The sock is perfect: the color matches the reflective, thoughtful mood to fit the occasion.
First of all, thank you for the explanation yesterday. I did wonder what was going on, and this really clears things up (coming from Germany, I might have the slightest advantage over American readers on that one). Also, I understand how frustrating this must be... 53 days of doing nothing while the country is in trouble, all because (seemingly) one guy can't play nice. Let's all hope that things get better in the new year.
And in the meantime: Knit On. Love the socks :)
I think it was the right decision... if she didn't and the opposition lost confidence, we'd have an election. If the coalition took over, I think the cons & the bloc (the bloc wasn't totally part of the lib/ndp coalition) would eventually team up to topple that government and we'd end up with another election. At least this way, Harper has a month or two to get his crap together and *hopefully* present a budget they can all agree on... if not, it gives us a little more breathing room before another election
Good luck, and I hope this cooling-off period actually does cool people off. That being said, this guy sounds like a bully. Knit your sock and hat, and I will knit my Mock Fisherman's Rib scarf. Happy holidays!
I like how, even though the decision isn't one you agree with, you (and your fellow Canadians, it seems) are able to understand and accept why it's been made. Perhaps the Governor General feels the way Joe put it: give them the 53 days and see if things can cool down.
If I understand correctly, in 53 days she can come back and say, 'ok, you have/haven't changed, and this is what's going to happen now'?
I hope they can take this time to show that they can actually act like grownups.
By the way and back to the knitting, what sock yarn are you using?
Good luck to all of us with our respective governments.
It seems that Canadians are experiencing what we Americans experienced under 8 years of Bush. We are extremely relieved that there is now a change of guard. Keep knitting, it alleviates the stress.
Spoken in tones of sweet reason, considered emphasis and careful, balanced word choice -- all of which makes me want to scurry around stowing the breakables before diving under the coffee table.
I'm so glad you took the time to inform all of us to the south who have no idea (so it seems) what happens outside our borders. I'm with Joe, let us all hope that a season in "time out" will allow reason to prevail.
Gorgeous sock BTW
It's truly a soap opera, with Canada hanging in the balance. I'm sure cool heads will prevail. I'm hoping, anyway. :)
Beautiful sock. Nice and warmy.
I get the whole "walk away from each other and cool off for a while" concept, but 53 days does seem a bit excessive right now with the global economy being the way it is. Although, the "time out" does seem to work sometimes in the case of spoiled children, I mean leaders.If only we had a rule like that here in the U.S., thousands of troops might still be alive....
wow, is the Bloc really as wishy-washy as it sounds?
very lovely sock, am looking forward to the hat.
Am I allowed to complain about the government if I'm too young to vote? (This 53 days sounds a lot like procrastination in the hopes that the problem will just go away...)
I must admit that I don't know squat about politics, US or Canadian, and I wasn't gonna read the post yesterday. But I did, and boy am I glad I did. I was very taken by the topic, reread it to my boyfriend (who isn't a pol. novice like I am) and we had a fruitful discussion. Very fun.
But when I read this morning that the prorogue thing did go down, I knew you would be none too happy. And also, I was aware of world politics and I had a clue what all those words meant in the yahoo article.
Sorry that it has come to such a rough patch, but thank you for an awareness that I didn't have. I feel much more adult now. :D
Sorry if that reads as a backhanded compliment, it's really not, I promise. I'm thrilled with my new knowledge.
Thank you for defining what is bothering me today - definitely "rage fatigue". I've never felt so 'helpless' as a voter... I pray that we don't end up seeing a number of business failing over these 53 days due to inaction... we already knew the automotive industry was struggling before he blew it in his 'economic stimulus' plan...now nothing for 53 days... I'll hope these businesses can survive that much longer...
Rage Fatigue. Good term for it.
I hadn't realized how truly awful I'd felt for the past 8 years until sometime late on November 4th.
There was a physical sense of relief and hope.
Here's to you having a considerably shorter period of mourning.
Well, neither of the 'Steve's has earned my respect. The Harper one comes across as an arrogant frat boy (remind you of anyone) and the other just seems incompetent (blurry video while he was talking about being clear, and holding up network television because the video wasn't delivered on time, yeah, that inspires confidence). I'm one of the few western Canadians who would have been fine with a non-confidence vote. I'm an educator and have deep distrust bordering on fear of the Conservative government. However, I hope a cooling off period will be useful but I suspect that it will become a propaganda fiasco. The local newspaper has a regular humor columnist named Ron Petrie. He suggested in his column today that we should vote for him for PM.
I want to know where I can get the lawn signs.
Sometimes a bit of deliberate consideration seems to be the best thing. It's either that or my favorite auctioneer's phrase when things aren't moving at his preferred pace: "Do something, even if it's wrong!". But, wow. 53 days? That's a long time to wait when you feel like you're circling the drain. Can you scooch over and make room under the coffee table, Rams? And please pass the Screech.
I hope that Mme. Jean took the opportunity to point out to Harper a little bit of the reality associated with heading a minority government (namely, that playing nice with others is essential if you want to keep doing it in the medium-to-long term). I also hope Mr. Harper has no desire to go down in history as having the Shortest. Government. Evarrr, and thus will use the opportunity to get his act together. I also hope that the Liberal Party will use the opportunity to get their own act together, so that 'you'll have to stand for election if you don't pass this bill you would otherwise consider obnoxious' will no longer be an actual threat.
All the same, 53 days seems like an awfully long break.
(And I love the sock. May its mate match adequately.)
Beautiful socks. They would be perfect with my 'wardrobe.' If I can ever successfully cast on I will knit my first sock.
Your information re your government was most informative and interesting. My in'laws were Canadian but I had never really heard much about the government.
Our not-so-bright defeated vice presidential candidate is already sniping at our president. She needs to stay in Alaska and look after her state and her houseful of children. As an aside I am a feminist, have always been a feminist and at one time was a rabid feminist.
Maybe you all would like to annex Alaska. The proximity is perfect.
If we have no federal government for 53 days, what happens to all the things the federal government is responsible for? Prisons? The Armed Forces? Laws? Money to the provinces? Do the MPs have any responsibility to their ridings right now? Is it like having an 'in school suspension' or are we really governmentless right now?
Thanks for your entry yesterday. It really explained the situation well. I wouldn't want to be the GG today having had to make such an important decision. If I was her, though, I would have at least petted some cashmere before giving the reins of the government back to Harper.
To make it official, let me second Naomi's motion for you all to annex Alaska (or at least certain parts/people). Hmmm, that might not be helpful just now. I am sorry for you and your country that the big people are acting a bit like two year olds. Many of us in the US have had enough of that with out outgoing gov't and are hoping for better come January. I am astonished that your elected officials think they can just put the economy on 'hold'. I say that coming with something of an Econ background, although I also know that the economy will do it's thing without us tinkering with it, just maybe a bit more wildly than we might like. Knit on.
Thanks Stephanie. "Rage fatigue" sums it up nicely. I'd like to see something constructive done, and in that spirit, am working as fast as possible on knitted Christmas gifts.
I wish the folks in my gov't (U.S.) were half as thoughtful as yours (though I guess having Obama as our next prez is a very good start). I really appreciated your blog entry yesterday. It was very enlightening. I consider myself a pretty informed person, but I discovered I knew (and still know) next to nothing about the way the Canadian gov't works.
Do you really think Harper is hiding out though? Even though I didn't vote Conservative, I do believe that since this party ended up in power, there must have been Canadians that think his party had the people to do the job.
I also strongly believe that Harper was not sitting on his economic laurels. Canada is very blessed to have an economy that is more or less still chugging along at a good pace, we have been no where near impacted to the same extend as other countries. It's been that typical Canadian "slow and easy wins the race" that has saved our proverbial economic ass. I take great offense at the coalition hotheads (and yes, I think they are all impulsive little boys fretting that they are getting to play in the sandbox enough) trying to bully Harper into pushing through what I view as economically irresponsible measures.
My apologies if that sounds rather heated, but this tug of war is the last thing this country needs at this time.
It's very frustrating that this major decision rested in the hands of a lady who was not democratically elected.
Bravo- you said it all so clearly except I really do not like Harper but was willing to give him a chance. No more!
He's mean, duplicitous and power hungry. Watch him like a hawk.
Is this really Canada?
I am so glad when you stated "I don't agree with him but that doesn't mean I hate him". In the US we can't seem to grasp that concept. I don't agree with what Bush has done but I don't hate him. I probably won't agree with everything Obama does either but I won't hate him. What a fantastic concept, that you can disagree but still be respectful. Do you want to come down here and teach us all about this strange concept you have? Please?
We still have a government, just think of the 53 days as an extra long Christmas break. That is what my husband said to me when he walked into the swear fest in our livingroom at noon as I heard the news of the GGs decision. Like you Stephanie, I am not sure how I feel about this. I figure if the PM is a bully boy now he most likely will still be one in 53 days. Get ready to mark your x yet again.
This "event" has been so much fun. What is really hilarious is how few people really understand the Canadian system of government. The misunderstandings are funny in themselves. Who knew before this what poroguing parliment meant. My friend, a political scientist and a lawyer overheard a conversation in a restaurant last night. The couple didn't know what poroguing meant but wondered if they all got pierogies before going home!
How fast can you knit a sock? A vanilla sock? Also, loving Canada right now (and always). Still most likely the country I will probably move to if I leave the US and can convince the boyfriend to do the same.
And thanks for the update yesterday, because I was much better acquainted with the news today because of it. I felt smart.
I love your sock. We in the US are used to "rage fatigue." Trust me, I've felt it for a long time.
After your explanation this morning I went searching harder for news on Canada. I find it quite sad I had to search for it on CNN, rather than it being a headline, as I think it should have been. I promptly found a Dec. 4th piece with statements from your PM. -sigh- Thank you for keeping us informed. Our world is too interconnected not to be, IMO. I hope, for all our sakes, that both countries start the new year with CHANGE and HOPE.
Great lesson on the parliamentary government process in Canada. I can't wait to see how it turns out after the suspension is up.
You deserve a knitting break after that informative post. Enjoy!
Oooo that sock is sooo pretty! What pattern is it?
Romeo knew what prorogued means --
"My life were better ended by their hate
than death prorogued, wanting of thy love."
(Yeah, That Laurie?)
I know what you mean, Charity - I get most of my news from NPR, and I was astonished that they haven't, as far as I know, even mentioned the situation, and that I had to go digging for it on CNN. I heard about it first on Making Light.
What a great explanation of the system and the current events for people who are not political junkies like me. Thanks, Stephanie.
I was devastated that Mme. Jean agreed to the prorogation. Then I settled down and thought:
1. She has saved the office of GG from an inevitable accusation of partisanship, which would dog the institution forever.
2. If the coalition is solid, it will be able to defeat Harper at the first opportunity in January, probably the budget speech. If the coalition is not solid, then it is just as well we find out now.
3. The coalition buys some time to put together a really sensible stimulus package in readiness for taking over the reins of power.
The down side of proceeding this way is that we are in economic crisis, and it is entirely possible that nothing whatever will be done about it until at least the end of January. This is a long time to wait, when Abitibi-Bowater is closing plants and Vale Inco (near me) is starting to lay off workers.
By the way, if Harper comes up with a budget that throws money at women, the unemployed and anybody non-corporate, then we will know not to buy it. I would suggest that whatever he proposes, he cannot at this point be trusted. His bent is toward no government intervention, laissez-faire economics. His economic update last week took gratuitous shots at democracy (the per-vote subsidy), women (no pay equity process), and workers (no collective bargaining). This is what he really believes in. Let's hope the coalition is still ready to take over in January.
Thanks for addressing this, Stephanie.
Thanks for your thoughtful explanations of Canadian politics for those of us in the US who find it fascinating, if a bit confusing at times.
Now, how about a close-up of that sock? A better look at the texture would be much appreciated. Love the color!
I was wonder what design pattern you used for the sock, it looks very nice.
try 8 years of craptacular government...hope yours turns out as good as ours just did and that you wont have to wait longer than 53 days.
I'm dissapointed in the decision she made. 53 days WITHOUT CONDITIONS??? The idea of proroguing I can cope with, since the coalition, as much as I personally support it, does have some very serious weak points that they should work on resolving.
I can't help hoping the conservative party decides that this might be a good time for them to start a leadership convention too. Look for someone who's able to actually WORK with others!
He is soooooo never getting elected here in Quebec again.
Oh man. Welcome to my world. (And I'm with you, I think if you can't be bothered to vote you shouldn't complain). It's been very frustrating watching my own government the past several years. I hope things improve after the prorogue.
Fabulous sockage! Any ideas as to how 53 came to be the magic number?
strange times, beautiful sock. what's the pattern?
Hope I don't sound completely like s stupid American, but is there a significance to 53 days? Why not 47?
I will be watching what is going on.........
Beautiful sock! Care to share where I can get some of that yarn?
57 days....try 8 years, okay? There's a reason that so many of us down here were absolutely giddy on the 5th of November. 8 years of abuse of power, damagingly divisive politicking, and some of the most half-arsed foreign policy decisions the world has ever known...I'm guessing our neighbors up north won't be that stupid. Maybe your Governor General is trying to give him enough rope to hang himself with, as it were.
Rage fatigue...we can tell you about rage fatigue, all right. It isn't pretty.
Loving your new book, by the way - something fun on every page!
I love those socks so much I want to eat them. Well, not eat them but I really like them. They look like they almost have a purple tinge to them. Is that just the photo?
Not I know what I'm going to do with my next socks. Like those socks.
I woke up with a migraine this morning and didn't make it to work. I expect it was slightly related to being so worked up over politics of late.
I have spent my afternoon knitting little hearts out of leftover noro silk garden.
Peace out, knit on, indeed.
Harlot for PM or president!
A lovely idea... and the new book is my favorite of all. Thank you. The part about little Cassie, and about Denny were particularly intriguing and heartening.
I will have to put a clapper on the book though. I find myself picking it up to read a chapter while walking through the house doing whatever. Then when I've had my laugh or cry, I put the book down... wherever....and I can't find it later.
You definitely have a, uh, not "a", the knack.
Thank you so much for your sensible explanations. As a Canadian living in the scary land south of the border, I find it hard to get clear comprehension of the issues. The day you posted your first explanation, I had been digging around the CBC website, but it was difficult to find the articles to explain what was happening, not just the most recent moves. It's nice to get my news from home along with my knitting-related blog reading.
This is very interesting - reminds me of the constitutional crisis in Australia in the 70s - GG sacked the government and called an election. There are people who have not forgotten or forgiven! We have a constitutional monarchy too.
Your socks are lovely!
53 days? That seems an arbitrary number. Why 53 days? Is there some special day in 53 days? I'm just a curious Michigander.
However, like many have mentioned in the comments, the idea of a "time out" seems like a very good idea. And Mr. Harper sounds a lot like a certain Lame Duck we have here in the states. Spoiled frat boys. Wonder if they knew each other in college...?
I'm so sorry y'all are having to experience hate politics. It's a horrible thing to have to watch your country torn apart by politicians who are supposed to be serving her as we have had to here in the United States. It would appear they have studied the worst in our politics and chosen to follow that example, and for that I am truly sorry.
I sincerely hope the "time out" brings healing for all of your fellow citizens. I think we finally got it right here, south of your border, and that would make it doubly distressing to now watch your beautiful country, which so many of us have held up as a shining example of what we should be, follow the horrid example we've set over the past many years.
For now, many positive thoughts are coming your way. Until the politicians resolve this, or the people of Canada stage a political revolt, I'm glad you, at least, can console yourself with massive amounts of yarn therapy. Maybe the stress will lead more of your fellow Canadians to the goodness of yarn.
Well, if 'a week is a long time in politics' what does that make 53 days, I would have thought 35 days would have been better. Joe's idea - yes NZers behave the same way, no 'excitable Europeans' here.
Loved the subtlty of the sock colour.
Good on 'that Laurie' - more than a few strings to her bow! That's why we all love her.
I think she made the right decision. I agree about ALL of them returning with a spirit of cooperation, but I don't think pointing out the Bloc Q is a party determined to separate from Canada is inaccurate. Married to a Quebecker who loves Canada.
Because of your posts I have an inkling of a clue of what is happening in Canada. I will take this 53 days to continue reading, and trying to gain a better understanding. Anything you can write to that end will be as appreciated as pictures of beautiful socks, stunning hats, perfectly fitted sweaters or death-defying shawls. Knit on (with wine)...
If it makes you feel better, the break will be only a week longer than the Christmas break was already going to be. I know that's totally not the point, but we take our small comforts where we can these days, right?
Tell Joe I love his spirit...
And yes: enough with the Quebec-bashing - we are nice people !!!
And as someone said, we wouldn't go as low as our PM to bring that kind of debate on just because someone doesn't think like you.
For once, I agreed with Gilles Duceppe from the Bloc, who said that we didn't need to frigthen everybody on that front - now is not the time to be so irresponsible..
Thanks Steph, I have been circulating just the commentary (yesterday's and today's - no names, no pack drill), and had people say they appreciated the even tone of your address/essay, and that they had a better understanding ... if anyone can understand this ... this ... whatever attitude this displays!
Jenni in Edmonton (when you coming back here?)
Thank you SO much for explaining the situation so well yesterday and for the thoughtful follow-up today. I think most Americans (myself included) don't pay enough attention to politics outside our little bubble, and it's enlightening to see how a different system of government operates. And the sock did help :)
I honestly wouldn't know if the 53 days would do terribly much... And remember that while it is still time for people to cool off, it is possible that the coalition's will power will die off too. Depends on how upset they are now...
Even tho we could probably come close to the definition of prorogue my guess is you send every USA reader to the dictionary-at least this one! There are times we might need it in USA. Nifty socks. Ellie
Those of us in Quebec are rightly horrified at the bashing. I never hated the man until now. Now he seems like a scared and spoiled little brat who acted as a majority PM when that's not what he was. What did we do in Quebec to deserve all this bashing from the mofo?
Stephanie, this is the most thoughtful and rational response to the whole situation that I've seen. Thanks for writing it - you have given me some much needed perspective. I find the whole situation baffling because I can't help but think that if everyone could act a little more adult, it would be much more productive.
"Rage fatigue" explains so perfectly how I'm feeling right now.
I do hope we don't have to spend 53 days including the holiday season listening to our Prime Minister tell lies about his opponents...or I will break all my radios and TV...
I'm going home to knit now...
Lovely spice sock.
Dreadful spicy political mess. I can't believe the Que.-bashing either, among myriad other issues. I keep thinking, in the spirit of JFK "Je suis Quebecoise", even though from Nova Scotia. I am Canadian. And Duceppe certainly impressed me during the debates. I don't want them to sever, and hope this mess doesn't start up that mess again.
I also am worried that we're in for 53days of hatefulness instead of sober reflection & constructive planning.
I almost threw something at the television last night watching the machinations and idiocies going on. This morning? Time to get out all the DVD's of old movies. I do not want to watch the ads that I'm almost positive we're going to be subjected to by the PM and his party. Closing the doors at this point, with a recession, is rather irresponsible. And the Liberals and NDP did have a plan. I wish she had let it play out.
Maybe I say this as shouldn't, but your political system confuses me.
Bethany (in Florida)
Although very frustrating, having to wait before you act, or even speak should be mandatory in such poltical situations. Of course, this goes for life, also. Everybody has said or done something they regretted, and given time to think, most of us would have changed our minds, or at least seen the other perspective. However, impaitence is worse when you are the one waiting, and frustration makes our gauge too tight.
So, let's think of something else...what yarn are you using for that sock?
Amen. Just... amen. Here's hoping that everyone will remember what a privilege it is to serve as an MP and act like grown-ups. And if not - Steven Harper, I'm looking at you - let's hope that cooler heads, whether in the Opposition or the man's own party, will show him what public service is about.
I agree with Joe....it would seem that the GG's decision buys everyone some time. In the meantime, the country is treading water, wondering how we're going to pay our bills during this economic crisis, but that's the way the Canadian cookie crumbles, I suppose.
This whole fiasco is one (of many) reasons why I really hate politics.
It's a shame that our GG had to come home in order to separate all the kids who couldn't play nice in the sandbox. And, they get paid how much.....?
Wow!! I work at a school with K-5. Sounds just like my "kids" only way overgrown. They need a major time out and attitude adjustment. They have the first...now they need the second. Canadians, Unite!!!!
Has anyone considered sending something warm, soft and wonderfully comforting to the GG? Like a nice scarf or a pair of mittens or *gasp* socks? Sounds like she could use something to remind her that the average Canadian will be plugging along during the next 53 days, waiting for the government to function again...
Thanks for your great explanations of events 'up north'... I was glued to C-SPAN today watching the auto execs make a plea to the US Senate... I think I still have an election hangover.... But I did get far on my Christmas crocheting!
Rock on, girl.
"I'm pickin' up what you're puttin' down."
"I'm reading your mail."
"You and me - we're like THIS."
You totally read my mind. Now, if only Mr.Harper would read it - I've got a few choice words (thoughts) for him.
To respond to TracyKM's question...don't worry, we still have government. The civil service, the courts, the military, the assorted boards, agencies, and crown corporations will continue chugging along and doing what they always do as though nothing happened, because for them, nothing has happened. There have been no new laws, no new policies, and nothing that would change what they are doing right now. Parliament is not in session, so I suppose that the MPs will do whatever they usually do when Parliament is not in session.
As for why a 53 day delay, I have no answers but two theories on that one. The first is that Parliament was probably going to break soon for the holidays anyway and 53 days from now may have been their regularly scheduled day to resume. The second theory is that Harper wants to present the budget during the next session, and the Treasury Board told him that it would take that long to put it together. The Federal budget is a big, complicated thing that takes months to prepare under normal circumstances. It's not really something that they should be throwing together overnight.
Hmmm maybe this gives Prime Minster Harper time to reflect on how Germany's coalition is currently working, or the upheaval and now stronger government of The Netherlands or what the GG could have done (Australia 1975)or the 26?? coalition governments that Italy has had since 1945. In troubling times I hope that The Prime Minster and Her Majesty's members of the opposition are being thoughful and careful.
As an American whose political sensibilities have spent eight years in the psychological equivalent of Guantanamo Bay, I feel your pain.
Thanks for your closing line about the province and citizens of Quebec. Believe me, as a Canadian first and foremost from Quebec, I do not appreciate that all of a sudden this ineptly-handled situation of the PM's making is somehow Quebec's fault. Sounds like bogeyman tactics to me...tell 'em what scares them the most and maybe they'll forget the arrogantly bungled cause of all this..
I am so enjoying your explanation of Canadian politics. It's nice to know that we, here in the U.S., aren't the only ones with quirky politicians. Somehow we will all survive. In the meantime I'm very, very interested in the process in your lovely country. I can't wait for the next chapter! Please, keep us in the loop.
In the meantime...knit on!
I did it - I read the BBC News page about the decision and it all made perfect sense to me, so thank you very much for that. I have family in Canada, an Aunt and Uncle and two cousins and their families, so I have always felt a connection, and I am finding out more about Canada through your blog than I have done before. What a plus for a something which already gives me so much pleasure on the knitting front!
At this risk of sounding extremely insensitive to your country's political situation (which I am saddened by, especially given the global economic difficulties--developing countries depend on quality decision-making at this level)... I am waiting with anticipation to get the deets on those socks. Very nice :)
When the little kids are naughty their parents give them 5 or 10 minutes in time out. When they're grown-up Canadian politicians they get 53 days? I really love hearing this, Stephanie, b/c it wasn't until I read it that I realized how little I knew about your government even though I grew up in upstate NY -- not that far from Ottawa. Fascinating. Every bit of it. Please keep us informed since our local media (or even national media) sure doesn't.
i'm too effing mad to put my thoughts into words... plus they'd be unprintable, and what good would that do? hmmm... knit on.
Stephanie, you have such calm assurance in your tone, whether it's from being tired with the rage, or true wisdom. I have fresh rage:
friggin hoogin fracker bickin flipper bleekin frack!
Can't we just get something done around here without giving the bad guys more time to scheme whilst the country waits in monetary doom over Christmas?
Let's send Harper a knitted ball gag, or a straight jacket, all done up in patchwork revolutionary style.
I'm with you, Steph. Definitely 'rage fatigue', or maybe even 'outrage fatigue'. I am glad Mme. Jean did what she did -- gives everyone a chance to cool off (we knitters have an advantage there; our knitting helps us cool off sooner than non-knitters). I expect Mr. H. and crew will be polishing up the budget. I also hope *all* MPs will be having town hall meetings with constituents, and answering their e-mails and letters -- or at least, taking them into consideration....
As for your sock -- Absolutely Lovely! What shade is that? What yarn? Looks like dusty roses or crushed raspberry sorbet...
Thank you Stephanie...for you amazing and frank explanation of our political situation, and thank you mostly for defending us who live in Quebec and are as Canadian as everyone else. :)
Not another word for me on this topic I am so outraged that they ALL now have 6 bloody weeks to do some more name calling and posturing. I don't know of another job where employees can say ""close it down "" we need time off to THINK about this problem and STILL get paid .
The constitutional lawyer in me agrees that this sets a very dangerous legal precedent. Regardless of where one comes down politically in all of this, the notion that some future prime minister could use prorogation to avoid a confidence vote is disquieting. This opens the door to dangerous and undemocratic abuses of power. It also points to the importance of care in the appointment process. The GG must be much more than just a pretty face (no slight intended to our current GG).
I say good going Governor General. You had on your hands a bunch of hot headed, out of control, little boys. It was time for the cooler. Let us hope while they're cooling out they get back any sense they might have. I don't like our leaders being an embarrassment. Now I'm going to go knit on that sock.
Stephanie, if nothing else your explanation yesterday of our political system is educating a lot of people from other countries. My main problem with the coalition is this; Harper has just been elected with a stronger minority (for better or worse), from the day of the election Layton (NDP) started conspiring how to get rid of him with the help of the Bloc and playing the Liberal like a fiddle. Now every elected member of parliament should have a vote, absolutely BUT and here is my big but, the Bloc do not appear on any ballot outside of Quebec. That means 9 provinces and 3 territories are affected by a party that has veto power on all financial decisions. And the Bloc admittedly is a separatist/sovereignist party whose only reason to be is to separate from Canada. A budget will not fly in January and I hope for a new election.By the way, I'm non partisan, I vote for the representative in my riding that best serves our needs..ciao
Ah, a time out. Yeah, I guess it sounds like they could use that. I hope it does some good.
I've had rage fatigue for the last 8 years. Thanks for giving me a name for it.
the brown is absolutely gorgeous for that sock!
It took me - no word of a lie - *5* tries to get through Harper's speech from last night when I was watching it on the CBC website at work this morning... I had to keep throwing my headphones down in disgust so as not to throw things at my monitor (even though I was reading about hockey in another window while listening and not even looking at Harper's smug (^(*& face anymore!)
What made me really want to throw up was what he said about the Bloc and by inference Quebec in general (not to mention all the things he was claiming the Tories were *going* to do/were doing - it was hard as hell not to snort (too) audibly while listening to him shovel!) Now I've only been to Quebec a few times in my life, but the province is beautiful and I've never found people there to be less than nice, kind and patient with my haven't-taken-any-French-since-OAC self. Interesting (or hypocritical) that Harper's oh-so-conveniently forgotten his own willingness to "jump into bed with the separatists" in 2004...
There is, however, a delicious irony in the fact that Harper's ass was saved by a minority immigrant woman (three kinds of people the Reform...err, Conservative Party look down on) who (technically) holds more power than he does - he might want to remember that little fact the next time he tries to prevent women from suing for pay equity!
I guess we just have to hope the "time out" ends up being for the best; though like other posters I'm expecting attacks ads for the next 53 days *sigh* (I'm also expecting all the editorial cartoonists tomorrow to have Mme. Jean yelling "You're all going in time out!" with all four leaders in different corners, given all the ones I saw today had some variation on them pointing at each other and saying "He started it!")
After surviving our horrendously long, loud and uncivil election process this year, I thought I envied you Canadians for doing it better and more rationally. YH, I thank you for trying to explain the process to us non-Canadians. I agree with what Terri W wrote, at more length and with more thought. Here in California, we've learned that we can continue to exist, more or less, without a budget being enacted; I don't know how your 'prorogue without limitations' differs from this, but I hope the basic services will be able to continue during this time. And that some sense may enter into our politicians' heads (yours and ours), in spite of everything.
BTW, when will you start your Knitters Without Borders campaign this year? We're waiting to send our 2008 contribution via your link.
Your socks are beautiful and they look so warm. Have just come in from a walk in absolutely beautiful and warm sunshine. I'll send you some when you need it to brighten up the situation in Canada. I'll be following with interest. Hopefully all your politicians will have level heads and work something out.
I thought the GG would appoint a caretaker PM or Government in that time. Odd.
As a colleague said in a meeting this morning - the House is the most expensive daycare in the country at the moment...
Personally, I can barely listen to the radio anymore and I'm thinking that becoming a hermit is more and more appealing.
Wow...it sounds like your government is wanting to compete with ours for silliness. But for what it's worth, I'm loving that not only am I getting a knitting blog fix, but also a course in Canadian Government...it's win/win really.
Merci Stephanie for mentionning we Quebecers aren't a herd of "irreductibles gaulois" who's only goal in life is to wreck Canada when its a country many of us proudly call ours...
p.s its really strange that here in Quebec City a lot of elected conservative mps won in areas who had historicaly voted for the bloc election after election...don't think we'll see that next time...
Yep, helluva knitter - but, gosh darn it, your are a terrific writer.
You have said it better, more clearly and more succinctly than most. You have brought clarity to my thinking as to what I really hope we will see in Parliament and Canadian politics in the new year.
I was sadly disappointed in our last election to see so many young people who said they would not vote because they felt it would not matter or make any difference. Sadly, our politicians lately have concentrated more on PR than on the business of being statesmen/women and bringing good government to our country.
May this be a wakeup call to all that it is time for genuine seeking of solutions in a spirit of respect and compromise. We Canadians share so much; it is time to remember such.
To borrow from our art: knit two (or more) together.
That was a really good post yesterday -- one good read and I understood how your government works -- thank you so much. It does seem unfortunate that the GG decided to let Harper have 53 days given what he's been up to since he got into office. Still, your government seems so much more rational than the US, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will work out well. Try living in Bush country for 8 years -- it has been horrible, horrible, truly beyond even rage.
That was a really informative post yesterday -- one good read and I understood how your government works -- thank you so much. It does seem unfortunate that the GG decided to let Harper have 53 days given what he's been up to since he got into office. Still, your government seems so much more rational than the US, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will work out well. Try living in Bush country for 8 years -- it has been horrible, horrible, truly beyond even rage.
When I saw your title I literally said out loud,
"No, Stephanie, there's WAY LESS than 53 days left until Christmas. YOU DON'T HAVE THAT MUCH TIME!"
So I'm glad this entry was about politics, instead. :)
I live in the GTA and I've already heard radio commercials saying how evil Dion is since he wants to side with the Bloc. *sigh*
I'm hoping that ALL of the politicians settle down and smarten up. I trust that Michaëlle Jean - a mother, after all - knows when people need a timeout.
I heard the on the news (US news, even!) this afternoon that parliament had been suspended, and I thought "prorogued!" And I also hoped you would comment on it, so - thank you!
I'm quite upset. I don't know that the coalition would have done a better job, although I do support them, but I know that for the next 53 days nobody is going to be doing anything except sitting around and fretting over what Harper may or may not be doing to prepare for the next sitting of Parliament. I don't feel like that's any fairer to Canadians than that joke of a budget, and I'm disappointed in Harper for doing it.
To say that I am disappointed in Mme. Jean's decision today would be an understatement, though I agree that she had every right to arrive at her conclusion. I am part of the 62% that did not vote for M. Harper or his party, and I was wondering what it would look like if *my* majority had a chance to be heard on the hill. I think M. Harper was rewarded for his bullying tactics with a stay of execution. I believe he will be additionally *rewarded* with a parliament that returns to a fretful and divided population, and a whole lot more issues on his plate than the *simple* matter of addressing our economic woes. I worry for the state of our nation when, even on the steps of the Governor General's residence, M. Harper has the balls to call out the "separatists" as being unfit for even sharing leadership. This is not a man who will let the next 53 days pass in peace and tranquility.
I find myself reaching far for the ability to be inclusive in wishing peace and goodwill to all mankind today. I shall continue to work on that.
Peace out--now THAT'S the spirit! :)
I'm horrified that our PM is bashing Quebec. My Canada will always and forever include Quebec and all her people. I was wishing that the "time-out"would include a publication/news ban on all the parties as well,so they truly would cool off and not spread more lies and half-truths.It is only an additional week from the scheduled Christmas break of Dec 13.Hopefully they will all use the time to prepare a reasonable solution.
Greetings to all from greater Vancouver.
Personally I think Harper's stalling for time. He can't dance his way out of this latest mess, is being effectively cornered by the opposition, and in an act of desperation is lashing out by accusing the opposition of supporting Quebec separatism, among other things. I think government should be held accountable for its actions, and Harper's granted request for a prorougement tells me he can't cough it up. But that's just my not-so-humble opinion.
Love the socks. My Christmas wish is to be mailed to your house so you can give me a personal tutorial on sock knitting.
Girl...give yourself a high five...that was a marvelous government lesson yesterday and ...I don't know how yous keep track of all that. Your passion about your country comes through and that's how I feel about my country for the first time in 45 years! (even though I was kinda too young to vote then haha)
Maybe we can propose items for an introductory knitting-kit for Madame Jean - after all she now has 53 days to wait ...
I think the yarn would have to be all-Canadian.
What pattern should she start with?
Oops I meant to add, that for those of you outside range of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, the BBC World Service News (available over the web) has been providing very good coverage of the whole proroguing situation.
Has anyone read The 48 Laws of Power? It makes so many things clear. When politics get really bad, which is commonplace, I always think of the five stages of grief, denial, anger, barganing, depression and acceptance. These 53 days would be a good time to tell your representative very clearly what you want done, before you get to the acceptance stage... I love the sock and yes it does make me feel better.
I've tried to distance myself from the whole sorry mess because I don't like to take that kind of anger into my life. But seeing a grown adult whine like a six-year-old and stoop to juvenile name-calling has certainly been an education.
I am thinking of starting a 53-day knitting project to commemorate The Great Downtime, but having trouble thinking what to produce. A blankie, perhaps?
As an Aussie we have the same vague system of Government as you. The last time our Governor General had to step in was in 1975 (our Prime Minister got sacked), we got a caretaker Prime Minister and new elections and are still studying the whole thing at university - I wish you better luck.
And yes I too am glad I am not your Governor General.
'rage-fatigue'--dude, you just described my last eight year relationship with politics.
You're right--socks are better...see the pretty wool? Feel it? Fiber: good. Politics: Evil.
I agree that taking a step back in order to intelligently find solutions is a good idea. However, I am concerned that 53 days, considering our current situation, is irresponsible on the part of our government.
And, as a side note: thank you to the author for describing the situation so thoroughly and with such humour and passion!
Rage Fatigue!!! I love it. I haven't heard the term before but that is so appropriate. Best of all, it even sounds like how I've been feeling about our government in the U.S. for quite a while now too! While I certainly understand that sometimes a person desperately needs to step back from an emotionally charged issue to gain a bit of perspective, 53 days does seem like a long time. Canadians are a pretty cool group of people so I'm sure that you'll get things settled eventually. I certainly wouldn't want to be the person who had to decide this one. I'm amazed however, that in government (yours, ours, and probably everyone else's,) when they don't accomplish what they are supposed to like budgets, etc., they still get paid. In NY we've had budgets that are almost a year late and the state officials who are supposed to take care of these things still get a paycheck while others who can't get paid until the budget passes don't. If you and I did that we would lose our jobs for sure. I might be able to understand a budget or something like it a month late because of some catastrophe, but it's usually not that noble. (I used budgets as an example because they are due out every year and they are easy to pick on as an example.) The culprit is usually politics, egos and the like. I'm glad that you have your knitting to distract you. I just got an early Christmas present, a 9 1/2 week old puppy! He's adorable, but he sure puts a crimp in my knitting! I guess I'll just have to take solace from your knitting. You knit "oh so much faster" anyways LOL! Nice sock! Happy knitting!
Well, firstly thankyou for the Canadian civics lesson - it's similar in many ways to the UK which is not surprising I suppose. I knew three parts of nothing about the Canadian system before today which is shocking really! (Mind you, the US system will forever remain a total mystery.) It may be of small comfort, but the UK government is also somewhat lacking in many people's opinions. In fact I could imagine 53 days of them not doing anything may in fact be an improvement...We also have separatist issues, Ireland of course is nothing new, but now with Scotland and to a lesser extent, Wales. I was intrigued to find on moving to Scotland, that a lot of the people I have spoken to, regarding the devolution of power from London to Edinburgh, either don't give a stuff either way, or think it's a stupid idea dreamt up by the politicians to increase their personal power. A few are in support of course too. The whole situation sounds a bit similar to that of Quebec. My view is that we should all hang together, or we will most assuredly hang separately :-) Just so Canada knows she's not alone in suffering these problems - shall I send the Queen over to put the frighteners on all of them?
So, answer me this (as no one else is able to). Is Canada a commonwealth of the UK? If not, what is the purpose of the Govenor General (as she's representing the Queen?)? Or maybe (probably) I'm getting it all wrong. No one I've asked over here in the UK seems to know....
Did you know The Globe and Mail reads your blog too?!! They've taken monique's comment from this post and put it in a story online: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081205.wparlreengagement05/BNStory/politics/home
This should clear up any doubts about knitting's relevance...
I also wish the next 53 days will be spent on reflection and finding ways to cooperate, but as someone else has already pointed out, it will probably be spent on propaganda ads and general mud-slinging . . .
I am using your explanation from yesterday to explain Canada's government and Parliamentary democracy to my son, who is at present studying early US history. We homeschool and that is one of the clearest explanations of your form of government I have ever read. Thank you!
Being here in the UK, most of your post yesterday covered concepts familiar to me and it certainly sounds like your PM has been playing fast & loose with the rules of "the game" (which is how I sometimes think some politicians see it). I would not expect more than the occasional confidence vote; I have occasionally wished our Parliament would have a few more!
I was also less than thrilled to find that I had to hunt around on the BBC news website for this story, rather than it being a headline. I suppose the charitable interpretation is that everyone thinks Canadians are so sensible that you'll have this all sorted out in no time & there was therefore no need to fuss!
My interpretation is that Stephen Harper (who I agree sounds like a bully; very un-Canadian!) will be hoping that the coalition of all the other parties will crumble during the next 53 days. If a week is a long time in politics, 53 days is an age in which to keep groups with differing views all singing from the same hymn sheet. He'll be hoping their natural disagreements bubble up, and encouraging it no doubt.
I hope it all works out. Best of luck.
If I counted correctly, 53 days puts you at Chinese New Year, the year of the Ox. Good time to start again?
Hopefully the 53 days will be used for the reflection, compromise and noble behavior that the Candadian people deserve from their leaders.
And I have to agree....that is really a beautiful sock. Back to the Hemlock Ring Blanket I started yesterday. I wonder if I can finish it before Sunday??
Oy! Just as things are starting to look up for us in the US. I hope the 53 day "time out" works to Canada's advantage, not to that of any particular individual, party, or group thereof.
I agree with everyone else. Nice socks. I may "borrow" (read: invent based on the picture) the pattern for a certain skein of fall colored Pacapeds that's been calling my name.
It sounds like she put the whole parliament into time out. Hopefully when they regroup, they will be ready to play nicely with eachother.
In response to Carli (5.28 a.m.), Canada is a member of the Commonwealth: The Commonwealth of Nations, usually known as the Commonwealth, is a voluntary association of 53 independent sovereign states, most of which are former British colonies, or dependencies of these colonies (the exceptions being the United Kingdom itself and Mozambique - the only nation to join that had no previous ties to the UK).
Canada is a constitutional monarchy, with The Crown acting as a symbolic or ceremonial executive. The Crown consists of Queen Elizabeth II (legal head of state) and her appointed viceroys, the Governor General (acting head of state) and provincial Lieutenant-Governors, who perform most of the monarch's ceremonial roles.
Does that help?
ANALYSIS OF CANADIAN POLITICAL SYSTEM BY A PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE. My brother is a political science professor at a State University in the US. He is also a political junkie. I emailed him your thoughtful essay on Canadian politics and this is his response: *Stephanie's essay was most interesting, well-written and contains with many astute insights (if this foreigner dares say so!). Only two factual quibbles: 1. The Greens have no seats in the current House of Commons. 2. (I think this is right): The GG dissolves, not prorogues, the House when calling for new elections.*
Best- Hester from Atlanta
Think of the prorogue as an extended "time out". And yes, the wool DOES make me feel better!
I enjoy reading your knitting blogs, but your insight into the Canadian government also makes for interesting and educational reading. Thanks! (and as always-LOVE the socks/wool/pattern!)
Stephen Harper is having a 53 day time out. Remember, you don't have to listen to anything he says during time out, and you CERTAINLY shouldn't respond.
Seriously, if we treated politicians like preschoolers they'd probably play alot nicer with each other.
Amazingly insightful as always - I'm continuing to send confused and distressed citizens of all leanings your way.
You've expressed my feelings on the matter well. The Governor General (personaly, not the role of the office) remains something of an enigma to me, so much so that I really am beyond speculating at her reasoning, though I can say I am disappointed as this is what I thought is the least functional choice - a delay of the ultimate outcome, whatever it be. But we all join our party leaders who, thankfully, all maintained their decorum (for once!) in respecting the choice at present and not daring to call anything about the Office of the Governor General into question, before the devolved again into the scheming around what's next.
It is indee very Canadian to sit back and reflect, though I'm also concerned that many will not do this and will start up, and jump onto, repective propaganda bandwagons. One thing I've been trying to get EVERYONE to do, and you are doing so much to help, is to educate themselves about our government, our democracy, and to think very, very, critically about everything that is being said and done. Which, sadly, relatively few people are doing, still. Present company excepted - these blog comments are nearly as outstanding as the blog entries!
I don't want to think about our govt.at all. I just received my 2009 knitting calendar & I'm enjoying reading through it.
Well done Stephanie.
Stephanie your posts about the situation in Canada was very well done. Good on ya'
I shall cast my vote with Marie, Amanda, Barbara S. and Bekala, who asked 'what is the sock pattern' and 'could we have a closeup photo?' My best guess is maybe a garter rib variant.
Those are really lovely in a beautifully understated way. Interesting to see what people think of the color- on my monitor they look like milk chocolate socks! Yum.
I swear, if I hear one more person say that the coalition was a coup attempt, I'm going to smack someone.
And then I'll pick up my knitting needles and attempt to knit through the frustration.
Thanks for your really articulate outline yesterday! I am dissapointed Harper has 53 days to regroup. I would have trusted that cooler heads would prevail if I hadn't lived in the US for the last seven years. I hope the bigger picture prevails to the Conservatives and they choose to focus wheres it's really necessary - the economy.
Having said that, the socks are lovely, makes me happy looking at them! I agree with redirecting my energy into creating beautiful wooly things.
Please promise to keep us updated w/ the situation as it progresses. I think this is fascinating, but I've not heard a word about it on our newscasts here in the US. So I wouldn't know when I should google for updates w/out my friendly Canadian Harlot.
Dude, I can't believe I'm missing all this! The local paper had a small story on page 5. That's it. I can't wait to get home tomorrow and see what's really going on...
I guess we'll wait and see. I wish Canada the best in getting through the crisis. I am disgusted by the verbal attacks on the Quebecois party, and I agree with your hope that the parties can move forward in compromise, not in further slander and divisive talk. As an Obama supporter in the recent US election, I really felt like reminding some fellow supporters that an elected government is supposed to represent the interests of all the people, not just the winners. The parliamentary system has an edge on the concept of representing a plurality of interests. They are all a part of the nation, and I hope Harper can remember that before he makes a bitter situation even more bitter.
All that AND a ruckus in the British House of Commons? There's gotta be something in the water.
I completely empathise with the 'rage fatigue'. I've had to turn the radio off because I simply cannot listen to yet more speculation about what will happen in 52 days or someone like the bulldog Baird making strangely mollified comments about 'working with the opposition'. I have great difficulty understanding how, without parliament in session, they're (and I'm being inclusive here for all parties) going to enact things to help out parts of our country that need helping out.
I do realize that things can be done while parliament is not in session, but financial policy is not one of them. I'm also not one who necessarily believes in a 'bail out' for big companies, but I can see the domino effect as things start to fail. If these things happen (in the forestry sector as well as other resources, not to mention autos)in the interim 52 days, will/can anything happen?
At a time where the media (and I do pin a certain amount of the inspired 'panic' on them) are trying to convince us that we're descending into the Great Depression all over again, we have a gov't essentially on holiday.
Merry Ho Ho everyone. Sigh.
As a Liberal Albertan, you would not believe the number of times that I have heard that the coalition is either illegal or unstable. BTW, I'm hearing that the latter is purely a COnservative media invention. Apologies to the Quebecois. I am furious that Harpo sank to this level.
Harper- the man who would be queen - is done for. I think that we are in for 53 days of atrocious hate politics.
The only good thing about thisa is that Harper had to go beg a favour from a female, black, francophone immigrant. That makes me feel warm all over.
Couldn't agree with you more on every point!
Although.. Joe has a point too.
Thanks so much for the Canadian politics and government lesson. We in the US seem to think that all governments must run like ours or else they are dictatorships or worse! Your ability to disagree without vitriolic hating is a model for all. One day I'm sure I will read that the Yarn Harlot is a member of Parliament in Canada and that all the members knit while debating, to keep them calm and rational.
I spent a summer studying French at the Universite de Laval in Quebec. Loved it.
Dang, that's one big sock....
Peace out to you too, Yarn Harlot. I saw Neil Young at the ACC last night, and the lyrics of his first song really moved me - we could use a little of this wisdom right now:
Love and only love
Hate is everything
you think it is
Love and only love
will break it down
Love and only love,
will break it down
Break it down, break it down.
it took me ages to read half of the comments.
rage fatigue....explains a lot.
The prorogue isn't such a bad idea, and 53 days isn't as long as you might think, since the MPs' Christmas break would have taken them to the end of January anyway. The country won't fall apart in 53 days, the civil servants are still doing all the work that they normally do anyway. Bills aren't being passed in parliament, so there aren't big bucks being shelled out to manufacturers, which is where the economy is being hit the hardest. The Conservatives weren't going to deal with that issue anyway (Stephen Harper and his close friend Jim Flaherty would rather see Ontario stew in its own juices for a while) so whether they are in the House or not right now isn't making as much of a difference as one might hope.
If the Liberals were smart, they'd hold their leadership convention on January 15, rather than waiting until May.
Nice sock though. Good distraction.
I think the G.G. did what any 'about-to-be driven-insane' Mother would have done. She sent them all to a corner for a time out. Hopefully they will all play nice once they are allowed to come out of the corner.
Thanks Stephanie, for the post yesterday on the workings of the Canada government. Our education system in the US is very lacking on our bordering neighbors.
The sock is beautiful!
I have a request for a blog post, would you do one on the best way to learn to knit. I am self taught on crocheting and can not seem to get the hang of knitting.
Thanks, Judy (yes another one)
It's really weird when arcane but largely theoretical aspects of your daily life, like living under a monarchy, actually impinge. I knew in theory what the GG was able to do, but I really wasn't expecting that! (I haven't been that surprised by a news story since someone explained the US electoral college to me at the end of 2000).
I don't think it would happen here in the UK... It does feel like a little boy running to mum to sort out his problems...
I totally agree with rage fatigue. I'm suffering from that as well, big time.
I was shocked when I heard that the GG agreed to the prorogue. Its obvious that the PM is just using this to stall, and that cant be good for Canada as a whole. Seriously. Gah.
"taking a thoughtful break for intelligent reflection until cooler heads can prevail" is what it will appear like to the public. However, like a duck, there will some mad paddling about below the surface!
Stay tuned! And read up on your history...this tactic has been used before (though I can't say that it helped the cooler heads)!
Love the socks! Is that the Conwy pattern? I did a pair for myself in that pattern and I just love it....but they took forever and a day! (I'm just not as quick as you).
I am somewhat reminded of the idea of the filibuster- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filibuster -in the United States. Of course, the filibuster requires a bit more effort than a 53 day suspension where you can all go home and drink your hot chocolate. Deep breath, I guess.
Dearest Harlot, I'm on a diet. My beloved chocolate is no longer on the menu. Your sock calls to mind a lovely, rich, mouth-watering chocolate bar. Your sock is so rich looking that I want to eat it. Yes, I know, I'm sad and pathetic but this is what chocolate deprivation can do to a woman - be warned. Would you perhaps share the details about the chocolatey goodness that is your sock? I can't eat the yarn but perhaps it's wonderful rich color will keep me from embarrassing myself at the local Godiva shop.
P.S. Hope the politics work out okay. Sorry, to sound unsympathetic; I'm in chocolate withdrawal and can't really focus on your country's personal problems right now. ;-).
As a Brit/Canadian I thought it was all so appropriate. Let's just put it all off until after Christmas/Chanukkah or whatever. Why ruin the holiday season? Cheers!
I can certainly understand the apprehension, given the economy and the fact that the Prime Minister seems to have had an interesting...strategy and I'd be nervous about him getting it together and not pulling the same c**p again.
But then, maybe she was a bit less diplomatic behind closed doors, and he's been given 53 days to get it together or he's toast.
Let's hope that it turns out well for you all. Keep us updated?
Stephanie: you never get over losing someone (as with Janine) and the "firsts" as with Boxing Day and your Aunt Helen can also be so hard on the heart. Please acknowledge these feelings; cry, feel sad, but don't try to sweep them away. Maybe take some time with your family and talk about Janine - memories of her and what you all loved about her. The same with your aunt - get together with your uncle (if he's ok with that) and the family and talk about her, and what she meant to you. Cry, laugh, and remember. Keep their spirit and memory alive. (P.S. I've been a volunteer at our local hospice for 6 years, and I'm passing on to you what I've learned from the "experts" there...)
I'm with the posters who are dubious that cooler heads will prevail. It's unfortunate that I'm bracing for 53 days of attack ads from the Conservatives and Harper (I've already seen two negative TV ads and heard a radio ad). I'm tired of him playing the schoolyard bully whenever something doesn't go his way.
Part of me hopes that cooler heads will prevail but I think that Harper has pushed the opposition too far this time. I don't this this cooling off period will do anything more than make each side more determined to one-up the other. Sad and unnecessary.
I highly doubt that Harper will come back and be willing to compromise, etc, as he (and his party) has a history of nothing but contempt in this regard. This isn't about calming down either as you outlined in your last blog. Harper has had this coming for a long time due to his tactics. This was even shown in his announcement that Parliament would be prorogued.
Quite frankly, I find it exceedingly hypocritical of Harper to do this since he's talked endlessly about how MPs/government/etc should take responsibility for its actions or lack thereof. Looks like he's just not willing to swallow that himself.
And now the GG is complacent in this as well. I have no idea why she's not decided to act like the person she's supposed to represent, but she did. And I question her professionally and ethically for doing so.
So, much for taking care of the economic crisis, eh. Parliament's not in session. Hypocrite Harper.
This was very well written and informative. Thank you for educating Americans on your situation. Before I read this I had the impression that your P.M. was acting in a quasi-illegal way and perhaps upsetting your Constitution. Now I see that he is merely a bully and a crybaby and motivated more by his desire for control than by the good of the nation. He very likely conflates his control with the good of the nation to boot.
My sentiments exactly!
First, I must compliment you on your sock. :) Second, I must say that I totally understand how frustrating it can be to sit by and watch your government do stupid stupid things. I live in Illinois and even on a local level some decisions that have been made either by the government or the voters have just floored me. I hope that your government takes these 53 days to come to a logical decision and they do what is right for all of Canada! I'll be knitting and thinking of you! Best Wishes!
Stephanie, thank you for what must have been a herculean effort to summarize what is going on in Canadian politics right now. I've been trying to understand it and keep abreast of it, but without the background, it was more than a little confusing. You wrote it all out so clearly and cleanly, and I appreciate these posts so much!
Once again, thanks for the lesson on Canadian politics. Sadly, I am now of the opinion that almost all politicians truly care nothing for the people they supposedly represent, and everything for the points they can score on their opponents -- hence the sorry mess the US is in, right now. Hopefully, Canadian politicians will prove me wrong, and give the rest of the world an example of a thoughtful and responsible government in action.
On behalf of Quebec knitters, thank you. We're not evil, and I think that the fact that we don't have a Micheals' here is punishment enough for any previous wrongdoings.
Rage fatigue indeed.
Rage Fatigue -- what a perfect phrase. I think that described most Americans for the last 8 years.
But 53 days!! That's insanity. My empathy for you has no bounds (8 years is a f of a long time). But all and still (is that a Canadian phrase?), you still do have a great country and a good political system.
I cannot understand how "those in power" allow/force their citizens to live within a Kafka novel. Especially since the bozos who do this in my country (the US), I bet never read Kafka and would not be able to tell you who he is!
By the way, those brown socks are really, really nice.