Canadian Parliament suspended, PM Harper survives … for now
The situation in Ottawa has passed, for now. The Governor-General (representing Her Majesty Elizabeth II) has granted Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s request to prorogue (or suspend) Parliament, meaning that the confidence vote that had been scheduled for Monday will not happen for now. This is a day of firsts, as this is the shortest session of Parliament in this country ever and the first time a PM has suspended Parliament with a confidence vote on the docket. Harper has bought himself about two months as Parliament will return late January and almost immediately present a budget at that time.
This is probably a bad sign for the coalition. Even yesterday some in the Liberal Party were looking ready to bolt, and we need to remember that StÃ©phane Dion’s hold on his party was never that solid to begin with. Even if the Liberal Party doesn’t bolt en masse, only a few members need to get what was once called "a diplomatic flu" and miss the crucial vote that would retain Harper in power.
All of the major party leaders addressed the country last night, and Dion claimed that a coalition would invest in transit infrastructure, green energy, and green stimulus. If they make it to January, he might still get that chance. But nobody’s made a lot of money by betting on Dion’s political abilities thus far, and I personally don’t expect this coalition to last that long.