Tuesday, December 2, 2008 | Categories: Episodes
It's Tuesday December 2nd.
The Liberal party has announced that Stephane Dion will be Prime Minister if the Tories are defeated in a confidence vote and a Coalition government takes power.
Currently, in a tape secretly recorded by the Tories, Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff can be heard saying "one coup at a time".
This is the Current.
Okay, here's what we know for sure. Stephen Harper is the Prime Minister of Canada and he probably will be for the next six days. After that, all bets are off.
Next Monday, the opposition is scheduled to have its first chance to defeat the minority Conservative Government.
All three opposition parties say they plan to do exactly that, leaving the Liberals and NDP to form a coalition government if the Governor General is willing to give them a chance. If she is, that would make Stephane Dion -- a man Canadian voters soundly rejected less than two months ago -- Prime Minister. But only until May, when the Liberal Party chooses a new leader to replace him.
And of course, Stephen Harper still has six days to try to keep that chain of events from unfolding. All we really know is that things are in flux, simmering away while we wait to see how it all turns out. So we asked Claudio Fracassi what he thinks of the current political flavours in Ottawa. He's known as the soup guy. He sells soups named after politicians just down the street from Parliament Hill. We heard from him with what he thinks are the perfect blends for the three opposition leaders.
Now any one of those sounds pretty good. But would you really want to stir them together in some kind of culinary coalition? Claudio Fracassi says sure.
Of course the idea of being usurped by an opposition coalition promises a bitter taste in the mouths of the governing Conservatives. For his thoughts on that, we were joined by John Baird. He is the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and he was in Ottawa.
Liberal MP and leadership candidate Bob Rae is front and centre in the coalition talk. He joined us from Ottawa.
Listen to Part One:
Okay, lets recap. The Liberals and NDP have formed a coalition. They plan to defeat the minority Conservative Government next Monday and hope to be running the country shortly after that as long as the Governor General is willing to give them a chance. Oh, and Stephane Dion would lead that coalition until May when the Liberal Party chooses a new leader to replace him.
We've got three people to help us make sense of it. Antonia Maioni is the Director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada and she was in Montreal. Lawrence Martin is a political columnist with the Globe and Mail and he was in Ottawa. And Catherine Ford is a former editorial columnist with the Calgary Herald. She was in Calgary.
Listen to Part Two:
GG & Constitution
These are tense and potentially historic times in Canadian politics. But these events as incredible as they are have political parrallels.
Back in June of 1926, Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King was just eight months in to a minority government, when he asked Governor General Lord Byng to dissolve parliament and call an election. Lord Byng refused. And the result was a constitutional crisis that's now known as the King-Byng Affair. It's a textbook case-study in Canadian political science.
But for Michael Arthur Meighen, it's also family lore. He's the grandson of former Conservative Prime Minister Arthur Meighen ... one of the three main players in the King-Byng Affair. Michael Arthur Meighen is also a Conservative Senator and he was in Toronto. Peter Russell is a Professor Emeritus in Constitutional History and Political Science at the University of Toronto. He's also the author of Two Cheers For A Minority Government and he was in Toronto as well.
Well all this talk of a coalition government got us and our friends at the Content Factory thinking ... what would the coalition call itself? What would you call it? Send us your ideas. You can e-mail us through our website ... cbc.ca/thecurrent. Just click on the Contact Us link. You can call us toll-free at 1 877 287 7366. Or write to us at Box 500, Station A, Toronto, M5W 1E6.
Last Word - Ted Rogers Obit
Later today on CBC Radio One, it's The Point and host Aamer Haleem will be looking at how lay-offs affect the whole family. That's The Point at 2 o'clock -- 2:30 in Newfoundland and Labrador. And tonight at 10 o'clock on CBC Television, The National will have the latest on the struggle for power on Parliament Hill.
We ended the program today with a small tribute to Ted Rogers. Ted Rogers, founder and CEO of Rogers Communications died from congestive heart failure this morning. He was 75 years of age. Our last word goes to Ted Rogers with an excerpt from his interview on The Current back in October, about his love of radio.
Listen to Part Three: