Rob Ford’s revolution in Toronto may fade .. but in Ottawa Stephen Harper will still be going strong!

Sep 19th, 2011 | By | Category: In Brief

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2011. The Canadian House of Commons returns to work today, after its usual long summer vacation (once an essential break for family farmers, for whom summer was the crucial busy season).

According to the lovely Jennifer Ditchburn at The Canadian Press, after “tributes to late NDP leader Jack Layton” are paid in the morning, “there’s every sign” that the 41st Parliament elected this past May 2 “will be acutely polarized,” between the right-wing Harper Conservatives and the left-wing New Democrats, currently in the midst of a leadership race to replace Mr. Layton.

Maybe, maybe not, some will say. The more important point in any event for we the everyday people, who still try to keep a proper democratic citizen’s interest in federal politics between elections, is that the Harper Conservatives now have a majority of seats in the House. They do not finally need to worry what New Democrats, Liberals, or even the one-seat Green Party under Ms. Elizabeth May say or do about anything.

So long as his own backbenchers do not break ranks, the new majority PM Harper can say or do whatever he likes. There is no good reason for the rest of us, coast to coast to coast, to pay any more attention to Parliament than he does. And, as Ms. Ditchburn also tells us: “Prime Minister Stephen Harper will pop in and out of the Commons all season. On Tuesday, he’s expected to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Later in the fall, he’ll go as far afield as Australia and potentially China for summits and official visits.”

Meanwhile, back in Canada’s current biggest (and most hated) big city, there are signs that the conservative conquests of 2011 just may be a little less durable than some had hoped (and many others feared). We have just reported on all this in our “Streetcar Named Rob Ford” page, accessed via the bar underneath our masthead at the top here. Or you can just click on “Streetcar Named Rob Ford … Sunday 18 September 2011 : That was the week that was not good for the Bobbsey (er …  Ford) twins!”

As we also discuss in our latest “Streetcar Named Rob Ford” report, in the City of Toronto with its much more informal and less tightly organized system of right-left partisanship, “growing evidence that the Ford nation regime does not really have anything like the kind of broad public support it has been claiming so far” could prompt enough councillors to increasingly rebel against the public-service-cutting “Ford Revolution,” and cut short its age of real impact.

In Ottawa, where the party system is much more formal and tightly organized, Mr. Harper need not worry about such things. For all of the next four years, it would take something close to an unprecedented cataclysm to stop his fellow Conservative MP s from supporting his policies with their new parliamentary majority, no matter how unpopular these policies may seem to grow in the country at large – or various parts thereof!

(As the journalist Peter Trueman used to say in an earlier era on TV, that may not be news, but it is reality. And just what we everyday democratic citizen followers of Canadian federal politics should be paying attention to now is something we will have to think about, over the next several months, or more … and more … and more.)

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