The Star's Susan Delacourt nibbles around the edges of a fundamental difference between the two Facebook groups currently under discussion:
The Facebook group against proroguing Parliament has crossed an interesting threshold this weekend -- it now has upward of 136,000 members [Ed: now 165,000+]; nearly 10,000 more than the Facebook group set up to oppose the Liberal-NDP coalition plan a year ago.
Size is not the significant distinction between these groups however. It struck me yesterday, though, as I was watching some of the chatter about this blog post, that the two protests are based on very different assumptions about public knowledge. This new Facebook group is counting on people to educate themselves about parliamentary tradition, practice and principle. The old Facebook group was organized around the notion of 'never mind parliamentary rules about majority/minority and confidence, this thing is wrong.' In other words, you have to understand basic rules of Parliament to understand why this prorogation is unusual; you had to ignore parliamentary rules to argue the coalition was wrong.
Good thinking, Susan, but you could have made it clearer: The fundamental distinction between these two groups is that the anti-prorogue group is honest, while the earlier Stephen Taylor anti-coalition group is simply Stephen lying, as is his depressing pattern.
Here's the definition of the anti-prorogation group:
On December 30th, 2009, for the second time in as many years, Stephen Harper has asked the Governor General to prorogue parliament. Like last time, he will certainly get what he's asking for, forsaking his responsibility to be accountable to his employers, us Canadians citizens.
What can we do? Ask your MP to attend parliament anyways. Think it can't be done? Check this out:
First, find your MP:
Contact Stephen Harper directly:
Our Members of Parliament are our employees, and they should show up to do what we pay them for. If you need help getting started, here's a sample letter:
What can you say about that? It's clear, it's concise, it's to the point, and it's perfectly accurate. There are no histrionics, no accusations of dishonesty or illegality or unconstitutionality. Regardless of whether or not you support the aim, you can't deny that the description is perfectly apt, which suggests that all of the currently 164,000+ members of that group know exactly what they're joining and there's no misrepresentation.
Let us now consider the description of Taylor's earlier anti-coalition group, and count the lies:
This group is for all Canadians against a Liberal/NDP Coalition propped up by the Bloc Quebecois.
Good, good ... Stephen starts out by accurately describing the proposed coalition as "Liberal/NDP", merely "propped up" by the Bloc since, as sane people might recall, the Bloc was most emphatically not part of the proposed coalition. We all remember that, right? They simply agreed to support the coalition, but they were not going to be a part of it, a fairly important distinction that Stephen is going to forget before long.
The argument is simple;
With Stephen Taylor, saying something is simple generally means a very simple bit of bullshit is imminent. Oh, look, there it is:
In the last federal election, Liberal leader Stephane Dion said he wouldn't form a coalition with the NDP because they had "bad economics" that weren't in the best interest of our country. What does Mr. Dion do a few weeks later?
He signs a coalition government with the NDP.
Oh, noez, Stephen!! A politician breaking a campaign promise!! The horror!!!! Are you sure that's a road down which you want to go? Really?
But Taylor's weaselitude is only beginning:
Also in the agreement was the separatist Bloc Quebecois. How low has the Liberal Party and NDP gone when they sign an agreement that gives so much power to a party devoted to the destruction of Canada? There is only one winner in this coalition accord. Unfortunately, that winner, is the Bloc Quebecois.
Notice how quickly Taylor's forgotten that the Bloc was not a part of the proposed coalition? And, if memory serves, the Bloc was promised absolutely nothing in the way of ministerial seats. But such distinctions are lost on Taylor, who's already spinning this as kowtowing to those evil separatists. At which point, Taylor pulls out the big guns:
This move by the opposition parties is unethical and not in the spirit of democracy.
Unethical and undemocratic? Harsh words for someone whose hero was more than happy to propose the very same thing only a few years back:
On Friday, Mr. Harper went before television cameras to slam a potential Dion-led government as illegitimate because he lost the Oct. 14 election.
But the Liberals and NDP said those arguments were undercut by Mr. Harper's 2004 letter to then-governor-general Adrienne Clarkson, which requested that she turn to him if Paul Martin's newly elected government were defeated in the Commons.
"We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority," the 2004 letter stated.
Huh. Oddly, Stephen Taylor never found anything unethical or undemocratic about Stephen Harper wanting to get into bed with the socialists and separatists. That's the great thing about context, boys and girls. With Stephen Taylor, it's always about context. But Stephen's not done -- now he's just going to get incoherent:
Yes, it's completely within the bounds of our constitutional framework.
So ... it's totally legal and constitutional, but it's also unethical and undemocratic. You caught that, right? And that's when Taylor turns the incoherence to 11:
However, it's unethical for these parties to deny a coalition in an election and form an agreement after an election.
Huh? They can't discuss a coalition because ... they promised? Dear Stephen: See Harper, Stephen; income trusts. Seriously. At which point, the batshit craziness comes pouring out:
Canadians might have voted 62% combined popular vote for the opposition parties, but there is no majority who voted for a coalition.
Because, when people voted, the word "coalition" was nowhere to be found on the ballot. I'd try to explain this to Taylor, but history has shown us that he is appallingly ignorant of even the simplest basics of Canadian electoral law. But Stephen's going to keep riding that pony:
To form a coalition this accord should have to face the Canadian people in the form of a federal election. Put it to the people, let them decide, after being made aware of this agreement, whether or not they want a Conservative Government or Liberal-NDP, Bloc supported coalition government.
The way Stephen Harper was proposing back in 2004, Stephen? Like that? And here's the capper:
The opposition parties don't want an election, because they know they would be brutally defeated.
That would be the election that the Opposition was so ready to bring on until Stephen Harper, in a fit of pants-pissing cowardice, ran away from it with his first prorogation. Is that the election you were thinking of, Mr. Taylor? The one Harper dodged in fear by crawling to the Governor-General? Yeah, I think that's the election we're talking about here.
I could go on but I think I've made my point. If one wants to compare Facebook groups, one should at least make it clear that the current anti-prorogation Facebook group is clearly defined and describes exactly what it represents.
Stephen Taylor's earlier anti-coalition group, on the other hand, is defined by a whopping sack of lies, misrepresentation, selective memory and hypocrisy from beginning to end, which might be why it ever got to 127,000 members in the first place. I'm wondering how popular it would have been if Taylor hadn't been such a pathological weasel.
Sadly, I suspect we'll never know.
AFTERSNARK: Make sure you appreciate this bit of philosophizing from Taylor:
This move by the opposition parties is unethical and not in the spirit of democracy. Yes, it's completely within the bounds of our constitutional framework. However, it's unethical for these parties to deny a coalition in an election and form an agreement after an election.
In other words, what Taylor is saying is that, even though a coalition is perfectly legal and constitutional, it's sleazy, underhanded and undemocratic.
And Stephen's defense of Harper's latest prorogation: It's perfectly legal and constitutional, so shut up.
Like I said, with Stephen Taylor, it's always context.
OH, AND THERE'S THIS: There's no end to Stephen Taylor's hypocrisy and double standards, but here's more. Not that long ago, dragging Canada into an unnecessary election would be incredibly damaging because we're in a recession and we absolutely need to stay laser-focused, every minute of every day, on what it takes to protect Canadians and we can't let our concentration waver for a minute.
On the other hand, let's kick back for several weeks, it's not like there's anything important that needs doing.
Does anyone else spot the hypocrisy?
MORE WINGNUTTY GOODNESS: As I've pointed out in earlier posts, it's entertaining that the people who are utterly horrified by the concept of a Canadian coalition government are much the same folks who are such fans of Israel, a country that's made coalition governments pretty much a way of life. Oddly, that doesn't seem to bother them in the least. Go figure.