It's finally official; the Government of Canada fell on Monday November 28th through a motion of non confidence introduced by the Conservative Party of Canada. The next day Prime Minister Paul Martin of the ruling Liberal Party asked our Governor- General Michelle Jean for permission to dissolve the government and have an election on Monday January 23rd 2006. (That's just a formality by the way; although head of state in title as the official representative of the Queen, the Governor-General actually has no power. The one time a Governor-General refused to grant a party the right to call an election he was hauled home to England in disgrace. The real lasting impression he left on Canada was the donation of his wife's name to a sport's trophy: The Lady Byng award for sportsmanlike behaviour in the N.H.L. is named after her.)
One of the strange things that's taken to occurring in Canadian politics are the leaders standing up at the beginning of the campaign at their first Press Conference and waving a soft covered book around which is supposedly their secret recipe for running the country. The Liberals had their Red Book, (chill everybody, their not even socialist they just wrap themselves in the colours of the flag: red and white) back in 1995 that they have been referring to ever since.
I saw a picture of Steven Harper, leader of the Conservative Party, waving a book around with his party's logo on it, so I have to assume they've come out with their version. It's sort of cute, these book launches to start campaigns; do they think it lends any more credibility to what they're saying because they went to a printer and had their promises bound and made to look pretty?
The real hoot is how secretive they are about them sometimes. As if we don't know what they're all going to say in advance anyway. The Conservatives will talk about cutting taxes, and be socially conservative; the Liberals will talk about how socially conservative the Conservatives are and talk about how they've created surpluses in the budget and can give some tax cuts and increase spending; the New Democratic Party (N.D.P.) will talk about the need to do something, anything for goodness sake, about the state of health care, low income housing, and education; and the Bloc Quebecois will talk about how happier everyone would be if Quebec could only separate from Canada.