Surprise, anger over Canada's political crisis

Tue Dec 2, 2008 5:11pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Canadians reacted with surprise, confusion and sometime vitriolic anger on Tuesday over the political chaos that has suddenly gripped the country's normally staid federal government.

Less than two months after an election that was at times overshadowed by the U.S. presidential race, Canada faced the prospect of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper being ousted in favor of an opposition coalition.

The Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois say they have lost confidence in Harper's minority government and have asked the governor general to let them form a new, coalition government, a move unseen in Canadian history.

"Is it legal? Where are we headed as a nation? I have lots of questions about our current political state of affairs," said Bonny Jung, a Toronto-area resident who voted for the Liberals in the October 14 election.

"It's almost like child's play," she said.

If the opposition parties vote down the Conservatives in Parliament and Governor General Michaelle Jean agrees to their plan, a coalition of Liberals and News Democrats would take over, with support from the Bloc Quebecois.

Jean, who represents Queen Elizabeth, Canada's head of state, normally plays a figurehead role. However, her word is final when dealing with constitutional matters.

In Western Canada, the power-base of the Conservatives, Harper's supporters expressed outrage that the Liberals and New Democrats would join forces with the Bloc Quebecois.   Continued...

<p>Liberal leader Stephane Dion (L) looks on as Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa December 1, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>