Hah, the Canadian government has shown once again that politicians just can’t bear to follow the rules they themselves set.  At least, not when it doesn’t suit them.

The Harper (Conservative) government is a minority government.  Which means that in order for them to do the business of the government, they need support from one of the other parties in the House of Commons.  There are 3 other parties represented:  the Liberals, the NDP (National Democratic Party), and the Bloc Quebecois (Quebec’s separatist party).  There are also a handful of Independents.

Anyway, the Harper government enacted a law after coming into “power” in 2006 (are you in power if you have to rely on another party to get things done?), which puts into place fixed election dates.  The next election is not slated to happen until October of 2009.  The rationale was supposed to be that this would take away the power of a ruling party to call an election arbitrarily (i.e. when it was good for them).

Natch, there is a loophole which allows our Prime Minister to dissolve Parliament (which means that an election must be held).

Mr. Harper, our Prime Minister, has asked the Governor General (the Queen’s representative in Canada) to stay in Ottawa over the Labour Day weekend.  Technically, since the Queen is our ultimate sovereign, the Prime Minister has to ask the GG to dissolve Parliament and call an election.  Since the GG was planning to be at the Paralympics over the weekend, and now has been asked to stick around, it’s pretty clear that Mr. Harper’s going to do it.

(That is your Canadian civics lesson for today.  If you are a former Poli Sci prof of mine who is reading this, never mind my loose interpretation.  Nobody wants the technical doodads in a blog.)

Mr. Harper made much of the fixed election law when it was passed.  And now, he states that it was not intended to apply to minority governments.  Fancy that, how convenient.  Our economy is slowing, and the Conservatives have (perhaps) a better chance of winning sooner rather than later.  Not to mention, there are a number of by-elections coming up to fill vacant seats in the House, and the other parties are expected to win a significant number of those by-elections.

It just kills me that politicians always find a way to make the rules (which *they* often create themselves!) not apply when it doesn’t work for them.  Once upon a time, I was a young and naive college student who was fascinated by Political Science.  I loved the classes, was captivated by the ins and outs.  Then I became an intern at the BC Legislature.  (I think I’ve mentioned before that my internship was but a pale, pale version of the US Congressional internships that seem to be so racy and exciting.  My internship, not so much.)

Have you heard that old saw about never watching sausage or the law being made?  Yeah, it’s all true.  Being at the Legislature, witnessing politics in action (and, might I say, in reality) is stomach-turning.  Maybe I’ll write about that sometime.  Needless to say, my disillusionment at the political system led me to run, very fast.  Sadly, I chose to run to law school (which was actually quite awesome:  lots of alcohol and card games, not so much the classes and the studying), which led to the real pit of hell, the practice of law at The Bastard’s firm.

Ok, hold my horses here.  This post is not supposed to be about all that.  Just about the hypocrisy of legislators.

On another note of government stupidity, it has come out in the media today that the Harper government had planned to allow the food industry to pretty much regulate itself.  Some of those plans had already been put into place, such as requiring one government inspector to be responsible for at least five plants (one of which is the plant where the listeria outbreak began) and making them paper-pushers in an office rather than on-the-plant-floor inspectors.  Good plan, governing party!  That has worked sooooo well so far.  My opinion – there are some things (like food safety, natch) that should be regulated by someone outside of the industry.