A Coup in Canada?

It's an exciting time in the United States, but there are even bigger things happening to the north. No, it's not picking a national security team. Canada is on the verge of a coup. There's even a little deception and illegal wiretapping involved.

In October of this year the Conservative party in Canada (a little left of the Republicans, but still pretty cozy with George Bush) won a minority government. That means they won the most votes of any party, but don't have enough seats in Parliament to pass anything on their own. Still, their leader, Stephen Harper, was re-elected Prime Minister.

But, as the financial crisis settled in, Harper made noise about removing the right to strike for civil servants and ending a government subsidy that is given to all political parties after an election based on the number of votes received. Not surprisingly, this got everyone else a little mad. The easiest way to unite your opposition is to take their money away.

So the three smaller parties, the Liberals, New Democratic Party and Bloc Québécois (who rarely agree on anything), got together and signed a deal to cooperate in a bid to overthrow the Harper government. Their official reason: he failed to implement any sort of economic stimulus plan to help the Canadian economy (which is true).

Overthrowing a government in lots of places in the world can be messy business. But this is Canada. The technical head of the country is the Queen and thus, her delegate, the Governor-General, can constitutionally order a change in power. Enter Michaëlle Jean: young, good looking, and a woman who generally travels the globe as a figure head. She's had to cut her visit to Central Europe short to make one of the most important decisions in Canadian history.

Meanwhile, there have been many phone conference calls between party leaders and in caucus about how to form the new coalition. One of those conference calls, secret and run by the New Democrats, accidentally had login information sent to a Conservative official. The Conservative Party dialed in, recorded everything and promptly released it to the press.

Too bad there's a criminal offence called illegal wiretapping where, if you know you are not supposed to listen to something, listen anyway and then record what you are listening to, you're in a bit of trouble.

Not fazed by his party's criminal activity, Harper has released ads stating that a coup is "un-Canadian" (well of course it is). The opposition has drawn up a formal proposal to present to Michaëlle Jean. On Monday, the confidence vote should occur and it's anyone's guess what will happen from there.

Getting rid of Harper couldn't make me happier. The Liberals and the New Democrats care about things like public health care, worker's rights and other important social programs. Harper is a fiscal conservative who believes in small government and wanted to do away with gay marriage (a very un-Canadian thing to do!). But most of all, the coup makes watching Canadian politics even more exciting than watching Obama roll out his new administration.