Thursday, June 03, 2010

Harper's day in the UK

Stephen Harper was abroad today, spreading cheer to the British people.

First up, it's a shocking no go in response to Harper's advocacy against Britain's plan to implement a bank tax and heck, they're just going to go right ahead and push for it at the G20. Thanks for coming Steve:
While Cameron said he understands Canada's position, he said the British government will continue to push for the bank tax to spare taxpayers from the burden of having to bail out banks in bad times.

"We've always made clear, here in the U.K., that we will press ahead with this measure anyway, partly because of the large support the taxpayers have given to the banks," Cameron told reporters Thursday.

"But obviously we'd like to secure the maximum amount of agreement for this proposal and we're encouraged that there are other countries, which Prime Minister Stephen Harper mentioned in terms of America and Germany and France and others, that look like they will push ahead."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper appears to have suffered a setback in his efforts to avoid the implementation of a global bank tax.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper flew all the way to the United Kingdom but failed to convince newly-minted British Prime Minister David Cameron that a bank tax is a bad thing.
Entirely predictable, the bank tax is part of the coalition agreement in Britain. So what this trip accomplished for Harper, with its preeminent focus on just the bank tax is beyond this citizen. Likely just trying to get some of that world stage mojo but when you don't make any progress whatsoever on the issue you travel for, hard to see it.

Secondly, Harper took the opportunity to peddle untruths about coalition governments on the world stage. Aaron Wherry's already pointed out a few of the problems with Harper's interpretation of what happens when no party wins a majority of seats in the Westminster system. Technically, all parties are then losers. Some are just bigger losers than others. Expert opinion is also starting to trickle in after Harper's remarks today as well:
University of Ottawa law professor Craig Forcese says losers are allowed to form coalitions when no party has a majority following an election.

Ken Dickerson, of the Centre for Constitutional Studies, says the winning party is generally expected to have the first crack at forming a government but can't claim that exclusive privilege.
Early reaction to Harper's coalition talking points shows they're not flying so easily. We live in hope that voices of reason will prevail whenever such a discussion may present itself in the future.

Oh, and just for the fun of it, let's just throw in this one on an end note, to further amplify the point that Harper will say whatever it takes, whenever it suits, in order to win power. He used to think it was just fine for "losers" to form a government and without an election taking place: