User-agent: * Disallow: /

Monday, April 03, 2006

The New Parliament

Well, Canada's new Parliament opened today. Ugh. I was hoping these past few months were all just a dream (read: nightmare) and that I'd wake up as I have for the past thirteen years, comforted by my knowledge that this great country was governed by Liberals. Oh well, back to reality...

It's nearly 7:00pm, and I'm watching a repeat of the House proceedings from earlier today. A new Speaker is about to be elected. My MP, the Honourable Diane Marleau, is a candidate. I wish her the best of luck, but my gut feeling is Peter Milliken will win again. The first thing that jumps out at me as I watch the TV screen is the seating arrangement. The Conservatives are clearly in power now. I admit, it's a rude awakening to see them sitting on the government side. It just seems so foreign to me, almost unnatural. But alas, they are where they are, we are where we are, and I guess it's time everyone gets used to it.

The Tories seem to be in a good mood. They're very upbeat and gleeful. Smiling faces, pats on the back, uproarious laughter. It makes me wonder, though: How long will it last? How well will the Harper Conservatives handle themselves during Question Period? Will David Emerson still be smiling when he's forced to respond to incessant questions about his stunning, insulting and blatantly-selfish floor crossing? Will the Prime Minister still be smiling when he's forced to account for his flip-flopping on issue after issue, from ethics to accountability to democratic reform? What about Rob Nicholson, the Government House Leader? With 125 government members, the Conservatives will need the support of at least one other party to get anything passed. Mr. Nicholson will need to be skillful in his handling of bills, motions and votes. Will he be smiling when he has to compromise with the separatists or the socialists? Or, from time to time, when he's forced to deal with those arrogant, corrupt, hands-in-my-pocket fiends known as Liberals?!?! Uh-oh, smile turns to frown.... :(

It will also be interesting to see how the Liberals handle themselves. The former Ministers and PAs who fill up much of the opposition benches surely know their facts and files. No doubt, they will keep the Tories on their toes during QP. I do hope, however, that they are more dignified and respectful than the Harper crew was during the last Parliament. As for the potential leadership contenders, the next few weeks and months will give them the opportunity to position themselves for the upcoming race. Liberals will be looking for an inspiring leader, articulate in his or her vision for the country and passionate about a plan to implement it. Canadians, quite simply, will be looking for a reason to return the Liberals to power.

An intriguing Parliament indeed! A nightmare? Maybe not. The more I think of it, the more I look forward to the interesting times ahead.