This is a comment in response to a comment by "CH" in the previous post, but I thought it might be worthwhile putting up something on tonight's speech by the Prime Minister, though I found it disappointing. I don't have time right now to write anything much else, so here's my comment in the previous post if anyone wants to join a new thread.
There is a further point that occurs to me after watching Harper's speech tonight, which I thought was inadequate. He really had nothing to say, giving us no serious sense of how he is going to deal with this crisis, what he thinks is the right thing for him to do, what he would offer to negotiate with the other parties or parts thereof. It strikes me that he must either have some very good reason for being cagey that I can't think of, or he just doesn't have a lot of ideas about how to re-present Canada's national interest in ways that can point towards new pacts that can lead us out of this crisis. Stephane Dion also had little creative to say, besides repeating his election campaign rhetoric.
So, I see this as signs of a bigger crisis in the field of representations, a lack of representations that could set in flow a new and freer political exchange in this country, thus deferring the present impasse in our political culture.
This kind of crisis no doubt has many proximate causes but a lot of them are to do with too much top-down politics and not enough room in the political arenas for creative interactions among ordinary Canadians. We need more space for political entrepreneurs. What I saw tonight from Harper and Dion were men who look as if they are frozen in ice. And ultimately, that is somewhat related to how our political parties are run and financed. The CPC may be more skilled at grassroots organizing and fundraising than the others, though the NDP uses the unions to put together pretty impressive electoral machines in certain ridings, but Harper himself is clearly too much of an autocrat who is just too insecure about others' power plays to negotiate effectively in a minority government. Canada is a huge problem, and it is not surprising that we don't have many skilled at representing a common national interest. But that is what we have to work towards, or give up. And making parties more dependent on grass roots would be part of that.