as a Canadian--the only Canadian I might add-- that posts here, let me clarify some things about what's been going on up here.
1. Our situation was caused, in order, this way. Please notice the U.S. role in all of it.
i) the ridiculous (and in my opinion, unnecessary, foreseeable and preventable) financial crisis in the United States that echoed pretty much all over the world, including up here. Keep in mind that the U.S. is our primary trading partner and therefore industries like manufacturing have basically disappeared up here. We have definitely felt the effects of what has happened down south, something we had nothing to do with.
ii) around the same time we happened to elect a new government. Some notes about Canadian government: it does not operate the way a U.S. government does. Our PM came in with a minority lead, which means that his govt has to work a lot harder to get things done, AND his govt could get a no confidence vote at any time which would mean parliament could get dissolved at any time, say when they present the budget or anything stupid. This would force another election. One thing about this past election is the leader of the opposition did so badly that he announced that in May, his party would elect a new leader. What does this mean? This means that the two main parties had tenuous holds on where they sat, not to even mention what was going on with the remaining parties. Confidence in what was going on in the House of Commons was extremely low; not very many Canadians were happy with the turnout of the election.
ii) Our PM goes ahead and makes the boneheaded move of proposing to take away the public funding of all parties, I believe as a goodwill gesture to Canadians to show they are willing to work with less money in hard times. This forces the other parties to form a coalition, because the Conservative Party of Canada has all the access to corporations and private money and would do fine without public funding, but the other parties would not. They could not operate, see this as a super-controlling move (which it is) and propose to take over parliament--meaning PM would get a no confidence and he'd be out of there after just 6 weeks leading the country. This may sound strange, and it's unusual in Canadian politics, but it's definitely fair play.
iii) PM goes to our Governor General, who has the power to dissolve government, to ask for a prorogation (suspension of parliament) until stuff blows over and he can present a budget. This is a pansy move, however, there are a lot of Canadians that don't want the leader of the opposition acting with a coalition leading the government. He gets his prorogation, which is precedent setting, because now when a PM is in power they may be able to just go to the GG. Both the PM and his party and the coalition will present budgets if I am correct, in January. Polls show that no one really knew what they wanted in this situation. Having a stupid PM isn't an awesome choice, but neither is a coalition with a leader who has already announced he is leaving. The third choice is an election but, really? After 6 weeks and during financial crisis? What would you choose?
iv) Let me emphasize, this has been kind of crazy, but nothing even close to what the U.S. has dealt with at all in the past 8 years. In our constitution we honor "Peace, order and good government." whereas the U.S. has written "Life, Liberty and the Pusuit of Happiness". There are fundamental differences there, and I am confident that in a few months, this will get wrapped up and be one exciting chapter in an otherwise extremely boring history of my country. I think everything would have been fine, if the financial crisis in the U.S. had not happened. We might still have had issues with our government, but nothing to the likes of this. And for the record: we're not looting or burning anything, people aren't going crazy because the politicians are behind closed doors thinking of how to fix things. It's fine, but we're all definitely talking about it. No offense meant, but these are the ripple effects that you are seeing of the U.S.s' actions. Statements to the effect of "oh well i can't really feel sorry for them cause they're so high and mighty and now look what happened." don't really hold water because a) we aren't, first of all, if you hold that perception come up here and meet a few of us and b)second of all, it started in your house and moved to ours. Thanks for that.