|The Politics of H2O Part 2
||[Aug. 20th, 2009|05:09 pm]
H2O - WTF is going on?
It's a day late, but here's part two of H2O for you poor unCanadians.
2 minutes in, Cam Ritchie resigns his cabinet post, and McLaughlin welcomes him to the "back bench". All that means is that, since Ritchie's still a Member of Parliament, he still has the right to vote on any issue, but he no longer has any of his cabinet powers. He's just a regular MP.
Most of the conversation between Lavigne and the Quebec Premier (10 minutes in) should have been explained in part 1 of my guide. Essentially, the Premier agrees to hold off on any politically aggressive action towards the federal government in exchange for Lavigne letting some of the people being detained under the War Measures Act go free.
14 minutes in comes the first mention of the Canadian Federal Police - the organization Sgt. Collins seems to be working for. I'd just like to point out that no such organization exists - the RCMP is Canada's federal police force. This CFP appears to have duties and resources similar to the federal aspects of the RCMP (who also handle national, provincial, and municipal policing in Canada [with the exception of 3 provinces and several municipalities with their own police force, but even so the RCMP is involved in those areas]).
The fifth estate (15 minutes in) is a Canadian TV program, similar (only more accurate and of higher quality [why yes, I'm completely unbiased]) to 60 Minutes in the States. And yes, the title is meant to be uncapitalized.
(16 minutes in) This show would have been written when the Canadian dollar was worth significantly less than the American dollar, so exchanging Canadian currency for American at face value in order to create a unified monetary system would be more to Canada's advantage than to the American's - we'd definitely be getting the better deal, which is why Tom says it would be a one-time windfall (and why the American Ambassador laughed it off).
The whole issue with the First Nations (18 minutes) boils down to this: McLaughlin needs a distraction, and he needs a pretext for the Americans to come in and "help" us. Historically, First Nations and the provincial governments (I don't know about specifics for Quebec, but in general) don't get along, and there's mistrust on both sides. McLaughlin essentially told Blackfire that if she were to agitate her people - especially undermining Quebec's provincial government's power by, well, cutting their power - the federal government would come in if she asked them to, and she would presumably get something out of the deal. There are always hotheads in any population who are easy to push to violence, and in Northern Quebec a lot of the population is First Nations.
Regarding the meeting between Lavigne and the Quebec premier (21 minutes), one thing Quebec historically has liked to see in the Premiers is someone who is not afraid to stand up to the federal government. By sitting on his hands, Coté is giving the impression that he'll do whatever the federal government says, and he's probably losing a lot of support from his own people over it. If he doesn't act soon he could lost his entire power base. Lavigne ("welcome to confederation") is essentially telling him to suck it up, since it's an issue the Premiers of every province has had to deal with since joining Canada.
Yes, some people from Newfoundland actually talk like that guy on TV at 23 minutes. Really. Some of them have even thicker accents. (To be fair though, the actor's from Nova Scotia.)
An MNA (24 minutes) is a Member of the National Assembly of Quebec (Assemblée nationale du Québec), Quebec's provincial legislative body - he's the equivalent to an MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) in any other province.
An indictable offence (30 minutes) is pretty much the Canadian version of a felony charge (although in Canada we have 3 classifications of offences, Americans have 2). Murder and Treason, of course, being serious charges, the man she's speaking with could spend the rest of his life in prison depending on the specifics of the actual charges.
Lavigne says he's the most powerful man in the country at 31 minutes, because he's the Solicitor General. Being the man in control of the police, CSIS, and the prisons in a police state does indeed give Marc a lot of power (although since McLaughlin knows more about what's going on and has the civil service under his power, he might be more powerful).
At 33 minutes, Lavigne gets told off for violating sections 350 and 351 of the Elections Act. Essentially, that means the amount of money Spear's company donated to Lavigne's campaign exceeded the amount allowed by law (section 350), and did so by splitting itself into several parties in order to circumvent the limit without getting caught (351).
So essentially, McLaughlin's evil plans start coming together around 45 minutes in. The Quebec Premier is outraged that a member of his cabinet is accused of helping terrorists, so he begins to threaten separation. Of course, if Quebec actually does separate, they're not going to allow the First Nations a choice of whether to join them - anyone within the province will be made to come with them. The Cree nation especially has a heavy presence in Northern Quebec, and they'll get pissed off that the Quebec government plans on dragging them into this without consulting them, so Blackfire will try and calm things down between the federal and provincial governments. Meanwhile, those hotheads that exist in every community (and who have probably been stirred up per Blackfire's previous agreement with McLaughlin) will become scared at the way things are changing around them without giving them a choice, and will escalate the situation even more. This will all culminate in Tom inviting the Americans to help protect key installations.
When Lavigne runs into the prostitute (51 minutes) and starts quoting the Criminal Code, he actually nails it. The section he quotes, 213 (1) "Every person who in a public place or in any place open to public view... for the purpose of engaging in prostitution or of obtaining the sexual services of a prostitute is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction" (although he only manages to stutter through to "sexual services"), he gets nearly word for word. He just sounds like he's making it up because he's so nervous.
We finally see what department Deever works for at 55 minutes - DOSI (probably Department of Security and Intelligence), with the motto "Security, Intelligence and Service". It also doesn't exist, and is probably the movie version of CSIS.
Waswanipi, Quebec (57 minutes) is a Cree community in Northern Quebec. For the reasons I've mentioned above, it's a prime place for Holt to recruit some disaffected youth for sabotage.
So, at 1:05 McLaughlin calls in the Americans, and says he's going to put it to a vote in Parliament, even though he doesn't have to. This is going to be a no confidence bill (explained in part 1). As Marc says, Tom has a majority of only 5 seats, so if all the opposition plus 3 seats from Tom's party vote against his bill (Marc says 6, but he really only needs 3 to make a majority), the government will no longer have the support of the House, and will have to give up its control or call an election. Collins' concern is that he'll call the election and "wrap himself in a flag", drawing on the patriotism of the voters, which is why Lavigne wants her to get evidence that will make him very unpopular with the voters (and hopefully put him in jail).
At 1:10, Marc's talking to an MP from Alberta ("Texas without the death penalty"), and he asks if the MP would follow Cam Ritchie if he crossed the floor. Crossing the floor is quite literal - in the Canadian Parliament, the government party sits on one side, the opposition on the opposite side. To cross the floor means to abandon your own party and join the other. Essentially, he's asking members of the faux-Liberal party if they would follow Cam Ritchie's lead in switching to the opposition, thus decreasing McLaughlin's majority in the house as well as being a symbol about how opposed MPs are to McLaughlin's methods.
Sgt. Collins went to her boss (1:09 minutes)and got him to authorize her trip to Paris, as well as had him speak to the French Police to get them on board with her investigation. Her boss allowed the French to believe that Marc was still Solicitor General (and that Collins was still in the CFP), and thus would have jurisdiction in the hunt to find Frommer. This all happens off screen, but Collins says her boss (Reuterman, or however you spell it, the man she spoke to on the bench) put the Sûreté on board (1:11 minutes). That is the former name for the French National Police, but since the only other Sûreté that would be relevant would be the Quebec police, and they wouldn't be helpful in this matter, I'm going to assume that's who he meant.
Even though Marc said he needed 6 votes, at 1:15 we only see 4 people (Ritchie, Marc, and 2 others) crossing the floor. It's possible 2 people voted against and remained in the government party, but they really did only need 3 more votes for a majority. Even so, they still won by 10 votes, which means they probably had a lot of people promise to switch only if Ritchie did, which is why they were so determined to get him to cross the floor (otherwise they needn't have bothered with the tight schedule to get him the evidence before the vote).
The flame we see at the end (1:24), and also periodically throughout the movie, is the Centennial Flame. The fire in the middle surrounded by water is supposed to represent the harmony between French and English Canada. Above all, it is a symbol of Canadian unity and cooperation. It's not an eternal flame, so it's put out for refueling and bad weather, but its being extinguished here is a sign that Canada is no longer one united nation, in control of our own destiny.
The End! Again, if you see any mistakes or have further questions, just leave a comment.