Common Sense Comes to Town!

Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have. (Descartes)

From Minority to Minority

Posted on | March 24, 2011 | No Comments

The Conservatives were quick to bring back recently the possible coalition between the Liberals and the NDP, supported by the Bloc Québécois. This last aspect is especially underlined in advertisement campaigns broadcasted only in English-speaking Canada. It displays a subtle Quebec bashing and a shameless abuse of patriotism: a government backed by evil separatists is obviously not truly Canadian.

 The opinion battle fought in the media will clearly be entertaining, but obscures a fundamental truth: a coalition government is still a minority government, made even more fragile by the necessary compromise between allied parties and the grim realities of the political game.

Thus a coalition is only to the benefit of its members as long as they do not see a chance of grabbing more power for themselves (that is, forming a majority government) by going solo. The partners will flash pretty eyes at one another but will always be ready to stab each other in the back if need be. Furthermore, the Bloc rejects the idea that it could be part of a coalition, which leaves it free to defeat it or abstain at any moment, allowing the Conservatives to overthrow government.

 We would then end up with a government where participants devote their energies not only to running the country, but also to insuring their future. Would such a government represent a broader slice of the Canadian population? Certainly, at least if you trust opinion polls. Would it be more efficient? I doubt it.

 Minority government or coalition government – these two options both present major inconvenient. Yet as long as the vote isn’t more consolidated they will remain the only available options. As the Bloc is not going to disappear anytime soon, it is worth looking at other parties, chiefly the Green Party and the NDP, who would have much to gain by merging together.

 After all, isn’t that what the Reform Party and the Progressive Conservative Party did a few years ago?

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