Coalitions

Yet again I hear the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister saying that prorogation is needed to prevent anti-democratic coalitions. I must really scratch my head or bang it against a wall here. The current government is legitimate because it has more seats than any other party, on 33% of the votes cast. Only 23% of eligible voters actually cast a ballot for a Conservative. Yet the rest of us who didn’t vote Conservative or at all are illegitimate? Our system of elections does not allow for direct election of any member of cabinet. Only a few people in Calgary actually voted for Stephen Harper.Yet these few Calgarians seem to have more power than all of Canada combined. According to the Conservatives the only people who count are those in the PMs riding an to go against them is undemocratic. When did we change from responsible representative government to the undemocratic Electoral college system?

Our system is representative and coalitions are traditional, yet we are told by Neo-conservatives coalitions are illegitimate. If that is the case are the actions of such governments also illegitimate? The Liberal-Conservative coalition of MacDonald, Cartier and Brown was not legitimate therefore there great achievement is not either. Everything done since confederation, built on that coalitions success is illegitimate. The coalition that saw us through the last years of World war One was also illegitimate, therefore our part of the victory was as well. In fact the whole victory was as Britain and France also had coalitions as the Republicans served with Democrats in the United States at the time.

The current government itself is a coalition of conservative groups, or was at one time. The current party is made up of small groups, the Reform Party and much of the Progressive Conservatives. Thus everything they have done in the last four years is illegitimate. They would argue they went to the polls as a coalition and thus gave Canadians an option. However that is exactly what all parties did. Our system is designed to get a coalition government. The diversity of the parties that can gain power combined with no party getting a monopoly of seats in the house is a coalition. Try putting legislation forward, even with a majority, that alienates a part of the party. We have seen Conservatives vote against things and be punished for diverse opinion. yet if we went back to our political roots no government would risk it for fear of a back benchers revolt and leadership change.

Stephen Harper may have destroyed democracy within the Conservative party and replaced it with absolutism but will we let that happen in parliament? The coalition option is off the table for now but it is always available when confidence is withdrawn from a ministry. That is responsible government. The Ministers are responsible to the House and the House to the Citizens. That is what we fought for in four rebellions, two world wars and countless small violent encounters since the 1830s.

We must remind the Conservatives that they are a minority, not just in seats but as representatives of the politics at large. A coalition would put more Canadian’s opinion on issues at the cabinet table. So how could that be undemocratic? My opinion isn’t at the table now, none of my issues are being dealt with, in fact I feel I have no Federal government at all. There increasing cuts and hostility to services I need to survive or get ahead in life makes me seek others who will meet those needs. Government is a service provider and this government acts like a corporate board aiming to milk the company dry and deploy golden parachutes. A coalition would better represent us the share holders.

Perhaps Stephen Harper and his backers believe in the CEO having Godlike powers over the real owners of the company.

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