Monday, April 04, 2011

Scary: a coalition?

Is "coalition" the scariest word that Harper's Conservatives can think of?

Since before the election started (and how long Harper's Conservatives have been campaigning is a subject for much more than a blog post), Harper and his mouthpieces have been warning us against a "coalition." They tell us it is necessary unstable, and indefinably bad for the country.

Let's think about this. In a coalition, parties that on their own do not have enough seats to form a majority in the House of Commons agree to come together to form that majority. Their relationship requires compromise on all side, so that the overall tone of the government they form has elements of each party's platform and philosophy.

In the Canadian parliamentary system, this seems to be a lot more stable than a minority government that can only survive confidence votes by making sure it has as many sitting members for each vote as possible and making deals with parties on each motion on an ad-hoc basis. At least with a coalition, there is some kind of relationship or understanding for some period in the future.

Doesn't a coalition seem very Canadian? Different groups agreeing to work together, compromise for the greater good and accomplish something that may not be ideologically pure, but is at least workable?

So, no, I'm not scared of a coalition. And I don't think that many Canadians are. The poll published on the front pages last weekend shows that most Canadians actually would favour a Liberal-NDP poll over a Conservative government. (Put the Bloc in, and that changes everything, of course.) And I found an interesting Facebook group called "I'm not scared of a Canadian coalition. See the link above.

No, we're not buying the logic that a coalition is a terrifying prospect. That's not keeping the Conservatives from trying it, though. So the question is: how stupid do they think we really are?

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