Thursday, June 18, 2009

Of Coalitions II

I stand by yesterday's posting that Harper and Iggy acted in a way that was proper for a coalition. But something about this arrangement still bothers me. I think it is destructive of our democracy to have an official opposition that isn't. Having an official opposition that acts as an opposition party only up until a vote of confidence, at which time it switches to support the government, breeds cynicism among the voters. How can a party say one day that the government is full of crooks and incompetents and then the next casts its votes with the same government? It just looks really, really bad. It makes it look like the official opposition is play acting and does not oppose at all. And that is not a good thing. It is not how our system is set up.

If the people running the Liberal party cannot work with the other opposition parties because they find they are ideologically closer to the Conservatives, then they should enter into a formal coalition with the government. That way, the opposition will really oppose, we will not be going to the polls every 12 months, and (this is important), Liberals would have more influence sitting around the cabinet table, than they do being caught in an endless "we oppose -- we back away", cycle. Entering a formal coalition would also enjoy the benefit of being intellectually honest and who knows, such a coalition might restore Canadians' faith in their politicians.
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  1. Hey, I wrote Ignatieff the speech he should have made on Monday.

    Your suggestion would be the way he could act the way he is acting without humiliating himself in a Dion-esque manner.

    As people who do not wish the federal Liberals well, we really should stop giving them this top-notch advice. (At least, we should stop giving it away for free. I think my speech is worth at least ten grand.)

  2. AnonymousJune 18, 2009

    I absolutely agree with you here. Especially in a minority context, there is nothing wrong with the governing party striking compromises with other parties on matters of policy (whether or not the compromise is tenable from a Liberal policy perspective is another issue). That said, if the Official Opposition is consistently endorsing the government's policy agenda, it is appropriate for them to enter into a formal coalition and allow the next largest party to become the official opposition.

  3. I think my speech is worth at least ten grand.

    Oh, way more than that. ;)