Saturday, February 26, 2011


Jeffrey Simpson flips the switch:
Technically, of course, he’s correct. If the three opposition parties vote down the government on the coming budget, there’ll be an election. A government seriously wishing to forestall that possibility would be negotiating with one or two of the other parties to find common ground, as happens in other countries with proportional representation systems where minority governments are the norm.

In Canada, however, our parties still act as if majority governments are the norm. They haven’t developed the instincts of operating in minority situations, so they make demands on each other that can’t be met, posture endlessly and play brinkmanship electoral games.
It is sad in 2011, that the obvious is having to be pointed out. Our electoral system doesn't work with more than two parties contesting elections. Many of us "out here" know that and would love to see it changed. However, there is an power lust among our political class that deludes our pols into believing that if their party can just play the right game, they will get all the power, unchecked by anyone. It is a sickness and it has all but destroyed our politics.
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  1. I think the NDP's concessions were huge and represent an actual willingness to (at least appear) compromise with the HarperCons. I'm not saying I support the idea of propping up Harper, but at least they brought something to the table.

    Similarly, the NDP and Martin Liberals worked out a relatively progressive budget back then too.

    Really, it's just the HarperCons and post-Martin Liberals (although Dion started to play nice with Layton after the 08 election before getting tossed out) that don't seem to want to work together.

  2. The problem is Ian, that the FPTP system dangles the promise of unfettered power to any party capable of putting together a little more than one in three votes. The temptation to keep chasing that unfettered power is just too tempting for our political class (and their enablers in the corporate press. I am looking at you, Toronto Star). Until Canadians get totally fed up and march in the streets (so a long, long time from now), I expect us to be trapped in this electoral nightmare.

  3. Thank Gaia for FPTP.
    PR is just the adult version of equitable soccer rules where even the crappiest players get equal playing time.
    Some Canadians expect success as defined by winning.
    If you're not in it to win, then come now, why bother?

  4. Ah, but Pedro, you are defining success as taking ridings with far less than 50% of the vote (gotta love the splits!) and creating "majorities" with as little as 38% of the vote. To me that is much more like little league soccer than PR is. But, your views are completely in tune with the political elites in charge of both the Liberals and the Conservatives, and the corporate press. So, kudos I guess.

  5. Ah but, Usain Bolt did not have to share 1/9th of his gold medal did he?
    Can't cut it in the sprint of philosophies?
    Change the rules.

  6. But Usain was only running a race and not ruling over an entire country.

  7. Symbols matter.
    When supporters of marginal political philosophies realize their leadership can't deliver, the leaders, seeing their power evaporate, seek to change the rules.
    Fortunately, human nature is such that many are seeing past the ruse.
    PR will continue to languish until voters see winners instead of losers. Make it a winner if you want PR.
    Sorry, just look at what the internet home pages have been about the past few weeks. Grammy's, Golden Globes, Oscars etc.
    The world wants winners. It sells!
    Go back to trying to change human nature.