A Question of Democracy?

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January 18, 2011 by Joseph Krohn

Our Prime Minister introduced a very interesting concept in his yearly interview with Peter Mansbridge on The National.

This past weekend the Conservatives celebrated their fifth year in government.  Prime Minister Harper’s government has now governed longer in a minority government situation than any other government (beating former Prime Minister Lester Pearson’s string of minority governments, 1963-1968).

This spring an election is more than likely, with Mr. Ignatieft declaring openly that he intends to bring down the government and with little chance of the NDP or the Bloc propping up the minority government.  An election is in the near future!

Anyways, Prime Minister Harper was asked in interview about a comment he made about the undemocratic character of an Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition government after the spring 2011 (?) election.  Mr. Harper declared that he believes it is undemocratic for two parties (Liberals and NDP) to try to form a coalition government to attempt to defeat a third minority Conservative government, when they both already lost the election to the Conservatives, to begin with.

We can all see his point.  If a majority of Canadians do not approve of the Liberal-NDP combining to govern, then they are not the best representation of the voters.  But if the Conservatives win more seats than both the Liberal-NDP combined, why shouldn’t they be allowed the privilege of continuing to govern this nation.

Last year Prime Minister Cameron in the United Kingdom formed a majority government with the help of the Liberal Democrats.  The difference in his doing so, was that he had legitimately won the most seats in their House of Commons.  The Conservatives won 306 seats; the Labour won 258;  the Liberal Democrats won 57 and 29 seats won by smaller parties.  The Labour party did not have an legitimate mandate to govern, as they did not win the most seats and could not do so, even if the Liberal Democrats choose to join them.

In the next election here in Canada, if the voters do not give a the Liberal enough seats to beat the Conservatives – then they really shouldn’t be considered for first chance at governing.  The only exception to this may be if the Liberals and NDP have enough seats to form a majority government – then the Governor General may consider that option, but regardless, whoever wins the most seats should have the first chance at forming the government.

During the 1925 election (15th Parliament) Mackenzie King’s Liberals legitimately lost the election.  They won only 100 seats compared to the Conservative 115 seats.  Mackenzie King (the incumbent prime minister) decided to continue to govern with the support of the Progressive Party’s 22 members of parliament, which still left them with a minority government (122 to 123).  Mackenzie King’s government lasted for only a few months, before the Progressive Party withdrew support.  The Governor General at the time handed the government to the Conservatives to govern (which should have been the first choice).

Canadians have two choices with it comes to the 2011 spring election:

  1. A Conservative Majority Government
  2. A Liberal-NDP Coalition with the support of the Bloc (Quebec’s separatist party) to form the government

Given the choice, I pray Canadians will see the lightly and cast their vote for the government who will govern right of centre.  As the newspapers said about Trudeau when he was prime minister: “Better to keep electing the devil, you know and like and are sure of, rather than one you aren’t.”

2008 General Election


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