Now it’s time to govern. Oh dear.
I’m not against minority governments in principle. The late Senator Eugene Forsey, a constitutional expert though a man of the left, thought they had many merits. As his daughter Helen reminded Citizen readers a week ago, he thought they could restore influence to ordinary MPs, generate real debates in Parliament, and were less able than majorities to head recklessly in a bad direction. In the past, Canada has had several left-Liberal minority governments that were, in those terms, highly successful: first William Lyon Mackenzie King with the Progressives in the 1920s, then Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau with the NDP from 1963 to ’68 and 1972 to ’74. But have we chosen one this time?
In one sense, “we” have not done anything. The final tally shows Liberal support at roughly 37 per cent, Tories at 30, NDP at 16, Bloc at 13 and Greens at four. Yet not one single voter, let alone all of us, cast 37 per cent of our ballot for the Liberals, 30 per cent for the Tories, etc. If we were one gigantic but not very intelligent entity, a sort of political stegosaurus, we could be accused of rejecting the Liberals’ combination of arrogance and corruption with fiscal prudence by jettisoning the fiscal prudence. Yet even that may well overstate the Parliament that just resulted from the cumulative effects of our individual voting decisions. Continue Reading →
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