A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Coalition a reality?

With the possibility of an election once again (still?) in the news it was good to see that Gov. Gen. David Johnston has been busy brushing up on constitutional governments in case he is called upon to navigate a choppy political crisis. That he has said that he sees nothing wrong or illegitimate with coalition governments and recognizes that “any governor general who has that role in a constitutional system like ours, from time to time will be confronted with questions where there is an element of discretion,” is encouraging. Would that the attitude of our official opposition was equally encouraging.

As one observer said in a reply to Scott's postAdd the GG’s remarks to the fact that Harper and crew seem quite unfazed by the installation of a coalition government in Merrie Olde Englande. I think the fractious nature of recent Parliamentary discourse (QP) could make the idea of a cooperative coalition quite attractive to many Canadians. A dedicated educational approach by would-be coalition partners would be beneficial, too.
The big problem is that Ignatieff has been unequivocal in his rejection of a coalition. He’s played right into Harper’s framing of a coalition as illegitimate and painted himself into a corner.

That sums it up very nicely, not 5 minutes after the last attempt to form a coalition fell apart the leaders resumed attacking each other and have, by their continued and ongoing rhetoric of trying to frame their individual partys as the ONLY choice, doomed us to yet more “dysfunctional” parliamentary shaninikins. The reality is that WHENEVER the next election take place it is highly improbable that any party will get a majority, unless perhaps some of the conservatives dirty washing that they have been so desperately trying to hide sees more light of day, .... AND the electorate takes any notice of such revelations. But then the alternative choices for our citizens are rather hard to select, does one choose the NDP or Greens in a effort to have some alternate views in the House or select the Conservative Lite also known as the Liberal party, either way a minority is probable.

Unless you are a manipulating control freak with little or no regard for parliamentary convention and rules, and apparently some 30% of our citizens are quite happy with such running the country, a functional minority government requires a degree formal agreement of cooperation between two or more partys...... its called a coalition folks. That the scare tactics of the Harper regime have not only convinced so many of our citizens that such cooperation is untenable and 'unconstitutional' but that the official opposition is reinforcing this belief with their anti-coalition rhetoric is clear indication of how these politicians put themselves and their party before us and our country.

Another observer highlights the direction that things are going in with this observation:-
In terms of the last 40 years, our Parliament is sitting a lot less and doing a lot less,” says Queen’s University political scientist Ned Franks.
Franks says governments have compensated for prolonged parliamentary timeouts by increasingly cramming all manner of unrelated legislation into massive omnibus bills, which allow for little individual scrutiny of the various measures. They’ve also resorted more frequently to passing general enabling legislation, giving the government broad discretion to act in future without going back to Parliament for approval.
The upshot is that the government evades scrutiny and Canadians are left in the dark about what their federal politicians are up to..................
This doesn’t necessarily mean the Harper government is legislating less. Franks said the government pushed about half of a normal year’s legislation through in a single bill — this year’s massive budget implementation bill that included varied measures dealing with all manner of subjects from environmental assessments to the post office to the future of Canada’s atomic energy industry. “

Its clear that NONE of the large political partys can be trusted to run things on their own and that only a wide range of ideas and views in the HoC will produce a balanced and generally acceptable outcome. That is how parliament is suppose to work but with the precedent set by the current minority government I doubt that parliament (or the senate) will ever be the same again, I morn for our democracy and hope that a coalition FORCED upon the politicians by the voters choice will smarten them all up.

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Colette Amelia said...

hear hear!

Alan Goodhall said...

Over the course of this year I made an effort to become more active in my role as a citizen. The state of health of our body politic has me feeling more disillusioned than ever.

Rural said...

I feel your pain Al, I have been trying not to get depressed about the state of our Parliamentary Democracy but it is getting increasingly hard to see a way out of the current disregard for public opinion and wishes by politicians of all shapes and sorts!