Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Coalition is not a Dirty Word, Steve.

Canada is going to have a federal election, and why exactly? For the last several years we have had a Conservative minority government. It looks like we are going to get another one. But wait! I see a strategy forming here on the part of the Conservatives, led by Stephen Harper, to consolidate his position by making sure that no coalitions can ever form against him. To do that, he is spreading the message that coalitions are un-Canadian, that they would undermine everything that we hold dear, that they would destroy motherhood, apple pie, and the pursuit of happiness. Sorry, I'm taking that a bit too far up the backside of America. But for sure, Stephen wants us to think coalitions are bad.

Nobody would ever form a coalition with the Conservatives anyway, and not because Stephen didn't try. It's because the Conservatives are the only right wing American corporate/religious based party in Canada. All four other parties are busy splitting the left wing moderate vote.

On the other hand, a good solid coalition could defeat the Conservatives. So it's best for the Conservatives to spread the idea that coalitions are unfair and treasonous.

Now we come to the part that I find very frustrating. Liberal leader Ignatieff decided to counter this tactic by declaring that he would never seek a coalition, and repeated it very loudly in a "read my lips" kind of tone. I consider this to be a blunder, especially since almost half of Canadian voters now think Ignatieff is lying. In baseball, this is called an "unforced error". I don't think that even Stephen expected this good luck to fall in his lap.

In my opinion, as well as the opinion of the majority of Quebecers, coalitions are good for the country, not bad for the country. They are part of our heritage and tradition. It is the American two-party system that loathes a coalition, not the Canadian multi-party parliament.

Ignatieff did not need to say a thing about a coalition, although I suppose he could have stated that it was part of Canada's tradition, and that he was not presently interested in one. And then explained why Harper was so scared of coalitions, and moved on to why we should vote Liberal.

Picture: From this blog "Proroguing Parliament and Conservative Crime Legislation: A Cagey Stephen Harper Takes Two Steps Back" at Informedvote.ca


  1. Conservative propaganda, at least over the last week, has repeatedly flogged 'coalition' as if it was a dirty word.

    Although there have been few coalitions in Canadian history, we have seen numerous minority governments which actually functioned - unlike the recent 'Harper governments,' which have appear to be so ideologically hidebound that the Canadian tradition of principled compromise has been dismissed out of hand.

    From a historical standpoint, it's important to recall that some of the best of the current Canadian 'safety net' (Canada Pension Plan, universal health care, &c.) were established during the terms of minority governments.

    But the political landscape in Canada has been fundamentally altered since the inception of the Bloc Québécois. The BQ essentially has a lock on about 50 seats. That's almost 20% of seats in the House, based on only about 10% of the popular vote. In fact, the NDP, with almost twice the popular vote, held only about half as many seats.

    Yes, certainly 'vote splitting' on the left is a problem. However, given that almost 50 of the seats now go to a regional party, achieving the 155 seats needed for a majority becoms extremely problematic.

    In other nations with an array of political parties, coalition governments are quite common.

    And they may soon become more common in Canada.

  2. Your link reminded me of one of Lester Pearson's greastest accomplishments, pissing on Lyndon Johnson's rug, and this while leading a minority government.

  3. Last night CBC News punched a big hole in Harper's current scare tactics about the Liberal/NDP/Bloc coalition.

    Here's the actual story.

    More misrepresentations from an increasingly desperate Stephen Harper.

  4. I saw that last night on TV. Here's another word Harper has been using "liberally". Defunding.... for the CBC. You just can imagine how badly he wants to do it as soon as he gets a majority. Not to mention defunding all the opposition paries. He attempted it a few years back while he had a minority government (!?!), which brings us back to the coalition talk.

    It's all about Conservatives using their vast corporate+religious finacial resources to eliminate the pro-democracy opposition.

  5. Interesting report out today from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives ... Corporate Income Taxes, Profit, and Employment Performance of Canada’s Largest Companies.

    While the 'Harper Government' continues to push for further corporate tax cuts, this study reveals that:

    '... 198 companies on the S&P/TSX composite from 2000 through 2009 — Canada's largest corporations — are making 50% more profit and paying 20% less tax than they did a decade ago.

    'However, in terms of job creation, they did not keep up with the average growth of employment in the economy as a whole. From 2005 to 2010, the number of employed Canadians rose 6% while the number of jobs created by the companies in the study grew by only 5%. In essence, the largest beneficiaries of corporate tax cuts are dragging down Canadian employment growth.

    'If those 198 companies paid the same tax rate as they had in 2000, federal and provincial governments would have collected an additional $12 billion/year in revenue. The loss in revenue from all Canadian corporations would be larger still.

    So much for all that Conservative cant about tax cuts being good for Canadian jobs and workers.

  6. I really hate to keep flogging this corporate tax cut issue, but ...

    When that bastion of business, the Globe and Mail, comes out against further corporate tax cuts, you know the Conservatives' proposed cuts are probably a bad idea.