Is Canada broken? Observing that we might be headed for our fourth federal election in under six years, John Ibbitson wondered if this instability is the sort of dysfunction that could “break a country.” In today’s Globe, Gordon Gibson says that parliament is “poisoned” and we need an election, followed by a majority, to set things aright.
One under-analysed angle to all this is that the situation is not entirely unprecedented. We had federal elections in 1957, 58, 62, 63, 65, and 68 — which means that there were two spans in which we had four elections in six years.
The current near-consensus on that period is that it was an effective and productive time for the federal government and that all the parties were able to make parliament work in a way they can’t today. But I’d be delighted in knowing what the pundits were saying about parliament at the time, whether the instability was seen as a temporary abberation, or whether there were concerns that parliament had become permanently hung. Any historically-minded political scientists out there?