Coalition of the pundits - Macleans.ca
 

Coalition of the pundits


 

Wells and I debate whether the UK coalition offers any lessons or examples for would-be coalitioners (how dare you suggest we would even consider such a thing?) in Canada. Can you be for one and against the other? Isn’t it “coalition: yes or no”? Only in the hobgoblins of little minds.

Rob Silver offers his response here.


 

Coalition of the pundits

  1. Silver advises no Bloc in the coalition, says Coyne agrees. Seems damned near impossible for the Liberals and NDP to win 155 seats and even if they do it would be flimsy and vulnerable to defections, especially over social issues. Meh, it's all academic anyway as long as Iggy is leader, he's worse than Dion was and I didn't think that was possible.

    • and yet…it is so.

      i know a lot of private-school Toronto rich kids. they are generally pretty nice, and are very clever in their own way, but they grew up in such a bubble that they can't help themselves but be snobs.

      i'm from up north, originally, and when they venture up out of the 416, they literally do not know how to interact with normal rural people.

      doesn't mean they are bad – they just don't understand how the rest of the country operates.

      • are you suggesting all snobs are Liberals?

      • Wasn't Stephen Harper a Toronto private school rich kid albeit 10+ years younger than Iggy and Rae. I would be curious what the politics of his fellow classmates from the class of 1978 are. I know Harper's best friend from Richview Collegiate is now the Asis correspondent for the LA Times but I have never seen a political bias either way in his writings. On a sidenote I though one of the better speeches he has ever given was at his school reunion in 2008.

        • Harper took piano lessons as a kid, at home he practiced on a home made cardboard keyboard, they didn't own a piano,
          not a rich kid by any stretch of the imagination……

      • As most people live in cities, doesn't that make them abnormal rural people? Doesn't mean they are bad – they just don't understand how the rest of the country operates.

  2. no, but it's fair to say most of their brain-trust are rich Toronto snobs

    • Really ? Name some.

  3. Any rules that limit coalitions means that the party with the most seats cannot be removed from power for the first year or so, which completely undermines Parliament.

    Dion's flip flop on a coalition was no worse then the Conservatives flip flop on income trusts.

    • You're setting the bar really high there, aren't you?

      Maybe instead of pointing fingers at the other guys and saying "we're no worse!" we should instead focus on what would be best, you know?

    • I would add that if two parties have a majority or just shy of a majority (and more seats than any other single party), then it shouldn't matter how many seats either party has. I'm just going to make up some numbers to demonstrate my point. If Libs + NDP add up to like 145, the Bloc is at 40, and the Tories are at 123, it shouldn't matter if the Libs have fewer than 123 seats, since together with the NDP they have well over the Tories.

      Also, I would not personally rule out a coalition involving the Bloc. I can invision a post-Harper future in which the Bloc forms coalitions with either the Tories or the Libs depending on the circumstances. In the long term, I think this would have a huge impact on the sovereignty debate (as it already has, honestly), as Quebec politicians and voters feel that they have less reason to leave Canada as they have more influence in Ottawa. Though I understand that there will always be some for whom the thought of compromise with the Bloc is anathema or who would rather just see Quebec gone already.

      • There must be a misprint in Charles` blurb above. He has the Lib-NDP coalition adding up to 145 seats when any amateur mathmatician would know you need 155 seats to have a majority in a 308 seat House.
        What the heck is the use in forming a coalition if you can`t be assured of winning the first vote in Parliament ?

        • The Conservatives + the Liberal Democrats do not add up to a majority. They need about 18 votes (if I recall) from one of the two "fringe" parties.

          • Yes they do. You are thinking of Labour plus Lib/Dem, which would have been about that far short. Conservatives had about 305, Labour had about 255, Lib/Dem had about 50, and majority is 326. Conservative plus Lib/Dem is a solid majority.

          • My oops. That is exactly what I was remembering.

          • Actually it's Labour + Liberal Democrats where short of a majority. The Conservatives + the Liberal Democrats do form a majority. That's probably a major reason why the Liberal Democrats ended up with the Conservatives.

          • You're thinking of the proposed Labour (258 seats) + Lib Dem (57 seats) coalition. A majority is 326 seats. The Conservatives have 305 seats so the Conservative + Lib Dem coalition is a majority that does not need to be propped up by other parties.

        • Sorry if I wasn't clear – I was saying that if the Liberals and the NDP together could form a clear plurality that was just shy of a majority and could come to an agreement on governing policies, I do not think they need to have an absolute majority any more than Harper does now. I think the same logic should also apply to the Conservatives and any theoretical coalition they could form, though they are in a much tougher position on the coalition front (unless the NDP somehow manages to eclipse the Liberals or the Bloc suddenly becomes more palatable).

          Now, I would expect any two party minority coalition in a four party parliament would be extremely unstable. I wouldn't expect such a government to last a year. But I don't think a Conservative minority government with less MPs than the Liberals and NDP combined would be very stable, either, outside of the 2006 context.

          Anyway, all of this is very theoretical and my numbers are very doubtful to occur in actual practice.

    • … and their flip flop on prorogation… and their flip flop on vetting Supreme Court nominees… and their flip flop appointing senators… and their flip flop an independent Budget Office reporting to Parliament… and their flip flop accountability… and their flip flop access to information… and their flip flop deficit spending… and their flip flop recession stimulus… and their flip flop on honouring transfer payment agreements… and their flip flop fixed election dates… and their flip flop free votes on everything except budgets… and their flip flop….

      Granted, some of those flip flops are probably more accurately described as broken promises.

      Still, though, the Conservatives in government are like fish out of water in so very many respects.

  4. The main and perhaps only lesson from the British exercise in coalition building is what serial mediocrities our federal politicians are.

  5. "Isn't it “coalition: yes or no”? Only in the hobgoblins of little minds."

    What?? Does the editor need an editor?

  6. What people who opposed the coalition are doing is making up arbitrary rules that delegitimizes the Dec 2008 coalition but still allows the many coalitions that has happened before and since.

    The fact is no one talked about these crazy rules before the coalition was proposed and people needed a reason to say it was illegitimate. The rule has always been simple. The Prime Minister is the one who has the confidence of the majority of the House.

    • No government (of any political stripe) kept in office by the Bloc Quebecois holding the balance of power will be accepted in English Canada as "morally legitimate". The Canadian "coalition question" is not about constitutional legitimacy.

      • So if the Bloc votes with the government on a confidence motion that the NDP and Liberals oppose, thus keeping the Conservatives in office, that morally de-legitimizes the Conservative government in English Canada?

        I must let Gilles know. He will be pleased…

      • Like how the Conservatives where kept in power by the Bloc for the first year or so after they where elected?

        Most people in English Canada don't want Quebec to separate, but they aren't going to succeed in convincing Quebec separates to change their mind by treating them and the party that represents them as a disease that no one must have any connection to.

        If you want Quebec to stay we must stand up and say, "My Canada includes Quebec Separates!"

        • LOL, when was the last time a separatist campaigned on separating from Canada?

  7. Iffy will be the next Prime Minister if Harper doesn't get a majority.
    It's decided.

    Doesn't matter what government Canadians vote in,
    or that Iffy ranks #5, as the worst leader in Canada,
    all that needs to be decided by Iffy and Donolo is if just Dippers get into cabinet or if they need to send a few separatists into the Senate to get Ducey's support.

    It's Democracy, Liberal style.
    Liberals don't have to win and election, they just have to make arrangements.
    that's how Iffy landed the Lib leader gig,
    and how he will land the PM gig.

    • "Doesn't matter what government Canadians vote in"

      Quite right. What matters is the members of the House of Commons that they elect.

      Your colourful nicknames for people make it hard to follow what you are saying.

  8. The only coalition that would work and be stable in Canada is a Conservative-Liberal one, like in UK right now. Any talk of a workable Liberal-NDP coalition is fantasy.

    Ignatieff would be a good Foreign Minister in Prime Minister Harper's cabinet.

    • Iggy's dream job is ambassador to the UN when we have a security council seat. He might be good at it.

  9. Where is Coyne?