Democratic reform will break out tomorrow - Macleans.ca

Democratic reform will break out tomorrow

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Michael Urban repeats the case for proportional representation.

This structural bias is exacerbated by the fact that despite claiming to desire more cooperative politics, voters routinely punish politicians when they seek to cooperate.

The 2008 coalition debacle demonstrated that many Canadians, apparently unaware of – or at least uncomfortable with – how our parliamentary system works, opposed an unprecedented level of cooperation that would have installed a government supported by representatives who garnered a greater percentage of the popular vote (53.72 per cent) than any other peacetime government in Canadian history. Granted, some of this opposition was based on certain reasonable objections, but no small amount of it emerged from other mistaken notions that what the coalition proposed to do was somehow unfair or unconstitutional.

Similarly, the critiques of Stephane Dion, and more recently Michael Ignatieff, for supporting their Conservative opponents in parliamentary votes – what cooperation actually looks like in action – show some of the dangers for any politician that seeks to cooperate with another party, even when this cooperation could arguably benefit the country in the long-term.