Both today and yesterday the Conservatives sent up a dutiful backbencher to express fear and outrage at the prospect of a Liberal-led coalition government, that specifically it is not acceptable to “give the NDP co-management of the economy,” nor “share power with a political party committed to the breakup of our country.”
Mind you, shortly after the 2004 election, Stephen Harper, as leader of the official opposition, said it was the Liberal government’s “obligation,” in that rare minority government, to look to “to the third parties to get the support to govern.”
Here as well is how he explained the letter to the Governor General that he signed alongside Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe.
Solomon: So why did you write that letter to the Governor-General with Gilles Duceppe and Jack Layton saying in the event of a confidence vote situation do not call a snap election – are we to assume that therefore you’re working to form a coalition?
Harper: There seems to be an attitude in the Liberal government – that they can go in, be deliberately defeated and call an election – that’s not how our constitutional system works. The government has a minority – it has an obligation to demonstrate to Canadians that it can govern. That it can form a majority in the House of Commons. If it can’t form a majority, we look at other options, we don’t just concede to the government’s request to make it dysfunctional. I know for a fact that Mr. Duceppe and Mr. Layton and the people who work for them want this Parliament to work and I know if is in all of our interests to work. The government has got to face the fact it has a minority, it has to work with other people.
Solomon: Other options meaning that you would have to govern though – don’t you have to be in a coalition de facto – isn’t that the implication?
Harper: The current government believes it doesn’t have to be in a coalition and I share that view. There’s a lot of options in the House of Commons – what I expect the Liberals to do is try to seek different allies for different pieces of legislation.