Ottawa

This is why we can't have cooperative things

Chris Selley blames Stephane Dion for the continued toxicity of coalition governance.

Coalition-demonizers like Stephen Harper tend to take more heat in the media than coalition-boosters like Mr. Dion. And the demonizers deserve what they get. It’s appalling that Canadian politicians and their supporters, who know perfectly well how Parliament works and would happily support a coalition if it favoured their side, will go around talking of coups d’état, pretending as if Canadian voters directly elect their governments…

That said, Mr. Dion and his backers did plenty of harm themselves. His coalition was hamstrung by the explicit support of the Bloc Québécois, but its even more fundamental problem was that Mr. Dion had promised not to form a coalition. This isn’t a minor policy flip-flop. We’re talking about someone promising never to become prime minister under certain circumstances, and then reneging. A promise is not nullified because it would have been awkward not to make it.