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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Coalition Governments

My friend had a very good post about Canadian politics (with some Austrian politics thrown in for comparison). There were some things I wanted to add, however. The hypocrisy of the Conservative party is one thing that drives me nuts about their bleating cries of "foul", as it was only a few years ago that they were considering making the same "deal with the devil" with the Bloc to oust the Liberal government. However, even worse are the comments (mainly of politically illiterate people) that this is undemocratic and not what the people voted for. We are in a representative democracy, so this is within the bounds of our democracy. You don't vote for an entire government, but rather a riding. The winner of each riding goes to parliament, and it is the prerogative of each elected MP to go about forming the government. Usually, there is enough of a victory for a single party to form a government, but that is not the only thing that can happen. I am actually fairly pleased at the prospect of a coalition government, because there are some positive aspects to them that don't seem to be discussed. Coalition governments give voices to issues that might not otherwise be brought up, as it shares power between parties and gives a voice to several party platforms. It also weakens the power of any single party, preventing (or at least reducing) the corruption and arrogant apathy that characterized the Liberal government for several years before they finally fell to the Conservatives.

It is true that more people voted for the Conservatives than for the Liberals or NDP, but not more people than the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc combined. Therefore, there is as much a mandate from the people for a coalition government between the Liberals and NDP with the support of the Bloc as anything else. Of course, it may not be what people had in mind when they voted the constituent MPs for each party into power, but no one cries "undemocratic!" when an MP he voted for turns around and gives support to a law he wouldn't. You can shout that it is wrong and you don't agree, but it is not undemocratic.