Election 2008: Time for a centre-left coalition?

Posted: October 6, 2008 in Uncategorized

A Liberal-NDP-Green government — could it work? John Ryan, writing in today’s Tyee, thinks so. I’m not convinced one way or another, but I’m open to being convinced. What do folks think?

Dion, Layton, May: Time Has Come to Craft a Coalition

A centre-left government is doable. See Europe.

by John Ryan, The Tyee, October 6, 2008

If the Conservatives do not get a majority in this election, Canada could still get a majority government. This could happen if the Liberals, NDP and the Greens (if they elect any members) formed a coalition. Such a coalition government would reflect the majority of Canadians who do not support the Conservatives. The Conservatives received only 36 per cent of the vote in the last election and, with a slight shift of fortunes, they may get less in the coming election. However, when the substantial majority of over 60 per cent gets split among four other competing parties, the Conservatives — with a minority of the vote — could wind up forming the government. This need not happen.

If for once the Liberals and the NDP set aside partisan politics and acted in the interests of Canada, it would be the beginning of a new era for us. In making this proposal, I am not suggesting a merger of these parties. The parties would remain as they are. They would only have to agree on a certain number of objectives and policies. On this basis they could form a majority government, or even a minority government with more seats than the Conservatives.

Cabinet seats could reflect the proportionate share of MPs from both parties. If the Liberals had 115 MPs and the NDP had 40, the Liberals would compose 75 per cent of the cabinet and the NDP 25 per cent. In such an arrangement, it would seem reasonable if Jack Layton became deputy prime minister.

At this stage, both of these parties need one another if they are to have a role in forming a government. Coalitions occur on a regular basis in Europe and in other parts of the world — but so far, never in Canada, although the NDP and the Liberals did cooperate in the past. And it was at those times that some progressive legislation was passed. It is high time for this to occur again.

READ ON . . .

  1. Beijing York says:

    It doesn’t sound unfeasible to me. My biggest concern is that the coalition would prove to push to the left on policy and not some kind of compromised right.

  2. Saskboy says:

    It happened in SK, and was unpopular, but that’s mostly because it kept a failing NDP government in power longer while half of the province wanted them out. It would be a different situation in Canada right now, where none of the parties’ leaders would have been in charge of government previously.

    I really like the idea and it should be part of the planning now, on what to do if the Liberals win a minority and need the NDP and even Greens to form a majority.

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