Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Flocons asks, in comments:
While these 3 parties are united against Harper, once Harper is out and they are in government... what's to unite them then?

People have been citing examples of how coalitions have worked in the past, or in other countries in the present... but in the case of these 3 parties in the here and now... well it doesn't inspire much confidence.

Can anybody honestly say that this coalition arrangement is better than the arrangement we have now?
Taking these in order: I suspect that if the coalition makes it in to power, they'll be united by a powerful sense of self-preservation. If nothing else, last night's poll shows the public is ambivalent about this coalition and they'll need to prove themselves before going to the polls. If the coalition falls apart without any serious accomplishments everyone hangs, NDP, Bloc, and Liberal alike. There's also the fact that I think the most likely to bolt first in this coalition is a nervous Liberal party, but if they make it to power they'll be calmed by a desire to keep power and a desire to see through their leaderaship process. That gives us, at a guess, 6 months absolute minimum. In reality, I expect the coalition to last not much longer than the 18 months the BQ have promised: the conditions for a renewal of Bloc support could be constitutional matters, and I don't expect either the Liberals or the NDP to agree to that.

The second question -- will the coalition be better than the Conservative government -- I think is referring to quality of governance, not stability. There, I think we'll be surprised how quickly the NDP moderates it demands, as they already have done re: corporate tax cuts. Layton's master plan, if he has one at all, is to get people to stop rolling their eyes when they say "enn dee pee". That said, I think the weight of votes will push the Liberals to be more progressive than they're naturally inclined to be, and the weight of the current economic meltdown will push them to be looser with the purse strings then they're inclined to be.

If the coalition makes it to power, in short, I think they'll be far preferable to the options the Conservatives have presented us with over the last three years. It's useful to take a look at Margaret Wente, no squishy lefty, and see what she's saying about Harper:
Mr. Harper was supposed to be the steady hand at the helm. But now, even his long-time loyalists whisper that he's lost it. They are right. You can put up with a bully. You can even put up with a paranoid, controlling bully. But a paranoid, controlling bully with catastrophic judgment is another matter.
Harper's judgment is what's at issue here. Judgment in politics, judgment in government.

Word is Harper is going to address the country at 7pm tonight. We'll see what he has to stay, but unless it's an immediate resignation I suspect there's no much left. Almost everyone expects him to ask the GG to prorogue, but again I suspect she'll say no.

1 comment:

Flocons said...

First off, thanks for addressing my questions in such detail.

Self-preservation as the glue for holding government together is a terrible thing to rely on. It analogous to an employee that will only do what is necessary not to get fired... something that we are seeing with the Harper government.

Secondly, this coalition is being packaged as a 2-party coalition. This is really the key issue for many Canadians. If it were really a Liberal-NDP coalition, then I would welcome it with open arms. In reality, this is a 3-party coalition... which (by numbers alone) is a much less stable arrangement. Add to this the fact that the third party is the Bloc Quebecois, then suddenly you have me welcoming this coalition with swinging fists.

Canada deserves better than Stephen Harper... but surely Canada also deserves better than a patchwork coalition, no?