Friday, November 28, 2008

More interesting than the election, anyway

Well, isn't this eeeenteresting. No, really -- Canadian politics is momentarily interesting! There's apparently movement between the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc to form a coalition government that would spare Canadians from both a new election and a Conservative government. If it's official, it would be the first real coalition (as opposed to de facto) since World War I. (Broadbent's NDP held the balance of power in Trudeau's minority government, but never entered the cabinet.)

The Conservatives are yelling "anti-democratic" at their highest possible volume, and I'm not entirely unsympathetic. I think that we have to assume that voters are largely self-conscious and can read polls, and there were no real surprises in the last election: the Canadian people got, more or less, the Parliament they wanted.

That said, the government they got only earned 37.65% of the vote, meaning that more than 6 in 10 Canadian voters wanted someone else in power. It's not entirely clear that a coalition between the Liberals and NDP would be less legitimate, given that they'd have a combined 43% of the vote. The Bloc probably won't officially be in the government, but adding their share of the vote puts the de facto coalition's vote share at more than half, so tell me how exactly that would be undemocratic?

Then the next question is who would be PM -- CTV sez that the NDP and Bloc have both nicked Dion, so Iggy's getting the nod. If this actually occurs, that would effectively end the Liberal leadership race, wouldn't it? (The Globe says this isn't true, Layton is willing to work with Dion and says the rumour came from Ignatieff's camp!, which seems pretty low.)

It won't surprise anyone to learn that I would much prefer a Liberal-NDP coalition to the current government. I also think there's a strong argument to be made, outside of my own partisan preferences, that Canada's interests would be best served by having a government that was likely to be on better terms with the incoming US administration. Please, do recall that Harper's people kneecapped Obama in Pennsylvania -- Obama's not the grudge-keeping kind, but maybe it would be better to start off with a clean slate?

Aside from the political stuff, it's clear that Stephane "named my dog Kyoto" Dion is going to be more in sync with Obama than Harper "Tar sands emissions are a state secret" Harper.

Update: Given that she's literally the only MP in Alberta from either the NDP or Liberals, wouldn't Linda Duncan be pretty much guaranteed a cabinet spot? Minister of the environment, anyone? I suspect at the very least we could also expect Mulcair.

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