Monday, April 04, 2011

Then why doesn't a coalition of losers apply at the riding level?

Yes, I understand at the parliamentary level, if a group of MPs from different losing parties can agree to form a coalition majority caucus, that it is perfectly legal that they can approach the Governor General and inform him that they can lead a government.

However, tradition in parliament is also important to understand.  Canadian parliamentary precedent whereby the losing parties form government is not tradition.  Our tradition is a first-past-the-post, and why minority governments can exist.

But what about the riding level?  Why not apply the same logic then?  What if a Conservative candidate won with say 42% support, but the combined Liberal-NDP support was above 50%?  Why not have a run-off election or allow losing candidates to throw their support to another losing candidate to put them over the Conservative?

More especially, why haven't I heard a single Liberal or Dipper in support of a parliamentary coalition suggest the same scenario be applicable at the riding level after an election?

And I'm also sick to death of coalition supporters touting the current UK coalition government between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats as a model.  The big difference in the UK is that the Conservatives won the election and formed a coalition with one other party, not by losing and signing an agreement to form government with another party AND the support of a separatist party.

Ok, but you may ask, at the riding level, we should use a form of proportional representation (PR), say a ranking system, a run-off election between the top two, or having a portion of the House dedicated to selected members to balance the number of votes to number of seats.  But notice that it's NDP, Green and other small parties that continually blather on about this?

I've thought about PR, and you know what would happen in Canada that also happens in many countries that use a form of PR?

You get .... perpetual coalition governments and national instability.

And these coalition governments would be comprised of all sorts of parties.  And these parties would be focused on only certain issues.  Coalition governments wouldn't need to consider ALL regions in the nation or the entire nation as a whole anymore.  They would do whatever it took to hold onto power and keep the coalition intact.

But wait, don't we already have that potential here in Canada?  Consider this scenario ... if the Conservatives get another minority, Green Party leader Elizabeth May wins her seat in in BC, and the combined Liberal-NDP-BQ-Green seat total is above 155 and they agree and want to form government, don't we have at least two parties that primarily tout one issue each--Quebec separation and the environment?

Soon, you'd see all sorts of new one-two issue and regional parties popping up trying to win a seat here and there (hello Marijuana Party!) and the potential for coalition governments to be comprised of many little one-issue parties.  That's not how you form a stable national government.

In fact, this only proves to me even further why we need a Triple-E Senate instead of PR.  That way, you would balance regional issues and representation within parliament.  Further to that, first we need to fix the provincial representation in the House of Commons to make it fair on average for each riding.  Some ridings have 80,000 people and some 130,000.  BC, Alberta, and Ontario are losing out here big time.

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