Canada: Do the Math; Look at the Abject Tory Failure; Support the Coalition December 2, 2008Posted by rogerhollander in A: Roger's Original Essays, About Canada, Canadan Coalition.
Tags: bloc, Canada, coalition, conservatives, democracy, Economic Crisis, finance minister, flaherty, house of commons, Jack Layton, liberals, NDP, parliament, roger hollander, Stephane Dion, Stephen Harper
© Roger Hollander 2008
Let’s begin by looking at the numbers in the October election:
(Elections Canada: http://enr.elections.ca)
Conservatives: 5,205,334 37.6% 143 seats (46.4%)
Liberals: 3,629,990 26.2% 76 seats (24.7%)
NDP: 2,517,075 18.2% 37 seats (12.0%)
Bloc: 1,379,565 10.0% 50 seats (16.2%)
(Note: there are 2 Independents elected)
The first thing to note is that, taking into account the overall popular vote, the Conservatives and the Bloc are somewhat over-represented in Parliament and the NDP greatly under-represented.
But with respect to the question of “democracy” as it arises in connection with the proposed Liberal/NDP Coalition (the Bloc being something of a silent partner), what is noteworthy and unquestionable is the following:
The combined Liberal/NDP popular vote percentages are 44.4% versus the Conservatives 37.6%. When the Bloc vote is added to the Liberal and NDP vote, the comparison with the Conservatives is 54.4% versus 37.6%. With respect to seats in the House of Commons, the three Parties that are proposing the Coalition have a combined total of 163 (52.9%) versus the Conservatives 143 (46.4%).
STATISTICALY SPEAKING IT IS THE COALITON, NOT THE CONSERVATIVES THAT REPRESENTS A DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY.
Now let’s look beyond the statistics. Following the October election, the Conservative Party formed a legitimate minority government. However, it has operated as if it were a majority in failing to consult or take into account the policy positions of the other parties, who combined represent a majority of Canadian voters.
This Conservative minority government, however, appears now to have lost the confidence of the majority of the House of Commons as a result of a response to the economic crisis that not only is inadequate, but also an insult to Canadians. The measures proposed by Finance Minister James Flaherty included no initiatives to deal with the crisis, but instead lashed out at the Party’s ideological opponents by proposing measures that are anti-woman, anti-labor and anti-democratic.
It is altogether fitting that the majority of the members of the House of Commons should petition the Governor General to recognize said loss of confidence and recognize as the new government of Canada the proposed Coalition. The Coalition not only represents a majority of Canadian voters, but it has put together a concrete policy agenda that in fact does begin to meet the economic crisis from which the country now suffers.
While the Governor General also has the option of calling a new election, she should take into account that the country spoke loud and clear in October; and that it is only the vicissitude of the fragmentation of political parties in Canada that have allowed the Conservative Party to rule. Given that a new and coherent and unified majority has arisen, it makes much more sense to give that Coalition an opportunity to govern.