Monday, December 1, 2008

Goodbye Harper...Hello Prime Minister Dion?

Conservative pundits are going ballistic over speculation that the Harper government may be defeated, and in its place a Liberal led coalition installed. Their point is that Canadian voters rejected Dion and the Liberal party in the just completed election, and that if Dion wishes to lead the country he should have to first face the electorate.

Of course we just had an election, one in which the Conservatives won a minority mandate with about 37% of the popular vote. Put another way approximately 63% of those who bothered to vote opted for parties other than the Conservatives. The spin Harper and his minions are attempting to put on this situation is that a party with 37% of the vote is more legitimate than a coalition of parties that received around 60%. Conservative party members have been urged to write letters and phone radio call-in shows to voice their displeasure.

As I'm writing this it looks like its a fait accompli, that the opposition parties are going to defeat the Conservative government at the earliest opportunity and request that the Governor General allow them to form a government.

The primary consideration for Canadians:

Would a Liberal led coalition with Dion as Prime Minister be legitimate?

A closer look at the results from just a few weeks back suggests the answer is a resounding yes. Almost 50% of Canadians didn't even bother to vote in our just completed federal election. Regardless of their reasons for not voting, half the electorate basically said..."Whatever the outcome of this election is, I don't really care". I suspect a large part of the reason for voter apathy is that in the final analysis nearly half of all Canadians figured: "Conservative/ doesn't matter to me".

So irrespective of which party ends up governing this nation, nearly half the population is on-side and willing to accept it. Add to that the sixty or so percent who voted Liberal, NDP and Bloc and you certainly have a strong enough mandate to govern. I would suggest that if indeed this does come to pass that naming Elizabeth May as Environment Minister would be a small coup. The coalition would then be able to legitimately say they're also representing those Canadians who voted for the Green Party. Of course a bi-election would have to be arranged at some point to allow Ms May a seat in the House of Commons, but handled properly that's hardly an obstacle.

Put another way, in a room with with 200 Canadians 100 would be standing off to the side telling the other 100 to decide who should run the country, that whatever the outcome: 'It's fine with us'. About 37 would be championing a Conservative led government with 63 getting together and saying...nah, we think it should be us. Is it a perfect situation? No....but its certainly legitimate for 63 to dictate to 37 as opposed to the other way around. It sure beats spending another 300 or so million to do it all over again. Were that to happen I wouldn't be surprised if that apathetic group of 100 non voters swelled to 120 or more.

Any thoughts? Post your comments.

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