Editorial Exchange: Coalition Governments Coming Soon?

By Press, Winnipeg Free | The Canadian Press, July 27, 2015 | Go to article overview

Editorial Exchange: Coalition Governments Coming Soon?


Press, Winnipeg Free, The Canadian Press


Editorial Exchange: Coalition governments coming soon?

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An editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press, published July 26:

No never means no in politics.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he's absolutely, definitely, 100 per cent opposed to forming a coalition with the NDP if the Harper Conservatives fail to win a majority in the fall general election.

Mr. Trudeau says he doesn't want to deny Canadians a choice at the ballot box, but his refusal to dance with the New Democrats is more about election politics than principle.

The Liberals have said the NDP would hurt the economy, and they disagree on many issues. It's hard to talk about forming a relationship with the party you are demonizing.

Mr. Trudeau, however, might very well change his tune if his party finished second in a Tory-dominated minority Parliament. In that case, the idea of partnering with NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair might look a little sweeter.

The third-place party, moreover, doesn't have to actually form a coalition with the second party. It merely has to agree to support it under certain conditions.

The question of the NDP and Liberals forming a coalition to deny power to the Conservatives has come up in the past, but it never went anywhere.

The very idea of it was considered by the Conservatives as undemocratic, but it is nothing of the kind. Canadians elect a Parliament, and the governor general asks the party with the most members to form a government.

If the opposition parties make it clear they won't support that party, and they are prepared to work together in some form, it is perfectly legal and democratic for the head of state to pick an alternative government that has a chance of succeeding.

For some reason, coalition governments have been considered un-Canadian -- except for the one that was formed in the First World War -- but they are consistent with the British parliamentary tradition. …

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