Thursday, September 10, 2009

Red-Blue Coalitions

There's a lot of talk about coalitions these days. Stephen Harper wants to use the NDP and the Bloc as doppelgangers of a possible Liberal government. The argument appears to be give me my majority or the separatists win. That's to be expected after last winter, but I doubt there's a lot of non-Tories out there worrying themselves about future parliamentary coalitions. Increasingly I've been thinking of a different coalition. I know it's probably blasphemy but hear me out. Canada needs a grand coalition between the Liberals and the Conservatives. It's the only way parliament can actually work. Assuming there's an election in the near future, the house that returns is probably going to be less functional than the one we have now. Check out my latest projection for an idea of the possible chaos. The odds of a Tory majority are slim. The odds of a Liberal majority are slimmer. Election 2009 would represent the fourth in five years. A fifth election would drive Canadians into a furor that could result in God only knows what. The only way for a sustainable government to emerge out of the next election is if the Liberals and Conservatives work together. Whoever wins the election gets to be Prime Minister. The rest is up for negotiation.

Locally, the city of Toronto's long standing red-blue coalition appears to be in the middle of a behind-the-scenes primary between former Progressive Conservative leader John Tory and Liberal Minister of Energy and Infrastructure George Smitherman for the right to oppose David Miller in November 2010. The NDP are the only functioning political party in Toronto politics and the centre-right has long had to work together if they want to win. The choice to my mind is obvious. John Tory has had his chances. He has lost too many times. He has already lost to David Miller once. While Tory is no more right wing than twice elected Mel Lastman, the argument that you need a right winger to knock off an NDP Mayor is curious. Why Smitherman who has a reputation as a tough and competent manager couldn't beat the weak and incompetent Miller is beyond me. The electorate in Toronto is basically centre-left. It was a mix of NDP and Liberal voters that gave Miller his two mandates. If Smitherman can choke off support from centre-left Liberals, Miller will run out of political real estate. Smitherman is also no stranger to fundraising from the centre-right. He had done so, and done so remarkably throughout his tenure as MPP for Toronto Centre. If George Smitherman wants to run, and most people seem to think he does, he would make a great mayor.


WesternGrit said...

May work in TO, but not in most of the rest of Canada. We'll just take back the red Tories this next election, thank you very much!

wilson said...

This Conservative government only needs the support of 12 Liberals to form a majority.
Currently, the LPC would need 78 more seats to form a majority.

PM Borden formed what he called a Government Union, asking individual Liberals to join in supporting his Conservative government.

Perhaps that is what PMSH should do, try to keep the government stable until the recession is over.

Loraine Lamontagne said...

Michael Ignatieff has never negotiated the conditions for which the the third parties would give him a majority in the house and secure a government.

Stephen Haper negotiated with the socialists and the separatists, to use his words, at the Delta Hotel in Montreal in August 2004.

Ignatieff has not and will not - his goal is to win the next election with a majority of seats in the house and to lead a stable government.

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