Jean Charest, federal Conservative leadership contender, looking quite reasonable as Liberal premier of Quebec in 2007 (Photo: Pascal Sauvé, Creative Commons).

Let it be conceded that the Conservative histrionics over yesterday’s confidence and supply agreement between the Liberals and the New Democrats in Parliament has far outdone the “spectacular national Conservative tantrum” predicted in this space. 

Naturally one would have expected a right-wing Opposition party to argue that any deal between a slightly more progressive governing party and a progressive third party in the House of Commons to co-operatively pass legislation where their platforms coincide would result in bad policy that would harm the interests of the country.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Photo: Justin Trudeau/Flickr).

We would be content to argue that while the Conservative Party of Canada was wrong about such dire predictions, this was a perfectly reasonable response to the new and frustrating circumstances they have just now learned they must face. 

Indeed, I think we could agree that it’s within the bounds of acceptable political hyperbole for the Opposition Conservatives to call the agreement a “coalition,” even though it is obviously no such thing in the technical Parliamentary sense.

Still, it’s close enough, terminologically speaking, for jazz or government work. 

But to say that this is proof Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberals “will stop at nothing to keep power, even if it means buying themselves a majority,” as did Conservative leadership candidate Jean Charest, 63, last night, well, this needs to be addressed. 

Mr. Charest’s tweet, and the statement appended to it, wherein he argued that “Canadians elected a minority government whether Trudeau respects it or not,” is very strange coming from a politician flexible enough to switch from federal Conservatives to Quebec Liberals and back again with alacrity, and who himself once headed a minority government and did what he reasonably could to remain in power.

This is true even if the differences between some provincial parties and the federal party with the same name are big enough to make them effectively completely different political entities – a fact always forgotten by Alberta Conservatives when it comes time for them to say something about this province’s New Democrats. 

So what are the Liberals supposed to do, in Mr. Charest’s estimation? 

Commit political seppuku to provide his Conservatives with the opportunity to fulfill their manifest destiny? 

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Conservatives had no problem, obviously, back in 2003 when Stephen Harper of the Canadian Alliance and Peter MacKay of the Progressive Conservatives merged their parties into a united opposition – not quite the governing party yet, but a situation close enough to be clearly analogous. 

Moreover, there can be no doubt they would have formed a government at the time if they could have. 

This nonsense is stranger still, and somewhat more troubling, coming from Mr. Charest, who it can be credibly argued is the most temperate of the potential Conservative leaders currently campaigning for the job. (As a result, of course, his chances of victory must be considered marginal.)

Still, it must be stated, unequivocally, that the agreement between the Liberals and New Democrats in the House of Commons is exactly how our Westminster-style Parliamentary Democracy is supposed to operate. 

As says my favourite political science textbook, the one I used when the need to teach a post-secondary political science course for which I was manifestly unqualified was thrust upon me unexpectedly, the job of the prime minister in a minority Parliament is to “command the confidence of the House.”

That is done, Patrick Malcolmson and Richard Myers explained in my tattered 1996 edition of The Canadian Regime, by adopting policies likely to “either find favour with, or not be opposed by, members of one of the two smaller parties.”

Liberal prime minister Lester B. Pearson, with a pencil, not a cigarette (Photo: Library and Archives Canada).

When Lester Pearson adopted this strategy after he emerged with a minority government in the 1963 federal election, they wrote, “it was quite successful: His Liberal government remained in office for five years, despite the fact that it never had more than a minority of seats in the House.”

That the “coalition” might turn out to be as successful and nearly as long lived, producing the type of popular legislation that benefits Canadians and soon becomes too entrenched in the popular will to be easily rooted out by market fundamentalist ideologues, is exactly what Conservatives in Ottawa fear.

Well, at least Mr. Charest’s effort wasn’t as bonkers as Conservative leadership frontrunner Pierre Poilievre’s opinion that “our party needs a leader who can defeat this coalition on the floor of the House of Commons …” (Viz., him.)

Exactly how this is supposed to happen is not precisely clear when together the combined number of Liberal and NDP seats in the House is 184, while the remaining Conservative, Bloc Quebecois, Green and Independent MPs add up only to 154. 

Well, as Rachel Notley established in 2015, math can be hard for Conservatives. 

Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre, apparently bent on proving again that math is hard for Conservatives (Photo: Jake Wright, Creative Commons).

On the other hand, perhaps Mr. Poilievre has in mind a coalition with some outlaw truckers like the ones he welcomed to Ottawa recently to help him “fight this socialist coalition power pact.” 

Again, our Westminster Parliamentary system has an answer to Mr. Poilievre’s big idea as well. 

A significant number of Canadians like minority Parliaments precisely because they must govern with moderation, consideration for alternative views, and an eye on the needs and wishes of the electorate. 

So remember, Parliament is operating exactly as it is supposed to, and Canada’s democratic fundamentals are quite safe as long as it does. 

Join the Conversation

38 Comments

  1. It’s a minority government. It is what it is. Two governments decided to work together and deal with issues, and if the CPC doesn’t like this, tough beans. It’s as simple as that.

  2. The Conservative frustration about this arrangement, while dramatic and overwrought, bordering on hysterical, is actually real. They are experiencing yet again another Charlie Brown moment when the ball is seemingly unexpectedly taken away from them and they may fall right on their behind yet again.

    A few weeks ago Conservatives, having succesfully just gotten rid of their last semi capable leader were happily conteplating getting a better one who would bring down the Liberal minority government in a year or so. Of course, there was some disagreement on who exactly this new better leader would be, but many seemed sure they had at least found someone more capable than the last four since they previously won an election. Now, the bad news is they will have to wait and three years is a long time for a shiny new opposition leader to lose whatever momentum they may have right after winning the party leadership.

    If you’re wondering why Charest is so upset, this is especially bad news for him. First, he is at a certain age where time is not his friend. Skippy can afford to wait a bit, but Charest is definitely not getting any younger and already there is a sense he may be yesterdays man, which could become stronger as time goes on. Second, Charest’s biggest asset was potential electability. If there is not going to be an election for several years that asset becomes less top of mind for Conservative members than in a minority government situation that could end at any moment.

    So, perhaps the Conservative that benefits most from this is Poilievre, but he doesn’t seem like the most patient type. Three years is disappointing if you were thinking about picking the drapes for Rideau Cottage much sooner.

    1. Charest’s “of a certain age”? He’s only 63, for gosh sakes! (I’m only take exception because I’m a few years older—but just a few!)

      In three years (goodness willing), Charest will be “yesterday’s man”? In any amount of time, Poilievre seeks to take us back to the Stone Age—or at lest the Dark Ages.

      Now who of the two is more “yesterday’s man”—or should I say, “yesterday’s them?”

  3. Very well-written and observed. Pretty much inarguable unless your brain is made of melted cheese, and thus devoid of history, knowledge, facts or reason.

    The raging outbursts from the Cons (and that useless appurtenance on the Federal body politic the Bloc Quebecois) on this “coalition” is down to one thing, and one thing only. They got snookered, pure and simple. Sucker-punched. They hate it. And like bad workmen they blame their tools which they see as anyone not like them. Having taken their eyes off the ball while they figure out which dumbbell they can install as leader of the foaming-at-the-mouth-we’re-for-business-giveaways class, they simply cannot believe they’ve been tipped into the garbage skip, where no matter what they say it matters not a jot. Privatization of health care and the furtherance of class divide by income has been dealt a body blow for the time being.

    I couldn’t be happier.

  4. David, Your kick at the semantics can ( “it is obviously no such thing in the technical Parliamentary sense”) is right up there with CTV and is unhelpful for a Country that is in turmoil after too many years being led by a boy suffering from NPD. Perhaps you should read Lorne Gunter who has no trouble seeing what is going on. Obviously your bar for a what is acceptable behavior by a democratic country’s political leaders is much lower than mine. And no, I am not a rabid hysterical Conservative, I blame them and their penchant for asking for money and staging inane leadership votes fully for contributing to the very sad shape we Canadians are in.

    Brad Smith

    1. Hey Brad, surely you have a credible source for your assertion that our prime minister suffers from NPD, right?

      Are you referencing the Lorne Gunter who helped get the UCP elected, and whose wife enjoys a UCP-appointed sinecure?

    2. Respect your willingness to put your name on your statement and you ability to not type in all caps, so I figured I’d check out the article you mentioned. I assume you mean this article? https://edmontonsun.com/opinion/columnists/gunter-a-coalition-government-in-everything-but-name

      My verdict – rife with rhetorical artifice, short on facts and substance and deliberately misleading. I would characterize that article as “propaganda” not “journalism.” Here’s the opening sentence: “If you can’t stomach the idea of another three years of Justin Trudeau as Canada’s Dear Leader, thank Jagmeet Singh.” If you dislike Trudeau, I get it, more power to you. If you think that comparing him with any or North Korea’s leaders is accurate, appropriate, fair, helpful or tasteful… well, go to town I guess, I’m not going to waste time and effort engaging with bad-faith absurdities. Another really dishonest sentence:

      “Now that the Liberals have the New Democrats’ political souls in their back pockets, what’s to stop them from declaring lots of otherwise ordinary bills as confidence measures, just to force their new patsies to vote for them?” Mr. Gunter should be ashamed to have written something so (it would seem) deliberately misleading and obviously absurd.

      From https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-singh-how-it-will-work-1.6393710:

      “Is this a coalition government? No. The NDP does not become part of the Liberal government. New Democrat MPs remain in opposition, they get no seats at the cabinet table and the NDP can walk away from the deal if it feels it no longer serves its interests.”

    3. First of all, nothing illegal about having a coalition government. It seems to become a dirty word lately mostly in Conservative circles, but I have to wonder if it is partly just sour grapes from the ones not invited to the party. Second, this isn’t a coalition, the same party is in government as before this agreement and as a minority it still relies on the support of other parties.

      Actual coalitions are very uncommon federally in Canada although more common provincially. I think the only Federal one was Prime Minister Borden’s government and get this … he was a Conservative, but that is probably something his successor party members have totally forgotten about or are just conveniently ignoring.

  5. NEWSFLASH: Candice Bergen, Interim Leader of the Conservative Party Praises the NDP-Liberal Coalition
    In an exclusive interview with Postmedia, Ms. Bergen happily declares, “By making sure there’s no federal election until 2025, the $500 million cost of the 2021 election is saved,” going on to claim that once the CPC takes power the hundreds of millions will be put to good use. “We’ll return those funds to hard working millionaires on Bay Street and country clubs across Canada, the same crowd my pal Trump rewarded with massive tax cuts down south.” She finished by tossing darts at Trudeau and Singh. “Those Socialists should spend more time governing instead of nanny stating the country with useless programs like pharmacare and affordable housing.”
    This interview never took place. She was busy preening in front of a mirror admiring her MAGA hat.

  6. I hope some reporter will ask the Conservative leadership candidates if they would commit to refusing a coalition, or even a confidence and supply agreement with the PPC.

  7. It is an understatement to say that Charest’s comments on the Liberal / NDP agreement were extremely disappointing. To see him spouting similar falsehoods and disinformation as the other CPCs hacks is shameful.

    As the CPC gets pulled further to the right and increasingly expresses sentiments that tend toward a pro-authoritarian and anti-democratic space, not to mention outright hostile to the impoverished (see Maga-hat Bergen’s comments about the need for a dental care program), and the Liberals shift to the left, a huge void is opening in the centre — a void that a moderate conservative leading a more moderate CPC could occupy.

    If Canadians really do tend toward conservative policies, as many in the CPC contend, the CPC is going after those voters in the wrong way by making it easier for moderate conservatives to hold their noses and vote for any party but the CPC. Furthermore, it encourages strategic voting wherein people who have never voted for a conservative candidate will vote, not for their first choice of candidate, but for the candidate who is in the best position to defeat the CPC candidate. I am not sure that either of these outcomes is good for democracy.

    Much hinges on the outcome of the CPC leadership race. Charest urgently needs some ipecac for the Kool-Aid he drank upon hearing the news of the agreement. However, I should note that ipecac is counter indicated for poisoning cases where the subject has ingested a corrosive substance.

  8. Excellent comments about a sensible and normal Parliamentary development. However, you have not commented on the most hilarious of Conservative reactions. This morning on the CBC Calgary’s Eyeopener’s “not-very-unconventional-at-all-panel” the two conservatives were expressing concerns for the negative consequences to the NDP of this limited agreement. Not only do Conservatives have problems with math, they seem to be blind to disingenuous sophistry. It was also hilarious because that spot followed a report from Texas about how the state is going full on renewable in its electrical sector. Irony abounds.

  9. When I started as a union rep in the 1970s we fought for dental and drug plans. These were life-changing for many of the lowest-paid workers. Now most of Canada’s unionized “middle class” enjoys these benefits. It’s time to extend these benefits to all Canadians.

  10. Finally!

    We’ll finally see some progressive legislation being passed at the federal level that will benefit workers and poor people.

    I’m tired of seeing our tax dollars only benefiting friends of Conservatives and the oil and Gas companies at the expense of everyone else.

    Put money into the hands of the people, and not big business and the billionaires who own those businesses, is the best way to grow the economy.

    Canadian oligarchs don’t need more obscenely oversized yachts and jets.

  11. “…Mr. Charest, who it can be credibly argued is the most temperate of the potential Conservative leaders currently campaigning for the job. (As a result, of course, his chances of victory must be considered marginal.)”

    I truly hope that this insight will be proven accurate.

    About Jean Charest, two things must be noted:

    1) He is prone to ask his ministers to find money by any means available (and while receiving his salary as Quebec’s Premier, he also got some 50 000$ a year from the Quebec Liberal Party.)

    2) He put up a special police (UPAC) to shield himself and a few other people from possibly embarrassing investigations. And guess what? UPAC dropped their inquiry concerning the above (1) about the same day Charest said he will try to succeed Erin O’Toole.

    But who knows? Maybe big oil will give him a try (and get him elected) to pave the way to new pipelines while the prices are good.

    If so, will there be a student uprising this time, as in 1012, to send him back to political retirement?

    Anyway, individuals as Jean Charest are obnoxious till their death, and sometimes afterwards too.

  12. I love the smell of panicking alt-rights in the morning. You know, one time we had this election campaign bombarded with truth for 60 days. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn’t find one of ’em, not one stinking CPC candidate. The smell, you know that smeared fecal smell, the whole election. Smelled like victory.

    You know, one day, the Conservative party is gonna end….

  13. You have to love all the stupidity that goes on in politics today. While these fools continue this infighting the people are the big losers and they don’t give a damn. Unlike Peter Lougheed none of these Reformers care about the well being of all of these Alberta people. No one was better at creating these mergers than the stupid conservatives and reformers, look what it has done to Alberta ?

  14. What the CPC is saying is that they are opposed to dental care, pharmacare and affordable housing for the economically disadvantaged.

    If you’re poor and old/a student/a single parent or able in any way to meet the income thresholds for these programs, conservatives federally and some provincially would rather toss you to the fates of the free market instead of helping you.

    Candice Bergen of the CPC would rather spend $5200 on sheets and towels than help you move out of a cardboard box under a bridge, or fill your child’s cavity, or get the drugs you need to treat an infection. Jason Kenney of the UCP will fight “every day” to prevent you from getting dental care, pharmaceuticals and a safe and affordable place to live.

    Do we see now what conservatives are about? Hint: it’s big business, not the little guy.

  15. It seems a more democratic solution than running a kamikaze candidate in a leadership race in order to split your opponent’s votes. Mr. Charest may also be madder than usual because he sees the voting agreement handing the leadership race to a person better able to capture the rage of the conservatives in Mr. Poilievre. Conservatives will be mad, and Charest was hoping to be the voice of reason. Now Poilievre can ride the crazy train to victory.

  16. Pleasantly surprised at the lack of hysterics in the comments section yesterday. I was expecting to see some all caps comments about how Canada is becoming a Communist nation or something.

    I suspect that PP is ‘bad at math like a fox,’ in that of course his statements are laughably absurd, but he’s not talking to the politically literate, he’s speaking to very specifically misinformed people, and he’ll fundraise a whole bunch of money based on ‘spoooooooooooky socialists!’

    “Indeed, I think we could agree that it’s within the bounds of acceptable political hyperbole for the Opposition Conservatives to call the agreement a “coalition,” even though it is obviously no such thing in the technical Parliamentary sense.”

    I definitely get your point – what is this minor lie compared to the bigger ones that are, more and more, simply part of the normal political process? – but lying is very useful and tempting for politicians. If we allow our politicians to lie without consequence, we can expect them to lie more often and more egregiously. Yet with that being said, if I’m going to say this is unacceptable… what means do I have to not accept it?

    I was frustrated and discouraged by all the people who damn well know better calling it a ‘socialist coalition.’ This flies because 70% of Canadians seem to think that ‘socialist’ means ‘scary bad guy.’ We can’t discuss ideas if we don’t have the language necessary to discuss them, and these kind of everyday dishonesties serve to keep a lot of useful, important ideas outside of the Overton Window IMO.

  17. It can’t be a bad thing for the CONs when every time Skippy Pollivere opens his mouth support for Charest jumps that much higher.

    The current CPC leadership, who is overwhelmingly based in Western Canada, decided to, either reject the notion that they need the support of GTA and Quebec, in favour of some Alberta Uber Alles nonsense. Their rationale was Pollivere is an MP from Ottawa and he’s a Francophone. Actually, he’s from Calgary and his Franco-Saskatchewan roots are just now being exploited. I suspect while he was growing up in Calgary, he preferred to be called Peter, because French is evil and the Devil’s Tongue.

    This is the conflict within the CPC. On the one hand, they have a legacy of Red Toryism, meshed with crazoid Bible-thumping, Putin-like authoritarianism, and US-style Deep State conspiracy obsessions. And everyone knows the Calgary Cabal is all about cleansing out the Reds, liberals, and anyone who smells commie. It’s like McCarthyism never ended.

    1. Indeed PP did grow up in Calgary. I saw him when he was in kindergarten.
      I also witnessed his Franco-Saskatchewan parents’ behaviours. His persona
      reflects those early years.
      He was always Pierre back then.

  18. I have yet to hear from Conservatives just what it is they are proposing that will help us not only survive, but maybe even thrive across this huge country. All the austerity measures have ever done is drive more of us into deprivation. Are those of us below the Canadians median family income of $98,000/year to curtail our lives for the sake of … what? Are we just to lie down and accept the Maggie Thatcher dictum about there being no society, just individuals in a person versus person war of the “fittest” [I do not like putting canines into an equivalent place!]. I have yet to identify any ‘wisdom’ in decrying ‘society’ for the sake of a very few who wish that the superfluous population would just go away!

  19. I should add to my original comment that the MSM appears to have drunk the same Kool-Aid as Charest, offered up by the Truck clownvoy loving Skippy and Maga-hat Bergen (you know the folks who sympathized with a group that wanted to overthrow the government through a bizarre coalition).

    There is a surprising amount of overblown wailing and gnashing of teeth among the punditry about this deal.

  20. Why all the hullabaloo? For quite some time now the three major parties have already been acting as a coalition when it came to Ukraine policy and vaccine injections.

  21. I’m here for it. Let them light their hair on fire while Jagmeet and Justin Push through wildly popular social programs Canadians have wanted for decades. It’s certainly AN election strategy but I highly doubt it’s a winning election strategy.

  22. If this agreement holds, it will be the best of possible outcome for all Canadians.

    Pierre Poilievre and Candice Bergen both sound more and more unhinged/hysterical.

  23. The Conservatives are embarrassing themselves.

    They need to get on with the job of electing a new leader, adapting policies that will appeal to voters, and attracting star candidates. A little less bickering and a little more teamwork would not be amiss either.

    Not to mention becoming what they are supposed to be. An effective Opposition Parry at the ready to form a Government. Currently, I would not trust them to run a pop stand. As it stands now, they are a disgrace.

  24. It is hard to believe what the Conservatives come up with. Candice Bergen saying that the voters chose a minority government and not a government with the NDP?
    Well I knew she was not that smart, she has proven that but this is idiotic. I can only imagine what is going to happen to our country when this bunch of evangelicals takes over the country.
    Charest is the biggest surprise with a hint of wanting to join the lunacy club.

  25. I don’t know whether politicians (in general, but the conservative ones in particular) are completely hypocritical or just ignorant of history and of the way parliamentary democracy works in this country. There HAVE been coalitions at the provincial level in the past, and other supply and confidence agreements as well, both at the federal and provincial levels.

    In BC after the 1941 election, the Liberals and Conservatives formed a coalition to keep out the CCF. They actually ran as a coalition in 1945, and again in 1949. In 1952 their coalition had fallen apart so they dreamed up a ranked ballot system for mutual support. This backfired when the Socreds unexpectedly got in instead.

    More recently, in Nova Scotia, the Libs and NDP ended the 1998 election with 19 seats each, and the PCs teamed up with the Libs to keep out the NDP. And there was talk of a coalition of sorts to get rid of the Paul Martin minority government at one point.

    Electoral pacts, agreements and coalitions will always exist. It would be better if everyone just acknowledged that and we went to a MMP system so that people could vote their conscience, and let the politicians negotiate afterwards.

  26. Hana certainly has it right. After these two phoney conservatives discovered that Canadians weren’t dumb enough to a prove of their stupid support for their convoy criminal trucker buddies they certainly changed their tune very quickly didn’t they? Why would anyone be dumb enough to want either of them as prime minister?

  27. Interim CPC leader Beargin’s twaddle is, or should be seen as, preposterous—just like Harper’s when he said the Liberal-NDP-Bloc alliance aiming to topple his CPC minority was “unconstitutional” because one of the “coalition” (as he called it) was “separatist” —by which he meant, to his adherents, seditious. He waxed that coalitions were, by their nature, “undemocratic”—just like he said about so-called “strategic voting”—both ordinary democratic phenomena which coincidentally threatened his capacity to command parliamentary confidence.

    Thus we can say that Conservatives’ complaints about any governing party or alliance trying to “grab” or “keep power” are hypocritical. (Trust me: there are plenty of other examples.)

    Neo-right politicians don’t much trouble themselves about crossing the line between partisan hyperbole and outright lying because most of their base, especially the basest, can’t tell the difference or, among their few, less-undereducated Sig Rune riders, they much don’t care anyhow. But it’s hardly a recruitment opportunity that most Canadians, left, right or centre, find basic things like tactical voting, Royal assent, and parliamentary confidence too arcane to bother interrupting the game or saving/felling the vast boreal forest. Main thing’s the gin hits the spot for them outlaw pikers.

    Steve knew it, Candy knows it and Pierre “The Toilet Plunger” Poilievre knows it too. They oughta be ashamed of their tripe-spewing whether anyone believes it or not. There’s enough Igoramusses, hangers-on, prospects, and half-patches out there to make it downright unhelpful. And that Tory Blue, twittering greenhorn Jean Charest is one a them punters, too: he’s been around and changed his spots long enough to know the Liberals are knee-deep in Dippers cuz voters elected them, not because they wanted to “buy themselves a majority” —and the former federal ProgCon knows it full well.

    If Charest’s tweeting is supposed to even up his eyelash-batting bouquet of cauliflower with Poilievre’s ‘tear-your-socialist-heart-out-and-hand-it-to-you’ corsage, he’s got a ways to go yet before his Quebecois-Liberal tat is sufficiently obscured with the kind of bloody pudding the CPC membership gnashes its fangs for.

    Not that moderation of the Canadian neo-right’s self-awarded freedom to go too far right isn’t salutary—in fact, that’s probably what the Canadian gap-toothed political spectrum needs (and exactly what the Canadian partisan right needs to bring it back towards the centre), but if all Charest’s got is a sappy sop to CPC red meat addiction, he risks being caricatured as a greying Christopher Robin to Poilievre’s Sonny Barger. Although it’s commendable to correct Candy’s totally misleading rhetoric, one can’t, in the circumstance, recommend Charest attempt it—unless of course it divides the federal Cons into two or three separate parties and they commence to advocating for proportional representation. (I’d ask, rhetorically, if Canadian voters ‘get’ that little attempt at psephological humour —but never mind!)

    Finally, a detour in confidence: the essence of Westminster’s tradition of timely legislation is captured by confidence which tests cabinet’s ability to pass bills into law by way of parliamentary majority. The Sovereign’s primary duty is to ensure cher subjects have a popularly-elected government which can act in timely fashion at all times, and cher governor’s responsibility to replace a governing group of MPs if it cannot pass a bill, either by finding an alternative group which convincingly commits to doing so in the same fashion or, failing that, referring the impasse back to the electorate. Unlike the US congressional parliament, a Westminster government falls if the confidence test is lost: each tabled ‘money bill’ tests confidence (in the US, in contrast, if a bill fails to pass, the government simply moves to the next item on the agenda; in practice, legislation moves very slowly and still might not pass, after all that, thus bogging legislation down in gridlock. One mitigation is frequent elections—the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate every two years; another is the practical development of a rigid, two-party parliament).

    An ocean of ink has already been devoted to promoting and campaigning for proportional representation, so I shan’t devote any more to it or my apparently successful contributions to defending the status quo single-member-plurality electoral system—aka “first past the post”—nor, for that matter, to defending our Westminster parliamentary system, our paper-ballot voting system, and our nonpartisan, unelected Head-of-State except to say that parliamentary confidence is so fundamental to our system of governing that pro-reppers’ shocking ignorance of it makes it dead easy to defeat them in debate—especially when their only rejoinder to the criticism that pro-rep risks electing a parliament in which a small party espoused to radical policies may hold the majority to ransom else topple the governing alliance (pro-rep parliaments are virtually always hung) is to abolish parties or get rid of confidence —or any number of ill-considered and, ultimately, disingenuous notions. Simply put, if you don’t understand confidence, then you aren’t well enough informed to vote in an electoral-systems referendum. The salutary thing—for me, anyway—is that, by this promiscuity, pro-reppers are their own worst enemy.

    Nevertheless, I’m prepared to debate electoral systems with a better-informed opponent precisely because I do understand what parliamentary confidence is.

    That means Candy, The Toilet Plunger, Charest, Harper and most of today’s quasimodoCons are less than unhelpful when they intentionally misinform the electorate for their own partisan advantage: they are downright harmful.

    I shouldn’t have to say this in confidence, but: GSTQ & ‘FPtP’

  28. Quebec is, rather predictably, already fighting against this. https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/legault-warns-new-liberal-ndp-alliance-will-trigger-confrontation-with-provinces/ar-AAVq7Bj?ocid=entnewsntp I swear, you would never know Quebec is desperate to attract more workers. Luckily for them, the worse their economy, the more the rest of the country pays to prop them up, even when their economic woes are caused by not having enough workers due to their choice to drive out as many non-white non-Francophones as possible.

    I hope the feds just tell them and every other Premier who takes the same position that “if you don’t want money with strings attached, cool, no money for you, have fun explaining to your constituency why other provinces have dental and pharmacare and you don’t.”

    With that being said, the feds should also give concrete assurances to the provinces that they won’t get stuck with the costs in a similar way to how the Liberals balanced their budget by screwing the provinces health care funding in 1996.

  29. what will the ndp oppostion do about the undemocratic legislation being introduced in
    parliament, giving quebec seats it’s not entitled to, consequential from population decline?

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