Tuesday, December 02, 2008

And so it begins...



15 Comments:

  • That didn't take long.

    By Blogger northwestern_lad, at 12:57 PM  

  • According to Kady O'Malley, the PMO press office released these, which I find interesting.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 1:06 PM  

  • What percentage of that was publicly funded? :D

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 1:07 PM  

  • Hilarious. The only unfunny thing about it is there are some Canadians who are so Americanised and don't understand their own parliamentary system, viewing things through a presidential prism, that they will be convinced by it. Luckily, they're mostly Cons already. If we do our part to shape opinion, we'll be golden. Reminds me of Joe Clark's line about there some Canadians (Albertans?) like Preston Manning who know a lot more about American politics and the American Civil War than himself, but he was more interested in and knew more about Canadian history than them or Preston.

    By Blogger Eugene Forsey Liberal, at 1:15 PM  

  • I'm interested in learning more about this Separatist Senate Appointment rumor floating around... anyone got anything more on that?

    By Blogger Neil, at 1:18 PM  

  • Even though I LOVE the fact that Harper is about to be booted (he truly has a hidden agenda), something about this coalition ... makes me ... uneasy.

    Yes I KNOW it's a parliamentary system and I KNOW this is how it usually works elsewhere. I hope it's resolved quickly and Canada gets back on track asap.

    By Blogger mezba, at 1:24 PM  

  • We need to move to a proportional Representation system.

    Our current system only works well when there's two parties.

    By Blogger Mark Francis, at 1:49 PM  

  • It seems tempting as a means of solidifying the anti-Conservative majority in a more regular way in the future; except that I don't think there'd be a majority for it.

    Maybe times have changed and the Liberal caucus could get behind single transferrable vote - but that seems iffy in and of itself.

    And do we want to be seen to be re-writing election laws to firm up our political position, however much the system might need reform?

    If even a handful of Liberals - or Bloquistes thinking about federalist pluralities in their ridings - say no, than that's STV dead. And it's the most plausible electoral reform.

    It's clear that FPTP is a joke in a 5 party system, but I'm not sure it's realistic to see it passing with the coalition we're trying to assemble.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 2:05 PM  

  • We've gone from Liberal-friendly ad agencies to ad-agency-friendly Tories.

    By Anonymous parrecon, at 2:14 PM  

  • This whole mess makes PR look even LESS appealing to me than it did before.

    By Anonymous Sean, at 2:34 PM  

  • FPTP's been giving us minorities since 2004; the 5 parties are the reason, and they don't look to be going away.

    STV or full PR just mean the multi-party pies actually reflect who voted for them.

    FPTP is giving us the worst of both worlds right now; with three parties, we might argue were were giving up democratic accuracy for stable majority governments. But with 5 parties, FPTP is so overwhelmed that we're giving up democratic accuracy without any likelihood of anything but the barest majority, and that for only one party.

    Had the right achieved more electoral success without uniting, there might have been a bipartisan consensus that a 7 party polity - Reform, PC, LPC, NDP, Bloc, Green - would best be served by electoral reform. But because first the Liberals and then the CPC were able to profit from the existing system's problems, we've been stuck with it.

    Unless the right would be kind enough to return to its constituent parts, of course.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 2:51 PM  

  • "Hilarious. The only unfunny thing about it is there are some Canadians who are so Americanised and don't understand their own parliamentary system, viewing things through a presidential prism, that they will be convinced by it."

    Eugene Forsey Liberal,

    It is you that don't understand a parliamentary system. Yes, the governor general can defensibly appoint a coalition, but she can also defensibly call an election.
    There is no precedent that fits this situation exactly - in 1985 Miller accepted his defeat and asked the GG to appoint Peterson. In 1975 Australia there was never a VONC. In 1925 there was never a VONC.

    One of the advantages of our system is that unlike the US system, it is based on precedent and convention, not law - it is evolutionary.

    If the Conservatives are able to convince a large majority of Canadians (I don't think that will happen, because people are so partisan these days) that this is undemocratic, the governor-general would be well-advised to listen.

    Secondly, the other annoying track from supporters of the coalition has been to defend the LEGALITY and not the MERIT of this coalition.

    It is surely worth asking oneself why Dion is forming a government with separatists, considering the thesis of his academic work on secession is that when you legitimize secessionist politicians by giving them power you gain short term goodwill, but embolden the forces of separatism in the long-term.

    It is also worth asking whether the Liberals have a MANDATE to take power - which is different from a parliamentary majority. They can yes, govern without a clear mandate, but it weakens the government and the legitimacy of the system itself. I, for instance, voted NDP (I hate Gerard Kennedy) on the basis that no coalition would form.

    Let me say that I also reject the election argument. Here is my suggestion:

    1. Michelle Jean should try to broker a deal to get a compromise update passed first.
    2. Failing that, Jean should see whether there is any possibility of a grand compromise (possibly under a Conservative leader other than Harper).
    3. Failing that, Canada should hold a referendum on whether Jean should appoint the new coalition.

    A referendum would do a few things. It would make the precedent crystal clear for at least the near future (does anybody thing these sort of crises are unlikely to occur in a land of perpetual minorities)?

    It would legitimize whatever government did come into power in a way the status quo would not. Even if Harper's government survives, it has little credibility. Even if Dion wins, his government faces sheer unadultered hatred from Conservatives, and might light the flame of western separatism.

    Thirdly, it would enable the coalition to sell itself to the Canadian public - many people, including myself - would have voted differently had we known a coalition was being considered.

    Fourthly, it gives the coalition time to actually come up with a plan of government that, again, the people can assent to or not. We were never given any chance to vote on the platform that will be enacted.

    Fifthly, a referendum is not an election. It would not create a precedent that the GG must always grant requests for dissolution. It might cost less than an election, and would be a one-time thing.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 4:18 PM  

  • "Had the right achieved more electoral success without uniting, there might have been a bipartisan consensus that a 7 party polity - Reform, PC, LPC, NDP, Bloc, Green - would best be served by electoral reform. But because first the Liberals and then the CPC were able to profit from the existing system's problems, we've been stuck with it. "

    Coalition governments in FPTP will never be stable. The reason is that small shifts in the % of vote can yield large changes in the number of seats a party wins. Thus, as the electoral fortunes of coalition members change, their power within the coalition and their desire to make the coalition work diverges.

    By contrast, under PR gains in votes yield smaller gains in seats and even then at best mean more cabinet seats. A party can even gain seats and lose power if its coalition partners do poorly. This creates strong incentives for cooperation with one's preferred coalition partners.

    Secondly, George Tsebellis has an excellent book where he looks at the concept of veto players. Essentially, the more parties able to veto legislation, the more parliament will tend towards inertia and gridlock (the strongest example is the extremely dysfunctional Italian legislature). Eliminating brokerage parties ensures that any winning coalition will have more members, and will accomplish less.

    Canada needs one of PR, STV or financial reform. Even if the right split again, the Liberals would not win a majority, because current financial rules make the NDP, Bloc and Greens able to compete effectively (because of caps on party spending). In fact, splitting the right would enable conservative parties to spend twice as much in elections. If they didn't compete for the same ridings (Dion-May deals across the land) they might even win a majority between the two (but they would have to govern as a coalition, and would face all the perverse incentives I mentioned above).

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 4:27 PM  

  • I wish they'd pronounce Stephane Dion's name right (rather than anglicise it).

    The Coalition should fire back. Make ads about how the Conservatives secretly tape conversations.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 4:57 PM  

  • "The Coalition should fire back. Make ads about how the Conservatives secretly tape conversations."

    Conversations they were invited to by the dumbass NDP?

    Defence minister Layton: "wait, did I send that email of our secret Afghanistan plans to Obama or Osama...?"

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 6:32 PM  

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