Seamanship Quotation

“In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination.”
— from Michael Oakeshott's
Political Education” (1951)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Liberal-NDP Coalition? What’s Trudeau’s Poison Pill?

Let’s agree for the time being that the concept of  "coalition government" and the real prospect of two Quebecers — a ruthless pol and neophyte — governing Canada at once won’t enthuse 905 and suburban Vancouver voters.  

Surely, the Liberals already will have seen the risks. However, Justin Trudeau hasn’t yet found a plausible way to kill the idea before next year’s federal election. What he desperately needs is a poison pill: a position (or positions) that would credibly deter a suitor with the intestinal fortitude of New Democrat leader Thomas Mulcair.

Beyond institutional inertia, he doesn’t have one. Indeed, his Party’s weekend policy resolutions quietly took a promising one off the table.

Right there at the bottom of #31 of the Liberal Policy Resolutions that were (formally adopted) is this declaration:

“AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT immediately after the next election, an all-Party process be instituted, involving expert assistance and citizen participation, to report to Parliament within 12 months with recommendations for electoral reforms including, without limitation, a preferential ballot and/or a form of proportional representation, to represent Canadians more fairly and serve Canada better.”

The Liberal Party of Canada has thrived within the rules of the status quo. Further, up until now, its leader has entertained only the concept of a preferential ballot and explicitly rejected proportional representation. The New Democrats have long favored proportional representation. Nevertheless, the Liberal resolution is clear: for at least one year, Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau may govern together with the same open-minded approach to electoral reform.

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