Monday, December 01, 2008

How a Liberal NDP Coalition Could Come to Power

I'll give the Opposition parties credit for at least injecting some innovative drama back into the often barren, pallid landscape of Canadian politics. Speaking of pallid, Stephane Dion, the defeated Liberal leader from the Oct. 14 election, could become Prime Minister very soon. The same man that almost immediately had Liberals planning a leadership race to replace him, and the same man charged with the Liberals' poor showing in the election. This would be a pretty neat curve ball at the Canadian electorate, who said through their votes, that they did not want Dion as Prime Minister.

So would giving Harper's government a non-confidence vote this month, automatically mean that another election would be called? The answer is (from what this non-political expert found out) is no.

According to Carleton University political scientist Jonathan Malloy, there is no constitutional text to describe how this specific government transition should be handled. A coalition at the federal level would be a Canadian first.

[In 1979, Prime Minister Joe Clark who lead a minority government, could have formed a coalition government with the six Social Credit MP's, and achieved a majority government. He may have regretted not doing that, since his minority government lasted only nine months before Trudeau, who had suggested he was quitting, beat Clark in a 1980 election.]

It could be an instance, according to Malloy, where the Governor General, Michelle Jean, could make a major political decision. If Harper's government falls, Harper could ask the Governor General to approve another federal election, but she has the discretion to not oblige, and instead, ask the Opposition to try forming a government. This scenario could conceivably be more palatable to most Canadians given that just some weeks ago, the election signs were only being picked up, taken down and stored away for future recycling.

Interesting food for thought, but this Canuck has no appetite for what would be a wasteful election, requested by anyone, just after an unnecessary October election. Imagine the possible Liberal/NDP slogans, "You Didn't Like Dion then, But He's Great Now!", or "New Democratic and Improved"...
see possible Liberal/NDP coalition names

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