Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Canada's minority fatigue.

Raphael Alexander: Canada's minority fatigue. Actually the poll results show that a coalition government is preferred by a greater number than any of the four options offered in the poll of a Liberal majority or minority or a Conservative majority or minority. Interesting that the pollsters already frame the poll questions in terms of a two party system. No bias there of course.

This is from the National Post.

A new Harris-Decima survey seems to indicate that Canadians tire of the long-standing stalemate in Ottawa, and long for a majority government. 64% of respondents would prefer a majority government over a minority one, up from 52% recorded in a similar survey in 2007.
As the Harris-Decima poll concludes, Canadians who might initially have believed a minority government would create cooperation between parties have instead been treated to four years of the rankest bitterness and petty squabbling. The constant election threats, posturing, and showdowns over minor policies, such as Employment Insurance reform, has given people the desire for one ruling party:
The pollsters gave respondents four scenarios to ponder: A Liberal majority or minority, or a Conservative majority or minority.
The Liberals came out on top in both respects — with 30 per cent preferring a Liberal majority, and 14 per cent a Liberal minority, as compared to the 24 per cent who backed a Conservative majority and nine per cent who wanted a Conservative minority.
Walker said the results are an indication that the Liberals are the second choice for a majority of Canadian voters, and that could be a significant factor in the next election.
I still don’t see the results of this poll changing the events on the ground; that is, there continues to be a stalemate in the polls, and opinion isn’t likely to shift either way for quite some time. I don’t believe either party has shown they deserve a majority mandate either, although to be quite honest I would be very curious to see whether the Conservatives would begin to make some genuine conservative policy under a majority mandate.
Is it a majority government that Canadians want to see, or just something that better resembles stability? If Canadian politics wasn’t so hard-wired toward confrontation on every little issue, or if each policy wasn’t challenged as some kind of threat to Canada, more might actually get accomplished. While it is the obligation of the opposition to hold the government to task, it seems a more cooperative approach would be possible if they did not seem to oppose every suggestion made by the government.
Another surprise from the Harris-Decima survey is that 45% if Canadians would support the idea of a coalition government after the next election. Although some people see a coalition government of the Liberals, NDP and Bloc as a desperate grab for power, I think it’s also a reflection of the genuine frustration with the current ineffectiveness of our government. Perhaps some people think a coalition would be just what is needed to let one side rule undeterred for a while, a view that is backed up by the fact that the Conservatives have been seen as the sole party that opposes the fragmented leftwing voter bloc. And here’s another thought. Although the Conservatives could win another election against Michael Ignatieff, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Liberals came very close to restoring all the seats they lost since 2006. If that’s the case, the possibility of a deal being hatched between the Liberals and NDP or the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois is a very serious one indeed.
National Post

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