Thursday, March 01, 2007

Minority Governments

Do minority governments work in the best interests of the voters? There are many that feel a minority government keeps the government accountable. To some extent this is true, but at what cost? The minority conservative government under the leadership of Prime Minister, Stephen Harper is both unwilling and unable to perform as they would if they had a majority in the House of Commons.

They are unwilling when they feel it may cost them government. They are unable when the opposition parties join forces to vote down government legislation. The government’s position to govern well and effectively is seriously placed at risk when partisan politics takes control of the House of Commons.

The best and most recent example of this is the defeat of the government’s move to extend the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act. This legislation was initially introduced and passed into law by the previous liberal government resulting from the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States. The liberals have in effect voted down their own legislation. The legislation provided for the government and its authorities to arrest, without charge, and detain suspected terrorists. None of the powers contained in the anti-terrorism legislation were ever used in the five years since they were enacted.

Regardless, what has changed respecting terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001? Most notably, we have a minority government that is unable to govern in the way it would if it had a majority in the House of Commons. Partisan politics is at a fever pitch as neither the conservatives or the liberals are in a position to form a majority government if an election were held today. Further, the NDP and the Bloc don’t want an election either as they are on the verge of electing less members to the House of Commons than they currently hold if an election was to be held in the next few months.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has repeatedly argued that he doesn’t want an election. He is happy being Prime Minister and he just wants to move forward. In conservative words this means providing the kind of government they feel is right for Canadians. In reality, this is near impossible as the conservative government cannot move on controversial legislation for fear of being defeated and cannot pass important legislation the opposition parties decide to vote down.

I appreciate the voters are not keen on having yet another election, but I am not keen on having a government that is not able to perform in the way they would if they had a majority. I believe that whenever the federal election is called that Canadians give either the conservatives or the liberals a majority so they can get on with effectively governing this country on behalf of all Canadians.

I want what is good for Canadians and not what is good for politicians and political parties. A majority government will save us from unnecessary elections. We can always hold the government to account at the next election as we did the previous liberal government. A federal election becomes necessary and inevitable if the opposition parties and the government continue to play the card of partisan politics. A majority government will better serve both the voters and our Country. Canada deserves good government free of frivolous partisan politics.