Judy Rebick opens her article in the Globe & Mail with these powerful words, which every voter should consider:
“If Canada had a democratic electoral system and the polls are right, next week we'd have a majority government that supports strong action on climate change; government intervention to create jobs and defend ordinary Canadians against the impact of the global economic crisis; an end to the war in Afghanistan; public support for the arts; implementation of at least the Kelowna Accord to raise the standard of living for aboriginal people; and a national child-care program that includes the creation of thousands of new child-care spaces. In the latest polls, the parties that agree on these policies have the support of more than two-thirds of Canadians. Yet my morning paper is still talking about how the Harper Conservatives may still craft a majority.”
Ms Rebick is right in pointing out that the majority of voters will cast votes for parties which share many core beliefs, and which are more progressive than Harper’s Tories are.
She is also right when she points out some ways that a government reflecting such progressive views might be formed:
“Should the Tories win enough seats to form a minority, the other parties or any combination of them can form an alliance based on their considerable agreement, reflecting the views of most Canadians. The model is the Liberal-NDP accord in Ontario in 1985. In that election, the Tory government was reduced to a minority, with only four seats more than the Liberals. The NDP offered to support a Liberal government for two years based on an accord that included some of their key policy planks such as pay equity legislation.
There is no reason why the Liberals, NDP, Bloc and Greens cannot do the same thing. With the support of a majority of voters, they can agree on government action to protect jobs, homes and pensions in the face of the global economic crisis and on significant action on climate change. With such agreement, they can defeat the government and go to the Governor-General with an offer to form a new government. They don't have to agree on everything, and they don't need to form a full coalition government. They just have to agree on some key points, and whoever has the most seats can form the government with a written promise to bring in the policies agreed on.”
However, I beg to differ on the timing of such an accord.
I believe that the Liberal Party and the NDP should announce that they have reached an accord with respect to governing Canada BEFORE the election, and extend the invitation to the Bloc and the Greens to join them after the election.
If between them the Liberals and NDP gain more seats than the Tories, then it will NOT be Harper going to the Governor General to seek permission to form a government, but Dion and Layton, as potential prime minister and deputy prime minister.
Such an accord would allow the two parties to assume power, and would mean that the opposition parties would not have to plunge the country into yet another election by voting out the minority Tory government.
The time to forge an alliance or accord is now, not after the election.