Saturday, December 01, 2012

Andrew Coyne gives a good reason for choosing Joyce Murray as Liberal Party leader

Andrew Coyne
At last we have some candidates for leadership of the Liberal Party who – unlike Justin Trudeau – are prepared to deal with the reality of Canadian politics: our democratic deficit. 

And journalist Coyne does us all a favour by discussing the issue of our lamentable electoral system, in the process giving Joyce Murray a pat on the back for going to the heart of our broken system:

So while I don’t see the case for merging the other parties, I do think there’s some merit in a proposal floated by the Liberal leadership candidate Joyce Murray: namely, a one-time-only electoral pact, for the sole purpose of changing the voting system.

The Green Party has proposed something similar. And Nathan Cullen famously ran for NDP leader on an electoral cooperation platform. The details no doubt vary, but here’s how I can see it working. The opposition parties would agree on a single candidate to put up against the Conservatives in each riding. Were they to win a majority, they would pledge to govern just long enough to implement electoral reform: a year, two at most. Then fresh elections would be called under the new system, with each party once again running under its own flag, with a full slate of candidates.
Joyce Murray - Electoral reformer

Supporters of each party, therefore, would not have to give up their allegiance. Neither, for that matter, would reform-minded Conservatives. They could vote for the reform ticket this one time, then return to the Tory fold when it came to deciding who should represent them in a reformed Parliament.

Worth considering, no? Otherwise we’re going to have a lot more election nights like the last one.

Let's hope that hundreds of thousands of progressive Canadians sign up as Supporters of the Liberal Party and throw their weight behind candidates who are serious about doing something significant to make every vote count through significant electoral reform.

This morning Justin Trudeau was interviewed by the CBC, and spoke only of a willingness to govern as a minority government with the support of MPs from any other party (Tories, Boc, NDP or Greens) on a case by case basis. He clearly did not have any serious policies for electoral reform designed to drag our sad system into modern democratic electoral democracy, as every other major Western democracy (apart from the USA) has done.

Let's keep the focus on the realities of politics during the leadership race, and not let bland assertions sidetrack us in seeking to remedy our democratic deficits.

Trudeau's father was a hardnosed realpolitiek kind of guy, who knew that checks and balances were essential for the proper functioning of a democracy. Pierre Trudeau gave Canada the priceless gift of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It seems that his son promises to give us much less in this important area of the political rights of Canadians.


  1. Nothing to do with this specific issue, but do you actually think that Andrew Coyne's opinions are worth repeating?


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