|Two of these men could be PM in the next 18 months|
“It’s not enough to look at the electorate and say, ‘vote for me, I m good.’ You have to say, ‘vote for me, I’m a good person to replace the party that’s there, and the government has to be replaced for the following reasons.’“And I don’t think they did a good enough job of defining what those reasons were.”Mulcair, who keeps a scuffed-up hardball on a table behind his desk, said it “won’t come as a surprise to anyone that we’re going to (run) a very aggressive campaign.”
Based on current polls, the next election (scheduled for 2015 but probable in 2014) will result in a minority government. Stephen Harper’s Conservatives will poll behind the NDP, who will poll behind the Liberals.
That means the leader of the Conservatives gets a first crack at forming a new government after the election, by seeking the approval of the House for his or her Throne Speech. It a majority of MPs in the 338 seat House support the Throne Speech, the Conservative leader will have the right to form a minority government.
As long as Harper can win 50% plus 1 votes in Parliament from his own Tories and, say, some NDP MPs, he will remain as Prime Minister.
It would take the combined votes of the Liberal Party and NDP MPs to vote the Tory Prime Minister down in a vote of confidence, and then vote for the leader of the party with the highest number of MPs (the LPC) to form a replacement government.
So the next election will give Mulcair a choice:
Does he whip his MPs to vote for the Tories and keep them in power for a while, trying to better the fortunes of the NDP in public opinion polls for a further election (one would happen if Mulcair decided to vote against the Harper government on a later confidence vote);OrDoes he spell out the conditions under which the NDP would support the Liberal leader by joining in a vote of no-confidence in the new Harper government, triggering the Governor General turning to Justin Trudeau to attempt to form a government that has the support of 50% plus 1 MPs?
The first option is the spoiler option, designed to prevent Trudeau becoming Prime Minister of a minority government, keeping the devil the NDP knows (Harper) in power in a weak minority government, and buying time for an uptick in NDP support amongst Canadians. The risk here is that Canadians decide to move even more to the Liberals at the next election, giving the LPC a majority and wiping out any hope of the NDP being able to bargain for measures dear to their heart as the price for their support of a minority Conservative or Liberal government.
The second option is the change option and gives Mulcair’s NDP the chance to bargain before the Throne Speech for Mulcair to be the Deputy Prime Minister of a Coalition LPC-NDP government, that would replace the Harper government when it is defeated on a no-confidence vote by the combined Liberal and NDP MPs.
Of course, such a Coalition government would govern based on a signed agreement of issues which would require NDP and LPC votes, with other issues (non-confidence matters), left to free votes by those two parties. This would be similar to the written deal between Cameron’s Conservatives and the Liberal Party in the UK.
One of those committed issues could revolutionize Canadian politics: Mulcair could decide to insist on the immediate calling of a Royal Commission to decide on two alternative types of electoral laws to replace the current non-democratic first past the post system, which would be placed before Canadians in a referendum to be held before the end of 2015. The one choice of the two systems placed before Canadians in the referendum that gained the most votes would replace the FPTP system in the next election.
Things are going to get very interesting in the next year or so.
Thank heavens we don’t have Ignatieff heading the LPC – his lack of understanding of the realities of power and the validity of coalition governments has already cost the country far too much.