A Coalition of Losers? Not At All – A Government with the Support of the Majority

There is probably no better statement of the need for electoral reform than the now familiar slogan that a Labour-Liberal Democrat Coalition in the United Kingdom would have been a “coalition of losers”. The Vancouver Sun splashed the headline from the Daily Telegraph across its electronic edition.

Only those rigidly wedded to a first past the post system of government would ever claim that the prospect of government by two parties that secured more than 50 per cent of the popular vote is somehow abhorrent. What these folks appear to have been telling us is that they would rather be run by a party that received 36 per cent of the vote; this is somehow more democratic than government by a coalition.

While it seemed that the Liberal Democrats have more in common with the Labour Party than they do with the Conservatives, they have now decided to share legislative power with the Conservatives. And there is an important goal that may still be achieved with this perhaps unlikely coalition – the passage of legislation that will lead to a more democratic system of government, where the composition of Parliament better reflects the popular vote of the people.

It is, of course, quite discouraging that we don’t have the same opportunity in Canada today — to forge a working coalition, or more important, to be facing the prospect of some improved system of proportional representation. We don’t seem to be able to challenge an extremist minority in Ottawa, a government driven by virulent strains of ideological fervour, opposed to the rigour of science — and legislating as if they actually represent a majority of the Canadian public.

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