Some good reading over at the Scott Ross this morning... Talking about coaltions, cooperation, and such...
Still, in all this discussion, we tend to miss a central theme... A point to be made about modern democracies, Parliamentary systems, and democracy in general.
Throughout Commonwealth Parliaments, there have been coaltions, and many of them have not involved the party with the most seats.
What do you do if the Cons have 100 seats, the Liberals 99, and the Dippers 78?
The FACT remains that in our system the MPs have the RIGHT to elect their own "leader in the House", or PM if you will. And.. NOTHING states that you have to talk to the "first place" party. Nothing. Nada. It is only for "appearances" that comments are made about "talking to so-and-so first".
Just like in the case of any vote in the House, the majority rules. It is the most simple of democratic principles.
But - Harper doesn't really like democracy does he? How else can a right wing, Prairie-centric religious fringe group - a small minority of Canadians - dictate to the rest of us how we should live our lives?
It's kind of pathetic, really, that the rest of us haven't stood up and decided to take back our government.
edit: And I'm no big supporter of a pre-election coalition here. Pre-election "cooperation/pact" maybe. We forget that we are not two "polar opposite" parties (that would be the NDP and Conservatives). We sit on the center of the political system in Canada. Most Canadians do to. We have enjoyed more governments than any other party - by ADHERING to that center. We have "run from the left" to be sure, but also "governed from a position of responsibility". We can agree with the NDP on most of their "social" issues/moral issues. We WOULD have differences on economic ones... but only SOME economic ones.
This is one area the Liberal Party does not differentiate itself enough in the public eye. We are a party that supports business - but its small and medium sized businesses that are home-grown. We do support large Canadian companies. We traditionally haven't supported "global corporate overlords" or foreign ownership - although we've been dragged into WTO/NAFTA, and like all nations (pretty much) have had to go along, or be left out.
Our support for any big businesses is usually paired with a strong concern for the impact on Canadians. The Conservatives, on the other hand, have always looked at "friendships" with large MNCs as a way to improve the bottom line of the "shareholder class"...
These are only some of the miriad differences between the Liberal economic/world view and that of the NDP and Cons... While we may agree on a small number of points, economically, we have FAR more common ground with the NDP on social issues. If we do end up cooperating with the NDP in some way, it should be made clear to the public that it is on one of these social issues - which the Conservatives take very un-Canadian views on - that we stand and fight. The NDP must kowtow to us on the economic front - perhaps with the promise of some job-creation strategies in the Green Sector as a compromise.