LETTER: The coalition solution

Reader Russell Precious: "It turns out Britain is the only country in Europe that isn’t governed by a coalition..."

Being a serious fan of co-operation/collaboration I decided to Google a list of coalition governments in the world. To my surprise I didn’t even get past Europe as it turns out Britain is the only country in Europe that isn’t governed by a coalition. Incredible! These are some of the most functional democracies in the world: France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgian, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland. So why would a coalition government be viewed as dysfunctional, if not a systemic failure here in Canada?

In our current government the Conservatives received 39 per cent of the 60 per cent who voted — less than one in four Canadians. Does it really benefit us that one-quarter of the population should dictate to the other three-quarters?

The Conservative government under Stephen Harper has redefined Canada in a manner that is more like the US under George Bush than the historical Canada I know. This is no longer the traditional Conservative Party of John Diefenbaker, Robert Stanfield or Joe Clark but rather a hybrid Conservative party strongly influenced by the Wild Rose and Reform parties.

I believe the healthiest outcome in this election is an NDP/Liberal coalition government. The Liberals have moved left while the NDP have moved towards the centre. Not such a huge task to blend their ideas and have a country that represents at least two-thirds of the population.

And given they both support proportional representation as an electoral system, this would open the doors for the Green Party to become a much stronger voice and allow many Canadians to vote for the party they think best represents their values in the years to come. This will only happen if people vote strategically: who is the best candidate — Liberal, NDP or Green —in each riding to defeat the Conservatives and give us a coalition government that represents a majority of Canadians?

In our riding (Kootenay Columbia) that is the NDP. I am Green but will be voting NDP just as I would be voting Liberal if they had the better chance to win. Given there is likely to be a minority government, I am committed to support our newly-elected MP work to form a coalition government immediately after the election and act on their promise for proportional representation.

Russell Precious

Sunshine Bay

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