Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Maple Leaf Maneuvers

I suppose that an American political junkie like me is destined never to have an instinctive feel for the workings of a parliamentary system. I'm very intrigued by that subject. But I'm not steeped in the intricacies of such as system that Canadian political junkies, for instance, imbibe with their mothers' milk.

So I'm a bit in the dark about some aspects of the plan for the Canadian opposition parties to oust the Conservative government, and form a coalition in its place. I invite any Canadian readers, or anyone else for that matter, to comment on the following two questions:

1. I know of two purposes for a coalition government: a) to create a majority in a parliament in which no one party has a majority of seats, and b) to foster national unity in time of war or other national emergency. But why would two minority parties coalesce (as the Liberals and New Democrats propose to do) merely for the purpose of creating a larger minority?

2. How do you think the Canadian electorate would react to yet another general election? Here in the U.S., where elections follow a set schedule, we don't really face the issue of voter fatigue. Will voters who have endured three general elections since 2004, the last one less than two months ago, react negatively, if next week's no-confidence vote sends them back to the polls once again?

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