贴心姐妹网
 · 设为主页 | · 添加收藏 | · 会员注册 | · 会员登录    +
 
首页 | 社会政治 | 职场创业 | 情感关系 | 子女成长 | 多元生活 | 文化艺术 | 社区公益

Why minority governments have been good — and sometimes bad — for Canada

来源:The Conversation   更新:2021-09-23 17:40:12   作者:Alex Marland, Professor, Political Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Canada has another minority government. Is this good or bad for Canadian democracy? Mostly good — for now.

There’s a lot to like about a governing party having a minority of seats in the House of Commons, which requires that it work with opposition parties.

Minority government tempers the chronic problem in the parliamentary system of a prime minister and senior political staff having an excess of power. Instead of barrelling forward with public policy, or taking members of Parliament for granted, there is a need to spend more time consulting widely.

In a minority government, backbenchers matter more. The average MP’s votes have more impact; the government could fall if it lacks their support. Parliamentary committees are no longer dominated by the governing party. Instead, committees have more freedom to monitor the government, and to question what ministers and the Prime Minister’s Office are trying to do.

In short, a minority government gives more power to the legislative branch, which acts as a check on the executive branch. This is precisely what Justin Trudeau was trying to avoid when he determined that an early election was warranted.

Read more: Rhetoric Check: Parliament wasn't toxic — Justin Trudeau just wants a majority

A win is a win

From Trudeau’s point of view, and that of his key political staff, a minority government is still a win. He is still prime minister, most of his ministers were re-elected and the Liberals won enough seats that there are unlikely to be threats to his leadership from within anytime soon.

But Trudeau wanted a majority government for a reason.

The prime minister and his team will be stymied if they attempt to ram things through Parliament, like they did at the height of the pandemic.

If parliamentary committees investigate his government’s ethical lapses, like they did over the WE Charity scandal, his main recourse is to shut things down by asking the governor general to prorogue Parliament.

The next time he wants to go to the polls early, his attempted power grab will still be fresh on Canadians’ minds.

Yet we know from recent history that Canadians are likely to grow weary of the political games that occur during a minority government. From 2004 to 2006, Paul Martin headed a Liberal minority government, and Stephen Harper presided over two Conservative minorities.

The acrimony that played out during that tempestuous period climaxed with the Conservative government being declared in contempt of Parliament for not disclosing information, which led to it falling on a non-confidence motion in 2011. Undeterred, Harper then campaigned on a message of the need for a “strong, stable, Conservative majority government.”

Many Canadians agreed, and initially were relieved to put the political fighting of minority governance behind them. It was a reminder that prime ministers know that what happens in Parliament rarely ignites voter outrage on the campaign hustings.

Rough waters ahead

We can expect rough waters with a minority government. There will be constant politicking. The parties will be in a perpetual election mode as they try to win every communications battle, every public opinion poll and every fundraising drive as though the election never stopped.

The media and pundits will constantly speculate about whether the government will fall, or if there will be a snap election. The Liberals will attempt to box in the opposition to call their bluff on political demands, and will pressure their own MPs into supporting bills and motions under the threat of everything being a matter of confidence.

Opposition parties will try to embarrass the government at every opportunity, and there will be a steady diet of drama and controversy for the media to report. The only thing that will truly unify the parties is fear of an election that could cost them seats and money.

Canadians may be in for a rough political ride, but sometimes good things happen when political parties are forced to collaborate.

Pearson minorities

Proponents of minority governments look fondly at the 1960s when Lester B. Pearson won back-to-back minorities that forced deal-brokering with the New Democratic Party. That era was the bedrock of the Canadian social safety net, with the Pearson Liberals advancing national medicare, Canada student loans and the Canada Pension Program.

People forget, or may not know, that opposition parties lobbed countless accusations of political wrongdoing and mismanagement, or that the news was filled with stories of controversy and chaos.

The debate over creating the Canadian Maple Leaf flag was especially divisive. Yet half a century later, the disagreements are largely forgotten, and most Canadians are rightly proud of those programs and their flag.

There is one looming problem with minority governments: they tend to spend lots of money. Worried about losing power, the governing party wants to curry favour — and doesn’t want to stoke political unrest.

Since 2019, the Liberals have found support from the NDP, and as a result, hundreds of billions of dollars has been spent to combat the pandemic, to support Canadians and to stabilize the economy. Anyone worried about the government avoiding running massive deficits and the legacy of mounting financial debt has reason to be concerned.

Prime ministers do not like minority governments, or limits on their power. As Canada works its way through the pandemic, we’re lucky there will be a greater role for Parliament and MPs in trying to figure out the way forward.

Alex Marland, Professor, Political Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

分享到: 更多
相关文章
[社会政治] The ‘freedom convoy’ protests point to a bigger problem with Canad
[社会政治] Is Canada’s welcome to fleeing Ukrainians a new era of refugee pol
[社会政治] Solutions exist for Canada’s alt-right radicalization
[社会政治] Canada in crisis: Why Justin Trudeau has invoked the Emergencies A
[社会政治] Candice Bergen’s nod to Trump is a sign of Canada’s descent, but t
[社会政治] ‘Freedom convoy’ rolls through Ottawa encouraging the participatio
[社会政治] Canada’s ‘freedom convoy’ exposes political missteps — and Donald
[社会政治] COVID-19 vaccine mandates would likely face legal hurdles in Canad
[社会政治] New study reveals intensified housing inequality in Canada from 19
[社会政治] A vote for Canada or Indigenous Nationhood? The complexities of Fi
发表评论
您必须登录后才能发表评论![立即登录] 还没有注册会员?[立即注册]  
 
会员登录
用户名:
密 码:
 
· 关于我们 About Us · 用户条约 Terms and Conditions · 隐私政策 Privacy Policy · 联系方式 Contact Us
版权声明:本网发布的内容版权归Lovingsister Media Inc. 所有,未经书面许可,严禁转载,违者将承担法律责任。
© 2013 Lovingsister Media Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized distribution, transmission or republication strictly prohibited.