Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Coalition Government?: Piggy Hearts Rick Mercer

Big time. 

As you might guess, Piggy is fine with the idea of a coalition government led by the Liberals. And she is quite concerned that many of her fellow Canadians seem to think the opposition parties are staging an unconstitutional coup d'etat.

Canada operates on the Parliamentary system. Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition (more commonly called the Official Opposition, and almost always the party with the second-largest number of seats in the House of Commons), and the other opposition parties have a vital role to play in our government; its Members of Parliament are not just there to look pretty and to keep the benches warm on one side of the House. It is responsible to Canadians, and has a duty to keep the government in check. Part of its job is to prevent the government from passing legislation that is against the interests of the country.

When the government is a majority, there's little the opposition can do; the majority of votes will be for passing the legislation. But in times of a minority government, as now, the Opposition can bring down the government's defeat by voting against select types of bills -- known as confidence votes (budget-related votes fall under this term) -- which results in the government losing the confidence of the House. 

In such cases, if two or more opposition parties can agree to work together to form a new coalition government, the Governor General can invite the leader of that coalition to form a government. If they can't, an election is almost always called. 

Obviously, there is plenty of room for interpretation here, and it's important the Opposition in a minority government doesn't abuse this power.

I don't think that's what it's doing here. Cutting funding/subsidies to opposition parties is an affront to democratic principles, and is an insult to Canadian voters -- of all party affiliations.

1 comment:

  1. great post, loved Rick's rap....signed the petition that is going around...here's hoping