I’ve been mulling on the coalition and democratic legitimacy in Canada for the last week or so and writing a long post-essay. It’s mostly written but I have to actually complete it which I don’t usually with this kind of thing.
The main points:
– The first past the post system which has given us only 6 governments in 40 elections that 50% or more of the people voted for is not minority rule but actually much more democratic than majority rule… it is best described as a system of alternating minorities, which over time gives a voice to far more than a mere 50+% majority. Even granting the unlikely 67% support the coalition supporters claimed, if 67% of the people ruled 100% of the time it wouldn’t hold a candle of democratic balance to our current system.
– It is essential for Canada, which is very spread out and without a strong single blood tie as a nation even outside of Quebec, that not only ideology be represented but also regions. It’s strange that this was lost on people. About three years ago “the west got in” and a party with a majority of seats in the west created a cabinet with a majority of ministers from Ontario and Quebec. Harper appointed Fortier to the senate for representation of Montreal, got Emerson from the Liberals to represent Vancouver, and argued that Jim Flaherty represented Toronto. I think he appointed some kind of cities minister as well – anyone remember that? The coalition may have represented an ideological majority but speaking nationally it represented only the three biggest cities plus separatists who don’t really believe in the country in the first place. If a majority of the people always ruled and that majority primarily represents only those parts of Canada then Canada would have a lot of completely disenfranchised people, to put it mildly.
So, I don’t know – any thoughts on that? I’d definitely appreciate at least some kind of prodding to convince me it’s worth writing out since I always convince myself it’s just not perfect enough.