A great grassroots movement has just arose which started in Victoria earlier this Fall. I got to speak with one of the co-founders, Kyle Artelle, and it was refreshing to hear what he has to say.
Their mission is simple: to unite progressive people and Federal parties together so to topple the unpopular Conservative government. This would lead to a progressive coalition government where Liberals, NDP and the Bloq could govern together. And try so that each party has a proportion of the cabinet positions and in recent news it seems the Bloq are okay without having any cabinet positions.
Check them out at: http://www.progressivecoalition.ca/
Here’s an amazing video that this group has put together I highly suggest a watch:
In addition to Flaherty’s budget announcement on November 27, this group could be one of the reasons the opposition parties have been having emergency meetings in the past several days.
If having a coalition government is actually a possibility - this will be a monumental moment in our Canadian history to have the Centre-left and Left parties uniting for the common good. And it could actually work here in Canada - as many countries have had strong successful coalition governments (India, many European countries including Switzerland).
In Vancouver just this month we had a progressive coaltion victorious in winning the majority of seats for Mayor, City Council, School Board and Parks Board (i.e., Vision Vancouver and COPE). Let’s hope the leaders at the National level are up for the challenge!
In a recent article by Scott Reid in the Globe and Mail he is brutally honest and blunt. At first I was completely shocked he said it publicly. But then I let it sit like a good wine in my mouth and started to enjoy the words and the possible outcome of this ‘PROGRESSIVE COALITION’.
Scott’s right - the opposition parties need to immediately unite, act swiftly and ruthlessly in ousting Harper. We need to show the strengths of this coalition to our people and this is the only way we can take back our country.
I’m reminded of Obama’s slogan right about now… Yes We CAN!
Would love to hear your thoughts. I say we start planning the celebration…
In addition, Ed Broadbent, one of Canada’s influential politicians is also strongly encouraging a progressive coalition.
Here’s his piece in the Globe and Mail
21st-century Canada, home of 19th-century democracy
From Thursday’s Globe and Mail October 15, 2008 at 10:31 PM EDT
It was a bad day for Canadian democracy - more unstable, unrepresentative government.
If Tuesday’s vote had taken place with an electoral system such as those in the vast majority of democracies, Canadians would now have the prospect of a stable centre-left coalition government, with a majority of seats in Parliament representing a majority of the popular votes. Instead, we will continue with a right-of-centre government rejected by a substantial majority of Canadians, elected by a mere 38 per cent of the people, with not a single MP from Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal. Federalist parties got more than 50 per cent of the votes in Quebec, but the Bloc Québécois received two-thirds of the seats.
When, oh Lord, will we wake up? Why do we persist with a 19th-century electoral system designed for two parties long since rejected by more than 40 multiparty democracies throughout the world? When a party with just over a third of the vote gets to govern, and one party, the Greens, doesn’t get a single MP although nearly a million people voted for it, is it any wonder that only 59 per cent of Canadians bothered to vote on Tuesday, the lowest turnout in our history?
We need change, and we need it soon. Most European democracies have successful systems of proportional representation. And a system such as those in Germany, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales would work well in Canada, combining proportionality with an individual MP for each district. Our Parliaments would be both more representative and more stable.
If seats represented the proportion of actual votes, the Liberals, New Democrats and Greens would have a majority of seats (161) and, following the European pattern, would combine to form a government, with each party having seats in the cabinet and a program that actually reflects how a majority of Canadians voted. Instead of the instability that comes from our “minority governments” headed by one party based on a minority of votes, evidence shows that most majority-based coalition governments are stable over time precisely because the parties involved have a direct stake in the durability of the government. Europe’s most stable democracies have some form of proportional representation. Their elections are no more frequent than our own, and the need for consensus encourages greater civility in political debate.
As all Canadians know, the Liberals, New Democrats and Greens did agree on a number of economic measures, on social policy, the environment and protection for families in the current economic crisis. Since a majority of Canadians voted for these parties, they, not the Conservatives, should be determining our political agenda. Such democratic conditions work well elsewhere. Why not in Canada?
The results of the election are unrepresentative in other ways, too. The Conservatives took 27 of 28 seats in Alberta, yet thousands of Albertans voted for other parties. It’s not only fair that they, too, should be represented in Parliament; it is also the case that other parties’ federal caucuses should have Albertans represented in them to get their perspective on things. One of the reasons the national energy program was so detested in Western Canada was that Pierre Trudeau did not have a single MP at the time from the three western provinces, although his party had 25 per cent of their votes.
What about the major cities? The actual votes in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, as in the rest of Canada, are not reflected by the number of seats each party won. For instance, thousands voted for the Conservatives, but, because of our absurdly undemocratic system, the Conservatives do not have a single MP from these cities. This means that even the winning party’s composition doesn’t fairly reflect its own votes. Shouldn’t urban issues be discussed in cabinet by men and women from these great cities? Is this democracy?
Why should we perpetuate an electoral system that allowed the Bloc to get two-thirds of Quebec’s seats with less than 40 per cent of the vote? This does not fairly represent the people of Quebec. There are many more federalist than separatist voters in the province, but the House of Commons in no way reflects this. In Canada as a whole, the NDP received a million votes more than the Bloc. Yet, the Bloc received 50 seats and the NPD only 37. With proportionality, the NDP would have 57 MPs and it, not the Bloc, would be the third party in the Commons.
It’s time Canadians got the governments we vote for, not the ones our outmoded electoral system continues to regurgitate. It’s time our Neanderthal journalists and politicians started telling the truth about our lack of democracy and how most democracies have electoral systems much more effective, representative and stable than our own.
Ed Broadbent is the founding president of Rights and Democracy and a former leader of the federal New Democratic Party
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