Monday, September 29, 2008

Does Canada Need a Majority to Survive?

There is one overriding question that is beginning to dominate our election campaign.
Simply put, it is this:

Should we elect a majority government?

In light of the growing financial distress, would Canada be safer with a majority government?
Very interesting column in the Globe and Mail this morning written by Gwyn Morgan, well known and successful Canadian businessman, who says, "The unpredictable challenges of this global economic crisis cannot be navigated by another minority Parliament bound up by partisan bickering. The best hope for Canadians is to elect a government with strong, decisive leadership and the mandate needed to steer Canada around the shoals that lie in our path."

What do you think? Is he right?

Thus far Canada has escaped the financial crisis which is staggering the United States and is now spreading like a virus to Europe and the UK.

Already indications are mortgage rates will soon begin to climb again in Canada. It seems impossible that we will fully escape, especially when you consider that about 80% of everything we make and grow in this country is sold to the United States.

Aside from ideology, is Gwyn Morgan correct when he says the best hope for Canadians is to elect a government with strong decisive leadership and the mandate needed to steer Canada around the shoals that lie in our path?
Among other things Morgan claims that "The New Democratic Party offers a typical socialist agenda. Tax and spend, subsidize unionized industry and make big business "pay" - the kind of policies that drove Ontario and British Columbia to the brink of economic ruin."
Morgan also points out something many of us weren’t aware of. “The carbon tax,” he says, “has wildly differing effects, depending on how you heat your home, the fuel used to generate your electricity and how you earn your living. If you heat with natural gas, the impact might be only 2 per cent, but if you use fuel oil it's more than 10 per cent. If you live in B.C., Manitoba or Quebec, where most power comes from hydro dams, there will be little impact on your electricity bill. If you live on the Prairies, in Ontario or in Atlantic Canada, where fuel oil and coal generate a significant portion of your power, the impact will be substantial, increasing the cost of generating electricity by about 10 per cent for fuel oil and more than 50 per cent for coal-fired plants."

He says,"No one knows what chapter of the global financial meltdown we're in, and whether the latest Hail Mary bailouts by the U.S. Treasury will stop the downward spiral." The best chances for Canada to weather the coming storm is to elect a strong majority government.
What is your view here?
I’m not sure that with five political parties in the running we will ever again see a majority government. There may be some times when that’s not a bad thing, but in times of grave financial crisis would our chances of avoiding a meltdown be better with a strong decisive majority government?

Is this absolutely the wrong time to bring in another minority government?


xiz said...

In asking this question, Mr Green evidently has far less faith in the resilience and inherent strength of Canada. Prime Minister Harper seems to be the one complaining loudest about the 'dysfunction' in Parliament, yet has used his ability to broker deals and reach consensus as campaign bragging rights. Which is it, then?

Or, perhaps, he's suggesting that Canada was far stronger when Jean Chretien won three consecutive majorities, than it is now ..

deneb said...

I agree. A majority will allow one chef in the kitchen. And this chef is the only one trained to cook!

Please no more lawyer leaders. Our PM is a trained economist -- the best of his class. Caught in a war you turn to a friendly soldier for help. In a global economic crisis you look to the economist, not the word-twisting lawyers.

Meanwhile, south of the ranch ...
with a failure to agree on a bailout plan, the republicans will receive too much of the blame.

I fear that if the unctious Liberals fool the electorate into believing that there is an indestinguishable association between an American republican and a Canadian conservative, the Tories wil be denied their majority yet again.

But, come what may, we will survive. We might have temporarily lost our southern customer, but somebody somewhere will buy our raw goods.

Robert said...

Lowell, you use the phrase "aside from ideology". I don't think you can remove ideology when answering this question.

As a Conservative, of course I would like to see a majority Conservative government.

Now if you ask "Would we be better served by a majority with a strong, decisive leader?", I would say "yes" if that leader was Conservative, but "no" if that leader was, say, Jack Layton. Regardless of his leadership skills, I would never want him leading this country, in a slowdown, or during good times. I would rather a Conservative minority.

I don't think it is possible to set aside ideology.

Anonymous said...

I do not believe a Majority would be a good thing for Canada at this point. We have the best governments with both Paul Martin and Stephen Harper and I'm quite comfortable with a minority. Power without a leash can lead to a lot of problems, I personally think this is why the United States are in this mess that they are in.

Anonymous said...

We have a lot of problems.

In Europe, the eagerness with which people embraced the 'Kyoto' initiatives is bankrupting their economies while their social focus is in defending their cultural identities from un-integrated immigrants. That is a very volatile situation.

In the US, years of irresponsible lending policies - enabled in order to mask the increasing dependance on imports and what amounts to foreign slave labour in China - have finally caught up with the financial institutions...and the consumers themselves. This is made worse by the bankrupcies of the companies which most bought into the whole 'Kyoto' stuff - like Lehman Brothers....

These are going to be 'turbulent waters' we'll be making our way through in the next few years. If we had a majority government, it would be easier for our leaders to focus on trying to stear us through the calmest part of these waters, if you will, without worrying about the minor politicking that a minority government necessitates....

Honestly, I think a conservative majority government would be the 'safest' option for Canada at this point in time.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Lowell, you've got to check out ChuckerCanuk's take on this - The Stability of Abstainistan.


Anonymous said...

So, $300 million later, we have another minority government. Will Mr. Green be ending his blogging hiatus soon? The Tories could use his spin to make this election not seem like a colossal waste of time...

Robert said...

I don't think the election was a waste of time at all.

Harper finished what he set out to do in the previous election, and Dion had a huge new carbon tax proposal out there. I think it was only right to go to the electorate with a new agenda and see what they want to do.

Obviously, they don't want the carbon tax. Thankfully.

As for all whining I hear from the Left about the timing of the election and breaking the law - I think it is totally hypocritical. If you believe the law was the right thing to do, then you have to believe that Harper had the right to call an election.


The premise of the law was to prevent a sitting government from gaining an advantage over the opposition by controlling the timing of an election.

I agree with it.

However, in a minority situation, if you allow only the opposition the right to control the timing of an election, then you have just violated the spirit of the law. And Dion threatened time and time again that he would decide the timing of the next election. He had no respect at all for the fixed date. None.

So if you are going to fault Harper for breaking the election law, then lets throw the whole thing out altogether.

We now have a new government that will likely govern for 2-3 years. I suspect there are a number of Liberals who are happy to see it done, and can begin working on a new leadership race.