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The present state of Canadian politics is a result of a realignment on the right. It took about fifteen years to bring the bulk of the Reform/Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives together in one party. This was by no means an easy task.

Until 2003 the Liberals were able to win enormous majorities because their opposition was fragmented. This probably contributed to the scandals which eventually led to them losing power to the new Conservatives.

Is the eventual reaction to unity on the right going to be greater co-operation on the centre-left?

Outsiders might see it as being in the interests of the Liberals and NDP to join forces, to secure a proportional representation system. I see no sign that either party actually wants to do that at the moment.

The problem may be that the Liberals are a party with a majoritarian ethos, who see themselves as the natural governing party of Canada. They were in power for most of the twentieth century. It is therefore natural for the Grits to assume that sooner or later things will return to normal with a Liberal administration being installed.

As with the British Liberals it may be that only after losing the status of being one of the two parties of government, they will adopt proportional representation. As with the British Labour Party, if the NDP became one of the two leading parties, they might lose all interest in proportional representation.

However if the current stalemate continues for many more Parliaments, Canadian politicians may realise that coalitions and electoral reform are necessary.

by Gary J on Sat Oct 18th, 2008 at 10:25:01 AM EST
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