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They Better Learn to Work Together

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Unpredictable and unprecedented. As we the taxpayers prepare to spend a mere $375 million on the longest campaign in over 75 years, what type of value do we get for our money? Yes, our money, because in a time when governments are struggling to find the funds to fill the ever-increasing number of requests, this small sum of $10 per person could go a long way.   

It could be argued that we are actually getting great value, considering that for the first time in modern Canada we could see any one of the big three parties forming government. For those worried about the Americanization 
of our political system to a two-party system, this may be welcome. Will we move to a European model of multi-parties and coalitions? While a two-party system may be easier from a label standpoint (choose the left or the right), the multi-party systems of our European brothers appear to distribute the power, directly or by influence, more broadly. In many of the multi-party governments of Europe, we see better balance in policy and decision rather than the pendulum swings that plague two-party systems. 

Perhaps the only likelihood that can be safely forecast at this point is that we are in 
minority government territory. For the vast majority of Canadians who are not a member of a political party (over 98 percent), there is comfort in this. If only our elected officials can forget the “game” of the election and get to work on achieving solutions to the problems facing us—not just the economic challenges, but the social ones as well. Minority governments have historically faced the challenge of paralysis in process, but this can be changed if we the voters have the courage to send this message.

And the message appears to be written and ready to send. The polls show a close three-way race, indicating that we’re just not sure who we want in charge of our policy and purse strings. We appear to be ready to show that either all parties have our confidence—or that none of them do. Enough balance in a three-party system may send the message that, strategically, they better learn to work together in our collective best interest because we will tolerate nothing else and continue to send them into the proverbial sandbox of minority governments until they learn to play nice. 

Because the reality is that elections are strategic. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that the platforms and promises 
are based in philosophy alone. When voter turnout is hovering in the 60 percent neighbourhood, the strategy behind getting the vote out and appealing to a minority of the population is all part of the game: solidify the base and widen policy where required to attract the undecided. Conservatives talking deficits, New Democrats preaching austerity, and Liberals asking “Why can’t we all just get along?” The purist political geeks likely feel like they’re in Alice in Wonderland as the lines of traditional party philosophy get blurred.

A wonderful system this is, our social democracy. It truly is in the hands of the people to determine the outcome, which is never wrong, as it is the voice of the people. It is created by, maintained by, and policed by the people. So if we don’t like what we see and hear, don’t blame the public servants. They are simply responding to the evolution of our system. If we think the games and strategy are to blame, we must go talk to the 4 out of 10 of our neighbours who don’t bother to get involved with a simple ballot. And if we’re still concerned after we tackle that angle, we should take a good long look in the mirror.

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Citizen Poll

Do you think it's finally time for the province to prioritize twinning Highway 59 south of Île-des-Chênes?

For related article, see https://nivervillecitizen.com/...