Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"Comparisons are odious."

Quixotique is a tad confused. I thought the esteemed academic Tom Flanagan was an adviser to PMSH, not ILMI, silly me. But after having made, broken apart and remade more than a few federal parties, and brilliantly advising his A Student all the way to two minorities, Flanagan thinks he has the right to advise yet another one. And the best he can come up with is advice that has failed the CPC and Canada miserably, to follow Harper's modus of: "It's my way or the highway."

Doesn't he realize that Canadians rejected the harperway in the last election and chose the highway instead? Doesn't he get that his fearful leader, when stared down over this insulting attitude chose to erect "road closed temporarily due to contempt for democracy" signs from one end of the trans Canada to the other? It seems that neither of them have the most basic concept of what minority parliament entails.

It seems to me (I'm hoping, anyway) that ILMI, in acknowledging, making room for and respecting diversity of opinion in the Party's caucus, and frankly in the Canadian population generally is much more respectful and reflective of this most basic democratic principle: majority rule with power vested in the people.

Peter Russell has this to say on that:

"But the stability and coherence of majority governments come at a very high cost for parliamentary government. Prime ministers with majorities in the House of Commons will not allow their programs to be significantly modified by Parliament. ...

Minority governments restore vitality to Parliament, and in particular to the House of Commons, the people's House. When prime ministers do not have a majority in the House, they don't disappear. We certainly see lots of Mr. Harper, as we did of Pierre Trudeau, Lester Pearson, John Diefenbaker, and Mackenzie King when they led minority governments. Under minority governments, policy is still shaped in the PMO, but it is not settled there. A minority government PM has to defend his government's policies in the House and be prepared to modify them in light of parliamentary deliberation. The policies and legislation that result from this process will take longer to emerge and, though they will deviate somewhat from the governing party's electoral mandate, they will be more inclusive of opinion in the country."
From my perspective I see the clear parallels between ILMI's circumstances opposite the Liberal Caucus and PMSH's opposite the country and Parliament. In some measure he is operating a party under a minority leadership. The MPs in the Liberal Caucus (and here I am referring mostly to the NL MP's and even more so to the newly elected) do not owe their recent elections to his leadership (frankly it's the other way around, if one cares to call his selection an "election" but that is for another discussion) nor to his direction on policy or platform. They are more purely independent and representative of the people in their own right than many MPs have perhaps ever been.

Just as minority PMs must be prepared to modify positions in light of deliberation, with an eye to increasing inclusiveness of opinion, so surely must minority leaders be allowed to do so as well.


  1. Perhaps the NL 6 can chip in and make ILMI's 2009 contribution to the LPC in return for his decision to let them vote against the budget!!

  2. You are wise, Red Rose. For as Quixotique knows from constant perusal of Cervantes'"The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha", "every man was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth", and thus requires a little assistance from time-to-time.

    But I fear your suggestion comes a tad late (see next post) as payback has already been extracted!

    Ironic really, as word comes that all in the OILO (Office of the Interim Leader of the Opposition for those without access to Google translate)have been "requested" to become members of the esteemed Club Laurier.