Federal government needs to review role

I have read with interest that there will be six provincial elections in the fall of 2011. Apparently, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, PEI, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Northwest Territories are planning elections.
That pretty much eliminates the idea of having a federal election next fall. The opening that remains is a spring or early summer election. Prime Minister Harper has said he won’t trigger an election, but Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has said he will try to defeat the government on the upcoming budget. He’s had few opportunities to do that before but has always backed off under the pretense that “the country doesn’t want an election”.
The country rarely wants an election, but elections are good for the newspaper business. We’d like one every year, but reality is elections are expensive and, to the average person, annoying. The person who should always want an election is the opposition party leader. He or she should, theoretically, be ready to govern at any time. The truth of the matter is that the Liberal party hasn’t really been ready to govern for many years. Certainly, since Chretien stepped down and Paul Martin became the leader, the Liberal party has been in no position to call itself a strong government.
If one looks at the political picture since 1993, when Chretien took over as prime minister, the Liberal party has only been in government by default. Had it not been for the fact that the PC party of Canada fell apart into the Reform Party and the Bloc Quebecois, the Liberals would not have been able to form government. Even when the PC party was reduced to just two seats in 1993, moves could have been made to hold the Liberals to one term in office. In 1993, I phoned Jean Charest. No surprise that I didn’t get to speak to him but I was assured by a pleasant man that the PC party had 17-18 per cent of the vote and that they were a power to be reckoned with in Canada. On the contrary, I suggested that Charest should have  a chat with Elsie Wayne, the other PC MP, and immediately enter into talks with Preston Manning of the Reform Party. That didn’t happen and the stubborn PCs ran in the next election and the next, assuring that Chretien would be a three term prime minister.
Within a short time, Charest went to the Liberal Party of Quebec and to this day serves as premier of Quebec. Elsie Wayne eventually pitched her tent with the Reform/Alliance/Conservative merger.
Had the parties merged in 1993, we might have had a conservative government in place since 1997. A breakdown of the voting patterns would certainly show that. Instead, by not creating the kinds of alliances that made sense and  reflected the wishes of the voters, we got Liberal governments supported by  a minority of the voters.
With four parties in Ottawa, we have a government that more people voted against than who voted for it. Having several parties is not the best thing for a country or a province. Having two parties with clear platforms would be much better. Multiple parties is a nice theory and has worked in some countries but it hasn’t worked often or very well.
Two parties, with clearly stated goals and policies, would make for a better and stronger country.
That the Reform Party came on the scene was a good thing, but the merger took way too long. In the past, new parties came long, such as CCF (1930s) which was inherited by the NDP party, the Progressives (1920s) who were inherited by both the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives. Many people don’t remember that the Liberals used to be called the Liberal-Progressive party. Establishing third parties is a good thing but, historically, they have stalled out and merged. The mergers have all taken too long and as a result, the opposition parties benefit. That’s been an unintentional benefit handed to the opposing parties.
Canada needs a Conservative majority government in the next election. We need to strengthen our judicial system, re-equip our military and address our infrastructure issues. The first two won’t happen in a minority parliament. The third will be piece meal, at best, as a minority government tries to appease all the other parties.
If Canada is to grow and strengthen we need to have the federal government look after the three above areas. That also means that they need to get out of aboriginal education, get out of health care except for a Health Canada regulatory role. The federal government should only provide national services that provinces or businesses can’t supply.

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