Things have changed a bit since I initially asked for opinions from KPC facebook members about the proposed Liberal/NDP coalition in Ottawa (sorry for the delay in posting, I'm out of the country at the moment), Parliament has been prorogued and Canada currently has no sitting government--so the coalition is stalled, but the question I asked is still timely so I will post the responses I got.
I asked if KPCers were in support of the proposed coalition. 92% of the respondents answered in the affirmative.
Now you may wonder why I'm posting this on the KPC page. As we are all residents and/or citizens of this country anything this historic will have an effect on our community as Filipinos--and as an arts organisation the fate of the Harper government (who have made significant cuts to the arts) has direct bearing on our work.
As a simple backgrounder about the situation early last week the Liberal and New Democratic parties announced that they had made an agreement to come together as a coalition and were prepared to vote against the current Conservative minority government. They stated that they, who combined have more seats in the house than Harper's party, were prepared to govern in it's place. The Bloc Quebecois had also agreed to support the Grit/NDP coalition on confidence votes for the next 18 months (the BQ are not a part of the coalition and will not have any cabinet portfolios).
Since that announcement there has been alot of debate about what this means for Canada. There are valid reasons for and against. [*In the interest of full disclosure I am pro-coalition.] But I'm personally very annoyed by the all the Tory propaganda that is obscuring real debate:
1) The coalition is 'undemocratic.' This is patently false. We live in a Parliamentary democracy. Voters vote for an MP in their riding. Whoever has the most MPs forms government. Therefore coalitions of parties that agree to act as one party are perfectly within their rights to form government. Now you can argue that this isn't "truly" democratic because (in this case) the Cons did win more seats than the Libs or NDP individually, but the problem with this argument is that it opens up a big can of worms as to what "true democracy" means.
Is it democratic that a party that wins 37 percent of the vote (the Cons) get to govern 100% of the people? Is it democratic that a party that won 7% of the vote (the Greens) get 0 seats in Parliament? No, this debate just obscures the current issue. We live in a Parliamentary democracy and this coalition is democratic under that definition. Fore more information about how Canadian Parliamentary democracy works please CLICK HERE.
[*All the above said, I think the debate over what we want democracy to be is a very important one. I hope that comes out in a rational way. But it should happen in a manner that doesn't forward one parties interests over another. And until that debate takes place we have to play be the rules currently in place. Check out this article by Naomi Klein about this: CLICK HERE]
2) This is a separtist led/influenced/controlled coalition. This argument is infuriating. The Bloc is NOT a part of the coalition. They wouldn't have any cabinet seats and don't have a say about policy. All they've agreed to is to support the coalition in confidence motions. It would basically be a Lib/NDP minority government. Just like how the Bloc have kept the Con minority alive in confidence votes in the past, this one will as well. All other debate there is merely pandering to fear and anti-Quebec sentiment.
Ok, enough of me.
Here's what the people said:
I support the coalition. Given the current political situation, the majority of Canadians have voted for Liberal, NDP, Bloc - hence the legitimacy of their ruling. To suspend government and govern without the opinion or confidence of other elected officials is the equivalent of a coup on democracy.
I support the coalition since I believe the Harper government will no longer be able to achieve anything in the House of Commons. In addition, the coalition has offered a better way of dealing with not just the economic crisis but the issues and concerns of Canadians. They have proposed to return arts funding, improve child care funding and implement infrastructure spending as soon as possible. Also, Harper has lost the trust of the House and of the people of Canada; something he'll be hard pressed to get back.
i support the coalition. i think it's democracy at it's best. 2008 is def a time for change...this is our time.
I do not support this coalition.
I support keeping the Conservative Government in place, but removing Stephen Harper as its Prime Minister.
I believe that this new leader should be less divisive; someone who can build confidence in Parliament.
I believe in allowing this government to work in order to provide the Liberal Party with the time it needs to find a new leader, develop its vision for the 21st century, develop a strong fundraising apparatus, and better levels of grassroots support throughout the country.
sure, i like that the tories will be out. and that the most useless election turned into the shortest term. and i like dion. i hope the bloc's seperatist interests dont get in the way of his leadership.
i say YES to the coalition!
this is an interesting document of all the arts and culture funding that has been cut by the conservative gov't: http://www.ccarts.ca/en/documents/ListofrecentcutsENG02.09.08_000.pdf hopefully, some of this (if not all) will be reversed when the government falls.
and yes, i support the coalition against the current gov't. harper is anti-people!