Monday, February 4, 2008

Minority governments produce better foreign policy

For those who continue to believe our antiquated "Winner-Take-All" voting system produces better government by handing one party all the power, please check out this article in today's Ottawa Citizen by writer Adam Chapnick.

As Chapnick points out, minority governments in Canada (where the ruling party is forced to work with opposition parties) tend to produce better foreign policy.

Here's an excerpt:

"Stephen Harper's decision to reach out to St├ęphane Dion's Liberals last week on the question of the future of the Canadian contribution to the mission in Afghanistan is an excellent move, but it is also not as shocking as recent analyses have suggested."

"It is rather evidence that, like a number of leaders of minority governments before him, the prime minister has come to realize that an ideologically bold approach to foreign policy in Canada results in neither tangible electoral gains nor the advancement of Canadian interests..."

"...The Harper Conservatives now recognize that co-operation with members of the opposition (who are willing to co-operate) on this file will only benefit Canadians, the Afghan people, and the government itself."

Of course, based on previous election results in Canada, the Harper Conservatives could walk away with a majority government under our current "Winner-Take-All" voting system simply by winning an additional one or two percentage points in support, far short of 50%. Such a scenario would clearly fly in the face of Canadian interests with regard to foreign policy.

We need a voting system that ensures power is divided in our Parliament proportional to how people actually voted so that one party cannot impose its ideological vision on the majority of Canadians. For those who assume the parties can't or won't work together for the benefit of our country under such a system, recent deliberations in Ottawa over Afghanistan prove otherwise.

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