A working majority

Bob Rae marks the 25th anniversary of the Liberal-NDP accord in Ontario.

The Accord that was negotiated was not a coalition, but a working partnership.  The government gave up the right to declare votes of confidence whenever it wanted, limiting itself to budget bills.  It would accept a loss on anything else.  The deal would last for two years, and the government committed itself to a series of measures – on pay equity, labour law reform, social housing, environmental legislation, the protection of medicare and many others, all within a framework of fiscal responsibility – with timelines clearly set out.  A management committee of both parties would meet regularly to monitor the progress of the agreement…

In a parliamentary system elections produce a parliament, and parliament makes a government.  That was the lesson learned in 1985.  Prattle about “winning a mandate” with less than a majority in parliament is just that – partisan spin, all sound and fury, signifying nothing.  It is a lesson worth remembering.