The UnCanadian Activities Committee (II)

It is perhaps counter-productive to go round parsing the rhetoric of Pierre Poilievre, but counter-productive seems to be a bit of theme here. And there is probably greater harm in not taking seriously the things our elected leaders say. They get away with far too much as it is.

So. Whatever the merits of the coalition, its members and leadership—and these are infinitely debatable—let us deal specifically with Mr. Poilievre’s primary concerns.

“Undemocratic.” Canadians vote for members of parliaments. We do not vote for the Prime Minister. We do not, in the directest sense, vote for a government. We vote for MPs, who are thus dispatched to Ottawa to organize themselves as they see fit and run the country. They often leave or are removed from the parties they ran for. They are, in theory, free to vote as they see fit, unencumbered by party affiliation.

What, then, is undemocratic about a majority of those MPs agreeing to cooperate for the purposes of forming government? Was the Romanow coalition in Saskatchewan undemocratic? Was the Peterson-Rae accord in Ontario undemocratic? What about coalition governments that exist or have existed in Germany, Italy, Israel, Switzerland and New Zealand? What, by the strictest reading of our electoral and parliamentary laws, outlaws a coalition government?

“UnCanadian.” One assumes this is a reference to the Bloc Quebecois. To be clear, the Liberals and NDP have an agreement to form a coalition government. The Bloc has agreed, based on the policy agenda put forward by the Liberals and NDP, to support the coalition government in all matters of confidence for a period of 18 months.

What, then, has the Bloc agreed to do that it has not already done over the last four years in working with Liberal and Conservative minority governments? What influence will it have that it has not already had in its two previous decades on Parliament Hill? Is there any specific policy in the agenda so far proposed by the coalition government that weakens the national foundation? And if the mere presence of the Bloc Quebecois in the vague proximity of power is too dangerous to be considered, should there be legislation that specifically sets out which parties are allowed to wield which amounts of influence? Or would that be rather, er, undemocratic?

If the matter before us is serious, let us be serious. If the Prime Minister truly believes this to be a plot meant to “destroy this country,” let us understand exactly how that is.

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