12.28.2010 01:23 PM

Even the Vice-Regal guy agrees with us!

“The new governor general says he sees nothing wrong or illegitimate with coalition governments — something Prime Minister Stephen Harper has attacked for being “undemocratic.”

Gov. Gen. David Johnston told QMI Agency he’s been busy brushing up on constitutional governments in case he is called upon to navigate a choppy political crisis.

“Any governor general who has that role in a constitutional system like ours, from time to time will be confronted with questions where there is an element of discretion,” he said.”

Coming up: the “I have no relationship with the Governor-General” press conference!  Stay tuned!


  1. Cath says:

    So, if this works federally, can it also work provincially between the NDP and PCs to defeat McGuinty?

    • Shaun says:

      The NDP and PCs getting together to form a coalition government? Only if you haven’t lived on Earth for more than 2 minutes of your life.

      On another note, read up on Ontario provincial politics and you’ll learn something about coalition governments. You don’t have to go back very far, only 25 years ago.

      • Cath says:

        I don’t think it’s out of the question at all for the two youngsters to test the old boy (Dalton) by getting together on several issues as a matter of fact.

        I’ve lived on earth and in fact the centre of the known Canadian universe (Ontario) for long enough to know a volatile and unpredictable electorate when I see one.

        Anything is possible at the moment, especially in light of the fact that our current Premier has done the impossible in making Ontario under the NDP look almost good by comparison with respect to how far down economically he’s taken the province.

        Perhaps before you spit out advice you should do a bit of introspective educating of your own?

  2. Still Anonymous says:

    Poor Harper. Not even the old white guy agrees with him.

  3. allegra fortissima says:

    There are many countries worldwide, where provinces are governed by coalition parties – why not on Canadian provinces? Dalton McGuinty should be courting the NDP, if necessary…
    “…Together we can build on our shared strengths and develop innovative ideas that will improve our quality of life.” Well, Sir, go for it!

    • Mr. Chamberlain says:

      Who farted!

      • allegra fortissima says:

        Who farted? Definitely not Arthur Neville Chamberlain, who only suffered from occasional attacks of gout. A different chamberlain must be breaking smelly winds in his conservative chamber…

        • Mr. Chamberlain says:

          Perhaps the irony of your comment won’t be lost on others — using someone’s name to slam them, while not providing your own!

          P.S. A Liberal-NDP coalition in Ontario? WHO FARTED?!

          • allegra fortissima says:

            Publicly? On this website? Not me! Sir, I am Catholic and was educated at a Sacre Coeur boarding school – inappropriate behaviour as f***ing would have had severe consequences, usually a week of kitchen service or extensive time out in the dormitory…

          • Mr. Chamberlain says:

            You’ll have to forgive my brutish outbursts. Just thinking our society needs Liberals who are comfortable being Liberals, who don’t apologize for being Liberals and aren’t afraid to say the others haven’t quite got it right!

            Happy New Year!

  4. Iris Mclean says:

    You’d think Harper would have discussed this with Johnston during the vetting process.

  5. wilson says:

    If the Lib/NDP can form a majority, they win a legitimate coalition government.

    If that majority includes the Bloc, that would be unacceptable to Canadians and many MPs.
    As incumbent PM, PMSH has first chance to form a majority, perhaps by making a deal with disgusted opposition MPs;
    or, he could then ask the GG for another election, and regardless of Adrian Clarkson’s memoirs, I’m betting the GG would give him one.

    • Namesake says:

      Sorry, but the days of the Cons. & their ‘bots off-the-cuff proclamations about what is and isn’t legitimate about coalitions are over.

      Sure, the incumbent gets to _ask_ the GG to let them form a gov’t first or even to call another (pointless) election, but it’s the GG’s call: he’s perfectly within his rights to ask the other party leaders if they could form a stable gov’t, instead.

      And the notion that “losers can’t form coalitions” is pure bunk: they’ve done so in the most recent election in Israel, for example (where the Kadima party that won the most votes & seats is NOT the one that succeeded in forming a coalition stable enough to govern: the Likud Party’s Benjamin Netanyahu became Prime Minister, instead). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_legislative_election,_2009

      And there are many countries where the governing coalitions couldn’t achieve a majority with just two parties, so three or more had to be involved. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coalition_government

      And I’m mighty tired of the PMO and its minions presuming to speak for what Canadians think / feel / find acceptable.

      Sure, there’ve been polls like Angus Reid’s released last week, which asked,

      “Here are some prospective scenarios that could materialize if a federal election takes place in 2011. Would you personally be satisfied or dissatisfied with each one of these outcomes?

      …The Conservatives win more seats than any other single party, but the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc have more combined seats than the Conservatives. The Liberals and the NDP form a coalition government, with the support of the Bloc,”

      Where the responses were:
      Satisfied: 25% / Dissatisfied: 25% / Not Sure: 25%

      But does that mean it “would be unacceptable to Canadians” if the GG approved a 2008-style model (of 2 parties in the formal coalition and the Bloc being consulted to help craft mutually acceptable confidence bills)?

      Um, no: first of all, it’s only an estimated _half_ of Canadians who’d characterize themselves as “Dissatisfied” with that: not all; secondly, being “Dissatisfied” is not at all the same as finding it “Unacceptable.” I’d wager that a comparable amount of Canadians were “Dissatisfied” by the fact that the Bloc formed the Official Opposition for a number of years, thanks to your team’s splitting the vote on the right. But was it Unacceptable to them? Well, I don’t recall any riots or even demonstrations on the street over that. Sure, there was some grumbling, the odd letter to the editor or two, but, come on, that’s our national pastime, grumbling about things. (Losing sports teams, bad coaches, the weather…)

      • Interesting example to use Israel. Can you find ANY examples in Canadian political history of the largest party being excluded from government? How many time did Israel not have a coalition government?

        I look forward on the campaign with your party using your talking points. Reminds of those talking points about the political party subsidy is necessary to protect democracy. Wilson and Gordon are correct.

        Canadians have not had the opportunity to punish the Liberals, NDP and Bloc for the stunt in 2008. I predict a shift of at least 25 seats to the CPC in 2011-2012.

        • Namesake says:

          “the stunt” which people may need reminding of is the way the PM & Flaherty introduced a fiscal update which not only included a poison pill to eliminate the political subsidies in the attempt to cripple their opposition (which was not something they could claim democratic support for, since they were a minority and this was not part of their policy platform), but which was also didn’t include any stimulus money because they were still in complete denial about whether the recession would hit Canada — which is why they lost the confidence of the House.


          The attempt to put a coalition together was done to spare the country the trouble and expense of another election so soon after the last ones, which would almost undoubtedly yield the same result (witness practically all the polls since). But once the gov’t went back to the drawing board after the prorogue and acknowledged the need for stimulus spending and withdrew its attempt to force the other parties into agreeing to bankrupt themselves, well, it regained the confidence of the House and the impetus for a new election &/or a coaliton had passed.

          But you’re right, the country still hasn’t had a chance to punish Harper and Flaherty for being more intent on destroying the rival parties than on safeguarding and promoting the overall economy and welfare of the country. Thanks for reminding us of those days.

      • Mr. Chamberlain says:

        GT, it`s not up to you to define whether a coalition is legitimate or not, so take a hike. And kindly do us all a favour and just speak for yourself.

        For the record, I think the best strategy for the Liberals is to land ashore with their platform and burn their proverbial ships. No turning back. Campaign with do or die intensity and campaign with the message that the Liberals won`t enter into a coalition. If Canadians want to replace the Harper government, then it`s up to them to vote Liberal.

        But that is my opinion. If in the end, when the dust settles and the party leaders perhaps determine that there is sufficient commonground and compromise to allow for a stable alternative to a Harper minority then so be it. That is the animal we call Parliament, which is ultimately an assembly of duly elected members, each and every one of them legitimate as parliamentarians, and that is above all WHAT IS BEST FOR CANADA.

      • Namesake says:

        I didn’t address you earlier because your first post was still in moderation limbo when I posted the above. And I don’t want to get into a point by point debate on it now. (I’m tired.)

        But re: “all of this is moot as mr. Ignatieff has categorically ruled out deploying a coalition option (shortly after he signed on the above-mentioned one)”

        um… no. You don’t speak for him, and maybe you weren’t following the brouhaha surrounding this very blog in late May/early June, but it resulted in this headline & declaration on June 6:

        “Ignatieff open to coalition, nixes Liberal-NDP merger

        Michael Ignatieff says coalition governments are “perfectly legitimate” and he’d be prepared to lead one if that’s the hand Canadian voters deal him in the next election…”


      • Loraine Lamontagne says:

        The Conservatives didn’t do it either. They too would have to make it clear during an election that they would rather relinquish power than seek a coalition arrangement if they were unable to get the vote of a majority in the House on a throne speech.

  6. Shaun says:

    Gord, you must know absolutely nothing about how coalitions are formed. I don’t remember, as an Ontario voter, ever vetting the coalition government that formed here in 1985 and that coalition government was very much legitimate. I think you just don’t like the idea that the 2008 coalition was perfectly legitimate and that much more knowledgeable individuals, such as the current (conservative appointed) GG, would have been on board with it. Google, read, and learn.

    • Cath says:

      is it at all possible for you Shaun to quit with the personal insults and assumptions about what a poster is or isn’t thinking, knowing, assuming without the personal slams?

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