Working together to strengthen democracy
As the opposition positions itself to form a coalition government and the Conservatives consider their options (postpone the current session of Parliament and perhaps try to force another election), both sides will be looking for public support.
For the past three years, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has governed as though he had a majority. However, he has only had a minority and, therefore, I believe it was his responsibility to consult with some of the opposition.
With the recent economic update, the Conservatives again did not work with any of the other parties. Instead they went for a power grab. The opposition united in the face of this and will now seek power.
Which one is right? For me, it all depends on who is working hardest to represent Canadians. Right now, I favour the coalition.
A Liberal-NDP coalition, supported by the Bloc Quebecois, represents 54 per cent of the popular vote, so it has a better democratic representation.
If you include the Green support, it rises to 61 per cent.
A coalition is, in a way, what the voters asked for: a government that works to bring different points of view together in a constructive way for Canadians.
I think coalitions will turn out to be an important tool for democracy in Canada with our diverse political landscape. We are no longer a two-party system and, if we ever hope to introduce some form of proportional representation or even simple electoral reform, we will need to be able to coalesce political power in a constructive way.
I would have preferred the coalition to an immediate election or a delayed parliament. The challenge and the opportunity of the coalition will be to set aside political differences and to shape a positive path forward for Canada.
Public opinion, our collective voice, is going to shape the outcome of this historic decision.
My involvement with Yukon politics has clarified, for me, that people have more political power than we realize.
I look forward to the public debate and encourage all Yukoners to voice your opinions.
I believe it will only strengthen our democracy.
Toward a one-party state
People worried about the prospect of a coalition government should consider the following: the coalition has everything to gain and nothing to lose by working hard to steer our ship safely through the shoals.
There is a team of capable people supporting this coalition.
All the strengths of the Canadian economy at the moment are the result of good, long-term management on the part of Paul Martin and nothing to do with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
A highly ethical patriot who has nothing personal to gain, such as former New Democrat leader Ed Broadbent, wouldn’t support an arrangement that he didn’t think would be good for Canadians.
The coalition was formed out of real worry over both the economic crisis and the threat to democracy in this country.
And, yes, a coalition government is quite legal under our Constitution.
The majority of Canadians did not support the Conservatives.
On the other hand, there doesn’t appear to be a bottom to the pit of low tactics that Harper would stoop to in order to gather more power.
Cynical predatory forces in the Bush government used 9/11 to further their selfish ambitions and diminish democratic safeguards, (leading to the current economic situation, by the way).
I fully expected Harper to use this crisis to try something like that.
He didn’t waste any time.
Canadians didn’t grant the Harper government the mandate to turn this country into a one-party state, which is effectively what the cutting of public funding for political parties would have done.
Harper isn’t likely to have learned his lesson by being stood up to.
He will just look for other devious ways to manipulate us.
Canadians need a government focused on solving problems, not establishing a dictatorship.
Shelter desperately needed
Open letter to Glenn Hart, minister for health and social services:
We applaud the considerable efforts of all individuals and organizations working towards the realization of Angels’ Nest.
We vitally need this shelter and programming to assist the most vulnerable members of our community — at-risk youth facing homelessness, poverty and violence.
We call on you and your government to prioritize this initiative. Take the necessary steps to ensure this much-needed facility and programming is established sooner rather than later. Delays and blame-shifting only serve to leave these young members of our community in harm’s way.
We join Yukon First Nations, social justice groups and concerned citizens in calling for your government to recognize its responsibility. Please take the political actions to ensure remaining barriers are removed and funding is put in place.
Critical deadlines are fast approaching.
We have every confidence you and your government will make it happen prior to the closing of this fall sitting of the legislature.
Laurie Butterworth, president, Yukon Employees’ Union
Treason, I say!
Regarding the coalition attempt to overthrow the recently elected government of Canada: This attack is an outrage to the voters of Canada and total insult to democracy.
These three stooges, led by Stephane Dion (who can’t even hold onto the leadership of his own party), would be hung in any other country for treason.
Every Yukoner has a duty to inform the MP that Canadians don’t do deals with separatists.
If Larry Bagnell does not have the backbone and guts to stand up for what is right he has to go. No more Mr. Nice Guy.
Regarding your article A sweetheart deal sours (the News November 28), I submit Dennis Fentie and company learned from the experts.
Twenty years ago, the Yukon News had high standards of integrity. Somewhere along the way, those ideals were lost.
I have news for you. Premier Dennis Fentie is not the most dishonest politician around. He is not the most honest either, but the reporters at the Yukon News hammer at the Yukon Party so vindictively that when they have something legitimate to report, nobody believes them.
I submit there are three sides to every story: Fentie’s side, the Yukon News’ side, and then there’s the truth.