by Devon Rowcliffe
Coalition and minority governments can be extremely productive. Lester Pearson’s minority Liberal government was one of the most fruitful governments that Canada has ever had. Pushed to cooperate with the NDP, we saw the creation of public healthcare, the Canada Pension Plan, student loans, a new national flag, the 40-hour work week, two weeks of vacation time, and a new minimum wage. So when detractors of proportional representation warn of parliamentary gridlock, be skeptical. The exact opposite can happen when parties work together.
Legislation that is informed by several parties that cooperate and negotiate is more pragmatic and less ideological. After all, isn’t that why all parliamentary bills are sent to multi-party committees for debate? But when one party has all the power, which often happens under our current voting system, that party can ignore all other voices, resulting in parliament becoming useless pantomime theatre.