Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Proposal For an End to the Impasse in Ottawa

The Conservatives did not manage to win a majority in the last election and only gained the support of just under 38% of voters. However you cut it, this is not a majority government and ultimately has to deal with a parliament where the majority is not on the government side.

The Coalition is fundamentally weak and flawed from the start. It has not defined any program and was not elected to enact any program. They only have 114 MPs out of 308, a very long way short of enough to govern. Their dependency on the Bloc is a problem. Their lack of any ideas for what they will actually do in government is a huge problem. They will need to have a 100% whip of all three caucuses all the time to remain in power - that is very, very hard to maintain.

I would suggest the time has come for a one year caretaker government made up of the Conservatives and the Liberals. They should agree to no dramatic policy changes, agree to a new election to be held in the fall of 2009 or spring of 2010, and they should adopt a stimulus package that is a meld of the Liberal and Conservative thoughts but they would agree to have the program in place in less than 60 days and actually have money spent for the projects before June 1st of this year. They also agree to a complete moratorium on partisan activities.

At their core, the economic programs of the Liberals and Conservatives are not dramatically different. Stephen Harper has governed much like Paul Martin was like when he was finance minister. There are still a lot of Martinites in Ottawa and they are ideologically close to Harper on economic issues.

This allows both Dion and Harper to get out of the corners they are painted into. It shows cooperation by the main parties that most Canadians support. It also allows the new leader of the Liberals to be tested at the polls within a year of coming into power.

If something like this does not happen, we are looking at an election date in the March to May time frame - before the new leader of the Liberals is selected.

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