Friday, 25 March 2011

MSM Fail on Coalition Question

I am close to incoherent rage on how the media is handling the coalition question. The very existence of this question and how the media are delivering it shows their contempt for Canadians and for our democratic institutions and how they work.

Jiminy Frakkin Cricket! At every turn Ignatieff has to answer hypothetical questions about an unknown future makeup of parliament. But the same questions are not posed to the other leaders, especially not to Harper. You would think that for someone that has so demonized the concept of a coalition, Harper would be held to that standard as well. It is now my deepest and most fervent wish that the Liberal party forms a minority government and the Conservatives the official opposition. There is no logical way that the Conservatives could support any motion that would bring down the Liberal government. Any vote with the NDP and BQ would be a coalition vote with socialists and separatists. The hypocrisy would be awesome to behold.

I have seen logical gymnastics performed to the effect that the Liberals signed a document with the NDP guaranteeing them cabinet seats and that is the coalition we are all talking about. That argument falls flat for two reasons.

First, the Conservatives have shouted coalition and denigrated the opposition anytime they voted together. Whether in committee, in the House of Commons, anywhere a combined vote embarrassed the Conservatives it was defined as a vote by the evil Liberal-Socialist-Separatist coalition. This is the definition that the MSM should be referring to when they choose to analyze this issue. By parroting the coalition question to Ignatieff like unthinking yappy terrier puppies, they enable the Conservative message and are effectively campaigning for the Conservatives in the upcoming election.

Second, any official coalition discussion predisposes that one knows what parties would be able to form said coalition. Well we have no idea what the makeup of the 41st parliament would be. It is conceivable that the Liberals and the Conservatives could form a coalition of their own. If the outcome of the next election results in new leaders in both parties (if not all four) than any alliance is possible and is on the table. Using the recent makeup of parliament to predict how the new parliament will function is asinine Future Babble (to borrow a term).

In a minority government, deals are going to happen. Compromises will be made to buy enough votes to ensure the passage of bills. Hell, this was how we got the vaunted Economic (in)Action Plan. The Conservatives threw it into the budget as a sop to the socialist opposition. Using the Conservative's own logic, that was a coalition negotiated budget. But no-one holds their feet to the fire on that one. But they will repeat the CPC "coalition" argument anytime it is used in the other direction.

I would really like for the MSM to take a step back, look at this logically and educate themselves and the public how a minority government functions. But I won't hold my breathe. It is much more fun for them to sit on their high horses and mock Ignatieff for his unwillingness to answer an unfair question.

Updater: Props to Susan Delacourt for doing exactly what I am asking for.

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