It's only day one of this election campaign but we're well into year five of the permanent campaign, which perhaps is why while Michael Ignatieff's Liberals released a statement ruling-out a coalition after the next election before Stephen Harper even made it to Rideau Hall this morning to pull the plug on this Parliament and officially begin the 41st general election in Canada's history, it still felt like an overdue move.
Whoever leads the party that wins the most seats on election day should be called on to form the government.
We will not enter a coalition with other federalist parties. In our system, coalitions are a legitimate constitutional option. However, I believe that issue-by-issue collaboration with other parties is the best way for minority Parliaments to function.
We categorically rule out a coalition or formal arrangement with the Bloc Quebecois.Seems pretty dammed clear to me. No to a coalition. The party gets that gets the most seats gets to form the government. If the Liberals are called on to form a minority government, they'll govern just like past Liberal governments have done, and just like the last Conservative government has done (but slightly less arrogantly, I trust): seeking support from the other parties in the house on a case-by-case basis.
Let's pause briefly on policy and democracy. It's a shame Ignatieff has to explicitly rule out a coalition. They are a perfectly legitimate constitutional option, and I'm glad the statement makes that point. The Conservatives have deliberately confused and misled to such a point that the well is poisoned and it's a shame, because our democracy suffers as a result of the ignorance they stoke for their narrow political ends. They erode trust in our democratic institutions, and we all suffer for that.