Cam Fortems – Kamloops This Week
Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo New Democrat candidate Bill Sundhu said his party “owes it to Canadians” to consider forming a coalition with the Liberal party after the October federal election.
The comments come after senior B.C. NDP MP Nathan Cullen said his party will look to form a coalition with the Grits in an effort to oust Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.
“We’re running to form the government,” Sundhu said.
“The objective has been, and always will be, to form the government. We’re a long ways from that.”
But, in a minority situation, Sundhu said, parties will naturally look to each other for support.
“Anyone who says they’re not prepared to do that is being less than honest,” he said.
Cullen said in an interview with the Canadian Press that while winning is the goal, the No. 1 priority is toppling the Conservatives.
“The Liberal voters that I know are as fed up with Stephen Harper as anybody,’’ Cullen said.
“[Liberal Leader] Justin Trudeau will do himself a great deal of damage with progressive voters if he wants to contemplate more years of this Harper government.’’
The last time the idea of a coalition government was seriously floated was in 2008, when the NDP, Liberals and Bloc Quebecois came together in an attempt to force the government out of office.
Their efforts were thwarted when the Governor General, at the prime minister’s request, prorogued Parliament, effectively putting it on pause until the new year, by which time there had been a change in Liberal leadership.
The new leader, Michael Ignatieff, ultimately backed out of the union by grudgingly supporting the Conservative budget.
That saved Harper from losing a confidence vote and having to call an election.
Local Liberal candidate Steve Powrie said any coalition discussion should come after the election if there is no majority government.
“I’m not quite sure their motive in making that a pre-election issue,” Powrie said.
A few years ago, when Liberal fortunes were plummeting, it was NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair who ruled out a coalition.
He has since suggested those comments were intended to indicate only that he wouldn’t agree to any electoral co-operation with the Liberals during a campaign.
Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre said any Liberal-New Democrat coalition would result in a “Greek economic policy.’’
“It looks like the NDP and Liberals are shaping up for a risky, high-tax coalition that will take more money out of the pockets of middle-class families,’’ he said in Fredericton.
Coalitions are relatively common in other parliamentary democracies, such as Germany, but they occur far less frequently in Canada, where the first-past-the-post electoral system favours the formation of majority governments.
Voters are expected to go to the polls on Oct. 19, as per Canada’s fixed-election-date law.
However, nothing prevents the prime minister from asking the Governor General to dissolve Parliament and send Canadians to the polls earlier.