07/17/2015 12:51 EDT | Updated 07/17/2016 05:59 EDT

Canada Needs More Political Parties

Nobuo Kawaguchi/Aflo via Getty Images
Peace Tower in Ottawa, Canada

Jamey Heath argues that "Liberals are an obstacle to progressive policies" and likens the splintered progressive groups in Canada (parties, activist organizations, etc) to the famous Monty Python "splitters" sketch, pitting the People's Front of Judea against the Judean People's Front.

His point is well made, and well written, but let's examine some facts it is based on. First, he states that English Canada elites dislike Harper because the United States has Barack Obama, a President they hold in high regard, American-envy he calls it. I can't disagree with that point, but it appears Mr. Heath later falls victim to the America-envy when he incorrectly says that "Liberals, above all, are so anxious to retain our sadly splintered party system, in place of the two-way debate that other Western democracies enjoy."

Other than the U.S. itself, what Western democracy has a uniform two way debate? A two party system? It's a bit of a stretch to say countries "enjoy" anything about political debate, much less having the continuous polarized choice.

I had expected the calls for "unite the left" to emerge as polls continue to show a three way deadlock. What I did not expect, is for them to be so blatantly partisan, or obviously ignorant of our democratic system.

Let's say, for arguments sake, that there are some people who see value in replacing the current government. Surely anyone who believes that, would be prepared to use any and all available avenues to do that. There are 42 western democracies, and a great deal more across the world that enjoy coalition governments. I can't say for sure they actually "enjoy" them, but at least, they have them. Coalitions are part of our democracy, part of many democracies. Politicians who don't believe in coalitions are like lawyers who don't believe in the law. All of our federal leader have shied away from this aspect of our democracy and shame on them for it.

According to public opinion polls, a large majority of Canadians believe it is time for a change of Government in Ottawa. Perhaps the change Canadians are looking for starts with a move away from a winner take all, American style system, not more of the same. Perhaps a leader with true vision and courage would be willing to work with everyone, perhaps.

Mr. Heath suggests change begins when progressives emulate the Conservatives by considering a merger, instead of calling on progressive leaders to consider a path available to form a government. Instead, I would suggest Canadian voters deserve a wider choice of democratic options from the entire political spectrum, and to have their leaders work together for all Canadians.


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