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A totally necessary election

By in 2011 Federal Election/Opinions


ANDREW BATES
The Phoenix (University of British Columbia-Okanagan)

KELOWNA, B.C. (CUP) — Contrary to Stephen Harper’s mantra, this election is not unnecessary.

Even still, the rhetoric surrounding this election has been curious in what it has characterized as bad or undesirable.

As opposition parties working to achieve consensus in the House of Commons are accused of being a coalition, and of being undemocratic, the very process of democracy itself has been painted as an unnecessary bother.

It is not.

The blame doesn’t even rest solely on the political parties who are saying it, but on media for allowing this kind of rhetoric to dominate the debate. Around the country, each opposition candidate has to explain why an election is necessary, after two years of a fractious minority government that began to collapse immediately and ended on a finding of contempt.

The facts are clear. Regardless of how well or badly the country is being managed, government must also be representative. In a minority parliament, the government must reach across the aisle to gain the support of half of the nations’ representatives even if it holds the most seats.

In our country, it has failed to do so.

This and some of the more tender wounds of the last two years — prorogation, politicization of the civil service, the elimination of the long-form census, the Bev Oda NOT scandal — are made so much worse by the fact that they have been considered subordinate to “the economy” if indeed they are considered at all.

These issues with the democratic process are important because they speak to what we allow government to get away with. And we should not let them get away with too much.

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image: Aidan Whiteley/The Phoenix

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