Monday, 5 September 2011

Realigning Canada's Political Spectrum

Canadians have traditionally held social democratic values while supporting centrist political parties. Canadians support universal single payer public health insurance, public pensions and a social safety net, all of which, at the federal level, have been proposed by leftist political parties but legislated by centrists political parties. These parties traditionally were the Liberal Party, slightly to the left of centre, and the Progressive Conservative Party, slightly to the right of centre.

The new extreme right wing federal Conservative Party of Stephen Harper (and Ontario PC Party of Harris and Hudak) are historical anomalies.

But the rise of the New Democratic Party in the recent election, and the rapid decline of the Liberal Party are signs that a change may be underway.

Some are suggesting a move to a two party left/right alignment with a merger of the Liberal and New Democratic Parties, but I do not see that happening.

What I see happening is a realignment closer to the traditional Canadian model.

I see the demise of the Liberal Party with it's right wing moving to the Conservatives and it's left wing moving to the New Democrats. I see the right wing Liberals joining with the former progressive wing of the Conservatives to move that party closer to it's former position slightly right of centre, while the New Democratic Party fills the position formerly held by the Liberals but somewhat further left of centre.

This would mean that the centre of Canadian politics would move to the left leading to more progressive future governments.

But I also see a further possibility of a New Democratic Party government bringing in proportional representation so that a true left wing party could emerge, with political representation equivalent to it's public support, along with a similar right wing party. The Greens would also get representation equivalent to their public support.

Their would be the potential for a more democratic system that made majority governments unlikely and co-operative (rather than confrontational) politics not only possible, but a necessity.

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