Fifty years ago this month I commenced a brief, five-year career in Surrey-White Rock as a senior high school socials and English teacher.
I recall explaining to students that chief among the differences between parliamentary democracies and a representative democracy are these four:
In UK and Canada, the prime minister is not directly elected but chosen in isolation by party members; MPs are expected to be “whipped” into meek conformance with their party’s legislative initiatives; “reaching across the aisle” is a largely unheard of phenomenon; these realities, when coupled with an appointed Senate, mean that fundamentally there are but two “checks and balances” at play nationally — a unilateral legislature and the courts — not three or four.
Except when there’s a minority government.
For my Loonie, the best governance model that I’ve witnessed work in Canada was in 2006-2010 when Stephen Harper was forced by the seat-count in Ottawa to compromise on every piece of legislation he would otherwise have rammed and jammed through — as he did in 2010-2015 when he found himself wielding majority power.
Would that the Oct. 21 vote in 2019 produce an analogous result to 2006, regardless which party winds up first-past-the-post.
Wm. Baird Blackstone, Tsawwassen