How Minority works: art, science, and luck

di Joe Volpe del October 31, 2019

TORONTO - There is an art and a science (and luck) to making a minority government work. The first step is the admission that “you no longer hold all the cards” in parliament. It starts with the admission that the public decided to vote for the Party rather than for any single Leader.

That notwithstanding, the Liberal leader is unlikely to su­er much; he is still the Prime Minister until he is no longer the Prime Minister. He will still choose who will join him at the Cabinet table, who will be the Parliamentary Secretaries and, subject to the whim of “wild card” MPs, who will Chair the House of Commons Standing Committees.

With the reduced number of MPs in his caucus, there are fewer opportunities “to leave people out”.

In addition, given the nature of the election campaign just ended, he is committed to virtually no big infrastructure program or large-scale expenditure campaign. If you can think of one, then you were one of two people who followed the so-called campaign promises. In “nuts and bolts”, it means there will be minimal chances to defeat the government on a financial matter – that is the only issue on which a defeat of a government proposal would result in a dissolution of the House and prompt an election.

Once the Speech from the Throne is delivered and an economic update/budget is presented, there will be no financial package to modify or defeat. Not even the construction of a pipeline.

As long as thirteen opposition MPS side with the government or 26 of them develop “diplomatic flu” when those votes come forward, this government could easily stay in office for the entire term.

The Conservatives are already consumed by in-fighting that pretenders to the throne and their surrogates within caucus or the Party apparatus that they will avoid a new election until that infighting is settled.

Who in their right mind, thinks that the NDP MPs (24 in number) are anxious to go to the polls again, and with their current leader? You know, the one who said he would never support a government that would be led by a Conservative. Can’t really fight for the “little guy” if your MPs are out of Ottawa.

Then there are the 37 Bloc MPs. Unless there is a total botch-up, all of the Standing Committees will have one Vice-Chair from the Bloc.

They will all receive a premium honorarium for that role. Money may not “buy you love” but serenity in this instance is a good second best.

How ironic, the Liberal Party could end up surviving almost exclusively because the avowed Separatist Party from Quebec will keep it alive in order to look out for Quebec’s interests. I don’t know if this classifies as art, science or luck.

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