Date: Monday, June 21 2004
I guess we all knew it would happen - it seems the Liberals and Conservatives have taken stock and realized there's only one way either party can protect their agenda from the separatist, left-wing Bloc and the re-energized, left-wing NDP:
A Liberal-Conservative coalition, similar to the one that took power in 1917 to face World War I.
In order to join Star Wars, keep spending low, fight deficits, allow free votes on abortion, strengthen child-porn laws, send troops to Iraq (under U.N. command and in cooperation with a possible John Kerry America), expand the powers of NORAD, expand the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, keep Lockheed-Martin involved in the Census, etc, the Conservatives and Liberals will have to work together. Even public-private partnerships in Health Care could be worked out to satisfy both Martin and Harper.
With over 200 seats between them, the two parties could rule comfortably and even divvy up ministries, perhaps returning Paul Martin to the Finance portfolio, keeping Stockwell Day in Foreign Affairs, and enjoy a stable, long-term government.
Compromises on the Gun Registry, bilingualism, and other tense issues could create bland, safe programs that mollify the harsh Conservative-Alliance membership without destabilizing the Bay Street / Civil-Service partnership which has kept the Liberals in power for 10 years.
The Alliance has greatly increased in popularity after swallowing the Conservatives, and the Liberals have shed their progressive wing after the battles between Chretien and Martin supporters. The two parties may have no choice but to align themselves against the instability and wild demands predictable in any issue-to-issue negotiations with the other two parties.
The only reason they'd never join together, of course, is that it would reveal the whole ideological battle for the farce that it is. They'll never join together for the same reason Coke and Pepsi would never join together.
It's too bad. It would make things simpler for all of us.