Minority parliaments can work in Canada. Just look at the success of the Pearson governments during the 1960s, when Canada was introduced to the Canada Pension Plan, the national Medicare system, the Commission on bilingualism and biculturalism, and our flag, all without the luxury of governing with a majority free hand. Times have changed.
In Ottawa, we now have a prime minister who was elected on a key plank of increasing transparency and accountability in government, but instead has become a champion of control and hypocrisy. The same group that demanded whistle blower legislation with its Accountability Act, attacked the integrity of diplomat Richard Colvin when he dared to speak out about Afghan detainees.
Rather than continuing to answer tough questions from the opposition about this and other matters, the prime minister simply decided to prorogue parliament, effectively ending its work until he feels like coming back. He did the same thing a year ago, when a coalition was prepared to remove him from office. Our system apparently makes shutting down parliament as easy as making a phone call to the governor-general.
Canadians deserve better than this, but the question is, what can we do? As the voting population becomes more diverse and more and more parties gain support, majority governments are becoming less and less likely. Parties will work together only for their partisan advantage, not for the good of the country.
It appears to be time to seriously consider electoral reform in Canada, as 132 Canadian political scientists from 36 universities and colleges are now calling for. Proportional representation may or may not be the answer, but it is time to look at that option. The system we have is not working.