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Imagine what might have been: a party kicked out of power, Parliament experiencing progress through the harmony of the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois, and Stephane Dion as prime minister. Not likely? No, we can't imagine it either.
It was a year ago that the three federal opposition parties felt pushed to the brink by the newly elected Stephen Harper Conservatives. They got it into their heads that it was theoretically possible, if they co-operated, to topple the minority government and establish a coalition.
Many Canadians - including non-Conservatives - were mortified. Political pundits went into overtime discussing the provisions for such a move, any past precedent and the likelihood of it happening.
Fortunately for Canada, an escape route for Harper appeared. Chastised to a small degree, the rigid prime minister relented on a couple of details and has since transformed into a leader Canadians are increasingly finding likeable.
Considering the alternative - the imaginary scenario above, as fantasized by some politicians overcome by power envy - most will breathe a sigh of relief. The prospect of those three leaders and their parties finding enough to agree on to establish an agenda is a stretch. The volume of give-and-take required among them would have left them paralysed as a body: much less able than a typical minority government.
A Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey released Thursday suggested that 41 per cent of Canadians thought the outcome from a year ago was the best possible. Another 10 per cent would have preferred an election ending in a Conservative victory, while 31 per cent would have liked to see the Liberals attain power - either by election or in a coalition government.
Harper also comes out on top these days regarding favourable opinions about leaders.
Parliamentary agenda is chugging along slowly these days, but it could be a lot worse.

Organizations: Bloc Quebecois, Canadian Press Harris-Decima

Geographic location: Canada

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