Would someone please explain to me what is so wrong with the notion of adults cooperating in a coalition government? Because it's pretty clear from the numbers that if Canada gets back on the election merry-go-round, we're going to end up in the same place yet again - a bunch of pissy leaders and the rest of us with vertigo, ready to barf up our cotton candy.
The insane faux-horror that ensued after the last suggestion of cooperation in parliament is enough to make us believe the denizens of a certain Street should be renditioned to Syria for cooperationist propoganda. You know - that dangerous movement that started in 1969 by Gordon, Susan, Bob, and Mr. Hooper - more commonly known as the Sesame Street 4? For god's sake, man, they were teaching children to cooperate! How dare they!
That great definition of insanity is on everybody's lips these days: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The results will definitely be the same: There will be a minority parliament. But the outcome could be different, because three of these things belong together and one of these things just isn't the same. And if you guessed that three of these things are left-of-centre politics, then I think you're ready to play this game.
Because as much as Stephen Harper wants you to believe that a Canadian Axis of Evil wants to hijack parliament, I don't think it's unreasonable to see it as adults cooperating in order to represent sixty percent of the country. Any agreement with the block would go something like this: where common interests overlap, we'll work together to advance those interests. Quebec separation is not a common interest, and therefore is off the table. But of course, the religious faction of Harperville thinks gay marriage is a slippery slope to inter-species marriage, so why wouldn't they equate working with the block on EI reform, or our role in Afghanistan, as the first step toward mandatory poutine on Sundays?
I mean, it just doesn't make any fucking sense.
Of course, the Liberals and NDP are not making it any easier on themselves to work together without looking ridiculous, with constant accusations of who propped up who, and the Conservatives are happy to enlist the support of the separatists themselves in a case of selective amnesia worthy of a book by Oliver Sachs: The Politician who Mistook the Separatists for a Hat. They all end up looking like hypocrites, and things will be really awkward when they decide to officially bless the union.
In fact, the time really has come for the Liberals and NDP to actually run on a platform of willingness to cooperate. Let everyone know what's on the table so there's no surprises. Stephen Harper is convinced that the country would not stand for a coalition government, and that the threat of one would deliver him a majority. I say we call his bluff. I mean, it's definitely time to try something different, that's for damn sure. There's no question that there is an alternative to the merry-go-round. Maybe those Sesame Street communists might have been on to something. Adults cooperating may be the only way off.
Lalo Espejo is a writer, monologist and political satirist whose work has appeared on CBC radio, campuses across Canada. He has also taught writing and presentation skills at career colleges in Vancouver. firstname.lastname@example.org