Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Harper wanted proportional representation in 1996

The Winnipeg Free Press:

In 1996, Harper and University of Calgary political scientist and Conservative Party strategist Tom Flanagan co-authored a paper entitled Our Benign Dictatorship. It called for "consultation, committees and consensus-building" in government, proportional representation to replace the "winner-take-all" first-past-the-post electoral system and a Progressive Conservative-Reform Alliance-Bloc Québécois coalition to defeat the then-dominant Liberals.

"In today's democratic societies, organizations share power. Corporations, churches, universities, hospitals, even public-sector bureaucracies make decisions through consultation, committees and consensus-building techniques," they wrote.

"Only in politics do we still entrust power to a single faction expected to prevail every time over the opposition by sheer force of numbers. Even more anachronistically, we persist in structuring the governing team like a military regiment under a single commander with almost total power to appoint, discipline and expel subordinates... Many of Canada's problems stem from a winner-take-all style of politics that allows governments in Ottawa to impose measures abhorred by large areas of the country..."

The first-past-the-post electoral system, their paper continued, "encourages parties to engage in a war of attrition" -- exactly as the NDP and Liberals and Bloc are doing now, benefiting the Conservatives.

"In the longer term... and assuming that Quebec remains in Canada, the alliance would find it hard to form a stable government without some Quebec support... On that basis, a strategic alliance of Quebec nationalists with conservatives outside Quebec might become possible, and it might be enough to sustain a government."

The sugar-coating the two Albertans put on the sour pill of coalescing with Quebec separatists was this: "If cooperation is ever to work, the fragments of Canadian conservatism must recognize that each represents an authentic aspect of a larger conservative philosophy... Quebec nationalism, while not in itself a conservative movement, appeals to the kinds of voters who in other provinces support conservative parties."

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