Do Not Be Afraid

The party leaders are trying to scare you with all their coalition-mongering. Ignore it. Vote for who you like. It's your right, says Rex.

The party leaders are trying to scare you with all their coalition-mongering.  Ignore it.  Vote for who you like.  It's your right, says Rex.

Read a transcript of this Rex Murphy Episode

Do Not Be Afraid

April 21, 2011

Who could have known that the whole point of this election was going to be about what happens after this election. There's more talk about what will happen after the vote, than about why you should vote in the first place.

If you vote a minority says Stephen Harper - the other three parties will steal the government from the first place Tories and form a coalition and then what'll we do? Oh horror.

If you vote a majority government says Michael Ignatieff - Stephen Harper will have "absolute power" and then what'll we do? Another, oh horror.

It's all very circular. The mind reels.

It was one of the more convoluted moments of the early campaign - when Michael Ignatieff was pressed on the matter of whether he was considering a "coalition".

No, he said - it was all about the colour of some doors:

IGNATIEFF CLIP: "There’s a blue door and there’s a red door and we’re going to form a Liberal government, is that clear enough for you? Thank you."

After being rather remorsesly pressed for an answer that actually nodded to the question asked, he finally gave one:  no coalition here - absolutely.

But the coalition idea is a very spry little creature, the Gollum of Canadian politics, that refuses to stay still or lie down and this week, during an interview right here with Peter Mansbridge, it scampered back courtesy of Mr. Ignatieff.

We had an elaborate parsing of how, why, and in what form we could - possibly, maybe - end up in an arrangement, formation, alliance or "coalition" with other parties after the election.

And now this morning in another interview, this time Mr. Harper with Peter, the irrepressible coalition creature made yet another appearance. Beware the Coalition. Mr. Harper says he wouldn't touch one - even if the offer came from the Governor General himself. Consistent anyway, from day one Mr. Harper has been a one man town-crier on the dangers of a coalition, it could be the West Nile virus from the way he talks about it. 

This is the strangest election; Canadians are being warned about how they might vote, by the people who forced them into voting in the first place.

You know what - vote for the party or the candidate or the leader that you like. And if the politicians can't live with your choice, then that's entirely their problem. The electorate chooses; the politicians obey. That is the way it works and all this coalition-mongering, pro or con, can't change that a single bit.

Meanwhile, this game of being warned off your genuine preference might be the actual "disrespect for democracy," that the politicians are always prattling on about. 

For The National, I’m Rex Murphy.