Saturday, May 09, 2015

Working across the aisle

Among the other lessons learned from Alberta's recent election, let's point out one more with implications for the federal scene.

While the main opposition parties recognized that they were too far apart in their general policy orientation to justify a formal coalition, both the NDP and the Wildrose Party were happy to point out some of the areas which were ripe for cooperation as part of their criticism of the governing PCs.

In other words, neither tried to pretend that there was no room to discuss post-election cooperation, nor to claim that some areas of disagreement or personal differences rendered it futile to even talk about shared interests. And both were rewarded with improved seat totals - while the majority-or-bust PCs were severely punished.

Which raises a couple of questions for discussion.

How different would the Alberta election have looked if either of the main opposition parties had taken the position that it was prepared to accept continued Prentice government if the alternative was working across party lines?

And if even the Wildrose Party can find areas of common ground with the NDP as part of a shared goal of achieving a change in government, how in the world can the federal Liberals keep a straight face while pretending that cooperation is impossible?

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