January 25th. 2006
Sent to but not published in the Boston Globe

Your editorial today (January 25th.) on Canada's "partial turn" has, I think, a more accurate description of the state of affairs in the body of the editorial where you talk of a repudiation of the Liberal Party. Although the right wing Conservative (Tory) Party gained 25 extra seats, the socialist New Democratic Party (NDP) also gained 10 seats.

It is hard to imagine a long-lasting coalition between these two parties. Yes, there will probably some agreement around good government issues, but on social and economic issues the two are far apart. The Tories want to cut taxes, increase the level of private health care and turn back the law allowing gay marriage. The NDP has the opposite view on each of these issues.

One area where there might be room for cooperation, if the Tories remember their history, is to move the country to some form of Proportional Representation.With 17.5% of the popular vote the NDP has only 9% of the parliamentary seats. In the 2000 Election, the Tories had 12.19% of the vote but only 4% of the seats; the Alliance party which later merged with the Tories was also slightly under-represented: 25.49% of the popular vote but only 21.6% of the seats in parliament. So both parties have an interest in a system of Proportional Representation

Such a system would provide a better reflection of the wide variety of views held by the Canadian population and better represent its geographic diversity.