MACLEAN'S REPORTS

EDITORIAL

The new parliament’s first job: bring back national government by raising national issues

KEN LEFOLII July 14 1962
MACLEAN'S REPORTS

EDITORIAL

The new parliament’s first job: bring back national government by raising national issues

KEN LEFOLII July 14 1962

EDITORIAL

The new parliament’s first job: bring back national government by raising national issues

THE DIVIDED HOUSE in Ottawa is already rich in earnest counsel. Bury party rivalries and forget political advantage, the counsel goes, in the interest of the nation.

The sense of this advice is not improved by its piety; it would take a politician and a fool to follow it. The voters crowded four parties into a House designed for two on June 18 because one of the old parties was apparently no clear alternative to the other. A session of watching them pull together for the good of the country, if that is what the autumn promises, is all the country needs to reduce the confusion of the last election to chaos in the next.

Now is the time, rather, for all four parties to hammer at each other; to press home any political advantage they may think they have. No sane politician in office is going to impede the passage of estimates, of which a few remain, or otherwise interfere with the orderly transaction of the nation’s routine business. But the Liberals claim they know how to manage the country’s foreign exchange

problems while the PCs, since they created the problems, don’t. Well, now is the time for the Liberals to make their fight for measures they think will work; if the PCs don’t go along with them now, maybe the rest of us will later.

Now is the time, by the same accounting, for the Liberals to make their fight for tax reform and medical care and measures against unemployment; for the New Democrats to make their fight for their version of tax reform and medical care and measures to end unemployment; for Real Caouette’s Social Crediters, so help us, to make their fight for whatever it is that’s on their minds.

This parliament’s most likely life span is about six months from the last election, or about as long as it will take the opposition party organizers to raise enough money to fight the next one. That’s long enough for the politicians, who recently left the voters wondering how to tell them apart even with a scoreboard, to show us the difference. The alternative, a me-too parliament dissolving for another me-too election, raises a possibility that should bother the politicians as much as the electorate.

We may, in that event, arrive at a kind of self-perpetuating Ruritanian parliament patched together by small regional parties — PCs returned by rural ridings on the prairies and in the Maritimes; Liberals returned by city and suburban ridings in Ontario and Quebec; New Democrats returned by labor ridings here and there; Social Crediters returned by a dark belt of Quebec.

The 25th parliament can, at least, deliver us from Ruritania by raising the national issues that will leave the 26th parliament in the hands of a national government. — KEN LEFOLII

KEN LEFOLII