CJ, can you explain that to this non-Canadian? If a majority of the people vote for your government, they get to stay in office longer, but if only a minority votes them in (how many big parties do you have?) then you have to have an election sooner than you would otherwise?
LOL Kim it's one of lifes little trials for Canadians.
You see we elect members of parliament (federal govt) and they belong to different political parties.
the party with the most members wins and their leader runs the country.
A majority means that all the other parties if they gang up still don't outnumber the majority of the leading party.
A minority means that while that party wins the election, they have more seats in the house (members of parliament) they still have to watch their hineys because all the other parties can get together to bite their collective rear end and a vote of non confidence happens.
that means the others got together and voted down the minority so you end up with another election.
Which is what happened to Mr. Paul Martin leader of the Liberal party. He was a minority government and the Conservatives and NDP got together and voted his party down in a non confidence vote.
with a minority the key is not to ruffle the feathers of the opposition party. This means they can't always do what they promised, and it usually only lasts even with the best of intentions on all parties, for 2 years at the tops.
the good side to minority govt is often that they are kept much more to the will of the people knowing that if they go to any extreme, that they will lose and an election will be called.
but the bad side is they can't go far enough to fulfill their promises, so for example Mr. Harper who is now our 22cd Prime Minister, will be hard put to bring about the tax reforms that he promised nor will he be able to reform the justice system as far as he hoped.
the other bad side is because of that, he won't satisfy the conservative voters, and it gives time out of the public eye for the liberals to heal their wounds and ready themselves for the next election at which time they can promise the moon and people will have forgotten the problems they had.
(they were involved in some terrible scandal and the previous PM to Mr. Martin was Jean Chretien whose supporters in the liberal party actively worked to sabotage the election according to some talk going on now)
The problem the Conservatives will face after a short minority govt is that their comitted voters will be annoyed, and the undecided will be swinging away because not enough good happened, and they weren't able to follow thru.
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