We live in a country with a truly unique democracy. When we look at our federal government, we have two kinds of majority. We have the popular majority, total number of votes, and we have a Parliamentary majority – the most number of seats in Parliament. It is quite common to have a Parliamentary majority, but it is quite rare to have a popular majority. How rare is it? 50 years ago, in 1958, John Diefenbaker with the Progressive Conservatives had both a Parliamentary majority and a popular majority. The Conservatives managed 53.66 per cent of the popular vote nationwide.
There has been only one government since then to have both a Parliamentary majority and a popular majority. That would be, surprisingly enough, the Progressive Conservatives with Brian Mulroney as PM in 1984. Every other government has been governing with a popular minority. This includes the Liberal Party under Pierre Trudeau. The best that was accomplished in that era was a popular vote of 45.37 per cent in 1968, the height of “Trudeaumania”.
That means that governments, whether they have a Parliamentary majority or not, must still govern as a minority. They must listen to all voices and all opinions realizing that without a popular majority, they really do have more people voting against them than for them. Remember, the government is for the good of the country as a whole, not just for those who manage to gain, by whatever means, control of Parliament.
Pastor Bernie Rist