Give Liberals a chance

Canadians will get their first real taste of minority government in some 25 years when Parliament resumes sitting next Tuesday with the throne speech.
Read by Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson, the speech will outline the legislative agenda for Paul Martin’s Liberals, who were thwarted from winning a majority government in the June 28th election.
And Conservative leader Stephen Harper already is serving notice the new government may be short-lived, warning yesterday after a meeting with Gov. Gen. Clarkson that his party might vote against the throne speech, which, in turn, would send Canadians back to the polls this fall.
Let’s hope Mr. Harper’s threat is nothing more than political posturing because the last thing voters want—or need—is another trip to the polls a scant four months after enduring the last campaign. Besides, given that short time frame, what would lend any political party to believe the outcome would be any different this time around (i.e., another Liberal minority).
There’s also no question none of the main political parties are in any position financially to wage another campaign.
Sure, Mr. Martin’s government is on shaky ground right from the get-go, sandwiched between opposition parties eager to put their stamp on government legislation and his own backbenchers who themselves threatened just last week to vote against certain bills.
On the other hand, Mr. Martin deserves time to try to make this minority government work, largely because the country faces too many pressing issues—from missile defence, the ongoing war on terror, and health care to getting the U.S. border re-opened to all beef exports—for Parliament to be paralyzed by a revolving door of elections.
This doesn’t mean the Liberals should be given carte blanche to run the country as if they had a majority, but torpedoing them before they’ve even had a chance to demonstrate responsible leadership is the wrong tack.