Like everyone in Canada, I just finished watching a press conference where Stéphane Dion, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe signed an agreement and announced the formation of a coalition government, unprecedented in Canadian history.
They will bring down the Harper Government at the first opportunity - next Monday, December 8 - and begin a new Government.
Although most bloggers will be pounding their keyboards with commentary, concerns and cavils, I simply want to express my thanks and gratitude to all three opposition parties and their leaders.
They are creating a model of democracy that can set an example for Parliaments all over the world, as the parties acknowledge their important differences, but focus on improving the greater good. They are putting Canada before politics.
During the question period, Jack Layton said that if Canada had a proportional representation electoral system, we would be accustomed to this kind of cooperation. I was thrilled that he mentioned proportional representation on this big stage. Perhaps this new Government is a step towards that greater democracy.
The Harper Government was elected shortly after we arrived in Canada, allowed to stay in power far too long, then, against all my hopes and beliefs, elected again. As my former countrypeople to the south celebrated what they believe to be a new beginning, I was cringing at the prospects for Canada.
I kept thinking, if the right stays united, and the centre and left stay divided, if the partisan continues to trump the practical... what will become of us? Whither Canada?
And now, this has happened. I am thrilled.
I'll read the caveats, I'll familiarize myself with the pitfalls. But for now, I will just savour the moment.
Thanks to shrewd leadership and open minds, Canada has stepped back from right-wing ideology and can begin to rebuild its proud progressive tradition. Leadership will reflect the will and the values of a majority of Canadians. That's democracy, and nothing is more important than that.
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US readers, please feel free to ask questions about what's going on up here! A few years ago, it would have confused the hell out of me, too. Don't be shy.