Crash Course in Minority Government

By: Alison Lee (Grade 12) and Avrel Festinger (Grade 12)

What really is a minority government?

With the election over and a new government in place, you may be wondering what it all means. Here is a crash course on what a minority government is.

Last term we had a majority Liberal government. This means that the Liberals controlled a mathematical majority of seats in the House of Commons (54%). 

Now, instead of a majority government we have a minority. Here’s what that means: 

No single party holds a majority in the House. A minority government has to rely on the support of other parties to get its legislation passed. The liberals have the largest number of seats, but they are mathematically outnumbered by the combined total of opposition members of parliament (MPs).

This indicates that more of the population opposes the Liberals than supports them – which is what often constitutes a coalition government. 

Coalition governments allow more than one party to join platforms, which entails drafting bills together and voting as a bloc*. This can often cause conflict and disagreement within the coalition because they are parties independent of one another. A common critique of the coalition mechanism is that it creates an illusion of agreeance that is easily shattered when it comes to contentious topics, such as policies to address climate change. In this election, it has become clear that although several parties who are traditionally “left wing” are in support of solving climate issues, there are vast differences in their proposed policies. It is important to note that in Canada, the coalition government has never been successfully attempted at the national level. 

Hopefully this helps add to your understanding of minority and majority governments! For more information about Canadian Government, check out the link below!

*Bloc: a combination of countries, parties, or groups sharing a common purpose. In this case it is a combination of a few parties who will be voting and drafting bills together.



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