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Liberal and Democratic
June 8, 2010 9:11 PM   Subscribe

The rumours are increasing that there will be a merger between the two left-leaning political parties in Canada, the hapless Liberals under the wooden Michael Ignatieff, and the perennial almost-show New Democrats under the magnificently mustached Jack Layton. Denials all 'round, of course, but as separate parties they have not managed to take down Stephen Harper and his wiley Conservatives.
posted by anothermug (117 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Anything that kicks Iggy to the curb is fine by me. Even better if it means The Moustache ends up with a majority government. I say this as a staunch Liberal.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:19 PM on June 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm really not sure about this. I like having two major national left-leaning parties, but I desperately want the Conservatives to be taken down. Tough one.
posted by Dismantled King at 9:29 PM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'll take anything to deliver us from Harper's merry band of dimwits.
posted by threetoed at 9:31 PM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just don't see a merger as a viable alternative. The real problem is the same now as it has been since Jean Chrétien left office: a lack of charismatic leadership in the Liberal party. The Liberals have been on a downward slide for years, starting with the mostly competent but charisma free Paul Martin. Then came geeky, learn-on-the-job Stéphane Dion. (Who had some good ideas, but no one wanted to listen.) And now they've got Ignatieff, who has neither style nor substance. They need someone with a vision of what Canada should be, and the persuasive ability to convince us that it's worthwhile to get there. Merging with the NDP won't help this, since neither of the current party leaders have demonstrated these qualities to any significant degree.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:31 PM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


this might be one of the stupider and more desperate ideas that we have in years, and will result in decades of harperite politics
posted by PinkMoose at 9:31 PM on June 8, 2010


I also liked having a choice between two left-leaning parties, but I don't think either can stand against a unified right. And the fact that the unified right can't manage a majority government indicates Canada's left-centre leanings.
Harper likes to crow about how winners should be the ones in power, but his party had 36% of the popular votes. Two-thirds of us don't support the party in power. Every election in this country should be the Grit's to lose. Personally I find the Liberal and NDP platforms almost indistiguishable and vote one way or the other based on the candidate, not the party. They should just merge already.
posted by thecjm at 9:40 PM on June 8, 2010


The idea that John Manley and Pat Martin could happily coexist in the same party just doesn't make sense to me. The Liberal party may be a big tent, but they fundamentally aim to govern, and to do so from the centre, accommodating such real-world imperatives as U.S. security interests and tax competitiveness for corporate Canada. A non-trivial number of NDPers aim not to govern but to feel ideologically pure, and the party is has enough wingnuts who would happily tax the Bay Street Liberals out of existence and arm the Canadian military with shovels that I don't see it working. Can you imagine a "Liberal Democratic" party trying to deal with the budget deficit as Paul Martin did in 1995? We'd have ended up like a demilitarized Greece.
posted by Dasein at 9:44 PM on June 8, 2010


It's funny, I'll probably vote for the NDP because of the copyright bill, but even so it's hard to see Layton as a viable PM. But then, I never in a million years thought that Harper would be PM, so who knows...

One thing to consider, though, is that a merger might be more one party swallowing the other than a marriage. (Look what happened with the Alliance and the old Progressive Conservatives.) So a merger between the Liberals and the NDP might end up alienating the supporters of one party, instead of bringing the different camps together.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:45 PM on June 8, 2010


Finest moment of the Royal Canadian Air Farce: Not Destined for Power.
posted by warbaby at 9:46 PM on June 8, 2010


The Liberals under Ignatieff have tacked way too far to the right, inexplicably, so it's not hard to understand why their traditional base can't be bothered to vote for them anymore. I'm a registered Green these days, though I do engage in strategic anti-Tory voting every now and then. Green party voters are vastly underestimated in their influence (thousands of votes in every single riding) and I'm surprised the NDP aren't knocking on their door.

I would gladly vote for a left coalition of any composition if they promised electoral reform to eliminate the first-past-the-post system which has trapped us in Harperland for so damn long. While you're at it, refine the rules governing proroguement and budget bills. The Harper conservatives have been gaming the system for too long. That's the heart of the issue.
posted by mek at 9:54 PM on June 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


It's nice having so many parties on the left but it just fucks us over when there's only one party on the right. I hope the rumours are true and that Liberals, NDP and Greens happily merge into a magically cohesive, left leaning, socially and environmentally conscious party that all the lefties can get behind so we oust this DOUCHEBAG Harper and get on with being awesome again.

I'm really uncomfortable living in a Canada that is more conservative than the USA.
posted by smartypantz at 9:55 PM on June 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


If the PLC were interested in power, they'd merge with the Bloc.
posted by docgonzo at 9:58 PM on June 8, 2010


I'm not going anywhere near a party that incorporates the NDP's genuinely ignorant economic policy (not that any party is perfect, but they're the worst of the worst), and I doubt I'm the only Liberal-ish Canadian who feels this way.
posted by ripley_ at 10:03 PM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure who you mean by PLC, but it isn't in the Bloc's interest to merge with anyone. Their whole raison d'être is to cleave Quebec from Canada, and it's not like the Liberals or NDP would ever agree to that as a policy goal.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:06 PM on June 8, 2010


Hébert: Ignatieff holds all the risks in coalition

Last weekend, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff ruled out a campaign alliance with the NDP but left the door open to a joint parliamentary arrangement if the election results warrant reaching out to Jack Layton to deny the Conservatives a third term.

In so doing Ignatieff basically empowered his opponents at his own expense.

posted by mek at 10:11 PM on June 8, 2010


I have to say that with a strong economy and things going pretty well here, I think it's not too much a problem having Harper in power. He's building a cohesive Canada - even here in Quebec people seem to be positive towards him. The Liberals can be a great party under the right leader, but the NDP are too invested in their ideals, and not enough in goals and objectives. I enjoy having a minority conservative government, I think it's good for the country. Harper isn't a wild spender, he's not selling the country to international business, and he's making sure the North is well defended. He's turning out to be nicely centred in his politics.

It depends on the certainty of a coalition. If the liberals were clearly pursuing this idea, I can see a lot of people swinging right. But I think a Lib/NDP coalition is almost guaranteed to win power.
posted by niccolo at 10:14 PM on June 8, 2010


I've got an idea, guys: instead of merging, the Liberals, NDP, and maybe even the Bloc Quebecois could form some kind of arrangement. Something like a partnership where they all agree to vote together without actually becoming just one party. They could split cabinet positions and Ministries. Maybe they could even get it officially recognized by Parliament, and form a majority in Parliament with their combined seats, like a coalition or something.

Fuck whoever's been poo-pooing the idea of a coalition. I don't much care for Ignatieff either, but why should Harper be the only one to exploit the system to his advantage? The Liberals need to swallow their pride right now and make some sacrifices; Ignatieff's legacy isn't going to be what he wants it to be in any event. He could either show some courage and take a risk, or he could stay the course and chance being at the helm when the Liberal Party of Canada dies at age 149 if this merger thing happens.

I really don't think this merger will ever happen, but that Canadians would support a coalition if Layton were in charge rather than Iggy doesn't make a lot of sense to me. They won't vote for Layton's party now, who exactly will he be winning over? Are there voters out there who are voting Conservative because they don't like Ignatieff, but would vote for Layton if they thought he had a shot?
posted by Kirk Grim at 10:21 PM on June 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Our conundrum could be easily solved; if only we still had the Rhino Party. Repeal the law of gravity, now!
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:24 PM on June 8, 2010


People who blame the a lack of charismatic leadership from the liberal party on it's recent failures are largely missing the point.

This country, catalyzed by vast distances and Quebec's overtures, is sliding into ireconcialable regionalism. Our throwback political system worked when Ontario and the Liberals had enough clout to turn the whole country into its bitch, but with the Bloc so firmly entrenched in Quebec, and the Conservatives in the west, the time of monolithic parties in Canada is largely over.

The nice thing about recognizing this situation would be that parties would stop having to make gestures at parts of the country they really don't represent. Each could finally stand for something, or more to the point, stand for what we know they stand for. Something along the lines of Liberals for the cities, NDP for the working class, Conservatives for the west, Bloc for Quebec.


A merger seems like a strange manoeuver, but it's likely to avoid the Harper's branding, and to have a nice way to boot Ignatieff. The government will be in perpetual limbo until we can update our political system to reflect our contemporary situation.

If only the Bloc would drop its seperatist stance, we would have centre left governance for years to come. Then we could finally reassert our attitude of smug superiority with regards to Americans, which has really been the greatest thing that Harper has cost us.
posted by Alex404 at 10:25 PM on June 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Despite it being the best way to get the Conservatives out of power, this is a really bad idea. It's throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I agree with Kevin in his first post - the Liberals need charismatic leadership. The Conservatives and the NDP can simply default to extremes of stance, but the middle ground requires charisma and personality. Stack boring on top of boring and you get Ignatieff.

The NDP is a joke. They aren't a real party - they're a leftist lobby. Layton knows full well he's never going to see any power and therefore says what he damn well wants. It's a valuable role, sure, but it's not a leadership role and it never will be. If he actually gets power, even in a new party, two things will happen: that bullhorn gets put away, and he runs the country's economy into the fucking ground faster than you can say Barrett's Privateers. The NDP is genuinely dangerous for us in that regard.

The Liberals are the total opposite. They're in the midst of a PR disaster even though Paul Martin should be on the fucking dollar coin for single-handedly saving our sorry asses from total destruction. Do we ever hear about it? Of course not. We need a Liberal party that grows some balls, mans up and gets genuinely Canadian again. They need to shitcan buddy back to Boston so he can go sit on a textbook and spin, and find someone who will sack up and be awesome like they know they can be. Nobody's done that since Trudeau and I'm sick of it already. I'm gonna be voting Green for the rest of my life, for fucks sake, if things don't head in that direction.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:28 PM on June 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


God only knows. I guess there are people out there who like Layton as a leader, but don't want to vote NDP.

Now the idea of a Dion-style coalition is much better than a merger. That could make politics rather fun... if the different parties would actually work together and not just try to game each other for an advantage in the next election.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:28 PM on June 8, 2010


If only the Bloc would drop its seperatist stance, we would have centre left governance for years to come

I would vote for Duceppe SO HARD
posted by Kirk Grim at 10:28 PM on June 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Sorry, that a reply to Kirk Grim.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:29 PM on June 8, 2010


Was a reply to Kirk Grim. Damn late night typos.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:30 PM on June 8, 2010


Also, I never before noticed what beautiful green eyes Jack has.
posted by Alex404 at 10:32 PM on June 8, 2010


The rumours are increasing that there will be a merger between the two left-leaning political parties in Canada

Interesting post (where else other than MetaFilter where you can have a fun, friendly conversation about Canadian politics?).

However, these merger talks are only rumours, no doubt reported on by a media that is bored with the status quo (competent*, boring Tories fly slightly higher in the polls than the equally competent, equally boring Liberals).

Speaking as someone who has worked on federal Liberal and NDP campaigns, there is absolutely no chance that the Liberals would ever merge with the NDP. NDPers may see the light and join the Liberals, mind you...

Iggy: Why do you make Bob Rae of all people seem like a better party leader?
posted by KokuRyu at 10:33 PM on June 8, 2010


*I do not think the Tories are good for Canada.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:34 PM on June 8, 2010


Nobody's done that since Trudeau and I'm sick of it already. I'm gonna be voting Green for the rest of my life, for fucks sake, if things don't head in that direction.

I would favourite this comment fifty times, but there is no way I would ever vote Green. Until, at least, they develop some coherent policies, and more mature leadership culture.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:36 PM on June 8, 2010


This country, catalyzed by vast distances and Quebec's overtures, is sliding into ireconcialable regionalism. Our throwback political system worked when Ontario and the Liberals had enough clout to turn the whole country into its bitch, but with the Bloc so firmly entrenched in Quebec, and the Conservatives in the west, the time of monolithic parties in Canada is largely over.

Disagree. The country's regionalism shouldn't matter if you have broad appeal - traditionally the ground of the Liberal party. A lot of people have become estranged due to the various scandals and string of mind-boggling and exhaustingly bad leadership choices. Most people recognise that the Liberals and the Conservatives are the only two viable choices for leadership, which is why the Conservatives enjoy the position they currently do. However, even in the face of a total lack of appealing options on the left, more than half of us still vote that way. If we could get a Liberal party that would just straighten its shit out even a little bit, we have a large group of life-long Liberals moving back and some NDP votes moving that way too.

This is a big, permanent mistake that could be fixed with a bit of decent PR.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:40 PM on June 8, 2010


Don't trash the 'stache!
posted by molecicco at 10:41 PM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nobody's done that since Trudeau and I'm sick of it already.

I just want to reiterate against this. It's a very bad idea to rely on messianic figures to save broken political realities. If only figures like Trudeau can garner a majority in this country without relying on vote splitting, then we will continue to get what we ask for. Bursts of glory with thirty year stop gaps of shitty, dysfunctional government.

Single party politics doesn't fit this country.
posted by Alex404 at 10:47 PM on June 8, 2010


niccolo: I have to say that with a strong economy and things going pretty well here, I think it's not too much a problem having Harper in power.

Harper has prorogued Parliament twice to avoid investigations into his government's complicity in torture. He's planning to extend Canada's military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2011, even though a majority of Canadians oppose the idea. He is silencing climate change scientists who work for the government. He's restricting refugee immigration and continuing a trend of increasing deportations. His federal budgets transformed a substantial surplus into a substantial deficit even before the financial crisis hit. He has repeatedly refused to help Omar Khadr. And that's just what I thought off of the top of my head; I don't follow mainstream party politics these days.
posted by twirlip at 10:47 PM on June 8, 2010 [27 favorites]


The country's regionalism shouldn't matter if you have broad appeal

And because I only just saw this, again what I'm saying is that I think broad appeal is something which is no longer possible in this country. But time will tell.

(sorry for the comment spam)
posted by Alex404 at 10:49 PM on June 8, 2010


Harper has prorogued Parliament twice to avoid investigations into his government's complicity in torture.

Sorry, garbled that. Only one of the prorogations was to dodge the torture investigations; the other time was to avoid a no-confidence vote that would have forced an election.
posted by twirlip at 10:52 PM on June 8, 2010


As an Albertan who moved to Ontario, I think that people under-estimate the political and economic weight of calgary, and the anger of the west vis-a-vis the feds. The Liberals continue to disenfranchise Alberta, but the interesting thing is that Harper has used old school Rod Love style Western Tory Politics to entrench his power; he learned from Calgary, learnt how to win his base, learned how little of Ontario he needed along with the praries to fuck over the rest, and to ignore quebec. So you have a hard core western regionalist trouncing the previous status quo.

This is not the old school Red Tories, red tories do not exist anymore. What we used to have was two central parties, working vaguely towards the middle in favour of Quebec and Ontario. Now we have a closeted socon playing silly buggers with the central provinces, a limp dick who moves exactly where the wind takes him (Iggy was in favour of both torture and the war in Iraq), and someone who does not have the balls to yell and scream--where is the firebrand history of the CCF, where is the old school angry burn to the ground baptists?

The NDP used to even be able to handle cities, living in Toronto, with the fiasco of Transcity, and talking to friends in Montreal, with its crumbling infastructures, or the crime of Winnipeg, or the on-going class divide even post-Olympics Vancouver, there is nothing left.

We are 85 per cent urban, we have been urban from the beginning, we have one city running us to ruin the others, and a Lib/Dem is really going to do anything?
posted by PinkMoose at 11:08 PM on June 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


I think Canadian politics is less about policy and more about leaders who inspire confidence. I am no Stephen Harper fan (I think he's been terrible for Canada and is the worst kind of expression of our inferiority-complex when it comes to America) but he is pretty solid, personality-wise - he appears confident and, well, leader-ish. Layton? Kind of buffoonish, peppered with Grandma-speak (painfully obvious pandering to the plus-70 demographic). Ignatieff, Dion? Please. Weak and annoying. The only other contender is Duceppe - I mean, I'm a federalist and all, but I friggin love that guy! Cold as ice. Sharp. I think Quebeckers love him because he has an awesome presence, not just because he's seperatist.
posted by molecicco at 11:10 PM on June 8, 2010


Sorry about the rant, but I can't help myself...

Harper's emergence from the Calgary power elite is precisely why I hate him so much. The oil money in Calgary has been running this province (Alberta), since before I was born. They took the halfway decent party of Lougheed, turned it into a tool to advance their naked interests, and it worked! For almost four decades, election after election, the PC leaders have been getting dumber and more blatant about being corporate shills, and their electoral majorities have been getting bigger and bigger. People like being bought with their own money. Now the current Premier, who is an otherwise dutiful corporate servant, happens to be from somewhere other than Calgary, and the hounds are out for his blood. Sometimes it feels like we're occupied by a foreign nation, like we lost a war and Calgary won. And now that nexus of regionalism, right wing extremism and money has metastasized into a federal party and they've been in charge of the rest of the country for years. When will it freaking stop? I don't want to live the rest of my life in a nation where every important political decision is micromanaged from a Calgary boardroom. Come on, center and left wing parties, get your act together somehow!
posted by Kevin Street at 12:10 AM on June 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


PinkMoose (or anyone else), what's "Transcity"? Google's showing mostly realtors and moving companies, nothing that would suggest a "fiasco".
posted by skwt at 12:13 AM on June 9, 2010


skwt: they meant Transit City
posted by thecjm at 12:18 AM on June 9, 2010


I'm a socialist, and I usually vote NDP. I don't care about the name of the party, or who runs it. What I care about is policy.

Show me that a Liberal-NDP coalition would be committed to left of centre principles (ie: a few meaningful programs right away - say a national day care program, that has been talked about for years and the creation of some new crown corporations) and I'm willing to wave a "progressive unity" banner. On the other hand, if a merged party is just a vehicle for Count Ignatieff, Bob Rae, Jean Chretien and their ilk to get back in power just so they can push more bullshit neo-liberal, third-way, policy that supplies Canada with something that looks like the U.S. Democratic Party, than I'd just rather take my chances with voting NDP and hoping the Tories don't get a majority. If I am going to be damned anyway, I'll be damned for who I am rather than who I am not.

I am privy to a bit of inside knowledge, and I don't believe this chatter about a party merger for a second (not on my radar at all). Somebody influential is throwing out this idea to see what the reaction is, or these "high-level talks" aren't very inclusive.

The BQ is also a wildcard, since the Quebec nationalist vote doesn't strictly observe the right/left political axis and they are too important to be left out of any discussion of a new political movement.
posted by Intrepid at 12:30 AM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


thanks thecjm
posted by skwt at 12:46 AM on June 9, 2010


The Liberal party is not Left. Not in this country.
The NDP is Left, the Conservatives are Right, the Liberals want power, period.
Ignatieff is not a leader, he is a failed brand.
The NDP tried to form a voting bloc with the Liberals and the Bloc (remember?), but the gutless Libs stalled out.
Warren Kinsella has never been correct about anything that I can recall.
posted by CCBC at 12:50 AM on June 9, 2010


i was expecting a lot more moustache than that.
posted by rainperimeter at 12:52 AM on June 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Canadian polticis are in a bad spot atm, Harper isn't doing a bad job, but he is defitely not going to be remembered as a great PM. The problem is that the Liberals are useless and have been since Paul Martin, and the NDP has great values but no practicability. Harper has made countless mistakes in the past years and no party has been able to capitalize on this, not even a little.

And the Liberals are not a Left party, they are right of centre if anything.
posted by Vindaloo at 1:12 AM on June 9, 2010


I would favourite this comment fifty times, but there is no way I would ever vote Green. Until, at least, they develop some coherent policies, and more mature leadership culture..

Of all the things to criticize the federal Greens for, having a coherent set of policies is not one. They have a very well articulated, detailed and thoughtful policy book: Vision Green 2010 (pdf).
posted by mek at 1:16 AM on June 9, 2010


I'm really uncomfortable living in a Canada that is more conservative than the USA.

Comparing Alberta and Arizona makes it very clear which country has drifted further right.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:53 AM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ignatieff is made of wood?

NOW IT ALL BECOMES CLEAR!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:53 AM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


W.r.t. the lack of inspirational leadership in the Liberal party:

When I heard that Michael Ignatieff had been declared leader, I was shocked. How had they managed to settle on someone so great, and from outside the party establishment? Surely this was a chance for some really forward looking, sensible policy-making, etc.

Then I realised that it was Michael Ignatieff, not Michael Geist.
posted by Kreiger at 4:24 AM on June 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


It may be a long time before the Liberals ever have anyone like Pierre Trudeau.
posted by bwg at 4:35 AM on June 9, 2010


This is such a good thing; in both the U.S. and Canada, the fractured left who can't resolve their ideological issues have a difficult time coming together, while the center-right are able to align with the fringe right (for whom very little overlap of agenda even exists) for the sake of taking power. It took Barack Obama and his razzle dazzle to get the left elected in the last election; leaders with that much charisma don't grow on trees and you can't rely on another one to woo the people.

The Liberal party is a mess, and you have insiders who publicly support being the opposition in a minority government again over the progressive move to, I don't know, get elected. There's no whip in the party, no control and the lack of leadership is disheartening.

Maybe it's time for a mustache to tell everyone what's what on the left.
posted by Hiker at 5:02 AM on June 9, 2010


The Liberals do well when they have a charismatic psychopath in charge. They need to start looking under the cushions for one. Merging with the NDP would be a suicidal act in every way.
posted by unSane at 5:04 AM on June 9, 2010


The Libs should elect Rick Mercer leader. If you can't have good government, you should at least have entertaining government. Besides, I'd love to see what he'd do with the Canadian Embassy here in DC.
posted by QIbHom at 6:44 AM on June 9, 2010


I vote for the NDP as well. I would probably keep voting for whatever this super-party would be, but I really don't see this happening. The Liberal party is hardly a left leaning party. They seem to bounce around from position to position as it suits them. They were very corporate friendly when in power. I could see a lot of former Progressive Conservatives voting for the Liberals. The two parties never struck me as that different.

I also don't think there are too many ridings in the country where splitting the left vote hands a seat to the Conservatives. Couldn't they just agree to form a coalition after an election? Or does the party with the most seats always get first dibs to form a minority government?

I'm really uncomfortable living in a Canada that is more conservative than the USA.

As annoying as the Right in Canada may be, it's a bit much to pretend we're anywhere near as conservative as the US.
posted by chunking express at 7:00 AM on June 9, 2010


Harper isn't a wild spender

Is this the same Harper that took us from a 13 billion surplus to a 55 billion deficit in three years?

I am voting for Duceppe. A Collation with him in charge is the only hope for an electable united left (and I have said this for years). The other option, as the Toronto Star said on the weekend would be to bring back Chretien (again).
posted by saucysault at 7:15 AM on June 9, 2010


Seriously. The Conservatives are all about the Pork. They blow shit tons of money on advertising for projects. They blew through a pretty big surplus. They are definitely not fiscal conservatives. At all.
posted by chunking express at 7:17 AM on June 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


chunking express- we are Westminster parliament so the incumbent government always has first dibs to go to GG and ask to form a government (coalition in the case of minority) and win the confidence of the House.
posted by saucysault at 7:20 AM on June 9, 2010


The NDP is a joke. They aren't a real party - they're a leftist lobby

Very different character moving from federal to provincial politics, though. Federally, agreed – they’re not out to win. (and they behave like buffoons in Parliament – I recommend sitting in on a session if you get the chance – the audio on CPAC/webcast doesn’t capture it)

The only other contender is Duceppe - I mean, I'm a federalist and all, but I friggin love that guy! Cold as ice. Sharp. I think Quebeckers love him because he has an awesome presence, not just because he's seperatist.

I always canvas my Quebecois colleagues about Duceppe, and there’s a surprising lack of enthusiasm in their reactions. The most common criticism I hear is that he lacks passion – whereas we Anglos love his intellectualism (on any given issue, Harper will obfuscate, Iggy will follow the latest POR, Mustache will spout a platitude, and Duceppe will cite history and evidence. I, too, would vote for him in a second if the Bloc transformed itself into a national party.)

Harper is ten kinds of dangerous, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that the silent voter must be on your side. Many, many of them are not. Canada is still more bigoted, more fearful, more short-sighted than we tend to want to admit.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:47 AM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Liberal votes for the NDP were responsible for the victory of Linda Duncan in Edmonton-Strathcona in the last federal election. Also, the Democratic Renewal Project is an active movement in Alberta to unite the NDP and the Liberals provincially. The DRP recently managed to have a resolution passed at the provincial Liberal convention calling for cooperation between the parties.
posted by No Robots at 8:02 AM on June 9, 2010


I blame Chretien. I mean, I like the sharp old thug, but this picture from 1967 illustrates what's wrong with the Liberal party. In addition to being our greatest Prime Minister EVAR, Pearson's political legacy dominated Canadian politics for a goodly chunk of 30+ years (Obviously not without some changes in terms of policy, etc.), before crashing and burning largely due to Chretien's inability to or fear of creating a strong team around himself and carry on carrying on after he left.

Also, it wouldn't kill the Liberals to create a new Rat Pack.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:21 AM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who is on the radar for the liberals that is not venal, and has a small amount of charisma, and who is from BC, the Praries or Atlantic Canada?
posted by PinkMoose at 8:41 AM on June 9, 2010


Who is on the radar for the liberals that is not venal, and has a small amount of charisma, and who is from BC, the Praries or Atlantic Canada?

Frank McKenna. But he's already turned down the job.
posted by gompa at 8:48 AM on June 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Roy Romanow. A little old, now, but he still looks great.
posted by No Robots at 8:50 AM on June 9, 2010


If you're talking currently in caucus, Dominic LeBlanc probably has a future.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:55 AM on June 9, 2010


You're all going to roll your eyes in disgust, but I like Bob Rae. I don't think he can live down his past though. I really can't begin to guess what is going to happen next in our federal politics. The Liberal Party is in the same mess the Conservatives were when Reform and Alliance were duking it out for control of the Right, and now look what we have.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:03 AM on June 9, 2010


I like Bob Rae.

Yup. Biggest mistake I've ever seen in Canadian politics was the Liberal's failure to put Bob Rae in. That would have been a de facto merger with the NDP right there, or at least with all the elements you would want from the NDP.
posted by No Robots at 9:06 AM on June 9, 2010


I like Rae too, but then again, I'm not an Ontarioianite.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:09 AM on June 9, 2010


You'd probably lose plenty of votes in Ontario. And it's debatable whether NDP voters would suddenly vote for Rae. I don't see people jumping ship. Rae isn't electable.
posted by chunking express at 9:10 AM on June 9, 2010


Rae isn't electable.

Neither was Dion. Nor is Iggy. You have to think strategically here. Who could forge a brain-trust of Liberals and New Democrats? It's someone who has a foot in both camps.
posted by No Robots at 9:15 AM on June 9, 2010


Roy Romanow. A little old, now, but he still looks great.

I seen Romanow speak a few months back - he felt a lot of the substance went out of politics when they allowed tv cameras into the chambers (it became all about the soundbite), and is a staunch New Democrat (he turned down a Senate appointment, because the Liberal PM wouldn't let him sit as an NDP Senator). I am not sure the current political climate suits him anymore. Keep in mind that a young Romanow travelled around Saskatchewan with TC Douglas... he's not young.

Also I don't think he speaks French.

On the other hand, Romanow was a Canada-first, province-second kind of premier and is very proud of his role in bringing Canada's constitution home. If he felt it was in the national interest and didn't compromise himself too much, maybe he would be interested in being PM.
posted by Intrepid at 9:18 AM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's needed is an action group modelled on Alberta's Democratic Renewal Project, something that works from the bottom up, and thus is resistant to co-optation by existing party power structures.
posted by No Robots at 9:58 AM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


The liberals are only a left-leaning party on social matters. Economically, they're all about supporting big business interests.
They're closer to the old Progressive Conservative tories under Joe Clark than they are to the NDP.
This won't work.
posted by rocket88 at 10:50 AM on June 9, 2010


If the NDP is dumb enough to merge with the Liberals, I'm gonna have to vote Green.

Do the Liberals even have a platform? Why not just dissolve that party altogether?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:08 AM on June 9, 2010


The NDP is not interesting as a stand-alone entity. Maybe some people want to hang around and be a rump political conscience. But some of us want to actually engage in politics on something of an equal footing with conservatism, and are willing to look at anything that will help accomplish that. And I speak as a long-time New Democrat.
posted by No Robots at 11:21 AM on June 9, 2010


What's the point of winning an election if you elect a party that doesn't actual have an agenda you believe in?
posted by chunking express at 11:24 AM on June 9, 2010


What's the point of working for a cause that has no hope?
posted by No Robots at 11:25 AM on June 9, 2010


Besides, there are at least as many things that I dislike about NDP policy as there are things that I dislike about Liberal policy. I vote NDP because I am a socialist. If I vote for someone else, I will still be a socialist.
posted by No Robots at 11:28 AM on June 9, 2010


Except the NDP have seats in parliament, and have managed to push through random legislation here and there. At least, that's what my emails from Layton tell me before he asks me for money.
posted by chunking express at 11:30 AM on June 9, 2010


Update at the Globe & Mail: Ignatieff, Layton squelch 'ridiculous' merger rumours
posted by gompa at 11:32 AM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's the point of working for a cause that has no hope?

If people vote for the little guy, the little guy's numbers go up, and there is little bit more hope the next time around. Lather, rinse, repeat until it is no longer a lost cause.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:32 AM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


(And if you find yourself voting for a party simply because it has a chance of winning, without regard for policy, please do democracy a favour and don't vote.)
posted by Sys Rq at 11:38 AM on June 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Gompa - I wonder if the Tories started the rumours of the merger to make Iggy look desperate and ridiculous. (It seems to have worked!)
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 11:44 AM on June 9, 2010


If people vote for the little guy, the little guy's numbers go up, and there is little bit more hope the next time around.
I have been working with the Alberta NDP since 1971. There is no hope.
posted by No Robots at 12:07 PM on June 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I just checked up on the Democratic Renewal Project you mentionned, and the website indicates they seem to think there's hope, but it also seems VERY optimistic. They seem to think a coalition of the NDP and Liberal parties could obtain 47 of 83 seats by 2016. The 2 parties currently have 11. Given how well the idea of a coalition is going over at the federal level, I think it may be difficult to get NDP and Liberal voters on board to vote as a bloc in every riding in Alberta in support of such an idea.
posted by Kirk Grim at 12:37 PM on June 9, 2010


Yup, there is some very tough sledding ahead in Alberta. The rise of the Wild Rose Alliance in Alberta may make things easier for Liberals and NDs, though, by siphoning votes from the Tories.

The mechanics of cooperation are going to be hard. It is pretty much a person-by-person and riding-by-riding decision. At least the DRP provides a place where people can discuss the issues. I hope, though, that the DRP will eventually constitute a brain trust capable of exercising decisive influence over and within the NDs and the Libs. If things go extremely well, government by 2016 is not out of the question. The problem is that not enough Liberals and NDs have caved in to despair.
posted by No Robots at 12:48 PM on June 9, 2010


I still don't understand why they would merge instead of just (a) campaigning on the premise that they will form a coalition government if they have the seats and (b) agreeing not to run against each other in ridings where doing so would split the vote. I can't imagine the GG would let the Conservatives form a government if a Liberal-NDP coalition that ran as a coalition during the campaign had more seats.
posted by twirlip at 1:04 PM on June 9, 2010


Ignatieff is made of wood?

I thought everybody knew this.

The problem is, Canada is effectively a two-party state, same as the USA; Liberals on one side, Refallianconservatorybluewhateverfuckyouigotmine on the other. The other parties simply do not signify in any real sense, except to serve as legislation blockers/enablers in minority governments.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the best thing for Canada is a significant Liberal minority with the NDP (possibly in concert with the Bloc) holding the balance of power. The NDP as an entity is simply not fit to govern (and I say this as someone who was raised so socialist I bleed orange). You get the vaguely centrist (leftist if you squint on a good day) Liberal agenda with Conservatives harrying them about spending and the NDP/Bloc acting as a conscience (and in the case of the latter, ensuring Quebec is heard).

I pretty much also figure that Bob Rae is an inevitability as leader after Iggy, but he'll largely be a placeholder until Justin Trudeau has sharpened his teeth enough to lead. Chretien coming back could be really interesting though.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:33 PM on June 9, 2010


Man, I'm surprised at how many people here are saying they'd vote for Duceppe if it wasn't for that pesky separation thing. I'm one of them as well and I always feel a bit sheepish saying it. The man is intelligent and has more personality than any of the rest of them. Alas, it's not to be.
posted by aclevername at 3:41 PM on June 9, 2010


No Robots: "Liberal votes for the NDP were responsible for the victory of Linda Duncan in Edmonton-Strathcona in the last federal election. Also, the Democratic Renewal Project is an active movement in Alberta to unite the NDP and the Liberals provincially. The DRP recently managed to have a resolution passed at the provincial Liberal convention calling for cooperation between the parties."

Government by 2016 would be amazing. I just can't see it happening, but if you guys can pull it off you'll be my heroes forever. Wow...

The situation in Alberta is different than the national scene, so a merger seems more advantageous here. Neither the Liberals nor NDP have ever won an election, and it's been almost ninety years since the Liberals formed the government, so yeah, it's time for daring new alternatives. But federally things aren't quite that bleak, thank god.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:42 PM on June 9, 2010


This is as good a place as any to post an earnest Barenaked Ladies G8/G20 parody: If I had a billion dollars...

... we wouldn't have to walk to the shore.
... we'd build it in Toronto cause it costs more.

posted by anthill at 3:54 PM on June 9, 2010


The NDP as an entity is simply not fit to govern

That is spin. Maybe Jack Layton will never be PM. Michael Ignatieff will never be PM either.

There were very good NDP governments in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Roy Romanow was one of the people who brought Canada's constitution home from the UK. Gary Doer went from being premier of Manitoba to being Ambassador to the United States - our biggest trading partner and closest neighbour. These two strike me as two very accomplished Canadian political leaders, both New Democrats.

There are also two former NDP premiers in the federal Liberal caucus. Do you mean to tell me that Bob Rae and Ujal Dosanjh rose to the very highest ranks of provincial politics as New Democrats but weren't fit to govern until they started carrying different party cards?

The NDP were correct that free trade would kill manufacturing jobs (the Liberals said they would kill free trade btw), correct that a de-regulated financial system would speculate itself in ruin. What more do you ask? Where are you putting the bar for fitness to govern?

The fact that the Liberal Party alienated voters in most of Quebec and the west means they frittered away their former role as the natural governing party of Canada. It may be possible to reform the NDP and Liberals along new lines but things just CAN'T be the same.

The Liberals created all their own problems. Ignatieff is/was pro-torture, and Dion, Chretien, and Trudeau all treated Quebec nationalists with a heavy hand. Trudeau and Chretien knew they could win elections with very little support in Western Canada and governed accordingly for many, many years. Given those realities is it really suprising that the Liberals aren't part of the social fabric in huge swaths of Canadian society?
posted by Intrepid at 3:57 PM on June 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've said it before and I'll say it again, the best thing for Canada is a significant Liberal minority with the NDP (possibly in concert with the Bloc) holding the balance of power.

We actually had this briefly under Paul Martin. It's one of the best arrangements possible under the present circumstances, but I see two downsides: you can't directly vote for this arrangement (unlike a coalition), and the Liberals and Conservatives can just go ahead and vote together on stuff they both support (prolonged war in Afghanistan, policies that cater to corporate interests, lawful access, bad copyright laws).
posted by twirlip at 4:02 PM on June 9, 2010


There were very good NDP governments in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

NDP is a very, very different animal provincially than federally.

twirlip, this is true, but if there were an NDP leader with gonads, one move like that and they'd say "Yeah, about that next budget? No confidence. Sorry about that."
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:26 PM on June 9, 2010


NDP is a very, very different animal provincially than federally.

Okay let's examine this premise by comparing the the federal party leaders of the Liberals and the NDP

On the professional front, Michael Ignatieff was a professor who became leader of the Liberal Party after being acclaimed in a meeting of party brass. He has been an MP for about the last fours years, and lost a Liberal leadership race to Stephane Dion.

Jack Layton is also a professor. He became leader of the NDP in 2003 after winning a nomination race against two other candidates. Layton has been an MP and opposition leader for about 6 years, and had previously been a Toronto City Councillor since about 1982.

Both men have PHD's, come from political families, and have published several books.

So it seems to me these guys have similar academic and professional backgrounds (Ignatieff's degrees have better pedigree), but Layton has much more political experience. I'd say Layton's accomplishments (especially in politics) stack up well next to Ignatieff's and exceed him in many areas. I still don't see anything that screams a lack of fitness to govern.

By comparison, Stephen Harper "only" holds a Master's degree. He did win a leadership race though, and been in parliament for about 9 of the last 13 years and been Prime Minister for 4. He is basically a career politician/think-tank pundit.

So could everyone who says the NDP aren't fit to govern or are a lobby group, please define what fitness to govern means?
posted by Intrepid at 5:02 PM on June 9, 2010


That they are rabid, frothing-at-the-mouth commies, of course. Any reasonable person acknowledges that.
posted by mek at 5:51 PM on June 9, 2010


I was thinking more along the lines of idealists who don't look very far down the road, mek.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:01 PM on June 9, 2010


"That they are rabid, frothing-at-the-mouth commies, of course. Any reasonable person acknowledges that." -- mek

Brilliantly argued. I must take notes.

For those who favour a Liberal - NDP coalition, I remind you that there already is a united left. It is the NDP. Join it and work within it if you are a leftist supporting electoral politics.

The Liberals are the natural allies of the Conservatives. They consistently support them, despite their rhetoric to the contrary. Coalition supporters should look at where the votes go when the Liberals lose votes. Most (60 - 80%) of disenchanted Liberals (Alberta provincial and federal) vote Conservative, not NDP. Yes, there have been exceptions (Linda Duncan, Ross Harvey, both in Edmonton), but I believe Lib-NDP coalitions work against the left more often than not. Prove me wrong, and I may yet be yours.

As for the claim that the NDP are incompetent and always have been, I challenge anyone to compare the NDP/CCF provincial governments of Tommy Douglas, Woodrow Lloyd, Allan Blakeney, Roy Romanow and Lorne Calvert in Saskatchewan; the Schreyer, Pauley and Doer governments in Manitoba; the Barrett, Harcourt and Clark governments in BC; the Penikett government in Yukon; and the Rae government in Ontario (votes still to come in from Nova Scotia!) with any Canadian federal or provincial government so far. One NDP failure in the lot. Good or better NDP governments in the rest. One of them literally transformed the country from a provincial base.

All new NDP governments were greeted by the likes of mek as Bolsheviks at the gates when they took power.

As an NDP activist in Alberta since 1982, I have long since given up trying to understand voter attitudes on the left. Self-identified moderate left and other leftists would far rather vote for pro-torture war-supporters like Ignatieff or even quasi-Fascists like Harper, ineffectually vote Green or whatnot, or not vote at all, rather than support any NDP candidate, on the grounds that the NDPers are "extremists" or (my favourite) "cannot possibly win." Pah. What a bunch of princesses.

There is no shortcut to fairer, more equitable government. Even if a Liberal-NDP coalition could be elected, movement toward a more equitable Canada would be stymied by the partners on the right -- the Liberals.

If you are on the left, believe constructive change can be effected through the electoral process, and really want a more reasonable, decent government, come out and work for it in a party that is already a coalition of the left.

Talk is good. But persistent hard work gets the job done.
posted by dmayhood at 8:05 PM on June 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Provincal is difft than federal, but i do think that the ndp could govern, if they could convince people they could--which is the challenge
posted by PinkMoose at 8:30 PM on June 9, 2010


I'm pretty sure that mek was speaking sarcastically.
posted by Kevin Street at 8:31 PM on June 9, 2010


But persistent hard work gets the job done.

And what do you have to show for 20 years of persistent hard work with the Alberta NDP? Two shaky seats in Edmonton. And its been like that since the '30s. Something has to change.
posted by No Robots at 8:50 PM on June 9, 2010


I'm pretty sure that mek was speaking sarcastically. Kevin Street

Ah.

The humourless old man misses the point again.

My sincere apologies, mek.
posted by dmayhood at 8:56 PM on June 9, 2010


Back to Alberta for a minute...

Kevin Street: "Now the current Premier, who is an otherwise dutiful corporate servant, happens to be from somewhere other than Calgary, and the hounds are out for his blood."

That could be - I think it's more that he's devoid of charisma, and possibly common sense. Surely we could at least find a better looking premier!

...Federally, I'd vote for Duceppe too. In fact, I'm thinking of starting a branch of the Bloc Quebecois here in Calgary. Who's with me!!
posted by sneebler at 9:00 PM on June 9, 2010


dmayhood: "Self-identified moderate left and other leftists would far rather vote for pro-torture war-supporters like Ignatieff or even quasi-Fascists like Harper, ineffectually vote Green or whatnot, or not vote at all, rather than support any NDP candidate, on the grounds that the NDPers are "extremists" or (my favourite) "cannot possibly win." Pah. What a bunch of princesses."

Well, thanks for explaining why I feel there are more extremists in the NDP than necessary.
posted by sneebler at 9:09 PM on June 9, 2010


An interesting tidbit. It seems very likely that the Liberals were seriously thinking about asking the NDP to merge.

And that the NDP renounce "socialism." I wonder what that really means? I sure as hell wouldn't want to renounce, say, public healthcare — does that make me a socialist?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:31 PM on June 9, 2010


I challenge anyone to compare the NDP/CCF provincial governments of Tommy Douglas, Woodrow Lloyd, Allan Blakeney, Roy Romanow and Lorne Calvert in Saskatchewan; the Schreyer, Pauley and Doer governments in Manitoba; the Barrett, Harcourt and Clark governments in BC; the Penikett government in Yukon; and the Rae government in Ontario (votes still to come in from Nova Scotia!) with any Canadian federal or provincial government so far. One NDP failure in the lot. Good or better NDP governments in the rest. One of them literally transformed the country from a provincial base.

The problem is that Canadians resist the truth: we're damn fine people who, pulling together, can make this country a fucking utopia. Admitting we are great is at odds with our national character. And so we sabotage ourselves in typical Canadian fashion by making fun of ourselves — oh, look, the NDP, hopeless romantics!

And yet almost every time we make a go of doing it right, we succeed. And then fuck ourselves by panicking and electing a corporatist or rightist party back into power.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:39 PM on June 9, 2010


Renounce socialism? How puerile. It's like asking, "Do you now and forever renounce Satan and his works?" For crying out loud, we're all socialists now. An Alberta Tory cabinet minister even said so to me once. Jeez.
posted by No Robots at 9:43 PM on June 9, 2010


And what do you have to show for 20 years of persistent hard work with the Alberta NDP? Two shaky seats in Edmonton. And its been like that since the '30s. Something has to change. -- No Robots

Correction: 3 shaky seats. 2 provincial, 1 federal. Shaky is good. And it is not correct that "its been like that since the '30s." As I am sure you would know, at one point not all that long ago there were 16 NDPers in the Alberta legislature. One of them had your name. These seats were eventually lost and others gained mainly by the Liberals because people thought that they were "more likely to win."

But fair enough -- where should we go from here?

I explained above what the biggest problems are with the coalition approach you favour. If the coalition approach is going to work, I would suggest that these problems be addressed by that proposal's proponents.

I would prefer though that the NDP focus on dealing with the maddening problem I also mentioned above: that potential supporters will not vote for the NDP because "they can't win." Of course they can't win: people -- many, many people -- who support NDP positions will not vote for them. They want to be on the winning side, so they vote Conservative. Yes, it's true. Or they vote for the Liberals because they are so much like Conservatives that they just might win.

I regret that this is pretty much the level of political analysis among a large part of the general population, at least that part that is even slightly inclined to wish for a government at all to the left of the Conservatives. Politics to too many of us is pretty much like supporting the local hockey team. We do not relate the problems we face day-to-day with the politics that produced those problems for us -- problems created by people and policies that, all too often, we voted for.

This is the perception that the NDP has to change. And there is no better way to change that view than to work with these potential supporters directly to help solve the problems visited upon them as a result of bad politics. Work with them in community associations, churches, public interest groups, and one-on-one. With a little thought, I think you will see how this leads to better policies and more electoral success for an egalitarian point of view. I would also say that what electoral success the NDP, or any other egalitarian position, has had, has been as a direct result of this kind of grassroots politics.

I look forward to seeing you back with us, even if it is only to change our minds.
posted by dmayhood at 9:55 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


many, many people -- who support NDP positions will not vote for them. They want to be on the winning side, so they vote Conservative.

Do you have a cite for this patently ridiculous assertion? People supporting NDP positions voting Lib strategically, sure. But voting blue, the diametric opposite of the NDP?

Pull the other one, it'sw got bells on.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:49 PM on June 9, 2010


Correction: 3 shaky seats. 2 provincial, 1 federal.

I think he meant two federal seats historically: Ross Harvey ('88-'93) and Duncan (long may she reign). At least that was the first thing that came to my mind.
posted by hangashore at 5:15 AM on June 10, 2010


I've said it before and I'll say it again, the best thing for Canada is a significant Liberal minority with the NDP (possibly in concert with the Bloc) holding the balance of power... if there were an NDP leader with gonads, one move like that and they'd say "Yeah, about that next budget? No confidence. Sorry about that."

We did (Well, with the Bloc holding the balance in concert with the NDP), there was (Well, Layton correctly figured he could siphon some seats off of Martin, which isn't so much gonads as opportunism), and that's how we've ended up where we are.

NDP's perception problem at least partly stems from the fact that because they haven't had power they can say and do whatever silly shit they want. Sometimes that means they have the luxury of being able to stand on principle, other times it means they just make asses of themselves.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:54 AM on June 10, 2010


Correction: 3 shaky seats. 2 provincial, 1 federal.

I was talking about the provinicial, but sure, go ahead, 3 seats then.

16 NDPers in the Alberta legislature

A pity vote for a dead leader. And I say so even though my father, step-father and many friends were the beneficiaries.

I look forward to seeing you back with us, even if it is only to change our minds.

Back with you? Who said I left? Or am I automatically out for suggesting cooperation with the Liberals?

My object is to present a substantial alternative to the Conservatives, and I am willing to cooperate with anyone in pursuit of that objective.
posted by No Robots at 8:22 AM on June 10, 2010


"Do you have a cite for this patently ridiculous assertion? People supporting NDP positions voting Lib strategically, sure. But voting blue, the diametric opposite of the NDP? Pull the other one, it'sw got bells on." -- dirtynumbangelboy

Sorry -- I'm just the messenger. I canvass door-to-door in every election. I phone. I speak with Albertans about politics all the time. I can't begin to count the number of times that voters have told me that they prefer a certain NDP policy position, often that is critical to their voting intentions, but intend to vote Conservative because the NDP can't win. I, like you, find this very hard to believe, let alone understand, but it is frequent. Others from other non-Conservative parties have told me about their similar experiences.

I have little doubt that on this particular point, Albertans are somewhat of an exception. The level of political naivete in this province is terrifyingly high. Large numbers of Albertans simply do not connect what is happening to them with the way they vote. They do not see that the way they vote determines the way that they are governed. This is commonplace even among otherwise well-educated and thoughtful people.

I wish it were otherwise, but it ain't.

In other provinces, notably BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the phenomenon takes a much different form but has a similar effect. Voters in those provinces seem to me to have a much clearer understanding of the power and effect of their vote, and how it affects their government. In those provinces, however, voters who support the NDP provincially quite readily vote for Conservatives federally, or vote for right-wing parties to register disapproval with the NDP provincially.
posted by dmayhood at 9:15 AM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


voters who support the NDP provincially quite readily vote for Conservatives federally, or vote for right-wing parties to register disapproval with the NDP provincially.

Bingo. What makes you think that this doesn’t apply everywhere, including Alberta? Why blame the voters, when maybe it is the NDP that is at fault for its poor performance?
posted by No Robots at 9:23 AM on June 10, 2010


"Bingo. What makes you think that this doesn’t apply everywhere, including Alberta? Why blame the voters, when maybe it is the NDP that is at fault for its poor performance?" -- No Robots

I wasn't "blaming" voters for anything. I was simply providing further support to dirtynumbangelboy for the contention that NDP supporters frequently vote Conservative, a claim that he doubted. The reasons for this it seems to me are different in Alberta than they are in the other 3 western provinces. I am not alone in seeing a profound difference in the political culture in Alberta in comparison to the other western provinces. I believe a number of books have been written on the subject.

To get back to the subject of the benefits (or not) of a federal Liberal-NDP coalition, you might have a look at the latest federal polling results here. Note in the graph that as the percentage of voters favouring the Liberals goes down, the graph for the Conservatives goes up comparably. The graphs for these 2 parties in fact are almost perfect (within statistical error) mirror images of each other. This is because voters move their preferences back and forth mostly between these two parties. The graph for the NDP shows little relationship to changing Liberal and Conservative fortunes. Your problem is to explain how Liberal voters, who clearly have a greater affinity to the Conservatives rather than the NDP, are going to be enticed to move that bit further left to support a Liberal-NDP coalition. There may be a way, but I don't see it yet. I think that such a coalition would bleed significant support to the Conservatives.

Again -- the Liberals are a right-wing party. They are not of the left. The polling results show that that is how they are perceived by the voting public as well. Of course, I would love to be proven wrong. Give it a shot.
posted by dmayhood at 10:48 AM on June 10, 2010


My view is that liberalism is ideologically bankrupt, and has been so for over a century. The replacement of liberalism by socialism is the only way forward. Now, the liberals could vote socialist. But they don’t. So, if Muhammad won’t come to the mountain…. And if the mountain refuses to come to Muhammad, well, to hell with it: we’ll just orchestrate a socialist takeover of the liberals without the NDP.
posted by No Robots at 10:59 AM on June 10, 2010


You guys are talking at a level that's way over my head, but I can see what dmayhood means in regards to political naivete here in Alberta. Fewer people vote in every election, mostly because of the feeling that their votes don't matter, and it's our reliance on energy royalties that probably accounts for a fair portion of that. In a real sense it doesn't matter who runs the government as long as the royalties come in, because they can use that money to keep taxes relatively low and people quiet. The PCs have made all kinds of mistakes over the years, but the cash inflow can (and does) paper everything over.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:08 AM on June 10, 2010


the cash inflow can (and does) paper everything over.

QFT. That's what makes Alberta such an interesting place politically: the challenges and opportunities are so great.
posted by No Robots at 11:13 AM on June 10, 2010


I’d like to go back now to a great post.

The role of Alberta, particularly Calgary, in the rise of the Harper government cannot be overstated. And that means that Albertans who oppose the Harper government have a special responsibility to come up with an adequate alternative. Does the Right have all the moxie out here?

I supported Layton for the NDP leadership because, while there is no Baptist fire, there is at least a spark of urbanity. I have been disappointed that he hasn’t really clobbered the government on urban issues. I really don’t understand this failure on his part at all.
posted by No Robots at 12:20 PM on June 10, 2010


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