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‘a merged Liberal and New Democrat party could have swept 186 seats to form a majority government.’

Did that catch your attention? It caught mine. That article is located here.

Now, I’m not saying I openly advocate a merger or even talks of a merger with the NDP. I do however think it shouldn’t be openly dismissed, as some folks are doing. It should at least be discussed and debated upon by the grassroots and leadership of the party – along with any and all other options.

Quite frankly, given what happened on Monday, the Liberal Party can’t afford to dismiss any options. It also means it can no longer afford to ignore or not listen to what it’s grassroots base says to it. You cannot set up initiatives like message boards (En Famille anyone?) that appeared to be used merely as venting boards so the Liberal leadership could pat it’s members on the head and proceed to ignore them.

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20 comments to ‘a merged Liberal and New Democrat party could have swept 186 seats to form a majority government.’

  • Stan

    Stay in denial and keep playing the silly math games.
    Did it ever occur to you that people might change their voting preferences if the options were different?
    Dippers might go green, Libs might go conservative, any of them might Go Bloc in quebec.
    More conservative voters might head for the polls.

    You guys are living in denial lala land.

  • wondering

    It would be a bad thing for Canada if a merger took place – I think it important for our social discourse not to turn into a two party state. I want to see a Canada with progressive movement and that’s not going to happen if a merger L/NDP party lunges to take back the center. If that happens, we’ll lose the voice of the left. There needs to be a non-Con centerist party to pull the red-tinged Cons and the blue Libs.

    Me, I hope that the siren call of power does keep the Cons more centerist and that the so-cons and fundies get pissed and join the CHP party en masse. Anyone have any suggestions for helping them make that leap?

    • bull caller

      Another option is for progressives to start buying conservative memberships en masse and eat the party from the inside out. It worked for conservative/self-centred douches in BC with the Liberals.

      • Niles

        It hasn’t worked for anyone trying to beat Rob Anders in his local riding. If the Cons are going to micro-manage his spot, you think anyone trying to ‘eat the party from the inside out’ will do better?

  • The problem I see with a merger is that it leaves the centrist middle who dislike ideologically driven parties nowhere to go, especially since given how weakened the Libs currently are it is inevitable that a merger would much more reflect the NDP than the Libs in this respect. I don’t see Dippers who have finally made it this far suddenly becoming willing to cater to any sense of Lib ideological moderation now, and from their narrow POV they are correct, why should they? No I don’t think a merger makes much sense, and quite frankly I think does the electorate serious harm in the long run. Besides, one outcome of the Harper ideological majority government could well be to poison the well in the voters towards electing ANY party to power that is strongly ideological in nature whatever the ideology, after all that has been the norm in this country and Harper had to stealth his own ideological nature since 2004 to get this to point so this cannot be forgotten about.

    Look Scott, I am not a Lib, just a Harper foe who is a centrist swing voter, but I have paid attention to politics my entire life, and I am not as convinced as many who think the Libs have had done to them what was done to the PCPC in 1993. If this was 2006 and this was the result then maybe, but by this point there isn’t that kind of anger repudiating the party but more a malaise and apathy because the leadership was not working for the voters appeal/interest. I always said Ignatief was a bad choice, that I never liked him, but I also said compared to Harper he was far superior, but then even Layton was by that measure given just how far outside the Canadian mainstream Harper truly is.

    No, I suspect there may be more room for rebuilding the Libs back into a party of government than appears at the moment, although the party clearly does need new younger and dare I say it more visibly progressive leadership, a woman or gay man for example (I toss the latter in because I think Brison could be a good choice because by modern standards he really is a Liberal that represents the best of the party even though his roots started in the old PCPC) while maintaining also the connection to responsible government which the party has also earned, in other words the centrist position where most Canadians actually live (whether they vote or not, and if there is a massive repudiation of Harper and ideological government next time out this is where it could surge the most in).

    No Scott, all a merger would do I fear is take away the last remain centrist option for Canadians and leave it polarized between two ideological extremes, and I suspect only the partisans of both those sides would find that appealing. I suspect (assuming the nation holds together during all of this, not a given I would suggest given how a Harper majority government’s actions may play in Quebec) that if the Libs were to merge after the next election another new party would form to speak for the center which would be weaker because it is new and we would end up in the same divided place for those that are not willing to follow the CPC brand onwards.

    Do I think the idea is worth discussing and consider? Yes, but only so as to point out why it is a bad one not just for the Liberal party and its supporters but why it is bad for Canadians even given what just happened this election. Remember Scott, ideology does not sit well with most Canadians across the spectrum, Harper had to pretend he wasn’t anymore for seven years and three elections to finally get this narrow majority government, and the NDP did not do all that much better outside Quebec than they ever have before, indeed it was the fear that they might which caused so much soft Lib voter defection to Harper, which underscores the inability of a known ideological party to gain support even when the alternative is someone like Harper who while successfully hiding his ideological nature still tends to offend and alienate by his attitude those that are not his strongest supporters.

  • bull caller

    Problem is, the right is a mostly homogenous voting block that pretty much has similar views and patterns relating to issues. The left/very progressive left is diverse and often has uncompromising views on issues ranging from strong opinion to righteous indignation with zero willingness to compromise. The end result is that this group is much harder to coalesce into a broad tent.

    Combine this with funding, brands, marketing and self-preservation over what would be commonly considered reasonable compromise for everyone are the nails in the coffin of that idea. The current electoral system is broken, and until it is changed we will be doomed to rule by a minority electing (usually) the incumbent. In this case the present conservatives, before it was the Cretien liberals. Right now, the worst enemy Harper and the conservatives have is themselves, and they have 5 years to try (unrealistic) to maintain this high water mark, or blow their brand and credibility a-la-Mulroney (quite possible given the scandals waiting to unfold once parliament resumes). Their tightly scripted media management will only go so far before things go off the reserve. Its a long stretch to maintain a public’s interest. In the meantime the opposition needs to have better stories and more interesting lines on issues to control the narrative, and to have the government’s line discounted every time as being untrue and dishonest. It takes a long time to build that problem, again, historically about 10 years for an incumbent Canadian government to blow its relationship with the voters.

    Everyone talks about seismic shifts and incremental shifts to the right, but frankly on many of the red meat issues the Conservative party will not see significant movement back in their from the rest of the public no matter how they try to frame it. Even old timey reformers realize they must let some of their issues rest. The progressive left needs to desperately learn the same lesson and compromise.

  • This is like saying “so-and-so bought a property on Oak St. and they sold two years later and doubled their money.” Just too many other variables to rely on these numbers.

    Even if another election were held next week, let alone four years down the road, the outcome could be entirely different.

    Prairie kid could tell us that… 3 (or more?) ridings in Sask. were won by a few hundred votes and the map could easily be looking a whole lot different today.

    This being said, at a certain point it must be assumed (after the steady leakage of the past three elections) that the largest number of blue Liberals are already voting Conservative. Nevertheless, Canadians should do everything in their power to keep the country from being sliced in two by a two-party system. No merger!

  • PrairieKid

    ck . . . The party’s over. Go home. I’ll call you a cab. Just some food for thought on your way home. The “hidden agenda” thing is a CBC/Liberal fear mongering tactic. I admit it worked for a while and obviously still works according to you. Even if a private member puts forth an abortion bill, the Conservatives would not vote for it. But I’m sure when you sober up you’ll realize that the big bad Conservatives are just a bunch of teddy bears working hard to improve the lives of all Canadians. And you now have 4 years to sober up. Good luck.

    • bull caller

      Read the Armageddon Factor and tell me that the religious right doesn’t have any political sway in the Conservative Party. Get real. The agenda though certainly isn’t hidden – its entirely in plain sight, nobody chose to deal with it. I don’t think though, given their majority they will be able to get too crazy with their old timey evangelical garbage before having serious problems. Having said that, they have a bigger problem. This party only knows how to campaign. Now they have to learn how to govern which is much, much more difficult and fraught with problems they won’t be able to recover from. Sorry, but enjoy your 5 years, because its very likely the CPC will be done regardless of their upcoming performance (good, bad, indifferent)…its just typical voting patterns. Voters will be bored with them soon enough and the CPC (like the liberals) will be on the other side of the coin.

  • Except historically, when the NDP becomes one of the two governing options in a Canadian province the blocs behind the provincial Liberal and Conservative parties have promptly merged into default right wing Chamber of Commerce parties to keep the NDP out eg: BC and Saskatchewan – and those are just two modern examples.

    If the Liberals and NDP merge that’s a choice, with a range of consequences – first and foremost writing off the Blue Liberals. Now that that the Blue Lib voters are part of the Conservative vote calculus I predict Harper goes to great lengths to keep them and merge them permanently with the Alliance and the vestiges of the PCs into his malodorous big tent. The social conservatives who expect they are about to be handed the keys to the majority kingdom are in for an unpleasent surprise I think.

    Even if history doesn’t repeat, I predict that the next several months will see several high profile defections from the Manley wing of the decimated Liberal Party to Harper’s coalition. On the plus side, the probable end result of this new realignment will be a more socially moderate Conservative Party (Over any other ideology Harper puts power first) and the last decade or so of schism, deviation and merger on the right will result in returning to much the same Progressive Conservative social moderate/fiscal conservative origin point.

    So there is a possible party merger in the cards, I just don’t think its the one everyone expects.

    • ck

      Not as long as Harper is leader. He, himself, may not introduce bills restricting abortion rights and reintroducing capital punishment, but as mentioned in my reply to Prairie Kid, there are private members’ bills sure to rear their ugly heads. Remember, socons like Toews, Trost and Bruinooge were re-elected. Harper always said that he would never stop a vote on any private members’ bills on those issues.

      PLus, as mentioned, Harper will get to ‘de-Liberalize’ the supreme court as he has about 3 or 4 justices to replace. Bet they’ll be the most right winged theocratic jurists who walked the face of the earth. When that happens, wait for cases of abortion and Bill 101 to hit their dockets and see how the court will rule.

      Plus there’s that so-called freedom of religion office Harper plans to open. Code for Christian supremacy. I’m sure many Blue Grits are in favour of that.

  • PrairieKid

    The Conservatives have shifted to the center right pushing Liberals to fight for the left vote. If you think Harper is going to impliment his “hidden agenda” you’re wrong. He will continue to govern from the center right which will leave Liberals in a very bad spot. Merge with or share the left with the NDP. If you merge, you are giving up a lot of principles that defined Liberals in the past. With Layton have the upper hand, any merger would reflect a lot more NDP policies than it would Liberal policies. Then you have to look at another side of the coin. Harper will probably get rid of the per vote subsidy. Now the NDP and the Liberals are going after the same voter asking for money. First, there are only so many voters who are prepared to give. Secondly, the voters the parties would attract are not the wealthy voters. Now if you take a merger out of the mix, how are Liberals going to rebuild a party without government assistance? I think it will be a very tough 4 years.

    • ck

      The Cons won’t remain in the center right for long. Not under Stephen Harper. A few of those flat earth, bible thumping, theocrats like Rod Bruinooge and Brad Trost were re-elected. I’m pretty sure that buffoons like Charles McVety will still have Harper on speed dial. Plus, Harper will have about 3 or 4 outgoing supreme court justices to replace during this tenure. No doubt he will appoint the most right winged socially conservative jurists he can dig up. In addition to private members anti-abortion bills, expect some abortion type cases to hit the supreme court and decisions by the newly minted right slanted court to curtail many of women’s reproductive rights. That is just one example.

  • Tom

    Is being in power so important to the LPC that they are prepared to give up much of what their party stands for just for the possibility of returning to governing?
    There is a huge gap in the political centre and ther Liberals should realign themselves there. They will have four years to do so.
    If they have centrist leader and centrist policies, they’ll be back.

    • ck

      Tom, as a pragmatist, I agree with what you’re saying. And with the exception, perhaps, of Bob Rae (whose career is likely at the tail end, I believe), most of the Liberals who did get elected don’t seem to keen on a merge with the NDP. However, given that Harper plans to scrap the per vote subsidy, that would leave both the NDP and the Liberals without much means to finance themselves. Financially speaking, they may not have a choice.

    • Austin So

      Tom, your statement is pretty disingenuous…the same thing could be said about the NDP and in particular the current CPC.

    • Power has become such an unattainable thing for the Liberals, NDP, and Greens, that they must change to being power hungry, or be forever on the outside looking in. You can’t serve as a conscience, when the body never does what is commanded by it.

    • crf

      Why is the idea of wanting power dirty? It isn’t. It is how things are done in the world.

      If you want change, you need power. If you want power, in a democracy, you need to compromise. And once you gain power, you need to keep compromising to keep power.

  • Brian

    True but how many blue Liberals would have gone right? I believe getting rid of FPTP would solve a lot.

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