12.15.2010 08:20 AM

Hebert (and Wells): Ye reap what ye sow (updated)


“If NDP and Liberal leaders Jack Layton and Michael Ignatieff had taken the advice of their elder statesmen and looked for a way to pool forces earlier this year, the result of their joint efforts would likely be doing better in the polls than their separate parties.

Instead, the end of 2010 finds the two main national opposition parties on opposite ends of a teeter-totter. They are each ensuring that the other does not go up very high or for very long.”

A great friend in Ottawa asked me this morning if I am “an elder statesman.” I’m elder, I said, but not much of a statesman.

But Chantal’s observation is the truth, nonetheless: if the people in Ottawa had listened to Chretien and Broadbent, they’d be in much better shape by now.

Anyway. Whatever; we tried, we failed. Stephen Harper must be a very happy man, indeed.

UPDATE: And now Paul Wells has commented on Hebert’s comments.  It’s a groundswell! Anyway, as one of those “currently [and happily – ed.] largely discredited,” I urge you to read Wells’ column, and not just because I agree with it.  My take, of which I’m living proof: things in politics are usually not as complicated as they are made out to be.  It’s so simple, in fact, it barely merits saying: uniting warring progressives makes them stronger. Also simple: your main opponent – you know, the guy who united warring conservatives to successfully win power – will do everything he can to prevent such a progressive union. Like Wells says: “[Harper] needs to scare Michael Ignatieff off the structural-realignment dime if he is to hold power. Fortunately for him, the prime minister’s task is not particularly difficult.”

Anyway, it’s not going to happen anytime soon.  It took the Right three election cycles (1993, 1997 and 2000) to get together, and win.  It’ll take at least three more election cycles, over almost as many years (2006, 2008 and maybe 2011 or 2012), for the Left to realize, what Pogo famously observed so long ago:


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    terence says:

    The fact is you are no longer on the inside of what is happening. The 2 parties were possibly wise to rule out any joint venture until an election is close at hand. Layton is showing his fatigue as is his party.

    A well kept secret could be in the offing. I’M NOT FORECASTING THAT but I if I was up against the Harpercrite war machine I would be under cover until such time as necessary to show my hand.

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      CanadianSense says:

      Layton is showing his “fatigue as is his party”. Huh?

      2010 a decade later one party is showing signs of age and it is NOT the NDP. Based on General Elections and Balance Sheets only.

      The comparison to the last majority in 2000 with 177 seats. In 2000 Liberals held 136 in Central Canada @ 48.3%, in 2008 they held 52 @ 29.7%.

      The NDP were at 8.5% in 2000. Green 0.5%. (Both of those parties have recovered/grown in popular support).

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    Lance says:

    It must feel vindicating, being on the outside and seeing that which one was part of crashing so spectacularly, to be uncermemoneously told to get off just after the iceberg inflicts it’s damage, and to be taking shots (e.g. – that odious businesses about them gnawing at your divorce) from the bow of a sinking ship while you float safely out of range in your well provisioned life boat.

    Someday that ship will be raised from it’s watery grave with a decent captain commanding it and a competent crew running it. Then you won’t even have missed a beat.

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      james curran says:

      Not really a good feeling there Lance. While you get to say “I told you so”, you still lament the countles hours, days, weeks, years you dedicated to a cause in lieu of being with one’s family and friends or some better financially rewarding position just to see it all fritter away to nothingness. All the told you so’s in the world can’t make up for that time and that sacrifice.

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        Lance says:

        True, all that sweat and effort and sacrifice for nothing, particularly because the person captaining the ship has no business being on the bridge and is steering the ship into a reef, is a hard pill to swallow. But as some point you can temper that with the fact that you recognized that spitting in the wind was pointless, and by getting into the life boat now, the other officers who got off or were kicked off a long time ago and are ready for a salvage operation (Manley, Tobin, McKenna, WK here etc.) will hear you later because you won’t be on the bottom with Davey Jones.

        At this rate, this ship has so many barnacles that even if the iceberg didn’t do it mortal damage or the captain doesn’t run it aground, it’s hull is going to become so rotten that eventually it will sink anyway. Eventually you might be better suited getting onto a more stable ship, at least until the new red one can be built.

        Okay, that is enough sailing metaphors for one day. 😉

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          James Curran says:

          It’s not just the leader. The party is broken and rudderless from within. It’s the same old 500 people nationwide running the hole deal and the grassroots are completely gone. Completely. Unfortunately those control freaks can’t even see that…even with membership numbers in front of their faces.

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    mississaugapeter says:

    With all due respect, and I have a lot more for you than the average Liberal does for you, but I think all your CBC performances have made you ATTACHED AT THE HIP WITH PEGGY NASH – who is a fine person and all but who represents a Party whose policies I cannot agree with (other than Afghanistan).

    Your usual logic on this issue is all wrong, and here is the reason why:

    A Liberal/NDP union will not cause any Conservatives to switch their vote. (Thus the about 35% the Conservatives are polling right now stands)
    A Liberal/NDP union would cause more than a few Blue Liberals and Red Tories in the Liberal Party to switch to the Conservatives. (At least 5%, if not much more of the Liberal Party would switch)
    A Liberal/NDP union would cause many NDP and Liberal folks (including me) to vote Green or just not participate in the upcoming election.

    Result Conservatives at over 40%
    Liberal/NDP still trailing behind

    BTW, I am confused how the Ignatieff folks, if they really dislike you as much as this blog infers, allow you to represent the Liberal angle on CBC (both Peggy, president of the NDP, and Monte, toe the party line and would never suggest anything else that deviates from it, unlike your comments which do on this blog).

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      Warren says:

      I love it when Conservativesgive advice to Liberals and NDP folks, because they are so concerned for our welfare.

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        mississaugapeter says:

        I am, and have been for many years, MississaugaPeter (a Liberal forever, former U. of Alberta Liberal president; went to your high school, made buttons for the “Hot Nasties” and “XX Sturgeons” (cant remember their name))

        and I am NOT Peter (who recently started leaving comments on this blog, and has acknowledged he is a Conservative).

        and I am not Jesus’ Peter either (although the Basilians tried recruited me).

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          Peter says:

          Sorry Mississaugapeter . Should I be calling myself Brampton Peter ?Yes I am a Conservative and I have never voted Liberal in my life . However , I think a person can be a Conservative and still be a fan of Warren Kinsella .

          Be honest wouldn’t the discussions on this blog be less interesting if everybody was a Liberal ?

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            MississaugaLibPeter says:

            Unfortunately, in spite of writing on his blog closing in on 5 years, WK (and probably others) are getting you mixed up with me. Yah, BramptonPCPeter would be probably best, and as a result, I will start calling myself MississaugaLibPeter.

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            Warren says:

            I should give you guys your own wk.com avatars!

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      james curran says:

      The Ignatieff folks don’t choose CBC’s guests. CBC does.

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    Art Williams says:

    Co-operation, coalition or merger will happen when the Liberals and NDP brass have graduated from the school of hard knocks. It’s the same situation as the Canadian Alliance and PCPC faced. The rank and file knew that something had to be done long before those at the top had a clue. If this election shows further NDP growth then they are likely to see the Liberals as weak and vulnerable and hold off on a mutually beneficial pact. This whole thing could go on for years.

    What could be a much worse scenario is one party’s demise at the hand of the other. Impossible? Just read up on the once great Liberal Party of Britain. I am not saying that will happen (nor that I wish it) but to think that one party or another will exist forever is just foolish.

    Better to proactive than risk losing it all.

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      The Doctor says:

      That’s a good point about the divide between the ordinary members and the party brass. Joe Clark, for example, was a huge obstacle to the Tory-Reform merger. Stubborn as an ox, and oblivious to the fact that the PCs were going nowhere electorally as a standalone entity. No wonder that Liberals these days tend to look fondly on Joe Clark — he was their best friend.

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        Art Williams says:

        I was a Canadian Alliance member back then. The same people I’d worked with, side by side, on Provincial campaigns were my competitors at the Federal level. We often talk about how stupid it was and that Chretien would win forever unless something was done. Eventually, many people just stop volunteering. The ranks were thin during those years. I suspect, on the ground, many Liberals have begun throwing up their hands too.

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          The Doctor says:

          What you describe was certainly true — in spades — in BC during those years. The PCs were getting something like 6% of the popular vote in BC, at least during one federal election I worked on. Obviously it’s not anywhere near that level of irrelevancy for the Liberals, but it is true as a general rule that the longer you stay out of power and don’t win any seats in a particular geographic area (think the Liberals west of Ontario and outside the BC lower mainland), the more chance there is that your organization will atrophy. Which can lead to a downward spiral towards total irrelevance.

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    james curran says:

    Listen Gord. One thing about disgruntled Liberal supporters….they are NEVER going to defect to the CRAP. They’d rather just do nothing…as they have been. So the picking up of seats is just bullshit.

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      Gabriel Germaine says:

      I realize this is anecdotal and is meaningless but I don’t believe my situation is all that unique. Myself and my network of friends would never consider voting for the NDP but have on various occasions voted for the Liberals and the Tories. We’re “swing voters” I suppose. Neither I nor my friends are loyal to one party. We believe a party drunk with power always deserves a good drubbing and the other party is perfectly capable of taking over for a while. The idea of the Liberals and NDP joining parties worries me because I see more in common between the Liberals and Tories than I do the NDP. This political marriage may sway me towards the status quo. At least until I can see if any NDP policies survive under the new arrangement.

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      Peter says:

      They’re never goig to vote Conservative ? Ah they just did in Vaughn . alot of Liberals and NDPers list the CPC as their 2nd choice . Look at what has happened to the Green party since the coalition . They have gone from 15000 members to less than 8000 .

      In Vaughn almost nobody voted green or ndp and Julian Fantino came close to 50% of the vote .

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        James Curran says:

        Um. the Liberal guy came close to 50% too. And, Fantino was supposed to win by 10,000 or so votes. So, um that example would be not a good barometer of anything.

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          Peter says:

          Who said Fantino was supposed to win by 10000 . Both parties had done internal polling and the polls said it was going to be close . 10000 is just Liberal guys way of saying the loss wasn’t that bad .

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            Warren says:

            I had heard it from multiple journos, as well as Libs and Cons working on the by-election.

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          Kevin says:

          The Tories at one point were musing about a 20,000 vote advantage.

          After seeing Julian Fantino MP’s d

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          Namesake says:

          and considering the devastating leaked disclosure just 3 days before the vote that, um, the Lib. poobahs would’ve preferred to have Fantino as their candidate, too, I think it’s quite a testament to how shaky the Cons.’ support is, too, given how close the vote was.

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          Peter says:

          Well I was there 3 times and again on election night . Each time they told us he was in the lead but that it was too close for us to take it for granted .

          But then again they always tell that to the grunts like me .I’m glad it was close because that riding association needs work . They won’t have a lot of outsiders there for the general election .

          Byelections are tough because people don’t follow politics all that closely during a general election let alone one of these . I had one lady tell me that she really liked Fantino but that she couldn’t vote for him because of what Mcguinty was doing to Ontario.

          It took 20 min to explain things to her .

          On election night I called a guy up an hour before the polls were set to close and he said “oh, is that tonight ?” . 30 mins. later , after he had just voted , he came up to me and thanked me .

          In this whole process people always underestimate the role of the guys on the ground .

          Vaughan was a very Liberal riding . If you take the results and put them into the computer program that they have to extrapolate the impact for a general election you get something like 85 seats for the Conservatives in Ontario .

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          Namesake says:

          Aw, get over yourself: ya think that computer program factors in that it was a specific indiv. who held the area that long (not just the Party); or that the new challenger was one of the most famous people in the province to stand for office…ever; or that he’d been associated with the incumbent’s party (as you just confirmed, from your McGuinty discussion) given his previous appointments; or that, d’oh, the incumbent’s party tried to recruit him, too, and that got out just in time to nearly completely discredit their candidate.

          So now the real q., is, with only just squeeking out a victory even, with all that, how many more seats could you possibly win in the next election now that a bunch more of your fed-up-with-being-bullied & muzzled bench are resigning, and you won’t have any equally famous star candidates to try to replace them with?

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      The Doctor says:

      To James Curran, I’d merely point out that you should be careful about purporting to speak on behalf of all “disgruntled Liberal supporters”. What you say is not backed up by polling data. Polling data shows that the CPC is the second choice of a significant number of Liberal supporters. The LPC is a big tent, and not everyone under that tent leans left. Consider your leader, just for starters.

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        James Curran says:

        My leader was pushed aside…for starters. And who gives a shit who Liberals vote for second. The fact is they don’t vote at all if they don’t vote Liberal. And Stats, not polling shows that. The Liberal voter stays home. Case in point…Vaughan.

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          The Doctor says:

          “The fact is they don?t vote at all if they don?t vote Liberal.”

          I guess you and I are operating under a different definition of “Liberal supporters.” I’m simply referring to anyone who would identify themselves to a pollster as having the Liberals as his/her first voting choice. You appear to be referring to a certain type of die-hard Liberal supporter who either votes Liberal or doesn’t vote at all.

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    Cath says:

    I think that THIS scenario has a real chance of happening as long as Mr. Ignatieff stays on as LPOC leader. Any truth to the rumour that Belinda’s planning a return to challenge?


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      TERENCE says:

      I would harken you back to 1993 and 2005 and see where Chretien and Harper stood with voters in pre election times. Both were thought to not have any chance at being elected. This stuff means nothing until an election is called.

      I also assume the Tory war room is spending this quiet time making sure reporters have something to write about

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    VH says:

    It’s disputable that a NDP-Lib coalition would be doing better at the polls. But it isn’t disputable that better leaders at either party would have them doing better at the polls.

    A merger doesn’t solve this problem. Which is the actual problem.

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    James Bow says:

    I’ll say again that you should never rule out the possibility of working together as a coalition after the votes are counted, the seats are divvied up, and no one party has a majority. That’s simply the way our representative democracy should work. But if you’re talking about a merger of the two parties and the elimination of yet another option from the ballot, the merged party is going to lose votes.

    Just look at the Conservatives: the one and only time they received the same level of support that the Progressive Conservatives and Reform Party received in combination during their three elections apart was in 2008. In 2004 and in 2006, they polled well below their combined numbers and, since the 2008 election, their support has dropped, flirting with 30% on more than one occasion. This means that, by eliminating the choice, the voters of both parties don’t automatically come together and work together. The two parties were two separate parties for real and valid policy reasons, and by forcing those differences to be set aside, a number of people who voted for one party or the other is effectively disenfranchised. They either move to other options, or they choose not to vote.

    The same is more true for the Liberals and the NDP, who speak to entirely different constituencies. A new Liberal Democratic party won’t poll over 40%, because many NDPers and Liberals will be disaffected. A number will switch their allegiances, some to the Greens, some to the new Conservatives (after all, where do you think some of the lost Conservative support bled to? If the Liberals take a sharp turn to the left, many might be willing to return “home”). A number of other Liberals and New Democrats will simple stay home, which also benefits the Conservatives.

    If you want to stop vote splitting, you might consider strategic voting, but you might want to micromanage things so that you don’t end up working against yourself. Telling New Democrats “if you want to stop Stephen Harper, vote Liberal” does the opposition no favours in Saskatchewan or Manitoba, where the NDP often places second behind the Conservatives. You’ll have to be up front and say, “in Edmonton-Strathcona, vote NDP. In Oshawa, vote NDP, in Vaughan, vote Liberal” et cetera, et cetera. It doesn’t make for a good soundbite, but it’s what you have to do to make strategic voting actually work in your favour.

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      Namesake says:

      Yup, and there’s already an under-the-radar group set up to help fed-up voters do just that:

      target the 22 most vulnerable Cons. ridings, & go campaign or at least vote for the stripe of candidate w. the greatest chance to win, based on the ’08 results:


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    Sean says:

    the coming election will be the last for the NDP and Liberal leaders… It will also likely be the first time we are faced with a Con. majority by default. That is when the iron will be hot.

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    Peter says:

    The one advantage to combining forces would be that deep behind Conservative / coalition battle lines you wouldn’t have the Liberals and NDP spending what little money they have fighting each other . The by-election in Winnipeg was of little consequence to the Conservative party because it is not part of our pathway to victory .

    I think the real problem for both the NDP and the Liberals is that in the last two elections they have adopted a “regional strategy” to stop Stephen Harper and the CPC from getting a majority .

    In other words they played not to lose rather than staging a national campaign that would have resulted in a CPC majority but would have left Liberal party machinery in rural Canada intact .

    If the CPC had won a majority in 2006 I am convinced that the Liberals would be in better shape today .

    Frank McKenna did a great job with his renewal commision but rather than adopt the plan proactivly the Liberals are adopting one element at a time at gun point just to survive .

    Perhaps the Liberals need one final wash out so that they can rebuild properly over two 4 year terms.

    I think minorty govt. is doing way more harm to you guys than anybody else .

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    Pcase says:

    I think it is very misleading to at this number:
    “A Liberal/NDP union will not cause any Conservatives to switch their vote. (Thus the about 35% the Conservatives are polling right now stands)”

    The conservative base is historically a lot closer to 25% than it is to 35% – let’s settle on 30%. The recent polls reflect a view of how the entire population will vote and is not indicative of a base voter who will always mark CRAP on their ballot.

    That being the case, it is hard to follow through on the rest of your case.

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      Peter says:

      Historically ? We’ve only been around for less than 10 years and we’ve done better with every election . Until we have a back slide , you should assume that with every election we will have a greater pop vote as well as more seats .

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        Kevin says:

        Until we have a back slide , you should assume that with every election we will have a greater pop vote as well as more seats .

        = = = = = = = = = = =

        Wow. If a dirty Liberal had said that, Soudas’ talking points machine, and the Tory fundraising letter robot would have been powered up within minutes.

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          Peter says:

          Its true . Our incremental approach works . At election time we have less to worry about than the Liberals . We focus on our 20 weakest ridings and on the next 20 ridings that we can takeover .

          The Liberals with half the resources have to worry about 50 ridings because they have us along the top of the gta and they have the NDP and the the bloc in other areas in Quebec and along the east coast.

          I mean have guys ever played risk ? Its just a question of how many times we have to roll the dice .

          I still think that regardless of what the PM does this spring there won’t be an election .
          I think Jack Layton is going to wait until the last minute to step down as leader .

          They can then use their leadership race as an excuse to prop up the government like the Liberals did . Jack has nothing to gain by going into battle one last time .

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    CanadianSense says:

    May 31, 2010 Angus Poll did a study on which leader should lead the coalition Iggy and Bob both fell behind Jack.

    Under current NDP leader Jack Layton, the merged party would become the most popular in the country (43%), with the Conservatives six points behind (37%). Layton gives the new party an eight-point lead in Ontario, and fares better than Ignatieff in Western Canada. The surge in support for the merged party would come from Quebec, where Layton would have the backing of 44 per cent of decided voters?a ten-point lead over the sovereignist Bloc.


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      The Doctor says:

      I can’t help point out that that’s a very superficial poll in this sense: it is done in a complete policy void. Thus one of the things it doesn’t take into account is what a merged party under Jack Layton would be pushing in terms of policy. Presumably, any party that elected Layton leader would be decidedly left of centre. I also find that people who lean left tend to over-estimate how much appetite Canadians in general have for left-wing policies, just as people who lean right tend to over-estimate how much appetite Canadians in general have for right-wing policies.

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        TofKW says:

        An old PC Tory here who’s no fan of Harper. If Layton is the leader of a merged Lib-Dem party, I’m voting CPC. I’m sure I won’t be alone. I’d rather have a micromanaging firebrand-populist ideologue as PM versus an ambulance chasing left-wing loon.

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    Namesake says:

    I think Chantal needs a vacation: she sounds fed up & burned out, and like many other columnists lately, is just phoning it in. Ok, if you remove all the non-francophones, the support for Libs drops way down: so what? That doesn’t mean they’ll lose all their seats there, if the non-francophone voters are concentrated in certain ridings & there’s a high turn-out among them. If you removed all the university-educated respondents from the ROC polls they’d have ‘way less support, too, but, again, that doesn’t mean there’s not enough out there where & when it counts to keep electing Libs.

    I also think too many of us, incl. the pundits, are overlooking how LITTLE attention most Canadians are paying to federal politics in-between elections, which is why there’s been so little movement; and,

    I bet a lot of the stasis or even drubbing the Libs are taking in the polls is attributable to people being fed up with the PROVINCIAL govts in BC, ON, & QC over the HST & scandals, & once the actual election’s under way that can be reversed both on the ground & on the airwaves by both making the distinction b/w the two levels, & by making the CPC bear joint responsibility for pressuring the govt’s into adopting the HST & forcing THEM to defend its merits.

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    bugzy says:

    CS, Is this the last troll spin direct from the PMO’s office at 6 Am this morning? This is the Christmas season that your time and mine should be directed to your families and friends if you have any left spewing all your bull Shit by the shovel full.

    Try to take a break and try and have a good Christmas.

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    Lance says:

    So what are we talking about here, a coalition or a merger?

    Because if we are talking about a coalition, then it only becomes a matter of time before it breaks apart. Coalitions start dying the moment they are formed. Eventually the electorate would become weary of such a coalition; that is why they are limited in time and scope in the first place. No way it would last four years; it would crumble much before then. The Tories would be waiting for such an eventuality and then Tories would be back, nothing changed. And in the event of another Tory minority, if the Liberals are desperate enough not to be patient in the rebuilding effort and make a deal with seperatists, they will have squashed everything they’ve worked for until that point.

    If we are talking about a merger, people have to keep in mind that there is a world of difference between reuniting two factions to reform (for lack of a better word) a party, and merging two wholly different parties into one.

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      Warren says:

      We’re talking about neither. You and I are in a chatroom on a web site, and nobody give’s a rat’s ass what either of us think.

      It’s done, it’s over. When this is next discussed, it will likely be too late.

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        Namesake says:

        Never fear, Allan Gregg is here, with Yuletide cheer:

        “A new poll by The Canadian Press Harris-Decima suggests the Tories have the support of 31 per cent of Canadians, statistically tied with the Liberals at 29 per cent.”


        Long live the Groundhog!

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          Namesake says:

          p.s., as with Ekos, it’s another one with BIG sample: twice as many as the others showing the large spread, with a lower MOE, so likely to be more accurate.

          “The telephone survey of 2,022 Canadians was conducted Dec. 2-13. A sample this size is considered accurate within 2.2 percentage points, 19 times in 20.”

          so, once again, as you were, everybody.

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            Peter says:

            Yes but just as with Ekos they read out all of the main choices rather than just ask you for your choice . This almost always results in lower Conservative numbers and much higher GREEN numbers .This was pointed out on Nik Nanos’ web site .

            Conservatives are much more likely to vote and are lot less likely to spend 20 mins. on a phone answering a bunch of questions .This is why polls alway seem to undercut our support by a couple of points at least .

            They never tell you that for every person that take part in the poll 10 say no thanks .

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            Namesake says:

            aw, Cons are so cute when they reverse themselves on a dime. Why, just a day or two ago it was unbridled Glee for the, “Polls! Glorious Polls / Majority coming our way…” And now it’s, “Polls! We ain’t got time to answer no stinkin’ polls!”

            Look, the Ekos robo-dialled polls (showing a 5-pt spread) don’t take 20 minutes to answer, just a few (unlike the AR omnibus surveys showing twice that spread). (I’m not sure about the HD, but think they’re stand alone, just on the political issues, in which case they just take a few minutes, too.)

            And Cons. are less likely to answer telephone polls? Please. Cons.’ support skews much higher for older people, who are much more likely to be at home, lonely, afraid to go out in the crime-ridden streets, & glad to hear the phone ring.

            As for cueing the respondents with the political parties, well, give the whole list of surveys that do that, won’t you (surely the online ones do, as well?); and, gee, isn’t it too bad the voting ballots don’t do that, as well? Oh, that’s right: they do.

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    Namesake says:

    I found the quoted, concluding passage from Wells quite confusing:

    both because I didn’t know that idiom (“get off the dime”: “to
    start moving; take action, especially following a time of indecision or delay.”),

    but also cuz it seems to contradict everything that came before:

    Isn’t the moral of the tale / key to defeating the CPC acc. to that narrative that the Libs & NDP DO need to a structural realignment / merger ASAP; in which case,

    the key to the PM’s continuing to win is to keep scaring MI back ON to that dime, to keep him/us rooted on the spot?

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    Dave says:

    I will go with WK’s words: ‘Things in politics are usually not as complicated as they are made out to be…’

    I figure that the Conservative first minority happened because during the election campaign somebody clever let out the news about an RCMP investigation into income trusts. I think that probably moved us from a Liberal minority to a Conservative minority. The investigation faded to nothing after the election. We never even knew what sparked it in the first place.
    But I figure it gave the Conservatives the little extra to put them into government.

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    J. Coates says:

    I think the reason is more pragmatic. Many MP’s are shortly approaching the point where they will get their cushy pensions. Anyone who thinks otherwise is likely living in Nehelococcygia.

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    Peter says:

    I just saw the update to the story and I’d just like to point something out . On election night both Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff were on one of the networks doing a split screen interview .

    Bob Rae was saying that the 3 left wing parties should join together right away to stop Harper .

    Michael Ignatieff was saying that the Liberal party needed to rebuild on its own and then go after the Conservatives from the centre .

    Warren you endorsed Ignatieff’s leadership bid a little after that . Less than 2 years latter Michael Ignatieff is doing exactly what he said he was going to do and everybodys taking shots .

    Liberals need to forget about the polls and they need to go into rural Canada and start up a conversation . You guys have a lot of work to do . You need to stop looking for gimmicks , coalitions and mergers . I thought the renewal commision report was a pretty good path for you guys to take .

    The quicker the Liberals try to spin around and get back into power the longer your walk in the wilderness is going to take .

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      Warren says:

      I’m just offering my opinion, mate. I’m not involved with them at all.

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    Sean Cummings says:

    Great insight, Warren, and Wells, is spot on like he usually is.

    I think the challenge for the NDP is that it views the Liberals and the Conservatives as essentially the same thing so for them to join with Liberals would be akin to joining with the Tories and that would be an impossible situation for a lot of the special interest groups that support dippers. A lot of dippers see Harper and the Tories as akin to the great Satan, and if they see Liberals as being the same as Tories then it just won’t happen. Also remember that dippers have never formed a national government and a lot of their constituency likes to take comfort in being what they view as the “social conscience” for the Parliament of Canada. They see hitting 20% in the polls as being a HUGE victory as opposed to winning an election.

    I just can’t see it happening. Even if Liberals reached out and tried to merge with dippers under a new banner, there’d still be the old NDP with its old support base of academics, union leaders, etc.

    The best thing for Liberals is to undertake organizational renewal and rebuild the party, the brand, the policies from the ground up. They need to stop hoping to win an election and focus on starting the party over again, from scratch.

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      The Doctor says:

      I agree that the merger mania among some Libs and Dippers blithely overlooks the huge policy differences between NDP true believers and moderate/centrist Liberals (the Paul Martin, John Manley, Roy McLaren-type Liberals). What’s going to happen to the NDP’s charter membership in Socialist International? Its joined-at-the-hip relationship with the Canadian Labour Congress? Its fundamental policy planks calling for Canada to resign from NORAD and NATO? I find that merger proponents NEVER want to even mention this stuff, much less discuss it.

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    hugger says:

    And just in time for a Merry Centrist Christmas, Santa showed up;

    About those Greens whom some who post here claim are all but dead, the Harris Decima poll states; “In British Columbia, the Conservatives were at 32 per cent, the NDP at 24 and the Liberals and Greens both at 21.” Nationally they were listed at 11%.

    It seems to me that many Con and Lib supporters resent the Green party and view them as having stolen supporters from them that were rightfully theirs. Everyone I know that is involved with the Party is educated and hold good jobs. They choose the Greens because they agree with their policies, not because of Pop’s political favorite or what they may gain personally in the immediate future.

    As far as Nanos recent offering is concerned, I thought his latest poll dubious based on the support he claimed the Greens have. This is a Dion / Manley moment for me. Imagine me throwing his card over my shoulder.

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    PoliticalStaples says:

    I don’t think it is as easy for the Liberals and NDP to merge as it was for the Alliance and the Progressives Conservatives. Their merger was actually a re-unification whereas the Liberals and NDP do not have a common history. And I agree with James Bow that 1 + 1 does not equal 2 but it is much more than 1 and 1 on their own. It won’t be a dramatic as the almost 50-50 in Vaughn but given time it could easily create a situation that is around 40-40. That being said both votes would be inefficient at the Liberal Democrats would poll at about 80% in the Toronto ridings and the Conservatives would do as well out West. The game in this hypothetical future would be the same as now, how to grow into areas where you are not winning seats currently. Suburban meets urban for the Conservatives and Western Canada for the Liberals.

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    H Holmes says:

    All this merger talk show as lack of focus from the liberal party.

    Any election can be won and we should find out which ridings we are close in and target those votes.
    With a few easy points that people will remember.
    Finally the population is aging, senior people vote more and in general vote more conservatively.
    We should be targeting policies that will help them out.

    That is what the conservatives have been doing for the last 6 years.

    This whole search for one last huge policy that will turn over seats for us is an anchor and would not go away with joining the NDP.

    So far the conservatives have used gun laws, crime, and Afghanistan to separate us from the suburban votes in surrounding urban centers.

    This wouldn’t change with a merger from the NDP.

    Further to that if the NDP and Liberals joined, more votes would go green as they can pick up the fringe socialist policies left behind as this would be a prerequisite of any merger.

    Nothing is easy but a small well focused campaign targeting suburban votes would place us into respectability.

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