03.23.2012 05:20 PM

Here I am wearing an NDP lanyard at the convention

…If Cullen wins, it’ll be a keeper!


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    Trevor says:

    As a lifelong supporter of the Liberal Party of Canada and a social-liberal, I would love nothing more than whoever
    the next leaders of both the Liberals and NDP are to seriously consider a pre-election pact to defeat the Harper Conservatives in 2015. I do not believe that a formal merger is necessary if the Liberals, NDP and even the Greens
    can put their differences, and most importantly, their ego aside and agree to a pre-election pact.

    I have taken the liberty of enclosing a most interesting and thought provoking article in the text below. I believe the election strategy outlined in the following article is something that the Liberals, NDP and even Green should seriously consider adopting as their own in advance of the 2015 Canadian federal election.

    Liberals and New Democrats together could unseat Harper

    Published On Mon Nov 2 2009

    Michael Byers

    Negative ads have prejudiced voters against Michael Ignatieff, and brought Stephen Harper within reach of a majority government. The Conservatives now lead the Liberals by about 10 percentage points.

    The situation seems unlikely to improve. The Prime Minister’s divisive partisan tactics have diminished the public’s respect for politicians in general. In just four years, he has changed the tone of media coverage and public discourse, shifting the mood of the nation toward cynicism and selfishness.

    Liberal infighting has not helped, while the NDP has missed two opportunities – on climate change and macroeconomic policy – to capture the national imagination with bold ideas.

    There is only one surefire way to prevent a Harper majority. The Liberals and NDP should agree to not run candidates against each other in the next campaign.

    In each riding, the party whose candidate fared worst in the last election would pull its current candidate out, or refrain from nominating one.

    Both parties would win more seats, with the Liberals potentially forming a majority government.

    Based solely on the results from October 2008, the agreement would, in itself, deliver 30 to 40 additional seats to the Liberals and another five to 10 seats to the NDP.

    The Bloc Québécois would not be part of the deal but could be expected to win around 40 seats in total.

    Importantly, what is proposed is not a coalition, but a one-time ceasefire between two opposition parties whose combined vote share last time was significantly higher (44.4 per cent versus 37.6 per cent) than the Conservatives.

    No effort would be made to coordinate platforms, though the absence of debilitating head-to-head races between Liberals and New Democrats would direct both parties’ attention onto the Conservatives.

    Nor would the agreement extend to post-election power sharing. If the Liberals were in a position to form a minority government, they would be free to seek support from any of the other parties – including the Conservatives.

    The only post-election condition in the agreement should be an unqualified public commitment to holding a national referendum on proportional representation within the first year.

    The commitment would include the provision of sufficient public funding to ensure in-depth discussion and widespread knowledge of the arguments both for and against the proposed change.

    Proportional representation would produce a much fairer allocation of seats than our current first-past-the-post system and boost voter turnout and political engagement by making every vote count.

    Many New Democrats might wish to make the immediate introduction of proportional representation a condition of the ceasefire agreement, since a referendum might not produce the desired result.

    However, such an approach would enable the Prime Minister to make proportional representation the principal issue in the campaign, instead of his record and the alternative policies offered by the other parties.

    A ceasefire agreement would likely be opposed by some insiders, in both parties, who benefit from the existing system. It would certainly inconvenience some candidates who have already been nominated, and would have to stand down. Most, however, would probably accept that larger, more important interests are in play.

    The ceasefire agreement, once struck, could be expanded to include the Green party, which has always sought proportional representation and would benefit substantially from it.

    The Greens obtained nearly 1 million votes (6.8 per cent) but no parliamentary representation in the last election. They finished second in five races, though the party’s only realistic chance of winning a seat in the next election is in the B.C. riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands, where Elizabeth May is running and the Liberal finished second to the Conservative last time.

    An arrangement could be made to rectify this lack of representation by giving all five second-place Greens a clear run in the next election, with May having that opportunity in her new riding – in return for the Green party withdrawing its candidates from every other race.

    The chances of the Liberals forming government appear to have slipped away. The future of the country is in the balance. Whether we like it or not, the parties of the progressive centre have reached a decision point.

    Will we let an outdated electoral system deliver a majority Conservative government on the basis of the preferences of less than 40 per cent of voters – and less than 25 per cent of those Canadians who are eligible to vote?

    Or will we seize the moment, pull together, and put the country back on course?

    Michael Byers lives on Salt Spring Island and teaches political science at UBC. In October 2008, he ran for the New Democrats in Vancouver Centre.


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      Bill says:

      How very democratic that would be……..doesn’t that go against the very thing NDP and Lib think they stand for?
      Democracy takes the back burning just to have power again………sounds like you guy’s are confused.

      Good luck, but i see executing this to be just a little tricky. The voter isn’t stupid and this little stunt might just backfire.

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        Michael says:

        What Bill said.

        You think Harper demonized the Dion/Layton coalition pact. This strategy would be a wet dream for him.

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        Philip says:

        Conservatives lecturing people on democracy. Absolutely priceless.

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    Corey says:

    Sad to see a good liberal willing to fold into the NDP just to obtain power….

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      Sean says:

      …because the true mark of virtue is one’s willingness to loose over and over again and like it.

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      MCBellecourt says:

      The problems this country now faces, caused by the Harper cabal, clearly outweigh petty partisan sentiment. Cullen’s idea speaks of cooperation between progressive parties. I couldn’t ask for any better than that. It’s overdue.

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        Cynical says:

        And go for it Warren. The more bridges we build the sooner we get rid of the Harperites.

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        Corey says:

        I like how you describe believing in your party’s values – and by the way the NDP and Liberals don’t share many specific views apart from dislike for Harper – as “petty partisan sentiment”. Liberals believe in a unique set of ideas about their country, despite their difficulty over the last couple of decades in communicating that to the public.

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      Tim Sullivan says:

      It is sad to see the Conservatives break the law just to obtain power.

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      Dan says:

      You know, Warren, you should consider being a New Democrat even if Cullen loses. I know it’s hard to switch sides in what seems like an endless war. But most of your criticisms of the NDP are tactical and strategic. You support some of Tommy Douglas’s greatest legacies, you were critical of the war in Afghanistan, you’ve been sympathetic to arguments about inequality put forward by the Occupy movement. You’re a social democrat, and you don’t even realize it.

      Or support us temporarily. Help achieve electoral reform. I don’t want Liberals to have to spend the next 20 years suffering the “strategic vote” the way New Democrats have suffered since their inception. I also don’t want the deficit of democracy that comes from a two party system. I’m sure you don’t want it either.

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        Cynical says:

        I remember when I did not have to vote strategically. I could vote based on the candidate, the leader and the party. I did not have to worry that some crypto-republican asshole would try to turn the country into Arizona North.
        The good old days, eh?

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    Billy boy says:

    It’s pretty clear that Mulcair will win. As a democratic socialist, I’m not thrilled, but if I were a Liberal I might be calling for my Last Rites. Judging from responses to Trevor’s post above, it’s funny Liberals aren’t as big on strategic voting as they used to be. Hmmm. Wonder why?

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    Anne Peterson says:

    I think the country may have wised up to Harper and his corrupt bunch and maybe, just maybe, they won’t listen to him anymore. All his little tricks for trying to control us seem to have stopped working. Now he is over in Thailand giving them our money and equipment to patrol so that a few people won’t get into Canada illegally. Is this a good use of his time and our money?

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      Bill says:

      Yes, this is very good use of taxpayer money. People who gain entry illegally costs use way more money and it makes Canada’s refugee/immigration policies look like a joke (which they are….) Harper is a wise man for doing this.

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        Shaun says:

        Any facts to support your statements, besides the subjective ‘look like a joke’ assessment?

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          Bill says:

          This event cost us 25 million up front. Many more millions there after………


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            Shaun says:

            Thanks, Bill. I was interested in hearing a conservative call the CPC gov’t a joke and you definitely proved it.

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            Bill says:

            I’m not sure how you came to that conclusion. The Harper government is in the process of making these types of event much easier to deal with. He is investing money into exactly the right spot to help achieve the desired result. Come to Canada legally or don’t come at all. That’s the way it needs to be.

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    W.B. says:

    Hey Warren, So if Mulcair wins, Bob Rae’s days of glory and basking in the media sunshine will be over, right?

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    gray says:

    I notice you keep your face out of the picture for future deniability.

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      Warren says:

      That, or I’m a shitty photographer!

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    Trevor says:

    There seems to be some confusion here. Nobody is seriously proposing that the Liberals and NDP merge to form a
    new political party, as the old Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and the Canadian Alliance did. No, what is
    being proposed by the article I posted is a pre-election pact between the two, which could also include the Greens.

    Its known as a political alliance as it is routinely practised in parliamentary democracies such as Germany, Italy,
    Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Israel.


    Of course, if Canada elected members to the House of Commons using a mixed member proportional system like
    they do in Germany, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland or even better yet a strict proportional representation list system like they do in Russia, Italy and Israel; none of this would even be a question. I hope the next leaders of both
    the NDP and Liberals commit to introducing electoral reform, regardless of whether or not they have a pre-election
    pact and still get to power using the current first-past-the-post system. I am personally sick and tired of the first-past-the-post system which is almost exclusively used in English speaking, White Anglo Saxon Protestant countries such as
    Canada, USA, Australia and the UK. It is all about whoever wins a plurality, as opposed to a majority. It usually results
    in a political parties which has won only a plurality of the vote winning a majority of the seats. Its about winner takes all
    and no place for the runner up. Its about rural ridings which have small populations which are sparely spread out and almost exclusively ethno-culturally homogenous (i.e.; English speaking, White and Christian) being given the same weight
    in the House of Commons as urban/suburban ridings which have much larger populations which are densely concentrated
    and very ethno-culturally heterogeneous (i.e.; multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-faith, multi-lingual, ect.). The former ridings also tend to have static populations which are not growing as opposed to the latter which are experiencing explosive population growth owing to very high levels of immigration coming to them on an ongoing basis.

    The vast majority of Conservative Party of Canada members and a disappointing number of Liberal Party of Canada members seem to prefer to retain the undemocratic and unreflective first-past-the-post system which is based upon
    the outdated single member constituency British Westminster Parliamentary system (FPTP). The NDP and Greens
    are the only ones who fully support adoption of the far more democratic and reflective mixed member proportional
    system (MMP) or even better proportional representation system (PR).


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      eddie says:

      I’ve been calling for this for years myself. The NDP and Greens of course had the most to benefit from this idea and the cons and Libs the most to lose. Maybe now in their decimated state the Libs will wake up to what a good idea this is. Ever wonder why Voter turnout is so poor. well the fact that your vote doesn’t visibly count unless your riding choice represents your choice and wins. I’m constantly frustrated arguing with youth who don’t vote. one of the reasons is they don’t se their vote as counting. (another is cynicism brought on by negative campaigning and outright dirty tricks – currently a largely the cons domain but certainly the Libs have been guilty of a lot of the same stuff)
      In all likelihood we would not see a majority government very often in the case of Proportional rep. this is the biggest criticism i hear with people saying government will never get anything accomplished (and looking at the italians it may seem that way but then look at the germans……). the one thing it would do is give voice to the public and make the partys work together to rule….not a bad thing if you ask me

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    Tim Sullivan says:

    Ain’t no keeper.

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