06.18.2012 12:15 AM

Harper on merger/coalition/cooperation

Tim, not Stephen. Here.

Will any leadership candidate take up the mantle of unity? I doubt it. Despite the polling numbers, the contenders will be wary of being too controversial. Identity politics, they know, are often fraught with peril.

Besides, there ain’t much point in getting dressed up for the dance when you lack a dance partner. Until the leadership of the Liberals and the NDP are prepared to confront reality, together, nothing is ever going to change.

And Stephen Harper, naturally, will continue to win. At this stage, I’d say he’s in good shape until well after 2015. Maybe even 2019.

Depressing for progressives to hear, I know. But until progressives are willing to get their collective heads out of their collective asses, that’s the way it is.


  1. billg says:

    How can a person still be called a “progressive” when refusing to merge the partys is so “regressive”. Think what you will of Harper and McKay, but, at least they were progressive enough to see the obvious.

  2. james curran says:

    Actually, W. I happen to think that Harper may not run in 2015. I feel this electoral fraud thing will continue to grow and soon this guy will be polling in the 20s. Leaving the door open for guys not tainted like Prentice or Solberg to look at leadership. Bold prediction? Maybe. What do I know.

  3. JamesHalifax says:

    Warren, I understand that many Liberals want to merge with the NDP’ers, but who do you think would blink when it came to certain areas where there is strong disagreement? I really can’t see men like Irwin Cotler staying a Liberal if he has to work with folks like Libby Davies or Megan Leslie given their views on Jews and Israel.

  4. Dan says:

    Have you seen the polls though? A few have the NDP in the lead. Most have the Conservatives in a minority situation. As long as the Liberals give the NDP a confidence vote, the problem would be solved.

    It *IS* 3 years away from an election. But the argument “we can’t win unless we unite” is no longer a warning or a battle cry. Progressives ARE uniting from the bottom up, and they’re choosing the NDP. (At this moment, anyway. Again, the NDP has to sustain this for 3 years.)

    • JamesHalifax says:

      Dan, as we have seen very recently, polls can be quite inaccurate even up to the day voters cast their ballot. I think the high polling for the Dippers is more of a protest, than an indication of the next election. Once the Conservatives have had a chance to get their agenda on the go……..and people see the results, they won’t stick with the NDP for long.
      If (and I think they will) the Liberals ever get back in the ball game, they will be taking from the NDP, not the Conservatives. I think the best way to show Canadians the terrible results of an NDP Government….would be to elect them. After living through that nightmare scenario, I think only the Conservatives and the Liberals would be given the keys to the palace after 4 years of Mulcair and the socialist hoardes.
      The only question would be how long would it take to fix the mess the New Democrats left behind…….assuming of course, Alberta hadn’t seperated by then.

      • Dan says:

        I agree. Polls are temporary. And sometimes they’re inaccurate.

        My point is that if the NDP are within striking distance… it’s not that they WILL win on their own. It’s that they CAN win on their own, and the merger talk isn’t necessary.

        When you float the notion that Canadians would only vote against the NDP if they actually elected them first and they screwed up… it only proves the point I was trying to make.

        Although it’s a little insulting to Albertans that you don’t see them as loyal to Canada. The separatist movement there is a fringe that couldn’t even get elected as part of the Wildrose coalition.

        • JamesHalifax says:

          Dan, I don’t think the Alberta seperatists are a threat right now….but I do wonder about how they would feel once Mulcair (stop the oil sands) and others of a similar mind decided to bring in NEP 2.0.

          Right now, the Polls have the NDP within striking distance simply because those who answered to polls know they don’t actually have to worry about electing the NDP. I think a bit of sober second thought would diminish those numbers considerably.

      • Ted H says:

        James, why do you assume the worst for an NDP government? NDP Provincial governments historically have the best record of balancing budgets of all parties and Conservative federal governments have the worst record of fiscal deficit.

        The idea of Conservative fiscal acumen is a myth, not proven by reality.

        • Dan says:

          That’s an easy question: Because James never says anything that couldn’t have come from a Conservative talking point generator.

        • JamesHalifax says:

          Ted H….it is easy to balance a budget if you simply raise taxes or fees. That is what the NPD tend to do. Not enough money for your social engineering programs…..take more from those who earn a living. Bingo….now we have money.

          I guess you could include my experiences during Bob Rae’s tenure as Premier of Ontario. My father had several businesses and quite a few employees. By the time RAE was finished, he had one business, and far fewer employees.

          People remember.

          Aside from their fiscal illiteracy, I also disagree fundamentally with the very idea of socialism. Frankly, I don’t trust many politicians, but I especially do not trust the motives of the NDP. The folks in that party are the perpetually outraged. They feel that they alone know what is best for the average Citizen, and if that citizen doesn’t agree…too bad. In fact, the socialists I know tend to be the most intolerant, hateful people I have ever met…and they hide this behind their shield of moral superiority.

          Socialism is one of those ideas that sounds good, it sounds fair, but it ignores basic human nature and human rights. It does not ALLOW people to have a different view from what the socialists believe. Disagree with someone from the NDP…and you are invariably called a racist, a bigot, greedy..etc..etc…

          Sorry Ted….I won’t be changing my mind on the NDP. They’re a danger to our basic human rights.

          • Ted H says:

            “The folks in that party are the perpetually outraged. They feel that they alone know what is best for the average Citizen, and if that citizen doesn’t agree…too bad.”

            You may not see this a day later James, everyone has moved on but if I take your words above indicating that a certain type of person supports a certain political view, then I would say they describe Conservatives. Look at how they are gradually de-funding any group that disagrees with their views. Conservative social engineering is alive and well in Canada.

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Ted H, I can’t disagree with what you wrote. Certain people support certain views, meaning they also support certain parties.

            I’ve explained why I could never support the NDP, and I think I’ve made it pretty clear why I do support the Liberals (on occassion) and the Conservatives. Both the LIbs and Conservatives understand how the market works, just as they understand WHY it works.

            Folks who support the NDP tend not to understand neither. They have the naive view that everyone deserves the same…regardless of how hard they work, or what they contribute. NDP’ers tend not to understand that having a view different than a socialist, is still a valid view. As I wrote earlier, folks in the NDP (with whom I have experience) tend to be very hateful and intolerant of anyone who is NOT a socialist, or who does not agree with the socialist world view.

            As for de-funding any group which disagree’s with the Government, I’m all for it if those groups have an agenda that is counter to what is best for the country. I’m glad that funding to terrorist House, er..Palestinian House is gone. I’m glad we dumped Rights and Democracy (which also had an anti-Jewish/Israel bent) and I’m glad the Court Challenges Program is gone. IF people have a narrow agenda they want to put forward, then by all means, let them do it. The Conservatives have not enacted any legislation that would stop the folks in these groups to carry on their activities….they just stopped forcing the rest of us to pay for it. How do you think a Jewish Canadian feels knowing that millions of dollars were going to groups who’s sole reason for existence is to criticise Israel, or practice barely veiled anti-semitism? Why should the Government have to provide millions of dollars to a program that simply exists to challenge what our elected officials pass as legislation?

            I think it’s was long overdue to stop providing special interest groups, whether Conservative or “progressive” with tax dollars for their cause. (and lets face it…most groups on the public teat are anti-Conservative, as Conservative groups can usually raise their own money because many people agree with them)

            End the pork…..

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Oops…sorry for the double negative.

            Should read, the NDP tend to understand neither….

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Oops…sorry for the double negative.

            Should have read, “The NDP tend to understand neither…

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Ted H….good read for an economics update. Shows clearly that the Libs and Conservatives “get it” while the NDP….still does not.

  5. Tiger says:

    The potential merger even has an obvious name: the Liberal Democratic Party of Canada.

    Both my Liberal and New Democrat friends resist the obvious, though. So nothing before the 2015 election, then.

  6. Bill From Willowdale says:

    Wait until you have life long members saying they won’t give money or volunteer until one party dies or both merge. Been there, done that. It’s not very rewarding.

  7. Ottawacon says:

    Paul Martin’s greatest accomplishment as leader of the Liberals was to create such a threat that both the PCs and CA were desperate. We seem to be a long way from that situation now, the NDP naturally see this as an ascendant period, and many expect gains at the Liberals’ expense in 2015. The Liberals will need to establish that there is hard core of support that is otherwise unavailable to the NDP, but necessary to prevent the Conservatives from winning again before the preconditions for any unification process will be there. Right now, there doesn’t even seem to be a figure willing to take the gamble that Manning did.

  8. I do not see how it would ever come about. The Greens are pretty well done like dinner, so that part of the equation is a null set. The Liberals and NDP will each benefit slightly with perhaps as much as 1% of the green electorate gong to each. (And maybe 0.5% to the CPC). The NDP smell victory. They have been fondly interpreting every tiny twist in the polls in their favour as an incipient victory for two generations, so it is hard to blame them for wanting it all for themselves now there is actually some substance behind their fond imaginings. The Liberal Party, well, I think that the there are still plenty of Liberals who blame their incipient demise on a ‘Big Mistake’ by the electorate, and all it will take is a new messiah to set things right. Why compromise when ‘the messiah’ is coming?
    I think that the Liberal Party still has an opportunity to become a progressive-conservative party, espousing liberal values, and sitting in the moderate centre. Problem is they will have to say so loud and clear, and do a lot of groundwork to be effective in that role. It would be good for Canada, and there is a lot of value to maintaining a strong moderate voice for Canadians to turn to. Look at what the PC’s turned into when they submitted to a takeover by the extremists. Do you seriously want Canadians to be left with no choice but two ranting extremes? I do NOT believe that is what the majority of Canadians want, and if it takes an extra few years of reactionary rule to disgust canadians to the point where they will return to a moderate party, then so be it.

  9. Nic Coivert says:

    and who said thieves never prosper?

  10. dave says:

    Not to worry…2 1/2 years from now, slightest chance that ND’s would make it to even a minority government and the corporate board rooms will loosen the purse strings to unleash a propaganda campaign which will threaten all kinds of nonsense – nationalization of ipods, welfare for war criminals, stalinist purges, collectivization of back yard gardens, anti semitism, flight of all the mining/fossil fuel/forestry investors, …the bigshots, especially foreign bigshots, will not allow an ND government threats of democratic reform of our electoral and legislative institutions until they are through with our resources.

  11. Philippe says:

    Nobody has a crystal ball and politics are unpredictable. There “could” be a Justin wave that sweeps him to power next election. Or, Mulclair could continue his upswing and eek out a minority. However, my best guess is that vote splitting will be unavoidable with a healthy NDP and charismatic Liberal leader – and Harper will again reap the rewards.

    After 1 more ass kicking, I could bet my home that the merger will happen. But, there needs to be one more ass kicking.

    The Unite the Right movement didn’t happen overnight, and neither will this.

  12. Joey Rapaport says:

    Very exciting Poll… Liberals get back to power and NDP move back to their rightful place in the basement LOL


  13. Paul says:

    The NDP are far from Progressive. They are union thugs in sheep’s clothing. Only progressive party is (was) Liberal.

  14. Philip says:

    There has to be something more principled behind the merger rather than just winning. As Liberals, our job right now is to rebuild a centerist progressive party based on the fiscal conservatism we have do better than anyone and a capacity for social justice which we have demonstrated time and again. Neither the NDP nor the Conservatives have put these values into practice at a national level. We have. If the Liberal Party abandons those values out of expidency or desperation, then we become no better than the old PC Party which destroyed itself to merge with Reform. Is that who we are? I hope not.

    • Dan says:

      The Conservative government is already cutting social security and a bunch of necessary branches of the civil service. Does the Liberal party expect to get elected by outdoing those cuts? Or by imitating those cuts, and trying to find small differences on abortion and gays?

      • Philip says:

        All good questions, Dan. The short answer is that I’m not sure and obviously I can’t speak for an entire political party. My take on things is that there would be cuts to the civil service, hopefully based on actual metrics and not blind ideology. Spending cuts, yep. Again, this is all from my P.O.V and I probably tend more towards the fiscal conservative side of the Liberal fold than others. To me, the idea of balance between the need balance the budget and social programs is paramount. It’s not easy and in the past we haven’t always gotten it right but I don’t think that’s a reason not to keep trying.

        Gay marriage and abortion are both settled issues to me. I can’t tell another person who they can or cannot love and who they and who they are allowed to marry. I also don’t make decisions for others about abortion, it’s not my body, I am not living their lives and I won’t have to carry the weight of their decision. What must be done is to make all the options and information available to everyone. That includes safe, legal abortions.

        I realize that the above is all about the mushy middle, as it were, of the Canadian political landscape. To my mind, that is a strength not a weakness and compromise should be sought out not dismissed or avoided. Perhaps not a terribly popular view right now but I don’t think The long term interests of Canada are best served by flicking from one end of the political spectrum to another every couple of election cycles.

        • Dan says:

          A lot of what you’re saying makes sense. But it’s not especially different from what the Conservatives are offering. Have you actually debated a Harper Conservative lately?

          Economically, they’d tell you that the cuts to to social security are not ideological, and are based on “common sense” and “actual metrics” that it’s becoming insolvent. We also have Mr. Liberal Strategy himself telling us that we should stop picking on the oil sands.

          And on those “settled issues”, Harper would agree with you too. What’s worse, I’m not sure all Liberals would agree with you, considering the vocal pro-life anti-gay MPs in the caucus. (Even more, if you consider the recent Liberal ex-MPs, and the provincial MPPs in BC and Ontario.)

          You’re asking the Liberals to campaign on small differences. It’s hard to find a campaign-winning difference between Liberal fiscal conservatism and Conservative fiscal conservatism. Even harder to find a campaign-winning difference between Liberal social liberalism and Conservative social libertarianism. The real difference with Harper is on the unglamorous issues: the senate, the census, the watchdog agencies — all things that will make it harder for progressives to govern 10 years down the line. But campaigning on those unglamorous issues is making a huge assumption that Canadians have the time to understand why those issues are important.

          The only way “necessary cuts to civil service, silent on gays/abortion” could beat the Conservatives is if they implode due to scandal, and people are happy to replace them with a similar platform minus the incompetence and corruption.

          • Philip says:

            Increase revenue and cut spending, both with an eye towards social justice. Responsible taxes aren’t evil. Harper has never said any of these things, has never campaigned on them and has never believed in them. We are citizens of Canada and not just consumers of government. Everything Harper stands for is an anathema to that point of view. Internationally and domestically Canadians have an appetite for consensus, not wedge politics. We are not a country of absolutes, more grey than black or white. Just like it doesn’t have to a choice between a social conscience or fiscal responsibility. It’s a false dichotomy and that doesn’t serve Canadians at all. I would love to campaign on those differences.

      • JamesHalifax says:

        Dan, I’m a Conservative (as if you couldn’t guess by now) and I have gay Conservative friends, and I know Conservative women who have had an abortion. That is only an issue with some of the more strident MP’s with a strong religious conviction. As you may be aware, the Liberal Party also has some very socially conservative members who are opposed to gay rights AND abortion.

        As for the cuts being made…..Liberals have made tough choices too, and for the same reason. A country cannot continue to spend what it does not have.

        Liberals won’t get re-elected because they can promise deeper cuts. They’ll get re-elected when they come up with some proposals that attract more Canadians. Until then….they will continue to wander in the wilderness. Here’s a hint….simply saying Haper is “mean”….doesn’t cut it any more.

        Give us something to vote FOR.

    • JamesHalifax says:

      Philip, the NDP idea of “social justice” is far different than the Liberal Party’s idea of social justice.

      NDP – Definition of Social Justice. “People who accumulate wealth are greedy, dishonest, and holding the average working man down. It is social justice to tax the hell out of these folks and distribute it to NDP voters,…er…those who are less fortunate. Oh yeah…and we don’t like Jewish people or Israel either.”

      Liberal – Definition of social justice. “Everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential through hard work, and as such, should enjoy the benefits they acquire in that endeavor. It is understood that some Canadians will be less fortunate than others’, therefore social justice demands we share they burden fairly to support those who cannot yet support themselves, or will not ever be able to support themselves. Social justice demands we take care of the Canadians who cannot take care of themselves”

      Conservative – Definition of Social justice. Same as the Liberal definition, with the additional caveat: “Social justice does not mean we try to provide every Canadian with everything they want, simply because they want it. As such, we will enact no policies that are a burden on one segment of society at the expense of another. We will not engage Canada in vastly expensive programs or initiatives that have proven a failure in other nations, nor will we bankrupt the country with feel good initiatives such as KYOTO..etc..etc…

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