When the results are compared to voting intent, "merging" the Liberals and NDP is supported by a majority of Liberals (54 per cent), materially more popular than among NDP supporters (40 per cent support) (to put this number in perspective, when Angus Reid last asked about such a scenario in October of 2009, they got 43 per cent of Liberals in favour, and 50 per cent opposed); an even larger majority of Liberals (57 per cent) are in favour of "strategic candidate support" between the NDP and Liberals (compared to 44 per cent support amongst NDP supporters). Both parties are equally enthusiastic about a "shared power" scenario (72 per cent LIB, 70 per cent NDP).
Pause for a moment and consider the very last sentence:
Both parties are equally enthusiastic about a "shared power" scenario (72 per cent LIB, 70 per cent NDP).
By "shared power", Angus Reid presumably meant something similar to the "working partnership" scenario which Bob Rae actually implemented when he was premier of Ontario.
Such a shared power or working partnership is very very different from the full merger model of coalition building which was the subject of the original Angus Reid announced poll results (and which I explored in my earlier post).
It is the Third Option I recommended.
And it is similar to the Cameron-Clegg Model (no loss of identity of either party; no merger of two parties into one; agreed program of action; rights to vote against legislation which is not part of the agreed program of action).
Of course, the NDP would have to be crazy not to insist on a referendum on a modified form of proportional representation as part of any agreed program. I would suggest a commitment by both parties to immediately institute the single transferable vote system adopted in the Cameron-Clegg Model (which would require an MP to be elected by at least 50% of voters in a riding, with second and third choices of voters being used to reach such a result if the first choices do not boost any one candidate over the 50% mark).
And then I would suggest a quick study of a modified proportional representation system (which retains some connection between some MPs and the riding they represent) followed by a referendum for Canadians in each province to vote whether their province should use such a modified PR system for future elections of their MPs.
Oh, and don't forget the Angus Reid findings on "strategic candidate support"...
Is participatory democracy through informal groups of Liberals and Dippers the way?
Also, Silver's suggestion that Liberals table – before the next election - some major principles which would govern any working partnership or shared power negotiations with any other party or parties, is a superb one.
The Cat would like to see informal groups of Liberals and Dippers getting together to start discussing such principles – perhaps taking the Cameron-Clegg coalition agreement as a starting point, and then looking at the major policies of the LPC and NDP to see where there is common ground (rather than where we differ widely).
That way both parties would be well positioned to begin serious negotiations around implementing the power sharing principles if the minority Tory government fails go gain a vote of confidence in the House.
The elephant in the room: Duceppe's Bloc
The elephant in the room, of course, is the position of the Bloc, with its unilateral declaration of coalition support for Harper: only a publicly disclosed set of power sharing principles by the LPC (and, perhaps, NDP) would serve to make Duceppe think twice.
Especially if the power sharing principles include several major items which would greatly benefit Quebeckers (such as increased public funding for political parties, and making our Parliament actually work for ordinary people, including much greater cooperation between all MPs from all parties – see the Cameron-Clegg agreement for several tantalizing examples).