Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Rebuilding the Liberal Party: Two Gamechangers

Now that the LPC  has lost its leader and half its seats, and seen its percentage of the votes cast slashed down to below 20%, the rebuilding will start.

There will be analyses by many of what went wrong and why, but that is not what The Cat wants to talk about in this post.

I want to set out the two Gamechanging policies I want the new leader of the Liberal Party to adopt BEFORE THE ELECTION OF LEADERS IS HELD, so as to ensure that the Harper Tories are tossed out of power in 2015. 

I will vote for and blog on behalf of any candidate for leadership of the LPC who adopts these two core gamechanging policies as part of his or her run for the leadership:

 A commitment to 

1.      implement some system of Proportional Representation after the 2015 election to replace the archaic and undemocratic First Past The Post (FPTP) system we now have, and
2.      enter into an Electoral Ceasefire Pact with the NDP with respect to certain ridings.

The Harsh Facts:

Before we discuss the details of these two gamechangers, look at this CBC chart showing the percentage of votes cast and number of seats won by the parties in 2011:

2011 CBC - Votes& Seats Won

This  other CBC chart also illustrates this in a different format:
CB Votes & Seats of Parties in 2011

And look at this CBC chart showing which party has a share of the 50 seats with the smallest margins in 2011 (the Tories have the largest number – 22 in all):

BC - 50 Seats with Smallest Margins 2011

The Harsh Conclusion from the above facts:

What do the above items demonstrate?

That the united right wing party of Harper will win a majority of seats in 2015 if the centre-left parties split the vote yet again in that election, as we did yesterday.

Proportional Representation to lead to a more democratic Canada:

The commitment to implement Proportional Representation in all provinces in which 50% plus 1 votes in favour are obtained in a referendum after the 2015 election, will remedy the over- and under-weighting of votes we find in our FPTP system. 

PR will give be fairer to all citizens, and will prevent a result such as yesterday's where a minority of votes (40%) resulted in a majority of seats (54% of total seats or 166 for Harper's new Tories). Voters in all regions will be represented according to their share of votes cast in each province – see this article for more details on political reform.

Jack Layton's NDP and Elizabeth May's Green Party both support some form of electoral reform in the form of PR, and so should be willing to agree with the new Liberal leader to enter into a written agreement pledging their parties to support the referendum on a PR system once the opposition parties toss out the Harper Tory government in the 2015 election.

Electoral Ceasfire Pact between LPC and NDP to avoid vote splitting in 2015:

Also, the Electoral Ceasefire Pact the Liberal Party will offer to enter into with the NDP is aimed at preventing vote splitting in the 2015 election yet again leading to the Tories gaining a majority of seats with less than a majority of votes.

The Ceasefire Pact will mean that the Liberal Party will not merge with the NDP, but that both parties will retain their separate existence.

The Ceasefire Pact will be a flexible one, designed to reduce the number of seats won by the Tories in 2011 with small margins and total votes cast that were less than the combined NDP and LPC votes cast. 

The 22 Tory seats with the smallest margins – see the above chart – could be the ones covered by the Ceasefire Pact

The NDP and LPC will agree that in the 2015 election for these 22 Chosen Seats, the two parties will not compete with each other but will agree to run just one candidate from one of the parties, and ask their members to vote for the Chosen Candidate. This will stop vote splitting for these Chosen Seats.

To ensure a majority of NDP plus LPC seats won in 2015, the Ceasefire Pact might also extend to selected other seats won by either party in the 2011 election.

The Ceasefire Pact will not apply to all other Tory seats won in 2011, where the NDP and LPC will duke it out with the Tories.

No coalition or cooperation agreement between NDP and LPC:

Apart from the PR commitment and the Ceasefire Pact, there will be no agreement by the NDP and LPC to enter into a coalition after the 2015 election, or any other form of cooperation. 

If – as is likely if the Ceasefire Pact is implemented – one of the leaders of the NDP or LPC becomes the next Prime Minister in 2015, he or she will attempt to gain the confidence of the House on a case by case basis.

However, both parties will agree to pass legislation to hold the PR referendum and if it is successful in any pronvinces, the legislation needed to implement it in those provinces.

Advantages to NDP and LPC:

The parties retain their individual status as parties, and do not commit to any coalition or cooperation agreement except these two (PR and Ceasefire Pact).

However, the chances of avoiding another Tory majority of seats in 2015 through vote splitting by the NDP and LPC in the seats covered by the Ceasefire Pact are substantially reduced because of only one candidate from one of the parties running in each such seats.

How about it, Liberals?

Let's start off realistically, with our aim being the prevention of an unfair Tory majority in 2015 based on vote splitting.


  1. Uhm...no thanks.

  2. PR was offered in Ontario and BC - TWICE - and soundly rejected each time. What makes you think there is any appetite for PR outside of the circle of losers? Canadians appear to like majorities and seem to be OK with getting one with less than 50%. As far as policies go, why not come up with one that isn't blatantly political and only of benefit to political parties? Neither of those policies help people, they are simply self-serving whines.

  3. I don't think they're "whines".

    I'm not 100% convinced about PR, but I'd sure like to see a better system. For example, voting for Head of State and Senate and Prime Minister would all be cool in my book.

  4. Seemed like FPTP was fine for Jean Chr├ętien during the 1990s.

    1993 - 41%
    1997 - 38% (lower than Harper 2011)
    2000 - 41%

    The Liberals should have paid back the Adscam money that was stolen from taxpayers. That would have been a start. What did the Liberals do instead? Hire back the "banned-for-life" Liberals who were responsible for the mess.

    Electoral Ceasefire Pact will not work. If a Liberal and NDP vote is just the same (and they are not - look at the some of the Liberal losses in Ontario where the Liberal vote went Conservative to block the NDP), why not just merge? I suspect the NDP does not want all the Liberal debt. Has everybody paid off the loans from the 2006 leadership race yet? Why does Elections Canada keep extending the deadline? Why are there different rules for the Liberals? Why does it seem that the Liberals are only in it for themselves? Where are all the good ideas - you had a decade to implement your daycare program and did not. You did not get rid of the GST as promised.

    Purge the old guard. Have a real leadership reace. Don't make Rae or Trudeau leader. Come up with real policy and not retail politics. Figure out the answers to the questions above, then you might have a shot. To bad it won't be until 2019.

  5. I like it. I do.

    The problem is, I really can't see an electoral pact happening without a merger. It's not just that (as McRae puts it) why NOT a merger. It's that the negotiations that went in to deciding where to put what party's candidates would end up BEING a de facto merger, whatever else happened. Save the pact for a worst-case scenario in case Harper does turn out as authoritarian as certain leftists are saying and it looks like 2015 is Canada's last election. Otherwise, I don't think it's a good idea to reduce us to 2 parties, and that's where that would lead.

    Proportional representation is an idea I like. Mind you, the entrenched interests will fight even harder against that than against a Lib-NDP merger. The Tories and their friends in the business community know full well that there's no way a right-wing party could ever form a Canadian government under proportional representation.

  6. I like the way the Austalians vote, and Britain is thinking of adopting theirs, too

  7. Ceasefire is stupid. The other party could just about an hour before the deadline sign up candidates in the ridings that they said they wouldn't run candidates.

    If a "surge" were to start happening for one of the parties where it could sweep whole regions they would be denied seats in areas they don't run candidates. It could mean losing a majority. Party supporters in those ridings where there are no candiates probably would not donate. Why would they?

    Better to just pack it in and join a party that you can participate in fully.


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