Thursday, October 20, 2011

John Ivison says the Cullen Plan could take away Stephen Harper's majority government

Ivison sees trouble ahead for the Harper Tories with the plan launched by NDP MP Nathan Cullen when he announced that he was running for leader of the NDP.  Ivison believes the plan could take Harper's minority away, because there are 21 Tory MPs clinging to power with a margin of victory of less than 5% over their closest rival:
John Ivison

Already there are signs of trouble ahead, not least the proposal by B.C. MP Nathan Cullen to hold joint NDP-Liberal-Green nomination meetings and run single candidates in ridings held by Conservatives...

The joint nomination concept is a novel idea, in a race where they have been in short supply. Party members may dispute how good an idea it is. Opponents suggest that not all Liberals would vote NDP (or vice versa) and that it may even see some Grits move to the Tories.
But it would mean a degree of co-operation not dependent on full-blown merger. If made to work, it could prove troublesome for the Conservatives at the next election. The Harper government won 21 seats by less than 5% of the vote, including seven in greater Toronto. Just losing those seats would take the Tories back into minority territory.

Ivison also cautions oberservers not to rule out the Cullen run for leadership. The NDP has a preferential voting system, and this allows the candidates with fewer votes than the two top runners to have a fair crack at winning once dropoff votes are counted. And this could mean that Nathan Cullen would have a shot at becoming the leader of the Official Opposition, and – who knows? – prime minister in 2015:
Nathan Cullen - gunning for Harper

Mr. Cullen is something of a longshot for the leadership, but the NDP’s voting system is similar to that used by the Liberal party in 2006 and Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives, which both saw their front-runners defeated, as candidates fell off the ballot and transferred their support to others. Even if he doesn’t win — and it’s way too early to discount that prospect — he is likely to be a major player in the party for years to come.

Now that would be the changing of the generational guard, with a vengeance!

So we better all examine the Cullen Plan with care, to see how we could make it work, and journalists might want to check out this guy a bit more, too: he might surprise them.

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