Wednesday, October 19, 2011

NDP MP Nathan Cullen's case for electoral cooperation

The leadership race for the NDP just got a lot more interesting.

Enter the Innovation Leadership Candidate:

An NDP MP has thrown his hat in the ring in order to start a national dialogue geared to discussing serious methods for progressives to cooperate to replace the right wing government of Stephen Harper in 2015 with a different government.
Nathan Cullen watches Jack Layton fork something

Nathan Cullen has done Canadians a favour by starting this national dialogue.

This is his proposal when launching his campaign (hat tip to calgarygrit) – my redlining:

One of the men who hopes to lead the federal New Democrats says he would try to defeat Stephen Harper by proposing to Liberals and Greens that the three parties hold joint nomination meetings and run a single candidate in ridings currently held by Conservatives.

“Today I am asking New Democrats for a mandate as leader to co-operate with other progressive Canadians,” Nathan Cullen, a British Columbia MP, told reporters on Tuesday...

“I am not interested in a merger,” said Mr. Cullen, who explained that he accepted that the cultures of the three parties were too disparate for them to exist happily under the same banner.

“I am interested in working with others who share broad policy objectives with an eye on removing Stephen Harper from office as soon as humanly possible and replacing him with a government that truly reflects Canadian values of co-operation and consensus building,” he said.

Mr. Cullen said he fully expected the Liberal and Green leadership to reject his proposal. But he said he is looking past the parties to progressive voters who are frustrated when they try to decide who to vote for to defeat the Conservatives.

His plan would be to let grassroots members of the three parties decide in each riding currently held by the Conservatives whether they wanted to hold a joint nomination meeting. If they agree, all parties could run candidates at that meeting and all card-carrying members of the three parties would get a vote, but only the winner would go on to run for a seat in Parliament under the banner with which they ran in the nomination.

“I believe now is the time to respond to the call from people from all walks of life who hate that Stephen Harper can change our country for the worse with the support of less than four in 10 voters,” Mr. Cullen said.
Nathan Cullen's Twittering and Facebooking skills:

A Cullen Tweet

Nathan Cullen has addressed his proposal on his twitter account. His twitter address is!/nathancullen.

Some Nathan Tweets on how to fire Stephen Harper as PM:

Here are some of his tweets:

There'll be a joint nomination vote, and we encourage voters to get involved in that nomination vote.

And the local RA's in Con. held ridings would democratically decide if they want to hold a joint Nom. Meet. It's up to them.

Our goal is to get a gov't that reflects the majority of voters. That's the democratic imperative

Only riding associations who democratically agree to field a joint candidate would participate.

I simply want the coop option taken out of the back rooms and put in the hands of members

And the local RA's in Con. held ridings would democratically decide if they want to hold a joint Nom. Meet. It's up to them.

Or in other words. I want to unite progressive Canadians in order to form a government that reflects our common values. =)

I'm asking for a mandate from Canadians to cooperate broadly in order to form a progressive government. Discuss. #ndpldr

As NDP leader, I'd seek joint nomination meetings in some Conservative-held seats b/w progressive, federalist parties #cdnpoli #ndpldr

Talking *strategic* cooperation to unite progressive voices.

I said when I launched my bid that I would be doing politics differently. Today at 1pm (EST) I will be bringing that to life.

Brian Topp and Thomas Mulcair: A Flatfooted Rejection Response:

 Both Brian Topp and Thomas Mulcair were quick to respond, shooting down the concept as soon as they heard it (just as Cullen expected).  It's surprising that these two men did not take the time to discuss the concept, and their knee jerk reaction bodes ill for the quality of political  strategic thinking the NDP will entertain if either Topp or Mulcair become the leader.

Mr. Cullen, who represents B.C.'s Skeena–Bulkely Valley (one of the biggest ridings in all of Canada that at 323,720 square kilometres is bigger than many European countries) said he wanted to do politics differently, when he entered the leadership race.

Cullen was first elected in 2004, and in each of his 3 successful runs to be an MP, he won more than 55% of votes cast.

A Social Media MP:

Cullen has also shown a willingness to use social media in order to encourage wide debate and participation by many. As a business owner he specialized in strategic planning and conflict resolution.

He has shown a willingness to learn from the successes of others, and has copied the social media methods used by the Obama campaign.

He has used Facebook to spread the word on the issues he has faced as an MP. His facebook is

He also set up a telephone town hall:
 All listed residential phone numbers in the riding received a recorded message inviting them to the town hall meeting, and those who wished to participate stayed on the line. Using technology taken from the campaign which elected Barack Obama as President of the United States in 2008, as many as 10,000 people could be on the line at the same time.
 Let's hope that he sets up a cooperation Facebook to help spread  discussion of this issue, and uses his social media skills to hang in there.

Tweet support if you like what this MP is doing to try something innovative to replace Stephen Harper as Prime Minister.

His idea would please supporters of some kind of electoral ceasefire; Professor Michael Byers for starters.

Could this move by Nathan Cullen be the start of a Canadian Arab Spring amongst non-Tories?

Let's all hope so!

Best of luck, Nathan. May the gods favour your fight.

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