Monday, November 14, 2011

NDP supporters don't think a Quebec leader is essential but do want electoral cooperation with Liberals

A surprising finding from the latest Ipsos Reid poll, and a very disconcerting one for ThomasMulcair.
A large majority (58%) of NDP supporters don't believe that the next leader necessarily should hail from Quebec:

Fifty-eight per cent of NDP backers surveyed nationally strongly or somewhat disagreed a Quebecois leader is the only way to go. 

There we have it.

Contrast the views of the majority of NDP backers in Quebec with the attitude of the party brass towards the need to strike while the iron is hot and cement the breakthrough that Jack Layton and Thomas Mulcair made in that province on May 2.

Party brass have resisted calls for the NDP not to be hypercritical by favouring asymmetrical treatment for Quebec on a national front but refusing to grant asymmetrical treatment to NDP party members in that province due to the absence of any provincial wing of the party and therefore the almost complete absense of signed up members there who can vote for the next leader.

The party brass have also  turned their back on Mulcair's realistic request for a full-party drive to register members in the province, so as to allow the NDP supporters in that province to have a more realistic say in the election of the next leader.

It seems that asymmetrical treatment for Quebec within the country as a whole is fine with NDP party brass, but that such treatment is not fine when it comes to selecting a leader from within the NDP! And have you heard any of the party brass or other leadership contenders making the case for this two-faced attitude?

The stand of the party brass against cementing the breakthrough in Quebec is consistent with the lack of democracy within the party, which has been very clearly and persuasively described in the Liberal Party Roadmap to Power.

Inside Quebec, the Ipsos Reid findings are the rumble of a severe storm  sweeping down on the NDP:

Nearly two-thirds of Quebecers, 63 per cent, want an NDP leader from the province.


This diametrically opposite view might well be the first break in the Jack Layton breakthrough in that province.

Ipsos Reid also surveyed Canadians about a merger of the NDP and Liberal Party, and found substantial support for it in both parties: almost half (44% and 41%) of NDP and LPC supporters support a merger.

Once again, contrast this with the stand taken by Bob Rae (I don't wanna talk about it) and both Brian No-Way Topp and Thomas Never-Ever Mulcair. Talk about leaders being out of touch with party members!

Of course, as I mentioned in earlier posts (click here for full details, and here, and here, and here), Ipsos Reid does Canadians no service by simply asking a question about a full merger of the two parties.

A far more meaningful poll would include questions about alternatives, such as a coalition of both parties to replace a Harper minority government in 2015, while retaining their separate existences.

The coalition would take the same form as the UK coalition: agreement on a list of measures to be passed into law and implemented by the coalition government, along with an agreement by both parties to support the coalition government for a full  years in order to implement the policies; and the ability of the parties to vote any way they please on all other matters.

And whether both parties should be discussing such a possible post-election well before 2015 – timing is important.

 My guess is a large majority (over 65%) of both the NDP and LPC supporters would strongly favour such pre-election discussions and such a post-election coalition government. The Arab Spring is sweeping across Canada; only the leaders of our various parties seem to be unaware of it!

And to be even more useful for Ipsos Reid to also poll the reaction of NDP and LPC party members, supporters and Canadians in general of the Cullen Plan – the pre-election electoral cooperation plan put forth by NDP MP Nathan Cullen when he announced his run for leadership.

My guess is that more than two – thirds of supporters of both the NDP and LPC would favour the Cullen Plan, and more than 50% of Canadians would as well.

A pity that the Ipsos Reid poll helps muddy the waters with its limited focus on merger.

Get with the program, pollsters: Canadians are far more astute politically than you give them credit for!


  1. Problem with the cullen plan is that so many insiders seem to think that the party brand would suffer more for cooperation than running some pimply-faced college kid in dormant ridings. Feh

  2. A sharp drop in the polls in Quebec will bring some welcome pause to the leadership candidates who have dismissed the Cullen Plan without laying out a credible plan of their own for the NDP to win power .... my guess is that it will take about another month for the polls to have dropped around 15% or so.

  3. What a disingenuous post - 58% of those polled said the next NDP leader didn't HAVE to be from Quebec, nothing at all about OPPOSING a leader from there.

    It's as though you're saying "58% of people are violently opposed to Quebec Supreme Court judges" when what they said is they don't believe all Supreme Judges have to be Quebecois.


  4. Good point, Anon: my heading did not correctly reflect what the poll said nor what I intended to say. I will correct it. The contrast between Quebec and the NDP diaspora is striking. But not really surprising.

  5. Thank you; not often you get a quick and courteous correction like that.


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