|The Undemocratic Democracy|
The State of Play post Calgary Centre Byelection
Some recent reflections on the divided opposition parties:
Yet most Liberals here still see other parties joining them rather than the other way around.
As for the Greens, they are enjoying a surge of support, particularly in B.C., where they came close to winning the byelection in Victoria. Combining forces with one of the old-line parties — the NDP or the Liberals — would render them invisible. Besides, many of their supporters like them because they are new, because they don’t do politics as usual.
The NDP is certainly not going to slide into the shadows. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair made that quite clear during the Calgary byelection.
“We are the official opposition . . . and we have a message to deliver,” Mulcair said during a media scrum, sounding insulted by the very idea that the official opposition would back away from a byelection.
If the party brass can’t even put aside rivalries for a byelection, what hope is there for a united strategy during a general election?
Green Leader Elizabeth May has said she is willing to look at co-operation among parties.
Janet Keeping, leader of the Alberta Greens also backs that concept, although she said various forms need to be explored first. Liberal leadership contender Joyce Murray also wants to explore co-operation.
Why the Joyce Murray "Cooperate First, Reform Later" Plan is the Answer
MP Joyce Murray has shown that she is a practitioner of realpolitiek, with her proposal that the warring opposition parties put aside their rivalries for the next election, and aim at removing the Stephen Harper new Tories from power, to be followed by serious discussions about implementing electoral reform to replace the antiquated first past the post system we have.
The Joyce Murray Cooperate First, Reform Later Plan holds the promise of enormous benefits for all three of the opposition parties.
It is clear that many of those in the leadership ranks of the NDP and LPC fail to understand:
(1) the depth of the desire of ordinary Canadians for meaningful electoral reform;
(2) the need for cooperation before the next election in order to enhance the chances of removing Harper from power;
(3) the way in which they are themselves falling into The Power Trap;
(4) the fact that there is a way to remove Harper without having the NDP, LPC and Green Party losing their identities through a merger; and
(5) that the Joyce Murray Cooperate First, Reform Later Plan is the best proposal for achieving the most important aims of the majority of Canadians.
Consider the simplicity of the Murray Cooperate First, Reform Later Plan, as tweaked by Andrew Coyne.
It does not require any party to lose its identity through a merger.
It does not require the three opposition parties to agree on a post-election coalition government that will last for 3 to 5 years (the UK has such a coalition accord, struck for a period of 5 years).
It does not bind the hands of the three parties except for the coming election, and the requirement to discuss and implement electoral changes to remedy our democratic deficit after the removal of the Harper Tories from government.
If the supporters of the NDP, Liberal Party and Green Party united to cooperate in such a way as to ensure the removal of the Tories from power, then the way in which we elect our MPs could be changed to a system of modified proportional representation, and another election on the basis of the changed system could be called once it is implemented.
All parties would then fight that next election as independent parties, without any pre-election cooperation agreements needed.
The result would benefit all Canadians, and the three opposition parties in particular.
The Greens would immediately have far more MPs in Ottawa then they now have – they would have MPs equal to their percentage of the total vote cast, instead of the two they now have.
The NDP would also have representation equal to their total share of the total vote, as would the LPC and CPC and Bloc.
If no party gains a majority of seats in the House, then the party with the most seats would attempt to form a government that gained the confidence of the House. This might mean a minority government ruling with the support – on a case by case basis – of any or all of the other parties.
Or it might mean a more formal coalition agreement, entered into after the election, for an agreed period and on an agreed basis.
The most important thing is that all votes would be counted, and would have value in electing our members to represent us in Parliament, and all regions would have voices reflecting their diversity in their MPs.
These are important values.