Kinsella's NDP-Liberal merger ploy

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Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Pogo wrote:

Is there a possibility that Kinsella is purposely trying to drive the Liberal Party down either from revenge or as a ploy to engineer his return?  I can't see a positive for the Liberals in this story, why is he doing it?

Ego.

remind remind's picture

Quote:
They may as well not be there.

Exactly, and I take your point they are not in a coalition. They are doing nothing IMV, as they are part and parcel of what the banks and corporations want either the Cons or Liberals to do.

Ryan1812 Ryan1812's picture

Pogo wrote:

Is there a possibility that Kinsella is purposely trying to drive the Liberal Party down either from revenge or as a ploy to engineer his return?  I can't see a positive for the Liberals in this story, why is he doing it?

This is the only way I've seen this all along Pogo. Kinsella was booted out of the Liberal inner circle by Iggy and this is a revenge play. Pure and simple. I don't think there have been any serious talks about mergers. Of course, whispers have been around since the founding of the CCF but they have never come to anything. The NDP, instead, attemps to make itself more relevent by appealing to emotional, moral sensibilities. Hey, I have to admit it, it works for me. I'm a realist but I always seem to get pulled in whenever Jack has something to say.

NorthReport

Ignatieff's leadership issues have just gotten a lot bigger as Chretien now wants Ignatieff gone

 

 

As she often does, Chantal has her finger on Ottawa's political pulse

 

Rift grows between former PM Chrétien and Ignatieff

Chrétien, Romanow and Broadbent see the upcoming battle for the Montreal riding of Outremont between Thomas Mulcair, the NDP's only Quebec MP, and Martin Cauchon, a past and potentially future Quebec federal Liberal star, as a sample of the self-defeating war the national progressive parties are poised to wage against each other in the next election.

Chrétien's reasoning involves an implicit admission that exceptional conditions presided over his three consecutive majorities, conditions that will not be replicated.

On the occasion of the hanging of his official portrait on Parliament Hill a few weeks ago, he joked that he could still return to lead the party to victory. Made in jest, that comment involved a good dose of post-politics hubris.

In the 2000 campaign for instance, Chrétien virtually tied the Bloc Québécois for seats in Quebec. Those Liberal gains went a long way to secure his majority victory. But the NDP did not even win two per cent of the popular vote in the province in that election. Under Jack Layton, it polls in the mid-teens.

With party fortunes stagnant, Liberal history-replete as it is with leadership-related back-stabbing-is repeating itself these days. But there is more at play than the kind of personal rivalry that pitted the Chrétien and Paul Martin clans against each other for the duration of the two men's joint tenure in politics.

Ignatieff has fallen on the wrong side of Chrétien on a subject that his predecessor links to the fundamental issue of the future of the country and the place of the party he once led in it.

Up to a point, their differences are reminiscent of those that opposed Pierre Trudeau to John Turner at the time of the Meech Lake constitutional debate.

The active participation of the former prime minister in behind-the-scenes conversations over new arrangements with the NPD as well as his recent vocal public support for the concept speak to a high level of engagement in the debate.

The last time Chrétien and Ignatieff locked horns by proxy was last fall, over the latter's refusal to pave the way for Cauchon's run in his former riding of Outremont.

Ignatieff blinked and that set in motion the resignation of then-Quebec lieutenant Denis Coderre. The Quebec wing of the party has yet to recover from that episode and, along with it, the leader's standing in a province where the Liberals need to make gains if they are to have a shot at government in the next election.

At the time of that collision, Chrétien signalled that he believed the Liberals should still fight the next campaign under Ignatieff and, presumably, as a stand-alone party. It should come as no surprise that the message that he has now come to a different conclusion on both scores is resonating loudly within Liberal ranks.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/821800--hebert-rift-grows-bet...

NorthReport

Desperate Liberals want to bring NDP into fold -- Dippers want no part of it

 

 

 

Would the Liberals themselves benefit?

Possibly, if they wound up holding all the key posts and somehow hung on to the leadership. But that's not realistic. This is because, bottom line, many Liberals feel they need a merger, whereas the NDP do not. So the Liberals would have to make huge concessions.

This would necessarily drive this new Liberal-Democrat party to the left. The winning Grit formula of the 1990s - fiscal conservatism and realpolitic married to social progressivism - would be gone.

The Conservatives have worked for years to bring the broad middle class beneath their tent, then shimmy that tent ever so slowly to the right.

This merged centre-left scenario would give them their first unimpeded shot at the centre-right, which the Liberals once owned. It would take only a new, moderate leader - Jim Prentice, say - to make them the new, natural governing party.

But it won't happen. It's not real. The discussion is not about a merger at all, in fact. It's about a Liberal Party that remains stubbornly committed to having and holding all the marbles and is shorn of ideas. Mired at 25%, they can think of nothing better than out-Harpering Harper.

Has any senior Liberal considered what their party could achieve if it pledged itself to electoral reform? The promise of a more rational and fair voting system could bring many New Democrats and Greens onside without a merger.

Has Michael Ignatieff as leader delivered a single speech that contains a surprising and elegant solution to a pressing Canadian problem?

Has he said anything unexpected about reforming and preserving health care? Has he offered an honest road map to cutting the deficit, or bolstering sovereignty in the melting Arctic, or dealing with the disgraceful and racist Indian Act, or weaning Canadians off fossil fuels?

The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings. A good old yarn, worth rereading.

http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/michael_dentandt/2010/06/10...

outwest

QUOTE:  "Antispin -- it is not a resistance to change per se-- it is the loss of a defined social democratic option. The combined party would be a centre party not a social democratic party. Some are unhappy with the degree by which the NDP has already become more like the Liberals. Not all change is good."

Of what earthly use is the "social democratic OPTION" if it does not represent tangible, concrete power? Why does the fact that I can vote for "my" candidate take priority of the overall necessity of booting the right wing out of party by whatever temporary means necessary? While I, too, would like to see a Social democratic party hold power, in difficult times such as now, political movements must sometimes be made in smaller increments than desired, and that sometimes means compromise.

"Not all change is good?" No, for example if the change means further movement to the right, I'd completely agree, but if we're talking about change in a swing from the hard right to the moderate centre, well, that's progress, in my view, no matter how unhappy I am with the "centrist" position. Those who dream of progress swinging from the hard right directly to the hard left without a pause are completely unrealistic. A coalition where PR is part of the deal would bring more power to the NDP than it has ever held in this country, but for reasons that are unfathomable and/or completely indefensible, party hardliners just won't bend to it.

 

 

KenS

AntiSpin wrote:

The general fear that the NDP would simply be subsumed by the Liberals is interesting as it speaks to the confidence that supporters have in the abilities of the NDP leadership to negotiate such a deal and hold their own against the demonic LPC. I personally think the NDP, as party, has great leadership and is a very lean, well managed organization, certainly much better the LPC currently. Yet people think that that the NDP could hold their own in a coalition and not get burned? History tells a different story on that score. And yes some voters would reject the new party but I doubt in significant portions (NDP voters would also reject any possibility of a coalition as well, but that's escaped your attention). And where would disgruntled NDP voters go? The Greens? I'm not sure that's a bad outcome. And your fear of NDP voters just staying home is misplaced as they are among the most passionate Canadians in Canada (like Leaf fans, sorta).

You raise interesting and provacative questions. But you don't pay attention to what other people say in response.

Look at the part I highlighted... leaving aside that "but that's escaped your attention" is snobbish dismissive even if it was true, but I've addressed that question at length: what has changed since the Canadian public woke up to the surprise 18 months ago that coalition was not just some nebulous word that has something to do with politics somewhere or other, and other basic facts about the mechanics of politics that they had missed.

And what you said above the highlighted part is no better. I addressed to you specifically why the NDP will be subsumed and that the 'new' party would just be a morphed Liberal Party. I didnt just assert it. You didn't bother to dispute any of that, just toss out more pop psychology that you all have unreasonable fears.

You aren't serious. I don't know whether thats because you are a Liberal whose interest is to stir things up, or that you are just plain cavalier for no particular reason. I don't care which it is. Makes no difference.

Its not even required that people be serious to participate here. But it is expected from someone who makes as sweeping and definitive pronouncements as you do.

JKR

AntiSpin wrote:

That said, PR has been clearly rejected by more than 50% of Canadians in recent provincial referendums (Ontario, BC and Nova Scotia) so it is unlikely to be supported at the national level, although I still think it's still worthwhile having a national discussion and debate.

The systems offered to BC, Ontario, and Nova Scotia were all flawed. There are much better fair voting systems available.

Ontario and Nova Scotia were offered an unpopular version of PR that had closed lists. And Ontario`s system proposed adding many more politicians to the Legislature.  BC was offered a system that created huge geographical ridings and got rid of the single-seat ridings people have grown accustomed to. And it should be noted that STV won the first referendum with 58% of the vote.

If a proper form of fair voting is presented to the voters they will likely vote for it. A top-up system without closed-lists would fit the bill.

 

 

AntiSpin wrote:

There are other reforms possible that would improve the current plurality system. One that I support is requiring a run-off election.

Why support France`s expensive and defective two round system over the Instant Runoff Vote? (It's also called the Alternative Vote (AV).

France's system has elections where only two choices are made available. If you don't support either choice, tough luck. In the 2002 Presidential election, the people had to choose between a conservative and a neo-NAZI!

Quote:

French presidential election, 2002

In the 2002 French presidential election, the two contenders described by the media as having the possibility to win were Jacques Chirac and Lionel Jospin. However, a third contender, Jean-Marie Le Pen, unexpectedly obtained slightly more than Jospin in the first round of elections:

Jacques Chirac 19.88%
Jean-Marie Le Pen 16.86%
Lionel Jospin 16.18%

Since no candidate obtained an absolute majority, a second round is organized with the first two candidates from the first. Jean-Marie Le Pen is however a very controversial politician, and in the second round a vast majority of the voters rejected him:

Jacques Chirac 82.21%
Jean-Marie Le Pen 17.79%

This example demonstrates how the first two candidates from the first round might not be the two favourite candidates of the population.

 

Sean in Ottawa

outwest wrote:

QUOTE:  "Antispin -- it is not a resistance to change per se-- it is the loss of a defined social democratic option. The combined party would be a centre party not a social democratic party. Some are unhappy with the degree by which the NDP has already become more like the Liberals. Not all change is good."

Of what earthly use is the "social democratic OPTION" if it does not represent tangible, concrete power? Why does the fact that I can vote for "my" candidate take priority of the overall necessity of booting the right wing out of party by whatever temporary means necessary? While I, too, would like to see a Social democratic party hold power, in difficult times such as now, political movements must sometimes be made in smaller increments than desired, and that sometimes means compromise.

"Not all change is good?" No, for example if the change means further movement to the right, I'd completely agree, but if we're talking about change in a swing from the hard right to the moderate centre, well, that's progress, in my view, no matter how unhappy I am with the "centrist" position. Those who dream of progress swinging from the hard right directly to the hard left without a pause are completely unrealistic. A coalition where PR is part of the deal would bring more power to the NDP than it has ever held in this country, but for reasons that are unfathomable and/or completely indefensible, party hardliners just won't bend to it.

This is a little like driving looking only one inch in front of your car. Presently, we have a right-wing government that cannot get wide support but governs because the Liberals will not oppose. that is the problem. Harper should not be able to govern without any arrangements and does so only because the Liberal party is AWOL. However, consider the long-term implication of removal of the NDP as an independent force in Canadian politics. Think the budget of 1995 with massive cuts to social programs-- the most dramatic shift to the right brought on by the Liberals in part because they had no fear of the NDP rump that was in the House. The House is not just a reflection of the party in power. It is also a reflection of the opposition-- the party in power's fears realized. A House of commons without an NDP would have no check on a Liberal sellout. Each party governs in part out of fear of losing votes and at times a left of centre party will do things a right wing party would not get away with because of a left opposition when a left party has only a right opposition. People often forget how the makeup of the opposition is a powerful dynamic on the government. All parties want to do better. A united centre-to left can afford to take for granted their left wing captive audience that will not vote for a right wing party and then be concerned about the right wing threat and move to the right to stop it. A centre party with a left opposition party or even coalition partner always has to be concerned with losing votes. So this is in part the value of the social democratic option.

The second value comes in the form of the creation of policy. Ideas  such as pharmacare will come out of the NDP and be presented to the public-- Liberals may not want to present them or the idea may be deeply compromised before the public hears of it. There is a context for more idea choices when you have more parties.

An NDP also has a membership of like mind so it cannot stray far from certain principles without losing support whereas a larger tent can afford to lose a substantial amount of voices -- especially if these cannot be represented by another party inn order to court more right wing people.

The existence of the NDP is much more tangible and useful than you recognize and is a moderating force in the House. I agree in the current dysfunctional House there is less moderation in practice because of the attitude of the government -- but this is not normal and is only in play because of an incompetent and docile Liberal party. It is rare that both dynamics occur at the same time.

That is my reply to most of your post except the last sentence.

Your last sentence is more difficult to reply to respectfully because it is simply not honest. I have been calling for a working coalition for years now as have most New Democrats and I have made that call in this very thread. The confusion between a merger and a governing coalition at moments looks accidental but at this point in a thread that explains terms very well it appears to be a straw man argument. Please stop misrepresenting what is being said to make points that are founded on lies. The NDP has been open to a power sharing coalition of independent parties and to PR for decades. Stop the bullshit now.

JKR

outwest wrote:
A coalition where PR is part of the deal would bring more power to the NDP than it has ever held in this country, but for reasons that are unfathomable and/or completely indefensible, party hardliners just won't bend to it.

I think PR is one of the issues people like Broadbent and Romanow are discussing with their Liberal counterparts.

Sean in Ottawa

Outwest's post begins with the misinformed and ends with the dishonest.

outwest

... in your opinion, Sean.

outwest

... in your opinion, Sean.

Policywonk

Note to AntiSpin and JKR: Nova Scotia did not have a referendum on PR; it was PEI.

Pogo Pogo's picture

To me the election timeline makes this discussion pointless, and the real point should be why Kinsella is doing this.  Is it personal revenge or intrigue?  Or alternatively is this a more compicated strategy and we should anticipate another shoe to drop?  I am not a great conspiracy person, but I just can't make sense why Liberals would be doing this at this time.

Sean in Ottawa

"A coalition where PR is part of the deal would bring more power to the NDP than it has ever held in this country, but for reasons that are unfathomable and/or completely indefensible, party hardliners just won't bend to it."

This is your last sentence Outwest

It is a complete falsehood. The information proving it wrong is all over this thread and its predecessor, therefore I have no choice but to conclude that the misrepresentation is intentional.

I gave you the benefit of the doubt on the first part of your post that it could be just wrong rather than a lie, however, I may have been mistaken there.

Sean in Ottawa

Pogo wrote:

To me the election timeline makes this discussion pointless, and the real point should be why Kinsella is doing this.  Is it personal revenge or intrigue?  Or alternatively is this a more compicated strategy and we should anticipate another shoe to drop?  I am not a great conspiracy person, but I just can't make sense why Liberals would be doing this at this time.

I said this before-- don't you think this could be for the purpose of giving cover to coalition later? One reason Harper gave for the last coalition attempt to be illegitimate is that it was not discussed before the election.

This would give Kinsella a perfectly rational reason to create all kinds of speculation about all the possibilities in order to give his party (and any coalition partner) more options following a vote. I am not a Kinsella fan but I can't see why we are all piling on and sayign what he is saying and doing is that bad. From a communications point of view he is laying the groundwork for any number of possibilities. None of those possibilities could come to pass including the NDP without the NDP agreeing so I can't see the damage.

On the other hand there is also some positioning that may be done from his Liberal point of view both in and out of the party for when this discussion happens. I see nothing terribly wrong with that either.

The NDP is quite able to clarify what it is willing to consider.

KenS

Pogo wrote:

I am not a great conspiracy person, but I just can't make sense why Liberals would be doing this at this time.

It doesn't make sense because it isnt "the Liberals" doing it. Its Warren Kinsella.

I didnt say that its bad. I think the overall effect is useful- useful in a bizarre way to familiarizing the public with the possibilities, useful in a partisan way to the NDP in particular.

But don't go thinking that Kinsella is doing this to advance or provide cover for the coalition possibilities later.

If it walsk like a duck, if it sounds like a duck...

This is creating chaos in the Liberal party. And it would be utterly predicatble that it would. So thats why Kinsella is doing it.

Bizarre, but straightforward. Fits the Ocam's Razor test. 

Don't know what his exact end game is, he doesn't necessarily have one, just a direction to push things. Its not about proposing a merger with the NDP.

And it in the long run familiarizing people with other governing possibilities- thats just a by-product for Kinsella.

Who else is in it other than Kinsella? Who knows. But its notable that as hard as hes working at this he has far few people helping him spin. My hunch is that he would know that he wasnt going to get active co-cospirators.... but he didn't really need them to set this in motion for some time.

I would imagine he;ll come up with some other shoes to drop... things coming his way. Whether they will be the least bit compelling is the question.

KenS

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I am not a Kinsella fan but I can't see why we are all piling on and sayign what he is saying and doing is that bad. From a communications point of view he is laying the groundwork for any number of possibilities.

I already said I don't think this is bad.

But I don't think there is any doubt at all this is not good for the Liberal Party. Apparently Warren Kinsella thinks the outcome will be better than the stus quo, and he'll have a significant group who aggree [though so these days would any crackpot in the LPC with a plan, any plan]. But Kinsellas judgement of whats useful tough love for the LPC is of course clouded by whats good for Warren Kinsella.

I wouldn't be surprised if even Bob Rae is scared by what Kinsella could tip over.

JKR

Ipsos Reid poll concerning a merger has just come out:

Canadians oppose Liberal/NDP urge to merge - Vancouver Sun - June 11

Support for merger
Against Merger - 56%
For Merger - 30%
Not sure: 14%

NDP support for merger
Against: 49%
For: 44%
(Against -5)

Liberal support for merger
Against: 55%
For: 37%
(Against -18)

Conservative support for merger
Against: 75%
For: 15%
(Against -60)

outwest

Specific wording matters. I know many NDPers and Liberals who are entirely in favour of cooperation, but do NOT want to see a merger under any circumstances. This polls mixes apples and oranges by falsely appearing to conclude that the general public is against "any" kind of cooperation. It's disingenuous and deliberate.

AntiSpin

Policywonk wrote:

Note to AntiSpin and JKR: Nova Scotia did not have a referendum on PR; it was PEI.

 

Policy...correct, my error. thanks for the correction.

Stockholm

Why don't they also ask how many people support a merger between the two parties that have the most in common - the Liberals and the Conservatives!

THis whole discussion is idiotic since the whole merger debate seem to be just being carried on by different factions of the Liberal party - no one seems to bother asking the NDP if ANYONE in the party wants to merge with the hates Liberals.

That being said, public opinion is kind of irrelevant. I remember about ten years ago when there were similar polls asking about support for a merger between the Reform Party and the PCs and invariably there would be a lot of opposition - but does anyone care now? If a merger were ever to happen, it would probably have to be approved by something like a 2/3 majority of card-carrying party members in both parties etc...

Meanwhile, I'm convinced that most political journalists in Canada still don't know the difference between a coalition after an election and a merger! But, leave to our punditocracy to be just about the most bottom feeding group of political reporters on the planet. Two weeks ago all the pundits were talking about was whether or not Sheila Fraser should audit MPs (I guess that issue has fallen off the table now that the political reporters have found a new toy to play with!). THis week all the talk is about Liberals talking to Liberals about whether or someone somewhere had too much to drink and chatted about a hypothetical merger with the NDP. Less than a year ago, political discussion in Canada was completely dominated by whether or not the NDP shoudl drop the "N" in "New" and become the Democratic Party!

Any bets on what garbage they will write about next week?

Notice that the one thing that journalists HATE ever having to write about - are actual substantive policy issues. I hate to say it, but the Americans are way ahead of us on that. Whether you like what was said or not - for months they debated health care and there were tons or articles written about all the provisions being debated. When was the last time you saw the media in Canada give any coverage to a substantive issue?

AntiSpin

JKR --- All very good points....

However switching to a national PR system, regardless of the system, would be a daunting task and would require significant political capital at the federal level. And since referendums on PR have failed recently in BC, Ontario and PEI (not Nova Scotia as I previously wrote in error) it would be an uphill battle to convince federal leaders to head down that road. The best chance for PR is a private members bill in our current minority government situation or if the NDP make it one of their requirements of forming a coalition.

As you point out, PR offers a myriad ways to elect MPs, some simple, others certainly more complex. I'm not familiar with the PEI proposal but the model in BC was particularly opaque (or that was how it was perceived and failed) despite extensive consultations. I'm certainly in favour of national dialogue on the idea but I'd also like to see improvements in the FPTP system in the interim if possible (a big if certainly).

 

Insofar as a run-off election is concerned, comparing French presidential and Canadian riding elections is a bit like apples and moon rocks....the goal wouldn't be to mirror problems in other systems but find a made-in-Canada solution to the problems inherent with FPTP. Having a run-off election a week after the main election in a few ridings wouldn't be onerous and the incremental costs low but would ensure that MPs would not cointinue to be elected with less than 40% of the vote, which occurs now in many ridings. And if the choice is between a NDP and a Neo-Nazi candidate, isn't that how democarcy works? The FPTP system would not prevent an exteremist party from winning a riding (Reform, Green, Communist? - joking) and moving to PR certainly wouldn't prevent extermist parties from participating and winning ridings either. But that's another thread

AntiSpin

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

This is a little like driving looking only one inch in front of your car. Presently, we have a right-wing government that cannot get wide support but governs because the Liberals will not oppose. that is the problem. Harper should not be able to govern without any arrangements and does so only because the Liberal party is AWOL.

 

Sean, the above analysis leaves out an important point: the NDP's policy of deliberate non-cooperation with the Harper government. Jack Layton is on record as saying he doesn't trust Stephen Harper and that his party will not support the government. The NDP's policy is nearly absolute with exceptions few and far between (this is one reason why the NDP support of the current immigration bill is so surprising. I can almost hear Olivia Chow gagging when she talks about it). This policy, also followed by the Bloc in many respects, is designed to make the LPC eat dirt at every possible turn and in doing so, sacrafice party principles, lose voter support and ultimately to appear weak everytime it votes  to keep the government in power. The policy effectively and efficiently tars the LPC with the Harper brush on every vote. The NDP strategy has worked brilliantly in this respect. So to say that the Liberals  "will not oppose" fails to pay homage to the oppose, oppose, oppose mantra of Jack Layton.

 

AntiSpin

Sean wrote - Is antispin gone?

--------------------

 

lol no...not gone just busy with family and trying to get my business off the ground....I will continue to post here and respond.

 

I appreciate your responses and POV...I certainly do not mean any disrespect to you or anyone else...I think the NDP is a great party, full stop.

 

 

NDPP

Merger Denial Definitely Not Definitive

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/06/11/merger-denial-definitely-...

"If Mr. Chretien is whispering in his ear that the only way he will become Prime Minister is to unite the left, we can expect Mr. Ignatieff's apparently implaccable opposition to cave like the North Korean defence when Kaka adn Ronaldo start to weave their magic.."

Ryan1812 Ryan1812's picture

I just cannot see this logisitcally going anywhere no matter what patron saints of the parties give it the green light. The people of Canada don't want it. They have elected minority governments to stop majority rule. The NDP and Liberals need to do more IN parliament to stop Harper and stop focusing so much on these OUT of parliament shenannigans.

KenS

Not to mention that there arent any patron saints behind talk of merger. Only people saying it might be happening.

Unionist

I'm not in the same league as the party-watchers on this board. I do, however, try to listen carefully when people talk. Ignatieff said no one was "authorized" to discuss merger. Layton said no one was "assigned" to discuss merger. I found that odd.

 

KenS

Not odd. The norm for leaving escape hatches. IE- thats what they would say even if it was as far as they know there are no talks that include merger.

If Broadbent, Cretien, Romanow, whoever are talking possibilities, then the conversation WILL range all over the place... including probably possibilities that particpants in the conversation know are non-starters. The talk is useful even where some of the possibilities are known not to be realistic and/or desirable to anyone. The other particpants in a conversation can't control what might pop out later into public, even when they trust those other particpants not to say something stupid.

And like I said when you brought this up before- if Iggy or Layton uses more definitive and certain language, it will leave open the possibility that the topic may have come up even if I don't know about it. And the gotcha feeding freanzy would start at that point. Yes, that possibility is still left open in the way they did put it. But not as open, and the subtle difference is important. The fact reporters aren't running with what Iggy and Layton said is illustration of that difference.

Polunatic2

Quote:
And since referendums on PR have failed recently in BC, Ontario and PEI (not Nova Scotia as I previously wrote in error) it would be an uphill battle to convince federal leaders to head down that road.

One of the reasons that the referendums failed was precisely because most political leaders did not support them (on the provincial level). And despite that, there are at least a couple of million Canadians who have already voted in favor of proportional representation which puts us a lot further ahead then we were 10 years ago. 

I agree with KenS that any talk of coalitions works in favor of both helping to defeat the Cons in the next election and building support for PR in the longer term (medium if we're "lucky"). Voters are not as dense as some pundits when it comes to understanding the difference between a merger and a coalition. 

This is an especially good time for reformers within the Liberal party to talk it up within their ranks and begin to pressure their leaders. It also provides some fertile ground for the NDP to do some work on this issue. 

Unionist

KenS wrote:

Not odd. The norm for leaving escape hatches. IE- thats what they would say even if it was as far as they know there are no talks that include merger.

I guess I should have spelled out why I said "odd".

It sounded as if they had consulted and agreed on how they should respond to media questions. No one "authorized"; no one "assigned". Coincidence, maybe. That's all I meant.

KenS

I think it sounds the same just because how you respond is going to tend to be the same even without consultation.

I'm going to start a thread on communications in politics. Eventually.

Polunatic2

While speculating on Unionist's reason for asking could be asking for trouble, Smile I'll venture to guess that it may be related to the way in which collective bargaining is carried out. Whenever one hears that the union and management are meeting secretly, it raises deep suspicions about just what they might be talking about. While members aren't always privy to confidential discussions that take place at or near the bargaining table, at least they're aware that the talks are on. These (non?) talks might be more akin to discussions that might take place between unions in the leadup to some major change or new campaign. 

Unionist

:)

KenS

I was thinking of those 2 different arenas too.

The commanality with the collective bargaining arena is that you parse the words even from your union- for what is not said or sort of said, as much as what was said- for just that reason already given: even a union leadership not trying to hide anything has to hold to a certain amount of secrecy, and the membership is aware of that.

The difference with the political arena is that these same types of behind the scenes things are taking place in a fishbowl full of media looking for a story. So its not just how reasonable and informed people are going to parse those words coming out of the inner sanctum. There are 100 times more agendas involved in parsing those words. And 90 of the 100 have a marterial interest in seeing something juicy there, if it can possibly be construed.

NorthReport

Conservatives are loving this

 

 

Vander Doelen: Tories win in merger of left

 

http://www.windsorstar.com/health/Vander+Doelen+Tories+merger+left/31447...

JKR

AntiSpin wrote:

Insofar as a run-off election is concerned, comparing French presidential and Canadian riding elections is a bit like apples and moon rocks....the goal wouldn't be to mirror problems in other systems but find a made-in-Canada solution to the problems inherent with FPTP. Having a run-off election a week after the main election in a few ridings wouldn't be onerous and the incremental costs low but would ensure that MPs would not cointinue to be elected with less than 40% of the vote, which occurs now in many ridings. And if the choice is between a NDP and a Neo-Nazi candidate, isn't that how democarcy works?

So why not support the Alternative Vote?

It would cost hundreds of millions of dollars less then a run-off election and it wouldn't limit people to having just two choices in the second vote. In the UK they're not having a referendum on proportional representation. They're going to have it on the Alternative vote. France's sytem was never on the table. The politicians in the UK can look over the English Channel and see what France's electoral system is like.

France's runoff vote is a non-starter with people who are aware of AV. In Canada the parties themselves use variations of AV to choose their leaders and members of Parliament. They would never consider France's runoff system. Think of all the 3rd place candidates that have gone on to win nominations who would never have been able to do so under a two-round system!

France's 2-round system only works when there are 3 or less candidates.

JKR

AntiSpin wrote:

This policy, also followed by the Bloc in many respects, is designed to make the LPC eat dirt at every possible turn and in doing so, sacrafice party principles, lose voter support and ultimately to appear weak everytime it votes  to keep the government in power. The policy effectively and efficiently tars the LPC with the Harper brush on every vote. The NDP strategy has worked brilliantly in this respect. So to say that the Liberals  "will not oppose" fails to pay homage to the oppose, oppose, oppose mantra of Jack Layton.

 

Another reason to support having free votes in the House of Commons and fixed election dates.

If we had these things, votes in the House of Commons would be taken on their face-value. The Liberals could not hide. Every vote would expose their true intentions. Voting a certain way to avoid an unwanted election would no longer exist.

KenS

Both of you are giving an extremely sanitized view of conditions in the US.

I didnt see Stock's quote when it originally went by. If you read the New York Times and the Washignton Post and Atlantic and New Yorker [or the National Review and other intellectual conservative venues] you may well see higher quality stuff on the substantive issues.

But you wouldnt know it form the general tone in the US media. And the health care "debate" was painful evidence of that- even if you don't count the hysterical blathering of Fox and talk radio.

JKR wrote:

On healhcare reform in the US, members of congress debated, single payer, a public option,  opening up private competition, etc.... No one knew what kind of bill was finally going to be settled on so there was a great debate on the issues the media.

A great debate.... at least of what was left to debate after the effects of all the incredible hysteria that the media partipated in.

JKR wrote:

Contrast that with Canada. When a major issue comes up Canada, the Prime Minister control's the whole process. A bill approved by the PMO  is introduced in Parliament and all the MP's have to tow the party line because of our confidence rules. If the government loses a vote on the PMO approved bill, an election occurs. So all debate is now about partisan politics, not about real issues. And the media reflects that. So we end up with a debate on a non-existant merger on the same day a real reprehensible omnibus bill is passed in Parliament. (Was that a coincidence?)

If we want the media to have real debates on the issues, we will have to start to have real debates in our parliaments and legislatures. Our elected politicians should not have to tow party lines.

US Senators and Congresspeople as free agents without real party discipline also means a balkanized pork barrel horse trading system for every piece of legislation, and primed for lobbying.

MPs in the UK frequently diverge from party lines, and often do it consistently. A don't think there is any significant rules or structure difference compared to Canada that would explain that.

JKR

Stockholm wrote:
I hate to say it, but the Americans are way ahead of us on that. Whether you like what was said or not - for months they debated health care and there were tons or articles written about all the provisions being debated. When was the last time you saw the media in Canada give any coverage to a substantive issue?

The contrast with America is very interesting. In the US, Congress has a real debate on issues. Unlike MP's in Canada, Members of Congress divert from their party lines. Members of Congress feel free to take independent positions and hash out their differences in the open. So in the US you have a real debate where different different viewpoints are considered before a major bill is enacted. That serious debate is reflected in the press.

On healhcare reform in the US, members of congress debated, single payer, a public option,  opening up private competition, etc.... No one knew what kind of bill was finally going to be settled on so there was a great debate on the issues the media.

Contrast that with Canada. When a major issue comes up Canada, the Prime Minister control's the whole process. A bill approved by the PMO  is introduced in Parliament and all the MP's have to tow the party line because of our confidence rules. If the government loses a vote on the PMO approved bill, an election occurs. So all debate is about partisan politics, not about real issues. And the media reflects that. So we end up with a debate on a non-existant merger on the same day a real reprehensible omnibus bill is passed in Parliament. (Was that a coincidence?)

If we want the media to have real debates on the issues, we will have to start to have real debates in our parliaments and legislatures. Our elected politicians should not have to tow party lines. That means free votes and fixed election dates.

Stockholm

I'm not saying the American system is better than the Canadian system. In fact I think it sucks BUT, I do find in recent years there is a lot more discussion in US politics about actual POLICIES (ie: TARP, climate change, health care reform, DADT, the supreme court, what should be done about the oil spill etc...) than we have in Canada - where all we talk about is unsubstantiated gossip, Guergis/Jaffer and an artificial lake.

and its not as if no one is trying to change the channel. I see Layton and other New Democrats give speech after speech and issue press release after press release detailing all kinds of policy papers on the future of health care, pensions, climate change etc... and the media barely covers it because its too boring to them when they can write stuff about Warren Kinsells'a mad conspiracy theories.

Life, the unive...

you mean things like pensions, universal health care, minimum wages and so on.  Those kinds of policies that have no hope.
 
Did anyone see the Walkom column in the Star?
 
 
Walkom: Tories are the real coalition partners for Liberals
http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/article/821970--walkom-tories-are-the-real-coalition-partners-for-liberals

KenS

And when is the last time you saw a Liberal policy get news. I know there aren't many. But when they come out.....

What is the reason then?

JKR

Stockholm wrote:

 I see Layton and other New Democrats give speech after speech and issue press release after press release detailing all kinds of policy papers on the future of health care, pensions, climate change etc... and the media barely covers it because its too boring to them when they can write stuff about Warren Kinsells'a mad conspiracy theories.

 

NDP policies have little chance of getting enacted so press releases announcing them are not very newsworthy.

Stockholm

JKR wrote:

NDP policies have little chance of getting enacted so press releases announcing them are not very newsworthy.

 

The Liberal party merging with the NDP has ZERI chance of happening and yet that doesn't stop the media from writing about and nothing else for the past week. On top of that, if the Liberals and NDP do form a post-election coalition - a lot of NDP policies WILL be enacted and in any case doesn't the press have some responsibility to try to stimulate debate on POLICY by covering it when parties put out positions?

Pogo Pogo's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Pogo wrote:

To me the election timeline makes this discussion pointless, and the real point should be why Kinsella is doing this.  Is it personal revenge or intrigue?  Or alternatively is this a more compicated strategy and we should anticipate another shoe to drop?  I am not a great conspiracy person, but I just can't make sense why Liberals would be doing this at this time.

I said this before-- don't you think this could be for the purpose of giving cover to coalition later?

To me that is a difficult to fathom.  As of now the Liberals have made their strategic voting message at the very least very, very confusing to the average voter.  Its a mugs game to estimate what this is worth, but by the effort that Liberals have devoted to it in previous campaigns it must be considerable.  I think this discussion is going to have some serious negative effects on the Liberals that would not justify the additional resource of being able to easily form a coalition with the NDP.

Secondly, there are far more less costly ways to give cover to a coalition.  A frank interview with the leader saying that you after the next election campaign it is your responsibility to consider all the options including a coalition.

I agree Ken that it is Kinsella or that Kinsella is the face of this action.  However my assumption is that this is done to advance the Liberal cause and I am having trouble figuring it how (other than hire Kinsella or he will pull the party down from the inside).

KenS

Every action any Liberal takes in relation to the party is to advance the Liberal cause. But you forgot the final words- as they see it.

You seem to think that unless there is a smoking gun to prove otherwise, that this is a Liberal strategem.... not a Kinsella strategem.

Even though what is consistent with the evidence is that its a Kinsella strategem, and it is entirely about internal Liberal party dynamics.

One of the things that does not make sense is talking merger with the NDP, when no one anywhere beleives that anyone in the NDP is interested. The consensus is that as unpopular as this idea would be in the LPC, its an absolute non-starter in the NDP. And tahts based on existing information everyone has- Kinsella included. So Kinsella knows this will have no traction in the NDP. And he knows everyone in the LPC who pays attention will know that too. So where is the credibility in proposing an edea where everyone knows the other alleged partner isnt interested?

Answer: there isnt any credibility to it.

Nor does there need to be. The media will talk about it, thats all thats required.

Its shock treatment for the Liberal Party of Canada.

Life, the unive...

I've become convinced that this is a move towards sending Iggy on his way before the next election- that is all there is too it- any side benefit for down the road coalitions after an election, or anything else is just unintentional overspill.  I doubt it will be successful but it speaks to how desperate some Liberals have become.

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