Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bleed Red, Not Orange

There's a lot of talk these days about a possible Liberal-NDP coalition. Mr. Rae has given new life to the talk by waxing poetic about his days propping up David Peterson in the 80's. I remain staunchly opposed to any sort of coalition deal with the NDP. It isn't treason as some Tories would have you believe, but it would be a grave error in judgment. 1985 provides few instructive lessons for us. The Tory dynasty in Ontario was coming to an end in 85 and Rae's decision to back Peterson only expedited that process. One could argue that they were merely making up for the inertia which had allowed Frank Miller to retain power in that election. Mr. Rae as future events indicate was always a bit of right wing NDPer to begin with. The current federal scene has none of these characteristics.

Jack Layton remains a fringe voice in Canadian politics. The NDP is a party stuck in the past supporting policies that would violate Canada's commitments to the WTO (check out #5), reopen NAFTA, institute massive corporate tax hikes in the midst of a fragile recovery and put the brakes on the burgeoning oil sands. These are not modern Liberal principles. The NDP is a party of ideology completely inconsistent with a successful Liberal Party of Canada. Honestly, in an era where many of the major social fights (abortion, same-sex marriage etc.) are behind us, there is a lot more similarity between the Liberals and Tories than there is between the NDP and the Liberals. I don't really believe Michael Ignatieff would ever pursue a deal with the socialists and it is some consolation as the Grits remain trapped in the 20's in the polls.

We must remember that the UK coalition is between the Lib-Dems and the Tories not the Lib-Dems and Labour. In fact, many European countries find themselves governed by centre-right coalitions. The key difference is that in Europe, Liberal parties are weak also-rans not prime contenders for power. It is always easier for the leading party to find a deal with the third or fourth party than it is for the two largest parties to get into bed together. The reason we don't have coalition governments in Canada is because our third and fourth parties are not serious coalition partners.


CanadianSense said...

I think the splits in the party will continue.

Financial problems and poll numbers.

The letter to John Turner, the internal anon. leaks against Chretien, continued after Martin left.
Dion was pushed out, two rivals did not break up the leadership campaigns.

Bob and Iffy were waiting in the wings and could have prevented the 46% in December for the CPC by not signing their names to the coalition.
The least Ignatieff could have done is take a principled stand and refused.
Some of us believe he did not want to risk his chance to run for leadership again.
In May he came clean and explained why the coalition was bad. Most Canadians outside Quebec understood before the CPC "talking" points.

Trudeau would have NEVER signed a deal with Separatists.

Brian Topp admitted in his book Layton the deal was not the same against Martin.

The Ontario example was nothing like 2008 as you correctly pointed out.

The gap between PC or Libs was razor thin and the PC were on a negative trend.

The 1972 example Lewis-Trudeau is a better example of a cooperative deal but it went VERY wrong for the NDP and they paid a significant price at the polls.

Will Jack repeat that mistake?

The NDP are making mistakes in not moving to the middle to replace the Liberals as Tony Blair morphed.

Volkov said...

CanadianSense, you would do well to remember that Tony Blair was the leader of the Opposition, and he most likely would have won no matter what shift he took. Big difference between 1990's Labour and any-era NDP. The Dippers can't simply move to the centre and expect to win, any more than the Lib Dems move to the left meant they could win. When will you get some sense?

As for this post in general; I don't like the idea of a coalition, but to reject it out of hand is silly, as it is to compare it to the deal forged in Britain. The Liberals and the NDP already have a history of working together to keep the Liberals in power; the NDP represent core areas of this country that we are lacking severely in; and the NDP aren't the same group as they were only a few years ago.

If we can get a minority, then fine, let's just work with that. But if we end up in a situation whereby the result is close enough to say that the Liberal-NDP coalition has enough seats to outnumber the Conservatives by a good amount, we shouldn't take anything off the table.

The fact is that no party except maybe the Conservatives in very specific circumstances will get a majority government. Coalitions may be a reality we need to face up to if we want to ever govern efficiently again.

Anonymous said...

"The NDP is a party stuck in the past supporting policies that would violate Canada's commitments to the WTO (check out #5), reopen NAFTA, institute massive corporate tax hikes in the midst of a fragile recovery..."

Those won't be much of a problem the next time the globalized "free-market" system crashes and needs another whopping bail out at the of taxpayers and what's left of the middle class.

Man you neo-liberal economics types sure are stubborn. Enjoy the party while it lasts, because 40 years of tax cutting and corporate welfare have just about gone as far as they can go.

So if it's not party policy just what is the LPC's problem with Canadians? Aside from an awful leader.

Laughing Liberal

CanadianSense said...


We agree on many points. I take exception the NDP represent the "core".

Large Unions, anti-global trade, pro Hamas-Galloway, anti-military, anti US are not widely popular outside a small segment.

Liberals tap into the radical segments to steal NDP votes. The Liberals make the mistake in tacking left and governing right.

I am no problem with a coalition, they are legit.

Ontario PC-Lib-NDP made sense because it was very close and the Liberals were NOT rejected or suffered their worst defeat in 150 years.

Non-political junkies 95% who show up to vote were upset with
1) Denial
2) Separatists
3) Liberal low standing

Denying one existed, having it the deal with Separatists months ago (see Brian Topp book) is a fact not refuted by Layton.

Dion did a desperate act in turning to the ndp - separatists Accord to sieze government, become PM.

The media is spending a great deal of time and money trying to frame how a second place party (25-30%), plus a fringe party (14-18%), supported by separatists would be a benefit to keeping the country united.

Separatists in 2008 were rejected by 62% in Quebec, but managed to win 65% of seats.

The Lib-NDP joined them protecting the political party welfare. The coalition will not defend their political party "entitlement" on the campaign trail.

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