Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Liberals and NDP need to merge and not waffle with coalition talk.

Polls now show Conservative minority government will be the result of the Canadian election. Another Conservative minority  will be a booster shot in the arm for Quebec separatists.
by Tom Thorne
Canadians seem to be moving relentlessly like a glacier towards another minority Conservative government on 2 May. That means Stephen Harper will again govern Canada with between 37-39 percent of the popular vote. The centre and left vote will be fractured again with between 28-29 percent for the Liberals and about 20 percent for the NDP.  Added together that would be almost 50 percent. Depending on how the ridings go that could mean a majority government for a combined Liberal NDP party.
Add in the bloc vote which is basically to the left and the soft separatists may very well vote Liberal or NDP if they had a good reason to believe in Canada. They will vote Bloc when the election outcomes leans heavily towards the right or if a government in Ottawa is not sensitive to Quebec’s aspirations. They see the Harper led governments in this light. Minority governments are how Quebeckers get a say in Canada’s political direction in Ottawa when they don’t trust the major national political parties. Quebeckers need a national political party that can attract and hold their confidence.
The only good news in this tortured scenario is that the Bloc Quebecois vote in Quebec has dropped about two percent and maybe dribbling off towards the Liberals or NDP but sadly that will still give Gilles Duceppe about 45-46 seats in the new parliament. Hence another fractured parliament is re-elected and separatism gets time on the national stage. If they grow stronger both federally and provincially and if the Jean Charest Liberals loose power, the separatists will again be looking for a referendum to leave Canada. Harper will get into power again and that will affect how Quebec separatism develops.
The Canadian public is saying that they don’t trust anyone with the helm of government for too long and they are right given the performance of the last parliament and the current rhetoric of the campaign trail. Nothing has grabbed Canadians sufficiently to get them to trust any of the parties with so much as a smell of a majority.  Even when each one of these fractured elections costs the public purse over $300 million, the public still keeps the politicians on a short leash.  The $300 million seems to be seen as an  investment as the voters wait for some kind of leadership and direction for Canada to emerge from the Ottawa morass.
So what do the politicians have to do to earn a majority?  They need to get off the status quo. The Liberals and NDP need to merge as I said two weeks ago. Their platforms are almost identical and this merger would see how well Jack layton would perform as a member of the Cabinet. This would not be a coalition this would be a permanent merger of the centre and the mild left into a party with truly national representation. It would stop the vote splitting in many ridings and place the Harper Conservatives on notice that their  right wing agenda is not going to happen. Will this happen? Probably not and that is why Canadian voters wisely elect minority governments until the Liberals and NDP get the message.
© Copyright 2011, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved


  1. Volatile situation. As to a new Liberal NDP party. After all, Harper shouldn't fuss since he and his Conservatives are the result of a coalescing. Right wing Liberals won't be happy. Left wing NDP also. The rest of us might just say that it is about time.

  2. My arguments for merging the Liberal and NDP parties are simple. The right wing elements in this country have already merged the old Progressive Conservatives and the Reform Party into the current Harper Government entity we see today running the country with a popular vote of 37 percent. To counter that effectively only a merger of the NDP and Liberals can hope to garner enough votes in enough ridings to make a difference.

    The unusual part of the current situation is the surge (if that is the word) in NDP support. Because it will not effectively change the seat numbers in the new parliament the "surge" will only split the left and centre allowing the Harper government to slide into place with a minority. Hopefully the NDP "surge" will do enough damage to the Bloc in Quebec to trim the wings of the separatists but even in Quebec ridings the NDP will only split the Liberal vote and more Conservatives will manage to get to Ottawa. I suppose we should celebrate any inroads national parties make in Quebec.

  3. Interesting comment about the orange banner on this site. A reader told me that they thought it was an NDP site. Not so. So I cannot use orange, royal blue or red I guess. Take my word for it this site has nothing to do with the NDP.