Thursday, February 27, 2014
Tom Mulcair and the Coalition Dream That Will Not Die
As you may know, I have always been a strong supporter of a progressive coalition.
Because I can't forget how once upon a time we came so close to having one, and bringing down the Con regime.
Until we were betrayed by the Governor General, Michael Ignatieff caved, and both the Liberals and the NDP ended up burying the idea.
So I was really glad to see Tom Mulcair bring the idea of a future coalition back from the dead.
"We've always said we're ready to work with other parties. We're a progressive party. We want to get results," New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Thomas Mulcair told reporters when asked if he was willing to form a coalition with Trudeau after the election.
And I was not surprised that Justin Trudeau shot down the idea.
Minutes later, Trudeau told reporters he opposed any formal arrangement with the NDP. Trudeau has battled hard for voters to the left of the Conservatives but has viewed some of the NDP economic ideas as too interventionist.
Because he's ahead in the polls right now.
But he will at least have to think about the idea, because those polls also show that even if he does manage to hold on to that lead, it probably won't be enough to win a majority government.
So he will have to depend on Mulcair and the NDP to stay in power. Or vice versa.
And then there's that other scenario that Paul Wells examines here.
But there is another case, and its likelihood seems pretty high. That’s one where the Conservatives lose their majority, an opposition party comes close in seats, and with the other opposition party it greatly outnumbers the Conservatives. Something like this: 145 Conservatives, 100 NDP and 90 Liberals (plus 3 left over so nobody feels left out of my imaginary Parliament).
If the next election shakes out the way I just sketched, then an NDP government with Liberal support could end almost a decade of Harper. But they’d have to move immediately: as we saw in December 2008, just a few post-election confidence votes for the returning government would give it enough legitimacy that the Governor General would follow the Conservative PM’s counsel in any subsequent conflict.
And asks the obvious question:
How does that go down, New Democrats and Liberals? Would you accept a few more years of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, while New Democrats and Liberals had the makings of a solid parliamentary majority between them?
And if your parties’ leaders inexplicably failed to take power when they had a shot, how long could they remain as leaders?
Which to me has an obvious answer:
The two parties WOULD have to form a coalition, because most Canadians would never accept that they would allow the Cons to stay in power, when they had the power to remove them.
But you might ask, why discuss the idea now? Why not wait until the situation happens, if it does?
And the answer to that is because the longer we refuse to talk about the idea of a coalition, and make it sound like something bad, instead of a legitimate choice in a Parliamentary system. The longer Harper will be able to demonize it.
Like he did last time...
And that could make it harder to form a coalition if one becomes necessary.
Of course, as I said before I'm biased. I don't see a coalition as something to fear or reject out of hand. I embrace it with all my heart.
I see it as a way to unite progressives, for only by uniting can we be sure to defeat the Cons.
As they MUST be defeated if our country is to survive.
And those brief days, which now seem so long ago, when we marched through the streets together were some of the greatest days of my life...
When everything seemed possible, we were a movement stronger than any party, and Stephen Harper was quaking in his boots.
Yup. The coalition was always an idea too powerful to kill.
And we better be prepared to discuss it honestly and openly. For whether people like it or not, if it is the only way to destroy the Cons.
It WILL live again...
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