Sunday, November 09, 2014
Why Progressives May Soon Be Forced To Work Together
There are few things that depress me more than the sight of progressives fighting each other.
As the NDP and the Liberals are doing these days.
Especially when I remember how close we once came to forming a Great Canadian Coalition, and bringing down Stephen Harper.
And how great it felt to work together, before that dream was shattered.
And my only consolation is that when I look at the way the polls are going, I can see another coalition in the making.
Because when you look at these latest EKOS numbers.
The political landscape looks very different in the aftermath of the shootings of two weeks ago. Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have seen their fairly solid and stable 12-point lead collapse into a much less comfortable three-point lead.
And this trend line...
You can see that that even if the Con surge subsides as it almost certainly will.
The simple fact is that there is little evidence that the public judgement on the incumbent’s record and plans for the economy and social issues can produce a win. So the unexpected and most likely ephemeral improvement in fortunes from this security bounce will almost certainly fade leaving the Conservatives with much iffier prospects.
And even if the Liberals are able to hang on to a lead, the best they can probably hope for, especially if an election is held sooner rather than later, is a minority government.
And they will have to depend on the support of the NDP to stay in power.
Now I know that some progressives are fiercely partisan, and as one who has long pushed for them to unite, I have the scars to prove it.
But nothing will ever convince me that the writing hasn't been on the wall from the moment the Cons united. Or that it isn't a simple matter of mathematics. The reactionary right united will always have a better chance of winning, than will the centre left divided.
And of course I can never forget the look of fear on Stephen Harper's face when he thought he was going to be defeated by a coalition...
How he tried to demonize the very idea.
And how angry and crazy he sounded like in Parliament...
And the good news, as Scott Reid points out, is he won't be able to demonize the idea of a coalition as easily next time.
The C-word is back. Or at least it soon could be. In the past few elections, the word coalition has been turned by Stephen Harper and his Conservatives into a political instrument of horror. It’s been used to scare small children, frighten undecided voters and torture two consecutive leaders of the Liberal Party of Canada.
On the one hand, it is to the Conservatives’ advantage to recreate a dynamic that discourages certain post-campaign combinations – specifically those that would see the Conservatives removed from power in a minority Parliament.
On the other hand, the prime minister now presides over a majority government and he must be careful to avoid signalling that he lacks confidence in his own ability to secure a second such mandate. Such a move would be interpreted as a sign of weakness and a tacit confession that even he assumes he’ll lose ground in the next campaign.
He can't be seen to be weak, the Bloc isn't around to scare people, there is a limit to how many times you can cry wolf.
After years of crying wolf, Conservatives might find that the coalition beast is finally at their door. But, like the boy in the story, will anyone bother to believe them this time around?
And of course there's this:
In addition to all that, there’s a new consideration the Conservatives must weigh – what if this time around it’s they who need the co-operation of others? Might the Conservatives find themselves shopping post-campaign for a deal with the NDP to keep Trudeau out of 24 Sussex?
Which may seem extremely unlikely, but could become more of a possibility if the Liberals and the NDP keep treating each other as bitter enemies...
Instead of concentrating on the real enemy.
So it really is in the interests of both parties to start being nicer to each other, and coming up with positive reasons to vote for them, instead of reasons not to vote for the other.
And besides, at this desperate time in Canadian history there is already a coalition forming out there. And these are its newest members.
The union representing scientists and other professionals in the federal public service is abandoning its tradition of neutrality in elections to actively campaign against Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
It's an anti-Harper coalition determined to save this country from the monstrous rule of the Con regime.
And every decent Canadian must join it.
And of course I can never forget those brief moments when in the darkest of times red, and orange and green came together.
And how happy I was to feel that we were all united and fighting to get our country back.
As I tried to express in this video back then...
It was a marvellous moment.
And it will happen again.
We will unite to defeat the Cons.
And we will get our country back...
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