CBC At Issue: Talks at the highest levels begin on Liberal/NDP coalition/merger

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Rob8305
CBC At Issue: Talks at the highest levels begin on Liberal/NDP coalition/merger

Ottawa is abuzz with 2 rumors this week, according to CBC's at issue last night with Chantal Hebert, Peter Mansbridge, Andrew Coyne and Allan Greg:

1. The liberal caucus is getting restless and may be about to turf Ignatieff out of the leadership as he is ow less popular than Dion.

2. Far more interesting is that people at the highest levels of the NDP/Liberals have opened talks privately on a coalition.  The elder statesmen leading the apparent charge are Ed Broadbent and Jean Chretien.  I would assume that the talk is centered around the NDP/Libs having enough seats after the next election to form a majority coalition government between them. Given the Conservative surge in the polls, however, I suspect that this is now no longer possible. Peter Mansbridge offered the tantalizing suggestion that this is how the PC/Alliance merged in 2004. 

We could be seeing the beginnings of a NDP/Liberal coalition/merger.  I think it's clear that the only way that the Conservatives will lose government again is for this to happen.

The fact that 2 officials at the highest level are discussing this indicates to me that if the next election is as bad a debacle as appears likely for the left/center left that this coalition/merger talk could get deadly serious. 

Right now, I think it's Chretien and Broadbent and their confidantes blowing in the wind to be honest but after the next election, they may lead a serious charge.

Rob8305

And with the NDP at just 15% in the latest Ekos poll, it is not just the Liberals looking at electoral oblivion, I have to add.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Oh, good grief. 15% for the NDP is a more or less traditional level in the polls for them, not a sign of impending oblivion. Haven't we had this discussion already?

Geoff

A merger might very well enable us to defeat the Tories, but what will we have won?  The Liberals didn't come by the nick-name 'establishment party' by accident.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I just hope a possible coalition includes the BQ. If they can be the Official Opposition - as in the past - why can't they be part of a coalition???

Tommy_Paine

 

Let me guess:  In return for handing the Liberals the keys to the treasury, the NDP will get to co-sign on all the anti-worker initiatives the Liberals come up with.

 

And, the best part is, there's no shortage of takers in the NDP.

 

Lordloveaduck.

Rob8305

Boom Boom wrote:

I just hope a possible coalition includes the BQ. If they can be the Official Opposition - as in the past - why can't they be part of a coalition???

That would be political suicide for the NDP/Libs in English Speaking Canada.  It's like a third rail.  I think that there is no more politically toxic issue in Canada than that as 2008 showed.  They have to do whatever they want with just the 2 parties involved.

What's new about this is for Ed Broadbent to be negotiating with Chretien.

Rob8305

Also,

I read up on the 1988 election recently where the Conservatives began creeping up in the polls incrementally with a tarnished/weak Lib leader.  This feels a lot like the 1988 situation right now.

Fidel

Ya they dropped 7% of voter support over the previous election and still won with a phony majority.

Unionist

Rob8305 wrote:

Boom Boom wrote:

I just hope a possible coalition includes the BQ. If they can be the Official Opposition - as in the past - why can't they be part of a coalition???

That would be political suicide for the NDP/Libs in English Speaking Canada.  It's like a third rail.  I think that there is no more politically toxic issue in Canada than that as 2008 showed.  They have to do whatever they want with just the 2 parties involved.

My, you sure misinterpreted 2008, didn't you? Without the Bloc, any coalition is doomed.

Quote:
What's new about this is for Ed Broadbent to be negotiating with Chretien.

My, you sure misinterpreted 2008, didn't you? Who exactly do you think was negotiating the coalition then?

[url=http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/posted/archive/2008/11/28/coali... talks involve Chrétien, Broadbent, and possible Dion ousting[/url]

Thanks for your insights, though...

 

George Victor

And 1988 might have been even more interesting.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

As for the danger of the Liberals including 'separatists' in a coalition, is that really any worse for them than including wannabe 'socialists'? Laughing

 

ps: I included a smiley, so please don't flame me.Sealed

Tommy_Paine

 

Ah, what a time it must be, listening to Chretien, once leader of the "None is too many" party,  waxing nostalgic over wage controls, martial law and taking 50 billion from the E.I. fund.

 

Sorry, I was just daydreaming.   Let's get back to how we're going to get the Liberals in to stop the Conservatives from doing terrible things to us.

 

 

 

 

Fidel

George Victor wrote:
And 1988 might have been even more interesting.

I wonder how Canadians would feel about tying our economic fortunes to the American wagon today with Wall Street performing the way it has. As long as Harper and Iggy don't say too much about those neoliberal trade deals, some phony minority of voters will prolly give 'em the nod.

Augustus

I don't see the NDP and the Liberals joining together anytime soon.  There is a lot of anger, distrust and resentment between the two parties.

I don't think the two parties are close - look how hostile the NDP supporters on this board are towards the Liberals, for example.

George Victor

Hell, look at the hostility of some babblers for ANYTHING  NDP. Maybe they are just in training for their attacks on the neo-con scum, and they are holding off comment on them to surprise us all.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

As Stockholm said earlier somewhere, the NDP and Libs don't have to love each other, they just have to be practical.

Stockholm

The hatred between the PCs and the Reform Party was INTENSE and they didn't just form an accord or a coalition - they MERGED - something that is not on the table between the Liberals and NDP at all.

Do you think the British Tories and LibDems love each other??? Think again - those parties have hated each other for the last hundred years and fight each other tooth and nail at the riding level - yet they formed a coalition government. Bob Rae and David Peterson HATE each other like poison and yet they signed an accord in 1985.

For that matter the Chretien and Martin wings within the Liberals party probably have more personal animosity for each other than do Liberals and New Democrats for each other.

I have a hunch that what MIGHT happen is that the Liberals inch towards dropping their stated opposition to ever forming a coalition with the NDP and that they instead try to be a bit more coy about it and that the door will be left open for a deal after the next election.

al-Qa'bong

What a vomitorium.

Ain't there some other way the General Will can manifest itself other than through the sleazy machinations of our current political system?

Stockholm

no

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

al-Qa'bong wrote:

What a vomitorium.

Ain't there some other way the General Will can manifest itself other than through the sleazy machinations of our current political system?

Well there are, but most of them involve a certain amount of bloodshed - for any number of reasons it is probably preferable to puke, wipe ones face clean and move on.

Tommy_Paine

 

 

Hmm.  There would be practicle advantages.  From a coalition position, the NDP could work to get Conrad Black out of jail, and maybe help out poor beleagered BP at the same time.   Hey, bread upon the waters-- maybe those guys would do us socialists a good turn, like the Liberals seem set to do.

 

Seriously.  I'm all for practicality, but I don't see any practicle advantages to the NDP in this, compared to the favour we'd be doing the Liberals.

Think about it:  The Liberals would absolutely not be even thinking about coalition unless they were convinced they were facing serious political oblivion.  Why interfere with that process?

Why would you want to throw these Tories-- because that's what they are, just another flavour of tory-- a life line?    We saw in the last "negotiation" how arrogant the Liberals were, and how ignorant they were of their position.  

 

If we are going to go down this road, better to just announce an auction between the Conservatives and the Liberals for NDP support.

I mean, we've established what we are.  Now it's just a matter of price.

 

Let's be practicle.

Slumberjack

They'd have to ditch Iggy first, and prop up another stiff in his place that would at least give the appearance of a slight fractional adjustment to the right of center, their traditional comfort zone of convenience.  With the fractional center left ground occupied by the NDP at present, they'd practically be indistinguishable with a competent public relations strategy gaming things to that end for both parties.

Tommy_Paine

 

You know, Iggy is a workable leader, and so was Dion, really.  Dion had language difficulties?  Like Chretien didn't?   Iggy thumbscrews is a knob?   Works for McGinty in Ontario.  In fact, I used to joke that if charisma was scaled like degrees kelvin, the charisma scale would bottom out at "absolute McGinty."  Yet, he's premier.  Currently doing very Tory things.   (Yay "strategic" voting!)

 

The Liberals aren't screwed because they keep picking the wrong leader-- though I'd love for them to keep thinking so.  It's because they lost the keys to the public treasury.   The treasury they'd use to throw government contracts to this consulting firm or that legal firm, or that PR firm and in return receive the best media coverage, the best intel, and the best backroom talent.

 

Without that they have nothing to fall back on.  As Stockholm astutely pointed out some time ago, when you have a political party based on giving away candy, when the candy runs out, what's left?

I'd rather be fighting one Tory party instead of two.  And all we have to do to accomplish this is to leave the Liberals alone.

Why snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for some nebulous hope of short term gain that would be really surprising if it materialized?

 

 

hsfreethinkers hsfreethinkers's picture

A coalition would be great in the short term, hopefully with an agreement to bring in PR. Obviously a merger would be a disaster for the left in Canada as it would leave us with two neoliberal parties and the Greens. I suspect some former NDP members (those interested in global justice issues) would join the Greens, and it would become the new NDP. The majority of NDP'ers would be a good fit for the Liberals sad to say. If the parties merge, I doubt they'd bring in PR. We'd be closer to Harper's dream ... of becoming a little USA. The merged party should have a new name though so it sounds fresh - Democratic Party?

JKR

Hopefully electoral reform is a high priority in negotiations between former party stalwarts like Broadbent and Chretien.

Luckily, Broadbent has been one one of the foremost supporters of electoral reform.

Slumberjack

Tommy_Paine wrote:

You know, Iggy is a workable leader,..... In fact, I used to joke that if charisma was scaled like degrees kelvin, the charisma scale would bottom out at "absolute McGinty." 

Why snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for some nebulous hope of short term gain that would be really surprising if it materialized? 

Iggy's popularity rating though is below absolute McGinty with the public. The fact that Rae wouldn't fare much better in that regard if they decided to pull Iggy's life support, probably won't prevent them from repeating their stellar track record of nailing wooden figurines to the leadership post.

Btw, who's jaws of victory are you referring to?

Tommy_Paine

 

I would consider the Liberals sliding into obscurity a victory for Canada, primarily, and the NDP secondarily.

NDPP

Liberal and NDP Rank and File Can Prepare Ground for Coalition

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/813023--liberal-...

"Rather than salivate over the Liberal past or NDP future, progressives of good conscience from both parties have to look at their shared commonality and the enormity of what's at stake.."

 

thorin_bane

I would say roll the greens into either party would fix a lot of the left right issues. Until the greens can be a regional player like the bloc or the reforms they just cant get traction. BC is close and even there they are barely 3rd party in most ridings. But if you add their numbers to lib or NDp or even split their number between the two it put the libs around 30 and the ndp aroun 20 with the cons picking up maybe 1 percent or so.

35/30/20 isn't too bad of a split when you figure a lot of that 35% for cons is bloat in alberta.

I think if the audits go through, a lot more cons will not be willing to run for the party as most make more from the kickback their present employers offer them. Why be an MP for less money than you make already, unless you make cabinet or can put things on the government tab.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

The Greens get all those votes but no seats. When are they going to face reality and realize they can best work for the environment - and other issues - by joining an established party with seats in the House?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

If this is supposed to be an electoral coalition it  is doomed from the start.  Neither party controls the people who vote for them.  The idea that a significant number of NDP voters would vote for a Liberals if told too by the party is rather funny and the opposite is likely true as well.  Sure some of them will but I suspect that the largest group might be people who just say to hell with them all and stay at home instead of following the machinations by the party wheeler and dealers.

A post election parliamentary coalition is a different matter IMO and would be acceptable to more of the supporters of both parties.

ottawaobserver

I don't think anyone but the Greens are seriously proposing an electoral coalition.  It wouldn't surprise me though if there came about a natural tendency to hold fire against each other a bit in seats where the two were not in direct contention with one another.

Sean in Ottawa

The greens could look at a new kind of politics-- they could create a caucus in each of the parties and not run as a seperate party. Then they can endorse a wide range of people -- some competing against each other. The could effectively have candidates have two logos their own party and Green. I think most parties might not object as it would end the wasted vote and Green is only one element.

NorthReport

Here we go again with the Liberal talking points once again.

 

This is the same ole, same ole, usual bullshit we had from Buzz Hargrove in the past. But what else do you expect from the Liberal Toronto Star / CBC?

The day the NDP ever merged with the right-wing Liberals would be the end of my support for the NDP.

 

This is a prime example of the Liberals in full-scale panic mode as they continue their swan dive in the polls.

 

RedRover

Tommy_Paine wrote:

 

Let me guess:  In return for handing the Liberals the keys to the treasury, the NDP will get to co-sign on all the anti-worker initiatives the Liberals come up with.

 

And, the best part is, there's no shortage of takers in the NDP.

 

Lordloveaduck.

Or...the NDP gets a say in exchange for their MPs votes.

NDP-Liberal Cooperation pact - each party has between 50 and 75 seats where only their candidate runs, and the other party withdraws or backs the other.  Other seats have both.  No formal coalition, but NDP and Liberal's agree that if they have more seats than the Cons then they will try to form a Coalition government at the earliest possible opportunity.  No formal coalition with the Bloc, and no veto for the Bloc over any legislation.

Following the UK example (of course)...

NDP Cabinet spots - Deputy PM, Health, Environment, Labour, International Cooperation, Heritage, Status of Women...plus three or four Secretary of State spots.

Major policy areas to be dealt with - the deficit, pension reform, climate change, electoral reform (Citizen's Panel and referendum on 1 proposal within 4 years), poverty and rural issues.

NDP - gets a reasonable veto over major pieces of legislation, possibly with a bi-partisan committee of elders on stand-by to settle any serious disputes

It could work and in my opinion I would be happy to know that dialogue is at least occuring at some level, because if Harper gets a majority then we can bet on a new abortion law, massive and regressive tax cuts, and possibly capital punishment being reintroduced within 5 years.  Guaranteed.

NorthReport

Just another Liberal thread.

The Bloc is in the strongest position in the polls that they have been for some time and could well end up as our official oppostion in the next election. The NDPers I know would prefer to work with the Bloc rather than the right-wing Liberals.

Every month Harper delays the inevitable election the Liberals appear to sink further in the polls.

More realistically what we probably looking at is a Bloc-NDP get together after the next election. Now that would be sweet.

ottawaobserver

OK, Red Rover has convinced me that the Liberals are now full-throttle in support of a coalition.  Why am I waiting for the other shoe to drop?  This is like those people who come and knock on your door, and want you to lock in your natural gas price for 5 years ... just before it drops through the floor.

I agree we should not rule anything out ahead of an election (not that WE did last time), but we should have a really strong platform and the very best campaign we can muster, and win stronger support for it than for theirs (especially since they've now stolen most of it from us anyway).

NorthReport

The Liberal Party is going full bore on this. First the Liberal CBC and then the Liberal Toronto Star. Who knew! Laughing

 

 

 

RedRover

Why do you think I am a Liberal?

KenS

But Red Rover isnt just talking coalition.

RedRover wrote:

NDP-Liberal Cooperation pact - each party has between 50 and 75 seats where only their candidate runs, and the other party withdraws or backs the other.  Other seats have both.

This is a non-starter. And it doesn't matter that the notion comes from Dippers as well [though I know of no one publicly except Byers]. And anyone who chalks up resistance from people with careers at stake is blowing smoke. Its the grassroots that would be certain to kill this.

KenS

And for what its worth, what I know of the dynamics in the Liberal Party, I think this would also be a notion only at the fringes. No traction, maybe even less than in the NDP, among the grassroots... let alone at the top.

But since the Lib brain trust wouldnt have to worry about the notion taking root, there would probably be no harm in letting it flower to what degree it will. Since its always the NDP that takes the heat among progressives whenever and whoever disses ideas like this [and irregardless that the party never bothers to take an official or semi-official position against.]

NorthReport

In spite of the usual negativity directed towards the NDP here, surprise, surprise, Layton keeps increasing the the number of NDP MPs each election he has been involved in as Leader. How could that be. Laughing

My hunch is Layton will be continuing that trend in the next election as well, possibly even doing substantially better than the 2008 general election where the NDP elected 37 MPs, which was 28% better than the previous 2006 general election. Not too shabby for someone who is doing such a terrible job! Tongue out

 

So one party who is trending up, is going to latch their sails to another party that is trending down. Great strategy, and just can't understand why the NDP hasn't latched onto it. Wink

My question is will the Liberals be able to win 20% of the vote or even 50 of the seats in the next general election?

NorthReport
Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

NorthReport wrote:

Just another Liberal thread.

The Bloc is in the strongest position in the polls that they have been for some time and could well end up as our official oppostion in the next election. The NDPers I know would prefer to work with the Bloc rather than the right-wing Liberals.

Every month Harper delays the inevitable election the Liberals appear to sink further in the polls.

More realistically what we probably looking at is a Bloc-NDP get together after the next election. Now that would be sweet.

Would that also lead to a formal Tory-Liberal coalition, as in the UK from 1914-1922? Remember what that did to THOSE Liberals.

Unionist

NorthReport wrote:

In spite of the usual negativity directed towards the NDP here, surprise, surprise, Layton keeps increasing the the number of NDP MPs each election he has been involved in as Leader. How could that be. Laughing

 

Hasn't Harper done exactly the same? LaughingLaughing

Which proves... ummm... remind me please...

ottawaobserver

... that they're both eating into formerly Liberal seats.

NorthReport

Not many people find much crediblity in a lot of the comments here. Wink 

A thread like this is a perfect example.

Unionist

Yeah, OO, that was the strategy in the 2005-6 election. Canada has hardly suffered at all as a result. At this rate, the NDP should be in power any time now. With a platform that enabled Liberal voters to elect it to power.

edmundoconnor

Tactics to exploit "saw-off" ridings, where one party agrees not to run against a second party to stop a third party (often in return for a reciprocal agreement elsewhere), never benefit anyone. Even if both the first and second parties can keep their word – which is far from guaranteed – the result clobbers the weaker party's vote for a long, long time afterward. I blame the deal reached between the CCF and the SoCreds for the historical weakness of the CCF/NDP in Alberta, at least in part. Better to fight for every single vote out there than sup with a mediocrity.

Slumberjack

edmundoconnor wrote:
Better to fight for every single vote out there than sup with a mediocrity.

I'm afraid the settings have already been cleared, and they've now moved on to the cigars and brandy.

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