Just don't call it a merger, if it makes you feel better let's say "arrangement" or "limited" co-operation, or "joint nominations", but NOT that M word. Nathan Cullen's idea is garnering some attention, and it is an interesting proposal. However, the concept reeks of trying to have your cake and eat it too, advocating what amounts to local mergers without actually endorsing the concept, leaving the wider party affiliations in place, although invariably bastardized by the process.
Let's move from the theoretical proposal to the practical realities and co-operation becomes something more that does threaten the tribal mentality, a first crack which logically favours a wider reality. A riding unilaterally decideds to hold a joint nomination, with the main thrust being a progressive alternative to the Conservatives, one that can win, one that doesn't split the vote, one that puts all oars in the water for a common cause. The three parties come together in a riding and have a nomination, very much like a "primary" as the link points out. Really, no different than a nomination for an individual party, different folks run, different "camps" work to elect their person, in the end all three competitors take the stage and acknowledge the one person who will hold the "anti-Con" banner.
The joint nomination has found their candidate, now it's time to take on the true enemy and win the riding. Let's say the NDP candidate wins the riding for instance. Do the Liberal and Green workers, their riding association members, their volunteers now go home and leave the NDP alone to fight for the win? OR, do these other party members work with the NDP team to win the election? Given we have a meeting of the minds to hold joint nominations, a bit counter productive to believe the nomination is the end of the relationship. NO, if people are coming together to beat Harper, people are coming together to beat Harper, so expect more of that working together post nomination, Libs, Dippers, Greens out on joint canvasses, out on joint sign banging, out on joint GOTV. In other words, semantics and taboos aside, you really have a quasi new party of people with common purpose. The very process itself acknowledges an overriding commonality that USURPS individual tribal wants, so for the love of god just call it a merger, because the guts of the idea are just that.
Fast forward to post-election, and our joint candidate head to Ottawa. The candidate is a Dipper, sits in the Commons as such, yet is really a creation of a different arrangement, one that exists beyond what the superficial flag suggests. At this point, after a joint nomination, a joint resolve to elect an individual, joint VOTES, the ultimate expression, we just go back to the old divisions and said MP carries on as in the past. Really? After all this co-operation and SUCCESS, people just pull back and there is no evolution? I don't buy it for a second, the Cullen template if fruit bearing is really the first step towards a total and complete merger. All parties have divergent interests within, but there is a wider affinity, whereing compromise is made for the greater purpose. Cullen's proposal is a timid recognition of a a wider concept, it gently blurs the lines in more palatable fashion for partisans, but the result is something more in my view.