Friday, May 06, 2011

No Urge To Merge

It is true that we need to hear from all Liberals on the merger question. It is also becoming obvious that there seems to be limited appetite for the idea. Factor in an NDP basking in it's new found powerless power- at a historic apex- very hard pressed to see that side even entertaining seriously, at least for the time being.

I'm prepared to keep an open mind for the future, but for this moment anyways, I'm not going to waste much energy discussing or participating in a conversation which might just be counter-productive. In other words, I'm focusing on the Liberal Party, even if a merger is possible, FIRST must come attention to the homefront. The political scales are simply tipped to much to one side at the moment, some in the NDP ranks are bordering on insufferable- where is the practical impetus from that side?

More importantly, while we do see some philosophical convergence, in the same area code on many issues, there is also vast chasms that make people on both sides uncomfortable. I don't see the former merge of the right wing parties as frankly a template moving forward, apart from superficial comparisons. It is very correct to state that very different, INGRAINED cultures exist with the the Liberals and NDP. At the core, I'm not sure a merged party could stand for the same things, that it could amalgamate in a way that spoke to all core constituents. The same could be said for the right merge, but I would argue the differences not as pronounced, current leader more irritant than underlying thrusts.

Here is my forecast of where we are at the moment. The NDP have absolutely no desire to serious entertain a merge, many are frankly convinced the Liberals are dead, what's the point. From the Liberal camp, people seem to be looking internally to find solutions, rather than entertaining complicated scenarios involving a merge. I hear a few voices floating a merger, but it seems dwarfed by those vehemently opposed or not inclined (a unscientific sampling for sure, but I'm confident that's the case now). I wouldn't declare the idea dead, but I also think it's pretty much a waste of energy to push hard on this score right now, it simply lacks the critical drivers. Liberals or NDP, I sense no urge to merge.


Greg said...

I agree. How about getting behind electoral reform?

Robert McClelland said...

What Greg said.

A Eliz. said...

I don't want to merge..I have been a good Liberal for years. The NDP are sure not what they were once, either.A great many have a lot of learning to do
So do we, have to get back to our roots

Jerry Prager said...

Electoral reform will do more than merger, something as simple as majority rule in every riding based on 'list these candidates in order of preference.'voting would suffice.

But that doesn't solve the issue of corporatism which was originally conceived as 4 equal estates, church, state, big business, labour, while the 5th estate -journalism - was added to protect democracy.

Big Business now owns the conservative party and the liberal right wing, business bought the 5th estate and neutered it, the new church is the church of mammon so there is no morality or ethics just the conscienceless pursuit of power and profit, thus democracy disappeared; neo-corporatism arose.

And here we are.

Liberal parties around the world have disappeared because they have no answer to corporatism.

The world was hoping the Liberal Party of Canada would succeed where everyone else failed.

The Party has one last kick at the can before they become irrelevant.

Quebecers voted NDP because Quebec and the NDP knows what fascism is, Quebec was governed by fascism until 1960 when it was defeated the liberal-led Quiet Revolution. That's why they voted NDP, they know what Harper is and aren't afraid to say so.

The Liberal party allowed it's democratic renewal package to be gutted by it's right wing, and then the right voted conservative.

Solve this problem or perish as a political force.

susansmith said...

Electoral reform! And yes, we know what fascism!

k said...

Let's look at it in another light.

Jack made many big promises to Quebec that he can not fulfill.

All Jack really accomplished in Quebec was to get for all intents and purposes MPs that really should be sitting in the BQ caucus.

We have the 19 year old MP from Quebec already giving an interview to a Toronto radio station saying that Sovereignty is not dead in Quebec and Jack believes in an independent Quebec.

We have the bar maid being cloistered away and now voters in her riding complaining after the fact because she doesn't live in the riding nor can she speak French.

We have the musing of Thomas Mulcair.

The whole Quebec caucus from the NDP are for the most part separatists, knaves, and fools.

All the Liberals have to do for the next four years is really do the proper rebuilding from the ground up all watch this train wreck in the making unfold.

Sadly Jack Layton probably has done more to undermine National Unity than anything the BQ could have ever done.

Tof KW said...

My post is so long this needs to be split, please bear with me and my rambling...

I guess I can offer insight of some value here, seeing that I’ve already gone through this.

First, there were deep distrusts between ourselves and Alliance/Reform, very much like between your team and the NDP. However after 10 years even I (who thought the PCs minus the western SoCred populists could only be a good thing for our future) realized there is no way we could ever compete against the Liberals until we found common ground.

Now my initial revulsion to the new party came first in the method of merger, in that there was no merger at all; it was a take-over. The Alliance members were purchasing PC party memberships in order to overwhelm us, and they did. If this were a true merger, both original entities need to be blown up for good and an entirely new organization built from the ground up. This was not the case of the new Conservative party, it is very much under the dominance of the Alliance side. They simply wanted our networking and organizational infrastructure …and our Tory tradition of course to appeal to eastern voters.

Even so, regardless of MacKay’s lie about not merging and the underhanded way our party was overtaken by the Alliance, I was still willing to give the new Conservatives a chance, simply because I was that fed up with an seemingly unending string of successive Liberal governments on the horizon. However that all ended when Harper won the leadership of the new party. Believe me if Belinda Stronach was the new leader, I wouldn’t be here haunting the various Liblogs like I do. Harper as leader reaffirmed to me this is not a new party, rather just the death of the Progressive Conservatives and whatever Tory ideals I still harboured.

So how does this relate to you Liberals now?...

Tof KW said...

Part II

Well first, ultimately I think the best interests of both the Grits and the Dippers is for your two parties to cooperate. Harper is pushing Canada towards his western-populist ideals, but he is very cunning and doing this slowly and incrementally. He is gaming the system against the centre-left parties day by day, and the only way to stop this is for the opposition parties to put aside their differences and form a united front. Vote splitting is very real, and as a young campus Tory in the Mulroney years I relished it, and all the heated exchanges between Turner and Broadbent warmed my heart.

Now if you can see the need to form a united front if you ever wish to defeat the CPofC, the glaring item of discussion is what exactly is this united front to be? Can the Libs and NDP agree to not run against each other and split up the 308 ridings amongst themselves? Or should an outright merger be negotiated? Or can some other mutually agreeable arrangement be made?

If the avenue of merger is chosen, then I offer you my experiences with the merger of the PCs and the Alliance. They lost me due to the way it was carried out, and I urge you both not to make that same mistake. It this is a real merger, then both sides must set aside their differences and realize that both original organizations must come to a complete end. This CAN NOT be a take-over of one party by the other. After all the PC+Alliance should have been a family reunion for me, yet I was alienated by the process. Don’t make this same mistake, because LPC+NDP has no past history unlike the Conservative merger. You will definitely lose significant numbers of your supporters if you lean too heavily to one party or the other.

And due to that fact, I don’t think this is the right time at all to even be discussing merger. The NDP is flying high right now, and they should be. After all how many decades has it been since the CCF was first organized that they now finally reached this level? They are celebrating and are in no mood to discuss merger, that is unless you are discussing the NDP take-over of the Liberal party.

Take your time Liberals, don’t pick a leader any time soon – there is no need to rush things. Find out what your party stands for in the 21st century, and start to listen to your grassroots. Fine tune your fund raising capabilities, and be aggressive about it. Also I suggest you fire everyone at the top – they need to go away to ensure this is an organic and honest rebuild.

Also, don’t think as 2015 as the time the Liberals take over government, because you won’t be. The NDP will become a gong-show thanks to their rookie MPs but they will improve, and I offer the Rae government’s final years in power as proof. At best 2015 can be the year that you become the official opposition again. At that time, or slightly before, I think both parties will have had enough that merger would be seen as inevitable, and both organizations will be honest enough to wish to create a new party rather than just taking-over the competition.

Whether or not this comes before or after 2015, I have no idea.

Good luck to you all, because Canada is counting on a competent government in waiting in opposition. Our democracy can not function properly without this.

sharonapple88 said...

I agree. How about getting behind electoral reform?

Like proportional representation? You've got to sell it to voters. I believe it was voted on in Ontario, British Columbia, and P.E.I., and they voted it down.

Let's be fair, there are pros and cons to both Majority and Proportional Electoral Systems. I don't think PR's going to be a cure for declining voter participation. (PR started in 1996 -- slight bump, but it hasn't stopped the decline in New Zealand. Voter turnout in Germany is declining too even with PR.)

Let's be honest, people don't vote because they believe their votes are wasted. Most of the reasons I hear fall into the "all parties are the same" -- essentially contempt for all political parties.

I don't think any of the parties have helped this image. Negative political advertising makes people more cynical towards politics.

And the candidates the parties field is starting to become an issue with all parties -- the Liberals, the Conservatives, and the NDP.

We might not be able to do anything with proportional representation, but here are some things all parties can tackle.

sharonapple88 said...

Interesting perspective, T of KW.

A Eliz. said...

Speaking of electoral voting we should try Preferential voting as the Australians do. I found out from a penpal that New Zealand's PPR is not quite as good for a country this size.

A Eliz. said...

As far as tturning out to vote, in Ausralia you have to vote or there is a fine.

Kirk said...

Rather see the Green Party merge with the Liberals as part of a renewal process than having anything to do with the NDP. But then I'm a "green" Liberal.

Tof KW said...

A Eliz, I am curious on how the PPR may be inadequate for a country the size of Canada. I always thought out of the various proportional systems, that PPR was the best of them.

The biggest criticism of PR was that the various parties would nominate assorted hacks and bagmen to fill in for their colleagues that were not properly elected. At least with PPR, whoever is elected would have had their actual names on the ballot.

Steve V said...

We need to figure out electoral reform that maintains local representation reflecting their choice. Without that stipulation, reforms are more flawed than the current system. That's my pre-requisite, many of the proposals to date fail badly in this regard.

Deanna said...

Another vote for backing electoral reform.

Steve V said...

Seems timely.

Dame said...

We just can't forget our economy and prosperity based on capitalism.. we can mend it but never dismiss as the base... all the good social progresses and human rights are sitting on the 'health" of the overall good economy. so i just want to make a note why the centrist mentality is the ONLY right position .. the country will want a agood mixture of all we have the extreme right and the extreme left holding us in a strange grip it can't last forever....

Dame said...

one of the electoral reform i want is seat distribution strictly based on thr ridings population.... fairness by numbers .

Steve V said...

I support that entirely!!

Shawn said...

How about we try to pull out the small-c conservatives from the Conservative party, try to 'de-merge' it. I don't want the NDP, as a blue liberal I refuse to see the Liberal party taken over by the left.

Möbius said...

"one of the electoral reform i want is seat distribution strictly based on thr ridings population.... fairness by numbers ."

The Liberal Party of Ontario fought against proportional representation a few years ago. I'll leave it to the reader to figure out why.