With Stephen Harper and the Conservatives heading for a possible majority government later this month, talk has inevitably turned to uniting the progressive parties. The progressive vote is split among the Liberals, NDP, Green Party and Bloc, and the suggestion is to do what the Conservatives did a few years back: unite with the Reform party. I’m not usually a proponent of combining the left parties, but it’s starting to make more sense to me now.
Mind you, I don’t think it makes sense to do it just to win. That’s a cheap political tactic, and suggests it’s more important to win than to do what’s right. I’m just suggesting that three at least two of the progressive parties have too much in common to be separate. The Green Party can take solace in the fact that environmental matters are now part of mainstream political debate and a centerpiece of the Liberal platform, and send their votes back to the Liberals and NDP. Those two, I think, are different enough to remain separate, and ostensibly the Bloc exists solely to create an independent Quebec, so rightly or wrongly they remain ideologically distinct from all other parties and unlikely to form anything other than a voting alliance.
All that said, you have to consider the possibility that it doesn’t really matter. The reason Harper may win again — apart from an opposition leader with the charisma of a wet dishcloth — is that he hasn’t really buggered anything up, and he’s successfully neutered (some might say “betrayed”) the far-right elements of the old Reform party. Witness this week’s unequivocal statement by Harper that the abortion law will not be raised again. Meanwhile, gay marriage is legal in many provinces, the environment is front and center in political discussions (even the Conservatives have an environmental platform; criticism seems to center on it not going far enough) and gun control laws exist which Harper, for all his campaign promises, is unlikely to overturn.
Even when the government’s Conservative in name, this country is progressive in nature. So long as the sitting Conservative government doesn’t act noticeably different than the long-sitting Liberal government which preceded it, I don’t think most people will really care.
Except maybe Jack Layton.
[tags]canadian election, liberals, conservatives, nsp, bloc quebecois, green party, abortion law[/tags]