"I haven't in the past; I'm not going to in the future."

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]

0 responses to “"I haven't in the past; I'm not going to in the future."

  1. Unite the left….? doesn’t sound as sexy as Unite the Right. Besides, even if, by an incredible miracle, the leftists do unite, they don’t stand a chance against the revived and “reformed” Conservative party. And with the worldwide economic recession (yes..we are in a recession) going on, no other party can be trusted with their flawed policies.

    You hit the nail right in the head when you said most people don’t care, whether it be Dion’s green shift or NDP’s social policies. The Tories are doing everything right and the country would be better off with some political stability.

  2. Curious, Max: what do you mean when you say that “no other party can be trusted with their flawed policies?” Which leftist policies do you mean exactly?

  3. Max, I’d say the trend is just the opposite–the election campaign is exposing the Conservatives flawed policies, and people are tired of them. Their polling numbers, which were on the verge of a majority a month ago, have been dropping steadily since the election campaign began [pdf].

    It’s unlikely that any of the left-leaning parties will gain enough support in the next 10 days to unseat Harper, but to say that “the Tories are doing everything right” isn’t supported by most Canadians, and another minority government is the most likely outcome.

  4. “No other party can be trusted”. Hilarious. Under Liberals, Canada ran the only balanced/surplus federal budget out of all the G8 countries, almost in perpetuity! Under liberal party regulations Canada has created a bankig system that is the envy of the world. Canada has over 40 % of North America’s top banks, while only having about 6 percent of the population.

    Ousting the con servative party is the right thing to do. It’s a front for antiCanadianism nothing more nothing less.

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