A $1.75 MacGuffin

It would seem that Canada’s opposition parties — the three largest left and centre-left parties: the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois — are about to merge. Agreements have been reached as to who should lead the party and hold cabinet positions, and a missive has been dispatched to the Governor General.

Back in October, following the federal election, I joked that the left wing parties should unite, but didn’t think they’d actually try it. Indeed, I don’t think they would have, but for the strategic error Stephen Harper made recently to change campaign finance rules and take away the $1.75 earned by political parties for each vote they gained. That move, coupled with other intended policies and an empty set of solutions for the current economic situation, would inevitably have brought about a major move by the opposition. Normally this would have taken the form of voting down the budget and spurring another election. Instead, the opposition is uniting and hoping to avoid an election. This would win them great gratitude from the public, who would rather juggle rattlesnakes than vote again this year.

Not surprisingly, though, many are upset about this, and the debate is well underway. Witness the nearly 1300 comments on the Globe and Mail’s article posted just 24 hours ago (which Mathew Ingram dissects) or the nearly 3500 on the CBC article. Unfortunately, because of my schedule, I’ve had little time to absorb any of this. Pity; I suspect we’re witnessing one of the more interesting events in Canadian politics in my lifetime.

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