A Progressive Merger: It’s Time has Come
The last time I posted on medium.com, I wrote about my desire to vote for the federal New Democratic Party (NDP) instead of my long-time, natural political home — the Liberal Party of Canada. Since that time, I have continue to vascillate between the two parties; I see policies/people that are worthwhile in both and faults in both.
I have concluded that the resolution to this problem is a merger. Before the provincial win in Alberta, I had never considered the NDP a viable alternative. Now that I do, I’m left with the dilemma of splitting my vote with other progressives between the two parties and letting the real foe, the Conservative Party of Canada win again.
The Liberal party is built upon progressive values heavily mixed with a heavy dose of realism, whether it be political or economic. This centrism leads to nuanced positions that are difficult to communicate to a generally apathetic electorate. The progressive public is not interested in amending Bill C-51, it wants it repealed. Similarly, the current messaging under childcare spaces — we haven’t announced our policy yet, but the NDP is just sloganeering doesn’t exactly get the progressive heart beating. The Liberals have forgotten ‘to campaign from the left and govern from the right’. Instead, with strong right-wing and left-wing flanks, they take policy positions in the middle that fail to satisfy an electorate who tune in just enough to hear the slogan, but not long enough for the explanation why it’s just a slogan.
Whereas the NDP has taken sharply contrasted and principled positions from the governing Conservatives. The NDP bench strength (the overall governing experience and talents of its candidates) is not nearly as strong as the Liberals. The Liberals may have a young leader but with candidate stars like Ralph Goodale, Scott Brison, Carolyn Bennet, Chrystia Freeland, Bill Morneau, Bill Blair, Andrew Leslie, Adam Vaughn, Marc Garneau, Bill Casey and Dominic LeBlanc, they absolutely cannot be accused to be weak on experience or talent. As an aside, the Conservatives may have governed this past 10 years, but what they make up for in experience is severely restricted by their talent-less and faceless pool of candidates. The NDP have been “quietly searching” for someone with finance credentials to be floated as a new Minister of Finance. If they could pull from the same pool of candidates as the Liberals, this wouldn’t even be an issue. The party has also reached out to former civil servants on advice about how to transition to government and how to govern generally. The Liberals have been there and done that.
What we need is NDP policy and principles mixed with Liberal talents for attracting strong candidates and governing experience. This new big tent party will be able to create a broad voter coalition to take on the united right. Remember, the combined polling numbers of the NDP and Liberals is over 50% and even if a tenth of those voters moved over to the Conservatives instead of a united left, it would still mean an absolute majority for the progressive party. If the Conservatives can hold together a party that mixes libertarians, social conservatives and rural voters, the left can create its own rainbow coalition from social activists, academics, unions, and urban-dwellers.
I’m down with the “Democratic-Liberal Party of Canada”, Prime Minister Mulcair and Deputy-Leader Trudeau. Let’s start with a formal coalition after the next election and a merger process shortly thereafter.