Monday, December 17, 2012

Notes from the cooperation front

From a Q & A with Bob Rae, an interesting excerpt on the Canadian political party dynamic:
Speaking of teams, you have, as a New Democrat and a Liberal, probably experienced any number of election results and parliamentary situations. The recent spate of by-elections has stirred up the discussion again about cooperation and mergers and various alignments. Do you think that’s a discussion the Liberals and perhaps the New Democrats have to have, either individually or together? Or do you have to think about 2015 as going in there as distinct parties and rivals?
I think the leadership candidates have now got that issue right in front of them because one of the leadership candidates has raised it as a legitimate issue for discussion in the leadership race. So I’m sure it’ll be discussed. I don’t think it’s an issue we can discuss on our own, otherwise we’re just talking to ourselves. And I think I’ll let the new leader try to figure out to what extent there’s an appetite to do that or not.
I don’t think it’s entirely clear how things will sort of shake out or shake down in the next two years. The one thing I do feel quite strongly is that there’s a substantial majority in the public who do not want another Harper government, another Conservative government. And I think everybody else in the political system has a responsibility to think about what that means and how that result is going to be achieved, without simply blowing their own horn. But I’ll say, you know, after the last election, I mean, the NDP was in a triumphalist mode and then after Jack died and then Tom Mulcair won, Mulcair was in a triumphalist mode. So it’s hard to see how this all happens. I do think in our own ranks, I think there’s a greater sense of self confidence that people will ultimately want to turn to a non-ideological choice than an ideological choice. But, as I say, I think we all have an obligation to be respectful of those people who, well, whatever happens, I don’t want to see a Conservative government. And I think the result in Calgary Centre in particular should cause everybody to reflect on what the future might bring.
From Frank Graves' analysis of a recent poll and what the strengthening multi-party dynamic could mean:
The Conservative party may well benefit from a perfect progressive storm of vote-splitting and a futile rise in Green party votes resulting in few or no seats — as in 2008, when almost 7 per cent support for the Greens still failed to produce a single seat. The slightly invigorated Liberal party and the slightly diminished NDP will now saw off about 50 per cent of voters and the lion’s share of the progressive vote. A even more popular Green Party is still far away from levels where their popularity can translate into seats under the first-past-the-post system. So it may well be the case that a relatively stagnant and diminished Conservative party is in position to post another majority with even lower numbers than they had going into 2011.
...nothing in the current churning patterns suggests that we are going to see anything much different than what we’re seeing right now: two almost equally matched Liberal and NDP parties and a slightly more muscular Green party which would further siphon off the centre left vote in a rather seat-inefficient manner. So the new political arithmetic suggests that the new minority-majority, which is increasingly offside with most Canadians, will continue to be majority government for some time.
Things to mull over the holidays and onwards. We live in interesting times full of possibilities.