Leadership candidates, Liberal Party of Canada
c. Elizabeth May, Leader, Green Party of Canada
Dear leadership candidates:
All praise to two western opposition MPs – Joyce Murray and Elizabeth May – for voicing what legions of Canadians are wondering: how and when, if ever, will the political preferences of the majority of citizens be expressed through the Parliament of Canada under the current electoral system?
Particular thanks to Joyce Murray, a Liberal with a plan to attain democratic majority government despite the current rules. She, alone among nine candidates for Liberal leadership, is honestly facing the obvious political conundrum: (a) a struggling third-place Liberal Party, no matter what it does between now and 2015, may not win the 2015 general election and (b) leaving the Harper Conservative minority in continued command of the federal government to 2019, or even beyond, would guarantee irreversible damage to our vision for society.
Justin Trudeau, while resisting Joyce Murray’s call for cross-party electoral cooperation in 2015, was quoted on CBC national radio news this morning. “What values will we be required to jettison?” he asked his fellow Liberals, all declared and potential Liberal supporters, and all Canadians.
Justin, here’s the very short list. (1) Unwarranted partisan arrogance. (2) Unprincipled advocacy of undemocratic electoral systems.
With those two retrograde LPC values abandoned, effective co-operation among the opposition parties to win in 2015 would become a serious possibility.
As a liberal Liberal I would welcome our party’s transformation on those two points, as would many other Canadians.
The rewards, if the opposition parties succeeded in forming a coalition government in 2015, would be enormous.
1. All Canadian citizens would soon achieve, for the first time in the country’s history, equal effective votes, proportional representation, democratic majority rule, and a flexible, accountable and effective Parliament.
2. The Liberal Party would become the institutionalized conscience and advocate of Canadian liberalism. It would acquire a permanent and secure position as the arbiter and regulator of Parliament and a near-permanent presence in government, usually by shaping the terms on which social democrats or conservatives would be allowed to govern the country.
It remains true, as the Hill Times article below suggests, that the commitment of Thomas Mulcair’s NDP to the quick implementation of democratic electoral reform is, to be polite, questionable.
Even so, the Liberal Party should position itself, well prior to 2015, as the unequivocal champion of democratic voting and representative democracy. We could then, as Joyce Murray advocates, publicly invite the Mulcair New Democrats to cooperate with the Liberal Party of Canada to win the next election – or reveal themselves to all Canadians as counterfeit democrats.
Yours for a democratic Canada
Executive Member, Pickering Scarborough East Federal Liberal Association
Founding Treasurer, Fair Vote Canada
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
From the emails
From the email inbox yesterday, a Liberal reacts to the debate (via blindcopy to me and submitted for publication elsewhere):