Friday, March 08, 2013

Attack can be the sincerest form of flattery #lpcldr

As readers of my blog would know, I have been supporting Joyce Murray in the Liberal leadership campaign. I have been proud to do so as Joyce has run a smart, positive political campaign from the get-go.

She has emphasized her vision of a Sustainable Society with compelling proposals on environmental sustainability, a digital economy, promoting democracy abroad, advancing the participation of women in Canadian society, smart crime policy that would legalize cannabis, and yes, a strong political platform that would enable these policies to be put in place.

Her electoral cooperation proposal, underpinning the key and crucial goal of achieving electoral reform, is the political means of putting a progressive vision for Canada in place. And it has attracted much support as the campaign has gone on. Issues have connected with groups and a coalition building process, key for the Liberal party's future electoral success, has unfolded.

So it's no wonder that today there was an attack email blast launched at Joyce's political plan. Many Liberals and supporters of the Liberal party who signed up to vote in the leadership race will no doubt have received it.

But attack politics is not the kind of politics that Joyce subscribes to and it is one further compelling reason to support her in this race. Cooperation is not just about one's political platform. It's a way of being Liberal. Working with others where you agree, agreeing to disagree on other points. But always doing so in a civil way and not resorting to the old politics style fear mongering. It's not helpful to where we need to go as a party.

For those who received the email and would like a refresher on her proposal, note the ridings that she proposes to focus upon in her political plan: 
That’s why I support a common-sense, riding-by-riding approach to electoral cooperation among opposition parties in the 2015 election. The majority of Canadian voters hold progressive values, but our values won’t be reflected in government unless we figure out a way to overcome our dysfunctional electoral system and win.
I’m proposing a one-time agreement with the NDP and Green Party to give Canadians the government we deserve — not a merger between our parties.
As Liberal leader I will empower individual riding associations to nominate their Liberal candidates in all ridings across the country and then to assess our situation on the ground and determine if cooperation makes sense. We will focus on ridings where incumbent Conservative MPs won power with less than 50% of the vote. Where appropriate, Liberals will cooperate with local NDP and Green riding associations to put forward the strongest candidate — the one best able to take that seat from a Conservative. (emphasis added)
This means that if you review those ridings where incumbent Conservatives are in office, having won less than 50% of the vote, that there are quite likely no seats in Quebec, based on the 2011 election results, where cooperation would be considered.

Old saw politics invoking separatist bogeymen as possible cooperation partners is not where Canadians or Quebecers seem to be these days and is not useful.

The central feature of Joyce's cooperation plan is that it is indeed democratic. It is a bottom-up process, not top-down. Riding associations, bolstered by the new presence of thousands of supporters who have signed up during this leadership race, will be the drivers of this process. Cooperation, if desired by ridings, would likely occur in a subset of the country's 338 2015 ridings.

Joyce is the one leadership candidate in this race who is saying that she will listen to the voices in the Liberal party and beyond that believe this option needs to remain on the table. 

But as mentioned at the outset here, the likely motivation to go after Joyce at this point is not solely about cooperation. It's about her position in this race, as judged by the competition. Attack can be the sincerest form of flattery.