12 September 2011 Politics

Uniting the left is a bogus idea

A Liberal-NDP merger is the story that just won’t die, so I might as well weigh in with my thoughts. My thoughts are that it’s a terrible idea, in case you were wondering.

Arguments in favour of a merger can be boiled down to this: Power is better than ideological purity, and we need to unite the left, because the right already did it and now they’ve won a majority government.

There are a few reasons why I think a merger will bring along more regrets than solutions.

  1. It’s a shortcut that doesn’t solve the greater problem: proportional representation. A Liberal-NDP merger would just perpetuate the reality that only “the big parties” have a chance at actually getting elected.

  2. Rather than being a bigger tent, a merged party would alienate voters from both sides. Many NDP voters would defect further left, probably to the Greens, and right-of centre Liberals would defect to the Conservatives. A Liberal-NDP merger wouldn’t “unite the left” at all.

  3. There are irreconcilable policy differences between the two. Think about corporate tax cuts, for example. Of course, compromise is a fine thing, but if the Liberals and the NDP merge then the CCF might as well start up again, because there would certainly be room in the political spectrum for more parties.

  4. An outright merger is an extreme jump that’s hard to reverse. Liberals and Dippers have worked together in parliament well over the years, but why not run as a coalition first, to test the waters? Despite the knee-jerk hysteria whenever coalitions are mentioned in Canadian politics, the majority of Liberal and NDP supporters were in favour of the move in 2008 - and that’s when the Bloc Québécois was still in on the deal.

Like I always say, more parties is always better, because then voters have actual choices. Rather than letting parties dissolve into one another, let’s work on cooperation across party lines and short-term, pragmatic alliances.

Sam Nabi


Kevin 16 October 2011, 20:02

That pretty much sums up my own feelings on the issue.  I hope they can create a coalition to put through proportional representation, and put a end to arrogant false majorities of all political stripes.

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