Hey, Canada, one more election thing...

Posted 11.7.19

SHAWVILLE, QC | The election isn't over. Tired of election talk? Sorry, but many seem still fascinated with the ins and outs of the campaign. Trudeau's victory, qualified as it is, remains a victory and one worth remembering when we consider how much ground the Liberals were able to make up during the brief campaign. "Brief", compared to the Americans.

The Liberals' claim worked: a vote for anyone but the Liberals would be a vote for the Conservatives. This strategy asked progressive voters to hold their nose and not vote for Green or NDP candidates, but vote for the lesser of two evils, themselves.

Since the NDP and Greens were unable to answer that argument -- despite Singh's great "Mr Denier and Mr. Delayer arguing who is worse for the country" -- many progressive voters do feel the two parties are dividing their vote.

Common comments: "Why don't the Greens and NDP unite?" or refrain from competing? "Why isn't there a Green-DP". The "GDP Party" has a certain economics appeal! Their competition has been a puzzle for progressive-minded voters for years -- why divide the progressive vote, while their opponents present a united front (until Mad Max pulled out of formation).

The progressives' brain trust seems unable to focus on this simple question. No one that I've questioned or read has explained why the Greens and NDP cannot work together, even on a temporary basis. The Greens made a no-contest agreement with the Dion's Liberals in 2007, but this seemed to provoke the ire of the NDP more than anything else. Both Jack Layton and Stephen Lewis disagreed with any coalition, to their shame (unless they'd explain); they claimed, for one, that a non-compete clause limits voters' choices. That's a play on words, really, that does no credit to Layton or Lewis. First-past-the-post virtually limits most voters' real choices.

So, besides history, besides past disagreements and conflicts, there must be other reasons, solid policy and philosophical differences, for this inability to come together. This is where the problem becomes murky, as those differences are very difficult to find. Perhaps there were very specific, even very local issues, which might have caused a dispute, but it's hard to see why either party would not support the other in no-contest ridings. Both parts own a lot of common ground. Can't they focus on those commonalities? Aren't today's issues important enough?

Another difficulty might be in the implantation of any agreement. And here, I suspect, the NDP and Greens differ significantly on how they might accomplish common goals. The NDP claims (I believe) the Greens are pro-capitalist. The Greens, say the NDP, will employ the cause of today's problems to try to solve them -- private enterprise. It has destroyed the environment, so why give private enterprise the contract to the save the environment?

All this a guess at what, if it is being done, is being done incredibly on the quiet.


Copyright © 2019 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles 11.7.19